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Hello, I'm Allyson Lewis a Corporate Consultant, Trainer, and Business Coach living in Jonesboro, Arkansas. What makes me different? My clients don't want to get more done, they want to reconnect with their purpose. My clients want their life to matter.

I have over 30 years of experience working as a corporate executive in the financial services industry. I work with businesses and individuals who want to improve their productivity, set goals to increase their profitability, and improve team communications to increase morale and retention. I am passionate about creating tools and solutions allowing people to prioritize, organize, and simplify their lives at work and at home.

If you feel stuck, and you are ready to take action...

I'd love to talk to you. Get in touch.

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A former Olympic athlete interviewed a group of gold medalists.  He asked every athlete what he or she did when the pain came. As a gold medal winner himself, he knew you didn’t get a gold medal without pain.  He wasn’t surprised to find that every athlete had a plan.

While your goals may not be Olympic-size, I guarantee that at some point pursuing your goals will get tough.  Obstacles, resistance, and surprises are inevitable and unavoidable. You need a plan for the pain of hard goals.  Here are three things you can do to keep you from giving up and going for the gold!

First, know the ‘why’ behind your ‘what’. 

What’s driving you to pursue your goal?  What is your motivation?  Another way to look at this is to ask yourself, “What is at stake if I fail to achieve my goal?"  For each of your goals write three to five motivations.

For example, I helped my son create an outdoor prayer area for his Boy Scout Eagle Project. We are going to add an orchard to it that will feed the homeless.  My motivations are:

  • This project will leave a lasting mark on Texarkana that can make a physical and spiritual difference in people’s lives.
  • This project is something Matt (my son) will have as an amazing and unforgettable memory.
  • The fruit of this will help needy people who lack not just food, but nutritious food.
  • We are reclaiming an ugly unused part of downtown and making it a beautiful and beneficial space.
  • I love the raw rush and feeling of accomplishment from doing something epic.

You can lose sight of why a goal is important to you when the going gets tough. Reminding yourself why you wanted to achieve a goal in the first place can be incredibly inspiring in the low moments.

Second, get support for your goal.

No one achieves a gold medal alone.  Coaches, trainers, and family members surround athletes to cheer them on when the going gets tough.  You need a teams or at least someone supporting you for tough times.

Do you have a support team for your goals?  At the very least do you have someone who knows you are working on a goal that will encourage, support, and hold you accountable?

Even having just one person who knows your struggle can make all of the difference in the world.  Ask them to ask you about your goal.  Turn to them when you are struggling.  Share with them your motivations you listed above as well.

Third, review your goals and motivations weekly.

Honestly, many goals wither on the vine for lack of attention.  The least little obstacle can create a delay that can turn into stagnation. If you constantly remind yourself what your goals are and why they are important to you, this won’t happen.

Personally, I review my goals every Monday morning.  I take notes on what was accomplished the week before and decide actions steps for the new week.  This one strategy has completely eliminated goals that don't get acted on.

p.s.  Since writing this blogpost my son completed his Eagle Scout Project.  We created and hand fabricated a 23 foot diameter stone prayer labyrinth using over 9,000 pounds of materials, 500 hundred documented volunteer hours (the average project is around 50 hours), and over 40 volunteers.  Needless to say, these strategies work for accomplishing goals of an epic size.  Since completing it roughly twenty-five fruit trees around it that will bear fruit in the future to feed hungry families


  1. On a sheet of paper list each one of your goals followed by three to five 'whys' and the names of people who can help you achieve your goal.
  2. Review your goals at least once a week.


Today's post was adapted from an email sent as support to people who download our FREE Starter Guide Series on Productivity.  In the series, we follow-up each guide with encouraging instruction to insure your success.  The four guides: Priorities, Purpose, Goals, and Action can be yours by clicking the button below:

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Being more productive isn't always about doing more. Weeding out unproductive activities can immediately buy you more time and greater productivity. Also, the results you get from the time you put in can be greatly increased by eliminating certain excesses that rob you from peak performance. Here are six simple shifts that can immediately reward you with greater results, whether you're an executive running an office or a parent running a household.

1. Check email less often. I have set times for checking email, 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Why 11? I don't want my 5 before 11 list derailed by ANYTHING if I can help it. If you must check your mail prior to completing 5 high value tasks before 11 a.m., then only do what you absolutely must. Why 3? This gives me enough time to reply to something before the business day is over, but the end of the day caps my time.

I used to have email alerts on and would reflexively respond to them. I was clueless to how damaging a distraction this was until I stopped. Shut those alerts off and choose your scheduled times now.

2. Multi-task less. Multi-tasking scatters attention. Scattered attention produces poorer results. PERIOD. If you are crafting a document while talking on the phone, odds are you are giving neither task your best effort. You are also more likely to make errors. And...If you don't have time to do it right now, when will you have time to correct it later?

Single task or batch process instead of multi-task. Single tasking is particularly best for any creative process, i.e. writing a letter, creating a report, having a conversation, etc. Batch processing is setting aside time to take care of similar tasks in one session. For example, making all of your phone calls or writing a stack of thank you notes in one extended session.

3. Spend less time browsing media. Do NOT channel surf or aimlessly browse online. When you go online, go with a purpose and once that purpose is done, GET OUT of there. Social media can horribly drain productivity. If you are going on Facebook or Twitter to see what's happening, set a timer and stop once the timer goes off.

4. Rest.
A fatigued mind and body will result in poor productivity. Both the quantity and quality of your work are directly dependent upon how well rested you are. Be sure to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

If you struggle with sleep, you may need exercise. Early morning exercise in particular will both heighten your physical and mental energy at the front end of the day and insure that you are tired at the end of the day. I recently instituted walking thirty minutes every morning.  This one action has significantly increased my energy and helped me develop the healthiest sleeping pattern I have ever had. Plus, I listen to podcasts while walking which has increased my knowledge and skills.

If you are suffering from actually insomnia, see your physician. Sound sleep is an imperative. Consider it non-negotiable and one of your highest priorities.

5. Eat less. Over-indulging at lunch can cause you a huge energy slump mid-afternoon. Particularly, if you consume lots of carbs. Smaller, more frequent meals levelize your blood sugar and stimulate your metabolism to keep your energy on a more even keel. Keep a stash of protein bars and healthy snacks in a drawer at work.

6. Talk less. How long are your phone calls and talk around the office coffee pot? Are you mindful of how much you talk? Limiting your speech has a two-fold impact on your productivity. The first obvious benefit is just not wasting time on unnecessary chatter.

Second, ironically, you can increase your influence by talking less. People love a good listener. Your influence will sometimes be greater because a person feels heard, rather than because of the persuasive value of what you have said. The old adage, "People don't care what you know, until they know you care" rests solidly upon a foundation of good listening.

What other ways can you think of to increase productivity by doing less? Please share in a comment.

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I procrastinate. Yes, I struggle with procrastination. Who doesn't? This video is a recording of a webinar titled, "How to Overcome Procrastination."

We all struggle with procrastination, but in this video I share insightful concepts into my own understanding of procrastination and how you can use these concepts to overcome procrastination in your own daily life.

Procrastination can be summed up in five words: "I will do it tomorrow."


PS Don't forget to watch the video.


These are some of the slides.
Does this sound like you?  Watch the video and download the handout.
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Changing your life isn't as terribly complicated as we might like to think it is.  Life change boils down to:

1.  Get clear on what you don't want.

2.  Get clear on what you do want.

3.  Identify action steps to move from one to the other

4. Do the work.

I find the crunch point for most of this process though is how you answer one simple question, "What are you willing to do differently today?"  You can have an inspiring purpose statement, crystal clear values, and a list of written action steps, but none of those things will get realized without be willing to do something different.

I am emphasizing willing because often time we know the something different that needs to happen.  We know we need to eat less and exercise more to reduce our weight.  We know we need to break up from a painful relationship and move on.  We know we need to go back to school and get a degree.  We know we need to spend less time on Facebook and more time with our families.  The "something different" often times isn't difficult, it's the willingness part that gets in the way.

The ugly truth may be that you simply aren't willing to make the change, pay the price, or take the steps, to get where you want to go. (Don't be dismayed.  That's really okay and you have some options will get to in minute.) How often do you  know what you could do or should do, but don't do it?  A big gap often resides between what we know can be done and what we are actually willing to do.  As the old adage says, "Where there is a will, there is a way."  Willpower is a powerful force.

I spoke to a woman that 25 years ago had been in a youth group I helped lead.  I frequently took those kids roller skating on Friday nights. Often times on the drive home from the rink they unpacked what was going on in their lives.  This woman recalled a defining moment that occurred one night when I drove her home.  She was thirteen years old at the time and her parents had recently divorced.  It was hard on her and she was determine that some day her future would be different.  She was sharing with me how her life was going to be better and I asked her, "So, what are you going to do different?"  It was in that moment, that she decided and proclaimed. "I will go to college."

She did go to college.  She became a math teacher, married, and has three lovely kids.  She has hung up teaching math for now and is a stay at home mom that is incredibly dedicated to her family and her church.  Her life is the difference she sought.  She answered that operative question "What am I willing to do differently?" in a big way and it has made all of the difference.  I am so very proud of her.  My friend was willing, not just willing, but doggedly-determined to do what she knew needed to happen to change her life story.

The Beautiful Truth About Why You Can Still Move Forward

While you may be unwilling to do many things, odds are you can find an alternative you ARE willing to do. What would that be?  Forget what you could or should do.  Focusing what you are open to doing.  Start there no matter how small. Each act, particularly ones on the edge of your comfort zone, will expand your willingness.

The way to find those edges is to examine your stuck places.  What's something you want to do, but aren't acting on?  For example, at one point I was looking at my unfinished task list and realized I had gobs of home repairs.  I was stuck between finding the time to do them myself or paying someone else to do them.  Neither of those things was I willing to embrace.  I wasn't willing to sacrifice the time or money.

Once I realized my reluctance, it empowered me to make decisions about what I was willing to do.  I decided to split the difference.  Some of the more time consuming tasks I paid someone to complete who could whole do them much quicker than I could.  I tackled the easier things.  My willingness to hire someone and my free time has increased, once I recognized the reluctance that was holding me back and made new choices.

Three choices you can make

Once you identify areas of unwillingness in your life you are faced with three choices:

1) Stay were you are.  Unfortunately, if you do nothing then you are actively opting to live a life you know you don't want.  You are better than that.  You deserve more than that.  Don't let yourself stay trapped.

2) Renegotiate.  Perhaps, there is an alternate action step that you are willing to take.  For example, may be you know to have better health you need to lose weight.  You join a gym, but aren't ever going.  Perhaps, you feel self-conscious.  What would be another option?  Hire a trainer.  Start walking every day at lunch.  Get some exercise videos and workout at home.  The alternatives are endless.  Select one that will move you forward and go with what you are actually willing to do.

3) Confront the edge and move through it. Life change can be tough.  Learn to accept this as a reality.  Choose to move forward despite your fears, failures and shortcomings.   Figure out ways to take action even when you don't want to.   This tenacity will expand your willingness to take action and prompt the greatest personal growth.

To your best life now,
John Arnold

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“Life will give you exactly what you demand, but first you must clarify your idea in writing and create an action plan.” Allyson Lewis from The 7 Minute Solution.

In business, when you want a competitive edge, you give your product value-added features. Value-added features are those extras that supersede a customer’s expectation while adding little or nothing to the cost. What if you could value-add to your life? What if you could get more out of life while costing you less time, stress, and effort? You can by identifying and focusing on your highest values first.

You can make your highest values a priority by following three simple steps.

  1. Identify your top 10 values
  2. Create a pool of high value action steps (This step is THE critical link that most people miss)
  3. Schedule at least three to five high value activities every day

STEP 1: Identify Your Top 10 Values.

You can complete this step quickly by filling out The 7 Minute Life Prioritization Worksheet. It will take you just a few minutes.  Download the worksheet by CLICKING HERE.  This time management worksheet has 75 values to pick from to generate a list of your top ten values.  Feel free to add any values that are important to you if they do not show up on the list. Once you know your ten highest values you can use them as a measuring stick to prioritize how you spend your time.

I personally complete the Prioritization Worksheet every 90 days and would encourage you to do the same.  Your priorities will change as you move into different stages of life for example, becoming an empty nest couple. Values also changes as significant events unfold in your life, such as, losing a job, experiencing an illness, or a death.

Let's get real about this and look at my top ten values, which are:

  1. Connecting with God
  2. Helping others to connect with God
  3. Family
  4. Reaching my full potential/growing
  5. Creativity
  6. Making a Difference
  7. Laughter
  8. Inspiring
  9. Innovating
  10. Health

I have done this prioritization exercise many times over the past five years. By and large my basic values seldom shift much. Identifying those values is not challenging. As I said, this takes just a few minutes with the worksheet.  The big challenge is to translate those values into actions. This requires constantly assessing your current activities to make sure that they align with your values and adjusting by adding high value activities into your life.

We call this discipline of monitoring and adjusting, "conscious awareness".   Conscious awareness is one of the first and biggest time management keys to living a life full of meaning - a life that is energizing and not depleting.  You can learn more about conscious awareness in Allyson Lewis's book, The 7 Minute Solution or check out this recent article by Allyson.

When my wife, Susan, read The 7 Minute Solution, she described this process of monitoring and adjusting as ‘life engineering’.  I love that phrase. Engineering implies conscious design for a particular purpose. That is what I feel like I am doing every time I discern my values using the Prioritize Worksheet. I am designing a life of meaning.  I am identifying the values that I want to add more of in my life. Then I use tools like the Daily Progress Report to actually insert that value into my life with the minimum amount of stress, effort and energy.

BONUS TIME MANAGEMENT TIP:  Assess the alignment between your current to-do list and highest values. Here's how:  Take an existing to-do list and circle every item on it that reflects one of your highest values.  If you cannot circle very many items, then you are majoring on the minors in life.  This will lead to burnout.  Now let's figure out what could go on your list that would add energy and meaning to your life.

STEP 2: Create A Pool Of High Value Action Steps

To live in alignment with your highest values, you have to translate each of your highest values from an abstract idea to a concrete action.  This is not difficult.  Just brainstorm a list of ways you could concretely spend time on each of your top ten priorities. For example, I have created two ideas for each one of my top ten values below.

  1. Connecting with God
    1. Use the SOAP devotional journaling practice daily
    2. Go to worship with my family every week
  2. Helping others to connect with God
    1. Write blog 'how-to' blog posts on my blog about spiritual disciplines
    2. Teach a class on prayer
  3. Family
    1. Schedule a weekend get away for us all to spend together
    2. Get a surprise gift for each one of my family members
  4. Reaching my full potential/growing
    1. Listen to a book on tape or podcast each day during my morning walk
    2. Take an online class about marketing
  5. Creativity
    1. Get a book about how to write better that has creative writing prompts and journal each day using one
    2. Assembly and paint the dollhouse the kid's got me for Christmas
  6. Making a Difference
    1. Volunteer Saturday down at the community garden
    2. Serve as a chaplain for a week this summer at camp
  7. Laughter
    1. Rent a comedy to watch with my family
    2. Play are card or board game together (we always laugh when we play)
  8. Inspiring
    1. Post my latest success or failure about pursuing goal each week on facebook
    2. Speak to someone struggling with depression about my journey out of it
  9. Innovating
    1. Take one of the 7 Minute Life tools and brainstorm 10 ways busy moms can use it creatively
    2. Look at the goal I am stuck on and brainstorm a list of ideas that could not just get me unstuck but quadruple my progress
  10. Health
    1. Register for the 30 day green smoothie challenge and complete it
    2. Start using 7 minute work outs on my Amazon Echo, when I take long breaks at home

Brainstorm a minimum of five suggestions for each of your highest values. Creating these lists made a huge difference in my time management.  Before I started making these lists, I was identifying my values, but  NEVER translating them into daily activities.  I had to learn how to think in terms of concrete activities.

STEP 3:  Schedule High Value Activities Everyday

Once you have a list of possible activities it is time to turn those activities into actionS by scheduling specific action steps everyday.  Having a good intention is not good enough.  Good intentions without deadlines are just regrets waiting to happen.  Each day you need a written plan of action that includes activities related to your highest values.

 The Daily Progress Report Pages are an easy to use time management worksheet for creating a daily written plan of action.  The best way to make your high value activities a priority is to include them in a 5 before 11 list (five high value activities you achieve before 11 a.m..)  By placing high value activities in this list you will prevent your priorities from taking a backseat to low value tasks.

The activities you schedule do not have to be grandiose plans.  Micro-Actions - quick, readily actionable tasks - are far more effective at producing change, provided you consistently act.  For example, on my health list, I included "Join the 30 day green smoothie challenge."  This would only take me a few minutes to complete.  The next day I might add to my list, "Drink a green smoothie for breakfast".  Again, these aren't big grandiose actions, but over time small actions produce big change.


  1. Download and complete the Prioritization Worksheet.
  2. Assess how well your daily activities align with your highest values, by comparing your to-list with your ten highest values.
  3. Create a list of possible activities for each of your top ten values.  Include at least five items on each list.  Specific Micro-Actions are best.
  4. Create a written plan of action right now for tomorrow that includes three to five items from your lists of possible high value activities
  5. Persevere and be consistent.  Look at your lists of possible activities every day before creating a daily written plan of action. Keep adding ideas to your list as they come to you.  Every day be sure to include at least three to five items that fulfill your highest values.  If at all possible schedule completing those activities before other tasks, so that you learn to make your highest values your highest time management priority.

Figuring out your priorities is just the first step to great time management.  If you would like to receive more step-by-step instructions on how to create a happier, simpler life, get our free Starter Guide Series To Productivity.  We'll show you exactly what you need to do to get started on prioritizing, organizing, and simplifying your life at work and home.




What do you think of when you think of conscious awareness? What does it mean to be conscious?

  • aware of your what is happening in your heart, body, mind, and soul
  • you can slow down long enough to hear individual thoughts
  • to know what you believe to be true
  • to have an active role in what you choose to do with your time
  • to be thoughtful, intentional, and deliberate

When was the last time you felt your heart beating? Can you remember the last time you woke up in the morning like a child waking up on Christmas morning? Do you feel expectation and excitement in your current life?

I want to become more consciously aware of how I spend the minutes in my life. This is a true story about a friend of mine who made a deliberate decision to step outside her comfort zone.

Free falling at 120 miles per hour from 14,500 feet in the air—that’s how my friend, Karon Fields, wanted to spend her fiftieth birthday.

I have always wanted to go skydiving. What would it feel like to glide through the open sky at 120 miles per hour? What would I be thinking? How would it feel to get onto a plane knowing that I would jump out only a few minutes later? Would I feel alive again? Would it make me consciously aware of everything happening around me?

Karon knew what she wanted. She wanted risk back in her life. She wanted to feel the rush of adrenaline and heart-pounding excitement. On the morning of her fiftieth birthday, Karon felt completely alive; she was excited about making her lifelong dream of skydiving a reality. When she arrived at the flight facility in Bolivar, Tennessee, she signed eight pages of waivers, sat through fifteen minutes of ground school, and got onto the plane.

“Skydiving seemed like a great idea while I was standing on the ground,” Karon told me. But as the plane climbed into the sky on that beautiful Saturday morning, her heart wavered between excitement and terror. She didn’t have long to worry, because within minutes the plane reached 14,500 feet. The door opened, and a rush of cold air and incredible noise blasted into the cabin. Her instructor stood up and connected their tandem harnesses. She knew it was time to take the first step toward the door. Her heart pounded wildly. Time seemed to move in slow motion; her brain could see only what was directly in front of her. Adrenaline coursed through her veins. The moment was exhilarating, exciting, and terrifying.

Karon stood only twelve feet from the door; every step toward it required extreme effort. She was attached to her flight instructor, but with Karon in front of him, he couldn’t lead her; she had to be willing to take every step forward. With only a few steps remaining, her instructor yelled, “Cross your arms over your chest!” And she did. Time seemed to stand still. Through the plane’s open door Karon could see the curvature of the earth below. The cold wind wrapped around her and took her breath away.

Finally only one step remained between her and the door. And she took it.

As she stood with her arms crossed tightly over her chest, the instructor yelled his final word of instruction: “Put your toes out the door!” And Karon did. At 14,500 feet in the air, she stood in the doorway of an airplane attached to a man she did not know but trusted with her life—with nothing but sky beneath her toes. The instructor grabbed hold of the doorjamb and yelled, “Rock one, rock two, rock three!” On three, they were out the door.

Deciding to Live with Your Toes out the Door

Life can give you what you ask of it, but not until you start taking steps toward what you want. Karon asked life for a breathtaking moment. Don’t we all want that? Don’t you want to wake up overwhelmed with uncontainable excitement about what the day holds for you? Don’t we all want to live with our toes out the door?

Living with your toes out the door means you must first be willing to get onto the right plane—to get your life in order. In the last chapter you identified what you value most. When you know your priorities, it becomes much easier to choose the right plane.

Once you are on the right plane and headed in the right direction, it will be easier to reach the right altitude and to recognize the tools and resources you need to accomplish your goals. One of those resources is people who are willing to support and encourage you. Much like Karon’s skydiving instructor, you need people in your life who have the experience and wisdom to guide you on your journey. You need mentors and friends who will stand up when you stand up and will encourage you to move forward continually even when you are afraid. Although most clichés point to the difficulty of the “first step,” Karon’s story demonstrates that it can actually be the final step that challenges us the most. It’s then that we need friends and mentors to challenge us to put our toes out the door. I want to live with my toes out the door. I want to feel alive and be completely aware of what is most important to me. I want to be surrounded by people I trust, connected to people I love, and close to those who bring out the very best in me. That type of vibrant and full life requires that we decide to live each day consciously aware of our values, our surroundings, and our opportunities.

If you’re ready to live with your toes out the door, now is the time to consciously decide exactly what you will pay attention to. Consciousness has many definitions, one of which is total awareness of what surrounds you—awareness of the life you are currently living and of who you are.

Excerpt from: The 7 Minute Solution: Time Strategies to Prioritize, Organize, and Simplify your Life at Work and at Home by Allyson Lewis

There is a difference between living and choosing to be consciously aware of your life.

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