Setting Up Your World For Success

Table Set reference image 3D

One of my three words for 2012 was the word Set. 

The point of that word was to remind me that in order to accomplish what I want in 2012, I have to find ways to set up the right circumstances.  I have to put success in my way.

Context Matters

Whatever you are trying to accomplish, one of the most important elements is to recognize and create the circumstances for your success.  To that, shaping the situation to your advantage or to the advantage of others if that’s your goal, is a useful skill.

Big and Small

Oftentimes we think of environmental forces and context as much larger, but truly it is the smaller, simple things that can make significant changes.  Something as simple as putting your running clothes out the night before so that it’s easier to get up and hit the street or treadmill, shapes the situation just enough to have life changing, even life saving results.

Shaping my space to accomplish more

Thanks to some great suggestions from my friend Becky McCray, here are 3 ways that I have shaped my day to accomplish more.

Email Filters -

Am I the only person in the world who wasn’t using these right?  I had been using filters for awhile to categorize my email, but my use was primarily to archive them after reading them so that I could find them later.  What I learned was this:

  1. Use Gmail’s “create a filter for messages like these”
  2. Skip the Inbox – this is the big one I was missing.
  3. Apply Label

I had 1 and 3, but nearly lost my mind at the prospect of “Skipping the Inbox”.  What this has allowed me to do, is to Batch Process my emails based on who they are from, or by a topic.  Nothing and I mean Nothing should be landing in my Inbox!

No Emails Until I have worked for an hour and a half

This one still makes me twitchy, but the real rule is not “Don’t Read Email”, it is to work productively on projects for an hour and a half, first thing in the morning.  I honestly think I get more done in this hour and a half than I do in the rest of my day.

Lay out my day the night before

For the time being, I have reverted back to paper lists.  I love the physicality of writing out ideas and things that I need to get done on paper.  Near the end of my workday, I spend 10 -15 minutes writing out what the next day will look like.  Becky also encouraged me to do this while I was still somewhat fresh, and NOT as the very last thing I do in my day.

So, Becky is amazing and I am incredibly grateful for her support and ideas, because helping me to shape these small elements of my day has dramatically changed my productivity and set me up to accomplish even more.

Share some of your productivity tips, or how you’re doing with any of your Three Words for 2012.



  • Barbra

    February 25, 2013

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and
    thought I should check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
    Look forward to looking into your web page for
    a second time.

  • rob

    February 26, 2013

    Thank you for taking the time to check in, Barbra. I’m glad you enjoyed it. If you’d like, I am writing a newsletter every week over here. I’d love to talk with you more over there.

  • Roger Whitney

    May 9, 2013

    Rob, have truly enjoyed your perspectives (and Chris’) and have been sharing frequently. Your writing seems effortless and natural (I know it isn’t). Something I am working to develop.
    Be well.

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