Category Archives: Personal Productivity

What’s Your Excuse?

Excuses are the worst enemy of productivity, and they are best friends with procrastination. When procrastination and excuses buddy up, productivity doesn’t even stand a chance. I probably wouldn’t be too far off to estimate that 90% of all excuses aren’t even legitimate. They are just what we use to justify our procrastination, and we even convince ourselves that it is a totally valid reason for not doing what we know we should be doing.

Do you ever find yourself thinking about something you don’t want to do, and then suddenly all these reasons pop into your head for why you can’t do it right now? Excuses are your mind’s natural defense mechanism for protecting you from undesirable things on your to-do list, like getting started on that overwhelming project or writing that dreadful term paper due next week. There is always some excuse you can use to get you off the hook, but for how long? Eventually, you have to beat the procrastination, stop making excuses, and get shit done!

The best way to do this is to take a look at why you procrastinate. There are 2 main reasons for putting things off:

  1. It’s something you don’t enjoy doing
  2. It’s something you don’t really know how to do

In both cases, it’s likely that your mind is making it seem worse than it really is. There are some tips for kicking procrastination and excuses to the curb:

Just get started

It usually just takes making the first move to get a task going, but it’s this first step that’s the hardest. Once you start, you will find that it’s nowhere near as bad as you thought. Make a commitment to yourself not to accept anymore excuses, and you will find that procrastination will back off and let you get to it.

Break things up

We tend to put off things that are intimidating or overwhelming. In this case, break the tasks into pieces or set small goals that will make you feel more at ease. Beware that doing tasks in a start-and-stop manner opens up more opportunities for pesky procrastination to swoop in. To help with this, try setting firm deadlines for yourself.

Dangle a carrot

Rewards motivate, and when paired with productivity, they are a tough team to beat. Reward yourself for getting stuff done. Sometimes, for me, just knowing that I will no longer have to dread the task itself is enough motivation for me to stop putting it off.

I hope these tips make you more aware of the sneaky antics of the devious duo, Excuses and Procrastination.

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Home Improvement Projects 101

My freshly stained kitchen and new paint!

As you may have read, I am officially a first-time home buyer! Tomorrow will be my third week in my new home, and man have I been busy. Things are finally coming together, and the new house is starting to feel like home. Last night, I actually got to enjoy my first bubble bath in my nice big tub that has been calling my name all along. It took this long because the painting, cleaning, moving, unpacking, and cabinet staining were calling my name even louder, screaming actually. But it’s mind-boggling how projects can consume you, especially when it’s something you are highly motivated to accomplish. I have found myself completely engulfed lately; I just zone in on a project, set an objective in my mind and go for it! Before I know it, it’s 3am, but at last, voila! My kitchen is done! There is something so rewarding about the sense of accomplishment you get when completing a goal. This is something my dad taught my when I was young.

You should have that feeling of accomplishment every day. It doesn’t necessarily have to be from big projects, but you should feel like you did something productive. Not only do you get a sense of pride, but you also gain self-confidence and self-satisfaction that only you can create for yourself. It doesn’t feel the same when you watch someone else accomplish something. Not that you can’t feel proud of someone else, but there is something about standing back and admiring something that you actively created that feels so good.

Had I hired someone to paint my house, I would not feel the same sense of accomplishment and ownership as I do when I look around at what we did. I can’t take full credit here, because I had a lot of much appreciated help from generous friends, family, and of course my amazing boyfriend. It was a serious team effort and when I look around I am reminded of what an incredible support team I have. There is no way I could have done all this by myself, and I am truly grateful to have such wonderful people in my life. I have many, many more projects to come. I’ve been told it comes with the homeowner territory. I will definitely be learning some new skills along the way!

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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The Price of a Home

I am in the process of purchasing my first home. That’s right, I said “home,” not house. I have recently become aware, however, that there is a difference. The new real estate market is a callous beast that doesn’t care about anything but the bottom-line. If you are looking to buy right now, you are most likely going to be dealing with banks, frigid, heartless establishments that sell houses…pieces of property made of wood and nails and some paint.

These banks don’t care about that warm fuzzy feeling you get when you walk into the perfect house. They don’t understand that you can search and search and feel nothing, but when you finally find the place that makes you feel at home, you have to have it. I have been told not to get emotionally attached to anything that can’t love you back, but it’s hard. You cannot prevent yourself from envisioning your life in a new place; it’s part of the selection process when you’re buying a home. I have to be able to imagine my future in a home…Will I host my first Thanksgiving dinner here? Is this where I will start my own family?

Needless to say, it’s been a frustrating process. The banks take their sweet time trying to decide if your offer will meet their approval. After my first offer being flat-out rejected without even a counter offer, I’ve had to contemplate the price I would pay for happiness. The uncertainty of the market’s future adds an additional element of stress to any price decision. Real estate always used to be one of the most secure long-term investments you could make. But now, who knows what the future will hold.

I am supposed to hear today if my last offer was accepted. It’s a home I can see myself in for awhile, so I made the best offer I could. Let’s hope the bank thinks so too!

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Going the Extra Mile

It was a beautiful spring day in Reno today, and on top of it, I kicked off the running season with my first 10k race! I have done a handful of 5k’s, and I moved up to an 8k last fall, but today I accomplished one of my goals by adding an extra mile and going for the 10k. I really enjoy participating in local fun runs, and we do have quite a few to choose from here in Reno. I love the energy and comradery that radiates from these runs; it’s pretty inspiring being in the midst of so many active, motivated people.

Not only is it the thrill of the race that makes these runs exciting, it’s knowing that the whole crowd has come together to support a cause. Most fun runs are organized to raise money for research, charities, and other non-profits. What better way to give back to the community, while simultaneously doing something good for your health? Not to mention the awesome T-shirt and goodie bag full of loot.

If you haven’t done one of these events, I highly suggest you give it a try. Even if you don’t consider yourself a runner, these races are usually walker friendly. The best way to set a goal for a race is to choose one you would like to do in the future, whether it’s in a month or 6 months, and register. Now you are committed. Put it on your calendar and start telling everyone about it. Once it’s out in the open that you have set this goal, you have even more motivation to follow through with it. If you don’t run much, start small. A 5k is 3.3 miles, so start jogging 1 or 2 miles without stopping and add on from there. You can count on some adrenaline and crowd energy to give you an extra push on race day.

If you do race regularly, I challenge you to set a new goal. I plan on tackling a few more 10k’s before the season is over. In the next year or two, I will work up to a half marathon. Do you have any fitness goals you are working toward?

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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10 Self Confidence Boosters

Self confidence boostersDo you need a little help feeling more confident? Even if you don’t, there’s always room for growth in this area. Self confidence comes from challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and real that you really are capable of more than you thought. Now, maybe you know you want to be more confident, but don’t know how. Here are 10 things you can do to boost your self confidence:

Start a conversation with a stranger

This can be the grocery checker, the person standing behind you in line, or even someone in your office you’ve never had the chance to meet.

Try something new

We get comfortable with the things we know and do really well. Try something new because you may discover one more thing you can be confident doing.

Do something that forces you to face a fear

Many of our fears are silly. Nothing says confidence like fearlessness, even if you have to fake it.

Get published

Start a blog or join a social network. It’s exciting when you discover that there are people out there who want to hear what you have to say.

Go to a networking event

I get terribly anxious at networking events, or any social situation where I don’t know anyone. I make myself set a goal, like “I’m going to talk to 3 different people in the next 30 minutes.” Being on a mission makes me feel more confident.

By a new outfit

There’s something about new clothes that makes you walk a little taller and carry your head a little higher. When you look good, you feel good.

Set a fitness goal

Beyond the health benefits of working out, it also helps you create a more positive mental image of yourself.

Develop new skills

Learn the skills you need to do the things that are going to make you succeed and accomplish your goals.

Say “No” to something

People who aren’t confident say “Yes” to everything because they are too afraid to rock the boat. Don’t get taken advantage of. Stand up for yourself, and say “No” if you have too much on your plate.

Take notes

We all have role models we look up to. Take mental notes on what makes them confident and emulate these qualities. How do they behave? How do they carry themselves?

Do you have any other ideas for how to boost self confidence?

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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Get Off Your Butt and Do Something

I don’t know about you, but these drizzly Spring days take their toll my motivation. Despite the fact that I’ve got tons to do, I want nothing more than to remain in my pj’s and watch movies. It’s perfectly acceptable to have one of those lazy days every once in awhile, but when you have weeks or months of gloomy weather ahead, you cannot afford to let it get to you.

When you are feeling exceptionally sluggish, may need a little extra push to get yourself going. Sometimes all it takes is just forcing yourself to get off your butt and do something. Here are some suggestions to get you moving:

Turn off the TV

A coworker of mine recently told me if he could give one word of advice to anyone, it would be, “Turn off your TV because you never did anything to make your life better while watching it.”

Change your clothes

Getting out of your pj’s is the first step. Either put on some workout clothes or some street clothes. Once you are dressed, you have no more excuses for not leaving the house.

Put on some music

I like to put on some up-tempo music to get me going. It boosts my energy for cleaning, cooking, and exercising.

Make a commitment

Call up a friend and make a date for coffee or shopping. When someone is counting on you, there is more pressure to be productive.

What do you do to get yourself going on a lazy day?

To a happy, healthy, and productive life!

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4 Reasons You’re Stressed & It’s Your Fault

You’ve heard it all before: “It’s just one of those days,” “I hit traffic,” “My dog ate my homework.” We find excuses for the consequences of our actions and try to blame them on some external force out of our control. We often use stress itself as an excuse: “Sorry, I’ve been under a lot of stress lately.” I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear… it’s probably YOUR fault you’re stressed. It’s not traffic, and it’s not your poor dog. There are many cases in which stress is self-induced, and here are some examples:

Poor time estimation

One of the most frequent causes of stress is time constraint. Deadlines, appointments, and other obligations put pressure on us to be somewhere or have something accomplished by a certain time. If you don’t manage your time effectively, you create more stress for yourself than if you had planned properly.

Procrastination

We’re all guilty of putting things off to the last minute sometimes. If you procrastinate, however, you are just asking for stress. No one else is to blame for waiting until the last minute but yourself.

Should have said “No”

Are you a “yes” person? Do you take on too many things and wind up spread too thin? It is ok to say “no” sometimes, especially when you already have a full plate.

Distorted perspective

This one is the trickiest source of stress to identify because it usually takes someone on the outside looking in to say, “hey, it’s really not as bad as you are making it.” When you lose perspective of how things really are, you lose sight of the big picture. When you place too much importance on things that are actually insignificant in the long term, you cause yourself undue stress. Ask yourself, “Is this really something worth the energy, time, and mental capacity I’m giving it?”

The good news is, these self-induced stressors are actually the only ones you have control over. There are circumstances that cause stress which are out of your hands, but the ones you impose on yourself can be prevented if you recognize you are doing them and assume full accountability. You must admit that the stress is your fault before you can take action to fix it.

To a happy, healthy, productive life!

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