Michael Shelton – Productivity Coach

Michael Shelton is a productivity coach and consultant who help busy professionals get their life’s work done. He also writes a productivity blog and these are his good things.

Good things to read.

Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time by Rick Hanson.  Dr. Hanson wrote a book of short, practical practices to develop mindfulness. I read a different practice each day or focus on just one practice for several days. I’m a big fan of his research and application of experience dependent neuroplasticity, or how our brain gets wired by what we shine our spotlight of awareness on. My favorite practice in the book is Don’t Know. The reader is encouraged to put on a child’s mind, beginner’s mind, or don’t know mind before rushing to judgment about a person, event, place or thing. It’s so freeing not to be the person that needs to know.

Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone by Mark Goulston. A fantastic way to learn best practices to break through mental resistance and calm pressure-packed situations. Mark Goulston is a psychiatrist, business consultant, executive coach, and a hostage-negotiation trainer for the FBI. He shares amazing stories of how he “talked someone back from ledge” by using effective listening techniques like getting a person to exhale emotionally and physically. His techniques can be used by parents, salespeople, law enforcement and managers who need to reach the unreachable person.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. I’ve adopted many of David’s practices for my productivity consulting program. He guides us toward a state of relaxed control as we deal with the flood of incoming items to our in-boxes, office and calendar. His techniques are practical. With a little practice, the busy professional can build a trusted and reliable system outside of their head to hold their shoulds, musts, have-to’s and other open loops.

Good things to watch.

The Mind by Alan Watts. A powerfully moving video on YouTube about our addiction to thoughts. There’s great difficulty in stopping but we must, if we want to be sane, he says. The clip has beautiful still and video images, music and a compelling case by Mr. Watts that we need to learn to leave the mind alone. His teaching has become a cornerstone in my productivity consulting practice.

The Amazing Race on CBS. I get totally absorbed in this reality television series. I’m equally fascinated by its incredible success, now entering its 27th season. Typically, eleven teams of two contestants start in the US and travel the globe competing in physical, mental and emotional tests of endurance. I pick my favorite team no later than the second episode and cheer for them to not be eliminated on any leg of the race. This show is my chance to see places I may not visit in my lifetime.

An Arizona sunset. I’ve lived here since 1992 and have seen sunsets so magnificent they are surreal. The vivid purple, orange, red and yellow strokes splashed across the evening sky are simply beautiful. The shapes morph as the sun sinks further toward the horizon. The trick is to find a day with just the right cloud cover to get an amazing display of natural beauty. It’s even better when you’re at The Grand Canyon or The Saguaro National Monument near Tucson.

Good things to use.

Evernote. I’ve been an Evernote power-user since 2012. It’s my favorite application to promote productivity for myself and my clients. I’m a super-organized person, so when I found this trusted and reliable place to store my thoughts, ideas, notes, lists and documents I knew I was home. Evernote is continually refining its service with fantastic features and pricing to help busy professionals like me get their life’s work done.

Google Apps For Work. I use Google’s suite of tools to run my business. I get a professional email address, plenty of synced storage in Google Drive, Google Docs to create and share documents, a robust calendar, and much more. Google Apps For Work is fantastic for the small to mid-sized business. It’s a tightly integrated and functional workspace.

Bodum Brazil 8-Cup French Press Coffee Maker – I love a great cup of coffee. The 34 ounce Bodum French Press is perfect for making a few cups for me or to share with family and friends. I get consistently delicious coffee from this simple, yet elegant, tool. I prefer to brew my own at home after a string of disappointing experiences with the chain coffee houses. I guess I’ve become a coffee-snob. I blend a tablespoon of unsalted, grass-fed butter in my freshly brewed cup for a healthful, natural energy drink.

Connect with Michael on Twitter, @SheltonBizServ.