Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just Do It!

This week, we kick off a new series of coaching lessons, all about getting it done.
It, can be any worthy goal.
The first step in reaching our dreams is often the most difficult,
because we must do more than commit, we must act.
We'll get into the reasons why we procrastinate in future posts.
Today, we're focusing on action.
Without action, nothing changes.
If things aren't working in your life,
you can't expect change by sitting on your hiney while complaining.

You have to do something.

Want a new job, then get some training and send out applications.
Sick of a bad relationship, then end it and meet new people.
Want to improve your writing, take a class, read great literature, write!

He who waits loses.

Animals know this.
A peach on the tree is one day away from juicy perfection. You leave it. When you return in the morning, a bird had beaten you to the fruit, and helped himself to it's ripe flesh.

Does a dog wait if a burger falls from your plate?
He seizes the opportunity and gobbles the succulent prize as you gape.

Children understand this.
Have you ever seen kids bashing a pinata at a birthday party?
It's a lesson in life. Exuberance pays off.
As the goodies cascade to the ground,
the urchins scramble to gather all the candy their sticky fingers can hold.
They don't wait.

Even a bothersome dandelion knows enough to suck up water as it rains.
 Why not you?

All of nature comprehends that when an opportunity presents it self,
you grab it.
Don't think about it for a week,
or discuss endlessly if this is the absolute best opportunity.
Does the dog turn up his nose at the burgur,
hoping a fatter one will miraculously land in his dish?
Of course not.

Opportunities are gifts. I call them blessings.
If the universe drops a blessing at your feet, accept!
It really is that simple.
A five year old child knows that when asked if they want a cookie,
the answer is yes.

Take the first step and act.
Pick that peach.
Grab the candy.
Gobble the burger.

Because if you don't, someone else will.
You snooze, you lose.

This week, start paying attention to the opportunities around you.
Say yes to them and act.
Write down what happens in your journal.
How you feel about accepting good things as they fall into your life.
You will find that the more willing you are to accept these blessings, the more the universe will send your way.

So, just do it!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

But I Don't Drink!

Distracted driving.

We've all heard the term. Studies have shown that talking on your cell phone while on the road impairs a person as much as driving drunk.


I know this personally. Taking my morning walk dressed in a bright pink shirt, thus easily visible, I looked both ways and crossed the street.
A block away, I spied a car barreling toward the crosswalk.
 They will slow down. They have to see me.
The car roared up, slammed on its brakes mid-intersection missing me by inches, and only because I leaped from the iron jaws of death.
If I'd been pushing a stroller, this oblivious young woman would be defending herself in court.

You get my point.

Other than driving distracted being a very bad idea, doing anything with less than our full attention ends in less than satisfactory results.
Yes. I start a load of laundry and let it wash, while I check my e-mail for fifteen minutes. But I don't answer the phone or watch television when I'm writing. No distracted writing.

I call it, writing drunk.

We like to think we're saving time by multi-tasking. That talking on the phone, while unloading the dish washer, and stirring the pasta sauce for dinner is a great use of time. See how productive we can be?
I once believed that.
We may also miss an important part of the conversation, misplace utensils, and burn the sauce.

How's that multi-tasking working for ya?
Yeah, me too. Not so well. I had to search for the vegi peeler. The phone call took longer because I had to ask her to repeat, and the sauce was a loss. I had to toss it, incuring more expense and using time to start over. Ugh!

You can see this was a difficult lesson for me.
I love to feel busy and productive. When I decided to focus on one thing, I found I saved time.

This week, try focusing on one task and then move on to the next.
You'll feel more peace.
The girl who'd nearly run me down didn't feel any peace. She shook life a leaf once she'd realized what almost happened.

Distraction is imparement.

Jot down in your journal how you feel durring this week.
Are you distracting yourself from situations and thoughts you don't want to deal with?
Face them in your journal.

Where in your life are you driving drunk?


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Just Give Me 15 Minutes Of Your Time.

I don't waste time. Never. I'm busy every moment.
I'm sure you are.
We all fill our days with things, some worthwhile, some not.
But can we be more efficient and achieve more?

Of course!
I've taken time management classes that had me block 15 minute intervals through the day.
Excellent idea!
It sounds daunting, but it can change your life.

You can eat an elephant one bite at a time and you can accomplish your goals in 15 minute increments.

If you don't have time to read the slew of e-mail, set your timer for 15 minutes, read what you can, and when the bell rings, walk away.
Yes, it's difficult, but it gets easier.
You do not have to do everything. Really.

If you can't find a moment to blog, set the clock and write. When it buzzes, stop.
Do the same tomorrow.
This works well with housework, gardening, returning phone calls, most anything.
Don't put your lover on a timer in the bedroom.
Neither of you will appreciate it.

When you give your self a deadline, you push to accomplish.
That's what we're trying to do here.
Having a critique group makes you finish those pages to be read.
NANO, Write A Novel In 40 Days, and Book In A Month, are all based on this concept.

They work!

People tend to use the time allotted, so tighten your schedule.
Create incentives, deadlines, be accountable to someone.
You've heard it said,
when you want something done, ask a busy person.
Because they have figured this out.
Push yourself to accomplish more in less time.
You'll be amazed how productive you'll become.

This week, try the 15 minute blocks. Write in your journal what you want to get done everyday and then allot time for it. Working in 15 minute segments can become a habit.
1:15-1:30 e-mail
1:30-1:45 laundry
1:45-2:00 write blog
2:00-2:15 outline scene

You get the idea.
Let us know how you do.
I'm excited to hear your success!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I have a life, I do, I think.

Have you heard of "flow"?

 Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi wrote a book called, "Flow:  The Psychology of Optimal Experience."
When you're in the flow, you're happy, feeling connected, and focused on what you're doing. It's the intense concentration of enjoying an activity to the point that time stands still. Three hours means nothing.

"High-flow" is when you're doing things that fit the above description.

"Low-flow" is the opposite. You're not focused, not engaged, time drags. You're a lump.

This study brings us to this weeks lesson: Television.

Watching television is one of the lowest flow activities out there. It requires next to nothing from you, and it's addictive. The study confirmed that television viewing sucks your energy, not just your time.
And it does that to the tune of 6 hours per day for the average American.

That's 42 hours a week!

But you affirm you're not a T.V. addict. That you couldn't possibly be spending that much time zoning in front of the tube.

Have you logged the time? Make a quick mental run through of the hours the television is on. Letting the morning news rumble in the background as you get ready for work does count.
I'll wait. Have a rough number?
Now that you have a clearer idea.
How fast could you accomplish your bucket list if you gave up television?

No television for one week, none, zero, zilch.

Is the panic setting in,  pulse racing, palms sweaty, anxiety crushing your chest?
Yeah, your not an addict--no.

Going cold turkey may not be reasonable. Can you breathe now?
After all, your spouse or kids may have a melt down.
You could let them watch, while you remove yourself from the siren's call and do other things.

 I'm serious.

If the thought of not being able to turn on the T.V. and bury yourself in the mindless glow is too much. Make a deal with yourself to cut back your viewing by half. Choose the programs you'll spend time watching, and when they're over, turn the box off.

What could we do in stead?

I have a neighbor that runs marathons. A friend takes classes. One in learning to knit, another is sewing quilts for charity. A few are writing novels. Start a business.
Here's a unique idea. We could spend time creating relationships with real people, rather than the empty, voyeuristic, fake connection with the television.

What do we do when we sit before the T.V?

We watch other people have a life.

Turn off the television and create a life of your own!

You deserve to experience the flow and joy of living.
Don't sit back as a spectator. Do!

In your journal, jot down the time spent in front of the T.V. or having it on to keep you company.

Many of us suppress emotions by checking out before the tube. Turning it off may allow feelings to  surface. That's good. We have the opportunity to deal with things we've avoided.
Avoidance doesn't change anything or make it better.
As emotions come up, write about them in your journal.

I want to hear from you.

FYI: Reading is not low flow. It makes you visualize, use your mind, and think. It's a focused activity.
No need to feel guilty about a good book.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Life Sucks And Then You Die. Really?

How many times a have you heard that? But is it true?

Take a piece of paper or your journal, and write down at least five things you do in a typical week, ten is even better. Don't edit! The first things that pop into your head.
Have them?

Look the list over and be honest as you cross off everything that were musts, going to work, feeding the kids, taking your medication.

What's left?

Is there anything? 
Did it dwindle down to one?

What remained are your real choices, things you did because you wanted to, with no gun to your head or boss standing over you. If you made a list of ten, then three of those needed to be activities you enjoy. They feed your soul or move you closer to your dream.

If you knew you had five years left to live, would you spend your time doing the same things?
I'll bet the answer is no.
We all have tasks we must accomplish. But have you also made time for the things that matter to you personally, things you love?

On the same paper, jot another list, at least five items.
What do you want to do before you die? Your bucket list.
Who wants to think about death?
That's not what this is about.
You're focusing on living--really living your life.
Doing that demands time and planning. You deserve a plan that moves you toward your dreams.

Make your list, and again, don't edit.
If you want to do it, put it on the page.
Do you have your five or ten? I'll wait.

What would be the easiest to accomplish?
I'm not saying it's easy, just that it carries less hurdles. Got it?
Put that at the top of your what I do list.
Writing it down as a priority is the first step in making it reality.
It now has power.

On another page,  jot at least one thing you will do this week to make that happen.
You are making a commitment to your life. It's serious, take it that way.
Say no to stuff that stands in your way. You likely aren't the only one who can load the dishwasher.

If you want to run a marathon, then buy a good pair of running shoes.
If your dream is to tour Italy, open a saving account dedicated to the trip, and set up an automatic transfer to build it.
If you have a burning desire to write that novel? Join a writing group.

Add another action each week that moves you toward that goal.
As you accomplish these small tasks, you'll feel energized, more creative, happier.
You'll feel alive!

Little steps matter. Once you've climbed your mountain or done the Iron Man Competition, move to another item on your list.
Nothing changes in life if you continue to do the same things.

Commit now to your life. Do it!