The Feel Good File

Young woman holding a fileHave you ever had days where you just wanted to sit on the couch under a warm blanket and watch TV (or YouTube) all day?

Okay, so maybe your do-nothing inclinations look different than mine, but you know what I mean.

I’m not talking about the days where you just need a break and some personal time to yourself.

I’m talking about the days where you just are tired and don’t want to do anything. Those days when your business just seems like so-much-WORK.

Now these days can be a result of any number of things. Being overtired, coming up against your comfort zone, or it can be you’ve just ran out of oomph.

What do you do on those days? How do you get your momentum going again?

There are any number of things you can do. I even wrote a blog post a while ago on throwing yourself a pity party and there are a couple of great ideas there.

However today, I’m proposing something else.

I’m proposing a “motivation file” or “feel good file.”

Did you do the exercise in early December about where you’ll be in a year? Make a copy of it and put it in the file. (If you haven’t done that exercise, take some time and do it! And feel free to send it to me.)

Have you ever gotten a thank you note from a client or prospective client? Or maybe an email? The unsolicited kind are great mood lifters.

However, those testimonials that you’ve asked for are pretty great too (if you don’t have any you should! That should be part of your system with your clients).

Take those notes, print out those testimonials and put them in that file.

Now, anytime you’re find yourself with no oomph and want some momentum, pull out that file, read through it and remember that you have some pretty great goals and do some pretty great work. And you get to work with some pretty great people and they’re grateful that you’re there doing your work.

Feeling good? Heck yeah!

What else will you put in your “feel good file”?

Want to Focus? Prepare, Relax, Do

Relaxed_with_coffeeYou have a lot of things to do today, as usual, and your mind is running at 100 mph. When you start working on something, five other things that you could be doing pop into your head and break your focus.

How is it possible to focus on just one task on days like this? By Preparing, Relaxing and Doing!

Prepare

  1. Write down the task you’re going to work on and put it in front of you.
  2. Have another piece of paper handy to write down any other tasks that pop into your head while you’re working.

Relax

  1. Pay attention to your surroundings – close your eyes and listen. Notice what you hear, just listen to the sounds around you.
  2. Take a deep breath – breathe deeply and slowly.
  3. Feel your body – be present to it, notice where any tension is and imagine it melting away with each breath.
  4. Repeat as necessary.

Do

  1. Work on the task you wrote down.
  2. Anytime you think of something else that needs to be done, write it down and then return to your original task.

Why is Prepare, Relax, Do important?

When you look at your to-do list (or if you don’t have it written down, when you think about it), how do you feel? If you’re like many people I work with, you feel stressed and overwhelmed.

When you Prepare, Relax and Do:

  • you know what you’re doing right now, what your focus is.
  • you’re intentionally leaving the stress behind and allowing yourself to relax (this allows you to get more done and be more focused!).
  • you’re capturing the other things that need to be done when you think of them allowing you to:
    • not worry about forgetting that they need to be done
    • give yourself permission to do them later

Try it today and let me know how it goes for you in the comments below!

Also, repeat the Relax step any time you start to feel stressed or anxious. And if you want some personalized help with this and think working with me might be for you, just let me know by scheduling your own complimentary 30-minute Productivity Breakthrough Session here (this conversation takes place over the phone).

How Do You Want Your Morning To Feel?

Portrait_Of_Pensive_WomanIt’s the beginning of your workday and you’re already frustrated and tired. You pull yourself away from your email and think about everything that has to be done today. You should make a to-do list, but quite frankly, you just don’t have time for that.

So, you mentally go through the list kept in your head and pick the most urgent task. 30-minutes in you remember that you promised to email something to someone you met networking yesterday. That should be a quick 5 minute task, so you start doing that. It takes a bit longer then expected to pull that information together and 20 minutes and a Facebook check later you’re trying to remember what you were working on at the beginning of the morning.

You get frustrated because you don’t have time to sit around trying to remember what you were doing! You suddenly think of something else that needs to get done and 15 minutes into that task you remember what you were working on earlier.

You’ve only been working for a couple hours and you’re already exhausted and frustrated and you have this nagging feeling that you’re forgetting a really important task. Annoyed, you get up and go to the kitchen to make yourself a cup of coffee, maybe that will jog your memory.


But really, wouldn’t it be nice if your morning looked like this:

It’s the beginning of your workday and you’re calm, collected and a bit excited to get started! You look at the to-do list you created for yourself last night. There’s a couple high priority tasks that you want to do and some phone calls and emails to send.

Good thing you have systems in place for these things.The highest priority task is for a presentation late next week that you almost forgot about and some of your phone calls are to reconnect with people you talked to a few months ago – you would have totally forgot!

You smile thinking about the possible opportunities that will present themselves today and start with your highest priority task, thinking about the people that will benefit from your presentation next week as you work.

After a couple hours (and a quick break for water) you’re done with the first draft of your presentation. You put it away and head to the kitchen for a snack and a break. You’re feeling happy and looking forward to the rest of your day.


Which scenario most looks like your morning right now? Which one do you want it to be?

There’s more going on here than one person took the time to plan their day and the other didn’t. That’s more a symptom than the cause of the exhaustion and frustration.

And it’s not that one person is just more driven than the other, more committed to success (although some people might disagree with me).

The energy between the two mornings is completely different. The first morning is stressful, scattered and tiring, while the second morning is calm, confident and focused.

So, if the planning and to-do lists are just a symptom or side effect, what are they a symptom of?

Take a look at the difference in language between the two. The first morning is full of have to‘s and should‘s, with feelings of worry and stress. The second morning is want to‘s and opportunities, with feelings of excitement and focus.

Again, the language is a symptom, but it get’s us closer. Your language can give you insights to your thoughts and beliefs that might not immediately be obvious. The first morning’s thoughts and beliefs are around not having enough time. While the second morning’s thoughts and beliefs are about opportunities and effortless focus. It doesn’t even occur to her that there’s not enough time.

So, what can you do? One small change you can make is to update your language. When you hear yourself say “I have to” or “I need to” change it to “I want to.” If that seems impossible, ask what would need to happen to be able to change that to an “I want to”?

And of course there are other things you can do too. In the Productivity Insight Process I go deep with you into these topics. We identify exactly where you are and I give you a personalized suggestions for how to shift from the stressful day you’re currently having to the calm, opportunity filled one that you want.

Share with me below what your morning looks like, or what you’re going to change.

Image courtesy of iconmac / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Are You Comparing Yourself to Others?

ID-100154196Ever compared yourself to someone else? We all have.

Comparisons can be tricky things though. I see them used one of two ways:

  1. Beat Yourself Up
    This usually takes the form of “Why aren’t I as successful as they are?” or “Why do they get to do/have that and I don’t?” or “Why is it so easy for them and so HARD for me?”Whatever words you personally have for it, the general feeling is the same: I’m not good enough. And we beat ourselves up with someone else’s success.
  2. Motivation
    This can take the form of “That means it can be done!” or “Hmm, I wonder what I can do to have similar results?” or “I bet I can do that too!”In this case, the general feeling is excitement or curiosity. You see lots of possibilities and you have confidence in yourself.

The difference between the two? Well, besides the obvious, beating yourself up can be the start of a downward spiral (ohh yeah, I’ve been there!). If that happens take a breath, identify what is happening with a very brief description and decide what you want your next action to be. Then do it!

And remember that you’re comparing someone else’s outsides to your insides. You have no idea what obstacles they’ve overcome or are currently in the midst of – despite how perfect everything looks on the outside.

Now, going back to motivation, it can be the start of an upward spiral. Here, you let other people’s successes and experiences carry you forward. Notice when this is happening too! And enjoy the process.

Obviously, if I were to pick how you make comparisons, I’d pick motivation.

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Image courtesy of feelart at FreeDigitalPhotos.net