Productivity Tip: What to do when something feels WAY too big to even begin

What overwhelms you? Your to-do list? Email inbox, dirty house, or the blank page of a major undertaking you keep putting off? It seems like the bigger the thing, the more we want to put it off. It’s possible to spend more energy on worry and anxiety about doing the task than it takes to just do the task, right?

Some of the most useful advice ever given to me was from my first writing mentor Jennifer Meyers, a prolific professional writer who took me under her wings many years ago, when I had nothing more than promise and a winning smile. She taught me how to face the blank page and get thousands of pages written on deadline.

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Career Killer: Staying in Your Comfort Zone and Stalling on the Big Stuff

What’s the work you always put off doing? The really big important stuff, right? It’s easier to knock off a few little tasks. Makes you feel productive! But avoiding larger projects and strategic thinking can be a career killer for anyone wanting to grow their career. So often those are the projects that get us noticed.

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4 Ways to Wade Through Low Motivation and Stay Productive

When you have a long to-do list and low motivation, how do you stay productive? A coaching client posed this question to me on Thursday. I knew exactly what he was struggling with. It’s been a hot September week here in California. My body wants to kick back and stay relaxed like it’s still summer. My mind knows that it’s fall, and the typical crush of 4th quarter work is barreling down on us. Now is the time to get in gear, not fall behind. But getting myself to be productive feels like wading through mud. Read more

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Looking for More Time in the Day? Focus Your 1:1 Meetings

It doesn’t seem to matter whether the economy is booming and work is pouring in, or the economy is down and you’re scrambling to keep clients and get everything done with a lean staff. There is a perpetual Big Squeeze for time. Nearly every business leader I coached last week was facing the same dilemma: where do you find more time when you’ve been over-committed for years and there’s nothing left of your life to squeeze more time from?

One of the executives I spoke with last week described how her organization had advised everyone to block out 30% of their time for the unexpected. Sounded like a wise plan to me. But she reported her “unexpected” workload regularly far exceeded that 30% figure. When I probed on exactly what the unexpected work looked like, it turned out that recent layoffs and reorganizations were causing even more impromptu 1:1 meetings and phone calls than usual. “It’s where I lose the most time every day,” she told me. “People drop by my office unexpectedly, my calendar is crowded with 1:1 meetings. I never know how long these things are going to take. They eat up my whole day.”

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Getting Things Done: 5 Things I Learned From David Allen

Everyone I coach struggles at some point with how to get more done and focus on what’s most important for their life or career. I’ve learned a lot from one of my long-time clients about David Allen’s approach to Getting Things Done. This client has a typically complex life and work role that requires him to track a myriad of small details, manage projects that require short and long-range thinking, while still maintaining a strategic focus. Sound familiar?

One of my client’s main goals is to feel really masterful in his productivity and focus. It’s been impressive to hear how Allen’s approach keeps my client focused, on task and able to track the full complexity of his job.

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Move Toward Desire to Reach Your Goal

I woke up one day with 15 pounds on me that had never been there before. Do you know this one? I know I was there every day while it happened, but somehow it snuck up on me and I was living in a body that didn’t seem to be my own. I missed myself.

Suddenly I was faced with the mountain of advice and struggle that so many people I know go through every day. For a year I struggled to pick out what might work best for me and give it a try. No results. A lot of money spent. A litany of reasons why I couldn’t work out today, why I couldn’t make more changes in my diet.

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Developing Resilience: How to Bounce Back, Remain Fresh, and Achieve Peak Performance, Even During Stressful Times

Have you ever wished you could get more done at work, sleep better at night, and have more energy for life? Do you ever struggle with exhaustion, depression, or lack of focus? My interview with Sue Read is full of powerful, simple things you can do to:

  • sleep more deeply, wake feeling rested
  • maintain steady energy throughout the day
  • gain at least one to two extra hours of productive focus each day
  • rejuvenate your brain to maintain peak performance and mental focus
  • feel more energy, happiness, and balance in life

Sue is a former elite athlete with years of deep training and experience as a clinical psychologist, business coach and trainer. She combines her knowledge of physiology, human emotions, and achieving peak performance to give you simple advice you can easily apply to your life.

Interview with Sue Read  « Click arrow to listen

Stress Weighing You Down? Find Energy and Motivation in Work When You’re No Longer Inspired or Fulfilled

How do you keep going when life is stressful and challenging? Where do you find the will and energy to continue? When your work no longer inspires and fulfills you, but it just isn’t possible to find another job or position yet, how can you keep your energy and momentum going?

In part 2 of my interview with Sue Read, learn how to stay motivated even in the most challenging of times:

  • how connecting to meaning and purpose can reduce your stress and dramatically increase how much you enjoy going to work
  • the most important foods to include in your diet to rebuild your brain for peak performance, well being, and overall resilience

Sue draws from the work of Victor Frankl, a thought-leader in the field of resilience, as well as what she has learned through her research as a Clinical Psychologist, her work with hundreds of professional clients, and her own personal experience as a former elite athlete whose career came to an abrupt end when she suddenly found herself in hospital, paralyzed.

Click here  if you missed Part 1 of my interview with Sue, “Developing Resilience: How to Bounce Back, Remain Fresh, and Achieve Peak Performance, Even During Stressful Times”

Interview with Sue Read, Part 2  « Click to listen

Fear is Your Friend

With all the “think positive” advice out there, what’s a person to do with their fear, anxiety, worry and other “negative” emotions? Block them? Stomp them out?

I have found it useful for myself and my coaching clients to think of fear as a friend. All of our behaviors, beliefs and feelings have a positive intention behind them. Constricting feelings like fear and anxiety exist to keep us safe from something, like failure, embarrassment or pain. They broadcast loudly to get our attention. (Robert Dilts, an outstanding thought-leader in NLP, provides excellent detail on the concept of positive intention.)

What I do with constricting emotions like fear, worry and anxiety makes all the difference. If I let them hobble me and stop my progress, then I’ve missed their gift. If I stop and listen carefully to those emotions, there’s always a useful message about what I want and need to feel balanced and take the next steps along my path.

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Why You Need a Mini Retreat, and 5 Ways to Take One Today

Everyone loves a vacation. But when you’re in career crunch-time, whether you’re a business owner or an employee, it can be difficult to set aside the time, money, and energy needed for a real respite from the daily grind.

We all have times in life when we get overloaded with work and feel overwhelmed and exhausted. I tend to be in ‘driver’ mode most of the time, so my inclination is to put my head down and try to push through it. Instead of taking a break, I’ve asked myself – why not work a little harder for a little longer and get everything done so I can take a real vacation? Have you ever said this to yourself?
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