I often get asked, 'how can I be more productive?’
Thinking about this question, I realize that the answer could go in a million different directions.
It's a pretty vague question that leads to a lot more questions...productive at what? What resources do you have available? What makes this thing important to you?
In this article, I've kept the answers more theoretical (in keeping with the question). Basically, I've boiled it down to three principles.
When I graduated from the University of Nevada Reno, my first job was in sales and marketing in the casino industry. For a girl in her twenties, it was a fun gig and I moved up the ranks. The next step was a Las Vegas job offer which I accepted immediately before suddenly having a change of heart. I had always wanted a family, but I couldn't imagine raising them in Sin City.
I didn't know it at the time but I was protecting my future self. It's easy...
There is a real struggle at my house to empty the dishwasher. It's a kid's chore, but I find myself bracing myself every time I utter "empty the dishwasher."
A recent therapy session addressed this power struggle. One of the recommendations was to use a timer and make a game out of how fast you can empty the dishwasher.
I smiled because I instantly thought of the pomodoro technique. (Yep productivity nerd over here). Of course, why didn’t I think of that. One of the advantages of pomodoro is gamification. The race to beat the clock makes a boring task more fun.
Pomodoro is a staple productivity technique for focus (and you’ve probably heard of it before) but before I get into more reasons why it works, here's a brief description of what it is…
In the late 1980s, Francesco Cirillo developed the Pomodoro Technique. It uses a kitchen timer to break work into intervals, typically 25 minutes in...
You can choose how you want to proceed! Your day begins when you awaken, and it can take two paths.
The first is that you head straight into the office with your morning coffee. Your phone is blowing up with text messages from friends and clients. Right away, you start putting out fires: sending an email to a client who needs one, checking in with your dad to see how his doc appointment went yesterday, and confirming details with the contractor about to begin work on your kitchen remodel.
Next thing you know, it's 8 am and the kids are up and hungry. It's time to make breakfast, get everyone ready, and take the kids to camp. You're back in the office at 10am, and there are a flood of emails to wade through. In about an hour, you pull your head out of email to take your client's call, eat a quick lunch at your desk and finally get some time to work on your big project before you have to pick up the kids.
In the next scenario, you wake up and begin your...
Still unpacking the glittery outfits from a weekend in Vegas.
This was unlike any other Vegas trip I’ve ever been on. Yes there were bright lights and late nights but during the day I was at a personal development conference to LEVEL UP.
I won’t get into all the details of the event, but I will say it was AMAZING!
In the personal development world, we are often asked to look at what is holding us back from reaching that next level of achievement…regardless of what you are trying to achieve.
One thing that always that comes up for me is perfectionism and after sitting in room full of others going through the same exercise, I know that I’m not alone.
Let’s start by defining perfectionism. For me it has always been allowing something to take way longer than it should (or possibly never even completing it) because I want every detail to be just right.
After spending some time researching the...
“Go to your happy place.”
Usually when you hear those words, it’s seconds before you have to endure some form of necessary torture.
In my mind, I escape to a hammock that hangs between two palm trees on a remote island in Bora Bora. I have a rum blended beverage in my hand with a pink umbrella adorning the top. To my right is the crystal clear turquoise waters dotted by overwater bungalows and to my left is an infinity edged pool.
This idyllic scene is so real because I visited it on my honeymoon 18 years ago. Vacation memories provide mental escapes during times of stress but there are so many other reasons to not skip out on your vacation this summer. Let's explore more.
Chronic stress permeates modern life. Working full-time or caring for a family creates stress that builds up daily. The daily stress needs to be managed, but for a BIG reset, we need to get away.
There’s scientific data to back...
The time is 9 a.m. on a Monday morning as I type this, and I know what I need to do when I sit down at my desk, because this is my writing block. In fact, most of my day goes like this since I chose to plan out my week in timeblocks.
You may have heard me profess my love for timeblocks before and I explain what they are right here.
Ready to take time blocking to the next level? Today I want to discuss some secrets to time blocking.
Here is the first thing I’m going to do: I want to make sure if you should even bother reading this.
Do you consider yourself a classic creative? Many creatives don't want to be told what to do. They don't even want to tell themselves what to do. Being over-scheduled increases their stress level.
Those of you who are not in charge of their own time, because you may work for someone who controls your time, or may be required to change direction quickly because of your job,...
Don't lie to yourself by saying "I don't have time."
If you're trying to develop a skill, you can't give the excuse that you don't have time. It just means that it isn't a priority for you right now.
Let’s say your phone rings right now and your kid is sick at school. Do you say “I have no time to come pick him up”?
Of course not! You make the time by moving things around in your day. Some meetings might get canceled. Maybe you let some things fall off your list. If you’re out of town, you find someone that will go get your sick kiddo and bring him home to rest.
I call bullshit on the excuse that you don’t have enough time.
We can all squeeze time when given a budget.
The reality is it’s not a priority. If you don't make time for the things that are important in your life, they will start withering away. That’s a whole different strategy.
“I don’t have time,” can...
It's my trigger word: busy.
When I ask someone how they are and I get the reply "busy” I want to primal scream into a pillow. Yet, sometimes I notice that word slip out of my mouth.
If I manage to catch it, I change my response to “life is full right now.”
“Every time you say you’re busy, you’re actually saying that you can’t prioritize your life.” Darius Foroux
I love this quote because we all choose to do what we do. If your life feels busy here are some ways to turn that around.
I am sure you have heard this term, but what does it actually mean?
Think of working hard as being efficient. You pour time, energy, and resources into something.
Making sure that something is the right something is working smart.
Imagine you want to start growing your own food. Then you go to the nursery and buy everything you need to build your backyard...
We all have the same 24 hours in a day, don't we? How often have you heard that and wanted to roll your eyes and walk away?
Time is a resource that’s dolled out evenly to all humans but we are playing with different cards in our hands.
I can’t change the cards in your hand but I can help you identify how you’re wasting time in the game.
Social media, email, notifications and meetings are on the top of everyone’s list. I’ve covered these subjects here, here, and here. I’ll be doing a deep dive into email later this year but if you want some quick wins check out this post.
You can also limit personal stuff to after work hours to minimize these external distractions.
I’m not saying you should be rude, but draw clear boundaries.
I'll give you an example. Every few days I go to a neighborhood gym before work. While bumping into my friends and neighbors is often fun, sometimes a...
As I pull out my keyboard to write this morning, I’m feeling imposter syndrome creep in.
Reframing dips into the sphere of therapy. Because you all know how much I love therapy, I'm going to start this post by stating...find professional help if your "situation" is rooted in trauma or something that is interfering with your everyday life.
Sigh, I feel better with that off my chest.
If you're just feeling stuck, keep reading.
Let’s start out with a definition of reframing.
Harvard Stress & Development Lab explains, “Positive reframing involves thinking about a negative or challenging situation in a more positive way. This could involve thinking about a benefit or upside to a negative situation that you had not considered. Alternatively, it can involve identifying a lesson to be learned from a difficult situation. Finding something to be grateful about in a challenging situation is a type of...