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.

5 Tips for Succeeding at Life (because resolutions suck)

Resolutions suck. For real.

Less than 8% of people actually follow through with resolutions.

Are you surprised?

Me either.

Here’s the thing: resolutions are fleeting.

How about instead of setting resolutions, we just RESOLVE to CREATE LASTING LIFESTYLE CHANGE (or revolt and eat all the jelly beans... whatever.)

new years resolution
new years resolution

Here are 5 of my best tips to always be successful at LIFE, no matter what you’re up to:

1. Be a student

The most successful people I’ve ever met (myself included, of course) seek out opportunities to learn. And not just from their daily experiences, although that’s part of it.

Become an avid reader. Attend a seminar. Take a class. Seek knowledge.

2. Limit distractions

If you’re read my eBook, you know that I think multi-tasking is a joke. It’s old news, folks!

But did you know this: according to a study conducted by Michigan State University, interruptions as short as 3 seconds DOUBLE errors.

So every time you pick up your phone to answer a text, or check in on your Twitter feed, or chat online with a coworker, your potential for success decreases dramatically.

My quick fix suggestions: turn off email notifications, log off of instant messenger, check email and social media on a fixed schedule.

3. Be accountable

We’ve all heard this before – but how often do we actually take action?

Tell someone (ANYONE!) your goals – a spouse, friend, coach, your dog... no, don’t tell your dog... tell someone who has the ability to ask: Hey, have you paid off your credit card bill yet? Have you told your boss that you want to work part-time? Have you started planning your big family vacation?

4. Start where you're at

Let’s get cliche for a second – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

And the masterpiece that is you – as wonderful as you already are – wasn’t either. Growth, transformation, success... it’s a PROCESS.

It takes time to get from point A to B (or C or D or L). And no one’s jumping from D straight to L – first you go to E, then F... you get the point.

Meet yourself where you’re at – alphabetically or otherwise. Make the next logical step, from D to E, and move on from there.

5. Be generous

You know what feels GOOD? Being nice to people.

There’s something about sharing what you’ve got goin’ on that really elevates your whole mood, your whole world.

It doesn’t even need to cost anything: send a note, give a phone call, open a door – small gestures of generosity speak volumes and come back in spades.

This week’s challenge: Perform a selfless act of generosity. Tell me what you did and how you FEEL in the comments.

The Best Tool I've Found to Combat Overwhelm

For a long time (somewhere on the order of 31 years...) I’ve felt like I live in a constant state of overwhelm.   Even when I’m exercising my right to say no, my high aspirations, big dreams, and general interest in learning and experimentation, I still say yes more often than I say no.  This can make managing my schedule pretty challenging and has led to many late nights and long weekends STILL working, connecting, dreaming. Until...

I realized I was falling back into the same old cycle that burnt me out before

I recognized what my true priorities are (and they just so happen to NOT include

I learned the hard way that Rome wasn’t built in a day (or a week, or a month)

I acknowledged that I couldn’t possibly work with women to help them tackle overwhelm until I got a handle on my own.

So, I spent a lot of time reading, learning, planning, failing, re-imagining, and tweaking until I found a system that worked for me – without fail.  And that system includes a little one-page wonder I affectionately and super-creatively call my Weekly Tracking Worksheet.  This is, hands down,  the best tool I've found to combat overwhelm.

combat overwhelm
combat overwhelm

The key elements of the tracker include:

  • The Daily Top 3: These are the three – ALWAYS only 3 - MUST DO important, but not urgent (refer to the Time Matrix video for more info), activities that I must complete that day
  • Separate line items for PLAY with family and friends, FITness, SELF-care, and a daily PUSH goal (note: These are sometimes empty depending on the day, but they remind me to schedule this stuff)
  • Space for reflection (I try to review and re-plan for 10 minutes at the end of every day)
  • Keeping my priorities and big goals front and center

To get the worksheet, shoot me an email and I’ll send you a copy.

6 Techniques for Creating Good Habits

I recently started reading Darren Hardy's "The Compound Effect". This book is all about taking small actions, making positive changes, and creating good habits consistently that will compound into big things over time. On the flip side, there's the case where you're making small actions (or inactions) that are taking you in the opposite direction. So many of us get stuck there... and end up stagnant in our work, at home, in relationships, you name it. If you're feeling stuck, its time to make some changes, and my new 5-week online Bootcamp may be just the thing you need to get started. The fact of the matter is, most of us are not EXACTLY where we want to be, although maybe we're on our way. A big part of the equation is crowding out the bad habits with good ones.

Darren provides the following 6 Techniques for Creating Good Habits:

1. Set Yourself Up to Succeed

This is probably the easiest place to get stuck - not setting yourself up to succeed.

"Any good habit has to work inside your life and lifestyle."

What is it that you're trying to accomplish and what in your life is holding you back? If you're trying to eat healthy, but that 3 pm sugar craving has you running for the vending machine, stock up with some healthy snacks, instead. If you want to work out more often, but find yourself exhausted at the end of the day, get up a half hour earlier and get a quick workout in (trust me, this WORKS!).

2. Think Addition, Not Subtraction

Instead of focusing on the negative, the things you're giving up, the things you can't have, turn your focus toward the things you can have. I have a friend who, within the last year, completely changed her diet due to a medical condition. Instead of wallowing in the fact that she couldn't enjoy some of her favorite foods, she opted to focus her energy on creating healthier versions of those meals and savoring every delicious morsel.

3. Go for a PDA: Public Display of Accountability

I think we can all acknowledge that staying accountable just to ourselves is pretty darn tough. We're too easy on ourselves. Find a bigger, broader way to be accountable - whether it's sharing on social media, telling your friends and family, or hanging up a big ol' sign in your cubicle at work (this is one of Darren's best examples).

4. Find a Success Buddy

Take accountability to the next level by pairing up with someone who has similar goals and can keep you on point. Agree to meet regularly (phone, email, skype, whatever works) to hold each other accountable, share successes, failures, and aha's, and keep each other pushing further and further forward.

5. Competition & Camaraderie

Let's be honest, we all love a little friendly competition. I mean, who doesn't love winning? So, if you're working towards creating a new habit, loop in some other people with the same objectives and make a game of it. You'd be surprised how much faster and harder you'll push just to beat out Kelly from HR.

6. Celebrate!

It can be easy to get wrapped up in work, or in unconscious, unproductive zoning to combat hard work (case in point, a few months ago I posted about my embarrassing addiction to TV. It's an action I have been working to consciously change and with Darren's tips, I'm making serious strides), but the healthier way to deal is to celebrate each success.

"You've got to find little rewards to give yourself every month, every week, every day - even something small to acknowledge that you've held yourself to a new behavior."

Change is hard and celebration is absolutely deserved, so let your hair down and enjoy it once in awhile!

I strongly encourage you to pick up this book. It's affordable, short, relatable, AND actionable, and I can almost guarantee that you'll be inspired to make positive changes in your life.

For me, I'm focusing more on my time management. I actually consider myself to be pretty darn good at managing my time, with everything I've got going on, but I know I can be doing even better. Now, I want to hear from YOU, what positive habit do you want to create in your life?

Time Management with The Time Matrix

Do you find yourself saying "I'd cook healthy meals at home if I had time" or "I wish I had time to exercise" or "I know how to live a healthy life, I just don't have the time to implement everything I know"?  Well, unfortunately, I can't give you more time...we've only got 24 hours in a day and *hopefully* only 15-16 of those hours are waking hours (remember: consistently getting at least 8 hours of sleep is important for brain health).  But, what I can give you, are tools to help you be more PRODUCTIVE in those hours through effective time management.  Check out this quick video on the Time Matrix:

This video is just a snippet of a 5-week self-study/group coaching program that I'm rolling out in a few weeks - stay tuned for those details!  Make sure to enter your name and email down below this post to be the first to get the details on the Lifestyle Design Bootcamp.