Category Archives: GS

5 Ways To Improve Productivity With Your TO-DO List

Most everyone I know has at one time, or currently does use, at TO-DO list to boost productivity.  This list, often hastily constructed not well organized, can be a real albatross, a proverbial millstone around ones neck, if not used properly.

How To Measure Productivity

Janet Choi of iDoneThis cites the following TO-DO list statistics from her organization:

  • 41% of to-do items were never completed
  • 50% of completed to-do items were done within a day
  • 18% of completed to-do items were done within an hour
  • 10% of completed to-do items were done within a minute
  • 15% of “dones” started as to-do items

So what can we infer about one’s productivity from these observations?

  • People are taking the time to write down a bunch of stuff that they never do
  • To-do items are, for the most part, short-term in nature
  • In at least 10% of the cases, people take more time to write down a to-do than it takes to complete it — sabotaging your productivity!

Boost Productivity With A Cleaner TO-DO List

The stats and comments above lead me to the conclusion that most people don’t know how to properly create and use a to-do list.  Here are some things you can put to work immediately to make your to-do list a much more effective and productive part of your day.

  1. Your to-do list cannot be a dumping ground.  Many people use this list as a catch all – a place to make notes and capture items for future action.  Doing so crowds the list with distracting information – and that ultimately hurts your productivity.
  2. Your to-do list should be clean.  It should only contain the items you are trying to accomplish today.
  3. Your to-do list must be focused on your most important goalsIf you are going to be truly successful, your daily actions – those items recorded on your to-do list – must flow from your goals.  Creating goals, and then boiling them down into tasks that must be accomplished each day, is the only true pathway to achieving your dreams.
  4. Your to-do list must be realistic.  Having three pages of action items to accomplish today when you know, at best, you are going to get a half page of them done, is only setting yourself up for failure.  Be realistic with what you can accomplish.
  5. Your to-do list must be prioritized and updated daily.  I recommend reviewing your to-do list at the end of each day to improve your productivity.  Go through what you’ve accomplished during the day, congratulate yourself for all you’ve done, make a clean list for tomorrow, and then prioritize your list (i.e., what you are going do 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

Following these simple steps will help you get the most out of your life by keeping your focused on doing the right things, in the right order.  As always, if you need assistance with anything, contact us at 203.599.1467 or via email at  We’re here to help you!


©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (  All rights reserved.

Give The Gift Of Time

In her memoirs, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told of growing up in an African-American pastor’s family in Birmingham, Alabama.  Despite her parents’ busy schedules, they watched The Mickey Mouse Club with her every day.  One afternoon, an insurance agent came to visit.  “He was the only white man I can ever remember coming into our house,” recalls Rice, “but he came just as it was time to sing: ‘M-I-C-K-E-Y-….’” Mr. Rice politely told the man he would have to wait until they all had put on their mouse ears and engaged in the family ritual of singing along.

“This small gesture was simply one of many that communicated they always had time for me,” wrote Condoleezza.

One Of The Greatest Presents We Can Give Is The Gift Of Time

Most of us interpret this to mean time with our spouses and children – and that’s a great place to start.  But what about other people and places

  • At your church – educating others or using your carpentry, plumbing, or painting skills.
  • At the local shelter or food bank – serving and ministering to others.
  • On the job – listening to those whom you work with and for – and those who work for you – to help them grow, learn, and prosper.
  • In the way you run your business – showing your employees and your customers, through your time and actions, just how important they are and how much you appreciate them.

Remember: Life is not about money and things – it’s about people and relationships. Take the time, starting now, to enrich the lives of others.  In so doing, you will be blessed beyond measure!


©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (  All rights reserved.

3 Keys For Dealing With Toxic People

Not long ago, I heard Arianna Huffington on a TV commercial. She was asked, “Who do you most resent in life?” Arianna replied that she has no room in her life for resentment of toxic people. She then offered the following quote: “Resentment is the poison you drink, all the while thinking that the other person is going to die.”

These words are uncomfortably true – and yet they are hard to swallow.

You Will Encounter Toxic People In Your Life

An old friend of mine once said, “Out of every 100 people you meet, 80 are nice, 19 are difficult, and 1 is impossible. There is 1 person out of every 100 whom you can’t get along with no matter what you do.” I asked my friend what I was supposed to do with that one person–those toxic people in my life–and he laughed as he said, “Leave him alone a lot, and if you have the bad fortune of having to work with him, picture him standing there in his red Christmas underwear – at least that will help you maintain your sense of humor.”

Your Approach To Toxic People Defines The Outcome

The conversation with my friend was humorous, but ultimately not very practical. But that leads me into thinking about things that we can do when it comes to dealing with toxic people.

  1. Seek first to understand, then to be understood. These words of wisdom from the late Stephen Covey are a good place to start. Toxic people are toxic for a reason. If you can find out what is motivating their toxicity, you are one step closer to disarming them and beginning to build what may just turn out to be a fruitful relationship.
  2. Ignore the rumors. Whether it’s in your neighborhood, church, or at work, toxic people tend to generate a lot of chatter – mostly in the form of negative gossip. Don’t believe any of what you hear in these circumstances. Be your own person and take the time to become informed and draw your own conclusions.
  3. Learn to love people. Accept people for who they are and where they are in life. Even if they’re nasty and messed up, love them and care about them. Sometimes that’s all it takes to crack the shell of a bad attitude and start the healing process. Why should you do this? Well, stop for a moment and think about where you would be without love.

Toxic people can be a challenge, to be sure. But we all need to be up to the challenge of helping and serving others.


©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (  All rights reserved.

3 Keys To Keeping Your Commitments

Keeping your commitments is a skill that, if perfected, will lead you to healthy and happy relationships in both business and personal lives. Here are some interesting facts concerning personal commitments:

  • Most people don’t get enough exercise, but:
    • The vast majority of people who join gyms never go there.
    • Most exercise equipment purchased for in-home use gathers a combination of dust and clothes, because the owner never uses it.
  • Everybody “intellectually” knows the need for personal development and continuous learning, yet:
    • People invest millions of dollars every year in books, CDs, and DVDs that are never read, listened to, or watched.
    • Recycling bins overflow with magazines and newspapers that have never been read.
    • iPads and Kindles are clogged with “good intentions” – books that people promise to read on their next business trip – yet the electronic pages are never turned.

We all, in one way or another, have things in our lives that we need to do – and intend to do – yet we never do them.

This begs the question, “WHY?”

How Keeping Your Commitments Helps Personal Growth

In our lives, we all face challenges that stare us down. We know what we need to do, yet we talk ourselves out of doing it. The list for why we do things can get pretty long – but it all boils down to this simple statement: We do everything we do in life for one of two reasons: either to avoid pain or to gain pleasure.

Take the example of losing weight and getting in shape. One the one hand, we can feel how pleasurable it will be when we reach our ideal weight and how buff our bodies will look. But on the other hand, we can envision ourselves experiencing the pain of sweating at the gym and having to give up our favorite foods. There is both pleasure and pain – and the emotion that wins out is the one you feel most strongly. That emotion will determine whether you will be keeping your commitments or not.

There are many things you can do to get leverage on yourself so that you “stack the deck” and feel one emotion more strongly than the other, but here are three simple keys I have found helpful in getting that leverage:

  1. Commit.  Make the personal commitment to achieve the goal before you. Drive a stake in the ground and be determined to win!
  2. Set a deadline. You can’t hit a target you are not aiming at. Your goal can’t be to simply lose weight. You need to know how much and by when, so a great statement might be, “I will achieve my optimal weight of 150 pounds, and be healthy and feeling great by December 31, 2014.”
  3. Tell the world about it!  Put in on Twitter and Facebook, write about it in your blogs, tell your family and friends – and find a few people who will hold you accountable for doing it!

Achieving success isn’t difficult, but it does take discipline and consistency. Call us at 203.599.1467 if there is anything we can do to help you reach your goals.

©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (www,  All rights reserved.

3 Keys To Finding Peace In Your Life

“A World of Happiness in an Ocean of Peace.” That slogan decorated hotels and restaurants across Hawaii in early December of 1941. The island of Oahu was considered remote, safe, and peaceful – a place where one could live close to the flowers and the warm surf of the Pacific. Most Honolulu residents had no trouble finding peace. They didn’t lock their doors, and some homeowners hadn’t had keys for years … a world of happiness in an ocean of peace – until December 7, 1941, when Pearl Harbor was attacked.

The world’s peace can disappear very quickly. The world gives peace, but takes it away. As a result, many seeking peace in conventional ways may either never find peace – or – at the very least, they will find peace to be fleeting – something to be pursued for a lifetime – yet never really found in any fulfilling way.

Finding Peace Can Be Easier Than You Think

In the depths of your heart, if you are desperately searching for peace, will you allow me to give you some suggestions that I have found to be ultimately successful?

  1. Realize the temporal nature of the world.  Everything we experience in life on this earth is temporary and fleeting. There are no guarantees of what tomorrow will bring. That means that if we want our search to result in real, lasting peace, we must look beyond the world.
  2. Understand that true peace comes only from God.  As hard as it is for many to accept, truly finding peace comes only from God. He is the giver of real, lasting peace.
  3. Accept the gift of God’s peace – absolutely free.  All one has to do is ask for it and, if done sincerely and from the heart, God hears and will answer in some very amazing ways. Try it and you’ll see!

Every night when my head hits the pillow, I sleep peacefully.  I may not be at peace with the world – but I am at peace with God, and that is all that really matters.

Can you say the same thing?

©2014 by Gary L. Smith and Optimum Performance Technologies, LLC (  All rights reserved.