The Productive Woman 011 – 15 Minutes to Sanity: 9 Steps to Handling Overwhelm [podcast]

_podcastTemplateSometimes, no matter how organized we are or how carefully we plan, life just takes over and throws way too much at us. When there's too much to do and not enough time to get it done, we can feel panicky, stressed, and overwhelmed. I've developed a simple 15-minute process that can help bring me back from the brink, calm me down, and get me through these crisis moments. It involves 9 steps:

  1. Take 1 minute to breathe and calm your mind.
  2. Take 5 minutes to clear your work space.
  3. Take 5 more minutes to clear your mind by listing everything that needs to get done–don't organize or prioritize; just do a brain dump.
  4. Scan the list and identify tasks that can be delegated–don't be too proud to ask for help!
  5. Scan the list again and find those tasks that can be put off for a day or two without causing a disaster. Circle the tasks that need immediate attention.
  6. Pick one of the circled items–don't agonize about priority: just pick one.
  7. Clear everything else off your desk, gather the materials you need for the chosen task, and get it done. (Try the Pomodoro technique if the task will take more than 30 minutes or so.) It helps me to put on some instrumental music–I use the movie themes channel on Pandora played through my computer speakers.
  8. When you've finished that task, cross it off the list and pick another circled item. Repeat the process until they're all done.
  9. Give yourself a pat on the back, and celebrate surviving the crisis.

Simple but effective!

Your turn: Do you think this process will work for you? Or can you suggest an approach that works for you when it all gets to be too much? Please share your tips and thoughts in the comments.

A couple of helpful resources:

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 010 – Tips for Stress-Free Travel [podcast]

_podcastTemplateTravel can be stressful, but there are lots of things we can do to make it less so. I asked my connections on Facebook to share some of their favorite tips for productive and stress-free travel, and in this episode I share their tips, as well as some of my own.

I won't try to summarize all of them here–you'll need to listen to catch some great suggestions–but here are links for some great resources that are mentioned in the episode, as well as some bonus resources.

Resources:

Thank you to these wonderful ladies* for sharing their tips. Please check out their websites to learn more about them:

My sincere apologies to those of you whose names I butchered on-air.

What about you? Which of the tips from this episode will you try on your next trip? Or did we miss the travel tip or tool you rely on most? Please share your questions or your best tips in the comments.

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 009 – Getting Healthy and More Productive [podcast]

_podcastTemplateTons of studies show that healthier people are more productive, but modern life makes staying healthy and fit a challenge for all of us. How does health impact our productivity, what are the basics that contribute to good health, and how can we get healthier without spending all our time thinking about it?

Tip of the Week: Use empty Altoids tins to organize small items in your desk drawer or kitchen junk drawer. Check out this photo to see how Altoids tins can help you organize.

Tool of the Week: The Fitbit helps you monitor your health and can help motivate you to move more.

Topic of the Week: Getting Healthy to Get More Productive

How does health impact our productivity?

  • Many studies show that healthy people simply get more done.
  • When our health is poor, we have less energy, less mental focus, less resistance to things that are bad for us, and less ability to cope with stress and bounce back from crises.

What are the basics that contribute to good health?

  • Diet/nutrition – quality fuel in appropriate amounts
  • Adequate exercise – movement is good for our bodies and good for our attitude
  • Adequate, quality sleep
  • Sufficient water

Some simple tips for getting healthier:

  • Set small goals.
  • Don't wait for the perfect situation — a little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing.
  • Do something every day.
  • Get a physical exam.
  • Change your habits in small ways.
  • Combine exercise and socializing / relationship-building.
  • Write down what you eat.
  • Eat a little bit better each day.
  • At a buffet (or any meal), fill half your plate with a salad, a quarter with other vegetables, and only the remaining quarter with lean proteins and starches, and eat the salad first.
  • Improve your posture.
  • Get more/better sleep.
  • Educate yourself.
  • Don't give up – if you mess up one day, start over the next.

Resources:

The Most Important Body Language Signal for Success,” by Carol Kinsey Goman, Forbes.com.

5 Health Hacks for Higher Productivity,” Todoist blog.

Your Ultimate Guide to Health, Wellness, and Productivity,” by Erica Murphy, Levo League, July 16, 2014 — tons of links to helpful articles on various health and fitness topics.

Sleep:
How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?”, National Sleep Foundation.

Sleep Through the Decades,” by Gina Shaw, WebMD.

Water:
The Consequences of a Lack of Water,” by Louise Tremblay, Livestrong.com, November 27, 2013.

Why Your Brain Needs Water,” by Joshua Gowin, Ph.D., on Psychology Today online.

What about you? Which area of your health do you struggle with most? Is there a suggestion from this week's episode that you'll try tomorrow to move toward a healthier lifestyle? Or can you suggest a tip that works for you and might help others get healthier and more fit? Please share your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 008 – Saying No Gracefully [podcast]

_podcastTemplateDo you find it difficult to say no? I do. The desire to be liked or the sincere desire to help makes it easy to say yes, and sometimes we end up regretting it.

Listener Kelly Anne Liberto asked a question about this that got me to thinking, and in this episode I share some of what I learned in researching why we say yes, when it's okay to say no, and how we can say no without sacrificing relationships that matter to us.

Tip of the Week: Make good use of waiting time to tackle tiny tasks.

Tool of the Week: Bank apps for the smart phone! An amazing tool that lets you move money around, pay bills, and even deposit checks right on your phone. Most banks and credit unions have them these days, and I encourage you to give this tool a try if you're not already using it.

Topic of the Week: Saying No Gracefully

Why do we say yes?

  • We want to help
  • We want to be liked
  • To avoid conflict or confrontation
  • It feels good to be needed
  • FOMO (fear of missing out)
  • We have an unrealistic idea of what we can take on
  • Guilt – we feel like if we can, we should
  • It feels selfish to say no
  • We succumb to pressure

Good reasons to say yes?

  • Because we want to — we're truly enthusiastic about the opportunity
  • We've carefully evaluated it and it lines up with our values, objectives, and goals
  • To serve someone we care about

Why is it okay to say no?

  • It gives somebody else an opportunity to contribute
  • The ability to say a purposeful no is necessary for our yes to have any meaning

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ Gandhi

  • Sometimes saying yes would overtax your health, your time, your family
  • Saying no to some things (even good things) leaves room for better things
  • Your time is just as valuable as the time of the person who asks

Deciding whether to say yes or no

  • Don't give a reflex answer.
  • Weigh your options and limitations and get back to the asker.

We need to be okay with the fact that to some extent will cause some level of “pain” for the asker (but there are ways to minimize that)

Ways to minimize the damage of our no

  • Be certain of your answer
  • Be respectful of the person who asked
  • Show kindness and compassion
  • Give an explanation or reason if possible — but don't get drawn into a debate. You don't have to justify your no.
  • Make sure if you say you're going to call them later, you actually do it
  • If necessary, practice saying no in front of a mirror until you can do it in a way that's kind but firm

Resources:

Saying No Gracefully,” by Isadora Alman, MFT, PsychologyToday.com, July 13, 2010.

How to Say ‘No' Gracefully,” by Beth Levine, WomansDay.com.

Saying No Gracefully,” by Lisa Kovalovich, Ladies Home Journal online.

How to Graciously Say ‘No',” EmilyPost.com.

Learn to Say No,” Oprah.com.

The Halfhearted Yes: Why We Don't Say No and How to Start,” by Sonya Derian on tinybudha.com.

Why So Many People Just Can't Say No,” by Hank Davis, Psychology Today online, March 10, 2014.

7 Simple Ways to Say No,” by Celestine Chua, Zen Habits, August 3, 2010.

When to Say Yes and When to Say No,” Jill Kemerer blog, August 11, 2014  — great insight for people of faith.

 

What about you? When is it hard for you to say no? Do you have a suggestion for a solution or approach that I missed? Please share your thoughts or suggestions in the comments.

 

Subscribe to The Productive Woman in iTunes or subscribe in Stitcher, and join the conversation at The Productive Woman on Facebook.

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me

The Productive Woman 007 – Perfectionism & Productivity [podcast]

_podcastTemplateHaving high standards is a good thing. Striving for excellence is a good thing. But taken to extremes, these can become perfectionism, which can paralyze us and prevent us from accomplishing the things that matter to us. The key is to find that balance that lets us enjoy the process and the results of our efforts.

Tip of the Week: Take advantage of online shopping to save time and energy.

Tool of the Week: The Organizing Store (online resource for accessories and tools to organize your space).

Perfectionism

  • What is it?
  • What impact does it have?
  • How can we overcome it?

A few resources for more information:

14 Signs Your Perfectionism Has Gotten Out of Control,” by Carolyn Gregoire, on The Huffington Post.

Perfectionism Test, Psychology Today online.

Psych Basics: Perfectionism, Psychology Today online.

4 Difficulties of Being a Perfectionist,” by Jennifer Kromberg, PsyD, Psychology Today blog, November 7, 2013.

Perfectionist Traits: Do These Sound Familiar? Are Too-High Expectations Wrecking Your Inner Peace?” by Elizabeth Scott, M.S., updated June 3, 2014.

Your turn: Has perfectionism (or simple fear of failure) ever made you miss out on an opportunity? Do you have a suggestion for how to blast past perfectionism and get things done? Please share your thoughts in the comments section under this post.

How else can you participate?

2013-04-20 signature blank background copy

 

 

 

Greenville, Texas
I Was Just Thinking . . .
Legal Blog: Real Estate Law Blog
Twitter: @LauraMcMom
Email me