Learn To Quickly Think On Your Feet

Impromptu Speeches in High School

I will never forget my speech class in high school. You walked in on the first day of class and sat down at your school desk looking up at your speech teacher wondering what lame speeches you would have to give that day. Everyone had to take the class since it was a required course to pass high school and so you could imagine that there was a boredom in the air on the first day.

What the teacher told us next, I will never forget. “Today you will be giving a 1 minute impromptu speech.” We had barely sat down and gotten situated on the first day of class and we were going to give a speech on the first day? Half of us didn’t even know what an impromptu speech was!

“Here’s how it’s going to work. Each of you will have 1 minute to give a speech on a topic that I randomly choose. I will cut you off after 1 minutes for the next person” he explained. Well, there happened to be 45 students in the class and each class was 50 minutes long so just enough time for everyone to go. Secretly, I was hoping there’d be enough retaliation to the idea that class would stall or maybe some mischievous student would pull the fire alarm so we could waste time during a fire drill.

Where I Learned About 3 Points From

Yes, we all survived that first day in speech class. What the teacher went on to demonstrate was how to quickly think on your feet and how to tell a compelling story. One way to structure an impromptu speech was to pick 3 sub topics. Each sub topic would relate back to the main story. Add an introduction and a conclusion and you could write a speech on just about any topic.

The most valuable thing I learned from that class was to quickly come up with a speech on any topic that he picked. This creative exercise forced me to tell stories and relate them to a specific topic. Not only did this improve my communication skills, but it helped me to understand that people like to group things into threes.

Today, whenever I have to think on my feet, I am reminded of that speech class. It never hurts to be able to learn quickly and think on your feet.

I Was Right, Things Can Wait

things can wait time

things can wait time

Follow Your Instincts

I was right about last night! In my stream of consciousness post I was simply documenting my thoughts for the day and into the night.

For the first time in a while, I decided to stop what I was doing, and go to bed. In fact, the last words of my post were “Some things can not wait. Most things can.” And I was right! Even though I felt very tense about going to bed with such a long task list, the sleep was definitely worth it.

The 80 20 Rule

Lately, I have had this tremendous burden of accomplishing everything before I go to bed. But reflecting on what I have learned over the past couple of months, it is that 80% of the important work can be accomplished with 20% of the effort. In other words, the 20% of my day that makes up 80% of my productivity, tackle that 20% at a very minimum.

Even this concept is what Tim Ferris of 40 Hour Work Week discusses. The concept is simply to tackle the very most important items on the top of your list and then, according to Tim, outsource the rest.

Be Thoughtful

Perhaps the biggest thing I have learned in the past 24 hours is to be thoughtful. Determine what’s the most important task and whether or not it can wait. In other words, do you put something on pause because you think it can wait, or do you do something right away because it is the absolute most important thing you need to get done.

Take care of yourself and focus on your health. Getting sleep, eating well, and regular exercise are perhaps some of the most important things you can put into your routine to set yourself up for success.


Setting Routines Lead To Success in Personal & Business Life

Routine Lessons From A Friend

Many years ago a business friend of mine, from a very warm sunny place with a beach, taught me about routine. His name was James and he taught me about routine in the way he fed his pets. Every morning at 8 a.m. he would set out tuna on small pieces of foil for each cat. He would do  the same thing at 4 p.m.

What was really interesting is that I realized is that up a routine for each cat. While he was feeding his cats, he told me that with routine, cats live longer. The specific reason for this had to do with cats developing a biological synchronization with their diet. Their body expected food at the same time every day. As a result, their bodies knew that food would be coming and they could prepare.

Humans Need Routine Too!

Humans, like cats, are animals and biologically our bodies respond to routine. For example, eating every day is one routine. Sleep is another routine that our body demands in order to recuperate and revitalize ourselves. But what most do not realize is that routine sets us up for success. is very important.

Routine sets us up for habit forming, whether they are good habits or bad habits.

Business Routines

In business, routine and schedule define the way the business operates. Especially in accounting cycles, scheduling is tremendously important. We also know that fiscal year end sales cycles could impact weather a business make money or lose money in a year.

Zeroing in from the macro level and looking at the day to day routines are also important. Setting up a daily morning routine will set you up for consistent success. Learn how to knock out the most important thing early in the morning as the first priority.

What are your routines? I’d love to hear about your personal routine and business routines in the comments or on social media!

Things Take Time

Things Take Time

This might seem very obvious, but things take time.

Commitment to Time

If you want to make a commitment anything, it’s going to take time. What that means is that you have to invest personal time to get something done. For example starting a business requires a significant amount of time. In other words, creating success takes investment. That investment is time. To create this time you may sacrifice a lot of things in your life. What that also means is that you have to prioritize the items that are important. I wrote another post about prioritization and doing things right the first time.

I talk about find what’s most important in doing that first period well if you want to get something done and you want to accomplish not then you need to prioritize as number 1 and make a commitment to completing it.

Personal Commitments Requiring Time

Personally I made a commitment to blogging 365 times this year. That was a very strong commitment I made for myself. I think the reason it’s been difficult is because I haven’t earmarked enough time to complete this task every day. And that is why routine is so important.

Having a routine for your personal commitments are a huge factor to actually accomplishing them.

For example one of the authors that I listen to writes 1000 words every morning.  It’s almost like waking up and starting meditation. You want to wake up and start the most important task the first thing after you wake up.  After you accomplished that task in the morning then you can work on the rest of the day.

Why Time Is Important

The next thing I want to talk about is time. It is our most valuable asset and our most limited resource. Some people have all the time in the world but do not use their time wisely. How do you use your time? How do you make the most of every minute?

Setting a schedule and a routine helps you accomplish your goals. Whether you want to reach a personal goal or accomplish something in your career, both of these take time.

What I am starting to realize is that if you want to do something right and you want to do something well, you have to invest mind power and time. Perhaps making a commitment to 365 blogs was a bit zealous. And I am very tempted to write quickly and without purpose. But I quickly hasten to write posts, what is the point if they do not make me think or make me consider the reason for writing.

Do Things Right The First Time

I’ve warned you, stream of consciousness post.


I’m glad you asked. Although it seems obvious, too many times I observe people like to take the “quick and dirty” route. They want to get something done but they don’t want to take the time it takes to do it right.

What Happens?

You probably already know, but the job ends up being done incomplete or with poor quality. So if you have to waste cycles re-doing the work, why didn’t you do it right the first time?

Great Question!

They didn’t do it right the first time because maybe somebody said, “Just jump in and get started.” Or perhaps, they wrote a blog post about Tackling The Hard Things First and well, maybe that hard thing was simply an item to check off your “to-do” list.

Why Not Jump In Head First?

I’m not saying it’s bad to jump in and get started right away. What I am saying, however, is that if you can take a little bit of extra time invested up front, that you could potentially avoid more headache in the future.

It’s really just a leverage game. What future wasted time can you save by doing things right the first time?

Don’t Go To The Extreme

So some people might go to the extreme and try to build a process for everything. They might want to do everything perfectly right the first time. If you live in this type of world trying to always do it right the first time, you will live in quite the difficult life.

One particularly great example of this is when a software developer engineers a process to automate a piece of code when it could have taken 1/10th the time to just  code it themselves. However, sometimes there might be a false expectation that you may need to code this process again so a large effort goes into automating a task.

The downfall to this is that you may have spent 10x longer doing something to make it more efficient in the future, but if you don’t plan to use the new process or that new thing at least 10 times, then the initial investment is a waste.

Balance. Balance. Balance.

The trick here is to balance between quality and time. How much quality can you have given limited resources and limited time. I am continuing to learn that it’s better to invest resources, time and energy into something of higher quality, then to build and use something very cheap but have to replace it more frequently.

Quality comes at a price and often that benefit is not immediate. However with patience and extra upfront effort, the investment could be worth your time more times than you think!

What Do You Think?

I’d love to hear of a time when YOU managed something effectively with an upfront investment that ended up working out in the long run.

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