New Features: Quick Add/Edit Tasks etc.

We have just released two new features that allow you to quickly add or edit tasks in just one text input box. Click the “Quick add task” link on either Tasks or Dashboard page to add tasks. The quick edit feature is available only on Dashboard page.

1. Quick Add Task

To enter a quick task, just click the “Quick add task” link and enter your task name in the text box, and then press ENTER. You can continue to enter more tasks this way as it’ll auto focus to the next quick add edit box.

All tasks added this way will have “Today” as the due date. On Dashboard page, all your quick tasks will be automatically added to a default goal called “Daily Todo List”. You may change this goal to any other name you like.

2. Quick Edit Task

On Dashboard page, move your mouse cursor over a task name listed under the Due section, then click the task name. You will be editing the task name with an in-place text box. Press ENTER key when you are done. Like adding quick tasks, you can also include tag or set hours within the task name such as “#CALL Make an appointment 0:25”, which will create a task named “Make an appointment” with tag “CALL” and estimated hours set to 25 minutes.

We also fixed a few minor bugs around Tasks page and Habits page. Hope you enjoy the new features and improvements. Let us know if you have any feedback or more suggestions!

Best Goal Setting Advice to Remember Your Goals

By 

I’ve developed five of the best goal setting techniques to keep your goals fresh and “top of mind” after you’ve set them.  I used to teach this process back in the early 2000′s as part of a Community Education Class at a local college.

Method #1:  Read Your Written List Every Day

best goal settingThe idea of goal setting is nothing new.  Everything you see in the world started as an idea in someone’s mind.  We could be talking about a style of automobile, an apartment building, a coffee maker, a chair … anything.  Someone put their idea on paper, massaged it, tweaked it, and refined it until it was worthy, and then made it or had it made.

The best goal setting advice I can give you is that you should plan on writing your goals on paper.  Write them in ink, or write them in pencil, it doesn’t matter.  Just get them out of your head!  There is something magical about getting your goals out of your head and crystallizing them in writing.

Once you have a written list of goals, don’t make the mistake most people do of putting the list in a drawer of your desk or in a filing cabinet.  Keep the list out where you can read it frequently.  Ideally, you should read your list of goals every day to keep them fresh in your mind.

Method #2:  Make a Dream Board or Dream Book

One of the best goal setting techniques I know of to keep your goals “top of mind”, is to do it with pictures.  When I took people through a goal setting exercise, I would encourage them to find pictures (or take photographs) of the things they wanted in their lives in order to stimulate the visual cortex of the brain.

For example, if you have a particular car that you want to acquire in your life, get hold of a car magazine and find a picture of your dream car.  Repeat the process for every item on our goal list.  You can easily find images by searching Google, too.  Cut (or print) the pictures out, and put them on a piece of poster board and post the board where you can see it every day.  The resulting poster board diorama is called a “Dream Board”.  I’ve also heard it described as a “Dream Wall”.

But it doesn’t have to be done on a piece of poster board.  You could mount the pictures onto paper and assemble them into a book or 3-ring binder that you flip through every day.  Several people have popularized the concept of a Dream Book, including John Assaraf.  Assaraf has a great story he tells in the film “The Secret” about a powerful Dream Book experience he had.  He also wrote about the experience in his book “The Answer”.  Another place you can see an example of a Dream Book is in the film “Last Holiday” (2006) starring Queen Latifah.

Make a Dream Board that you can look at every day, or a Dream Book that you read through every day.

Method #3:  Use Post-It Notes (Best Goal Setting Idea)

This is an idea popularized by author Jeffrey Gitomer.  Simply write your goals on semi-adhesive pieces of paper, and stick them where you can see them every day.  Gitomer even sells packs of pre-printed Post-It’s on his website.

Gitomer suggests sticking the notes to your bathroom mirror so you see them and read them every day.  It’s a great visual reminder!  When you’ve completed a goal, transfer the Post-It to another place and replace the empty space with a new goal!

You can also post the notes in your car, or in other places you would look every day.

Method #4:  Rewrite Your Goals Every Day

This is one of the best goal setting ideas I learned from author Brian Tracy and it really helped me solidify my goals and keep them top of mind.  After you’ve done your goal setting exercise and determined what you want in your life, simply write out those goals by hand every day.

Yes, rewrite your list of goals every day.  By hand.

I know that a famous network marketing expert named Ray Higdon does something similar.  He writes out his list of afformations every day and he is the #1 income earner in his company!

Method #5:  Redecorate Your Environment

In his book “Finding the Champion Within”, Bruce Jenner describes another of the best goal setting techniques I’ve heard of.  He had a great visualization exercise to prepare himself for the 1976 Olympics.  He was preparing for the Decathalon, so he decorated his apartment with items from each of the ten events which he would compete in.  For example, around his home he had a javelin, a track hurdle, a shotput, and so on.  Every day he saw one of these objects, he was reminded of his goal to win in each of the events.  He scored one of the highest collections of points ever at the Olympics!

You can do the same thing in your environment.  Think about ways you can buy a scale model or some other representation of the goals you are trying to achieve.

A Checklist for Personal Efficiency

By Siimon Reynolds

At the end of the day, there are two ways to excel in business: Right strategy and personal effectiveness. Strategy is often a complex matter, and personal effectiveness is simpler, but very few do it well.

Yet the potential gains when you maximize how efficiently you perform can be astronomical. There are people who are quite literally achieving 3 times what others are getting done, every single week. After 5 years of performing at high efficiency they end up leaving the others in the dust. As a high performance coach for business leaders, I am constantly working on improving their personal effectiveness.

In my experience there are seven important areas to focus on. Print this list out and keep it on your desk, then monitor yourself on it daily. I can assure you, your personal efficiency will skyrocket.

1. Plan your day in advance.

Don’t just start work. Take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are, get them all down on paper.  Next , decide when you will do each item throughout the day. Only then should you begin your day’s work.  Such planning may look like a waste of time, but it usually doubles the speed at which your To Do list gets done.

As Abraham Lincoln said, ” If I had six hours to cut down a tree I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”

2. Do the most important tasks first.

Let’s face it, these days there is simply not enough time to get all your To Do’s done.  So if you don’t do your most crucial jobs first, many days you will find they never get done at all.

3. Rush unimportant tasks.

This is a rarely mentioned technique of efficiency. You can unlock huge amounts of time by rushing jobs that don’t matter much. As Warren Buffettput it, “Whats’ not worth doing is not worth doing well.”

4. Work in uninterrupted blocks.

Interruptions destroy efficiency. The more you can find a quiet place to work uninterrupted on your To Do’s, the more you’ll get done. Consider working two mornings a week at a nearby coffee shop.  Or book a meeting room at your office and post a big ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door.

5. Don’t do emails until 11am.

When you start work, glance at your emails for anything truly urgent. (This should take no more than ten minutes). Then forget about email until mid morning. Don’t be one of those people that puts everyone else’s priorities before your own.

6. Pick one key job for the day.

What’s the one task that would help your business the most? Get clear on this, each and every day. If all you did was achieve your single most important task daily, in 3 months your business would be powering. But most people have never identified what their key daily task is.

7. Have a finishing time.

Everyone has a start time, but few have a time they must leave at the end of the day. You’d be amazed how much more efficient you become when you do. When you know there’s a certain time you must finish work, it forces you to work quickly all through the day so you can make the deadline. But when your work day is open ended, there’s no real need to work fast. Remember  Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.”

So that’s your personal efficiency checklist. Keep it nearby as you work through your day.

If you can stick to this list daily you will find you will radically change how much you achieve. You’ll be able to work less and earn more. Your stress will go down and your confidence will go up.

SMART Goals + Motivation = Success

By Alyssa Gregory

Motivation and goal setting go hand in hand. No matter how much time you put into the goal setting process, if you’re not motivated by your goals, you’re unlikely to keep after them. Motivation keeps you focused and makes you  more confident.

This installment of the week-long goal setting series focuses on the role motivation plays in reaching your SMART goals, and what you can do to follow the formula for success and stay motivated.

Visualize Your Future Success

In order to be motivated to do something, you have to have an idea of what it will feel like and look like to be there. Imagine that you’ve accomplished the goal and think about all of the perks that will come with your success. How will you feel? What will you do to celebrate? What will accomplishing the goal provide?

Once you’ve pictured your success, write down some triggers that will remind you how much you have to gain by accomplishing your goal. Then, revisit them any time you need a little nudge to keep going.

Plan the Work

Many of our most desired goals require a lot of work. Sometimes, this can be overwhelming because it seems like there’s so much to be done. Break down the work and plan out what you will be doing each step of the way, whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly. A solid plan can take a lot of the overwhelm out of the goal and help to keep you motivated to continue.

Accept Mistakes

Reaching for your goals will not always be a smooth process. In fact, you should expect to make some mistakes along the way. Although it may be discouraging, in reality, mistakes are good! When you make a mistake, it means you’re trying new approaches, taking chances and continuing to move forward.

Once you get past the disappointment of the mistake, use it to strengthen the process by learning from it and letting it change your process for the better.

Focus On Your Mini-Goals

One of the biggest motivational aspects of goals is reaching success. The more you accomplish, the easier it will be to move into the next phase. That’s why mini-goals, or goals with an immediate result (i.e., within a week), are so vital.

By nature, mini-goals are small and somewhat easy to accomplish. And you may have a handful of them at any given time. Usually, they support a larger, longer term goal, so with completion of each one, you’re one step closer to your big goal. Plus, each time you accomplish a mini-goal, you’re building your confidence and commitment to reaching all of your goals.

Psych Yourself Up

Some of your goals will require an extra amount of gumption. So when it’s time to hit a goal that really stretches you, you may need some extra motivation. Take a few minutes to do what normally gets you pumped up – exercise, music, reading inspirational quotes – then go for it.

Don’t Let Yourself Quit

It’s hard to keep going when success seems so far away. And many times, this is why people let their goals go. Make a commitment to yourself not to quit. Then, do what it takes to stay on track. If you thrive on rivalry, make it a competition with a friend or colleague who is working on his or her own goals. Or ask a friend to be your accountability partner. Make a commitment and then do whatever it takes to see it through.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated to reach your goals?

Strive for Goals, Improve Self, Too

By Dr. Gregg Steinberg

How do successful people continue to stay motivated, day in and day out?

Bill Gates is a wonderful example of keeping the fire burning after reaching the top of his game. Gates has stepped down from his daily duties at Microsoft and his life is no longer dominated by the goal of being the leader of the premier software company.

Today Bill Gates 2.0 is on a quest to learn. In a recent interview on “60 Minutes,” we learned that he carries a bag of books with him when traveling, reading topics from developing the best fertilizers to fixing the water supply. Now, his main focus is acquiring the knowledge to fix problems that cause suffering in the Third World. You can see the joy in his face when he discusses how to eradicate malaria and polio in the upcoming years.

The new Bill Gates is exemplifying a mastery goal orientation. Psychologists have discovered that when your goals are focused on self-improvement rather than being the best, you will have greater motivation and an increase in longevity. Furthermore, a mastery goal orientation leads to less stress in your life. Comparatively, a focus on being the best has shown to decrease longevity in a task, as well as lead to greater burnout.

But let’s be realistic — the competitive world of business is all about winning. Outcomes are magnified. People in business, regardless of profession, are evaluated on a continual basis. This evaluation usually is based on a social comparison: If you are not as good as your colleagues, you may lose out on a promotion, or worse, get fired. If you are in the business world, you cannot disregard outcomes and being the best at your job.

If having a mastery goal orientation is best for continual motivation and less stress in our lives, then the question of interest should be: How can we strive to be the best, yet still focus on self-improvement? Is it possible to have both objectives in our lives?

The best way to reach the top of your game is to possess both mastery and competitive objectives. I discovered that individuals who had both goals exhibited the greatest persistence, the most joy and highest level of performance.

Both objectives seem vital to success in today’s world. You must be competitive but you also need to stay motivated. The issue, then, is related to timing.

To accomplish this, have goals that pertain to certain competitive outcomes such as quotas to meet. But sprinkle mastery goals into the formula as well. For instance, if you are a pharmaceutical rep, have challenging quotas to boost your motivation. But also have self-improvement goals such a being a better communicator.

Here is the rub: When you meet your sales objectives, you will feel good about yourself and stay motivated. But in difficult times, you may not achieve all your quotas. You can still feel good when you meet your self-improvement objectives.

Having a balance of mastery and competitive objectives will get you to the top of your game and help you stay there.

How to Strengthen Your Willpower

Turns out that for years, we’ve been going about our resolutions all wrong. That’s because we didn’t really understand what willpower is. It’s not a magical force we summon up only when we’re trying to diet or kick our butts into workout mode. Instead, willpower is something we call on throughout the day, every day, to help us decide between the black pants and the blue ones, for instance, or to try to tune out our cubicle mate’s phone conversation so we can get our work done. “Any act that requires self-control requires willpower,” explains Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, a professor of psychology at Florida State University and a coauthor of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.

Unfortunately we have only a certain amount of willpower in any 24-hour period, and it tends to be strongest at the beginning of the day. “Willpower depends on your body’s energy supply, which generally peaks in the morning,” Baumeister says. The more we use it, the weaker it gets.

And, boy, do we put willpower through its paces: We spend three hours a day struggling to resist temptations like eating, surfing the Web, and spending money, according to a new study by Baumeister. That process leaves us physically and emotionally drained, says Kelly McGonigal, PhD, a health psychologist at Stanford University and the author of The Willpower Instinct. “The brain uses more energy to curb your impulses than it does to perform other mental tasks,” she explains.

The good news is that you can conserve your willpower and use it to reach your goals, not squander it on the small stuff. Here are six smart techniques for doing just that.

Find your focus.

Blaring TVs. People talking. E-mail and text alerts. We live and work in really noisy environments, which makes it hard to concentrate. And the more we try to tune out the cacophony, the more willpower we use up. The simple solution: Eliminate distractions rather than trying to ignore them, McGonigal says. Help yourself focus at work by using earplugs (or closing your office door if you have one), turning off your cell phone ringer, and silencing e-mail notifications. And don’t listen to your iPod on the job. A 2011 study found that subjects who were asked to memorize information while listening to music scored worse on a test than those who had memorized in silence. “A better strategy is to use music to rev up your mood, energy, and productivity and then switch it off,” McGonigal says.

Eat for energy.

The more often you consume good-for-you food, the more willpower you’ll have. Studies show that people whose blood sugar (aka glucose) is elevated to a healthy level, as it is after regular meals, have more self-control and can more easily resist junk food. “When your blood sugar is low, it’s harder to control your impulses,” McGonigal says. Need an immediate willpower boost? “Some baby carrots or a handful of raisins will do the trick,” she says. These foods are naturally high in sugar and will raise your glucose supply almost instantly, helping fuel your brain. Even better, to keep yourself willpowered all day, eat healthy meals or snacks every four hours. Choose foods that have a combo of protein, fiber, and complex carbs, like a salad with tofu, nuts, spinach, and tomatoes, or Greek yogurt with fruit.

Plan ahead.

Cut down on the number of decisions you have to make every day and your willpower muscle will automatically get stronger. “Studies show that after you reach a decision, your self-control is worse, and after you exert self-control, you get worse at making decisions,” Baumeister says. So get to work right now at reducing the number of choices you have to make in any 24-hour period. On Sunday, plan your workouts for the week and put them in the calendar on your phone. Every few months, pull together five to 10 outfits for work so you don’t start off each day agonizing over what to wear.

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