Monthly Archives: July 2016

To Maximize Your Productivity STOP Multitasking.

In these harrowing times with so many demands placed on us it can be near impossible to focus on the thing in front of you.  Achieving maximum performance seems so elusive.
We all have so many demands placed on us between navigating work-life challenges, to doing the work of multiple people on the job, it’s a wonder we can ever accomplish anything.
What often happens is we attempt to juggle multiple projects simultaneously as we attempt to become MULTITASKING experts as we fight a never-ending tide of distractions.
Here’s a tip to increase your efficiency and maximize your performance and productivity.
STOP TRYING TO MULTITASK!  It simply isn’t feasible despite our best intentions.
Our brains are not hardwired to tackle multiple tasks simultaneously.

The area of our brains that helps us to get work done and perform the act of multitasking is called the frontal lobe.  It enables us to perform “mental executive functions” or MEFs, for short.
There are TWO key aspects of MEFs to understand:

  1. Goal Shifting – when we decide to perform one task instead of another; and
  2. Role Activation – every time we switch tasks, we have to change the rules required to perform the task as we move between tasks. When we bounce back and forth between work we have to also change back and forth the rules required to perform each task.

When we focus on two tasks simultaneously, each side of the brain tackles a different task.

From productivity research conducted into the act of switching between tasks, we know that multitasking can lead to a reduction in productivity by as much as 40%.
In summary…the human brain simply isn’t built to multi-task.
But in this day in age where we have so many simultaneous requirements placed on us, we simply may be forced to multi-task as a standard mandatory behavior in order to complete everything we need to get done.  If that is the situation you find yourself in, following are a few guidelines that you might be able to implement, in order to maximize your performance.

  1. Know your daily optimal performance peak times and minimize distractions and/or interruptions by establishing block out periods.

Set out of office email messages even while you’re IN THE OFFICE.
Use out of office messages that say you are IN THE OFFICE BUT UNDER DEADLINE and indicate when you will be available. To maximize your peak performance times, you can do so with out of office phone messages, as well.

  1. Discover the invaluable art and skill of DELEGATING. Some guidelines for delegating:
  • Ask yourself: “What’s the BEST use of my time?” Whatever you do that is not in your productivity wheelhouse MUST be delegated.
  • Stop refusing to delegate because it takes more time to explain the work involved then to do it yourself. This creates a vicious cycle of you not being able to get those recurring low value tasks off your plate.
  •  Can someone else do it better? You are not a TEN in everything. Choose who is best to delegate to.  That goes for the home as well as work.
  •  Do you have enough time to delegate? Remember, there are 168 hours of the week, when you start subtracting the sleep, cooking, shores, etc. that number dwindles quickly.
  •  Will this task recur again? If there is any way to plan for someone else taking ownership by all means delegate away.
  •  Is this a task that I should delegate?
  •  Avoid the boomerang (No “backsies”) Do not let people come back to you for excessive help in completing tasks.

Check out this nice list of delegation tips.

  1. Become diligent in planning by using the PLAN – DO – REVIEW process. Set daily, weekly, quarterly and annual goals. At the end of every time period (day, week, month…etc.) revisit those goals and assess how you performed.  Following is a really useful daily workflow process. (Sourced from Martin Yate.)

At the end of each and every day, review what you’ve accomplished:

  • What happened: a.m. and p.m.?
  • What went well? Do more of it.
  • What went wrong? How do I fix it?
  • What projects do I need to move forward tomorrow?
  • List all tomorrow’s activities and rank the importance of each one:

– Must be completed by end of day;
– Good to be completed by end of day; and
– To be completed if there is spare time from A and B priorities.

  • Make a prioritized To Do list, with every activity rated A, B, or C.
  • Stick to your prioritized list as much as possible.


  1. Stay organized.  Fight the natural tendency of all things to gravitate towards DIS-order (it’s called ENTROPY.) Plan processes, automate workflows to in effect only touch a piece of paper once. Create files to “dump” papers, articles, forms into so you can go back and re-organize/sort later.  Once a month have a file purge party and throw away all files, papers, forms, not touched in the past 30 days.

Here’s to your continued success in 2016!
– Ethan

Is Arrogance Limiting Your FULL Potential


Do you suffer from “Arrogance?”  Is your arrogance hurting your career and/or your business?
Arrogance is defined as:
“…an insulting way of thinking or behaving that comes from believing that you are better, smarter, or more important than other people. Showing an offensive attitude of superiority” (

Arrogance entails propping yourself up – whether it’s through public displays or to yourself.  It often involves knocking others down, at the same time. It is generally defined as all of the following:
The act or habit of making undue claims in an overbearing manner;
That species of pride which consists in exorbitant claims of rank, dignity, estimation, or power, or which exalts the worth or importance of the person to an undue degree; and
Proud contempt of others.
Other names for arrogance are: egotism, conceit, grandiosity, and self-importance.  Ancient Greek literature refers to hubris, a form of arrogance in which a person thinks himself to be higher in status than other ordinary mortals. In other words, a god.  Such behavior typically can be traced back to an individual’s early childhood and the fear of their OWN vulnerability to negative perceptions that others have of them, such as:
Being vulnerable to any kind of criticism or disapproval.
Any perceived weakness, failing or imperfection is undesirable and unacceptable.
If I show any of my real weaknesses, failings or imperfections, it could be disastrous.

Hence, showing vulnerability in the eyes of others becomes unacceptable and frightening. The coping mechanism these individuals employ to manage their fear is tomanipulate others’ perceptions—to ensure that there is never anything for them to disapprove of or criticize.
Perhaps you achieved a fair measure of success or were given a high ranking position, which led you to take on an inflated sense of yourself.  This likely has manifested itself in a heightened sense of your own self-importance which is the classic definition of arrogance.
Following is a short list of questions you can and should ask yourself, to gauge the degree of hubris you possess.  You have to answer truthfully.

  1. Do you find yourself often dismissing the ideas of others off-hand and without consideration, because you think you are more experienced, seasoned, or possess a better insight or their insights cannot help you?
  2. Do you assume that your business cannot possibly lose market share from that upstart that lacks your size, resources, and time spent in business?
  3. Do you think your employees perform at high enough levels of productivity, and do not require additional training, motivation, rewards and recognition from you?
  4. Do you avoid soliciting ideas from your employees, friends, family, peers as a general practice?
  5. Are you confident you know everything there is to know about your business, the industry you compete in, your clients, vendors, and employees?  HINT: If you answered YES to this, drop your pen right now, because you ARE arrogant.  There simply is NO way we can know everything there is to know about ANYTHING.
  6. Would you ever consider hiring an outsider (a coach, mentor, consultant, adviser, confidant) to help you improve your professional acumen and business operations?
  7. When was the last time you said the words “I WAS WRONG” and… “I’M SORRY.”

By answering multiple questions in the affirmative, you likely possess a degree of arrogance, which may pose a threat to your career, professional and business goals.
Arrogance can have an extremely debilitating effect on those people that are incapable of seeing the value in others.  For starters, arrogance can lead to complacency.  Arrogance can lead to the false belief that one is capable of resolving all the challenges one encounters in these constantly changing times without assistance from others.
Excessive pride can cause one to make careless and unnecessary mistakes due to a lack of wise judgement.  You may trust too much in your instincts and abilities, underestimate the situation or the capabilities of your competitors, overestimate the loyalty you have built with your clients, employees, vendors and other stakeholders.
Arrogance can cloud your judgement and make you lose touch with reality, which will always lead to failure.

Being arrogance can lead us not to seek out and heed the advice of others and to the extreme can and will serve to alienate the people you trust most and rely on.  Arrogance is a personality trait that is universally despised.
If you ever find yourself exhibiting such behavior and truly wish to stop, here are a few suggestions I work with my clients to implement on a routine basis.

  1. Give meaningful compliments by citing specific accomplishments that others have achieved. Don’t say “You did great work.” That’s meaningless. Cite specific examples of the challenge they faced, the action(s) they took, and the results achieved.
  2. Learn to ask questions, then listen HARD!  Listening at 100% and being FULLY engaged is truly one of the hardest things to do but is so rewarding.
  3. Give credit to others, rather than taking it all for yourself.
  4. Admit when you’re wrong. It is NOT a sign of weakness, but rather of incredible strength.
  5. Laugh at yourself.  Don’t be so quick to take offense.

Remember you have limitations, you’re not perfect so you can constantly learn from experiences AND OTHERS if only you open yourself up to the possibility of achieving true growth and becoming a better person.
Remember above all else, that life is a journey and NOT a destination.
Here’s to your continued success in 2016.
Here’s to your continued success in 2016!

– Ethan

Driving Innovation Moonshots the Google Way

On Tuesday, June 14th I attended a talk given by Chris Morgan and Samir Janjeva of Google at the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce in New York City during its Marketing Week series of events entitled: “The Evolution of the Customer Journey.”

Chris and Samir shared their insights into how Google constantly and with singular focus strives to find innovative solutions that deliver transformational solutions to the challenges facing its users.
The moonshot approach Google employs is frankly one that EVERY organization should undertake, if they truly care about creating a world-class culture AND being servant masters that seek out brave new worlds.
Here’s how this innovation-driven company-wide initiative works:
Google strongly encourages each of its employees to take ONE day EVERY week (that’s 20% of ALL their time at Google) in the pursuit of innovative solutions that challenge/resolve the issues we face in today’s chaotic times.
Google founded its Project X initiative in order to  formally allocate resources and business vision, mission and strategy towards that lofty goal.

Check out this amazing TED talk by Astro Teller, the Head of “X” (formerly theGoogle X Project).  Moonshots address consumer huge problems and apply breakthrough technologies to deliver radical solutions such as: Google Glasses, self driving cars, Project Loon, etc.  For additional insights on how such an employee-driven innovation program actually works, go to

The driving principle or ideology behind this approach is to always focus first on the user, and then secondarily profit as an outcome (desired solution), NOT your primary/singular goal.  Can YOUR organization make such a claim?  The true challenge from an organizational perspective is to attempt in everything you do to find a solution that has a 10 TIMES multiplier positive impact on humanity, not some relatively insignificant 10% incremental and temporary rise in (sales) performance.
So, how is YOUR organization going to change the world?  Do you REALLY want to build a “world-class” culture?  Are you REALLY focused with a singular mission on unleashing your people’s untapped potential to solve the world’s problems? To start, begin with a passion for leading innovation by applying creative solutions to the challenges we face.
Here’s to your continued success in 2016!

– Ethan
The Chazin Group, LLC