Set Your Intention

266Woman-Head-SpinningAs the holiday season approaches, some of us anticipate them gleefully and others with nerve wracking dread. How will I fit even more into my already jam packed schedule? It’s simply impossible to add another thing to an ever growing list. Everyone expects me to manage it all!

Here’s another perspective. Stop doing something. Whether it is hosting a family dinner, sending holiday cards or spending beyond your means, eliminate at least one activity that is no longer meaningful and inform those who will be affected in advance. Set your intention. Less stress for you also means less tension for your guests, family members, co-workers…your immediate world. Ask for help and take advantage of it. No one ever perished by eating desserts from a bakery rather than homemade treats.

Several years ago a colleague mentioned to me that she no longer looked forward to Thanksgiving dinner with her extended family. I asked her what in particular made her feel this way. Was it the shopping, cleaning, hosting, etc.? No, it was the time consuming stuffed celery preparation that put her on edge. Surprised as I was that a professional woman, managing teams of associates, had been taken down by a vegetable, I was even more curious. I asked her what had made this task so demanding. She described the process in painstaking detail. When I suggested a seemingly simple way to wash, cut and stuff said stalks, she was stunned and somewhat embarrassed. She said that she and her mother-in-law had always done it this way and she’d never thought about doing it differently. Perhaps in her early years as a young wife in the shadows of an experienced cook, she listened and followed her instructions without thinking, but liberation was at hand. In fact, when she hesitantly offered up the possibility of streamlining their technique, they both enjoyed a good laugh over it. How often do you check out and not question the rules, process, or activity you are engaged in? Is it your intention to not make waves and therefore, take a back seat by default? How can you be a better participant or leader while still being part of the team? When is your contribution well intentioned rather than a controlling behavior? Is it the activity itself or the people you are engaging with that is stressful?

• Choose one activity that you want to modify or eliminate
• Inform the people being impacted
• Anticipate possible push-back and script your response in advance
• Prepare for the possibility that no one except YOU really cares
• Enjoy the relief!


Time on Your Hands?

imagesCAH5VQ2J“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” – Tolkien

A simple math calculation tells us that for the most part, we will have 168 hours a week to spend. Deposit this in your personal “time” bank and begin again on Monday with 7 days at your disposal. Yes, like yourself, I have often taken this for granted and have even wished for a challenging week to go faster and be over with. How frequently has that same desire to manipulate time been focused on slowing things down and savoring the minutes, lengthening the experience and appreciating a well planned schedule? Unless we are in a state of pleasure or pain, stressed or bored, conscious or unconscious do we pay attention to time?

Author Lavaille Lavette has another perspective and her focus on the measurement of time is not in hours or minutes but in seconds, yes seconds. To be precise, think about 86,400 seconds in a day. Picture thousands of anything; grains of sand, feathers, or even bulldozers. That is quite an image to hold in your mind’s eye. How different does it feel than the common expression of a day being a 24-hour period? How productive, efficient, driven and passionate are you and how are you spending your time, the gift that you did nothing to earn? Regardless, managing your time is useless unless you manage your purpose. When your intention is clear and your priorities are in place, your effectiveness is directed and the results more meaningful. Time constructively spent feels much more like time earned and is ultimately added to the bottom line of a life well lived, decisive, and fulfilling.

• Review your day
• Have you spent it on purpose or with purpose?
• Plan tomorrow and include one intentional act(ivity) that honors your purpose
©2015 Maureen Weisner

Get Motivated…Start Packing

strong-mover-201x300Most recently my daughter was in the midst of relocating and coming to terms with the boxes of clothes she had accumulated over the years. This was also a unique opportunity for me to provide a second opinion on a day that I assumed would be fraught with indecision and perhaps a few tears. However, as my daughter rifled through drawers in the bedroom she had used as a storage depot, she was clearly on a mission to release the past. Camp t-shirts, well worn jeans, special occasion dresses, and memories quickly piled up, inextricably linked together. I found myself racing down memory lane and the teen years that were not so long ago as I watched from the sidelines. She was ruthless in her judgments and soon five trash bags were filled with her selections. Once assured that this eclectic wardrobe was destined for an organization that distributed donations to their clients and not sold as bulk for cash, she could relax and revel in her accomplishment. Her history was going out the door, or in our case, at least as far as the basement… with visitation rights.

Downsizing can mean many things; a loss for some and freedom for others. Moving, in and of itself takes energy, effort and a plan. What are you leaving behind and conversely, what are you bringing along to the next space? Was it a purposeful decision or was it thrust upon you? Are the circumstances about building a future or winding down another chapter? Is there joy in your movements or grief as you pack? Whatever the situation, notice your feelings and take the time to honor them. Be kind to yourself in the process and know that you can be your own champion of chang

• Take photos of things you are donating, selling, or leaving behind that have a strong connection for you
• Creating a visual record can make the transition easier
• As you say goodbye to the old you are also able to embrace the new with open arms and a heightened sense of possibility

© 2013 Maureen Weisner

SLOW Down and DO More!

slowdown500“People tell me I’d go faster if I used a computer, but I don’t want to go faster. If anything, I want to go slower.” ~ David McCullough

Conducting two unrelated tasks at the simultaneously is multi-tasking. If you are writing a document while referring to an associated spreadsheet at the same time, it is not multi-tasking. And yes, it is possible to fold laundry and watch a favorite TV show concurrently without consequence. In fact, there may be some level of satisfaction associated with the accomplishment of completing a rote activity with another passive form of relaxation. However, if you are bouncing between deciding on an issue while chatting with friends and reading the newspaper, you are not giving your full attention to any of the three…even if you believe you are.

What are some common side effects of multi-tasking?
• Missing important instructions
• Replying to everyone on an e-mail
• Feeling overwhelmed and/or anxious
• Misplacing documents, directions or ancillary materials
• Chronic lateness

According to Peter Khawand, CEO of People On The Go, “When we are interrupted, our results drop down to zero. It takes time to re-load short term memory and determine where we were when switching back and forth between tasks.” Constant mini-shifts from one activity to another are an energetic and cognitive drain. Furthermore, Khawand states, “When we’re working 2-minutes here and there, it’s really hard to get deeply into anything. We lose the ability to think strategically and solve deep issues.” In fact, more employers are looking individuals who can uni-task and fully concentrate. While speed may be important, clear and focused thinking is even more important.

What can you do?
• STOP continually checking e-mails, facebook and other on-line sites
• Turn off your cell phone, e-mail notifications and other interruptions
• Make lists of what needs to be done and the detailed steps to complete a task
• After a stretch of uninterrupted activity, give yourself a “connectivity” reward of conversation with a friend or colleague in person or on-line

Starter or Sustainer?

girls-starting-lineAre you the person who loves the startup process? Whether it’s a new business, reconfiguring your office space, writing the next great novel, or getting the junk drawer organized, some of us get our greatest boost when we make something new happen. Nothing is better than playing with the newness and the possibilities that you envision for the future are exciting.

You love innovation; new ideas, collaborations, activity and creating something from nothing. You can envision what needs to happen, pulling in resources, making connections and multi-tasking throughout. Everything is bright and shiny as you engage others in seeing your vision and joining you. There is energy, excitement and nervous anticipation. No matter, once it is up and running, regardless of the time it takes, be it months or years, you have checked out. You are done and have little interest in maintaining or sustaining it.

Now what??? Look for the people who have no interest in the nascent stage of development. They want to come in once something is established, avoiding the often drama infused startup process. They are skilled at maintaining and growing something already existing.

You love to train, oversee, organize and develop actions that can take this business to the next level. You are skilled at implementation, overseeing and documenting what needs to happen. You are the anchor and the person who anticipates repeating patterns in the life cycle of an organization. You refine, tweak and strengthen operations.

We all have preferences and while we are not always able to choose 100% of what we do, it’s important to know what we are good at and what we favor. Some of us want to be at the head of the line, in the spotlight, performing at the out-of-the-box/creative level, yet we also will incorporate some sustainer methodology in our work. Likewise, the steward of the business will also be utilizing the skill-set of the creative/visionary in order to be successful. Yes, when we understand our preferences, we can better make meaningful, sustainable and personally satisfying contributions to the success of an endeavor AND the stress level is greatly reduced as well.

• Think of a time when you had your most positive professional experience
• Starter or sustainer?
• Was it by choice or by chance?