CEOs, executives, and managers everywhere are recognizing that the old systems just don’t work anymore. Most people find that working harder actually decreases their productivity. The solution? Let go of the "old" and build a new effectiveness model.

Let’s begin with the distinction between effort and struggle. Effort involves using your mental and physical power vs. struggle which is massive effort laden with emotion. "Strugglers" accept the societal belief that in order to get what you want out of life, you have to work hard. That nothing worth having comes easily as in the maxim: no pain, no gain! Some even believe struggle is noble. Nothing is further from the truth. Don’t confuse the need for being consistent with working hard.

You can tell if you are a "struggler" if you want everything now. You jam everything into your schedule, and get frustrated when you can’t get it all to fit. Doing it ALL is irrelevant; doing what truly matters is what’s important. By doggedly forging ahead, you’ll deplete your energy and then feel overwhelmed and "stressed out." This will impair your judgement no matter what your IQ is.

Life is complex and becoming more so. Strugglers feed that complexity by their reluctance to simplify their lives. They over-promise and often under-deliver. They don’t say "no." Unfocused and easily distracted, their attention shifts to the "crisis of the day" which usually takes them off course and leaves them feeling empty. Does this sound familiar? It’s time to shift gears as we approach the millennium. Here are some fundamental steps:

1. Get clarity. Stop focusing on being busy, looking at the clock, rushing from one appointment to the next. He who juggles the most projects, does not win. Instead, start prioritizing. Ask empowering questions before you begin your day: What three goals need to be accomplished today. How do they relate to your ultimate goals? What is the return on your time? Focus only on one project at a time in order of importance. Practice saying "no" to non-essential tasks and delegate. Teach your co-workers to value your time by first valuing your own.

2. Restore energy. Stop stealing time from sleep. Get sufficient rest for your body type. According to Dr. Charles Morin, author of "Relief from Insomnia: Getting the Sleep of your Dreams", both major components of sleep are essential for sustaining peak performance. Non-REM (rapid eye movement) sleep re generates your body, while REM sleep sharpens your mind. To preserve your energy during the day, keep your mind in the present. Most people dissipate energy by either replaying the regrets of the past ( "I should have done ….") or fretting about future events ("I’m concerned X will happen or not happen.") If you were playing tennis and your mind was in the past or the future, you’d miss the shot! Now, how do you think not being in the present moment affects your job or business? Tell yourself to "be here now."

3. Take action. Stop accumulating "incompletes". All the incompletes hanging over your head claim a piece of your mental and physical energy. What are incompletes? Age old "to-do" lists, piles on your desk, unread magazines, tolerations, conversations you’ve been meaning to have. Anything that is unresolved will drain the energy you need to be effective. Get it handled now; otherwise, it becomes one of your biggest time-wasters. Toss that old magazine and schedule that appointment. You know you’ve handled it when it no longer resurfaces. Taking action creates space to complete your work and maintains your integrity.

Author's Bio: 

Barbara McRae, President of EnhancedLife Coaching(TM), enhances individual and organizational success nationwide via telephone and on-site coaching. Call toll-free at 888-409-5433 for your complementary coaching session or visit "". EnhancedLife Coaching offers workshops and presentations on: Time Management, Dynamic Leadership from the Inside Out and Masterful Coaching Skills.