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10 Ways to Avoid the “Shiny Object” Syndrome

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I have yet another confession to make. If something pretty, new, exciting…”SHINY” comes along, I have a tendency to forget all about what I’m supposed to be doing. What? Do you think I’m only transparent when it makes me look good? The “shiny” can be Pinterest (it’s the devil…), my girls showing me the latest dance, Facebook, TV, co-workers, my willingness to always lend an ear and a shoulder…you get the point.

So if you are living your life so willy nilly, how are you able to accomplish anything? 

I’m glad you asked. Here’s how I overcome the “shiny object” syndrome and get through my beefy task list:

  1. Identify What You Are Putting Off. You can’t fix what you don’t acknowledge. Once you identify it, write it down. Stop relying on your memory, because lets be honest…you forget stuff. Whether you carry a notebook or make an entry on your phone, write it down.
  2. Figure Out How You Really Feel. Your emotions play a huge part! Is it fear of doing something new? Are you mad you have to do it? Are you afraid that you will mess it up?
  3. Deal With The Two Headed Monster. Once you realize it’s probably your emotions getting the best of you, vent and complain to let off some steam and then let it go.
  4. Plan, plan and plan some more. Start with being clear on your goal. Franklin Covey said it best, “Begin with the end in mind.” Having a clear goal will keep you motivated and focused.
  5. Face The truth. If you know you are prone to negative and sabotaging self-talk, face your thoughts head on and replace them with the positive affirmations and beliefs.
  6. Itty Bitty Steps. Don’t try to eat the entire elephant all at once. Break the task down into steps. Do you have a room that needs to be decluttered? Start with a drawer. Have a paper to write? Write a few pages at a time.
  7. Life WILL happen. Once you have created a plan, think about the what if’s and come up with a Plan B, C or D even if you don’t think you will need them.
  8. Ready. Set. Go! You have a plan…it’s time to get started. This is where most people say, “I’ll get started tomorrow.” Excuse me sir and ma’am, now is not the time to get cocky because you are clear on your goal. Yes, I’m mocking you.
  9. Bad Joo Joo. Excuses, funky attitudes, other people’s funky attitudes, unforeseen circumstances and unsolicited opinions. They can all keep you from achieving your goal if you allow it. Face them head on and implement Plan B.
  10. Time To Do A Shimmy (or Fist Bump). Pure unadulterated joy will be achieved when you finish a task that you once thought was annoying, too hard or too time consuming to complete. Now you can go back to Pinterest.

If you are a habitual victim of “shiny” objects, try using these steps something small like cleaning your desk. The more you do the steps, the more they become like second nature.

With love,

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Is the Scale Balanced?

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If you find yourself constantly trying to juggle multiple responsibilities and feeling like you are failing miserably, it might be check the scale of work and life and see if it is balanced. Here are some questions to help you take an honest look at your work/life balance. The best part of this exercise is that it applies to everyone…balance is necessary whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee.

Directions: Answer true or false to each statement below:

1. I find myself spending more and more time on work-related projects.

2. I often feel I don’t have any time for myself — or for my family and friends.

3. No matter what I do, it seems that often every minute of every day is always scheduled for something.

4. Sometimes I feel as though I’ve lost sight of who I am and why I chose this job/career.

5. I can’t remember the last time I was able to find the time to take a day off to do something fun — something just for me.

6. I feel stressed out most of the time.

7. I can’t even remember the last time I used all my allotted vacation and personal days.

8. It sometimes feels as though I never even have a chance to catch my breath before I have to move on to the next project/crisis.

9. I can’t remember the last time I read — and finished — a book that I was reading purely for pleasure.

10. I wish I had more time for some outside interests and hobbies, but I simply don’t.

11. I often feel exhausted — even early in the week.

12. I can’t remember the last time I went to the movies or visited a museum or attended some other cultural event.

13. I do what I do because so many people (children, partners, parents, organization) depend on me for support.

14. I’ve missed many of my family’s important events because of work-related time pressures and responsibilities.

15. I almost always bring work home with me.

Scoring: Give yourself 1 point for each “true” response. Note that each “true” response is a sign that you probably need to make changes in your life — and the higher the number, the more critical it is for you to make changes in your lifestyle.

If you scored…

0-2 Your life is in pretty good balance; just be sure to do what you can to protect that balance.

3-5 Your work/life balance is teetering on the edge; now is the time to make changes before the problems overwhelm you.

5+ Your life is out of balance; you need to take immediate action to make changes in your work and your life before things start crashing around you.

Were you surprised by your score? If you scored above a “3”, here are some tips to help you make some changes:

  1. Build downtime into your schedule. When you plan your week, make it a point to schedule time with your family and friends, and activities that help you recharge.
  2. Drop activities that sap your time or energy. Take stock of activities that don’t enhance your career or personal life, and minimize the time you spend on them.
  3. Rethink your errands. Consider whether you can outsource any of your time-consuming household chores or errands. Try to trade services with friends. Offer to do tasks that you enjoy or that you were planning to do anyway.
  4. Get moving. It’s hard to make time for exercise when you have a jam-packed schedule, but it may help you get more done by boosting your energy level and ability to concentrate.
  5. Remember that a little relaxation goes a long way. Don’t assume that you need to make big changes to bring more balance to your life. Set realistic goals.

I’m interested in hearing how you keep balance as you “work your package”. What advice would you give?

With love,

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When Your Plate Overflows And Lands On the Floor

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A few days ago I updated my planner with my daughters activities for the 2015-2016 school year. Girls Scouts for both, dancing school for the performer and art class for the uber creative. Then I added all the days their school will be closed (30+ days…Are you kidding me?). And then I added all the out-of-town conferences I need to attend (I’m sooooo thankful for my husband and mom). Am I done? Heck no. I still have at least 50 other things to add. Back in the glory days when I was single, I would order my refill pages for cute little organizer to prepare for the following year. I had a few dates to fill in, mainly birthdays and travel plans. It was so cute. It fit in my purse. Fast forward 17 years later…married with two kids, one neurotic little dog and multiple responsibilities outside of work and home and I have graduated to custom-made 19-month calendar that and goes to December 2016 (for now). My planner now resembles a 5-subject notebook and it requires a tote bag. There are color-coded tabs and color-coded entries on both my monthly and weekly pages. I know some of you are saying that I’m “Team Too Much” and I should just use the calendar on my phone. I’m ignoring you and assuming you only have you and a plant to worry about. For the record, I have hybrid system (paper and electronic…thank you Google) and that’s color coded too.

Listen, when you get to the point when you feel like your plate is on the verge of overflowing it is time to stop, reassess, and organize. I’m a little OCD about planning so that when the unexpected happens (and it will), I’m not thrown completely off course. I plan so that I can communicate with my family and keep them informed. I plan because…well because if you don’t plan you are like a leaf during a windy fall day…all over the place with absolutely NO direction. While my life does not always go according to plan, I would much rather have a road map than be on my journey with a lost GPS signal.

Stop. Reassess. Organize.

With love,

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P.S. I created my custom notebook and planner using M by Staples™ Arc Customizable Notebook System. If you haven’t been able to find a planner that works for you, I highly recommend this system to create your own.