Monthly Archives: March 2011

Faking Confidence


I may not know what I want to be when I grow up, but I know who I want to be. I see myself in the future as a confident businesswoman who can walk into a conference room and own the audience. Someone who has a reputation for being unstoppable, always getting the job done and consistently producing remarkable results. I want to be the kind of boss who is respected, yet well liked and admired. That is who I see myself in the future, and I’m on my way toward becoming this person. As a young professional, this means becoming comfortable in my skin, knowing my value, and overcoming fear of failure. I wanted to share with you what I have learned in my own journey toward becoming a more confident woman.

True confidence radiates from the inside out. You have to have a strong sense of who you are, what you believe in, and what you want in life. This internal confidence can be the most challenging to develop and it takes the most time. There are a few things you can do in the meantime to be perceived as more confident, and as my dance instructor used to say, “sometimes you have to fake it till you make it!”

Dress the part

When you look good, you feel good. Dressing sharp adds an instant boost to the way others perceive you. When I put on my power suit, I instantly feel like that unstoppable businesswoman described above.

Speak up

If you have something to say, say it. Don’t hesitate or let others overpower you. Chances are, people really do want to hear what you have to say, but you will never know if it never leaves your lips. I hate it when I miss an opportunity to say or do something and the rest of the day, I think, “Man! I wish I would have said…”

Sit in the front

Whether it’s in the classroom or the conference room, don’t hide out in the back because it’s safe and comfortable. Sit in the front, be visible, and make yourself known.

In my next post, I’ll dive into the greater challenge: how to become more confident on the inside.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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Filed under Motivation

How to Turn Constructive Criticism into Productive Criticism

“To escape critisicsm, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.”

— Elbert Hubbard

It’s never easy to hear someone tell you you are doing something wrong, especially for someone like me. I am one of those people who strives for perfection in everything I do, which I admit, can be considered both a strength and a weakness. I take a lot of pride in my work and my reputation, and sometimes it’s tough to hear what other people have to say. But the truth is, the only way to truly achieve your full potential is to accept constructive criticism as an opportunity to better yourself.

Be aware, constructive criticism and just criticism differ in the intentions of the person giving it, but both can be used as a way to reevaluate yourself and consider what needs to change to make a better You. Here is how to turn constructive criticism into a productive, self-improvement opportunity:

Don’t take it personally

This is easier said than done, but if you take constructive criticism as a personal blow, you will never be able to view it as a means to better yourself. The people who give you true constructive criticism do so because they want to see you succeed. Resentment and resistance are the byproducts of denial. No one is perfect; everyone can improve in some way, and it usually takes someone else to point out where.

After you know the What, consider the How

After you’ve accepted that there is something you need to work on, think about how you are actually going to make it happen. Ask the person who pointed it out for their advice. Turn to people who know you really well, and see what they have to say too. Most importantly, ask yourself.

Keep it coming

Don’t think that once you’ve improved something, you are done. There is always room for improvement. Ask for feedback often, and constantly strive to make it productive for yourself.

What you have to remember is that life can be an enlightening journey of self improvement, or a dull dead-end of stagnancy and complacency. Make constructive criticism work for you.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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Filed under Personal Productivity, Professional Productivity

9 Times You Should Resist Multitasking

Our fast-paced, digitally facilitated lifestyles have integrated multitasking so seamlessly into our daily activities that we don’t even know we’re doing it. Multitasking sometimes gets mistaken for productivity, but does getting more done at the same time guarantee that the result is of acceptable quality?

In pursuit of maximum productivity through multitasking, you may actually end up actually wasting more time than if you had just focused on one task at a time. As an example, I recently spent over an hour in the grocery store because my mother called, and I am incapable of talking and shopping at the same time. I ended up wandering around the store talking on the phone because I couldn’t concentrate on what I needed to get. Then at times, I would tune out of the conversation to compare the price of this or that, and Mom would have to start over because I missed what she said, which dragged the conversation longer.

That being said, there are some people and activities that deserve your full, undivided attention.

You should resist the temptation to multitask…

…when driving.
…when spending time with family.
…at the dinner table.
…when working to meet a deadline.
…when trying to fall asleep.
…when exercising.
…when having a one-on-one conversation.
…when walking on a busy street.
…when grocery shopping.

Don’t get me wrong. I am an avid multitasker; however, I would argue that when quality matters, the task at hand should not share your attention with other preoccupations. The best time to multitask is when the tasks don’t require full mental capacity and perfection is not required. For example, I watch the news while folding laundry, and I can cook breakfast while getting dressed and packing a lunch. I would consider these examples effective time management. But when your focus is necessary, turn off the phone, stay off the internet, or close the door, and you will be surprised how much more you actually get done.

When do you multitask? Has there ever been a time when multitasking turned against you?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

Photo credit

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Filed under Personal Productivity, Professional Productivity, Time Management/ Organization

7 Problem Areas in Need of Some Spring Cleaning

Spring is the time of year for starting fresh. You start seeing new leaves on the trees and flowers sprouting, as Mother Nature cleans up the winter mess. Remember those piles and projects you’ve been putting off all winter? You know, those ones that you’ll get to once Spring comes. Well, tomorrow is the first day of Spring, at precisely 9:21 P.M. EDT in fact. I don’t know if Spring is in the air where you are, it certainly isn’t here in Reno, but it’s about that this time of year when a fresh start is needed in your own life.

Having trouble deciding where to start? Here are 7 messy places that could probably use some Springtime lovin’:

1) The car

If you live in a place where it snows, you probably have a nice dingy coating of road sand both inside and out.

2) The garage

Do you still have boxes of holiday decorations that haven’t been put back in the rafters? It’s time to clear a path so you get to your garden tools or bicycle without loosing a limb.

3) The bathroom cabinet

The bathroom cabinet becomes the storage place for all extra toiletries. If you have multiple, half-used shampoos or lotions under there, combine them into one bottle and throw the rest away.

4) The closet

It’s time to make room for the summer clothes! Sort through clothes and shoes, and bag up at least one bag to donate. While your at it, it’s a good time to organize too!

5) The office

Once you’ve tackled the desk and filed/recycled/shredded the piles of paper, it’s a good opportunity to dust as well. This includes the electronics and behind the desk; that’s where the dust bunnies live.

6) The yard

If the weather is nice, it’s about time to start preparing for garden season. Trim the dead branches from bushes and trees, and rake the leaves from the lawn and planter beds. It’s time to get ready for the new growth.

7) The pantry

Sort and organize food so it’s easy to find. Check expiration dates, and make a point to either use or discard food that has been in there for awhile.

Where are your problem areas? I would love to hear about your Spring cleaning projects!

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Filed under Motivation, Personal Productivity, Time Management/ Organization

Get Out of the Way!

Do you ever find yourself blaming your circumstances or making excuses for why you can’t get ahead or accomplish your goals? It’s hard to admit, but sometimes you are the biggest barrier to your own productivity and success. While it’s easy to point fingers and evade responsibility, the best thing you can do for yourself is get out of your own way. Whether it’s fear of failure, poor of self confidence, or even lack of motivation, you may be what is holding you back from reaching your full potential.

Don’t be afraid of what you think you can’t do.

If you open yourself up to risk of the unknown, you may surprise yourself with the results. Sometimes fear of failing to achieve something you really want will prevent you from even trying at all. What you need to realize is this “failure” you fear is really only a lesson that will empower you to succeed the next time you try.

Believe in yourself.

This one is cliche, I know, but it’s very true. You can have the whole world supporting you, but if you don’t believe in your own greatness, you will never push yourself to succeed. You need to stop telling yourself “I can’t” or “I’m not good enough,” because these negative thoughts will hold you back.

Take the first step.

When you are feeling particularly unmotivated, the first step is the hardest, but how can you win the race if you don’t even step out the door? Once the momentum starts, it’s so much easier to get things done. If you find you are putting things off because you aren’t in the mood, just get started. Put it in your mind that you are going to take at least one little step, and you will find that it really isn’t as awful as your mind made it out to be.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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Filed under Motivation, Personal Productivity, Professional Productivity

How to Adjust to Daylight Saving Time

It’s that time of year again. It case you missed it, you are an hour behind. Daylight saving time began this morning at 2am, which, for me, is the first sign that summer is finally on its way! Do you know why we do this every year?

Here are some fun facts about daylight saving time:

  • It was first suggested by Benjamin Franklin in 1784.
  • It was originally put into law in 1918, but is now optional for the States to decide whether they will use it or not.
  • Hawaii and Arizona don’t practice daylight saving time.
  • In Western Europe, it’s called Summer Time, and it starts the last week in March and ends the last week in October (different than the U.S.).
  • Daylight savings in the Southern Hemisphere is opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. It begins between Sept.-Nov. and ends between March-April.

I personally enjoy the longer days and extra sunlight. Why waste precious sunlight when you are sleeping? However, I’m not a big fan of losing an hour; it always takes a few days for my biological clock to adjust.

A few tips for getting used to the time change:

  1. Make sure all of your clocks have been changed
  2. Don’t think in terms of the previous time.
  3. Try to get ready for bed earlier the first few nights, so it’s easier to fall asleep at your new bed time.
  4. Take advantage of the extra sunlight by taking an evening walk or eating dinner outside (weather permitting of course).
  5. Conserve energy. Open up the curtains and shades so you don’t need to turn lights on until later.

How do you cope with losing an hour?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

Photo Credit: Adil Harchaoui

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Filed under Time Management/ Organization

The Do’s and Don’ts of Managing Emotional Distraction

It’s not uncommon for our personal lives and our professional lives interfere with one another. This is especially true when it’s something negative we are dealing with in either sphere. Whether it’s conflict or frustration in the workplace or tension or tragedy in your personal life, bringing work home or bringing home to work can be one of the biggest distractions and barriers to productivity. It’s challenge to stay focused and on task when your mind is in another place.

Emotions are a powerful force that is difficult to control sometimes, and unfortunately there is no On/Off switch. The fine lines that separate the different spheres of our lives are not impenetrable force fields immune to emotional carry-over. So, what can you do when emotional distraction leaves your work or personal life competing for your attention? Here are some suggestions for muting the interruptions of your mind when they are impeding on your concentration:

Do:

  • Focus on the present moment
  • Talk to someone you trust
  • Resolve the issue
  • Concentrate on something else
  • Listen to music
  • Breathe!

Emotions can create a ripple effect that reaches beyond our minds if we let it affect our behavior. Emotionally charged actions can get out of hand and lead to regrettable consequences. These are some things to remember when your mind is not in its right state:

Don’t:

  • Take it out on someone else
  • Obsess about it
  • Vent to someone you can’t trust
  • Let it affect the quality of your work
  • Use it as an excuse

Is there anything else you would add to these lists? Can you give any examples of a time you dealt with distracting emotions and how you managed them?

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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Filed under Balance