Category: Motivation and Productivity

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Getting More Done in Less Time

timerHey, can you state the Stock-Sanford Corollary to Parkinson’s Law?

Come on, you know it! LOL. You’re probably scratching your head…

But I bet you really do know what this is.

Cyril Northcoate Parkinson was a British historian and writer, and he came up with the saying “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

Ah, yes, you’ve heard of “Parkinson’s Law.” And if you are like me, you have first-hand knowledge of how it works!

Parkinson’s Law definitely kicked in today for me, as it seems to sometimes when I’m working at home and I don’t have a clearly-defined schedule.

And then someone (sorry, I don’t know who Stock nor Sanford were) expounded on Parkinson’s adage and came to this conclusion (that’s the corollary part): “If you wait until the last minute, it only takes a minute to do.”

So sometimes we need to remember to set a time frame for getting things done. A simple tip is to set a timer, like this one. For me, this becomes like a little game I’m playing. But when you set up a sense of time scarcity in your mind, it propels you forward a bit better and tightens up your focus.

Tick, tock! Let’s beat the clock!

Motivation Doesn’t Last, So Work On It Every Day

motivation doesn't last

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing, that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

I remember thinking when I first read this quote that it was a little bit silly.  But then I started to think about the meaning of it.  Zig Ziglar could sum things up so plainly and yet so accurately.  I agree, sometimes motivation does not last.  We can be a ball of fire one day, and then we feel our fire has burned out the very next day.

So why is it motivation can be so transitory and easily lost?  Everyone is different in how well they can hold onto their motivation and sustain that spark that keeps them going.  Some don’t ever seem to let up in their motivation, so you might wonder what’s wrong with you.

You may be overwhelmed.

You may have let other people discourage you.

You may have an inborn and deeply ingrained tendency to let negative thinking take over your mind.

You may be just plain tired.

Or you may not be able to completely figure out why you lose motivation, but regardless the cause of it, even just being conscious of the need to start over every day with your motivation may be all you need.  Maybe just realizing that motivation has to be a daily thing you “do” can be enough.  Really, you just need enough to get through this single day, right?  And then you can deal with tomorrow when it gets here.

I like to write out a few statements on a piece of paper and look at these every morning. Statements that answer questions like “who am I?  What do I want out of my life?  What direction do I want to be headed, and how do I plan to get there?”  I seem to need these little daily reminders about what I’m doing and why.  And reviewing these reminders can get me on the right track every morning.  Just like taking my morning shower.

So get a good night’s sleep, and start over in the morning.



3 Tips For Starting Out a More Productive Workday

3 Tips For Starting Out a More Productive WorkdayI quite often read and think about how to be more productive during my workday. I admit to being a horrible procrastinator at times, and while I am capable of focusing on something for a very long period of time, sometimes it’s just hard to get that focused attention started.  But I have to periodically review my daily and weekly work processes and make adjustments. After all, paying the bills can come down to how well we can get our most essential tasks completed each day!

So after one of my little self-review sessions, I have published an article on Bubblews with 3 tips you might like: 3 Tips For Starting Out a More Productive Workday.

You Can’t Live a Positive Life With a Negative Mind

It is so easy to be overwhelmed by life. We have pressures coming at us from all sides sometimes. For some of us, more than others, it takes conscious effort and constant work to be positive in our outlook on life.positive life

What are you doing to yourself when you allow your mind to constantly live in some kind of endless worst-case scenario? You will likely find yourself sinking deeper and deeper into despair and frustration, until your mind convinces you things are hopeless and unchangeable.

It is true, there are many external situations in life that we can’t change. But has often been said, we CAN change our own inner perspective on our problems.

So, you may need to push the reset button every morning when you wake up! Remember your blessings, your strong points, and your potential to change yourself and your thinking.

Motivation: Put Your Goals in Writing

goalsYou remember back in school (or at least when I was in school), when the teacher would punish you by making you write the same sentence 100 times? “I will not talk in class, I will not talk in class…” Thinking back on it, it was a rather negative reinforcement, but it worked (well, for a little while, at least). The act of writing this out certainly impressed it upon your brain, didn’t it?

We have all heard that we should put our goals in writing. But do we do it? If we have done this in the past but have gotten lax about it, is it time to review and renew or even revise our goals? Writing out our goals will work to keep these goals at the front of our busy and often distracted minds.

Here are some reasons that come to my mind on the benefits of putting our goals in writing:

Putting your goals in writing makes you clarify what you really want

When you sit down and start writing out your goals, you will get more clarity about what you really want to achieve. The act of sorting out your thoughts and ideas will give shape to your overall plan. It is no longer something abstract, but rather now starts to take form. You may even experience some unexpected clarifications. You may have thought you clearly knew what your goals were, but by putting them to paper and analyzing them, you might weed out some that aren’t so important to you, or you may realize the time is not right for some of them and maybe they need to be put on a back burner to give priority to other goals – or better yet, written down as long-term goals.

Your goals become more manageable and attainable

You may have had trouble with feeling overwhelmed about exactly how you will reach certain goals. However, once you get really clear on what you want, then you can start to break the big picture down into smaller pieces. It can be very beneficial to put “do by…” dates on your goals, and then break the goal down further from there. For example, let’s say you want to get that e-book done you have been thinking about writing. The project has been too intimidating and so you have put off even getting started on it. It’s the first one you’ve done, and you really might not know how long it will take you to complete it, but let’s say you write down a date that is six months away. You make a rough outline and you decide the book needs to have about 12 chapters to cover all the information you want to present, so easy math here – you need to write 2 chapters every month.

From there, start breaking it down more. That’s 14 days for one chapter. Now let’s focus on what you need to do to get one chapter written. You need to do research for your content. Maybe each chapter will have 5 main points relating to its theme, so you set aside 5 days for that research, one day for each main point, as well as fleshing out your outline as you go. Ok, that sounds pretty attainable, doesn’t it? Thinking ahead a bit, after you write the chapter, you will need to proofread it and format the written content into a pdf or whatever, so let’s set aside 2 days later for that. That leaves 7 days out of the 14-day-1-chapter goal for what you have been dreading, the actual writing! Oh, but you’ve got your research and your outline done already, and you are only focusing on one single chapter at a time, so you’ve just made that dreaded writing task so much easier! Now you can set a daily writing goal for that 7-day time period. Hmm, let’s write 3 pages a day. Two pages before lunch, and one in the afternoon. Yep, that’s do-able! This is not scary at all!

Well, you will also need to work in the sub-goals of researching how to market, advertise, and sell your e-book, but anyway, you get the point. Just keep breaking down the big goals into smaller daily ones, putting them all in writing on your list of goals, and then focus on that one single day at one time.

And do you realize that with this plan, you will have ended up with a 252-page book?? That is one fat book! Actually, it’s almost too big for one e-book, but anyway, my point is by breaking down your goals this way, you will accomplish something that you previously might not even dared to hope for.

Written goals help overcome procrastination and keep us focused every day

I’m a horrible procrastinator. But honestly, just writing out what I just wrote about the e-book example was motivating to me! Writing out our goals and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces really helps takes the fear out of committing to our goals, and it makes it easier to visualize our success.

You will now have a daily reminder of what you need to do. Put these written goals in a place where you will look at them every day. You might want to put them above your desk, on the fridge, or taped to the bathroom mirror. In my case, I use a binder that I open up every morning and refer to. To take the visualization process a step further, why not find some images that motivate you and put those along with your list of goals?