Getting Things Done = Freedom!

imagesCAUIW14S“Taking on new projects is not necessarily a positive change. It may be a sign of recklessness and non-fulfillment. But going back to all the levels of non-completion and completing them is a sign of positive change.” – John Roger

How many lists do you have? Are they short and long term, numbered and highlighted in order of importance? Are they color coded? Has their creation and maintenance taken on a life of its own? Are you living with annoying post-its everywhere that only increase your level of anxiety and multiply mysteriously? Does it feel like you are pushing back the ocean, while conflicted about this selfish waste of paper or electronic data? Are these overwhelming and unproductive activities? Non-completion takes up a great deal of psychic space, often accompanied by finger wagging and other judgmental posturing and is very taxing.

According to David Allen,” Stress comes from unkept agreements with yourself. You can relieve that stress only by canceling the agreement, keeping the agreement or negotiating it.”

Begin by clearing out and collecting your thoughts, assessing each one for importance and then review your options. Here is a 3-step approach that can get you out of being stuck and on the road to taking charge.

1. Find your preferred method of recording information. Take 5-minutes and dump everything that pops into your head. Do not censor or evaluate, just write!
2. Assess each particle. What’s the next action? What will you commit to?
3. Which things will you do in order of  time, place and importance?

A constant part of worry is the nagging feeling that there is always something else to be managed. While that may be true, for now you have cleared out the cobwebs and dumped the brain drains to a place where they can be seen and not just heard.

• Make your list
• Dig deep…no self-censoring
• Notice how it feels different than usual

©MWeisner2017

What’s in Your Junk Drawer?

messy-drawer-copyRecently I was in the office of a colleague to help her re-position several certificates and awards she’d earned when she asked me to get a measuring tape from her desk. With a mighty tug on what I thought was a jammed drawer, it released and with it, the contents, including magazines, old newspapers, and more. To say I was shocked is an understatement and it reminded me of cranking an old time “jack-in-the-box” to have the toy spring out with a pop. She, on the other hand was nonplussed and simply wanted to get the documents hung and thought the tape measure might be mixed in with the other stuff. It was her office junk drawer.

Now, this woman is a professional, always well groomed and every surface in her office is immaculate, so how could she be so uncharacteristically messy? In my rush to judgment, based on experiencing one tiny piece of her world, I started to think about what my junk drawer looked like and whether it was even a single space or a place.

No doubt, professional organizers have stories to tell. People may be highly structured in their workplace and not so elsewhere. We’ve all seen people whose wallets are crammed with receipts and so full they can’t be closed. Accountants talk of clients who come to them with shoeboxes of paperwork, invoices and notes, yet the rest of their lives are relatively together and successful. Do you take pride in the cleanliness of your car but the glove compartment is a twin to my colleague’s office drawer?

• Is it OK or perhaps healthy to have a free area where you can just dump things?
• Does it provide some relief not to control every square inch of your world when so much of it must be more aligned?
• What would it feel like to pull out the mess and organize the space so that it’s functional?
• What would you gain or lose by eliminating your junk drawer?

©MWeisner2016

Self-Judgment Day

Cfey08QXIAA0N8BThis has been the season of the grocery store scenario for several clients and while the items in the cart may change, their stories have a similar theme.

“Jane” was lost in the SUPER supermarket holding bananas and yogurt when she spied the woman with scallions smugly staring back at her, mocking her hapless state. The stranger had it all going on; organized, sophisticated taste and style, a spotless home, handsome husband, perfect kids AND she must be a gourmet cook. “Jane” assumed that the stranger managed to do it all while she could barely think about how hungry she was, waiting to peel the banana and get some nutrition into her slacker body.”

“Mary” finds herself playing beat the school bus to the stop. Her cart is filled with 12 cans of Spaghetti O’s, milk and cereal, the limited diet that her 3 year old will agree to eat this month. Behind you is a neighbor with artichokes, roast beef and what appears to be the recipe for an off-season holiday banquet in her carriage. It’s obvious the cans on the belt are not for the food pantry but destined for your home. Humiliating!”

These mythical creatures have pressed your buttons and in each case, triggered a series of thoughts that generated feelings followed by actions. It might prompt an explanation or in the case of the supermarket angst, a quick exit and a pause to rewind and be kind to yourself.

So what is it about assumptions and judgments? The average American has approximately 60,000 thoughts daily. Well, both “Jane” and “Mary” just assigned 1,000 of them to the scallion/artichoke women never having uttered a word or made eye contact with either.

When we are conscious of our thoughts, when we stop before we write the script, we can short-circuit the feelings that arise from being judged, abandoned, betrayed, and so on. What if the smug stare in the first instance was in reality, nothing more than a quick glance because she was trying to read the expiration date on the yogurt without her glasses? And what if the woman with the full cart wished for more in her daily activities than a gourmet dinner to prepare? Unless you are an entertainer, mind-reading is inaccurate at best.

• Stay present
• Focus on the source of your thoughts. Is it accurate?
• Remember that YOU are in control of your thoughts>feelings>actions

©MWeisner2016

7 Mascaras and Counting

mascaraRight now I have a drawer filled with mascara tubes; at least seven and counting. Some are duplicates and range from moderately used to brand new and still in the package. They have found their way to the makeup drawer from CVS or Bloomingdale’s and everything in between. I am not on the hunt for the perfect product that promises to be waterproof or lengthening or lash thickening. No, honestly I had forgotten about the six previous purchases entirely. Mascara, as with most makeup, holds the promise of fun, adventure and different. It’s something that always “fits” and can also fall into the “necessary” vs. “frivolous” category; satisfying with little risk or financial cost.What an instant mood lifter… or is this seemingly unnecessary purchase an example of a thoughtless act? If only I had an image of what I already owned and armed with that visual, torn myself away from the makeup counter. What did I need vs. what was I responding to? Had I been suckered in by the lights and glamour of the aisles? Was I just another shopper transfixed by desire vs. need? Does it require such an in-depth analysis? I think not, in fact, all it requires is a magnifying mirror and a steady hand.

• What is your low cost way to have fun?
• When do you over-analyze your actions?
• How does this diminish the pleasure?
• Whose permission do you need?

©2016 Maureen Weisner

Longings of a List-Maker

todolist“Taking on new projects is not necessarily a positive change. It may be a sign of recklessness and non-fulfillment. But going back to all the levels of non-completion and completing them is a sign of positive change.” – John Roger

How many lists do you have? Are they short and long term, numbered and highlighted in order of importance? Are they color coded? Has their creation and maintenance taken on a life of its own? Are you living with annoying post-its everywhere that only increase your level of anxiety and multiply mysteriously? Does it feel like you are pushing back the ocean, while conflicted about this selfish waste of paper or electronic data? Are these overwhelming and unproductive activities? Non-completion takes up a great deal of psychic space, often accompanied by finger wagging and other judgmental posturing and is very taxing.

“Stress comes from unkept agreements with yourself. You can relieve that stress only by canceling the agreement, keeping the agreement or negotiating it.” – Author David Allen

Begin by clearing out and collecting your thoughts, assessing each one for importance and then review your options. Here is a 3-step approach that can get you out of being stuck and on the road to taking charge.

1. Find your preferred method of recording information. Take 5 minutes and dump
everything that pops into your head. Do not censor or evaluate it, just write!
2. Assess each particle. What’s the next action? What will you commit to?
3. Which things will you do to fit the time, place and importance?

A constant part of worry is the nagging feeling that there is always something else to be managed. While that may be true, for now you have cleared out the cobwebs and dumped the brain drains to a place where they can be “seen” and not just “heard”.

• Make your list
• Dig deep…no self-censoring
• Notice how it feels different than usual

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

cinderella584Is what we think we want more compelling than identifying what we need? Cinderella’s stepsisters might be a quarrelsome lot on that point, for try as they might, that darned glass slipper just would not fit on their feet. One of my first summer jobs was in the shoe department of a women’s clothing store, so on a daily basis I witnessed some very surprising behaviors. Many customers were determined to make a purchase based not on comfort, color or style, but on size. Naively, my own experience with footwear was never based on the latter consideration. Imagine feeling visibly hobbled by one’s own decision to pay for something that important, that crucial to your well-being overall health that you would override sound judgment in favor of pain. I am not a Luddite and admittedly there are times when some sacrifice to comfort in favor of fashion is warranted, but on a daily basis your feet are neither too big nor too small. They are just right for YOU and if that shoe doesn’t fit, take a deep breath and place it gently back in the box where it belongs, waiting for Cinderella to claim it.

It is one thing to vainly attempt to wedge oneself into footwear or apparel that is not the proper size and quite another to base decisions on emotional factors that are a vanity of another sort. For example, investing in technology is an area that changes so rapidly it is hard to keep up and at the same time there is cache in having the newest “tools” at our fingertips. Does it announce to the world that we are smart, trendsetting players, not to be confused with the generation that is wedded to antiquated methods of doing business? Or does it mean that we have a drawer full of discarded items that were never understood or integrated into our working day?

Step back, assess and ascertain if your next purchase will be an enhancement or a costly choice and above all, please refrain from limping around your office when your cell phone rings.

© Maureen Weisner 2013