Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween and self control - Not. and publishing a book from a blog

I came home early for trick or treat. I enjoy seening the neighbourhood kids. After the crowd dies down, I like to go visiting on the theory that everyone is expecting guests so won't mind if I stop by.

The problem with Halloween is left over candy that cries "eat me, eat me" and of course I oblige.

People think I have great self discipline and I suppose I do but part of it is planning not to have temptation near. Usually I never have candy at home so never eat it. So my tip tonight is "plan to avoid temptation".

I finished reading my brother Lyle's book "Biodiesel Power = The Passion, the people and the politics of the next renewable fuel". Excellent book. Well written. Easy to read. Highly recommended and I don't think I am saying this just because he is my brother.

I know bloggers often read blogs and often bloggers want to pubish a book. That is exactly what Lyle did. It contains many passages from his Energy Blog. The moral for bloggers who want to publish a book is blog well, network and you too might get your book published.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Horror Hill

Today was largely a down day (except for a bit of business reading). Up at 7. Heavy frost on the roofs and grass. Off to a 15K race at Heidelberg called Horror Hill. The name is wrong though - it should be horror hills. It is not one hill, it is tons of hills.

The morning was colder than I expected. Minus 3C (about 26 F) according to the car thermometer. By the time the race began, it was up to 0. I chose to run in my nylon sweat pants although at the time I wished I had worn gloves and a touque. After 3 K, I was sweating and discarded my throw away tshirt I wore over my long sleeve high tech running shirt.

The race started off up hill. My feet felt like lead. Mostly uphill for the first 8 K punctuated by steep downhill sections. After running boston this year, I had read a lot about hill technique (although I had practised little). I actually thought this might be the first race I ever dropped out of. It took me a full 10 K before I reached my pace and began to appreciate the beauty of the the fall tree colours. From 10 to 15K passed quickly and I still had energy to burn although the last half K was along a slippery wet grass trail so I slowed down a bit.

In the end, I finished in 1:24:11. Same pace as my half marathon 3 weeks earlier which was not bad considering the hills. Also not bad considering I had not tapered and had run 5 K each day on Thursday and Friday leading into the race and had pulled my back lifting weights on Friday. Still a dissapointing time compared to a few years ago when I was running a 15K in 1:06.

Elizabeth finished a bit over 1:06 to come in second overall for the womens.

If there is a lesson - persistance pays. Despite lead legs and major hills - just keep slogging and eventually you finish.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Travel Back Up

I am just back from California visiting head office. I lost most of my day today traveling. Usually I do the red eye which also causes a different type of time/productivity loss. So I guess I need a transporter to beam me around to be truly efficient.

I like the actual flying time (the lines and security etc. I could do without). I use it to read mostly but also to plan and think. Without flying, I doubt I would get all my trade journals read.

What I find when I am away from the office, things back up on me. Arriving in the evening like tonight helps because I can get through a lot without interruption.

Even though I am live on email and voicemail while traveling, there are some things that just don't get done. I am working on my systems to become more efficient while on the road so less things back up. So rather than offer you a tip - what tips do you have on how I might not have as many things back up on me while I am out?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

How, what and who to delegate to

It was a lazy weekend for me. A couple of interviews (and no - I am not looking for work) and a bit of email clean up, budget work and numbers review but other than that, not much happened. I did run 10K today but not in a race.

Tonight I have been thinking about delegation. I know in order to grow, I need to delegate. I know the theory of "delegate anything that someone else can do significantly easier, faster or less expensively than I can". I know the theory of "include the why, not just the what needs doing".

The thinking I am doing is on what is appropriate for me to delegate? What resources I have to delegate to? I am thinking of approaches to the challenge. I am going to monitor my time use for a week or so to see what things I might be able to delegate appropriately.

Sometimes in delegation, there is a learning time for the delegatee (if that is a word). So I have to consider that in my analysis. One thing that can stop my growth is not accepting that others can often do something better than me (even though it is not neccessarily to same as I would have done it). Or more challenging is sometimes letting go of my standard and accepting something less. Perfectionism can kill growth. They key is finding the balance.

So right now, no answers, just thinking and analysing.

I often hear one of my staff say they have no one to delegate to since no one works for them. They can delegate to peers, to suppliers, to customers or to the person they work for or people in other departments or me. They key is appropriate delegation. Sometimes I can solve a problem with a quick call that might take them hours.

So my time tip tonight is to look at what you might have that you can delegate.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Sharpening the Saw

Yesterday I was on a 24 hour YPO retreat with my forum. This is a great group of CEO's and Presidents of companies. I have been a YPO member of about 8 years and the forum group has gotten quite close.

We have a structured program to discuss business and personal issues. The forum group are all inteligent, fun people to be around. We have much in common. It is sometimes said it is lonely at the top. Having a group of people with similar challenges helps me come to grips with the challenges I face.

I always find that I come away energized after spending time with my forum buddies.

One thing I have learned to do over the years is to develop a list of things which energize me. Knowing that I need to be energized, I spend time doing some of these things. Knowing this is important, I give myself permission to do these.

Steven Covey calls this sharpening the saw from the story of the wood cutter who was busy sweating cutting a tree down. A stranger passed, saw the high amount of effort and labour to cut and suggested sharpening the saw. The wood cutter redoubled his effort and replied "I have no time to sharpen the saw, I have to cut the tree down". The moral being of course that you can cut more trees if you sharpen the saw rather than just saw harder.

So my time tip today is to take some time to do things which energize you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Today was a self development day. I was at a seminar all day. Some great speakers. Herb Cohen spoke on negotiation. Very good and very entertaining. One of my favourite authors, Seth Godin spoke. Good motivational day.

When I attend seminars, my mind tends to wander. I use this time and wandering mind to come up with ideas. The speakers tend to create the sparks that create the ideas so now I have a pad full of notes and ideas and now need to implement them.

I also tend to get stressed during seminars because I feel that I am falling behind (although I do use my BlackBerry to at least make sure there are no major fires burning). Since my stress is high, I tend to plan what I am going to do when I am back in my office.

So tonight I got home about 7 and after a quick dinner went to the office. In a short 3 hours, I accomplished a ton. Much of this I attribute to the planning I did while in the seminar.

My time tip for the day is to take the time to plan before you act. Often the time savings are greater than the time spent to plan.

I did take a break for 20 minutes and called my youngest brother Lyle. He just published a book on Biodeisel. Although I have not read it, I have read enough of his writing to know it will be good.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Bill Clinton live in London Ontario and the perfect day

Today was a rush. Too many meetings and emails before I had to leave early.

Tonight I attended a lecture with Bill Clinton live courtesy of CIBC. Interesting but since "I don't do politics", I will not comment. (Have a don't do list was one of my previous time tips).

My mother sent me an email about living in the present. She is concerned that I am a bit too driven. This got me thinking about the perfect day. I have a list of things I like to do on a perfect day. Things I like to experience, accomplish etc. This is my time tip for you. Build the "perfect day" list. I found that after I developed this list, I ended up doing more of the things on the list than had I not developed the list.

All the best with your perfect day.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

My own Time Leadership CD

I have finally published my "Time Leadership" audio CD and have an easy way for people to order it online (just click on the link)

I welcome your feedback and comments in the comments section here.

Uninterrupted time is golden.

I am feeling swamped and behind but by the end of today, I will be on top of things. I know that because I am off to a good start - already at my office and have only 2 meetings today so I will get lots done. I find a few hours with no interruptions is worth as much as a full normal day.

A friend emailed me the following quote which I thought tied in well to this blog.

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you."

Carl Sandberg

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Preparation and Results and longevity

I am back from a long Thanksgiving weekend. Visited the in-laws in Victoria. They are 88 and 89 years old. When I arrived, Charles was embarrassed by the state of his workshop since he had just bought a new bandsaw that day and had not yet properly set it up. That's what I want to be able to say when I am 88. It is awesome to see such vibrant people.

One of my goals centres around longevity. I feel I have so much to accomplish that I need the time.

Of course having no high speed internet drove me crazy.

We also ran a half marathon race (21.1 Km) in the Victoria Marathon. I was 10 minutes slower than my slowest time at 1:58:14. Still placed in the top half. Elizabeth was 1:30:18 and came in second out of 338 females in her age category. So that just proves what preparation and focus(on Elizabeth's part)can do. I am sore - Elizabeth is not. There must be a lesson there somewhere. I always want to be in good enough shape to run a half marathon but clearly I need to add a bit to my training if I am to place well.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Yesterday after a busy day of almost constant meetings and calls, I went to a press reception downtown. I figure it never hurts to keep in touch with the press and I was in my Toronto office. My oldest daughter lives in Toronto now (taking her Masters in English) so I invited her to join me since as a proper student, she appreciates free food.

The 20 minute drive downtown took me an hour and the parking cost $20! I forgot that there was a hockey game on (yes hockey has started again). So the moral of the story and my time tip for the day is check the sports schedules before heading downtown.

Reception was good and it was good seeing Laura.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Rule of 11

Today was an easy day in the Guelph office (although I had a lot of calls so did not accomplish all that I had hoped and almost never left my office to talk to anyone which I had intended to do). Even got in a squash game - my first in months.

My time tip today almost seems childish but it works. I don't do it all the time and have not done it in a while. I call it the rule of 11 after a bridge rule that is totally unrelated.

On a sheet of paper write a list of things you would like to do or not do. Ideas include walk a mile, walk up extra flights of stairs, call or write someone special, don't eat dessert, eat fresh vegetables, take a vitamin, don't play video games etc. Make the list things that are small and easy to do or not do. Then start the day with 11 pennies in your left pocket. Each time you do one of the things on the good list, move a penny to your right pocket. Each time you do something on your bad list move one back. The game is to move all your pennies to your right pocket each day. Success in life has to do with the little things and 11 little things(net) each day add up. Simple and childish but nothing wrong with being a bit childish sometimes.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

How to win customer and keep them for life

Tonight I read 2 books. One was “Secrets of Podcasting” by Bart Farkas. I am thinking of starting some podcasting. Have to stay on the leading edge you know. I welcome feedback on how many of you would like to listen to podcasts and how many listen to them now.

I also re-read an old classic "How to Win Customers and Keep Them for Life” by Michael LeBoeuff. Awesome book. I need to figure out how to apply the lessons to a larger company. The lessons apply perfectly to a small company that sells to the public. Makes me think I should start a small business. The same principals apply to a larger company like SYNNEX. People often ask me what the secret to computer distribution is. The answer is summed up by a quote from the book :”everyone is trying to accomplish something big not realizing life is made up of the little things” (Quote by Frank Clark). Distribution is all about the little things.

Fund Raiser

Today I ran 6K then went to a garden party fundraiser for the Royal Ontario Museum. And tonight, I am just finishing off a bit at the office to prepare for tomorrow.

My time tip for the day is to spend a few minutes the night before to look at your day and week. Often, this plants the seeds for ideas and ways to solve challenges. For me, it also helps me to feel prepared for the week.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

21 day habits

I was at a beautiful wedding last night. Now, my question is who books a wedding on Friday night on the last day of the month? Don't they know we have orders to ship? Still, it was nice and I wish Justin and Doreen a long and great life together.

SYNNEX had some positive press in eChanneline including positive mention of Canada.

Today, I am reflecting on habits. I am a big believer that habits make us successful. We are a product of what we repeatedly do. Once something is a habit, it is no longer difficult and requires little thought. For example, do you even think of brushing your teeth? Much of the literature I read say it takes 21 days to form a habit. I am not sure where that number comes from or even that it is accurate.

If I only work on one new habit every 21 days (and it is best not to get overloaded), I can develop 17 new habits per year! This can give me awesome power.

I have a list of habits I want to develop. Now I am figuring out which ones to choose. Most habits on my list do not take too long - less than 10 minutes/day and I know I can do anything for 10 minutes per day.

What I find is sometimes I need to work on a habit more than once. I develop it then lose it so this might take some of the 21 day slots. Still - major opportunity.

Short day today. Off to work out and then to a BBQ at a friends.