Why Rest is Essential to Getting Work Done

It seems that suggesting more rest would be counterproductive to getting things done. There is so much work to be done, so many projects to complete. We have people who need us, things to do, and places to go. Who has time to rest??

Rest can take many forms, and on the outset, it may appear to be entirely unproductive (from a work perspective). “Rest” can include walking breaks, naps, and activities completely unrelated to work. In Alex Soojung-Kim Pang’s book, Rest he shares research and examples of how we can’t afford not to rest. I’ll share three key concepts that I found not only fascinating, but doable.

  • Walking – Exercise in any form, including walking, has been shown to reduce stress, increase productivity and energy, and up our creativity. Looking at it that way, these benefits would help us get things done, better. Think you’re too busy to sneak a walk into your day? Thomas Jefferson made walking a part of his daily routine. So did Charles Dickens. Are those examples too 1800’s for you? How about Rubik’s Cube creator, Ernö Rubik who solved the design challenge of his Cube during a walk1?
  • Naps – I love napping, and while I don’t take advantage of them nearly as often as I’d like, they have true benefits. The National Sleep Foundation says, “Naps boost alertness and improve motor performance, which is why you feel energized after taking one. The length of your nap determines the benefits. A 20-minute snooze—called a stage two nap—is ideal to enhance motor skills and attention, while an hour to 90 minutes of napping brings Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, which helps make new connections in the brain and can aid in solving creative problems.”2 Famous nappers include Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy, Thomas Edison, and Salvador Dalí (that last one is probably not as surprising).
  • Unplugging – Simply disconnecting from our work is not only beneficial to us psychologically, but similarly to walking and napping, it allows our brain to continue working on our behalf without the distraction of our conscious stream of thoughts. If you’ve ever done one of those “paint nights” where you are walked through the step-by-step process of painting a picture, you know the instructor often tells you to walk away from your painting and look at it from a distance. This perspective helps you “get out of the weeds” of your view. Or when you’re trying really, really hard to remember something, and someone advises that you not think about it at all and then it will come to you. Unplugging is like that. Shut off your phone, put away your calendar and notes, and just be. Do something unrelated to your to-do list; something fun or relaxing. While you may not realize it, your mind will continue doing some work for you behind the scenes.

Pang shares in his book that burnout “can lead to emotional exhaustion, a decline in performance, poorer decision-making, lower empathy, and higher rates of errors.”1 None of those are going to help us get our work accomplished. Instead they may sabotage precisely what it is we are trying to do.

Taking time to rest and play is not only good for you, but it will help you get your work done better and faster!

Tell me in the comments, what your favorite way to rest and recharge is.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

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1 - Pang, A. S. (2017). Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less. London: Penguin Life.
2 - Health Benefits of Napping. (n.d.). Retrieved November 05, 2017, from https://sleep.org/articles/napping-health-benefits/

 

3 Tips to Being More Coachable

I can say pretty straight up that I don’t like being told what to do. Never have. I recognized this pretty early on. I’ve hung out with spite thanks to the times I’ve done the EXACT OPPOSITE of what it was suggested I do. “Independent Thinker, occasional Rogue” was how I liked to think of myself. But this attitude didn’t serve me well when someone was trying to coach me for my own good. Friends, co-workers, bosses. They all tried to help me because despite this flaw, for some reason, they found me otherwise quite likeable. In my early 20’s, I hung onto this like an honorable badge. I KNEW I was taking the hard way, but felt that was noble for some reason.

When I reached my 30’s, I began to realize the value of coaching. With each wall I hit, either personally, or professionally, I found that I could adjust something in myself which would then either lower the wall, or give me what I needed to climb over it. The secret to this: I started listening to what people were saying to coach me. When I really took the time to listen, I began to realize I had been hearing many of the same things from various people for YEARS. Yup…that’s the painful truth. In my case, I could give the impression that I was defiant, argumentative, or non-compliant. This doesn’t fare well in any relationship, personal or professional.

What gets tricky is you don’t want to throw the baby out with the bathwater (terrible idiom). While I didn’t want to be seen as defiant, argumentative, or non-compliant as a general rule, there were good qualities to be found within those as well. This is where good coaching comes in. There are plenty of people around us who truly want the best for us and can share some perspective that we can’t see. Here are the top 3 things you need to do to become more coachable:

  • Listen – Be willing to listen when someone takes the time to share how you may be perceived. It doesn’t mean their perception is everyone’s reality, but it is theirs and it may have some accuracy. This doesn’t always feel good. Accept that the criticism might sting, but if you trust the source as someone who is truly trying to help you, that should make it a little easier to bear. Try not to get defensive, or explain yourself. Just take it in and process it.
  • Try it on – Does that perception fit? Can you see where others COULD perceive you that way? Can you see the truth in it? Have you heard this same message before from others? Knowing that others may have that perception, determine if this is a perception you do or don’t want others to have of you, based on your goals and aspirations.
  • Adjust – How could you “turn it down” enough to improve the perception without eliminating the good parts? Here’s an example: I have a very playful personality. While it seems most appreciate this, there are some that find it downright annoying. I try to adjust this when I’m in mixed company. I don’t turn it all the way down, just a tad, but it’s something I need to remain conscious of. I don’t mind being seen as “playful,” but I don’t want to be seen as a “clown.” See the difference?

It’s not always easy to be coached, but it’s always beneficial. Seek out feedback from people you trust and respect. Not just the ones who will tell you how awesome you are (which you are), but also from those who will be honest about potential flaws. One thing to keep in mind is that we judge ourselves based on our INTENTIONS, however, we judge others based on their BEHAVIOR. That means people aren’t judging us on our intentions (they don’t even know what those are), they can only judge us by our behaviors (which they can clearly see).

Also, remember we may lead with different qualities depending on which role we are in. For example, I have different roles: mom, leader, friend, co-worker, business owner. I allow different qualities to lead in each of those roles. In my earlier example, I can allow my playfulness to be full-on when I’m in the mom & friend role, but need to turn it down in the leader role. You serve many roles as well, so bear that in mind for yourself.

Your turn to do some coaching. Which of the 3 tips have you found most useful, or what’s another tip you have to help us all to be more coachable? Share in the comments.

If you would like to see what a coaching relationship can do for you, let’s work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design. An Empowerment Session is the best place to start (and it’s FREE)! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

Your neighbor needs help moving; Your co-worker asks if you can take on some of their project; the school needs more volunteers; your friend needs a babysitter. So many requests, so little time. When someone makes a request of us, it can be challenging to say, “no.” This often leads to decisions that don’t benefit us. We may agree to the request, but sacrifice our own needs or wants. If the request is made through email, we could ignore it altogether, but this doesn’t fair well for our reputation.

So how do we say “no” without feeling like a jerk? While not 100% guilt-proof, there are a few ways that we can decline a request without feeling as guilty about it.

Use Your Calendar – One of the easiest times to say “no” is when we have something else we’re committed to. For example, when you tell your friend in need of a babysitter that while you’d love to help, your niece’s recital is that night, you don’t feel so bad.  Yet, we tend to only put things in our calendar that are outside our normal routine. For example, if you go to the gym 3 nights a week, is that in your calendar? Probably not. Scheduling important-to-you tasks should be part of your calendar. While you may have some flexibility, like skipping the gym to help your neighbor move, and just making it up tomorrow, you may not always have that flexibility. For example, if it’s important to your family that you have quality Sunday morning time, this should be blocked off as “Unavailable” in your calendar. It’s much easier to say, “I’d love to, but my calendar is booked that day.” People tend to respect the fact that you have other commitments. You don’t have to get into the details of what those commitments are.

Offer an Alternative – A clear cut “no” is not always the best choice either. In the case of the friend looking for a sitter, you could say, “I can’t on Friday, but I could on Saturday, if that helps.” Or to the co-worker looking for you to take on some of their project, you could say, “I don’t think that will work, but I’m happy to cover your calls for the afternoon so you can have uninterrupted time to work on your project.” These are compromises that may be mutually beneficial.

How to Say It – Then there are the times you just have to say “no.” These are tougher because you’re not blaming your calendar and you don’t have a compromise to lighten the situation. This is common when someone is requesting our business services or products for free. So how do you say it? You can be direct and honest if you think that will help the situation, but more often than not, when someone needs you for something, it isn’t the best time to point out that they never seem to be available when you need help. Being vague can be the best way to decline, while staying polite, but firm. Here are some examples:

  • I’m sorry, I wish I could help, but I just won’t be able to make that work.
  • Thank you for thinking of me, but I can’t right now. Will you ask me again next time?
  • I’m sorry, I’m going to have to pass.
  • I have to decline now, but if something changes I’ll be sure to let you know.

Remember, when you say “yes” to one thing, you’re saying “no” to another. You need to stay in control of your life and activities. If you’re constantly at the mercy of requests and favors, it won’t be long before resentment starts keeping regular hours with you. And that’s not good for anyone!!

While it would be great to single-handedly fulfill every request that comes your way, that just isn’t possible. You have to keep a manageable balance between achieving your own goals and helping others to achieve theirs.

Your turn – what’s a method you use to say “no” without feeling guilty? Share in the comments section!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Five Love Languages – Starting with Words

Recently, I was having a conversation with someone struggling in a relationship, and I recommended they take a look at “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman.  I remembered reading the book myself gave me clarity around my own relationships (both personal and professional). “The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace” (co-written by Paul White) was another worthy read. I wrote about this several years ago, but thought it was a good time to re-share the topic. The books were both easy reads, and were practical, with quick, applicable stories.  If your time is limited or you’d prefer a more condensed version, these posts will get right to the heart of the books. I will share one “language” each month. After giving you a brief overview, I’ll get into the details of those who prefer the language called “Words of Affirmation.”

These are the Five Languages:

Words of Affirmation

Quality Time

Acts of Service

Gifts

Touch

Each of us has a primary and secondary preference and these may differ between your personal and business lives. (For the free personal assessment, go to www.5lovelanguages.com/profile . For the professional version, there is a $15 charge, but can be found at www.mbainventory.com . Here is a brief description of each language:

Words of Affirmation:  Those that count this as their primary language require words to feel loved and appreciated.  These can be spoken or written.  We’ll learn more about this in a bit.

Quality Time:  For these types, one-on-one time together is important.  Acitve listening is key here! We’ll dive into details of this one next month.

Acts of Service:  These acts typically involve anything that could be counted as “thoughtful”.  While the specific act will vary, the gesture is what counts the most to these peeps.

Gifts:  As if this isn’t obvious.  This person prefers physical, tangible evidence of being loved and appreciated.  While expensive and materialistic items may qualify, these gift lovers often enjoy handmade gifts, flowers or other thoughtful expressions of love and appreciation.

Touch:  You know that “touchy-feely” person that always seems to hug, touch and show PDA virtually anywhere?  Yeah, this is probably their preferred form of loving communication.  While less likely (and some would caution, less appropriate) at work, these people can be identified as the high-fiving, fist bumping ones.

Figuring out another’s language can be tough, but once you do, there are an endless number of options to satisfy their need.  Each post will highlight a particular “language” and some suggestions on ways to meet that need for yourself and others.  This information is very beneficial in every relationship you have and it would behoove you to understand your own language and those you spend a lot of time with.  This week, let’s focus on Words of Affirmation.

For those who need Words of Affirmation, it’s obvious they need words, but it is equally important that they get sincerity!  They don’t want empty or generic compliments.  “Nice job today” will feed the need for about 5 seconds.  They want to know specifically what they did to please you.  If she cooked a rockin’ dinner, tell her what was so awesome about it and why it was appreciated by you.  If he spent the entire day tiling the bathroom floor, take the time to point out how awesome it looks.  If Suzie dealt with the “customer from hell” so the rest of you wouldn’t have to, tell her what this meant to you.  Also, those who feel loved and appreciated by this language want to be recognized for the personal characteristic that got it done or made it so worthy of mention.  Tell her how much her dedication to providing quality food to the family is admired.  Tell him how his sense of responsibility, like keeping the home in good condition, is one of his sexiest traits.  Let Suzie know that her patience in dealing with higher-maintenance people makes the rest of you envious and you’d like to know how on earth she does it without flipping shiz.

Keys to remember:  Be specific, be detailed, and be sincere.  This is not a “fake it til you make it” opportunity.  If you can’t be sincere, then be silent.

Now what:  If you can identify with this language, and believe it to be your primary or secondary language in either setting (personal or business), there are a few things you can do with that knowledge.  Let others know this is how you prefer to be loved and recognized.  Also, understand that those times when you feel neglected or slighted by someone may not be because they don’t love or appreciate you, but because they are speaking a different language.  If you suspect a loved one or co-worker prefers this language, get creative in ways to recognize them.  This can be spoken face-to-face or publicly acknowledged, or written in a thoughtful letter, card or email.  This is one of the quickest and easiest needs to meet once you’re aware.  So pay attention and share with words why you think someone is a ROCKSTAR!!  Next month, we’ll spend time on the “language” of Quality Time.

In the comments section, tell me if this sounds like it might be an important “language” to you or someone you know, and if so, some tips on how to really make it count!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

7 Great Ways to Save Money Before the Holidays

I know, just thinking about the holidays can make you want to bury your head under the pillow! There are many reasons the holidays can stress us out, not least of which is money. Unless you are growing a money tree, it isn’t that easy to generate extra income quickly. This week, I’ll share some tips to help you start earning or saving a little moolah. If you start now, you’ll have 8 weeks to work on building a holiday slush fund.

Here are some of my favorite ways to generate or save some cash:

  • Facebook Marketplace – Selling items on Facebook Marketplace is super easy! You take a picture of your item, put in a brief description (sizes/measurements if necessary) state what town you’re in, and BOOM…you have posted an item for sale. People can search within a certain radius and you can arrange for pickup. I just sold a painting and an entertainment center this way. Tag Sales aren’t just for summertime anymore!
  • Facebook Groups – Find groups in and around your town. Just like the Marketplace above, you post the information and can chat with people about them. Also like Marketplace, you can buy or sell.
  • Thread UpThis website is an online consignment shop. I’ve found them very accurate in their descriptions and when you buy items they come in an adorable polka dot package. In addition to buying, you can send them items to sell. They get a cut of course, but it’s reasonable. If you choose to send clothes, they are very strict, so read up on the expected quality of submissions.
  • PoshmarkThis is my current fav. Just like with Thread Up, you can buy or sell your clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags, and makeup. What makes them different is you post the picture, provide a description and post it yourself. They also get a cut, but the buyer pays shipping and they can credit your account or direct deposit the funds directly into your bank account.  When someone buys your item, all payments are handled through Poshmark who sends you a label to print out and put on the package you send out. This allows you to hold on to your own items and you determine the price and any reductions. Very Cool!!
  • Le ToteThis is a clothing rental sight. For a monthly fee, you can select a number of items to borrow for as long as you’d like. These tend to be new fashion looks. If you like them, keep them and you’ll get a discounted purchase price. It’s a fun way to try new looks. You can stop your subscription anytime. They have clothing and jewelry.
  • Rent the Runway Similar to LeTote, you can borrow a name brand item for a significantly reduced rental fee. This is great for weddings, or other special events where you may only wear the item for that occasion. It’s much cheaper than buying a new outfit, especially if designer names are important to you!
  • Shopify I haven’t tried this myself, but there’s a low monthly rate option if you have products or services that you’d like to sell. Worth looking into if you want to create an e-book, already have a physical inventory of products you make or sell, or have services to offer.

These are just a few options to sell your items or buy at discounted rates. There are plenty of consignment shops and Fall Fairs if you prefer to do this off-line, so work on doing what’s comfortable for you. All of the versions listed above are pretty easy to do, so don’t let the technology hold you back.

Alright, your turn! If you’ve used one of these methods, share your experience, or if you have one to add, please do in the comments section!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Who’s Paving Your Path?

I ask people all the time what their goals are – what they want out of life. Sometimes they have an answer, like, having more money, better relationships, more energy. Other times, they aren’t really clear on specifically what they want. They are “open” to the possibilities that life will offer. That was me in my earlier years and still creeps up if I’m not careful. I have all too often allowed others to pave my path, so to speak. If you are not clear on what you want out of life, or you aren’t taking specific action to attain that life, then you are likely allowing others to pave your path as well.

While we may need help lifting the stones in our life, at some point we have to lay out our own path. The sooner the better, but it’s never too late. This is much easier said than done, especially if we have been allowing others to do the heavy lifting for us. There is some important inner work that must be done in order to become the bricklayer of your own life.

First, you have to identify what you’re avoiding by allowing others to determine your path. Are you indecisive because you don’t want to be the “bad guy,” and make a decision that would disappoint others? Are you afraid of failure, so by allowing others to make decisions for you, if it doesn’t work out, it really wasn’t your fault? Is the hard work that would inevitably show up, keeping you from taking on the role of leader in your life? You have to get honest about why you relinquish this responsibility to others.

Next, you need clarity on what you really want. What’s been missing in your life? What would you really like to have in it? What do you want to experience or accomplish? Dare to dream big. This step can be much more difficult than it sounds if you’ve been determining what you want based on what others say you “should.” This is not a ten-minute project. Spend some time every day asking yourself these questions. Your answers may change over time, but keep exploring them.

Lastly, you need to take action. Baby steps are fine, but start taking back control of your path. This could simply be sharing your opinion more frequently, or challenging what you’ve always done or how you’ve always done it. If it doesn’t fit like you thought it would, you can always alter course. There is no rule against changing your mind. What would you like your next step to be? What’s something, perhaps even small, that you would like and to hell with what others think about it?

This is a long, challenging process, as I have personally experienced. But it is, oh so worth it! It took me a long time and a LOT of baby steps to start embracing a mind of my own and sharing it. I continue to work on this area of my life, but with each passing day I continue to feel more in control of the path I’m laying for myself. You deserve to experience that as well. There’s a beautiful (and scary at times) sense of responsibility that comes with owning your own future. I can screw up and make mistakes, but I learn from them and use that knowledge to work towards achieving the life I’m trying to build for myself. The flip side of that coin, is I also get to revel in the joy of successfully accomplishing my goals.

No matter where you are on this journey, I’m certain you have some words of wisdom to share. Which of the steps listed do you think is most important to the process of paving your own way? Do you have a strategy that worked for you in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

5 Steps to Confronting Your Flaws

We all have flaws that seem to be on repeat in our lives. Sometimes we aren’t initially aware of these, or they don’t significantly affect us until there is a life change of some sort, like a new job or new relationship, but it doesn’t usually take us long to recognize we have them. It’s what we do after this recognition that determines whether this will be an ongoing challenge, or a crack that we are able to mend over time.

We can be hard on ourselves, and overly self-critical, but despite this, we usually know where our biggest issues lie. Are you always running late? Do you procrastinate until the eleventh hour? Are you overly sensitive, or not sensitive enough? Is organization or time management an issue? Whatever your particular flaws are, it’s important that you confront the one that is most negatively impacting your life right now. Not entirely sure what they are? Ask! Your friends, family, boss, co-workers, clients or customers will leave you a breadcrumb trail of clues if you really don’t know. You just have to pay attention and listen. Once you know what you need to work on, here are five key steps to take on this challenge:

  • Don’t get wrapped up in the fact that you have a flaw – beating yourself up about it, isn’t going to help. You DON’T suck just because you have particular flaw…we ALL have them. You’re no worse for the ones you deal with.
  • Get real about how this flaw is impacting your life – You really have to be honest with yourself and get clear on exactly where this flaw is holding you back. Where does it exhibit itself in your personal life and relationships? How is it impacting you professionally? How could both areas of your life be better if you improved on it? Write these things down so you have a clear picture of what you’re up against.
  • Make a list of helpful resources – How could you get help in this area? List all the people, books, websites, organizations, trainings that you can come up with to address the problem. Do a Google search on “How to improve _______________” Insert your particular flaw and just see all the options that come up. Use different words to describe your challenge so that you have the broadest possible choices. If organization is your issue, try looking up project management tips, time management, etc.
  • Create daily action steps – No amount of research alone is going to change anything until you take action. If you get an idea or learn something, put it into practice to see if it helps. You may need to adjust over time, or try something different altogether, but you won’t know that until you act. Make a list of steps (a short list is best, at least in the beginning) that you stick to every day to make progress in the area you are focused on.
  • Reassess as needed – After a reasonable amount of time has passed, reflect on where you started and where you are now. You may not be a superstar in that area, but I bet you’ll see some progress. It’s important to take the time to celebrate where you’ve made improvements. This will give you the motivation you need to continue on. It can also help you determine if you need to change your approach slightly based on where you are now.

Flaws are a part of life, and while we shouldn’t strive for unattainable perfection, we should work towards improving those that are holding us back from a more productive, fulfilling, and joyful life. When identifying flaws, remember to focus on those you wish to work on. No single person should determine your areas of opportunity. Look for patterns where a particular flaw has exhibited itself multiple times or in multiple places. This is a better factor to consider rather than one individual.

You have most certainly made improvements in your life before. What worked for you? Was it one of the five listed above, or something else? Share in the comment’s section.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Optimism is Great, but it Won’t Get Your Work Done

I’m an unapologetic optimist. I can find the bright side of just about anything, even a growing to-do list. But no matter how high I turn up my optimism, that isn’t going to get my work done. Sure, typically speaking, I can thrive under pressure. But that doesn’t mean I don’t take a few seconds to kick myself in the ass for waiting until the last minute. There’s a better way. And while I can bring optimism along with me, it’s realism I have to put behind the wheel.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Stockdale Paradox. Named after Jim Stockdale, a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. As he tells it, he never lost faith that he would survive his ordeal. Yes, he had optimism, as did many of his prison-mates. However, some of these fellow captives relied only on optimism. And as year after year of disappointment stacked on each other, they did not survive. Optimism offers great short-term benefits, but without the mutual acceptance of reality, it can burn out quickly. That’s where Stockdale differed. He was optimistic while remaining aware of his realities. The paradox is stated as:

You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties WHILE confronting the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

So how can you apply this to your growing number of responsibilities? You have to stare those responsibilities square in the eye. What is your current reality? Do you have 4 projects that all require immediate attention? This may be at work, in your personal life, or some combination of both. What tasks have a fast-approaching deadline? Once you know what you’re up against, without the rose-colored glasses of optimism skewing your view, you can make a plan. Once you’ve done that, then go ahead and put those rose-colored glasses back on and get to work.

How did Admiral Stockdale do it? He worked with others. He devised a tap code to be used with his fellow captives. This communication was essential to them, if only to offer comfort and encouragement. Who, in your life, can serve this role for you? Surround yourself with people you can communicate with to help you get through the tough moments. They likely have some ideas on how you can forge ahead and meet your responsibilities. If you’re an A-type who has to do everything yourself, work on delegating even small tasks to others or asking for help. There are friends, family, and co-workers who would be happy to offer their support.

Facing our realities while trusting that we will overcome the challenges will give us the best chance of living the life we so desire. Would you like to learn more techniques about balancing your priorities and meeting your responsibilities without burning out? Then I invite you to sign up for Michael Hyatt’s FREE webinar, The 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity – The Hidden Habits Undermining Your Performance  (And How to Change Them). He will be holding several this week only. Click the link to find the day and time that would work best for you.

I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments, so let me know how well you balance optimism with realism.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

You’re Busy, But Are You Productive?

Life moves fast, and so do we. It seems we are always doing something. When’s the last time you remember just doing nothing (sleep doesn’t count)? I bet you’re hard pressed to think of a time. But just because we are busy, does not mean we are productive. When we procrastinate, we find something else to do, instead of the project we’re avoiding. Or, we may be always doing something, but is it the right something? Productivity relies on a lot of moving parts to actually be successful. Let’s talk about the 5 most common:

  • Systems – What routine do you have to process responsibilities? How do you track and schedule everything on your to-do list? Do you use any strategy to attack your workload? Systems get things done because they are reliable, consistent, and proven. Do you have such a system in place for yourself, or are you like a batter in a batting cage just swinging at everything that comes your way and hoping you hit most of them?
  • Technology – There are a lot of apps out there to keep us organized, but these can slow us down just as easily (yeah, I’m talking to you Facebook Birthday notifications! I go on to wish someone a happy, and the next thing I know, I’m mindlessly scrolling through my feed!). Are you using technology, and if so, are you using it in a way that benefits you?
  • Time – How are you spending your time? Is it balanced? Are you putting your time in the right places – the places that are important to you? There’s always work to be done, but are you making time for play? Do you “plan” on doing some activities after your work gets done, and then realize there’s no time left? Are you putting the right things first? Stephen Covey had a great example of this using rocks, but I like how Brett from the Art of Manliness shows this. See the video HERE (you can actually increase the play speed to 1.5 without losing the point).
  • People – There are important people in your life that rely on you to be productive. Spouses, kids, parents, bosses, teachers, etc. If these people (or what they represent) are important to you, there’s a good chance you would like to be productive with these people. Are you prioritizing them? Are you accomplishing what you know you need to with them? And what about people that can help you? Others that could assist, direct, suggest, or just make your life easier? Are you reaching out to them?
  • You – Yup, you can be your own worst enemy (procrastination, failure to prioritize, lack of delegation, etc.) or your own best friend. But you have to know WHY productivity is important to you. You have to have a compelling reason to BE productive instead of just busy.

If you watched the Art of Manliness video above, you saw that by simply rearranging the order of things, you could get more accomplished, get the right things accomplished, and ultimately be more productive. Of course, this is an over-simplification, but it could work, don’t you think?

How do you fare in those five areas? Are you a Productivity Pro or not so much? Are you not really sure where you fall on the Productivity Spectrum? Wouldn’t it be great to find out? One of the most respected (and productive) professionals I know, Michael Hyatt, designed a free assessment to help us identify our strengths and areas of opportunity when it comes to our productivity. It’s quick and easy to fill out and the results are VERY eye-opening and helpful (I scored a 57. I’m in the batting cage, I’m hitting most of the balls, but I’m frustrated by the constant pressure). Click the link to take your assessment and get your score: TOTAL PRODUCTIVITY ASSESSMENT.

You will also be given the opportunity to attend one of Michael’s free webinars on the topic, too. This is sure to be filled with great tips & techniques to help you to be more productive. You can sign up for the webinar once you get your productivity results (I did, so maybe I’ll “see” you there). The point to being productive is so that we have time for all the things important to us WITHOUT being stressed out all the time. You deserve that, don’t ya think?

Your turn! What’s a productivity hack that you rely on? Or, which of the 5 areas above are you BEST at? Share in the comments.

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

Reaching Your Potential

You know what I love about angel cards, tarot cards, fortune cookie messages, and horoscopes? They all give me a unique glimpse at my potential. I’m not saying that the messages these bring are coming from some higher power. I have no idea. But just seeing the potential is enough to get me excited.

The Free Dictionary defines potential as: capable of being, but not yet in existence1. That’s how I feel about it too, which makes it pretty exciting when some message of potential comes my way. But there are numerous ways to consider our own individual potential. Whether you are trying to build your own business, be the best parent you can be, climb the ranks in your chosen field, find the depth of your spirituality, or any number of other potentialities, there are a few best practices (besides fortune cookies and astrology) to consider.

  • Know Thyself – In order to reach your potential in any area of your life, you have to be aware of your greatest strengths and greatest areas of opportunity. These are the current “cards” you’ve been dealt. Knowing these helps you determine how to play your hand to your greatest advantage. If you struggle to pinpoint your weaknesses, you best start talking to those who spend time with you the most. Asked correctly, this could be the most valuable information you ever receive.
  • Know What You Love – Desire is a huge step towards potential. You have to love what it is you’re striving for. If the Universal Law of Gravitation makes you want to run in the other direction, being a physics professor is probably not on your short list of potential careers. On the other hand, if you love crafting, there are countless ways for you to reach your highest potential in this aspect of your life.
  • Clarity on the Important Skills – Whether you’re trying to reach the highest potential in your marriage or at work, you need to know the most important skills that will help you achieve that. Patience is a top one in relationships & parenting. How high on the patience scale are you? If you’re not high enough, figure out how to improve in this area. This is true for any skill that is required to reach your potential.
  • Talk with Others Who Have Succeeded – As much as we may convince ourselves that our journey to potential is different than someone else’s, that’s likely not true. Or rather, not as true as we think. Sure, some details may be different, but generally speaking, if you’re looking for career success in a particular industry, talking with someone who has met success in that industry will likely provide you with some useful insight. The same is true, no matter what area of life you’re focused on. Talk to someone who is ahead of you on this path.
  • Taking Action – No matter how glowing an angel card reading may be, if you aren’t willing to take action and make that prediction come to life, it just isn’t going to happen. As lovely as it would be to just sit on the couch and wait for the delivery of our highest potential, it just doesn’t work like that.

I love a good angel card reading as much as the next gal, but potential is only a possibility. It’s up to you to bring it into existence! Following these 5 best practices is a sure way to get on the fast-track to reaching your highest potential in any area of your life. Of course, once you reach one level of high potential, there’s always another level waiting for you. This means it’s never too late to seek out your highest potential. Your “cards” may change as you reach different stages of life, but there is always an opportunity to reach our highest imaginable level of potential.

Now it’s your turn! Which of these five (or another best practice altogether) has helped you reach higher levels of your potential? Share in the comments!

If you would like to work together and develop a plan for living a life by YOUR design, then an Empowerment Session is for you! Take advantage of the complimentary strategy session!

If you’d like special offers, updates, and insider-only goodies, SUBSCRIBE to be a VIP! (It’s free and I won’t blow up your in-box!)

email April@AuthenticLifeChronicles.com 

 

1 - Potential. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2017, from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/potential