How to make progress when you have zero time

I’ve been waking up at 4am regularly again.  This means that I don’t have enough time during the day and my mind wakes me up thinking of everything I need to get done. Our schedule is too packed, I’m too busy and I’ve noticed things are starting to pile up because I don’t have time to make the progress that I normally do.  I’m too busy, have zero time and it’s stressing me out.

I bet you’ve felt like this too – your schedule is full, your place is a mess and your stress level is rising.  I encourage you to take time to make necessary adjustments to continue making progress, even if you have zero time.  If you do this now, you’ll have a better chance of improving your schedule, your stress level and your sanity.

Remove things from your life.

When you look at your schedule, what do you see? I’ve got a packed work schedule and a packed free-time schedule. And it isn’t working for me.  I don’t have time to think if I’m running from one meeting to the next. It made me realize that I needed to start removing some things from my schedule, from my thoughts and from my life.  After taking a long look at what I’ve been doing, I started to make changes.  I’ve removed important, valuable things from my schedule.  Some of them weren’t easy to remove.  All of them were necessary to remove.  I could tell it made a difference as my stress level decreased with each removal.

I encourage you to look at your schedule right now.  How can you get others to help you? What can you remove? What adjustments can you make? The more you choose to focus on the most important things, the more you’ll start to realize how your schedule shouldn’t be filled up with the other things.

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Your Most Efficient Morning At Work

I love my mornings at work – it’s my favorite time of the day. It’s when I’m most productive, when I can accomplish the large tasks and when I have the best focus.  I’ve noticed in the past that when I plan my days in advance, limit interruptions and schedule around my best productivity that I accomplish more and feel better.  I encourage you to make changes to be more productive and efficient each morning – and all day – while you are at work.

Picture the plan before you get to work.

Each night before I leave, clean my desk and write the items I need to accomplish on my task list.  I designate the highest priority items and anything that has a defined deadline.  When I come in each morning, I am welcomed to a fresh start and I know exactly what needs to be done that day and my highest priority items.  It saves me time in the morning to have a plan in place right when I arrive.

I encourage you to develop a system to give yourself a great head start.  It could be a few minutes at the end of your day, it could be developing your task list, or it could be another system that works for you.  You’ll be more productive if you set yourself up for success in advance.

Limit interruptions as much as you can.

In my last job, my office was the first one as you’d walk in the door.  Everyone came right into my office and I’d get interrupted all of the time.  I wanted them to feel important, so I’d stop what I was doing to listen to them and help them with what they needed. Some days I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything.

When I started my current job, I was able to pick my office.  I picked the highest floor and the farthest office from entrance.  Now if someone is coming to see me, they have to make an intentional effort (and climb lots of stairs) so my interruptions our minimal.  I enjoy the solitude because I’m able to really dig in and get tons of projects done, with limited interruptions.

I encourage you to find a way to minimize interruptions to boost productivity – maybe it’s closing your door, wearing headphones or moving your office.  Whatever it takes to improve your work flow.

Schedule your day around your most productive times.

I schedule all of my meetings in the afternoon (if I can) and give myself time for the big projects each morning. I’m more focused in the morning and can really dig into the biggest (and sometimes the worst) thing first – and get it accomplished.  Then, in the afternoon, when I’m a little less focused, I can spend my time in meetings and discussion to keep me engaged and interested.

You may need a few hours to be ready to work on projects – if so, schedule your meetings first.  Or you may be someone that likes to move around a lot – I encourage you to take the breaks you need. If you know how you work most productively and schedule your day around your best productivity, you’ll notice that you become more focused, more successful and ultimately more productive.

You can have a efficient morning – and productive day – every day at work. Focus your time and attention on your priorities and being your best self. The more you practice having your best day, the more often your best work days will start to appear. 

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You are not alone, be brave enough to find out why

I’ve had a few distinct situations in my life recently that vividly showed me that we aren’t alone.  I wish I’d been more vocal in expressing my frustration and my feelings because I would have saved myself quite a bit of trouble.

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Move Beyond Your Comfort Zone | Why It’s Good To Be A Little Bit Terrified

Here’s what I’ve realized about myself lately. I’m sitting in my comfort zone and I’m pretty comfy there.  Nice and comfortable. And in the zone.

It’s not working.  I need to make quite a few things better – but I’m a little bit terrified.  Terrified of getting started. Terrified of the time and work it’s going to take. Terrified of devoting time to something that may fail in an explosion of fiery demise. But I’m also terrified of everything staying exactly the same.

I’ve realized it’s time to make some needed changes – big and small – in my life.  Here’s how I’m going to get started (my skin is crawling thinking about all of these changes – who have I become?!).

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What to do when you are out of your league

I went to a fancy lunch recently and as I was looking around the table, I realized that I probably had no place being there.  I wasn’t a major donor, I wasn’t a high-powered decision-maker and I honestly didn’t know much about the project in discussion.  I was out of my league. 

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I’m sure you’ve felt like this before.  You are in a situation – a business meeting, a party, a specialty event – where you feel like you don’t belong.  The good news is you can make the most of this situation.  You can make it a valuable experience, but you have to know where to look.  Here’s what I learned that day.

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Why sticking to your budget will ultimately make you a better person

I’m the spender in our family. And recently, I was reminded in full force how easily your well-planned budget can slip right through your fingers.  I had that option many times and I resisted every single time.

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Yes, I love to spend money! But, I realize that spending money now means that we’ll have less later and I refuse to dip into next month’s budget for what I want right now.  So I decided to take the more prudent road and realized that each day I didn’t mindlessly spend on things I didn’t need, it strengthened my resolve to practice financial stewardship again and again. I know it isn’t easy and, honestly, I’m glad it’s a new month and our budget has started over.  I was reminded of some pretty important lessons that I’m ready to share with you.

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Teach Yourself to be Assertive: Be Prepared & Aware of Opportunities to Share Your Voice

Your voice matters. We need to hear it.  

And even if it’s terrifying to present in front of superiors, share information in large groups or speak at all – you are better for it when you are assertive and speak your mind.  In fact, you safeguard yourself from tough situations by building the confidence to stand up for yourself. And when you look around at the opportunities you have in your life, and in your day, you’ll realize that you have many opportunities to practice this talent and make it a strength.

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