Energy Savers ~ Just Be It

Halloween is over, but vampires are everywhere. You know the kind: The energy vampires that suck the life right out of you.

Maybe you are struggling to get everything done on your to-do list. Have you taken a look at it lately? Do you really have ‘to-do’ it all?

Cross one or two things off your list without having done them. What’s the worst thing that can happen?

Perhaps you have a few relationships in your life that drain you. What can you do about them? Sometimes the best thing to do is to remove yourself from a toxic situation. Minimize contact or break free altogether from the never-to-be-pleased people in your life.

Feed your soul. Last night my son and I watched a Western on TV. It was silly and frivolous and exactly what we needed. Later we smiled in our sleep.

Walk away from the machine. I tell myself this often when I struggle with words (The woods are a great place to find them again). Do something completely unrelated to the project at hand. Distraction can open the gates to your creativity when you are focusing on something else.

Say ‘no’ more often – to others.

Say ‘yes’ more often — to yourself.

Managing your energy will actually give you more time to do what you’re really here for.

And that is to be your magificient self. Just the way you are.

Nike says ‘”Just Do It.”

I say “Just Be It.”

Do is so last century. It is time to finally Be.

 

 

Climbing the Mountain of Information Overload

Life offers us challenges. Every day.

Sometimes we have mountains to climb, other times molehills. Whether you are faced with an arduous ascent or a quick trip over a speed bump, progress can only happen one step at a time.

This morning I awoke to over a dozen client-related emails people had sent to me overnight. That meant they were working on a Sunday. It wasn’t that they expected me to respond right away. But it started my Monday morning with a tight feeling of overwhelm. A mountain of work had been created whilst I slept.

So it is in our 24/7 world, especially if you work with people outside your time zone.

Taking it one email at a time, I quickly surveyed my work landscape. What seemed like a mountain turned into a molehill the moment I waded through the requests, comments and threads. By mid-morning I had a handle on my day and even had time for my daily walk through the woods.

I breathed in the Slow and remained mindful: Just because people want things from us doesn’t mean we have to say ‘yes’ the moment the request is made. Sometimes a gentle ‘no’ works wonders.

Panic helps no one. Patience does. If you are flying into overwhelm this beautiful Monday, remember to take it one baby step at a time. You are only human, as are the people making demands of you. Send them a dose of love, and one to yourself too.

It all works out in the end just as it should. And never doubt the power of intention. If you intend to have a good day, nothing can stop you – not even a Mount Everest of emails.

 

We All Fall Down

Most of you are familiar with the children’s rhyme, “Ring-around-the-rosey! A pocket full of posies? Ashes, ashes, we all fall down!” You hold hands while going around in a circle, then tumble to the ground in laugther. As a kid, falling down is what you do. Daughter’s bruises from camp and the adventures she had there are proof that it is so.

Somehow as we grow into adults, we grow to believe we are no longer allowed to fall down, or fall apart for that matter.

In a recent post entitled “Holding it Together is Overrated,” Renee Trudeau inspired me to write about this topic as she recently reflected on her own challenges to admit when she needs help. As the oldest child of seven, she has always been considered the go-to person for simply everything.

I have several hyper-competent women friends who secretly complain about not always wanting to have to be so strong. I include myself in that group. With so many people relying on us, it’s as if falling apart isn’t an option. Besides, we always have the answer to things. Right?

But I’ve got news. Sometimes falling down is the best thing you can do for yourself.

You might think crying it out to be a waste of time. But it is time well-spent if it means you are cleansing yourself of draining experiences.

Deepak Chopra recently lamented about the positive thinking movement. No one thinks positive thoughts all the time. It’s not natural. “There is nothing more attractive than somebody who radiates simple unaffected humanity,” he said.

So if you need to fall down, just do it. You might get bruised like Daughter’s knees, but you will have experienced life in its fullest richness with an unmatchable authenticity that makes you YOU.

And there is beauty to be seen there too.

Minding the Gap in Mobile Workforce Productivity

By the year 2016 it is estimated that 43 percent of all US workers will work from home. That’s good news for the morning commute. But what about workplace productivity? Will we become even more isolated without all that watercooler chat?

Human beings are social animals. We need each other. So if it’s via Skype instead of via Starbucks at lunch, I’m wondering if we’ll build other types of home-based communities to fulfill that need. What about the National Association for the At-Home Worker? NAAHW! Or is that a ‘yes’?

Cisco’s stats speak for themselves. Enjoy!

The Mobile Workforce

 

Where Does All The Time Go?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issues an annual report called the American Time Use Survey that relies on self-reporting from a pool of respondents as to where all their time goes.

Compared to 2007, we are now reading even less, watching more TV and playing more video games.

US Leisure Time 2007

And now? Although we have even more leisure time than ever, we read less and play video games more. What will do you do with your time?

US Leisure Time 2010

Top Five Time Wasters

If you’re like me, you like to start out the New Year with a great sense of purpose, vision and commitment. But somewhere along the way, we become, well, wayward, in our thinking and actions.

If you missed the 2012 Productivity Revolution Telesummit talk I gave on the Top Five Time Wasters, I’ll offer you them in a super tight nutshell.

#1 Multitasking

I’ve blogged about this ad naseum, but the truth is slow is faster and fast is merely exhausting.

#2 Bad data management

Information overload is a myth, according to Clay Shirky. What’s really going on is our lack of filters. Get them. Use them. Live by them!

#3 Lack of Tools & Techniques

By now you might be saying “Are you crazy? We’re more plugged in that ever. I need fewer tools, not more!” I’m not talking about dashing out to the nearest Apple Store for yet another gadget. Tabula rasa, baby. Not tablet. What we need is to use our tools more smartly. That includes turning them off. Or on less. It’s about gadget control, people.

#4 Unclear Prioritization

Ene, mene, mine, mo…ever started your Monday out like that? How far did you get? Use a chalkboard or whiteboard with magnetized cards that allow you to shift your priorities as they do. It’s empowering. And it works!

#5 Miscommunication

A biggie, especially around the holidays. Be clear in your communication. And remember to listen. Relationships are a give and take.

Have any others? I’m all ears!

PS You can still download the recordings to all the fabulous talks here!

Top Ten Ways to Be More Productive

HuffPost’s Russell Bishop embraces the slow in his new book, Workarounds that Work. Baseline magazine did a nifty slide show (I just love their slide shows!) to illustrate the points below.

1.       Tangible results come from setting clearly defined goals.

2.       Prioritize. Ask yourself: Will this task make for my team or organization?

3.       Examine how much time you spend working around things versus accomplishing them. Eliminate any beating around the bush.

4.       Fix it, then move on. Complaining is a top time waster!

5.       Those who seek to please are a time drain because they value everyone’s happiness over action. Avoid consensus seekers.

6.       Don’t procrastinate. Approach undesirable tasks as you would a great workout. Remember how good you’ll feel when it’s over!

7.       Only have meetings with those directly involved. Eliminate external voices that only add white noise to the conversation.

8.       Focus during meetings ~ gadget-free!

9.       Close your inbox. Email shouldn’t disrupt, but inform.

10.   Read the latest email thread while eliminating the ‘repeats. Email begets email so don’t respond when no response is needed.

A man after my own slow heart!

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Focus Fridays ~ Embrace your Inner Attila

Jurgen Wolff knows about alter egos. As a London-based screenwriter for TV and film, he assures you there is a place for creativity. But there is also a place for your technical thinking (such as when you’re pitching your show idea to a BlackBerry-thumbing T.V. producer with the attention span of a two-year-old).

He and I sat down for a chat about how to focus. In his book, Focus: Use the Power of Targeted Thinking to Get More Done, he reveals his alter ego strategy to assume the right personality for the job. Sound psychotic? It’s not. Listen here!

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If you like what you hear, don’t forget to right-click, save, then place your Power of Slow badge of honor anywhere in your social media universe. We appreciate you spreading the word that slow is faster and that fast is merely exhausting!


Make Way for Ducklings

Admittedly, I was zooming through town a tad too fast. Fueled by my excitment at landing a new PR account (based in the juicy slow land of Bullerbü ~yes, Sweden!), I almost overlooked a family of ducks walking pompously across the road. They didn’t waddle. No, no. They strutted in web-footed fashion. They weren’t eager to cross to the other side either. They walked like they owned the place.

It’s happened on that corner of the street before. I should have known they might be out for their daily country jaunt. Luckily, I slowed fast enough for them to carry out their mission undeterred.

The family of birds reminded me of a long-forgotten book I used to read to the kids when we lived in Boston: Make Way for Ducklings, a true story about a policeman who ushered a family of ducks across the street on a frequent basis. We can learn from stories and experiences such as these. Slowing our pace, despite our distraction about this or that, can bring us into present time, the only real time we have.

What will you do to make way for ducklings in our life today? Do tell!

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