Category: ‘Do-Do’

Stop Procrastinating and Get Things Done!

By , July 31, 2013 10:42 pm

Git 'er Done!“Self-discipline is the magic power that makes you virtually unstoppable.”

~ Dan Kennedy, Business Success Guru and Author

The truth is that most of us are easily distracted.

Many of us are almost willing to be de-railed from our busy schedules by the lure of the excitement of a bright shiny object; especially if what you are working on feels like hard work or it’s something you don’t want to do.

This then leads to procrastination and avoidance.

Most of us know what we should be focusing on but lack the self-discipline and determination to make it happen. Instead we use excuses to justify our avoidance such as I’m too busy or I didn’t have time rather than getting clear and refocused on what needs to be done.

…And just getting it done!

There’s a form of inner laziness that prevents us from getting things done. I regularly see examples of this in the business world.

Here are a few examples:

  • People who can’t seem to make it to meetings on time.
  • Arriving late/unprepared for a planned coaching session.
  • A business owner who avoids marketing because there’s always something else that needs to be done first.

People who arrive late for meetings are usually unprepared. Their lack of focus and attention wastes time, because he/she has to take time to catch up before they can give any value.

A common theme for many people with time management challenges is the lack of self-discipline.

I admit that some days I feel secretly lazy and it’s tempting just to blow the day off and do nothing instead. Especially when you are your own boss!

Instead of allowing this to take control, I’ve learned how to refocus and become self-disciplined…

Self-discipline is a powerful antidote to procrastination and avoidance.

Self-discipline neutralizes the laziness and gives you the ability to get things done and to get it right the first time. Excuses and old habits fall away as you begin to move forward, take control and get things done.

Here’s how to encourage self-discipline:

1. Make a weekly plan in advance. What do you want to achieve? This will help you stay focused and feel in control of what needs to be done. Stick to the plan – hold firm! Remind yourself what’s important.

2. Show up at the scheduled time and be prepared and ready to work. Yes… It’s that simple… Common sense right?! But it’s NOT always common practice. This includes showing up for ALL appointments that you make with yourself.

3. Meet your deadlines and commitments. This alone will make you more successful. More opportunities will start to present themselves and others will be attracted to you because you are making things happen. Success breeds success.

4. Do it even when you don’t feel like it. Self-discipline requires a 100% commitment. It’s not just when you feel like it. It takes self-discipline to productivity – invest energy and time to your intentions. This investment pays off every time. Be aware of those lazy voices in your head and challenge them EVERY time!

5. Take deliberate action. Take action and make things happen. Every day consciously do one thing towards your Intention – small steps. Get deliberate in your thoughts and behaviors. This will inspire you to make different choices and create new habits. Take action

All successful people are self-disciplined. It’s a necessity that requires continual work every single day.

Self-discipline is all about choice. You can choose to chart your own path and create value by getting things done.

There’s a huge difference between someone who talks about it and someone who actually gets things done!

Which one are you?

As my American friends in the South say, whatever you’re putting off just now:  Go “Git ‘er done!”


The Power of Pausing – How Reflection Helps You Grow

By , July 3, 2013 6:28 pm

iStock_000025377786LargeFollow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

~ Peter Drucker, Management Consultant and Author

Stop – pause and take it in.

In our busy world there seems to be little time for commas let alone full stops and new paragraphs in our day! We are so busy in the do-do of doing, that there is often haste in our learning experiences and we allow little time for reflection – we just move onto the next experience, grabbing as much in as we go!

As a Leader of Learning, I know that if you want learning to turn into growth, then you have to STOP – PAUSE and TAKE IT IN. Sometimes you have to allow the specific learning from an experience to catch up with you. You have to breathe and let it percolate through.

How often do you take the time to pause and let the lesson you’ve learned soak in and create a paradigm shift for you?

Most learning experiences are One and Done!

A person might read a book or attend a one-day workshop. They may set a quick Action Plan at the end of the workshop, but then return to work the next day and fall back into the old habits of doing what they’ve always done. Any thoughts or potential changes in thinking drain away to be replaced by the existing neural highway of old patterns and unconscious habits.

I was training a Personal Effectiveness workshop this week where at least four people were disappointed with themselves for relegating their personal development to the bottom of their To-Do Lists. I encouraged them to return to work after the workshop and start work by reflecting on what they had just learned and how to implement it into their lives – one step at a time.

Here’s what I know about reflection and how it’s so important for your learning and growth:

Learning from experience – Is one of our most powerful ways of growing if you apply reflection to it. When I was learning to be a coach my coach would FORCE me to follow the principles of each step of the Learning Cycle (David Kolb and Honey & Mumford) through. It really paid off as my learning became rounded and whole. Here are the four elements:

  • Have an experience
  • Review the experience
  • Conclude for the experience
  • Plan the next step

I realized that you don’t grow from the experience unless you pause to take time to reflect afterwards and apply what you have learned.

Many learning opportunities are lost each day because we have the experience and then do nothing with it except move onto another experience.

You need reflection to take an experience and understand it. Learning and growth in the moment will only happen if you allow a pause for reflection.  Experience alone won’t change your mindset or your approach to how you do things. It’s your understanding of that experience that creates a paradigm shift. If you stop to reflect, you give yourself some space to allow your understanding to catch up! This is so important for learning.

The power of pausing gives you time to think. I cannot emphasize enough the value of stepping out of the do-do of doing and creating some reflective space to think alone. Reflecting equals growing! I use Honey and Mumford’s four steps to create some good questions to generate some deeper thinking around any learning experience. Here’s what happens when you allow reflective practice into your life:

  1. It allows you to revaluate where you are now and re-connect to where you want to be. It gives you further insight into how to (or how not to!) get there.
  2. You have to slow down to speed up. Accelerated momentum towards your goal will happen if you schedule some time to reflect before moving on. Rushing from A to B to get things done might mean that you miss something significant because you are too focused on the finishing line and not on the growing to get there. Learning is left discarded along the way.
  3. Reflection allows your experience to percolate and true learning and growth catches up. You can understand the significance and tweak your approach or take corrective action for next time. In other words, you get to plan and apply it in readiness for your next experience.
  4. You get good at describing what happened and how to apply the new wisdom. This makes you a better mentor to others.
  5. Successful people build reflective practice into their daily lives. They schedule time to THINK as well as DO. Their doing is purposeful and effective because they have given themselves space to walk through their experiences, look at it from a different perspective and plan their next step.

Most people miss out on so much learning from their experiences because they don’t pause to reflect. They make the excuse that I haven’t got time to sit and ponder! I’m too busy! What they are really saying is that they haven’t got time to learn and grow.

To be successful in life it’s important to think and reflect as well as do. If you want to keep growing, you need to create reflective space into your life, where you can ask yourself some questions that generate understanding from the experiences that you are having!

Create some reflection time for yourself today!


Running Out of Time?

By , February 26, 2011 11:56 am

“You don’t have to let yourself be terrorised by other people’s expectations of you.”

Sue Patton Theole, Author – Courage to Be Yourself.

Do you ever feel like Indiana Jones running away from that big round boulder in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark??

Instead of a big ball of stone chasing you, it’s your workloads, boss, family and friends all wanting a piece of you!

Most people I talk to haven’t got enough time. They are struggling with productivity at work. Unconsciously, they feel compelled to take more work on than they can realistically achieve. It’s a form of self-deception fuelled by the need to impress the boss or because everyone else seems to be doing it. They’re stuck in a rut of reactivity and chaos.

You eventually get home and your partner, kids and even the family dog wants a piece of you! So it doesn’t stop…

Here’s the challenge…

Striving to stay ahead of that rolling ball is exhausting!

  • You don’t want to let anyone down
  • You’re frightened to admit that you can’t do it all

Trying to keep up with all these expectations means that you become thinly spread over a wider surface area.  Your own priorities go unaddressed such as thinking time, rest, quality time with the family. It’s like stretching a rubber band further and further until the tension is so great that it SNAPS…

Are you taking on more that you can comfortably deliver?

Here’s how to get out of the rut:

1. You CAN’T DO it all! To be successful you have to learn how to be selective. The truth is that you can’t DO IT ALL… It’s impossible. For example, Trying to take on the workload of three other people who resigned at work is INSANE and IMPOSSIBLE (I coached someone this week who was trying to do this!!). Selectivity starts by NOT adding more to your already busy schedule – It’s about eliminating things that are of low value and don’t help you in achieving your goals. Then focus on things that give you High Value results.

2. Get clear on your High Value Work (HVW)What is REALLY important to you? What are your dreams and goals? What is going to make you more successful, keep you healthy, increase your income and help you to create and maintain your desired lifestyle? HVW can be anything important to you in your life. HVW includes time for thinking, being creative, relaxing, regenerating, learning and sleeping! You focus your time effort and energy here!

2. Identify your Low Value Work (LVW) – What is distracting you from your goals and dreams? These are tasks, demands, other people’s agendas and time stealers that suck your energy and time but have low or no pay-off. They take us off course because we become distracted and unfocused. Some are old habits and patterns. Look for opportunities to delegate, automate or delete your LVW.

3. Define standards and boundaries – Standards are your own personal policies – what you will do and say ‘Yes’ to. Boundaries are the limits and what you will say ‘No’ to. Setting boundaries and communicating them clearly teaches people how to treat you. It gives others guildelines on ‘how we do things around here.’ Most people respect boundaries once they’ve been communicated. Write a ‘Here’s what I do…’ and a ‘Here’s what I don’t do’ list for yourself. Remember to maintain your boundaries otherwise people will begin to trespass on your time!

4. Get good at saying NO – You have to learn how to step into your power and become the leader of YOU. Saying No and pushing back on other people’s agendas and distractions stops you handing control over to others. Successful people are able to say no without feeling guilty. You’re saying no to others so you can say yes to YOU.

5. Have some discipline –Most of us are undisciplined. We know what we should be doing or where our focus ought to be. We then allow busy-ness to takeover. Discipline involves you getting good at concentrating your attention away from any distraction and focusing it on your daily priorities and longer term goals. It’s about having focus and reminding yourself daily about what’s important.

You are the source of your time. Stop being a victim of it.

Knowing When to STOP!

By , October 9, 2010 7:26 pm

“Just five more minutes..!”

Elaine J Bailey, Budding Author, aged 11.

At the age of eleven I’d already written four full sized novels. My ‘Auntie Mabel’ (who lived a few houses away) always took an interest in my writing and would ask me about the latest one. She’d then buy the only copy when it was finished.

I was so thrilled that I had a dedicated following! I’d write for her.

My dedication was such that when the letter ‘m’ fell off my typewriter (yes it was in the dark ages before computers!) I painstakingly wrote every ‘m’ in the book by hand!

I’d get lost in the flow of writing, stepping into the story and becoming all the characters as they were typed onto the page. I was no longer sitting at the dining room table. I was immersed in the story and didn’t want it to end. I was hooked!

‘It’s bed time now. You have to stop for today!’ …Brought me back to my dining room reality and every evening I’d begin my negotiations with my parents. I’d ask for ‘Just five more minutes,’ and try to extend my writing time as long as I could. Even though I was tired I WANTED to continue writing.

Fast forward to 2010…

As an entrepreneur and coach, I am still blessed with the same passion for writing I used to have as an eleven year old girl. Little Elaine still lives  in my head and shows up when I’m in the flow of something or if  I have loads of deadlines to meet. She pushes me hard to get things done.

Little Elaine is destructive because she doesn’t know when to stop. She takes over and before I know it the clocks are chiming midnight even though I have to be up at 5.30 am the following day!

The next morning I’m tired and I annoyed that I allowed Little Elaine to stay up late to have ‘Just five more minutes’ more!

Little Elaine doesn’t have a healthy approach to workloads, she creates an environment of busy-ness, overwhelm and burn-out.

Here’s how I make Little Elaine to bed when she shows up:

1. Are YOU Tired? Are YOU Hungry? – Listen to your body – it is VERY wise. My coach taught me this… Eating and sleeping are usually the first things to suffer when we are working long hours. We go without proper meals and the right amount of sleep. Our well-being is reduced to a low priority on that huge list of things we already have to do. We ignore the signals from our body as we drive on with more effort to get stuff done. In the short term this is usually okay, providing we allow a period of recovery time afterwards. But how often do we remember to do this? If it is sustained busy-ness will get a tighter grip because we are physically and mentally weaker. The perfect recipe for overwhelm and burnout.

2. Show Up, Start, and Stop! Don’t overdo it! – Become your own parent! This not about trying to get everything done today. Set yourself a start and finish time in your schedule and stick to it. If you can’t trust yourself to stop, set a timer and put it across the room, so you have to get up to turn it off. This breaks the circuit of sitting there and working. Otherwise you’ll get lost in the flow and not know when to stop.

3. Continue Tomorrow – It’s okay…really to set time to show up the next day to continue. Follow #2 to ensure that you don’t lose yourself in long hours of over working. Remember… You can ALWAYS carry on from where you left off. You will be much more productive after a break too!

        I still use this technique today when I’m locked into the workaholic tendency of ‘keep’ going and Little Elaine is trying to take me over to get it all done NOW!

        Stop Waiting and Start Creating…

        By , May 25, 2010 10:33 am

        “I almost want someone to say to me, “you’d be really good at …..” and then I’d go off, do what I needed to do to do that, and then actually be good at it and enjoy it – happy ever after!”

        Jenny, one of my international clients.

        It can feel really hard to be stuck and not sure what you want to do with your… (Insert any of the following: life, career, relationship, etc).

        Jenny does know that she wants to make some changes in her life. She’d made a list of possible career options, though wasn’t really sure that any of these ideas interested her enough to take them to the next level. Was it that she wasn’t really committed to any of these things? May be it was because that negative person on her shoulder was saying, ‘what’s the point, you won’t be able to do any of them anyway because… (Insert your own negative thinking response here such as: ‘you’re too old,’ or ‘you don’t have any qualifications,’ or ‘you’d never be any good at it.’ etc)’

        In times like this wouldn’t it be wonderful if your coach, partner, best friend or boss could simply say: “You’d be really good at…” and solve the confusion for us? With the mystery solved and you could go off and enjoy the rest of your life, as Jenny says “happy ever after!”

        I have experienced confusion and waiting around for someone else to come and save me and tell me what I needed to do. They never came.

        Trust me… you’ll be waiting a very long time! People will offer advice and ideas, though often their solutions are based on their own opinions of what you should do and not necessarily what you want to do.

        The answer lies within…

        Stop waiting and start creating your own life. YOU are actually the person that YOU are waiting for!

        We all have the gift of  intuition. Have you ever thought about a friend and a few minutes later the phone rings and it’s your friend is calling you? Or, you’re in the shower and suddenly you solve that work problem that you were struggling with all day.

        You intuition is always communicating with you but sometimes in the busy-ness of life, we don’t bother to listen or it gets lost in the noise around us.

        “The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, and the solution comes to you, and you don’t know how or why.”

        Albert Einstein, Physicist and Nobel laureate.

        He’s how to tap into your intuition and begin to listen to your Wise-Self…

        • Make time to listen to your intuition – The best time for this to happen is usually when you are relaxed and more open to receiving information. Schedule time to relax. Some of the following might help you:
          • go for a walk
          • meditate
          • lie on your back and watch the clouds in the sky
          • take a shower or a long relaxing bath
          • listen to nature
          • go jogging
          • listen to music that inspires you
          • take time to reflect
          • plan some thinking time into your day
          • practice some deep breathing
        • Journal writing – Allow your intuition to speak to you through pen and paper. Focus on images, words, emotions and/or any physical sensations that you experience while thinking about the situation. It’s amazing how powerful writing can be. Intuition may show up straight away, or it may appear two days later while you’re walking the dog. Journaling can really help you to release your thinking and awaken your creativity.
        • Explore the possibilities – Try each one on for size, like you would try on new clothes. What does it feel like, look like and sound like? Become the explorer in your life.  This will help your intuition to find a way to speak to you.
        • Look out for the Goose Bumps! – Intuition can talk to us in many ways. For me, I get a tingling sensation and goose bumps on my lower arms. It’s like a zap of energy flowing out from my soul! I know to take notice of it, as it’s usually very wise. It might come to you many ways. For example as a hunch, a visual image, a sense of relief, a release of tension or a voice saying ‘Just do it!’ Sometimes it’s just a sense of knowing. These are usually followed by a sense of laser-like clarity and focus. It just feels right. You might then start to feel excited or passionate. Your intuition will also warn you and let you know if something is not right. You may experience these as a feeling of confusion or concern. You may feel drained, bored or the voice in your head is saying ‘Don’t do it!’ Again, these are clear messages from your intuition. You just know.
        • Take action – Act on your intuition as soon as possible. This doesn’t mean quit your job straight away! This means act on the information. Learn to trust it and follow it. Have faith in yourself.

        You have the key to Unlock Your Life’s Potential.

        So STOP WAITING and START CREATING today… listen to your deeper voice.

        Become Your Own Events Manager

        By , May 17, 2010 7:56 pm

        “I’m struggling meeting my commitments to myself. Every time I plan to have some ME TIME I get really busy or something comes up and I end up staying back at work or helping someone else out!”

        This was a conversation that one of my clients, Jenny, had with me recently. She was frustrated because her ME TIME or personal time, was always leaking off her agenda.

        Did you know that you actually can’t manage time? We all have the same amount: 168 hours per week. There is no more time. So time management is actually about managing events in time. Some events we feel in control of, others we don’t.

        Jenny’s frustrations were resolved as she learned how to become the Events Manager in her own life!

        It’s easy to let busy-ness hemorrhage into Me Time because you have so much to do. You become reactive to the chaos around you. Me Time becomes the poor relation getting ignored as your working day becomes longer and you start to feel out of control.

        Sometimes we decide to work longer hours to get things done. This is perfectly okay providing that you feel that you are making this decision from a place of choice rather than it being imposed upon you. If you feel that the decision is imposed it can lead to pressure and stress.

        Here’s how you can become your own Events Manager in your life:

        1. Decide what you can control and start to control it – Consider what is in your own circle of influence. You have control over more than you think. For example, you control the time you get up, what food you eat, whether you exercise or not, what job you do etc… Take responsibility and ownership for what you can control.
        2. Set clear boundaries for your working hours – Make a clear distinction between your working hours and time for YOU. Plan in advance how long you intend to work each day. Sometimes the unexpected happens, but if you don’t know when you intend to finish work, it’s easy just to carry on. See Stepping Out of the Do-Do Part #3
        3. Give yourself the night off – Set an alarm to remind you to leave work on time one night a week. Make an appointment with YOU instead. Switch off your Iphone/Blackberry and laptop when you finish work. There is life outside the inbox! See device addiction.
        4. Create some ‘Me Time’ – How much time per week do you actually give yourself for personal time?  Often we say to ourselves: ‘I’ll go to the gym next week.’ Next week ends up being as busy as this week, so the gym never happens. Learn to value and schedule your personal time in advance. Show up for your appointments with YOU. YOU are worth it! It’s where you rest, restore your batteries and ‘live.’ Allow a little Me Time every day.
        5. Learn to say no – Be realistic about what you are able to achieve. Sometimes we say ‘Yes’ when we should be saying ‘no’ because we already have so much work to do and we’re frightened to let other people down. “Give me more work. Look I can do it all!” So your employers, families and friends increase their demands upon you.

        Who’s the Events Manager in your life?

        Are you committed or just interested?

        By , April 21, 2010 11:10 pm

        iStock_000009810666Small“There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it is convenient. When you’re committed to something you accept no excuses, only results.”

        Ken Blanchard – Author

        So you’ve set yourself a clear goal or intention. For example, you have decided to improve your fitness level. So you set an intention to go to the gym twice a week.

        Things start off well and you get to the gym 2 times a week for the first two weeks. You’re making progress and then…

        Life gets in the way!

        You have to work longer hours or you’re too busy and too tired to exercise. Your actions become inconsistent and progress towards your goal stops.You get frustrated and wonder why achieving your goal is so hard to do.

        Here’s the thing…

        Once you have set a goal or intention then you have to make a 100% commitment to that outcome if you really want it to happen.Not 50% or 60% or 90%

        100% commitment or bust!

        Here’s what 100% commitment looks like:

        • If you are committed to your goal then there are no excuses, only results
        • You have discipline – It’s just part of your daily practice
        • It’s a done deal
        • You’ve made the decision – you’re committed to making it happen
        • You don’t have to think about it anymore. The decision has been made – you’re doing it
        • There is no debate in your head
        • Life is easier and you have focus
        • This is not negotiable
        • You observe the boundaries you’ve made to make this happen
        • You turn up every day despite obstacles and not feeling like it no matter what the circumstances

        Here’s what just being interested looks like:

        • You do it inconsistently – only when you remember or ‘feel like it’
        • You can find excuses NOT to do it
        • You wake up each morning fighting the voices in your head over whether to ‘do it’ today or ‘not’ or ‘I’ll start it tomorrow’
        • You make excuses during the day to justify your lack of commitment to this goal. “I haven’t got the time.” “It’s not my fault.” “I should have…” “I’m too tired.” “I deserve a day off.”
        • You make hesitant attempts to start but easily give up
        • You’re still fighting with the decision even though you’ve already made it
        • You (and the committee in your head) debates the topic over and over
        • You feel frustrated because you know what you should do, you just don’t do it!

        The truth is that if you’re only interested in your goal then realistically you’re not going to achieve it.

        Successful people really commit to their intentions. How much do you really WANT yours?

        It’s got to be 100% commitment!

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