For the last 23 years I’ve been working with coaching clients who want to improve executive function skills. What are executive function skills, you ask? Here’s a list from the Guare & Dawson Model. Metacognition — Being able to observe yourself and be aware of your own thinking. Build self-monitoring and self-evaluation skills. Planning/Prioritizing — Create, then […]
Focus and Mindset
You may have heard the “big” news. Marie Kondo, the author of the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has decided she’s given up trying to keep things so tidy. It’s true. The lady who “could not suppress a gasp” when she saw a client’s socks rolled into balls for storage, now says that with
You may remember the President’s Physical Fitness Test. A couple of times a year school-age kids were required to participate in specific exercise challenges to determine a level of fitness. Some kids were great at it. Other kids, like me, were scarred for years, even decades, from the torturous experience. Sounds like an overreaction doesn’t it?
A Harvard study resulted in the finding that humans are thinking about the past or the future – meaning not in the present -an eye-popping 47% of the time.
If a person sleeps seven hours a night, that leaves 17 remaining hours. Fully eight of those are spent not being in the present.
I’ve tried meditation off and on for over a decade, but hadn’t been able to make a consistent practice stick. I’m not certain what’s different about now, but something is.
This meditation practice started when I read 10% Happier by Dan Harris. He’s a successful, competitive, cynical, sometimes hard-edged reporter for ABC who, after having an on-air panic attack, turned to meditation. I liked him instantly because he didn’t approach meditation with a “group hug in the harmony hut” mentality. I could relate to him.
My accountability partner mentioned that he shaved three minutes off his 5k time. If you’re a runner, you’ll know that’s a pretty big improvement. If you’re not a runner, just trust me, it is! Also, trust me when I say it’s a perfect analogy to how you can also be more successful at work.
Think about an initiative to grow your business you intend to tackle or perhaps a self-development program you’ve been meaning to start. Could be coming up with a robust marketing plan, writing that book, losing 10 pounds, getting a better job, becoming more active in a social cause, etc.
Got one? Good.
Now, you need to be able to answer this one-word question.
In the 17 years I’ve had my own business I’ve had a number of accountability partners. Some have been successful partnerships and others not. Right now, I’m in a great one. From the trenches, these tips will improve your chance of success.
Exercising in the most efficient way gets results faster. Same goes for work. Here are three things you can take from an exercise experience and apply them to work situations to get more done and have more energy, too.
Common wisdom would indicate that having goals is vital to achievement. But that’s not the whole story. In this instance as is so often the case, little shifts add up to big changes.
Like the little shift marking the difference between setting goals and making commitments.
Yesterday morning – a very busy morning — I noticed that our bathroom sink was leaking in a significantly distressing way. The day was packed with work commitments so I couldn’t get to it until the evening. I pulled off the faucet handles so no one would use the sink. (I could have left a note, you say? You’re a very funny person. A note that needs to be read? Hah!)
I’m pretty handy so I tried a few things but
You’re going on vacation but haven’t settled on a destination.
Should you fill up the car with gas or make airline reservations? Hard to say. Depends on where you’re going. Should you pack swimsuits or sweaters? Who knows — until you know where you’re going. Can you make it a long weekend or should you plan on 7-10 days. Tough to determine that until you know how much time you’ll be spending getting to and from your destination.
It’s impossible to get to your destination and be prepared – if you don’t know where you’re going.
How much more productive could you be if the start and end to your workday were focused and organized?
Set up a quick system that allows you to go on autopilot at these two important times in your workday. Quick Start and Wrap Up Checklists give you a rock solid process to be as efficient as possible. See the sample lists below. The items on these lists are fairly obvious, (yours may be different) but without having these tasks written down
Do you talk to yourself? (Did you just ask yourself that question aloud?) When our son was still little enough to be strapped into a car seat behind me, every once in awhile he’d ask, “Mom, are you talking to me or to yourself?” It didn’t take him long to figure out that his mom
Yeah. That’s not a typo, though I’m pretty good at making those. Actually it started as a typo in a text and it struck me that it’s an upbeat way to start the year. In terms of action, “now” is all you get to make a difference in your life. Your past actions have an
You sit down at your desk in the morning and have every intention of working on most important task on your to do list. But before you get started you decide to make a quick check into email or maybe your social media feed, a news website or your favorite blog. Something you see while doing this rooting around inspires you to check out a related news site or perhaps something on YouTube. And you’re off. Off to the land of “Where the hell did the morning, go?”
Days are packed with tasks that need to be done. And if just looking at a giant list and choosing which to start on isn’t challenging enough, making the best choice about how to track all the items is a huge project in itself. There are dozens of software programs, apps, tools and methods to make sure your to do list isn’t just rattling around in your head. Which system is best?
It’s difficult to know for sure so
Last week was one for the record books in terms of busy-ness and stress. In addition to the regular work and family commitments, my husband was out of town, there were construction guys at our house, a big hunk of a neighbor’s tree fell on our fence, an out-of-town friend was staying with us, and I had a major role in a volunteer commitment that required me to be on live TV one day and emceeing the event for six hours the next day.
I require a fair amount of rejuvenation time and last week there
Focused people get the right things done. And we all want to get the right things done. Here, ten easy ways to increase focus.
1. Turn notifications off on your computer and smartphone. New emails are more likely to be distractions than urgent matters
2. Clear off your desk. You are less likely to be distracted by what you can’t see.
3. Do a brain dump of to do items. If you have multiple lists,
Using a timer to increase productivity works because it supports focusing long enough to get difficult or unpleasant tasks done. I’ve been touting this as smart idea since childhood. I learned it from my mom.
The simple idea is to set the timer for a short amount of time that you need to focus on a particular task and get to it. While the timer is counting down, no checking email or surfing the web.
That was the maddening (but effective) response from Val Strang when she would hear us whine about doing just a few more pushups or running one more hill in her brutal (but effective) bootcamp. And she was always right.
Same deal for business tasks. Quit yer whinin’ and get on with it.
Focus is pretty important, right? In fact in some jobs the ability to focus on the right thing at the right time can mean the difference between life and death.
Take pilots for instance. When landing an aircraft loaded with hundreds of passengers, it seems like a very good time
Last week our son was unscheduled so he and I tackled some projects around the house in between my work commitments. The result of one of our projects? — A porch-full of items for charity. I wanted to get rid of that stuff for a long while. But for some reason, last week it was like a fire had been set under us. Why the change in attitude about getting started?
While working with a client last week, we tackled an office project that had been weighing on her mind. As we worked on it, she looked at me and asked, “Why is this so much easier when you’re here?”
If you have more than a handful, perhaps even dozens of projects you want to be working on right now, you’re in good company.
Problem is, having all those projects on the agenda simultaneously erodes focus