A Day in Quarantine with the Pomodoro 25 Minute Timer

Aug 13, 2020

Ever feel pressure to complete a task as time ticks by on a stopwatch? Our focus can be intense when you add the element of time.

In the name of research, I devoted a day to using the Pomodoro method.  Will I ever be able to finish a project again?  I work from home and thanks to coronavirus so do my husband and 2 kids.  Oh yes, and our giant Labradoodle Rudy.

Not the most productive environment.  

Here’s how my day went:

First Pomodoro 6:28 am

This was a late start.  I usually start my mornings at 6 am, but we spent the night before soaking in the last few bits of summer vacation.  And you guys know how I feel about sleep.   

The second stumbling block was my phone didn’t charge overnight.  I had planned on using Focus Keeper on my phone, but that wasn’t an option.  

A quick google search brought me to Tomato-Timer It was easy to use working for my desktop.  I loved the little countdown timer...

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The Incredible Joy You'll Find in Buffer Time

Aug 06, 2020

“Give the bike ahead of you a 30-second lead.” the guides would shout each time our group would take off for a new destination.  This space between bikes would allow the dust to settle, but it's also a precaution to prevent crashes.

We were on a downhill waterfall mountain bike tour.  If the teenager takes off right behind me, there’s no time for him to respond when I have to slow down to yell at my kids to stop arguing over goldfish crackers.

The spacing is a buffer to keep us safe.  And inhaling less dust is a BONUS!

Keep on Buffering in the Real World

Do you build 30 seconds of space into life?

You probably need more than 30 seconds because unfortunately, life is more than just chasing waterfalls.

Let’s take this blog post, for example.  I’ve been writing weekly posts for years and depending on the subject, I know it will take me about 2 hours to write a single post.

I plan on 3 hours of writing time each week as a buffer. ...

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Getting Ready for Back to School in a Pandemic

Jul 30, 2020

Last night I laid in bed pretending to sleep for hours.  I knew I wouldn’t sleep and probably should have taken a sleeping pill.  Those pills I save for special occasions like last night when I know my mind won’t shut down.

Today is our school district’s deadline to decide if we want to enroll our kids in virtual academy for the first trimester. (Since I wrote this just last week, this option has disappeared.  Every day the only constant seems to be change.)

Unclear seems to be the theme of Back to School 2020.  Let’s cut through this fog together.  Most of us have been through some version of remote learning last Spring.

I challenge you to stay productive.  Starting next Monday, August 3rd I will post daily back to school productivity tips.  Join me and share how you are working around the obstacles and still soldering forward to make progress on your dreams.

Guess what?! We’ve got enough anxiety in our lives so...

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Time Chunking Method, How Bad is It?

Jul 23, 2020

Last week I got a text inviting me to a neighbor’s 40th birthday zoom call.  Poor girl, I thought.  A milestone birthday in quarantine.  That’s not fair.

Then I read the fine details and it said to plan on staying on the call for an hour and a half.  What?  I liked this girl but spending 90 minutes of my Saturday on a Zoom call with strangers (I didn’t recognize any other number in the group text) no thank you!

I peeked at my calendar and smiled.  The call landed on the day we leave for vacation.

Saved by the calendar. (I love my digital calendar. Here's a guide on how I've set it up.)

What if that space in my calendar was free?  Have you ever said yes to something just because your calendar was empty?  Stop that!

Let me introduce you to time chunking (aka time blocking). Its a system for making appointments with yourself every day so you can focus your energy on the most important things. Divide your day into blocks forcing...

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13 Reasons to Make the Family Calendar Digital

Jul 16, 2020

How often have you wished for more time?  Time to watch the waves crash on the beach with your family, time to finish the project before the deadline, or time to work on your passions.

There was a calendar proposed in the early 1900s that gave us 13 months.  No joke!  The Kodak Company used it until the late 80s. 

I can’t wave the magic wand and create time, but I can share the wonder of moving to a digital calendar.  Right now you’re about to click away because you’re already using that calendar on your phone.   But are you getting the most out of it?

1. Multiple Calendar Categories

Color-coded categories allow you to assign different calendars to the unique roles you play in life.  Purple for mom, green for self, and yellow for business. Plus, it adds some pops of color.

2. Recurring Events

Every other Thursday at 4 pm, my son has to get allergy shots.  I only had to put this into my calendar one time and tick the little...

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How to Keep Focus Like a Yogi

Jul 09, 2020

Somehow you drug yourself out of bed at 5 am to capture those golden hours of the morning while the house is quiet.  Determined to make progress on your top priorities, you take a seat at your desk.  

Then you sit.  Staring at a blinking cursor, and your mind replays the events of last weekend. Why did you discuss conspiracy theories with your friends at the BBQ?  “Now they all think I’m a nut job.  I need to call and apologize,” you say to yourself.

STOP! You’ve just spent ten minutes reliving last Saturday and you’ve made zero progress on the content calendar that’s due tomorrow.  You did not get up before the sun for this.

You need to keep focus, but how? 

Let’s look at some tactics to get you into that blissful flow state.

Take Breaks or Even Better RECESS

I’ll go first and admit I’ve eaten lunch at my desk more often than not during workdays.  In the name of productivity,...

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All You Need to Know About Daily Tasks

Jul 02, 2020

Every night before bed, I grind coffee for the next day.  I’m a coffee snob and fresh ground tastes so much better.  The grinder is LOUD and would wake up my household if I set it off at the crack of dawn when I get up.  

If I forget, then I’m stuck drinking instant coffee.  GROSS!

The coffee grinder is a key player in my shut down ritual.  It sets me up for a great day.  The rest of this ritual includes reviewing my calendar for tomorrow, choosing my top 3 priorities, and setting my clothes out for the next day.  All of this takes only a few minutes.

The morning brings another set of routines.  I start with coffee (of course) while it’s brewing I meditate.  A fresh cup of coffee in hand, I settle into my cozy office chair and read.  Then I will journal and if there’s time left before the clock strikes 6:30 I will stretch and stare at my inspiration board.

We define routine as, “commonplace tasks,...

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Unusual but Achievable Time Management Strategies

Jun 25, 2020

Variety is the spice of life, but when’s the last time you grabbed the pepper grinder?

We all get stuck in ruts, especially with making progress on our goals.  There you are at the bottom of a deep well.  Sitting in the dirt.  Looking up to the greener pastures above.  You’ve tried to claw your way to the top, but you just keep ending up with your butt on the ground and dirt beneath your nails.

It’s time to change your game.  Here are some unusual time strategies that just might work:

Keeping a Time-Log:

I saw that eye roll.  Keeping a log is the death of so many diets.  I will ask anyway.  Try it for just one week.  

Here’s a list of apps to make it easier.  Or, you could just take notes the old-fashioned way.  Whatever you chose, this will give you a detailed look into how you spend your time and where it’s wasted.

Take Breaks:

This goes against what that little voice in your head is telling...

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Benefits of a Simple Life Plan

Jun 18, 2020

What do you want to be when you grow up?  As a kid, you answered that question all the time.  And the sweet response of “ballerina” or “astronaut” brought smiles until sometime around puberty.  

The sweet girl that aspired to be a ballerina may pursue a career in dance, but what does that mean?  Even for a Broadway star, there’s more to life than what happens on stage.  

So the question becomes, what do you want out of life?  This is a deeper question.  The adult version of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  Don’t take the easy  “I want to be happy” you most often hear as a response.

Life planning is putting in the big rocks of what is important to you before someone else claims your time.  For example, you want to plan an epic getaway with friends to Scottsdale for your hubby’s 40th birthday next Fall.  As a planner, you will lay claim to that...

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How to Prioritize Projects and Live Smarter

Jun 11, 2020

You pour yourself a fresh cup of coffee and head into the office.  It’s Monday morning and you have a to-do list that could take you into next month to complete.  Plus, take Parker to the dentist today at 3 pm.  Taking a deep breath, you turn your attention to your computer and start checking email.  

Now it’s 11 am and you haven’t checked a single thing off your list.  

There’s got to be a better way.  And there is... it’s called prioritizing.  

Before you click away, hear me out.  Has anyone taught you how to prioritize?

 

“Productivity is moving the ball down the filed on the projects that matter most.” Mel Robbins

Let’s try going through that Monday morning routine again.  Instead of brushing aside your extensive list of tasks, you take time to plan.  Look at your calendar and the blocks of time you have available to cross things off the list.

Starting out your...

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