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Coach Carlene

We are busy people. Our clocks are thin and tired, our schedules full and bloated.

But somehow we find a way to give our time to a host of wonderful distractions.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to finish that on-line course and then tell me about all those yummy recipes you’re going to try after watching hours of cooking shows.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to write your novel and then give me intricate plot details about the six shows you’re watching.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to update your resume and then update your social media accounts constantly.

There is a reason the average 21-year-old has played 10,000 hours of video games.

There is a reason the average American watches 35 hours of TV a week according to Nielsen.

Our minds running on auto-pilot is the reason!

We make hundreds of mindless choices every day that don’t naturally gravitate to things that matter or work we really care about. Our brains are always looking for the easy way out.

It’s all a big lie. You can’t control or manage time.

But you can control your choices.

It’s about managing yourself in the space of time.

You can’t create more minutes in an hour or more hours in a day.

But, you can find more minutes and hours when you make better choices.

Here’s a better choice:

Wait 15 minutes to turn on Netflix and do something that matters to you. Work on a skill. Take a tiny step to move forward on a goal. Check something small off your to-do list.

I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes hidden somewhere in your day.

Ready for the challenge?

I dare you to rescue that tiny amount of time each day and then watch what happens this summer. That first 15 minutes will grow to 30 and then 45 and then 60. By the end of the summer, you will have worked for 1.500 minutes. You will have 25, on purpose, goal-crushing hours under your belt.

If you’re with me, pick one skill or goal you want to give your 15 minutes to and then get going. It’s possible to find time. All it takes is making a better decision.

You’re constantly running from one thing to the next and not finishing anything like a hamster on a wheel. So of course you are stressed and overwhelmed.

One of the key ways I manage that kind of stress and overwhelm is batching.

Batching you ask?

Batching is when you dedicate chunks of time to work on similar tasks without any interruptions. These chunks of time will generally be at least two hours but can go on for multiple days.

Are you ready to discover some key areas in your life where batching will make all the difference?

There are so many great opportunities for batching, from administrative type tasks, to writing, to household chores.

You are about to become a batching machine!

I’ve been batching for years and have fine-tuned my process. Why reinvent the wheel? Take what works for me and see if you can use this time-tested strategy for your own life.

Are you ready to become a batching machine?

Here are some real life examples of batching. See what ideas these spark for you.

If you use social media in your profession, you might batch the writing of your social media posts for the week for three consecutive hours every Monday with no interruptions. Just three fully-focused hours creating social media posts. That’s a batch.

Batch going through your emails; unsubscribing, responding to the them or organizing them.

You might decide to batch other administrative tasks like making appointments on-line or via phone. I do this all the time. By themselves these are the annoying little things that I put off for later. Before I know it, I’ve got six appointments I’ve been putting off. So, I batch it. I make a list of the things I need to schedule, grab my planner, get on-line or make the phone call and schedule all of them. Boom, just like that I got six things off my to-do list and most importantly out of my head.

I batch my coaching sessions. I only coach on Mondays and Tuesdays. This allows me to get and stay in the coaching zone. I’m 100% focused on my clients and I’m not distracted by the hundreds of other things that come up. This is protected time.

I batch my errands. If I’m going to run out, I make a list of the places I need to hit. It could be the bank, grocery store, post office – you get the point. Call me crazy, but I map out my route so I’m not running back and forth from end of town to the other.

I batch write my blog posts, including this one. I set aside four hour blocks and create six blog posts. The first batch I do is six weeks of blog posts and then the next batch is six emails for those blog posts.

Don’t worry. I take breaks between each one or I can start to feel like a hot mess. Recharging during my batching is so important.

When I’m working on bigger projects, like creating the Undaunted Course, I batch for several days in a row. If I didn’t batch certain chunks of the course creation process it would have taken me five to ten times longer to get it done.

Batching can save you time, stress and effort.

Increased Focus and Productivity

First batching allows for increased focus when you work on the tasks you designated for that period of time. More focus equals better quality work, for sure.

Because of your focused effort while batching, distractions are majorly reduced or eliminated. This requires some willpower on your part. You’ve got to create a distraction-free zone and place boundaries around your batching time to protect your focus time.

All of this increases your productivity. You save a lot of time, hours and hours and hours of time, to be exact. Imagine what you could do with all that time.

Reduced Stress

Taking care of similar tasks in the same chunk of time will help you feel much less frazzled and stressed. You’ll know what you’re working on and for how long. Having boundaries around this time will eliminate the stress of making decisions if other things pop up. You know this batching time is the choice you made. Period. This is where you are and what you’re doing.

No Context Switching

There should be no context switching going in your batching. Context switching is when you switch back and forth between tasks. Studies show that it takes 23 minutes to get back on task when you jump around. Imagine if you context switch three times in one day. That’s over an hour wasted.

Less Mistakes

Constantly skipping around throughout the day can be distracting and disorienting. Of course, nobody’s perfect. But, this disjointed approach to your work can result in far too many mistakes and oversights, including typos and emails sent to the wrong people.

By batching, you will find yourself making fewer of these slip-ups. I’m no scientist, but I’ll go ahead and credit the fact that because you are able to dedicate all of your focus to the task currently in front of you, your thoughts aren’t as scattered, which means you are able to proactively catch any of those little blunders and errors.

Time Away From Certain Tasks

Finally, batching allows you to have time away from doing certain tasks. Even if you love what you do, having to always be touching something everyday in your life can really stifle your creativity. I know firsthand what that feels like.

Before I began batching my blog posts, I was working on my blog every single week. A little here, a little there. I never got ahead and it become a little like Groundhog Day where every day felt the same, always working on my blog. It started to suck away my creativity.

It’s important to have white space in order to be creative, to allow your brain to focus on new and different ideas, to find inspiration and refuel. If you’re constantly touching the same project every single day, you’re not allowing that creativity to flow.

What Areas Can You Batch in Your Life?

To batch or not to batch is not the question you should be asking yourself. The question you should be asking is “What are all the areas I can batch in my life?”

If you can’t come up with any, try this exercise.

  1. Look at your to-do list for the next week.
  2. Grab some highlighters to color code and group similar items together.
  3. Then, write an entirely new list – paying attention to the grouping (these are your batches) of items based on your color coding.
  4. Look at each batch category and determine how much time you want to set for each batching session.
  5. Schedule this time on your calendar.

The couple of extra minutes you spend organizing your to-do’s into batches will end up being well worth it!

Wrapping It Up

Your next step is to decide what you’re going to batch, add your batching days to your calendar, and enjoy the newfound free time batching allows you.

Get your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

When was the last time you completed a projected that truly mattered to you? When was the last time you set an important goal and you made it happen?

I mean, doesn’t it feel GREAT to check something off your list or complete an important project or say that something is finally DONE?

To take charge and be the BOSS of yourself and your goals is incredibly motivating.

Yes, of course, it feels amazing. I want you to experience that feeling more often. And to make sure that you really master this ability to finish what you start, AKA follow-through, I’m sharing the steps I use every day in my life and business. These steps create a little acronym that spells boss. B – O – S – S. Because BOSS is who you need to be to follow-through.

Now once you’ve mastered these four steps, you’re going to be way more likely to finish what you start. Okay, lets get started on building that follow-through habit using the BOSS Formula.

STEP #1: B stands for: Be Focused & Specific

Right off the bat, there are two big problems that get in our way of following through. First, most of us are working on way too many things at once. We allow ourselves to be pulled in too many directions. Instead of making meaningful progress on a single project that really, really matters, we wind up feeling constantly overloaded and overwhelmed.

Now the second problem. Oftentimes we are fuzzy about our outcome. Meaning, most of the time, we’re just working hard and trying to keep our heads above water and we don’t have a clearly defined, achievable result that we’re working towards.

The good news here is, we have the power to fix both of these problems. And when we do, we gain some serious momentum and we train ourselves to become a master of follow-through.

The very first step is this; we must FOCUS. Meaning, focus on what’s truly most important. And to be clear – I’m not talking about several things here, I’m talking about choosing just ONE thing. One TOP priority. One single goal.

What is one thing you could focus on (a single project or goal) that, if you finished it, it would make a tremendous positive impact in your life?

If you’re having trouble committing to JUST one thing, I want you to remember this:

If you’re unwilling to commit to one thing, you’re going to likely be distracted by everything.

Now once you’ve decided on the goal you want to focus on, you’re ready to Be Specific. Which means, define what success will look like when you get this done. You have to define what finished looks like. Yes, your goal has to be specific, measurable, and achievable. You should be able to say without a doubt – “Yes, I am finished and I followed through!”

Let’s say your goal is to reboot your health and you say to yourself, “Yeah, I really do want to feel better by the summer.” That, my friend, is vague and a fairly useless goal because it’s not well defined.

On the other hand if you said to yourself “You know what, I really need to reset my health and here’s my goal: for the next 30 days I’m going to eliminate gluten and alcohol and dairy and caffeine.” That’s WAY better right? Of course it is – because it is specific and measurable and achievable.

Your action item right now is to decide on ONE SINGLE goal and to define it in specific, measurable and achievable terms.

STEP #2: O Stands for “Organize Your Time and Schedule It.”

You’ve gotten focused and specific about your MOST important goal and now you’ve got to organize your life around achieving it. And in order to do that, we have got to face down the biggest BS excuse we can all use for not following through. You know what that is?

“You know what, I just don’t have the time.”

C’mon now… I know we’ve all said this. And you know what? It’s a pretty sad excuse, because we’re all given the same 24 hours each and every day. It’s just that some people have learned to use their time a lot more wisely.

You and I both know that we always make time for the things that truly matter. So if you want to master your ability to follow-through, remember this.

If it’s not scheduled, It’s Not Real

Meaning, if you don’t decide in advance exactly when and where you’re going to do the work, and have that time specifically blocked out on your calendar, you gotta face it, you don’t care that much about it. It’s not going to happen.

This is not just my opinion. In study after study, researchers have found ONE thing to be true. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a professor at Columbia University,

Deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chance for success.

Did you hear that? Double or triple your chance for success? Anyone?!

This, my friend, is why your calendar needs to become your new best friend. It’s an invaluable tool to bring your dreams to life. And, scheduling is a simple way to organize your life around what’s most important. Meaning that one incredible goal you just set.

Open your calendar and decide exactly when and where you’re going to work to bring your top goal to life.

STEP #3: S Stands for “Set NO as Your Default Answer.”

Look, saying “no” to yourself and others is essential to follow-through. This isn’t about being an arrogant a-hole, this isn’t about saying no haphazardly. This is about saying no deliberately and strategically and, of course, compassionately.

You have GOT to give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all. Stop saying yes to everyone and everything and every new idea. Because here’s the truth; everything you say YES to, means you’re saying NO to something else. In economic terms, that’s called “opportunity cost” and it’s a serious thing.

For example, you go to a bridal shower that honestly, you don’t want to go to, but you say yes out of a sense of guilt and drive hours to get there and spend the entire day regretting your choice. That’s time you can’t ever get back – time you could have spent working towards your goal, or just being with your family, or your kids, or doing something meaningful to move ahead.

Simply allow “no” to be your default response to all new projects, new requests, and new demands on your time.

You also need to say NO to spending hours watching TV or getting sucked into the comparison sinkhole of social media. You say NO to any and all time sucks and energy sucks and non-essentials.

Saying yes to too much only leaves you feeling frustrated, resentful and exhausted, right? It’s not a place from which you can do your best work.

When you train yourself to say yes to less, what you really get is more. More time and more space to do the deep and important work you were born to do. More breathing room. More white space. More freedom. More energy to devote to things that truly matter, like spending time with people you love.

One of the things that stop people from making their default answer “no”, is not knowing how to say no with grace and kindness.

No is a complete sentence. But c’mon now, I mean, let’s be real. If someone writes you an email asking for something and you just type back “no” and hit send, it’s not going to feel that good to you or them.

Here’s a simple and elegant way to say no.

“Thanks so much for thinking of me. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.” or I’d rather not, but thank you SO MUCH for thinking of me.”

Elegant and honest, right? Just like you.

Your next action item is to re-examine your projects and your upcoming commitments. Is there anything on there that you can decline or get out of? Now of course, if you do, you’re gonna be classy and elegant about it – but honestly, from this moment forward, if it’s not a hell yes, let it be a hell no, because you and your goal matter.

STEP #4: S stands for “Start Before You’re Ready.”

The one mantra I use to start – especially when the goal or project that I’m working on is a little scary and outside my comfort zone. And that mantra is:

Start BEFORE You’re Ready.

Look. Most of us can talk about or think about an important project for months and sometimes even years before actually doing anything about it. But do not confuse activity with accomplishment.

You see, if you’ve had trouble following through, it’s not a lack of competence that’s holding you back. It is this nasty little fear-based lie that we tell ourselves called, “I’m not ready yet.” It is one of the deadliest, most insidious dream killer around. And if you’re honest, I’ll bet, “I’m not ready yet” has probably stopped you a few times in the past.

Well, my friend, here is the secret you need to know. The world’s happiest and most successful people never feel ready to make a bold move – they just GO! They understand that waiting to “feel ready” before taking action is the worst kind of procrastination.

That is why starting before you are ready is the key to executing like a champ and mastering follow-through. It’s helps you sidestep your fear and drive straight into action-based learning. Because when you stop thinking and you start executing, you literally create this energy that pulls you forward. All of the sudden there are appointments and deadlines and real life progress.

This last step is all about execution, once you get started, don’t stop.

When it comes to follow-through, tenacity matters more than tactics or technique. Be relentless about this, do not stop taking action until you can drop the mic and say, “You know what? This. Is. Done.”

Your last action item. Identify the single most important action you could take right now to execute on your goal – even if you don’t feel ready?

Is it making a phone call? Is it making an outside appointment with some kind of professional? Or perhaps it’s telling a few people you trust about your goal and your commitment to make it happen.

There is no right answer. But, I’ll bet you know it in your heart whatever it is what you have to do. Think about it, get moving, and start before you’re ready.

Let’s review our four key disciplines to being the BOSS and following through.

B: Be Focused and Specific: Choose ONE priority and define your outcome so it’s clear, specific and achievable, Set yourself up to win.

O: Organize Your Time & Schedule It: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.

S: Set NO as Your Default Answer: No is your default answer to all new requests, eliminate non-essentials, and say yes to less.

S: Start BEFORE You’re Ready: Be relentless and don’t stop taking action until you’ve reached your goal.

And that’s it! Be the BOSS you are and make these four personal disciplines a habit and trouble with follow-through will be a thing of the past.

Feel like your planning skills could use a little boost? Check out the Fail-Proof Planning System here.

The trick to accomplishing anything is thinking you can do it. In other words, confidence is key. Many of the confidence killers we inflict on ourselves are thing we don’t even realize we’re doing.

But as with any behavior, these habits that slowly kill your spirit can be unlearned. The first step, of course, is recognizing them.

Check yourself to see if you have any of these 10 confidence-killing habits.

#1 People Pleasing – saying yes to everything

Saying “yes” to everyone stems from a desire to feel needed and liked. When you focus on pleasing others, you neglect yourself. Pleasing yourself is not selfish. It’s necessary. When you focus on your needs instead of everyone else’s, you reinforce that you matter. Stop linking your self-confidence to others’ approval. Instead show up for YOU!

#2 Using Always and Never

Your language is a reflection of how you feel about yourself and feeds your confidence, or not.

Using the words ‘always’ and ‘never’ is a common unconscious confidence-destroying habit that leaves you feeling like you have no ability to make changes, when that’s hardly the case.

Anytime you find yourself saying ‘always’ and ‘never’, you are destroying your confidence. Because of their seemingly absolute, black and white, all or nothing nature, you’re setting yourself up to feel hopeless, helpless and less confident.

#3 Maintaining toxic friendships

We truly are who we spend time with. If we are surrounded by people who are lazy, complain or have a victim mentality, then that is who we become.

If there are toxic people in your life who threaten your self-worth and significantly chip away at your self-esteem, it’s time to kick those relationships to the curb.

Seek out positive reinforcement, not haters.

Get a tighter rein on the positive influences. Hone your friend group and be intentional with who you surround yourself with. Make sure you’re surrounded by those who have your best interests at heart, and who love you and want to see you thrive.

#4 Bullying Yourself

You say things to yourself that you would never say to another person. These sound like, “I’m not good enough. I’m a loser. Or, I’m so stupid.” Constantly speaking to yourself this way will have the same effect as if someone else were saying those things to you, which can deal a serious blow to your self-confidence.

#5 Focusing on Your Weaknesses

The more we talk about our perceived negative traits, the more we will believe them. Not only that, but focusing on those flaws leads our subconscious mind to look for evidence that this belief is true and create new experiences to support it. At a certain point, these perceptions will turn into a self-created reality.

#6 Comparing Yourself to Others

When you compare yourself to someone who you perceive as better than you it diminishes your confidence. We have the tendency to tell ourselves that, compared to someone else, we aren’t qualified to do our job or lack the ability to be a good parent, partner, friend, or listener.

But by doing so, you’re likely to feel as if it isn’t even worth trying to live up to your expectations, thus enacting a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Instead, only compare yourself to those you can learn from. What are they doing or what do they have that you want? How did they get there? What attributes to you admire about them? How can you use this new knowledge to move forward?

#7 Spending Time on Social Media

Social media can have damaging effects on self-esteem and self-image. If negative comments or a lack of likes and interaction are getting you down, it’s time for a social media hiatus. Try to remind yourself that social media, in the grand scheme of things, is a pretty superficial place. And remember, the only validation that matters is the kind you find inside yourself.

#8 Not Admitting When You’re Wrong

Confidence is crucial, but over-confidence is downright dangerous. Knowing when to admit you are wrong is an important step in maintaining your self-esteem, because confidence doesn’t mean being right all the time. It also means being self-aware. You’ll learn that even when you make mistakes the world doesn’t come to an end. Own it. Admit your mistake. Forgive yourself. And move on.

#9 Neglecting Yourself

One of the main ways you can damage your confidence is not engaging in self-care. Not scheduling doctor appointments, cancelling training sessions at the gym, or eating like garbage send subconscious messages to your brain that you are not worth the time, money and energy necessary to lead a healthy life.

#10 Playing the victim

Thinking people are out to get you, that you are always wrong, or that you have terrible luck, are all damaging to your self-confidence. These thoughts can lead you to think the world is against you and that no matter what you do, it’s never good enough. Begin by reframing your thoughts to “That didn’t go as I had hoped, but next time will be better because I’m smarter now.”

When you are confident you will:
  • feel happy, valuable, fulfilled
  • feel worthy of the good things in your life
  • easily cope with life’s challenges
  • be productive
  • trust yourself to show up for YOU
  • stop looking for external validation because loving yourself is where true confidence thrives.

The fastest way to change the way you think about yourself is to change your behavior.

Identify which habits above you want to change and take one small step to start today.

Don’t forget to download your free confidence building guide.

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Taking breaks is the counter-intuitive approach to improving productivity.

Breaks should be a priority, not a reward for completing your to-do list. Listen to your body and know when to stop. Taking a break will help you perform better, get better ideas, and feel good about yourself.

WHAT IS A BREAK?

A break is a brief pause of work or physical activity. You decide to give it a rest with the intention of getting back to your task within a reasonable amount of time.

But do you fear you’ll never get back on task?

Here are 4 ways to ensure you’ll get back on task:

One: Set 2 alarms – one on your phone that you take with you on break. That is the only thing you do with your phone on break. And a second alarm in your work area that will force you to go back to turn it off – once you’re in the space, you’re more likely to start again.

Two: Tell someone what time you need to get back to work.

Three: Write on a post-it where you stopped and where you’ll start when you get back.

Four: Work for 2 Minutes – Telling yourself you only need to work for 2 minutes will get you started. Before you know it, you’ll realize you’ve been working for 20 minutes.

TWO COMMON MYTHS ABOUT BREAKS

Myth 1: Scrolling on your phone, watching You Tube videos, playing video games, essentially anything on a screen is a great way to take a break.

Truth 1: Anything on a screen is a big no-no. As this survey by Huffington Post suggests, activities like social networking can significantly increase stress. When you’re on a screen you’re more likely to lose track of time. It is also more difficult to get your brain off the screen and it does not give your brain the break it needs.

Myth 2: Breaks take too much time. It’s better to push through without one.

Truth 2: You think you don’t have time for breaks? Truth is, you don’t have time to NOT take breaks. Read on. You’ll find out why.

5 REASONS WHY BREAKS ARE INCREDIBLY VALUABLE:

One: Breaks are essential for your physical and emotional health.

Movement breaks, specifically, lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Getting up from your chair to walk, stretch, do yoga, etc. can reduce the negative health effects from too much sitting. Just a 5 minute walk every hour can improve your health and well-being.

Two: Breaks can prevent “decision fatigue.”

Author S.J. Scott points out the need to make frequent decisions throughout the day can wear down your willpower and reasoning ability. Decision fatigue can lead to simplistic decision-making and procrastination.

Three: Breaks restore motivation, especially for long-term goals.

When we work, our prefrontal cortex makes every effort to help us execute our goals. But for a challenging task that requires our sustained attention, research shows briefly taking our minds off the goal can renew and strengthen motivation later.

A small study summarized here even suggests that prolonged attention to a single task actually hinders performance.

Four: Breaks increase productivity and creativity.

Working for long stretches without breaks leads to stress and exhaustion. Taking breaks refreshes the mind, replenishes your mental resources, and helps you become more creative. “Aha moments” came more often to those who took breaks, according to research.

Five: Breaks called “Waking Rest”, AKA resting while awake, helps consolidate memories and improve learning.

Scientists have known that one purpose of sleep is to consolidate memories. However, there is also evidence that resting while awake likewise improves memory formation. During a rest period, it appears the brain reviews and ingrains what it previously learned.

WHEN NOT TO TAKE A BREAK

If you are in a state of “flow” it does not make sense to take a break. Flow is characterized by complete absorption in the task, seemingly effortless concentration, and pleasure in the task itself. Simply enjoying what you are doing may be a sign that you still have plenty of energy for your current activity.

In short, if it ain’t broke, don’t “break” it.

7 TIPS FOR TAKING BREAKS SO YOU COME BACK RECHARGED, REENERGIZED, AND MORE PRODUCTIVE.

One: Walk or exercise.

Get moving. A walking break leads to more creative ideas than a sitting break.

Two: Get Outside

Staying in an artificially lit, stuffy office or home, all day might be a necessity for getting things done. But escaping that space for even a few minutes during the day can have huge benefits. Fresh air helps clear the brain fog allowing you to focus with a clear head. Choose where you go wisely. Walking in nature tends to calm, while city streets amp up engagement.

Three: Change your environment

Briefly leaving your work space and going to another area will help your brain rest and switch gears.

Four: Hydrate and have a healthy snack.

Opt for high protein, low sugar snacks. And always, always, be drinking water!

Five: Take a few deep breaths.

They don’t call a rest “taking a breather” for nothing. Deliberately taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on your breathing for just 30 seconds is a mini-meditation that can relax your mind and body.

Six: Daydream

Daydreaming gives the prefrontal cortex a break, taking you on a brief journey to your unconscious mind where chaos and creativity reign.

A report published in Science Magazine found that simply letting our minds wander by zoning out or daydreaming has similar benefits to meditation.

Letting your mind drift can help you come up with more creative ideas and help you problem-solve.

Seven: Have some coffee or tea.

Coffee could be a great way to bring your brain to focus on the task at hand. A study conducted on 2010 concluded that employees who take regular coffee breaks are more efficient and productive. A dose of caffeine can keep you alert, reduce stress, and help you stay active.

HOW OFTEN TO TAKE BREAKS

While the rule of thumb is simple: take a break when your brain feels saturated, different researchers have come up with different options.

  • A post published in Inc. Magazine suggests a break every 60-90 minutes.
  • The Pomodoro Technique advises working for 25 minutes followed by a 3 to 5-minute break, and then a 15 to 30-minute break every 90 minutes or so.

While it’s true that different durations work for different people, you should decide how often to take a break depending on the type of work you need to do. Keep the momentum for as long as you can and take a break after 90 minutes. However, if your thoughts start to wander more frequently, a short break every 20 minutes might be helpful.

MONITOR YOURSELF AND LEARN

As you take breaks, be mindful of the results. Which kind of breaks seem to help you become more creative, motivated and productive? Which kind of breaks just seem disruptive to your work? Notice what works and what doesn’t. Research on breaks is a generalization; only you can decide what particular strategies work best for you.

WRAPPING IT UP

By knowing you have a break coming up, you’re more likely to stay focused and work with purpose.

Breaks are an enriching way of giving your brain that much-needed rest. According to Forbes, taking breaks as self-care can literally save your life.

In our culture of doing, taking regular breaks can be seen as lazy or unproductive. But when done correctly, breaks are the ultimate productivity hack, because they let us do more in less time. So, stop glorifying long days and burnout-inducing hours and take a break.

You deserve it!

Sometimes it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all of the big things that I want to do to make my dreams a reality.

Do you know what that feels like?

Your head is spinning. It can be hard to know what to do or where to start.

I’ve been playing around with this tool for awhile now and want to share it with you so you can beat the overwhelm, reduce stress and anxiety and move forward with clarity.

Let me introduce you to my version of The Mind Sweep.

What exactly is a Mind Sweep?

It’s an intentional methodical way for getting everything out of your head onto paper – or into a Google Doc, or wherever you’re capturing your thoughts in an organized meaningful way.

A Mind Sweep is different than a mind dump. A mind dump is also effective at getting things out, but it’s kind of like taking the mess of thoughts in your brain and creating a new mess on paper. And it can continue the train of overwhelm, because now you have to sort through all of the junk you just dumped out on paper.

Imagine pulling out the junk drawer in your kitchen and dumping it on the floor. That doesn’t really help much…the junk is just in a new spot.

On the flip side, a Mind Sweep is a lot more organized. We pictured dumping the junk drawer on the floor and making a mess. Now imagine yourself sweeping the floor in your kitchen.

When you sweep you’re not just randomly swishing the broom around to see what happens. No! When you sweep, you start at the edges and work in a certain direction. Every swish of the broom has a purpose, and you’ve got an end goal in mind.

That’s what happens when you do a mind sweep. You get everything out of your head in a deliberate and purposeful way so that you’re not dumping junk on a page. Your sweeping out the cobwebs so you can get more clarity and start fresh.

David Allen author of Getting Things Done, uses a Mind Sweep as part of his kind of complicated system GTD for capturing and processing information in your life and work so that you never miss a thing.

His version of a mind sweep is great, but I found it to be a bit much. I’ve played with it for a while, and this is what my mind sweep looks like now. I always tell my clients, their success lies in taking someone else system and tweaking it to make it your own.

HOW TO DO MY VERSION OF A MIND SWEEP

FIRST – Decide where you’ll capture your Mind Sweep thoughts. In a notebook? A journal? A Google Doc? Don’t overthink this. Pick something and start. I mind sweep the old-fashioned way with pen and paper.

SECOND – Decide when and how often you’ll capture your thoughts.

Will you do this in the morning or at night?

In the morning, the mind sweep can help improve focus by reducing distractions. At night, a mind sweep can help quiet racing thoughts and turn your brain “off” so you can sleep.

Doing a mind sweep takes muscle memory, just like any other habit. To start, promise yourself you’ll do a mindset sweep one time a week.

THIRD – Focus your sweep.

Organizing your thoughts into categories helps you manage them.

I sweep my thoughts into one of 3 categories; My To-Do’s, My Worries, and My Inner-Critic. Let’s talk about these from YOUR perspective.

CATEGORY #1: YOUR TO-DO THOUGHTS

This is the first category because I’ve found that these thoughts are at the forefront of my mind. When I do mind sweeps with clients, they also default to thinking about their to-do’s first.

To sweep your to-do thoughts, ask yourself; “What are the important things I need to accomplish today? Tomorrow? This week?

If it helps, think about your to-do’s in sub-categories like; work, home, kids, bills, parents, medical, vacations. You get the point.

Now that you got your To-Do Thoughts out of your head, it’s time to make a doable plan.

3 Steps to Make a Doable Plan

FIRST: Break out projects vs tasks.

Your list probably contains a mix of projects and tasks. A project is anything that has more than one step to complete.

Book a vacation is an example of a project. Choose 3 places to research is a task.

One of the most common reasons we end the day without crossing things off our to-do list is because our list is full of projects, instead of tasks. So we might spend hours working on a few tasks for one project, but not finish the whole project. So even though we made good progress – progress to be proud of – we still feel bad for not crossing it off the list.

When you identify something from your to-do mind sweep that’s a project, put the letter P next to it so you can come back to it later and map out the tasks within the project.

SECOND: Prioritize

With the tasks that are left, it’s time to prioritize. Remember, when everything is important, nothing is important.

Start with lightening the load. What on the list can you eliminate? Now that you see it on paper you may realize you’ve been hanging onto something that doesn’t need to be done at all.

The simplest way to prioritize is by using a ranking system. Go through the list and add numeric or word rankings like NOW, NEXT, and LATER. For more on prioritizing check out this blog post.

THIRD: Delegate and Schedule

Is there anything on the list that you can delegate? Maybe to a coworker, spouse, kids, a virtual assistant, an intern? What can you delegate and get off your plate?

For the remaining urgent things on the list, schedule them into your day and into the next week with time blocks. This helps you keep what you decide to tackle realistic. You can’t get a lot done if you’re in meetings all day. But you can get something done when you have an hour open between appointments. Schedule it and keep that appointment with yourself.

CATEGORY #2 YOUR WORRY THOUGHTS

Worrying causes a huge bottleneck in your productivity. When you worry, you’re all up in your head and not solving a darn thing.

Now sweep for your worry thoughts. Ask yourself;

  • What am I worrying about or dwelling on right now?
  • What am I overthinking?
  • What am I ruminating over?
  • What thoughts are keeping me up at night?
  • What thoughts are distracting me during the day?

Next, review all those thoughts an ask yourself; “What do I have control over? Is there anything I can do about this worry?”

If yes, move that action or task to Category #1: Your To-Do Thoughts. If no, choose to let it go. Worrying has never solved any problem. It simply keeps you spinning.

If you must worry, schedule a time to worry. Every time you catch yourself worrying, remind yourself that you have 30 minutes of worry time scheduled at say 7pm tonight. Maybe use that time to journal about your worries.

CATEGORY #3: YOUR INNER-CRITIC THOUGHTS

Oh, these thoughts keep you so stuck. They tell you that you aren’t enough. They tell you to play it safe. And the secret here, my friend, is that most of your thoughts are outright lies.

Now sweep for your inner-critic thoughts.

  1. What am I beating myself up for right now?
    It may be things like;
    I never do what I say I’m going to do.
    I’m always distracted.
    I never finish anything.

2. Finish this thought; I’ve never been good at _____________________. Or, it might come out of your head as “I’m a terrible writer, speaker, friend, parent, boss, leader.”

Review each thought and ask yourself if it is a fact or simply a thought.

Our thoughts are just that, thoughts. They are not facts. A fact is something that would hold up in a court of law. There is no emotion around facts. Thoughts are full of emotions. Also, notice words like, always, never, constantly, all the time, etc. Those are clues that the thought is a lie.

Now if it’s a lie, what else could you say to yourself? For example, “I keep putting off writing my resume because I’m a terrible writer.” That’s not a fact. So reframe the thought to:

“Now that I think about it, people have told me that I’m a great writer. I even got pretty good grades on my papers in school. I can tackle this resume.”

THAT’S IT! YOU’RE DONE WITH YOUR MIND SWEEP!

Enjoy the feeling that you have. You probably feel a little lighter now that your mind is de-cluttered and you have clarity like you’ve never had before.

Are you guilty of having an idea, or an intuitive hit on something and immediately saying “I’ll do it later.”? Or “I’ll get back to this when I have more time.”?

Now take a second to think about how much further along you would be if you started taking all that energy you use waiting and used it to start DOING?

Here’s the thing – that idea or tiny inspiration was a gift from the universe and what do we usually do with it? We throw it right into the “I’ll do it later black hole” where most ideas go to die.

You know you need to do it. For some reason, though, it feels impossible to muster the energy to simply get started.

Don’t worry, it’s not just in your head. Getting started is hard. The secret to building and maintaining momentum lies in the science.

Remember Newton’s Law Of Motion?

“An object at rest stays at rest. An object in motion stays in motion.”

Newtons Law Of Motion

In chemistry, you need a big burst of initial energy to start a chemical reaction. This explosion of energy is called “activation energy.” Your brain is looking for that chemical reaction, that explosion of energy.

That moment of inspiration you had? That was the spark the universe gave you to create that activation energy to get you started.

But out of habit you smothered it and now you are left with the excuses of no energy, no time, no confidence, no inspiration.

You see, after that moment of inspiration passes, you’ll never feel like it, you’ll never be ready, and there is no right time. Suck it up, give yourself a push, and get started.

If you do, you can tap into the principle of momentum.

Here are three strategies you can use to create and sustain momentum.

#1 DO SOMETHING TINY EVERY DAY

This idea comes for BJ Fogg, a Stanford University researcher. When you set the bar low, it’s easier to stick to your goals.

If you have just started trying to get back in shape, for example, forget the long workout. Instead, do five minutes on the treadmill and five pushups a day. I transformed my health by simply walking my dog every day. When you start with something easy, you’ll see yourself win and you’ll keep going.

#2 CELEBRATE SMALL WINS

Making progress in small ways doesn’t always feel like it’s making a big difference. But research from Harvard University Business School discovered that recognizing your small progress every day is the key to productivity and happiness.

To make the effect even greater, reward yourself – but only in ways that further your goals. Topping off a 5-mile run with a bowl of ice cream is different than rewarding yourself with a deep-tissue massage.

#3 FOCUS ON THE SMALLER NUMBER

You can measure progress by how much you’ve done or how much you still have left to do.

A study from the University of Chicago discovered that you’ll be way more motivated if you focus on the smaller of two numbers.

For example, focus on the 3 pounds you’ve already lost, not the 17 more to go. Each new action feels even more impactful when compared to a smaller number.

Did you notice what these three strategies have in common?

Think small when you think about taking action.

Take tiny doable steps, celebrate small wins, focus on the smaller number.

When we think big, we get overwhelmed and it all feels impossible.

I challenge you to think small today.

Remember, creating momentum doesn’t happen by thinking that you have to finish the entire project NOW.

But it does happen by taking action immediately and then scheduling out more time on the calendar to sustain momentum.

Do you struggle with planning your next steps?

Check out the Fail-Proof Planning System Mini-Course.

Do you want to be perfect or excellent?

I had to ask myself this question as I was listening to a Jon Acuff podcast. As I was listening it became crystal clear to me the moments I’m pursuing excellence and the moments I’m letting perfectionism hold me back.

Following are the highlights and my spin on what I learned from him.

When we strive for excellence, we have high standards that encourage us to make improvements, solve problems and do quality work. It focuses on the process. 

Perfectionism is the belief we must be perfect to be acceptable. It focuses on the outcome. Anything other than perfect is failure. Perfectionism is an attitude, not necessarily a behavior.

Excellence, unlike perfectionism, does not demand a sacrifice of self-esteem as it tends to focus on the process of achievement rather than the outcome.

3 Differences between excellence and perfectionism

  1. Excellence Launches. Perfectionism lags.

    Excellence: You hit your deadlines, stick to the diet, publish the book, finished cleaning out the basement.
    Perfectionism: You half wrote the book, you quit the diet, you stopped cleaning out the basement because you couldn’t find the perfect containers.

  2. Excellence energizes. Perfectionism drains 

    Excellence can still be tiring but you’re exhausted and elated.
    Perfectionism leaves you feeling empty and hopeless.
     
  3. Excellence encourages others. Perfectionism discourages others

    Excellence: People who pursue excellence are admired for their drive for excellence. You give everything you’ve got.  You keep your eyes on what’s important. You don’t nit-pic everything.
    Perfectionism:  No one aspires to be like you or to work with you. You’re seen as difficult, holding up progress, micro-managing.

It can be difficult to tell if we are in the pursuit of excellence or trapped in perfectionism when we are all up in our heads thinking, thinking, thinking. 

Here are 8 ways to spot perfectionism.

If you answer yes to any of these, perfectionism is running the show. 

1. Are the expectations for any goal you want to accomplish unreasonable?
I expect to lose 10 lbs in a week.
I will run every day.
This will be easy. 

2. Is the timeframe to accomplish the goal impossible? 
This trips you up with the speed of your progress. You believe you should be making faster progress.  
I should implement this new system in a week. 
I should get healthy in 10 weeks.

If it took you 5 yrs to put on the weight, why are you only giving yourself 5 weeks to take it off?

“Never give the problem 10 years and the solution a week.”

Jon Acuff

3. Are you obsessed about the results other people are getting? 

Perfectionism amplifies comparison.

“Never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.”

Jon Acuff

It’s normal to compare yourself to others. But instead of comparing yourself to who is on the top, the biggest and best in that field, industry, or endeavor, compare yourself to someone similar. Someone who is slightly ahead of and better than you. 

Use this comparison not to beat yourself down, but to learn. What can you learn from this person and their experience that will help you accomplish your goal?

4. Do you forget to celebrate your progress and move on to the next thing before celebrating what you just accomplished? 

Perfectionism, eliminates the possibility to celebrate. It says that no victory is ever big enough. 

Perfectionism moves the goal post. It never allows you to celebrate at the finish line because perfectionism keeps moving the finish line. For example, you think, “I got all 3 priorities done today, but it would have been better if I could’ve got 2 more things done too.” You never get to enjoy the reward of all that hard work.

5. Are you suffering from burn-out?

If perfectionism is the standard, it’ s an impossible standard. You’ll never be finished. You’ll never be good enough. Ugh.

6. Are you overthinking and over researching?

Acuff says perfectionism turns the starting line on the ground into a wall of indecision and procrastination.

Let’s say you want to get in shape. You tell yourself this time is different. If you’re going to do this, you’re going to do it right. So, you start asking yourself all the questions. 

How many times will I go to the gym? What kind of workout will I do? How many calories can I eat? Do I take the right supplements? Where am I going to buy my workout shoes? How will I work this into my busy schedule? What’s the best gym to join? 

The pile of questions has turned your starting line that was so easy to cross into a wall you have to climb. 

7. Do you make up fictional problems to fix?

Perfectionism makes you think you must fix fictional problems. It tells you to fix problems that haven’t even happened yet. 

If you’re thinking about starting a business, you wonder what you will do when you must fire someone? What if they have a family? It’ll be awful. So, you decide to play small and be a solopreneur or not start the business at all. Sheesh, you could be years away from ever having to worry about that. 

8. Do you think everyone else has it all figured out, except you? 

Perfectionism cripples’ community. You worry your progress is too messy, your life is too scattered, and your challenges are too big to bring anyone else in, so you hide, and you do it alone or not at all.

How many of these did you answer yes to?

Now you know. 

What is one change you’re going to make to move out of perfectionist thinking? 

If you liked this go on and grab your free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Fall is your listening season. It’s your time to listen to the feedback from those around you and more importantly to listen to your intuition so you can know how to come through for the next year!

It’s your time to show up for yourself and accomplish the things you set out to do this year.

Finishing the year strong means pushing yourself past the finish line even when other people are doubting you. And especially if YOU are doubting YOU! It means running that extra lap even when you know you’ve done the work. Whether you are an entrepreneur, work 9-5 or are someone who wants to have more flow in your life, there are things you can do to set yourself up for success.

With only a few months left in the year, prioritizing is the most impactful exercise you can do for yourself. You must be realistic. There’s a good chance you won’t get everything done. And that is okay! When you focus on the most important and impactful things, you will end the year feeling accomplished and energized.

Before you dive in and start prioritizing, it’s important to understand the 7 Reasons Why We Struggle to Prioritize:
  1. We tend to suffer from FOMO (Fear of missing out). We think that if we’re not involved in everything that somehow, we are going to miss out on something. There is beauty in missing out! Missing out allows you to be more present on the things that matter most.
  2. We don’t like to let people down. Remember, if you give away all your time, you won’t have any time left to pursue your goals. Letting people down from time-to-time is something that must happen! It is the price of entry for growing into who you’re meant to be.
  3. We don’t have confidence in ourselves. We tend to struggle with prioritizing things that we could change the world with because we don’t believe in ourselves. Step out of your comfort zone, try something new, and prove to yourself that you can go beyond what you believe is possible. You are capable of more than you think!
  4. We don’t have a clear WHY. Ever feel like you’re moving through your day like a robot? You’re productive and getting stuff done but you’re bored and doing it all half-hearted? When you understand WHY doing these things are important or not so important to YOU it naturally finds its place in your list of priorities, or not.
  5. We don’t have clear goals. It’s not enough to say that you want to get better. Get specific! Articulate what “better” means so that you can create smaller goals to hit along the way.
  6. We get stuck in the stuff of life. If we think that everything is important, then nothing is important. We must release ourselves from the things that aren’t aligned with our goals and who we are.
  7. We don’t take a driver’s seat where our priorities are concerned. If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will. Their needs will fill your calendar at the expense of your self-care! Don’t lose sight of what’s important. Prioritize it. Be comfortable deciding that prioritizing yourself is more important than keeping everyone else happy!
How to Prioritize Over the Next 2-3 Months:
  1. Focus on what matters to you. Don’t get caught up in other people’s priorities for you. Everyone else in your life believes they know what you need most. But what if they are wrong? Be clear on who you want to be on January 1, 2022. Your priorities might look different than what others think they should be.
  2. Consider the trade-off. Before saying yes to anything, understand that saying yes comes at the expense of saying NO to something else that potentially matters more to you.
  3. Evaluate the impact. Think about everything you are juggling as glass balls and plastic balls. Which of the things on your plate are glass and will shatter when dropped? Which ones are plastic and would bounce back if they fell? Prioritize the glass!
  4. Ask yourself more questions. If I say yes, will I regret it later? Is this thing in line with my WHY? Make sure everything you say yes to acts as a catalyst to what you are trying to achieve in life. Otherwise, it is only going to set you back. Be clear on what you stand for!
  5. Just say NO. No is a complete sentence. You don’t have to justify anything! If someone else doesn’t understand, most of the time that is their issue. Boundaries are important!
  6. Listen to your gut. Give yourself a chance to pull away from the media, the obligations, and all the noise in your life so you can hear yourself clearly. Your intuition exists and is only ever compromised when you allow external things to drown it out.
  7. Check and Re-Check your CAPACITY. You’re going to go through different things at different times of your life, each requiring you to establish a new or adjusted set of priorities. This could change month-by-month. It’s critical that you have grace for the circumstances happening in your life and that you can adapt accordingly!
  8. CELEBRATE yourself. Certain days are going to be harder than others. If you are showing up for yourself, doing the work and trying as best as you can, that is worthy of celebration. You have chosen growth. Give yourself grace and don’t forget to celebrate yourself!

Looking to find your WHY and stop doubting yourself? Grab your free guide:
The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

A lot of us are back to the office and school. This is great for so many reasons like, connecting with others, having structure & routine, and even some built in accountability. 

What many of us didn’t notice while we were working from home, was the opportunities it afforded us to set our own schedule’s and take some downtime when we needed it.

Between 2 pm and 4 pm, is when we typically experience afternoon slumps to some degree; where you feel mentally, physically and emotionally exhausted. For those with ADHD, you don’t experience just a little slump, yours are full blown crashes. 

No matter if you fall on the side of a slump or a crash, they both affect your attention, focus, productivity, and your ability to stay calm and rational.

Here are 7 things you can do to minimize or prevent your afternoon slumps and crashes. The more suggestions you implement, the more results you will see!

1. Simply put, EAT

Many of us don’t eat breakfast; either because we don’t feel hungry in the mornings or because we are in a rush to get out the door. However, starting the day with a protein packed breakfast is incredibly helpful to avoid the afternoon crash.

Lunch is often a meal eaten on the run or skipped when we get busy in our day. Or because we missed breakfast, we are ravenous and eat a big heavy lunch. What we eat for lunch has a direct effect on our energy in the afternoon. Take time to eat a gluten-free lunch with some good-quality protein (chicken or fish) and fiber in the form of vegetables. Your afternoons will be transformed.

2. Get your 7 hours of Sleep

75% of ADHDers have problems with falling and staying asleep. According to the CDC, more than 35% of Americans get less than the recommended 7 hours a night. If you are sleep deprived or had a night of poor sleep, then an afternoon crash is more likely to happen. However, they can still be minimized with the other suggestions on this list.

3. Be a Smart Caffeine Drinker

Caffeine isn’t bad; and if you become a smart caffeine drinker, you can still drink it and not get afternoon crashes.

Drink your first coffee of the day after you have eaten breakfast.
If drinking coffee gives you energy highs and lows, then switch to green tea.
Both tips will give you more sustained energy. Don’t drink caffeine after 2pm because it will interfere with your sleep (which in turn affects crashes).

4. Get Moving

After you exercise, your whole body and mind is energized for 3 hours. To capitalize on this, move your workout to lunch time and see if you notice a difference in your energy level in the afternoons.

5. Drink up

Staying hydrated is by far the simplest ways to fight fatigue, yet remembering to drink water throughout the day isn’t as simple. Don’t skip this step!

6. Say Goodbye to Stress

Stress is exhausting! If your morning is full of tension, mini crisis (forgetting things, mad dashes for deadlines), worry and anxiety, then by the afternoon, you will be emotionally exhausted and ready to crash. 

Stress comes from 2 sources: things you can control and things you can’t.
Focus on the life stressors that are in your control. Using strategies to reduce your worry and anxiety is a great place to start.

7. Stop Multi-Tasking

We love to multi-task. It feels exciting and exhilarating. However, it’s also very tiring. Every time we shift focus, we burn glucose, which is the food our neurons use. After a couple of hours of speedy shifting, we feel drained and ready for a nap. Also, our glucose store is depleted; cortisol (the stress hormone) has also been released, causing us to feel edgy and stressed.
Stop multi-tasking and start single tasking.

Stop here and jot down which of these tips you’re going to put into practice. Don’t skip this step. Doing this sets your intentions. Also, share your intentions with a family member or friend. They may want to join you on getting out of the afternoon slump!

Have you grabbed your free confidence building guide yet?

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

The number one thing that keeps us stuck is our thoughts. We spend so much time being all busy up in our heads.

You know what you want. You have the skills and the know-how to do it. But you’re not doing it. Ugh. If only you could get out of your head.

Free yourself from those icky, sticky thoughts once and for all.

Here are 3 mindset shifts you must make to get yourself into action.

Mindset Shift #1: Imposter Syndrome

This is so normal. It’s so easy to feel like an imposter, especially if you spend any time on social media.

You feel like you don’t deserve to have that job.

You feel like you don’t deserve to live in that beautiful home.

You believe you have no idea what you’re doing. You believe you only got where you are by sheer luck.

You live in fear that someone is going to call you out and expose you as being a fraud. 

What a heavy weight to carry.

Here’s a little harsh secret. Sorry, not sorry.  Nobody cares. Nobody is paying attention to you. People are so busy with their own stuff. It’s natural to feel like all eyes are on you, but they aren’t. 

“Focus less on the impression you’re making on others and more on the impression you’re making on yourself.” 

-Amy Cuddy

Make the shift:

  • Acknowledge your credibility and success.
  • Be aware of the stories you’re telling yourself. “Ask would Judge Judy or a court of law say these thoughts are fact?” Nope.
  • Get out of your head and into your heart. Let your why be bigger than your worry or fear. Why is this thing you want to do important to you? Find it, find several why’s. Play those why soundtracks over and over in your head to silence your worries and fears.
  • Keep showing up.

Mindset Shift #2: Dabbling instead of going all in because you’re scared.

Are you a learner? I am. I could take courses and research something to death all the while convincing myself that going down these rabbit holes is necessary. But it’s not. It’s called procrastination or info-crastination. Can you relate? 

“Trying” to do something isn’t going all in. It’s dabbling. You can’t try to start a business. You have to start a business. You can’t hide behind having to learn everything before you can start. 

You have to do whatever it is scared. It’s called courage.

Playing full-out makes you fully present.

Make the shift:

  • Go all in no matter how scared you are.
  • Playing small only delays your inevitable success.
  • Give the thing you want to do the attention and respect it deserves. 

“There is an amazing version of you, you haven’t met yet. Keep showing up.”

Unknown

Mindset Shift #3: Perfectionism

This gets in the way of you making decisions. It’s the death of doing what you want to do.

Alyssa, a budding entrepreneur suffered from perfectionism.

“The problem was, I wanted my emails to look and sound perfect. I wanted my website to be perfect. I didn’t even know what perfect meant. I wasn’t finding it and I wasn’t getting my products out to people.”

I hear this over and over. You must be willing to be imperfect.

Make the shift:

  • Give yourself permission to do B+ work
  • Putting yourself out there imperfectly is better than NOT putting yourself out there at all.
  • You can only learn how to do better by doing.
  • Go back to your why. What’s greater than your need to be perfect?

You don’t have to stay stuck. 

You are in charge of your thoughts.

You are in charge of how you talk to yourself.

Be kind. Be imperfect.

Impress yourself. Go all in.

Curious how self-doubt keeps you trapped? Take the quiz here!

“I’m a slacker if I’m not constantly accomplishing something. I’m afraid others will think I’m lazy. I need to do more, faster.”

This belief that we MUST be uber productive to be worthy is killing our confidence and our ability to get stuff done. 

Acting with the idea that “more is always better, so I need to do more” contributes to:

  • Anxiety: “How will I ever get where I want to?”
  • A mindset of scarcity and impatience: “I’m not doing enough”
  • Fear: “If I don’t create what I want here, then I won’t be okay in life.”
  • A scattered mind: “So much to do, so little time!”

The counterintuitive solution to productivity may lie in the very thing we fear will impede it: slowing down.

The benefits of slowing down are numerous. Research has found that when we’re idle, we allow our minds to wander. And that daydreaming makes us more creative and better at problem-solving.

Slowing down is a great productivity tool. When our energy is depleted, we can’t possibly be as productive because we’ll be out of fuel to burn. 

Doing more isn’t always better. If you want to make more progress, start by slowing down.

If slowing down is so important, why don’t we do it more often? Why isn’t “mindful and slow” our default state?

There’s something attractive about the idea that hard work can solve all your problems. It’s simple and gives you a clear path forward. To be fair, it’s rooted in a gem of truth: action begets results.

But it’s not the whole story.How you do something matters just as much as the fact that you do it.

The goal of slowing down isn’t to go slower. It’s about moving forward in the most effective way.

The following 8 approaches to slowing down work well together, but this isn’t a fixed sequence. Treat them as options to experiment with.

8 Ways to Slow Down and Get Better Results

  1. Physically slow down. Changing your physical body is a great way to shift your psychology. Start by sitting still. Put your devices away. Breathe deeply for a few minutes. Sit in meditation. Go for a walk outside. Anywhere from 5-20 minutes can create a profound shift.
  2. Get out of your head and into your body: Re-ground yourself by directing your attention towards the physical sensations in your body. Observe how the sensations ebb, flow, and change over time. By noticing what’s there without judgment, you can stay more intentional.
  3. Recall the nature of your thoughts: The thoughts crossing your mind are just thoughts, not universal truths. Think of them as suggestions, or possibilities. Question them. Is this thought actually true?
  4. Consider alternate paths forward: What do you want here? How have you been approaching it? What are some different ways you could approach it?
  5. Set a new intention: Having slowed down and considered your approach, what do you want to do now? In the bigpicture, what’s most important?
  6. Write about it: Thoughts move quickly in the mind. And if you’ve got a fast ADHD brain, thoughts zip through before you can catch them. Getting them down on paper slows things down so you can see them more clearly. Grab a pen and some paper and write thoughts as they surface in your mind. (Without judging them or needing to do something about it.)
  7. Prime yourself for quality action: Before acting, consider: “What would it look like to move forward in the best way?” For me, this often involves taking a break to shift my state by exercising, having some tea, or switching my physical location, as examples. Creating a deliberate shift, even a small one, helps with letting go of the previous approach, and orienting to your new intention.
  8. Treat it as an experiment: It can be intimidating to try new approaches. Instead of worrying about what will happen if it doesn’t work, treat it as an experiment. You’ll never know what will happen unless you give it a go!

It’s important to note that slowing down is NOT about making things perfect. Instead, it’s about improving your effectiveness, even by a little bit.

Most importantly, celebrate every tiny win at the end of the day. Congratulate yourself for slowing down. 

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The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence