Take a Step to Change Your Life Today

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Thanks for finding this blog!  The posts here contain many of the exercises, tips and techniques I use to help my clients.  You’ll find tips on mindfulness, decision-making, creativity, accountability and many other topics.  My biggest piece of advice is that change happens in baby steps.  Create a big vision of where you want to go, then just list three small things you can do in the next couple of days.  Put them on your calendar.  Then do them.  When you’re done, do three more.  Keep going.  Find a partner or friend if that helps to hold you accountable–it’s more fun that way.

If you want intensive support, I work with individual clients like you to help you find your vision, create an individualized plan, and work with you closely until you’re where you want to go.

As you can see from the date on this post, I’ve become so busy that I can no longer update these posts regularly.  If you’re interested in booking one-on-one sessions with me, click here so we can set up a short, free informational phone call and I can answer any questions you have.

If you’re more of a DIY person, click here to order my free e-book, Finish My F***ing Project in Eight Weeks: A Workbook for Procrastinators, Idealists and Other Dreamers.  It’s a step-by-step workbook with exercises that will get you to plan your project, break it down into steps, set up an accountability system, overcome challenges and meet your goal in eight weeks.  There’s even a celebration at the end.

Or just feel free to cruise through the posts in this blog.  (If you have questions or want more information, go ahead and contact me by clicking here.)

Enjoy!

 

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Amazing News for Procrastinators

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 If you’re lying on the couch tilting back a giant bag of Doritos even though you know you should be working on Chapter Eight of your novel, you may be onto something. Turns out procrastination, the hobgoblin of productivity specialists, is actually good for your creativity—at least according to the new book Originals: How Non-Conformists Rule The World, by Adam Grant, who at the appallingly near-pubescent age of 34 is, according to Wikipedia, the youngest and most highly-rated professor at the Wharton School of Business.

The book is a Gladwellian mix of counterintuitive insights backed by anecdotes and data from psychological experiments designed by researchers whose commitment to testing the emotional states of subjects can border on the diabolical. Here’s an example: researchers were interested in discovering the most effective way to manage anger: Continue reading

Seek Out Stress. Yes, I Just Said That.

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Stress is getting a re-brand these days. Once viewed as entirely negative, a cause of illnesses, heart disease, inflammation and shorter lifespans, as well as general crabbiness, stress is now viewed in a more nuanced, potentially positive way. I’ve written in an earlier post that researchers at Yale have discovered that people who see stress as positive actually live longer than people who view stress as negative. You’ve got to figure that the folks at Yale must be pretty stressed, so presumably they know what they’re talking about.

And if you’re dubious whether life is going to be worth living when we’re all chronic stress-balls, a new book by Kelly McGonigal called The Upside of Stress: Why It’s Good for You and How to Get Good at It offers surprisingly effective techniques for actually enjoying stress. Continue reading

How to Network Without Becoming a Colossal Douche

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So here you are, creative as the day is long, doing remarkable artistic work, growing and learning and pushing past your edge…and there your work sits, in a file on your laptop, or on the wall of your studio, or maybe in the hands of a few of your friends. You send work out to every listing you can find. Crickets.

Worse, your savings is tilting toward the abyss, your day job is drying up and you’re spending so much time talking to yourself that even your cat is starting to complain about you. You send resumes to every listing you can find. More crickets.

You know where this is heading, right? You need to do the thing that many creative people seem to dread more than a root canal: you need to get out there and network.

Now, originally I’d intended this post for my millennial clients who have recently graduated from college and are new to the professional world, but I’ve been surprised how many of my mid-career clients dread and avoid networking—so much that this avoidance becomes a significant obstacle in their progress. Continue reading

What I Learned From Re-Reading Five Years of My Journals

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 Almost every morning, before I do anything else, before I’ve even had a cup of coffee, I drop bleary-eyed and half-awake into my desk chair and write in a journal. It’s a practice that began as “morning pages,” Julia Cameron’s method of writing rambling free-associations for three full pages first thing every day, but for me, the morning pages soon morphed into a fairly straightforward account of my days.

I find the process absolutely addictive. For me, the chance to throw my thoughts and emotions out of my head and onto a page in black and white (yes, I write my journal on my laptop; I simply cannot handwrite anything any more) allows me just enough distance from my daily, moment-by-moment experience, enough to calm down, evaluate, and sift through the tumult of my daily existence.

A host of research from a variety of universities indicates that “expressive writing,” or written reflections on life experience, can help people manage stress, boost immunity and even improve their working memories by clearing them of intrusive, negative thoughts which, once on the page, can become less powerful. Continue reading

Crazy-Simple Way to Crank Up Your Productivity (Even On Stuff You Dread Doing)

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Strange as it may sound, considering that I’ve spent so much of my life as a writer, I really dread writing. I’ve always dreaded writing, even when I was young, fresh and so ambitious that I would actually cry at times from pure ambition. But just the thought of sitting down to write gave me then, and gives me still, a small, wretched twinge of aversion, not just because what I write might suck—though it might—but because writing is hard. Hard! So much thinking and wrestling with words and trying to grasp an idea that’s just out of reach…

In my defense, cognitive science folks say that our minds naturally resist hard thinking in order to preserve energy for emergencies, a fascinating idea that I’ll discuss another time (to conserve my mental energy, and yours.) Continue reading

Commit to the Dream: an 8-week productivity workshop

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One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned as a coach is that while inner motivation is incredibly important, nothing helps people move forward faster than peer pressure…uh, I mean, social support.  You know what I’m talking about: if you want to run a marathon, you’re much more likely to complete it if you train with a group.  It’s why writers and artists (including me) so often say they can’t work without a deadline.  Accountability is amazingly powerful.

For that reason, and because I’ve been learning a ton recently about motivation and productivity, I’m going to be leading a  8-week online course starting on February 1.   You’ll learn research-based techniques to help you access your motivation, beat procrastination, build productive habits and take significant steps toward accomplishing your longterm goals. You’ll set a goal for the course, as well as weekly and daily goals between classes, with a support system to make sure you stay on track. Continue reading