Do you have trouble with “Time Management,”  “Productivity Management,” or whatever you want to call getting stuff done during your week?  If so, then in the spirit of “Sesame Street”, today’s tip is brought to you by the letter “W.”

Whenever you decide is the end of your business day, whether it be 3pm or midnight, your last task of the day should be to make your “TO DO” list for the next day.  When you do, follow the formula of using the 5 “W” columns:

WHAT – The first column is your what.  This is absolutely everything you feel you need to get accomplished.  This column should include both business and personal items.  Make sure you put down items such as eating, exercise, kid time, and chores as well as your business “to dos” such as marketing, cold calls, follow up, face to face appointments, emails and returning calls.

WHEN – In the second column, write down when the items in the first columns need to be accomplished.  This can be an exact time or a time frame.  This is your first chance to decide if something absolutely needs to be done the next day or can it be put off to a subsequent day.  This is also when you start to prioritize your day.

WHERE – In the third column, write down where the event will take place.  Often, without even realizing it, we have scheduled back to back events at the opposite ends of town.  We wind up spending all day in the car getting from task to task – which is unproductive.  As you look at the “where” column, begin to group your tasks in closer geographic locations to save you travel time.

WHO – In the fourth column, evaluate who really needs to do the task.  Does the task need to be performed by you or is it more appropriate to delegate it to someone else?  For example, if “clean the house” is one of your task, I would suggest that your time is too valuable to be doing this yourself.   Assign to one of your children or hire a house keeper.  If “make copies” is on your list, delegate to an assistant.  You should be focused on activities that are productive, income generating and/or which grow your business or improve your life.

WHY – In the last column, write down why you need to do this task.  Use notations such as marketing, follow up, income generating, networking or personal health.  At this point, you may reassign to someone else, or may decide you don’t need to do it at all and remove it from your list.  The key here, as stated above, is to have as many tasks as possible committed to either enriching your business or enriching your life.

Hopefully using these five “W”s will bring you a sixth – WEALTH.   I want to wish you all the very best and much continued success.


If you are like me, you’ve spent the last two weeks watching and enjoying the Olympics.  As I watched, I heard some reoccurring themes from the announcers as they described the amazing athletes and their Olympic efforts.  The words and phrases that I heard over and over were: dedication, commitment, hard work, determination, long hours of training, sacrifice, overcoming adversity and incredible talent.     These seem to be the shared qualities that go into becoming an Olympic Champion (and I just don’t mean those who won medals, but everyone who competed).    These are also the same qualities and attributes we should all aspire to in our own lives if we too want to be successful.

If we truly want something, whether in our personal lives or in our businesses, there is going to be a certain amount of energy we need to put forth to make that something happen.  It could be wooing a potential spouse, raising our kids or making a million dollars.    The bigger the goal, the bigger the amount of effort.   For the Olympians, it was training to qualify for the team and ultimately win a medal.  Involved in that is thousands of hours of training – which isn’t easy.  You need to be committed to putting in those long hours.  There is going to be times when things go wrong or you just want to quit.  But if the goal or dream is important enough to you, you overcome whatever adversity may come your way.    In the end, only you can decide if all the time, effort and energy was worth it.  What you generally find though is “the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.”

I always say, there is really only two things you can totally control in our lives: our effort and our attitude.  If you are giving your all and doing it with a positive attitude, not much can stand in your way to being successful.  So embrace the qualities of the Olympic athletes and be an Olympian in your life!  There is only one of you, so you should be a perfect 10 every time.


I have shared with you in a past post how vacations can be a great time to experience, enjoy and evaluate customer service and how we can use those experiences to grow our own business.  The basic message was that if you offer an “experience” to a client, they are less likely to “shop you” for price or perceive you as a commodity.  This week, I want to share with you what I see as the two parts of any customer service experience:

The first is the “WHAT” of customer service.  The “what” is the actual service we provide, whether it be loans, real estate, rental cars or food service.  If you are a restaurant, you serve food.  To have anyone even come in the doors a first time, you better be able to make and serve food.  If you are a mortgage company, you better be able to package and fund a loan.  The “what” is basically the bare minimum of customer service.    You must be able to do the task that people are coming to you to get.

The second part of customer service is the “HOW”.  The “how” is exactly that: “how” do you go about doing your “what”?  The “how” is the experience you provide and the added actions you take while you are doing your “what”.  The “how” is where you distinguish yourself from the rest.  Your “how” creates the story for your clients that they will share with others.   Make sure that story is a positive one.

A basic example of this I experienced poolside while on vacation.  I wanted a cocktail while I basked in the sun by the pool.  The drink would be the “what.”   I ordered my drink and it was delivered.  It was a perfectly fine drink.  My “what” was satisfied.  However, as a paying customer at a nice resort, I was disappointed in the “how.”  I had to wait to locate a server.  I then had to ask for a menu.  The server seemed annoyed I was “bothering” them.  I then had to wait again for the server to come back to order.  I then waited again while my drink was made and delivered back again.  The server almost threw the drink at me, then off they went without a word.  So all in all my story would be that I had a poor customer service experience.

Now change the scenario to the next day at a different resort.  I ordered the same drink poolside.  The drink tasted exactly how it did the previous day.  So the “what” was the same.  However this time, I was greeted by name as I entered the pool area.  I was politely asked if I needed anything and handed a menu by a very friendly server who had a big smile and told me their name.  I ordered my drink and it was almost immediately brought back with a side of peanuts.  The server then said, “please let me know if you need anything else.  I’ll be back to check on you shortly.”   Which customer service experience do you think was better?

The bottom line is people will use your service if they indeed have a need.  People have to eat.  And if your “what” is that great, you may not need a “how.”  However, in a world where we are often perceived as all the same, to truly be successful, you not only need to have a great “what,”  but you need to know “how” to deliver it.