You know what you want in your career and in each of the important areas of your life (finances, health, relationship, spirituality, etc.), yet you’re not seeing the desired results. Are you getting in your own way? If so, get out of your own way and get things done.
Does this sound familiar: “I set a goal on January 1, here we are halfway through the year and I’m no closer to achieving it.”
How do you get in your own way? This could be an extensive list, but to keep it short I’ll focus on two areas: 1. Energy drains and 2. Unmet or unacknowledged needs
One way you get in your own way of getting things done is by not managing your energy drains. Energy drains are the little or big things that tax your attention and energy.
They slow down your progress and prevent you from achieving your goals. Read more about what could be draining your energy and what to do about it here.
Unmet or Unacknowledged Needs
We all have needs and its okay to have them. Needs are a normal part of being human. It’s important to recognize if you’re not meeting those needs in a healthy or satisfying way, or you’re not even acknowledging them. You’re slowing down or stopping important things from getting done.
You’ve most likely learned about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in psychology class. It’s a five tiered hierarchy that’s typically shown as a pyramid. that suggests people are motivated to fulfill basic needs before moving on to more advanced psychological and self-fulfillment needs.
It’s helpful because it illustrates the various types of needs and reminds us that all humans have needs. It also stresses the importance of self-actualization needs at the top of the pyramid.
It includes physiological needs like food, water and sleep followed by safety and security needs like health and wellness, or a safe place to live. Social needs like family, romantic partner, and community come next, followed by esteem needs like appreciation and respect from others. Last are the self-actualization needs which are growing and developing to achieve your highest potential.
What are your needs?
Use these categories in the Maslow’s Hierarchy to think about and identify your needs. How are you meeting these needs? Can you find healthier ways to satisfy them? Are there any needs that you’re not fulfilling? Do you think it’s not okay to have these needs?
An example that comes to mind is the typical caretaker who puts everyone’s needs ahead of their own. My mother would work all day, and then go visit each of her parents (one lived at home, one was in a nursing home in another town) every evening after work and on the weekends.
On her way home she would do grocery shopping or pick up dinner for her husband and kids. She pushed her needs aside while everyone else’s needs were the priority.
Like my mother, many of us learn to pretend like we have it all together and can handle it all without help from anyone. Unfortunately, that’s how we get in our own way and prevent or delay the achievement of our biggest dreams and goals.
Another example is the person who hears they shouldn’t be boastful or act too proud as a child. Her needs for recognition and being valued are not satisfied. goes unmet as her achievements are not acknowledged.
Now as an adult, she’s often frustrated and feels disappointed when her efforts are not recognized at work. She feels incomplete and sometimes communicates all that she has done to anyone that will listen.
Oftentimes, this comes across as attention seeking or boasting by her colleagues and supervisor. She really wanted acknowledgement, but this isn’t the healthiest way to satisfy that need. She could find a healthier way.
Act with Intention: Take these steps now
First off, acknowledge that all humans have needs and its okay for you to have needs.
Then think about your needs and write down your top 3 needs right now. To help you create your list, review these categories of needs: security and certainty (safety and stability), significance (power, achievement and influence), love and connection (relationships, being listened to and connected to something greater than yourself/spiritual), and growth (learning, development and creativity).
Ask yourself for each of these 3 top needs, how are you meeting them?
Is it in a healthy or unhealthy way? What unhealthy ways are you going to let go of right now? What healthy ways of meeting those same needs are you going to create instead, not only in your career but in your life?
For example, let’s say one of your top needs is to feel safe and secure. Last year you earned a promotion at work and have an exciting and fulfilling new organization to lead. You felt secure in your role.
This year, because of outside circumstances everything is uncertain, especially your role. You put in even more hours and you’re working holidays and most weekends to feel secure in your position, putting your health and relationships at risk.
Perhaps a healthier way to fulfill your need for safety and security is to fulfill it outside of work since you don’t have direct control over the current work environment.
You can satisfy that need in your home environment or with your relationships. You can spend more quality time and get a sense of security and safety from those close beneficial connections you have with your family and friends. Experiencing their unconditional support for you and knowing they are there for you when you need them helps you feel safe and secure.
Remember, we all have needs and it’s critical for you to meet these needs in order to have a fulfilling career and life. So get out of your own way and get things done in healthier and more satisfying ways.
Photo by Minh Pham on Unsplash
“I’ve been completely off my morning meditation routine for the last 3 weeks. The stress about this pandemic has gotten to me.”
“My health goals are so hard to stick to now.”
“I struggle so much with a lack of willpower to get anything done, especially with the pandemic and kids home and emotionally feeling off.”
“I’m having a hard time sticking to my exercise routine. I blame it on this COVID-19 pandemic.”
“I was doing so well before the pandemic, and now I’m not.”
Do any of these sound familiar?
We are living in unprecedented times. You can’t ignore the stress and uncertainty that is part of your daily life right now.
Even going to the grocery store can turn into a traumatic event. You’ve got a face mask and gloves on for protection and to protect others. You’re attempting to stay 6 feet apart from other shoppers, waiting and losing patience for someone to just pick a carton of eggs already and leave the area. The longer you’re in there, the more exposed you are. The anxiety is creeping in. Plus you’re struggling to hear and shouting to be heard because most people are wearing face masks. Not exactly a peaceful experience.
When I went to the grocery store last week, I saw a worker with no mask stocking the frozen section and openly coughing without covering his mouth; I couldn’t get out of that aisle and store fast enough.
And that’s a shopping trip; add all the other things we do on a daily basis that is now impacted and at times it can feel like your whole world is upside down.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and let that knock you off your normal routine.
Sticking to your healthy habits seems harder than usual. Staying focused on your daily actions that help you achieve your goals seems impossible at times with everything else you have to contend with now.
Don’t Put Your Goals on Hold
Despite our current times, it is possible, and important, to not put your goals on hold.
We don’t know how long this will last. It could be 2 more weeks or 2 more months before businesses, schools and all the other places now closed open up again. Can you afford to hold off on achieving your goals for that long?
Goals require weekly, daily or even more frequent, focus and nurturing. If you put your goals on hold until “COVID is over” you’ll lose the momentum and progress you’ve already made.
If you need a few hours, or a day or two to get through some challenges, by all means take it. I’m a big proponent of balance and taking the time you need to address your priorities and stay healthy and balanced.
I recently moved to a new home and purposely cut back my work hours for 2 weeks knowing full well I wouldn’t be able to handle all that change and still carry a full workload.
Structure is Key
It’s so important in these uncertain times to ensure you’re doing all you can to bring more structure into every day. Structure gives you a sense of stability and certainty; things we need more than ever right now.
I’ve had clients get away from their daily meditation practice or other healthy habits for weeks, reporting that they felt off and not quite balanced.
If you don’t have a daily morning practice and need some help and ideas on how to begin, read my previous blog: Connect to Success Every Day for Best Results. There’s a link there to get a Morning Routine tool and checklist too.
In addition to an intentional daily practice, little things like showering, making your bed, taking a walk, keeping your home clean – these all add structure and stability right now.
Take Strategic Action Now
There are plenty of things you can do now despite your current COVID-19 restrictive reality.
First, add structure to your day with some of the suggestions above. Be sure to include a daily action that supports one of your bigger, long-term goals. For example, if you want to improve your health this year, committing to a daily walk would be ideal.
Second, stay positive and appreciate what you’re learning from this experience.
A lot of people are loving this slow-down that’s been forced upon us. They’re spending more quality time with loved ones they live with (2 and 4 legged), getting outside more for walks and sunshine, and connecting with friends and family more to check in and see how they’re doing. It feels natural and easy, and reminiscent of less hectic times.
And we’re using technology in such positive ways. I think about all the people who had no idea what Zoom and virtual meetings were a few weeks ago, and it makes me smile.
Now they’re connecting virtually to spend holiday or Sunday meals together with kids and grandkids, attend church services, and go to networking or club meetings. Spend a few minutes right now and write down 5 or more positive things that this pandemic has provided to you.
And third, take advantage of all the extra time you now have.
Maybe you’re not commuting to work and now have 60+ extra minutes in your day, or you find working from home more efficient and you’re getting more done in less time.
What could you do with your extra time? Focus on your goals and tie them into your activities or projects. For example, complete some long-overdue home projects this weekend to give you a sense of completion and joy; plant some flowers or tomatoes to feed your nurturing side; exercise to bring movement and balance into your body; take a class or course for self-development and personal growth; visit some virtual museums or national parks and get excited about visiting there in the future; or rediscover your creative side with hobbies like painting or music.
Find something that feeds your mind, body and soul and enjoy this time right now.
Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash
Is your email inbox stressing you out?
Business leaders at all levels often receive dozens to hundreds of emails every day. If not managed appropriately, it can become a big source of stress and a severe drain on your energy and time.
If you’re like most diligent professionals, the more the unread number climbs up, the more uncomfortable you feel. And when you didn’t have time during your busy day to even look at email, you become more frustrated.
Or worse, you decide to take time out of your personal life to handle emails – like in the evening or getting up even earlier to tackle emails before the workday gets started.
Time you could be spending connecting with loved ones or enjoying some fun activity that makes you happy and feeds your soul. You may get temporary relief from chipping away at your inbox, but you’re never able to get caught up with the constant flow coming in.
It’s time to beat the stress of your email inbox once and for all.
Email is here to stay as an essential part of our workday communication, and it’s growing. According to research conducted in 2019 by the Radicati Group, Inc., the total number of business and consumer emails sent and received per day will exceed 293 billion in 2019, and is forecast to grow to over 347 billion by year-end 2023.
So how do you beat the stress and take back control of an overflowing email inbox?
Here are some best practices you can implement today:
Unsubscribe from unwanted promotional emails.
If you work in a corporate environment, this may not be an issue for you as promotional email and spam is filtered out at an organization-wide level. In smaller companies or personally, it is still relevant. I recommend you unsubscribe from all non-essential newsletters and advertisements. They can become overwhelming and clutter up your important messages.
Here’s an easy and quick way to unsubscribe. Search your emails for the word “unsubscribe.” Review the search results and determine which you’d like to continue to receive. Open the ones you’d no longer want to receive and click their unsubscribe link.
Work your inbox intentionally.
Block out and schedule time in your calendar to work your inbox intentionally. The amount of time required for reviewing email and replying will depend on how frequently you check messages and how many you typically receive.
Some clients I work with find it more effective to dedicate 15-20 minutes twice or three times a day, at regularly scheduled times. For example, 8a-8:10a to scan for urgent emails that may have come in overnight and reply; 12-12:15 and again at 5p-5:15. In the beginning, set a timer to make sure you stick to your scheduled time otherwise you may wind up getting lost in your inbox.
If you have hundreds or thousands of emails you may have to plan for longer time periods in the short-term until you get the emails down to a manageable amount; then use something like the above example for daily maintenance.
Use the 2 minute or less rule.
Use the 2 minute or less rule: answer emails in 2 minutes or less to get them out of your inbox. Short and sweet, just like this tip. Next.
Depending on your email client at work, most of these functions should be available for you to take advantage of in order to streamline your email management process.
Create folders to categorize emails that you need to save.
Organize your emails with labels. Labels are like folders, but you can add more than one label to a message.
Filters allow you to automatically manage incoming emails. You can do things like archive, delete, star/prioritize, move to junk, trash or other folders, and forward your incoming emails. For example, any emails from your manager can be set up to be marked as a priority/important with a star or different color so it stands out to you.
Lastly, manage emails before you open them by quickly viewing the sender and subject and then right-click to do things like move, archive, delete, mute, snooze, label, or filter.
Take Action Now
Implement one or more of the bits of advice above to beat the stress of your overflowing email inbox.
If you liked this information and found it useful, leave a comment below. Share how you used any of this advice and how well it worked for you, including the improvements in other areas of your work life or personal life now that you got back control of your email inbox.
Photo by Glenn Carstens Peters on Unsplash
Feeling a bit out of control these days, like most working professionals? Whether it’s work or personal stuff, the fast pace and demanding times we live in now can make life seem overwhelming.
Taking back control with simple, consistent steps can get you feeling better quickly: calmer, less stressed and more empowered.
The key is doing something each day for lasting results. Keep reading to learn how to use these strategies for your highest benefit.
The strategies are about getting organized using a two pronged approach: organized from the inside out, and organized from the outside in. Address the issue from both directions and you’ll get to where you want to be going (your goals) even faster.
Getting organized from the inside out
Getting organized from the inside out is about organizing your thoughts, beliefs, and ideas in your mind.
Experts estimate that the mind thinks between 50,000 – 80,000 thoughts a day. That’s an average of 2,100 – 3,300 thoughts per hour. That’s a remarkable number of thoughts.
Many of these are subconscious and repetitive thoughts: they’ve become efficient over time and run automatically. These are the thoughts that benefit us and lead to actions like walking, breathing, typing, driving a car, opening a door, etc. We don’t need to concern ourselves with these thoughts; they serve us well.
The thoughts we want to organize are the ones that don’t serve us. If you’ve ever meditated or even tried to study or focus on a work task, that’s when you become aware of the many irrelevant thoughts trying to get your attention.
They may be habitual and seem harmless, but a little deeper digging can bring these thoughts to the surface, to your conscious mind where you are now aware of them.
Once you’re aware of them, then you can ask some questions and determine if they are leading to poor results or sabotaging you from achieving your goals.
These thoughts may be creating feelings and beliefs, like fear, that are not supporting the dreams you have for your life.
Then we have new thoughts that we are aware of in the moment, like opinions or judgements about what’s happening now, or in the past or future.
These may be helpful, like thoughts about how to prepare for an upcoming staff meeting you’re leading, what you still need to do to prepare, when to schedule those tasks, and what the agenda will be.
Or you may have new thoughts that don’t serve you. It could be a negative thought that’s detrimental to your continued growth and development in life.
How to organize the mental noise and constant chatter
There are so many tools to help organize your mind and thoughts. What’s most important is to find a tool that works for you and stick with it.
Try one of my suggestions here, daily for at least 21 days straight. If you’re beginning to notice some positive shifts, keep it going.
A daily Thought Release each morning can really put things into perspective. Take about 5 minutes or more to write down your thoughts. Every single thought that crosses your mind: just observe the thought and write it down and move on to the next one. Its stream of consciousness writing, you’ll be writing the whole time. Some people call it a brain download, brain dump, thought download or even Morning Pages as described by Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way.
I like to call it a Thought Release process because I picture the thought being released from my mind as I write them in my journal. Most are unnecessary and don’t serve me, and are just clogging up the mind.
Another thing to try is reviewing these daily Thought Release thoughts and replace any repetitive negative thought with a better, more positive one.
Awareness of these thoughts is the first step, and then asking questions about it is step two. Is this thought even true (especially if a judgement)? Is it serving you? Is it helping you in some way? Do you really need or want it? Is it time to let it go and release it? Can you replace it with a better, more positive thought?
Lastly, meditation is a practice I encourage all of my clients to adopt. Meditation teaches you how to be still, to become more focused, and to lessen the stream of thoughts running through your mind.
It brings calmness, a sense of inner peace and more happiness to all aspects of your life, when practiced consistently. Read more about meditation and morning routines here.
Getting organized from the outside in
Getting organized from the outside in is organizing your external surroundings – your space. It involves organizing your home, your office or desk, and even your car.
This helps you live intentionally and have a physical space where every single thing in that space serves you. It has a purpose.
I’m an organized person. I don’t leave things laying around, and I don’t have closets or a garage full of things I’ve never used. I know many people who never use their garage to park their car because it is stuffed full of things they’ve never used or maybe used once, years ago. There’s so much stuff the car won’t fit.
Despite how organized I felt I was, last year I made an intentional commitment to organize myself even more. I went through the process I’m about to share here, and came up with 15 bags of things to donate – 15! And that’s not including items that were either thrown out or sold.
By going through this exercise, I knew I’d get benefits from it, but didn’t realize just how great I would feel.
You see, it’s not simply the removal of the physical items. It is the energy of those items, of that clutter and disorganization, and what it represents. Removing it impacts on your emotional and mental wellbeing too.
People say they feel lighter, obviously more organized and less stressed. They know what they have in their house or office or car, and can easily find it.
It’s easier to get ready in the morning when the closet it organized and you can see all the potential outfits you’d like to wear that day. The clutter is gone too, taking up space. All the duplicate pens, pencils, paperclips and rubber bands from desk drawers that are unnecessary – how many does a person need? I knew someone who had 8 pairs of scissors and 4 boxes of tacks – in one desk.
The kitchen is another area that could have a lot of items you never use. Tupperware and other plastic containers that are looking a little over used or that may have been used once 3 years ago, extra utensils that can be donated, and even pots, pans, serving bowls and platters that you don’t currently and never will use.
When people declutter and get organized, they feel more at peace when in these rooms, seeing everything in its place and even empty space in drawers and closets.
Benefits of getting organized
The empty space in shelves, drawers and closets is symbolic of making room for new opportunities to present themselves. That idea alone can provide the motivation you might need as you sift through all the shoes in your closet and hesitate giving up that new-ish pair of boots you paid so much money for, that hurt your feet every time you wore them (not serving you).
Another benefit of organizing your space is the sense of contribution you get. Knowing that you’ve only kept what is still useful to you, and that other people can now enjoy the items you donated.
That sense of contribution and sharing is very uplifting and makes donating these items an easier task, especially for things you may have an emotional connection to or that remind you of a cherished memory. For example, I had a whole boxful of stuffed animals that my mother collected that I received after my Mom passed away years ago. They were sitting in that box, unused, in great shape for years until last year. I decided to keep a couple of them and the rest were donated. Hopefully some children can enjoy and play with them now.
Now it’s your turn to take action
Now it’s your turn. I challenge you to take back some control in your life by getting organized. From the inside out, commit to the following:
- Daily thought release every morning as described above. Set a timer for 5 minutes or more and get those thoughts out. And if your mind races at night, thinking about work or worrying about everything, try the thought release exercise before bed too.
- If you notice you’re having a lot of negative thoughts during this daily thought release that don’t serve you, take some time to replace them with positive ones. For example, if you have a lot of thoughts about all the things at work that stress you out, write about how your work is serving and helping other people. Or if you keep thinking about a coworker’s negative comments to you, write one positive thing about that person.
- If you don’t already have a morning routine that addresses organizing your mind and thoughts, learn more in my blog called Connect to Success Every Day for Best Results where you can also get access to my Connect to Success Morning Routine Tool to use every day.
From the outside in, commit to the following:
- Block out one hour on your calendar for this weekend and select one part of your house, or car, or office/desk to organize. It’s best to take everything out of the closet or drawer or area, then look at each item and ask yourself some questions: when is the last time I used this, or wore this? If not within the past year, let it go. Does it make me happy? Does it serve me? Would someone else enjoy this more? Is it outdated (clothing, etc.)?
- Set a goal to organize one area every week. And then pay attention to the changes that follow.
Look for larger shifts that can occur after getting more organized.
For me, I felt like being more social. It included getting out more, meeting new people, taking day trips, and networking more with other business owners. It opened up space and energy for these new things.
Organizing the mind also opens up space and energy for you to be more aware of your thoughts, beliefs, and emotions too. You can discern which ones are or aren’t helpful, and then organize them and release the unhelpful ones.
Getting organized is a very powerful tool that increases your emotional intelligence and supports personal growth, and provides a sense of fulfillment and peace in the long term.
I’d love to hear about the progress you’ve made and the positive shifts you’re experiencing as a result of getting organized. Let me know in the comments.
Photo by Douglas Sheppard on Unsplash
Your time is your most precious commodity – and you need to treat it that way. One of the most common complaints I hear from clients, at least in the beginning of our coaching relationship, is that they don’t have enough time to get it all done.
They feel “out of control” most days. Back in my Corporate career, we’d try to make light of that feeling and say “I’m drinking from the firehose” again. What an image. It’s a terrible feeling to have, and if you’re experiencing that day after day the side effects of elevated stress, constant pressure and feeling out of control can be harmful to our health and wellbeing.
What if you could add more time into your day, giving you the ability to accomplish all your important tasks and still have the free time to do things to support your emotional, mental and physical wellbeing, like go for a walk, meditate, exercise, read for fun, and spend quality time with your loved ones?
Here are 3 proven ways to add more time into your day, so you can keep your stress levels low and productivity high. When you implement them, you’ll begin to see the benefits add up over time, including feeling back in control and better quickly.
1. Get Clear and Focus
Clarity is power. Getting clear about what’s important to you is the first step in taking back control of your time.
Then, focusing on and prioritizing daily tasks related to these important items is key to adding more time to your day.
Once you’re clear on your priorities, you can start minimizing, delegating or eliminating what’s not important to you. That frees up more time in your calendar for the important things.
Anytime someone asks for a meeting with you, asks you to volunteer to lead a project, or some other request comes in that will involve your time and energy – be vigilant and strong in your response. First ask yourself: does this investment of my time support my highest priorities and goals? If the answer is no, stay strong and decline the request.
I worked with many professionals that felt they could never say no. They were the most frustrated, stressed individuals who felt their time was not their own, because they made it that way. Remember, you do control your time, your calendar, and what you say yes or no to.
Sure, that sounds good, but what if you’re working in a high pressure environment where your manager or others are directing how you spend your time? I worked in that kind of environment for the majority of my Corporate career. What I found very useful when the tasks were piling up and beginning to get out of control, was to remind my manager of the priorities already on my list, and ask where these new items fit in.
There are a limited number of hours in the day and workweek, so other items will have to get eliminated, delegated to someone else, or postponed if new urgent items become the priority.
The goal to regaining control of your time is to focus on your top three: the three main things to accomplish at any one time. You could then do your best work. And as distractions came up you’ll be able to control them and refocus on those three items. By the end of the day you’ll have made significant progress on these three things, maybe even completing them all. How would that feel?
When was the last time you had a day like that? What if all your days could be like that?
Take action: how to get clear and focus
Writing things down helps provide clarity; just the power of writing things down helps most people feel less overwhelmed.
Let’s try a little exercise:
Write down all the things, big and small, that you want to get done this week. Write it all down – it’s so important to get it all out of your head and onto paper, your computer or mobile phone. Include the tasks, meetings and communications you need to handle and the required results for each.
Prioritize the list. Get clear on what is most important and prioritize your list so you know what to focus on first and what absolutely has to get done this week. If you’re like most people, you probably have 20 or more items on your list.
Human beings can only focus on a limited number of things at one time, and the smaller the number at one particular time, like 3 – 5 items or less, the less overwhelm and stress we’ll feel. Aim for 3 – 5 things at the top of the list that are a must for you to accomplish this week.
Next, we’re going to chunk it down even further into a more manageable plan.
2. Chunking: Replace Your To-Do List with a Daily Plan of Action
Chunking is a way to sort your to-do list by common and related tasks to make the list smaller and easier to accomplish these items.
It’s a psychological way to organize your list and to focus on desired results.
I learned of this concept from Tony Robbins, and here’s an example from his RPM overview page:
Original Task List:
- Buy dog food
- Buy cell phone for daughter
- Wash and fold laundry
- Prepare for meeting with CFO
- Review draft of Tax Return
- Drop off daughter at gymnastics
- Drop off son at soccer practice
- Create training plan for running group
- Run 6 miles in target heart zone
- Pick up daughter from gymnastics
- Pick up son from soccer practice
Chunking related items together:
- Prepare for meeting with CFO and Review draft of tax return go together
- Create training plan for running group and run 6 miles go together
- Dropping off and picking up children go together
- Buying dog food, cell phone, and washing and folding laundry all seem related to the house and family and can be grouped together
Now it’s your turn. Take your weekly list that you created earlier and look for commonalities.
You can break it down into common life areas like work/career, finances, relationships, health, spirituality, etc., and be sure to tie it back to the desired outcome you have in each of those areas.
By thinking about the bigger reason for your desired outcome, like a better relationship with your spouse, or to have more energy during the day, your ability to see the results you’re after and then to prioritize and focus on them becomes easier.
For example, if one of your results is to have a successful career and get promoted with a pay raise this year, items related to work can be chunked together and prioritized, like preparing for a meeting, having important conversations with your staff, and working on your departmental budget to reduce costs this quarter.
They all share the desired result (successful career, promotion, pay raise) and as you are prioritizing them and completing them, that desired result is a focus point.
So, chunk down your list to a smaller more manageable list with clear desired outcomes as the driver.
You’ll feel more productive and less stressed when you look at your to-do’s as desired outcomes you’re after, and as an action plan to get you closer to your biggest desires, rather than just unrelated items to check off for the day.
3. Use Timing Strategies to Your Advantage
Have you ever looked at the time and wondered to yourself where the day went?
And then felt frustrated or stressed because you felt you were working hard but didn’t get much done toward what’s really important in your life?
One way to increase your efficiency is by chunking specific work into certain days or time periods. Some people call it time blocking.
For example, you may want to begin every work day with 10-15 minutes to review your schedule, your task list/priorities/desired outcomes, and scan your email for any urgent items that came in overnight.
For weekly tasks, like when I do laundry on Saturday mornings, I also get my business paperwork and financial tasks done (paying bills, transferring money, etc.) since I’ll be at home anyway. I block out that 2 hours in my calendar and make it a recurring event. If I’ve got weekend plans or am teaching a class on Saturday, then I move that event in my calendar to Friday or late Sunday for that week.
What also works well for many people is assigning a limited amount of time to getting a task done.
This is an effective strategy for those of us who lean toward perfectionism and spend way too much time before completing something. For example, if you have an important presentation to draft, schedule 1 hour in your calendar, set a timer, close your door and ask not to be disturbed. And get it done.
Batching is another form of chunking that works really well, especially for reducing start up time for similar items. Take something you do every day or week and batch it. A lot of podcast producers batch their weekly shows, recording say 4 or 6 shows in one day, and doing that only once a month. It saves them time with setting up the equipment, getting prepared to record, etc.
Cooking meals is another thing you can batch. Busy families or even single or two person households can do most of their cooking for the week on Sundays. They’ll make a large meal or a few different meals that they can enjoy throughout the week, and possibly freeze some for another week. This way they are not having to focus on what meal to prepare, preparing it, cleanup, etc., every night of the week when they don’t have the time or energy for it after a long day. Just take it out of the refrigerator or freezer, heat it up and enjoy!
And one last thing about timing strategies, don’t try to multi-task. There’s no such thing as multi-tasking, our brains don’t work that way.
I worked remotely for the last 8 years of my corporate career, and with the numerous demands on everyone’s time, the attempt to multi-task was widespread. But here’s the thing: multi-tasking cannot be done with good results.
You may think you’re doing multiple things at a time, like answering an email while trying to have a conversation on the phone, while also reading and thinking about how to answer an urgent instant message. But that’s how errors are made.
Our brains work in a sequence so even though you may think you are doing these all at the same time, only one thing can be focused on and the other two are in a holding pattern until you return your attention to each.
I can’t tell you how many times I was talking on the phone to a colleague when I knew they weren’t listening to me. I could hear them typing on their keyboard, or I’d ask a question and get no answer. It was a waste of time for both of us – ineffective and frustrating.
Our brains cannot multi-task, they can only focus on one thing at a time, so if you want to be efficient and accurate and do things with a high level of quality, please stay focused and do one thing at a time.
Take Action Today
When it comes to adding more time into your day, try out one or more of the suggestions above to stay focused, balanced and frustration-free.
There are so many things competing for and demanding your attention in life. I ask that you make a conscious effort to decide in advance which things you’re going to focus and spend your time on, based on the areas in your life that truly matter.
This will help reduce any patterns you may have of being in constant reaction mode to the demands of the moment – the things that tend to stress us out and compromise our health and wellbeing.
Take action today and see how much better you feel, knowing that you do have control of your time and your life.
– Photo by Ellyot on Unsplash
Consistent and intentional daily practices, in particular morning routines, are one of the best tools to connect to achieving success in your life, professionally and personally.
Mornings set the tone for the rest of your day. That’s why many successful people have an intentional routine where they take care of their top priorities before the demands from work and others begins.
Why You Need a Morning Routine
We’ve probably all been there at one point in our lives where things felt out of control – think back when you were in your twenties. You overslept, and you’re running around getting ready quickly so you’re not late for work again. You finally do get to work, late and stressed, and the chaos of the workday begins. Not a great beginning to a productive, fun workday.
Contrast that to getting up early, maybe meditating or getting in some exercise, and filling up with positive energy and inspiration. You’ll start the day feeling accomplished, at ease, and ready for anything that your workday may have in store.
Having a pattern of starting the day off in that hectic, frazzled way leads to progressively worse things. Things that can cause pain, injury, hurt feelings, or financial loss.
I’ve seen it all in my HR career and with my current coaching clients, things like strange accidents (slipping on ice and injuring yourself), speeding tickets, car accidents, being short-tempered with people, productivity issues, inability to concentrate and get tasks done, frequently getting sick, and a general lack of energy.
The Benefits of a Morning Routine
An intentional morning routine provides a sense of control, and sets you up to have a productive day. A morning routine makes the most of your time and your busy schedule.
And, as this morning routine becomes a habit, it frees up space in your mind to focus on other things and strive for bigger aspirations.
It helps change your mindset, training your brain to approach the day in a more focused and productive frame of mind.
In addition to optimizing your time, a morning routine like the one I’m outlining below contains three distinct areas to support (1) your mental and emotional health, (2) your physical wellbeing, and (3) your spiritual side, the bigger picture as I like to call it, your soul’s wellbeing. It’s the complete package!
My Connect to Success Morning Routine Tool (Get it below)
I created this morning routine after years of practicing and studying this topic. It needed to be fun, effective in its use of time and the results it brings, and easy enough that people could follow it and make adjustments to ensure they stayed consistent.
This is a complete, intentional way to set up your day for success. When you commit to it and stay consistent, you’ll see the improvements you’re striving for, and unexpected ones too.
The Connect to Success Morning Routine consists of purposeful activities that can be done in minutes, in fact, it’s best to start off slow and build up to a longer routine. Most people enjoy the process, and the positive changes they’re getting, and begin going to bed and waking earlier, so they can expand their morning routine to 20 to 30 minutes or longer.
It’s important to stay balanced and spend time doing activities in each of the 3 areas. Activities include decluttering your mind, visualization and affirmations to stay on track with your goals and priorities, reading inspirational books, finding peace and calmness with prayer or meditation, and being sure to move your body.
This isn’t a big time commitment. In fact, if you aren’t doing anything in the mornings now, except showering, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and heading to the office – you owe it to yourself to try this out for 21 days.
And you’ll find the more consistent you are, sticking to it every day, the better the results over the long term. Make it a habit, just like brushing your teeth.
I urge you to create a morning routine that works for you. Make sure it’s comprised of each of the three areas I mentioned above, and challenge yourself to make it a non-negotiable habit you’ll practice every day for the next 21 days.
Evaluate Your Progress and Make Adjustments
Get my Connect to Success Morning Routine Guide & Checklist below that you can use every day.
At the end of 21 days, evaluate your morning routine for its effectiveness and adjust as necessary. Ask yourself:
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
- What parts of this morning routine do I really enjoy?
- Do I feel more energized and focused throughout the day?
- Am I more aligned with what my priorities are?
- Are my loved ones or work colleagues noticing a positive difference in me?
- What could I add or remove from this morning routine for even better results?
Make any changes to your routine, and keep up the good work.
One of my clients felt calmer and less anxious after only 1 week, and decided to adjust her morning routine from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. She especially enjoyed the peace and quiet and the spiritual part of it – she would read passages from the bible. She credits her new morning routine with feeling less frustration and more enjoyment in her high-stress work life.
Whatever your goals, a morning routine can help you connect to your priorities, optimize your life and keep you on track to reach your highest goals and dreams.
By decreasing stress and fatigue and helping you focus on the task at hand, morning routines can make a significant positive impact on your day-to-day life and your long-term aspirations.
Life coaching is one of the leading tools successful people use to reach their highest potential – professionally and personally.
The personal coaching industry has grown in popularity in recent decades and is currently over a $1 billion dollar industry in America. It’s one of the fastest growing industries in recent years and its total market projected growth is over 5% per year, to $1.38 billion by 2022.
In the past, coaching was most seen at the highest levels of corporations or in the entertainment industry. These days, all types of people work with life coaches: business owners, executives, entrepreneurs, professionals, athletes, etc.
It doesn’t matter what professional level, age, life stage or status, most life coaching clients have a few things in common: they’re smart, successful and capable individuals who want to get even more out of their lives.
Here are 5 reasons successful people hire a life coach.
- Successful people want faster, better results.
Life coaching propels a client toward achieving their goals faster than they could on their own, and sometimes achieve goals they may never achieve on their own.
The synergy of two people, both client and coach, is powerful. Both parties are focused on and working for the client and that always increases effectiveness and speed.
- Successful people want personalized goals and strategies for their specific challenges and life circumstances.
A life coach works individually with clients to help them discover and better understand who they are and what they really truly want. They may use assessment tools or strategically ask the deep questions to help uncover what’s most important to the client.
Then the life coach works with the client to create and develop plans and strategies to achieve their goals.
The process is so effective because the life coach is focused on the client and their best interests, and integrates what the client really wants with what will work best for them as an individual.
- Successful people feel stuck too, and want to improve their performance in one or more areas of life.
Even successful people may feel stuck in certain areas of their life. They’ve tried different approaches but it doesn’t seem to improve…month after month, even year after year. They’ve exhausted all possibilities and need help.
Every life area can be a focus for improvement: work, health, finances/money, relationships (intimate, family, friends), spirituality, fun, hobbies, and growth/learning.
A person’s profession and the work they’ve been doing for 15 or 20 years may not be fulfilling anymore, and they have no desire to progress to the next level there. Their heart isn’t in it anymore and they’re not sure what to do next.
Other people still love their work, but may feel the need to improve their performance at work after a particularly challenging quarter or year, or to resolve specific conflicts they’re having at work.
Sometimes people want to improve their confidence in a certain situation, or improve their relationships with family members.
And health and wellbeing are also popular areas for improvement through life coaching. I see this as a new priority for people who excel at work or in taking care of others (parents, children, partners) and then their own health and wellbeing takes a backseat.
- Successful people want more clarity about their life and what options are available to them
We all go through major changes throughout our lives: new jobs/careers, marriages, divorces, finding a new partner, creating a new business, or experiencing financial ups and downs.
Getting really clear on the next best step as people embark in these new experiences, and evaluating your best options is key to future success.
Some people are interested in exploring their life purpose, they know or feel there is something missing and need focused work with a life coach to determine what it is.
Professional life coaches are skilled at asking powerful questions, listening to what the client is saying or not saying, building trust, keeping the client focused and showing empathy and support. These skillsets foster clarity, prioritization, consistency in follow through and achieving phenomenal results.
- Successful people want a trusted partner to help them design and achieve their desired future.
Trust is key in the coaching relationship. Sure, people can get advice and help from friends, family or other professionals but there may be other motives involved and your trust may be broken. In fact, many people don’t feel comfortable opening up at work or in certain relationships because it makes them feel vulnerable.
As a trusted partner, a professional life coach places the client’s needs ahead of their own in the coaching relationship, and adheres to a code of ethics and standards.
The coaching relationship grows stronger over time, but in my experience clients feel at ease and openly share their thoughts and feelings rather quickly. They understand it is a safe, professional environment and that I’m here to help.
Because life coaching is action-oriented, and focused on the present and future, designing plans and taking action steps are natural outcomes of coaching sessions. Life coaches provide accountability and help the client stay the course toward achieving goals that support their future state.
Choosing a Life Coach
In choosing a life coach, make sure they’re a good fit for your needs and have the skills of a professional coach plus additional experience to help you achieve your goals efficiently and effectively.
You may want someone that has experienced the same challenges as you, or has a similar background so they understand the nuances of what you are going through on a daily basis.
For example, I coach driven corporate professionals and business owners who have a tendency to work too much. I relate really well with them because of my background working in Corporate HR, now owning my own business, and my own experience of learning how to effectively deal with overwork and overstress.
Many life coaches offer exploratory calls where you and the coach can test each other out, and I suggest you pay attention during that call for the skills mentioned above. Trust your gut about the connection you have with the life coach, and if you’d work well together to achieve the results you want.
A coach who makes you feel inspired, keeps you accountable and focused, and helps you get into taking action is absolutely worth your investment of time and money to achieve your highest potential in life.
Are you ready to gain greater insight into your work or life challenges and see how Energy Rapport™ Coaching can help? Book a free Insight call with me here.
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It’s that time of year again – the holidays! If you’re like most people, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year.
Are you missing a loved one this year? The holidays seem to amplify that feeling of loss and sadness.
We may think of the quirky things they did, like my Mom always burning the Thanksgiving dinner rolls – every year! We even joked about that at her funeral.
After my grandparents died, we’d always remember them in a prayer before our holiday meal, and I witnessed how upset all the adults at the table would get, many crying for a few minutes. It’s a very emotional part of the year.
And for our loved ones that we’ll be spending time with, family dynamics and challenges in certain family relationships could cause some stress.
And then we have the gift giving of the holiday season. It’s a main stressor that can bring up a lot of issues for people, like a perceived lack of money to buy gifts, not getting the right gift or worrying if someone gives you something and you have no gift in return, and don’t forget about shopping for gifts with crowded stores and long lines. Ah, the holidays.
Here are my 8 tips for a stress free holiday season:
1. Minimize your to-do list. Make your list and then go through each item and ask, “Is this really necessary? If I don’t do this, what will happen?”
Remove, simplify or delegate at least half of the items from your original list to avoid overstretching yourself. Set yourself up for success this season.
2. Shop early, and wrap gifts as you go. As a young adult for some reason I’d wait to go shopping on Christmas Eve, and remember feeling my blood pressure rising from trying to find gifts when most of the inventory was gone, and then staying up to all hours that night wrapping those gifts – so stressful, and so unnecessary.
If only I took this advice back then, to shop early and wrap as you go.
Bonus tip: put sticky notes on the wrapped gifts to remind you what’s inside, just be sure to take the notes off before you deliver the gift!
3. Buy food, don’t cook or bake. Shopping for ingredients, preparing the food, cooking every night for weeks after working all day – this is a recipe for exhaustion (pun intended).
Grocery stores, bakeries and the freezer department at the big discount retailers have delicious, pre-baked holiday appetizers, meals and desserts.
Or, you can even buy your whole meal already prepared at the grocery store to heat and serve, or make reservations at a restaurant and not have any cleanup involved.
The time and effort saved allows you to spend the holidays on more important and satisfying things, like visiting with family and friends and having meaningful conversations with those you love, instead of working in the kitchen and missing all the fun.
4. Or, if it’s not the holidays for you without home-made food, then plan to have finger food and appetizers, not a huge feast.
For me, there’s one dish we always had growing up and it’s just not Christmas without them: Polish pierogi. I found a European deli nearby that sells pierogi similar to the ones my grandmother made from scratch, and they’re so easy to prepare.
It’s easier on the cook and your guests will thank you when they don’t feel like they’ve overindulged.
You can even share the work by making it a pot-luck holiday event – I did that one Thanksgiving and it really took the pressure off me as the host.
5. Remember what the holidays are really about: a celebration of gratitude and love.
Gratitude for all the blessings we have and taking time to spend with your loved ones. Everything else comes in a distant third.
Consciously take time to appreciate all the abundance in your life: all the love, your health, your family, and your friends. Meditating, praying or journaling about this leading up to the holidays and during them is a daily practice.
Be an example to others throughout the season: hold the door for someone, smile at strangers, laugh and enjoy!
6. Ask for help. For many of us, including me, asking for help doesn’t come easy.
But don’t ignore the power in asking for help – there is no reason why you have to do everything on your own.
My mother never asked for help, until the night before and by that time she was in full-on panic mode, stressed out, lashing out, yelling, rushing around, and generally miserable.
Plan ahead, delegate as much as possible and don’t feel guilty about receiving help from others; instead remember that people want to help and don’t want to come over empty handed, so just ask them to bring a salad, or a dessert, or a particular side dish of theirs that you love, so you don’t have to shop for and make it all yourself.
The same goes for cleaning up. I hosted Thanksgiving a few years ago, and all my guests insisted I sit and relax while they cleared the table, put all the leftovers away, and washed and dried all the dishes! When everyone helps out, it’s easier and gets done much more quickly.
7. Take action to stay healthy. Listen to your body and keep a careful watch for any of these signs, and make immediate changes before they worsen:
- Not sleeping well, unable to fall asleep easily or not feeling rested when you wake up.
- Feeling irritable, moody and unhappy – snapping at people when they don’t deserve it.
- Exhaustion and fatigue – not just tired, but extremely tired to the point where you feel you can’t function or you need a nap in the middle of the day.
- Physical issues like headaches, stomachaches, joint pain, overall body achiness, and catching frequent colds and illnesses (a sign your immune system is low).
If you’re experiencing any of these, it’s a sign to slow down, figure out what could be the cause, and take steps to alleviate these symptoms. Some ideas are in #8….
8. Plan time to take care of yourself.
Don’t worry about having your house, your decorations, your food, everything – be perfect for everyone else’s benefit, at the expense of your physical and mental health.
Plan some time for yourself: it could be a walk outside, a yoga or exercise class, quiet time alone to meditate, a warm Epsom salt bath, or book an Energy healing or massage session.
It’s all about balance and this self-care is important for your wellbeing.
Sometimes, you must put yourself first so that you can be your best you for your family and friends this holiday season.
Use one or more of these tips and make it a wonderful holiday season to remember for years to come.
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