Save Time…Simplify Your Day

ignore-listenNot all tips may apply to you and no doubt you already employ ways to simplify your days, however, if you can pull out even one idea that eases your workday, enjoy!

1. Limit Meetings
Meetings can be essential, but they can also turn into time wasters if they go on too long or happen too frequently. Accept and schedule only important meetings.

2. Use Email Filters and Archives
Use email filters and archives so that you don’t spend hours looking for a particular message. Easy tools can keep your communications organized.

3. Hire a Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant can help you with mundane daily tasks like email and bookkeeping.

4. Keep Projects in One Place
For both completed projects and those still in progress, have one folder or area where you know you can find them.

5. Avoid Travel Rush Hour
If you commute or have to travel for meetings, take traffic and construction into account. WAZE is an excellent GPS navigational tool and a quick app to download.

6. Have Virtual Meetings
Whenever possible opt out of on-site meetings and instead consider the use of programs like Skype or GoToMeeting.

7. Take and Organize Notes
Keep a notebook with you at all times to jot down notes and ideas or use an app like Evernote to store ideas, images and more so you don’t waste time trying to think of them later.

8. Take Advantage of Technology
There are many time saving and organizational apps and services available such as Dropbox, which lets you bring your photos, docs and videos anywhere. Experiment and find the ones that work for you.

9. Don’t Get Carried Away
Attempting to master and utilize too many productivity applications and services at once can be a time waster. Don’t use so many of them that you spend more time on them than you save.

10. Delegate
Ask your team to take on tasks that you don’t have time for or those with which you know they’d do a good job. Outsource and ask for support before you are overwhelmed.

©2017MWeisner

Journaling…To Write or Not to Write

imagesCA38GE3VWhat happens when we assign a name to an activity that was once not formalized as more than just writing? There is a seriousness, a decisiveness attached to it that is different now. You can find journals for travel, calling out to you with the illusive guarantee of a record to be kept alongside photos, ticket stubs and other mementos of trips taken. Baby books are timelines of another journey, so precious it is impossible not to note milestones on their pages. Fill in the blanks and your diary will come alive, your thoughts preserved for future reflection…or not.

It is easy to be overwhelmed by the myriad of options. After all, an abundance of stores and sites are dedicated to selling beautifully bound journals, pens and more. I should know better by now. I have shelves and drawers filled with them, gifts from friends or purchased by me, begun half-heartedly or abandoned to a newer addition. Each volume beckons with a promise of being the one that will be the keeper of my words, the container of my thoughts, the chosen one…or not.

At its best, journaling has a meditative quality. It is a peaceful activity, a grounding experience, an internal process that stops time for the moment. It is a good habit and once engaged, provides a platform for expression that is very personal. Likewise, there is no end to the self judgments that abound when not doing it in the proscribed form.

What are some other ways to get going when you are not inspired?
• Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write, sans punctuation, only stream of consciousness
• Select a single thought, object or memory and write-dig deep and just write
• Go backwards. Start with the end of your day and complete with the beginning.

If the “written” word is not the best way for you to express yourself:
• Speak or sing your thoughts into a recording device
• Draw, collage or use color in ways to convey your inner feelings
• Use music/instruments as a medium

Access your creativity in ways that support you best and perhaps intersperse one method with another. After all, it is about YOU finding YOUR voice and the best way for YOU to express yourself is changeable!

©2015 Maureen Weisner

The Perversity of Perfection

perfect-progressWhen is good enough OK? How long do we wait it out, work it over, contemplate it, rewrite, redo, add-on, modify and ultimately avoid completion of a creative project? When do we stand back and willingly break the champagne bottle across the bow, allowing our “ship” to sail out into the sometimes perilous waters of the public domain?  How prepared are we for praise or is it the criticism we anticipate?  Is it truly a celebration yet? When is it OK to let go, release the piece and by extension reveal our deepest selves to strangers? Where do you stash your “on-hold” projects? The clock is ticking and only you can change the internal dialogue that may have impeded your progress in the past. Now is the time for an intervention, an examination of what’s been getting in the way and how to create momentum.

“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” Rabindranth Tagore, poet

For many us of, beginnings are exciting and often far more interesting than endings.  Beginnings are fresh and herald in possibility and newness. On the other hand completion points to the next undertaking; a refocus on something else. Will it be equally exciting or test your abilities and talents. Were you a “one hit wonder” or a legitimate talent? Will you be revealed as a fraud or a mover and shaker?

Here is the reality check-in. Fear is the enemy of action. The more you ponder, the less likely you are to MOVE FORWARD, submit the project, send out the manuscript, or deliver the painting to the gallery owner.  We react to situations when we do not have a goal. We act upon them when we are sure of our goals. When you write down your goals, it activates something in your brain that leads to actions that help realize them.

  • Long lists can give us a false sense of having accomplished many of the action items or foster a sense of overwhelm
  • Instead, set one small goal for today which can be as simple as dedicating 15-minutes to writing or making a phone call that you’ve been putting off
  • If you feel inspired, continue beyond your pre-set time
  • Notice if the time of day as you approach your task is an energy enhancer or drain
  • Adjust accordingly

© 2014 Maureen Weisner

Kickstart the New Year!

Screen-Shot-2012-12-27-at-8_18_14-PMI always look forward to the various approaches to the process of behavioral change that take center stage at the end of each calendar year. Approximately 45 percent of Americans make self-improvement goals in January, yet by February much of that enthusiasm has slowed to a mere trickle. And despite our best efforts, only some 8 percent of us end up achieving those goals. Of course there are many reasons and faulty explanations abound, yet we are in good company with respect to the challenges surrounding change. Read on for Andy Horner’s other approach to kicking off the New Year with a fast track approach.

Instead of a resolution, each year I commit to a New Year’s Kickstart!

Here’s the idea: You start your year off with a big success by completing a relatively quick turnaround project that you’ve been putting off. It could be a website, blog, newsletter, new mini-business, or a presentation or webinar you’ve been wanting to complete.

It’s Your Spark Plug: Whatever your project, your New Year’s Kickstart should be the spark that ignites your bigger picture strategy for the year.

Difficulty: Hard: For your project, it’s best to choose something that will push you. Get out of your comfort zone, but avoid a challenge that’s too grandiose. I don’t want your Kickstart to end in a New Year’s Frustration.

Done in 2 Weeks: It should be something you can knock out quickly. One of the reasons New Year’s Resolutions fail is that the commitment, like losing weight, takes too long to yield results. (If you haven’t noticed, we’re an instant-gratification world now.)

I like the 2 week mark. It’s enough time to get most projects finished. It’s short enough to maintain focus. And it means you begin your year with an achievement to fuel you.

• Write it down
• Color code 2-weeks in your Kickstart calendar
• Celebrate your success!

REDO Your To-Do List

Long-To-Do-List-shutterstock_106155491-e1350582020988You probably use some version of a to-do list. They seem look a good idea, but they simply catalogue tasks yet don’t help you accomplish them.

If all you do is make lists of the projects you need to finish, odds are good they will remain unfinished far longer than you like. Decades of research on goal pursuit shows that when it comes to execution, there are 2 major pitfalls that keep us from doing the things we intend to do.

1. We aren’t specific enough about exactly what needs to happen. There are actions we must take to reach our goals. If your goal is be healthier, you must break that down into component actions, like walking every day for 30-minutes at 7AM, packing a gym bag the night before M/W/F, eating breakfast, etc. So, to-do lists CAN work, if they contain specific actions.

2. The problem that lists don’t solve is finding the opportunity to take action.
• Did you really have NO time to work on that project today?
• No chance at any time to return that phone call?
You probably had the time but were preoccupied with something else or simply forgot.

Achieving any goal means grabbing hold of those opportunities before they slip through your fingers. One solution is IF-THEN planning. Not only decide WHAT you need to do but WHEN and WHERE you will do it in advance. So, if ____ occurs, then I will ____.
For example: When it’s 3PM today, then I’ll stop whatever I’m doing and work on that project. If it’s M/W or F, then I’ll go to the gym before work.

This kind of planning trains your brain to be ready for a certain action at a certain time. On an unconscious level, you are scanning your environment, waiting for the situation, 3PM to occur, so you are much more likely to notice 3PM when it happens and seize the opportunity to take the action you included in your plan.

With each action on your to-do list, add a when and a where. You can transfer your to-do list to your calendar/phone/device- just be sure to pair WHAT you need to do with the details about when and where you’ll do it.

MINI-Plan The Power of Habit

1. Create a routine- teach your brain a routine

2. Set small goals- habit formation is built on small wins

3. Choose a reward- you’re training yourself to associate a behavior with something you enjoy

4. Write it down- Identifying your routine significantly increases the chance that a habit will take hold

ACTIONS:
What’s one goal to focus on today and break it down into components?
Share with your group > accountability