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How to Rebalance When You Get Off Track

One of the biggest misconceptions about time management is that if you just get the right systems in place, all of your time management stress will be solved forever. But that way of thinking is simply not accurate.

Your systems and routines are extremely important, but they are not everything. These strategies are more or less the equivalent of building yourself a boat so that you’re not clinging to drift wood as you go through life. But even in a boat, you still need to captain your ship to maneuver through the various weather changes and obstacles that cross your path.

“Captaining your ship” relates to adjusting to changing circumstances and also to managing your emotions. Chapter 2 of my book The 3 Secrets of Effective Time Management is on overcoming crippling emotions and Chapter 3 is on empowering mental patterns because I know these are foundational for lasting behavioral change.

To get you started and help you to stay calm in what can be a spring season, here are a few tips on how to achieve peace now:

Lean the Other Way

When you notice that you get off track, a temptation can be to just give up ...

It’s Not Too Late to Strengthen the Workforce

This headline on the tentative budget deal says it all: “Feds Dodge Bullet in Budget Deal, But Sequester Cuts Still Coming.” Federal workers should apparently feel good because there are no specific plans to reduce pay or benefits. In reality, the deal extends the negative atmosphere through the end of the Obama presidency.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., would have been correct that pay is not the reason for low morale if he had made the statement three or four years ago. But after five years of pay freezes and minimal increases, pay is an issue because the way it’s been handled communicates a lack of respect for employees. According to a recent report from the Society for Human Resource Management, respect and trust between leaders and employees are the two most important factors that contribute to job satisfaction. On both issues, it should not be surprising morale is so low.

If reform could have started on a positive track when the Obama presidency began, government would undoubtedly be performing at a significantly higher level today. But 2009 was very obviously not the time to rethink the civil service. In addition to the economic problems triggered by the Great Recession ...

Throwing Out the First Pitch to Salute Public Service

Tonight is the Washington Nationals' “Salute to Public Service” game, and I’m excited to share the names of the five federal employees I’ve asked to join me on the field when I throw out the first pitch.

For this year’s Public Service Recognition Week, the Office of Personnel Management, with the support of a group of Excellence in Government fellows, decided to shine a light on something each and every employee does the first day on the job -- take the oath of office.

Being a federal employee is about more than having a job. The #HonorTheOath campaign reminds us of the commitment each and every federal employee makes when she or he begins a new job in the U.S. government.

Each of these individuals submitted a video explaining how they #HonorTheOath of office each day through serving the American people. I hope you’ll join me in celebrating them on when the Washington Nationals play the Miami Marlins this evening.

Francisco Leija, a lieutenant colonel in the Army, joined the White House Fellow program and the Homeland Security after bravely serving his country during many tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He chose a life of public ...

How to Fix the Character Crisis in Government

Today more than ever before, the importance of maintaining an emphasis on good character throughout government institutions, military and the federal workforce is critical to the nation’s success. Yet the pressure on government executives and workers is at an all-time high. While budgets continue to be constrained, the demand for solutions and innovation is immense.

These stress factors drive many of the ethical failings we are seeing across the government and political spectrum. Highly charged environments create immense challenges of character for government executives and their teams. Many leaders and individual contributors do persevere through these challenges, carrying with them the mantra of good character as role models for others in their organization. Yet ethics failures are still occurring and seem to be on the rise.

What are the solutions for addressing this threat to effective operations and public trust in government?

Last month, the Global Ethics Summit brought together leaders from a variety of industries to address the critical issue of creating competitive and innovative organizations that also are self-empowered by corporate cultures founded on strong ethics and character. The event, for which I was a speaker, was hosted by the Ethisphere Institute.

While listening to top executives ...

Mapping a Management Agenda for 2017 Starts Now

The IBM Center for The Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service recently hosted a group of experts from academia and several former senior officials from administrations of both parties to frame key management issues and opportunities for the next presidential term.

The discussion, facilitated by former Veterans Affairs Department deputy secretary Scott Gould, was part of a multipronged Ready to Govern (#Ready2Govern) initiative to improve the transfer of power and knowledge between administrations. The effort includes an education component for transition teams around four sets of activities: improving the transition process, gaining congressional support for efficient appointments in a new administration, preparing appointees to succeed in their new roles and creating a Management Roadmap that will help the next administration develop an agenda and drive sustained improvement in government’s capacity and effectiveness.

The management and leadership priorities discussed will inform the content for the Management Roadmap, a set of findings and recommendations for the next president and senior advisers. Leading up to the last several elections, the IBM Center has brought together innovative thinkers—who have produced over 300 reports since 1998 that address challenges and practical actions for leaders—to draw out important focal points ...