To Do: The Done List

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your To-Do list and have too much to do at work ? Like - no matter what you do, it just keeps growing and growing and you just can't get ahead.Well, I've got a solution for you! Watch this week's quick video tip to learn a 5-minute strategy to help you stress less and celebrate more.

After you watch the video, comment below and share how this practice will help you stress less and CELEBRATE MORE.

You'll Never Have Balance Without These 3 Things

I'm gonna keep this short and sweet.Listen - you CAN have balance: work that feels your soul and a life to match.  But we all know it doesn't come easy.  This week, I'm sharing the 3 things that you HAVE to do to achieve work life balance.

After you watch the video, comment below and share 1 thing you will do to create your dream life this week.

Feeling Dominated by Your To-Do List? Try this.

I just spent the last 20 minutes STARING at my to-do list. Ever do that?  Like, maybe if I stare long enough, it will just magically get done!  (seriously, if anyone knows how to do that, TELL ME!)

Unfortunately, to-do lists don’t just magically DO themselves, although mine tend to have a habit of growing exponentially all on their own.

If you’re feeling dominated by your To-Do list right now, try this super simple interval time management trick:

  1. Identify a single task or group of related tasks. 
  2. Set a timer (should be visible at all times) for 25 minutes and work on the identified task(s) until the time is up. 
  3. When the timer goes off, STOP.  No matter where you are at in the process, stop immediately at 25 minutes and take a 3-5 minute break doing something else completely.
  4. After completing 4 intervals (2 hours), take a longer break of 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Use as many intervals as necessary to complete the task at hand.  When you’re done, move on to the next task.

Here are some quick tips to master this trick:

  • Try not to get distracted.  If you suddenly remember items that need to be completed, add them to your to-do list, and continue on with the pomodoro. 
  • If an item ABSOLUTELY must be completed immediately, scrap your current interval and complete the necessary item.  Start over again with a full interval. 
  • The 25-minute interval is not divisible, meaning you can’t have a half or a quarter; when you use an interval you use the whole thing – no partials allowed.
  • If you finish an activity before the timer is up, use your extra time to review your work and your efficiency.

Whenever I’m feeling “whelmed”, I whip out my timer, set it for 25 minutes and GET SHIT DONE.  It’s just so darn easy and effective, and it can be applied to pretty much any task, no matter how big or small. 

The 25-minute interval with 3-5 minute breaks has proven to be a really effective time interval for me – its enough time to make solid progress on an activity, but the break time allows for handling distractions and re-grouping, as needed.

In the comments, share your interval time management success!

Is it OK to be lazy?

As a culture, we’re a bunch of overachievers.  We make things happen... and we make things happen fast.  There’s lots of going, doing, being and more, more, MORE.There’s not a whole lot of lazy.

As a go-getter, being lazy is something I struggle with a lot.  Being lazy feels...well... lazy.  It feels bad.  I feel like I should ALWAYS be doing something. 

I often ask myself: Is it OK to be lazy?

Lazy can be great and healthy and goal-affirming if it’s done correctly.

When I was totally burnt out from my job in consulting, I’d spend entire weekends immobilized on my couch because I was too mentally and physically exhausted to do anything else.  This is the BAD side of lazy.  There’s no joy in that.

So, what’s the difference between good lazy and bad lazy?

Good lazy is done with intention.  It’s taking a leisurely walk.  Savoring coffee with a friend.  A well thought out movie marathon.  Spending an afternoon reading a good book.

is it okay to be lazy
is it okay to be lazy

Bad lazy is done out of helplessness and exhaustion. When your head is telling you that you need to be doing something productive, but your heart is telling you to chill the f out, that’s bad lazy.   The argument between the head and the heart actually leads to more stress.  And nobody needs that.

Bad lazy is non-stop bad reality TV benders.  It’s getting lost down the Buzzfeed rabbit hole.  It’s ordering takeout for 5 days in a row because your kitchen’s a mess and you don’t want to clean it.

So, how do we do more good and less bad lazy?

Remember, the distinction is all about INTENTION.  First, give yourself the permission to be lazy.  Then, use this handy fill-in-the-blank affirmation:

Today, I am going to fully enjoy   ________________________ because it makes me feel _________________________________  (think: at ease, joyful, relaxed, etc.). 

Declare it out loud – hearing your own voice say it will be affirming and will make it more real for you.

Are you like me – is lazy sometimes a struggle?  Share your thoughts on being lazy in the comments.

You Need an NBA Team

My friend “Bill” had what he called a basketball team: a harem of 5 women available at his beck and call.  Bill was a bit of a womanizer. I think "Bill" also had a couple of benchwarmers.  Bill was also kind of a dog.

You should have a basketball team, too.

Not the 2:30 am booty call kind.  C’mon, I give you WAY more credit than that. 

You need these 5 people to push you toward living a life you love.  Here’s your starting line-up:

  1. Point Guard: Your point guard DOES NOT get caught down in the weeds with you.  Instead, they’re great at seeing the big picture and visualizing the future.  They help you keep your “eye on the prize”. 
  2. Shooting Guard: Quick on the trigger, your shooting guard hates your indecision.  They push you to keep moving forward by taking shots and course-correcting when necessary.
  3. Small Forward: This little powerhouse is your biggest supporter.  The “man’s best friend” of basketball, the small forward is always by your side and committed to your cause.
  4. Power Forward: The power forward’s motto: “Do what you say you are going to do.”  They make you accountable and what let you forget your goals.  They’re constantly checking your progress and measure your success by the moves you make.
  5. Center: Your center does just that: keeps you centered.  When the shit is hitting the fan, they’re there with you right in the thick of it, reminding you why you’re there in the first place.

Who are these people and where do you find them?  They could be anyone: the girl you see next to you on the treadmill, your boss, your mom, your man, your favorite lifestyle coach (had to!), a writer you totally dig. 

It doesn’t need to be any one you know and you don’t even ever have to tell them they’re playing for you.

Who’s on your team?  Tell me in the comments.


How to Rock Your Performance Review

That moment when the invite for your annual review hits your inbox… and dread sets in…

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Even for rockstar employees like yourself, annual reviews can leave a bad taste in your mouth, especially in a world of check boxes and ridiculous HR requirements. 

(Am I the only one here who’s worked at a company were you literally were not allowed to be ranked high on everything?  What kind of BS is that?!?!)

But there’s another side to annual reviews.  They provide an opportunity to celebrate your accomplishments and to demonstrate to your manager how you see your performance, your value, and your future.

Here are five tips to rock your performance review.

1. Get in the driver’s seat

One of the best pieces of career advancement advice I ever got was this:

“If you’re manager invites you to a meeting, never assume that he/she is running the meeting.  Always be prepared to take the ball and run with it.”

With performance reviews, this is even more critical.  You have a vested interest in the outcome of the meeting, so take charge of driving the conversation.

DO:Have talking points and questions ready.

DON’T:Be so stringent that your manager can’t get a word in edge-wise.

2. Decide what you really want (and deserve).

We all, invariably, want to earn more money.  But is this all what you really want?  (It’s ok if it is)

Think bigger picture here.  When you think of your career, what do you want to accomplish?  What do you want to be known for?  It might be a cross-functional training opportunity. It might be leadership development.  

Get clear on what you want: money, a promotion, a client-facing role, training opportunities, autonomy.

DO: Ask – clearly and concisely – for what you really want and be prepared with suggestions for how your manager can help you reach your goals.

DON’T:Be unreasonable.  Asking for a 20% raise when the average for your company is 4% is not only likely to be denied, but you’ll also be taken a lot less seriously for asking for it.

3. Power in Numbers

Look – your performance review is not an opportunity to bitch and complain, talk about how you feel, or lay out what you “think” you deserve.  It’s your (sometimes one and only) annual chance to prove your value.  Feelings and your personal sense of entitlement do not demonstrate the quality and merit of your performance.  Facts make your case.

DO: Have concrete details (and the numbers to back them up) about the contributions you’ve made to the company’s goals.  Be as thorough as possible.   

DON’T:Leave it to your manager to know what you accomplished this year.

4. Practice your delivery

A performance review is an inherently nerve-wracking situation; practice can help you feel cool, calm, and collected, even under stress.   Rehearse asking for and justifying what you want. It gets easier and more natural every time you say it out loud.  Also, practice consciously restraining from filling in all the dead space.  Give your manager time to contemplate and respond.

DO:Practice out loud (just like back in grade school when you had a big presentation)

DON’T:Wing it (unless you don’t really care if you get what you want)

5. Be Open to Criticism

News flash: you’re not perfect! (sorry to burst your bubble)

But, even if you were, there’s still an opportunity to be EVEN BETTER. 

Ask for feedback on your work.  Get specific details and ask clarifying questions if you need to.

DO:Use criticism as an opportunity to grow your skillset and advance your career.

DON’T:Get combative.  Picking a fight will not support your case that you’re a stellar employee.

So, are you ready to rock your performance review yet?  Go get ‘em, tiger.

rock your performance review
rock your performance review

12 Steps for Recovering Workaholics

Hi, I'm Stephanie, and I'm a workaholic.  It's been 6 months since my last workaholic episode. I'm actually a recovering workaholic. 

I will always work hard and create work that I'm proud to put my name on, but what I've learned is that if I work all the time, the quality of my work suffers, I have a "baditude", I'm tough to be around, and I neglect everything else in my life that's important to me.  In my recovery, I focus on creating space for work AND for my relationships and health.

Here are 12 steps every recovering workaholic should follow:

1. Schedule Time for Family & Friends

If you don't schedule it, it isn't real and you probably won't make time for it.  Make this time quality time - put down the phone and savor the experiences with the people you love.

2. Do What You Say You're Going to Do

Follow through on your commitments, both work and personal.  If you make a date with a friend, don't bail to "work late".  If you have a deadline, see it through.  Enough said.  (Note: Over committing yourself goes hand in hand with this - see #9 below)

3. Take Care of Yourself

Take time to recharge your batteries.  Get a massage, spend 10 minutes in meditation, grab coffee with a friend - whatever feeds your soul, make a habit of doing it often.

4. Sleep Tight

Aim for 8 hours of sleep a night and stick to a consistent bedtime and wake time schedule.

5. Learn to Prioritize

Identify the roles in your life that are important to you (example: employee, wife, mother, student, volunteer, mentor, etc.) - select no more than 5 roles.  Create a role statement for each role: As (role), I will (extraordinary/high impact outcome) through (activities).  Align your day-to-day with these role statements so you're always doing the things that are important to you.

6. Take Time Off

Working 24/7 only leads to you being drained and ineffective.  Take at least 1 day a week off, every week.  Disconnecting at night is really valuable too - commit to several nights a week off, if you can't do every night.

7. Redefine Success

What does success REALLY mean to you?  Get really specific - what does it feel like?  What does it look like?  It’s okay to want a prestigious job, a family, a white-picket fence around a big house, and a flashy car.  It’s also okay to NOT want those things.  Put your time and energy toward what’s important TO YOU.

8. Take Breaks

Research suggests that working long hours DECREASES productivity.  Schedule time away from your desk during the workday.  Even 5 or 10 minute breaks work wonders to refresh and provide renewed mental clarity, making your work even better.

9. Set Clear Expectations

Stepping back may require a heart to heart with your boss, coworkers, and the important people in your life.  Set clear work hours, reasonable deadlines, and realistic commitments. Don't overcommit yourself.  If these conversations are tough, reiterate that burnt out = ineffective, and you are still committed to doing a kick ass job.

10. Delegate!

Remember you don't have to do it all yourself.  Ask for help from coworkers or hire out tasks to free up your time.

11. Find hobbies

Fill the gaps that you used to spend working with fun hobbies - take up running, read a novel, become a wine aficionado - whatever keeps you happy and engaged.

12. Laugh

Stop being so gosh-darn serious all the time.  All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  It makes you pretty dull, too.

Are you a recovering workaholic?  What step SCREAMS at you to implement?