Pause Life Coaching

Blog

Do you keep a to-do list? Some of us do and maybe we lose the darn thing. Perhaps our to-do list makes us feel like garbage at the end of the day when we only notice what we did NOT get done.

I have a complicated relationship with to-do lists. They are undeniably useful for plotting out your day or week ahead of time, and they can be a great way to hold yourself accountable for getting things done.

But they are designed to remind you of all the things you haven’t done. As soon as you cross off one task, another one or two or 10 await you. The whole exercise can be a dispiriting reminder that no matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish, there will always be more work to do until you die.

Focusing on what’s next (for example: our to-do lists) means we skate right past our wins, no matter how big or small they are. Students don’t celebrate a good grade on a test but instead start worrying about the next test. You finish a project at work and you rush to start the next thing you’re behind on.

Because of the discouraging nature of to-do lists, I’ve added a Ta-Da or Done List to recognize what I’ve accomplished. I call my Done List a Ta-Da List because it sounds more celebratory and fun. After all, celebrating your wins is the whole purpose of the Done List. 

A ta-da list is a log of the tasks you’ve completed. Keeping a ta-da list has the power to feed your motivation, and heighten positive emotions like joy and pride. It can make creative productivity more sustainable by helping you experience a sense of progress for work that matters to you.

The idea behind the Ta-Da or done list is simple, regardless of what the list looks like. Keeping track of what you do makes you feel productive, which makes you feel happy and energized, which translates into more productivity going forward.

The simple act of writing down and keeping track of what you accomplish is motivating. Your done list gives you credit for the full breadth of your accomplishments, capturing everything that came up during the day that might not have been preordained by your to-do list.

To be honest, the main reason I keep maintaining my Ta-Da list is that it feels good. Unlike most productivity hacks, it doesn’t feel like a chore or like something I’m making myself do; it feels like a pleasure. I get a buzz of self-satisfaction every time I update it. (For what it’s worth, it does not take much time to maintain—I spend maybe 30 seconds a day updating the list.)

You might roll your eyes at me for wanting to pat myself on the back for every little thing I get done. Butmost productivity techniques require a little self-trickery.

The process of reflecting and writing down what you’ve done – creating a  ta-da list,  has the almost magical effect of amplifying motivation and productivity at tasks that matter. 

When we reflect on progress, we practically metabolize it. Jot down completed tasks, and view them as “wins,” or progress towards your final goal(s), and you can externalize and recognize them. ” 

Small wins have power beyond themselves – Momentum

Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.
If reflecting on our wins makes them seem more “real,” and small wins help generate more and often larger wins, the least we can do is write down our accomplishments, right?

Wins also heighten positive emotions and intrinsic motivation, which result in more creative productivity.

Given that we can’t always control external sources of motivation, like recognition from our boss, family and peers, drawing from our internal well of motivation by recognizing wins is a success strategy. The ta-da list means that we can create motivation no matter where we find ourselves or what’s happening around us.

How to implement a Ta-Da List

Keeping a done or ta-da list in addition to your to-do list is a quick and simple way to increase success and well-being. How do you create these lists in a way that fits your needs?

Here are some approaches to try. 
  • At the end of each day, jot down your wins for the day. Research suggests that handwriting activates different, critical areas of the brain that affords us clarity over typing.
  • At weeks end, review your ta-da list. Share with a friend, boss, co-worker or spouse your wins and ask them to share their wins. Speaking, requires translating thoughts into words, which externalizes those thoughts and allows us to see them for what they are so we can celebrate and move forward.
  • Got a project that feels overwhelming? Keep a done list for each project you work on. This can help you experience a sense of progress towards completing the project. 
    Why not trick yourself into feeling better about your work, just by paying closer attention to how you actually spend your time?

    How amazing would it feel to end each day focusing on your accomplishments, rather than the never-ending mountain of tasks waiting for you come morning?

    How do
    you recognize your progress for maximum results? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

other logo

Video 1 – Is It Social Anxiety?

Learn where social anxiety comes from and what it looks like. Use the Social Anxiety Symptom Checklist to discover if you or your kids have Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD).

SAD & ADHD   Right Click to Download

Social Anxiety Symptom Checklist Right Click to Download

I INVITE YOU TO SHARE YOUR KEY TAKE AWAYS BELOW IN THE LEAVE A REPLY BOX Read More

SERIOUSLY? Why am I crying?”

I was shocked as tears welled up as I hugged my daughter goodbye at the curbside of her dorm, as she launched into 2nd semester of her freshman year.

My daughter reassured me she was going to be ok. But, I already knew that.

“THIS is why I’m crying,” I sobbed, as she squeezed me tighter.

“You’ve grown up so much in the past few months, and I’m proud of the young woman you’re becoming and it makes me miss you in a whole new way,” I said

“Uh-huh” she replied with a goofy face, reverting back to the girl I knew.

“Keep making good choices, please,” I reminded her as my mind swirled with some of the stories she’d shared that painted a much-too-vivid picture of the actual reality of her stressful, anxious life at college.

This goodbye was different from the one in August, when we dropped her off at college for a brand-new chapter of her life and ours. That was a monumental goodbye—a milestone moment signifying the end of an era—full of hopes, dreams, and the anticipation of the unknown.

The second semester departure contained the anticipation of the “known”—a recognition of her new reality and the good and bad that came with it.

Read More

Are you a people pleaser? Has being busy and stressed out become a badge of honor you wear every day? Do you struggle with saying “no” to someone or something? Are there particular people in your life where “yes” comes flying out of your mouth before you even stop to think about what you actually want?

Most of us have been there too because generally speaking saying yes is easy. Saying no, well, that takes a little more courage!

In reality, saying yes all the time to please others is actually incredibly fake, builds resentment, and is a complete disservice to those you are saying yes to, when really you want to say no.

For some saying no comes easier than others. Studies have shown, women suffer from this more-so than men. Many of my ADHD clients describe themselves as “people pleasers.” Fear of saying no is real. The best way to avoid these fears is simply to say yes.

When you can’t say no, do you:

  • Fear being rejected or thought poorly of by others
  • Worry that the other person won’t like you anymore or badmouth you
  • Hold a belief that you are being selfish if you say no
  • Fear conflict with others
  • Want to be “nice” and seen as someone who contributes selflessly to others (even if you resent saying yes and contributing!)
  • Attach your self-worth to how many things you do for others
  • Allow other people’s priorities to become your own priorities (for reasons above)
  • Let others start to get used to you saying yes all the time, making finding your no even more challenging.
We have mostly been trained from a very young age that saying no is wrong or not okay. How many times did your parents get angry at you if you said no to doing something? Did you get sent to your room or grounded? Many of us have been stripped of our permission to say no from very early on.

So it’s no wonder that many of us have lost the art of saying no. But it’s not all bad news, because saying no is just like a muscle that hasn’t been used in a while. You can still train it back into shape!

Here are some tips that will help get your “no”-muscle back into shape so that you can focus on what matters to you and start prioritizing what you want for your life.  Read More

As I send my two oldest daughters off to college my fear of them sitting alone at lunch or hiding by the gym lockers have moved to fear of them locking themselves up in their dorm rooms isolated and lonely.

I think my own social anxiety is triggering these fears. In my heart, I know my girls will push through the “uncomfortable” that always accompanies new experiences. I’m also a realist and know anxiety is a heavy load to carry.

For some students, be it 6th graders, high schoolers or college students, another year of school is another year of anxiety filled moments. Academic stress, athletic competition, social pressures and personal insecurity makes the start of school overwhelming and intimidating.

So much focus is put on academics and we forget the highest anxiety moments are the social ones. Since when is lunch the highest stress point of a student’s day? Sadly, it is the reality for more students than you’d think.

For students who live with ADHD, anxiety and depression, the “back-to-school” period is especially troubling. For many the fear of the unknown – like a new teacher, new school, or new schedule – can cause or exacerbate feelings of social anxiety. For students with ADHD these fears are magnified as their over-active minds play out one potential social catastrophe after another.

Read More

College drop-off day is around the corner – Again!

Two years ago I hugged my oldest of 3 daughters goodbye at college and watched her walk into the next chapter of her life.

It was hard.

Really hard.
It was one of the hardest, most dreaded days of parenthood I’d ever experienced.

Sounds dramatic. I know I was sending her off to college, not war.

And still, the memory of that day is seared into my brain, along with some unexpected painful moments that snuck up on me in the weeks and months that followed.

And now only two years later I have another child packing up her room to head to college.

Recently, I’ve been rehashing what I learned the first time around. What I know for sure is that looking back and feeling sad robs me of being present for the moment I’m in now.

This time I give myself permission to feel sad, to miss them and then to get on with finding my new normal.

From drop-off day to the months that followed, this is how finding my new normal went down the first time.

Read More

Wouldn’t you just love to see your teen beaming with confidence, accepting herself for who she is, not for what others want her to be, and feeling strong on the inside?

It’s so important that your teen cultivate self-confidence now.Following are  5 powerful strategies that can help build up your teens confidence from the inside out.
Read More

The shocking answer…anyone who is in your teen’s contact list or in their social media feeds. That’s a lot of people your teen is curling up with every night.

Statistics bore me. But these stats hit a chord with me.

  • 95% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their phone right next to their bed.
  • 25% of people don’t silence their phone before going to bed.
  • 10 % of people are woken by notifications of texts, tweets, snapchats and emails.
  • 50% of people will check their phone if they wake in the night.

And our teens are always “on” because of FOMO (aka Fear Of Missing Out) Read More

Do you remember being a kid and wanting to be a grown-up? Did you think this was what you were in for?

If you’re like many American’s you’re overworked, anxious and maybe even depressed.

Weekends give most of us the chance to downshift and recharge. But we don’t treat them as sacred. Downtime almost always gets pushed aside to catch up or get ahead on our work instead.

You’re exhausted. But you’re not happy. Not really happy.

When did being happy become second to being productive?

It can be especially difficult for those with ADHD because you’re constantly feeling like your behind and aren’t as productive as you or others want you to be.

PLAY may be the cure to, low productivity, unhappy relationships, boredom and depression.

Read More

You suspect that, “I may have a bit of that ADHD.”

Perhaps you took my ADHD quiz.

Or you read an article. Someone showed you a checklist.
Maybe a family member has been diagnosed.

Now you’re worried. Wondering, “Do I have this mindset? Or could it be something else?”

Adult ADHD is real. It is estimated that 85% of adults living with ADHD are undiagnosed.

The general public is often surprised to learn that adults can have ADHD. While most people are aware children have ADHD, they don’t realize it also affects adults too. However, ADHD doesn’t disappear on your 18th birthday!

ADHD changes into adulthood. Hyperactivity lessens with age, and adults develop coping strategies; both consciously and unconsciously to help them succeed in the world. It means that ADHD is less visible to the casual observer.

Some adults have known since childhood that they have ADHD. However, what they are now experiencing are different challenges. Learning skills on how to do well in school, are now replaced with the need to learn how to do well in a work environment, manage a household and take care of finances etc.

You may wonder what’s the point of getting a diagnosis? You’ve made it this far in life, why bother?

You think the only reason to get a diagnosis is if you want to use medication as a treatment and you’re not interested in medication.

Fact, if you are an adult with ADHD, getting a diagnosis is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.

Here’s why: Read More

Feeling crazed and exhausted every day? I know the feeling. The fix sounds simple…make self-care a non-negotiable priority.

It’s likely if you’re not recharging your battery every single day, you’re walking around haggard, crabby, and resentful.

The first step in self-care is to be gentle and kind to yourself. Practice self-compassion.

Next, give yourself permission to get support around your self-care. Yes, you can ask for help. It’s a positive healthy part of life.

Now, make a commitment with your spouse, a friend, your sister, anyone who loves you a lot and scares you just a little to hold you accountable. Ok? You got your person? Good.

Lastly, be realistic. I know you have superhuman powers. After all you’re a woman. It goes without saying. Choose just one of the following hacks to start. Not all of them. Once you’ve made one of these part of your life, add on another. Read More

Have you ever experienced the “What did I come in here for?” phenomenon?

In everyday life, it’s what happens when you walk into a room and forget why you are there! Happens to everyone. How do you know you’re simply having “one of those days” or if it’s something more?

It’s ironic that people with ADHD often forget things because their memories are actually good. Read More