Tag Archives | focus

2 Words That Help Me Stay Sane in a Crazy World


There are days, more and more the older I get, when tasks seem to be everywhere I look, piling up faster than I can even capture them; a full dishwasher, dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, an errand list as long as my arm, emails to be returned, papers to go through, posts to be written, articles to be researched, appointments to be made…

When I start feeling…hmmm. Frantic is the word I guess. The only thing I can do is keep repeating over and over “one thing,” “one thing,” a mantra of sorts to remind myself to focus on just one thing at a time. Just one thing…, then the next…, and the next. I started out whispering it in my head, but now I just say it out loud and don’t care who thinks I’m crazy. Crazy or not, it helps…a lot.

One thing…

Put away the dishes – Check

Throw in a load of laundry – Check

Answer email – Check

Write blog post – Check

Conference call – Check

Research article – Check

Brainstorm name and domain for new project – Check

Call mom – Check

Text kids – Check

Make vet appointment for dogs – Check

Do a few errands – Check

Go to son’s track meet – Check

Try not to think about work I should be doing while at track meet – Sort of check

Make dinner – Check

Walk dogs – Check

Check homework – Check

And so on…

One thing…one thing…one thing…

It works for me…Maybe it will work for you…

Repeat after me…One thing, one thing, one thing…

Let me know if it helps!

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How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Currency

The Passage of Time
Image by ToniVC via Flickr

Are you neglecting the things that matter?

Do you think you’re somehow different than the rest of us? That you have more hours in the day or can get more done miraculously if you just get organized enough?

Let me tell you right now, FORGET IT! There is only so much any one person can accomplish at one time. We’re told we can have and do it all, but that is a bold faced lie, a sales pitch of productivity system marketing.

Be honest. Where are you falling short?

Full disclosure: I am a chronic over-scheduler, over-committer and plate-overflower ( I just made that term up.) I know I am not alone in the disease to “DO MORE.” But when we try to squeeze in more we tend to neglect the things that matter most, health, family, enjoyment of life.

In some unfathomable twist of brain logic we tend to spend time on those things that don’t really matter in the long-term picture of our lives. Why do we do this? I don’t know. It’s a puzzle of the human psyche. Perhaps someone wiser than I can figure out that puzzle eventually.

Mini: Mission: My marching orders are to figure out what really matters, place a premium priority and focus on those aspects of my life and cut back or delete those that don’t.  I invite you, no; I implore you to join me.

Time is our most valuable currency, yet most of us squander it so easily. (Feel free to tweet that.)

What are the things that really matter to you?

Are you spending enough time on those things?

What are the things that really won’t matter 20 years from now?

Are you spending too much time on the things that really don’t matter that much?

Do you check your email first thing in the morning instead of taking time to exercise or eating breakfast with your family? I’m sure you’ll be glad of that when your health fails and your kids are gone.

Do you spend too much time on social media and information intake? Unless that’s your job, (and sometimes even if it is your job,) you’ll get better results if you spend your time actually producing “work.” Those things are tools.

And while we’re talking about social media…is Facebook really more important than reading with your kids or having an actual conversation with your husband?

We don’t like to think that we’re squandering our time; I know I sure don’t.

But our schedule and habits tell the real story… Take a look…if you dare.

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The Quickest Way To A Better Life…


Let’s talk about gratitude. A big idea and an important one.

Feeling gratitude triggers a state of mind that exudes peace and wellbeing. From this place of gratitude things just seem to flow a bit easier. Life seems a bit lighter…even if we are in the midst of difficult times.

Mini-Mission: Focus On Gratitude

Take time every day to focus on the things you are grateful for, tangible and intangible. Ideally being grateful would be a constant companion in your day, but sometimes life doesn’t lend itself to the ideal.

At the very least, take a few minutes each day to write down several things you’re grateful for…or simply contemplate them during a few minutes of quiet if you prefer.

Consider the things that you rarely stop to notice, that you typically just take for granted.

Consider the people in your life – both significant and passing – people who give your life meaning and bring joy. Sometimes I am just grateful for a pleasant cashier…

Consider experiences that you have had – both positive and challenging – that have affected your life in a positive way or perhaps have taught you lessons.

Consider the fundamental things that you would have difficultly living without, the big things that make your life livable, comfortable, that allow you to function.

Consider the things that you enjoy, that brighten your life in some way – fun, passion, hobbies, vacations, indulgences, pleasures, spiritual pursuits.

There are so many things in life to be grateful for…It shouldn’t take long to come up with a few each day. Gratitude brightens your mood, shifts your focus, lowers your stress level and puts you back in touch with your life. (Feel free to tweet that :)

Some days I am grateful to just have woken up to another day and still be breathing…but then I remember that I have a home and food and heat and people who love me and music and books and a good cup of coffee and…I am grateful.

Do you have a gratitude practice of some kind?

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The Single Most Important Way to Be More Productive…It’s Not What You Think


Crystal ball

Image via Wikipedia

The question I am most often asked is… “What is your best productivity tip?”

Oh, there are so many, but the answer I give just might surprise you…

It’s not, do the most important thing first.

It’s not plan your day, every day.

It’s not eliminate distractions.

It’s not write everything down.

It’s not even set aside a power focus hour.


Because if you aren’t clear about what you’re trying to do or why you’re doing it, then the rest doesn’t really matter. You can be organized and efficient, but if you’re doing the wrong things then you are not being productive.

You are simply wasting your time efficiently.

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7 Lessons We Can “Borrow” From Successful People

We can often learn by observing those who have done or are doing what we would like to accomplish. There are some basic habits or traits that many successful people share.

Why re-invent the wheel? Why not simply borrow what others have already shown us works?

Success habits worth borrowing:

  1. Successful people have a daily plan, agenda or to-do-list.
  2. Successful people work on what they do best. Delegate the rest.
  3. Successful people are able to say no to people and demands that are not the best use of their time.
  4. Successful people are organized in both thought and deed (or hire someone to keep them that way.)
  5. Successful people stay focused on results, not busywork.
  6. Successful people schedule uninterrupted work time and guard it fiercely.
  7. Successful people allow time for learning and growth.

Sounds pretty straightforward…the hard part is putting them into action…

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