Category Archives for productivity

Overwhelmed or Struggling to Get Control of Your Time?

Stop feeling overwhelmed and struggling to get back in control of your time in your leadership roleoverwhelmed CEO boss

CEOs, executives, and business owners in organizations of all sizes share with us that one of their biggest issues as a leader is that they feel overwhelmed. The stress of juggling unrealistic demands on their time, resolving constant conflicts, and managing competing priorities all make it extraordinarily difficult to feel in control.

To make matters worse, 100% of the business owners we work with are experiencing “Power Stress” a unique form of stress experienced by people who have responsibility for the well-being of others.

If you also have this concern, you are not alone. Many leaders feel the same way, and there is a solution.

Get Control, Focus & Peace of Mind

The Center for Sustainable Strategies specializes in working with CEOs, Senior Executives and Business Owners like you to bring back control, focus, and peace of mind to your work. As a result, you are more productive, you make better decisions, and you notice that your performance, your team’s performance, and your organization’s profitability improves –  with less effort and hassle.

Click here to take a quick assessment and see how you score when it comes to Overcoming Overwhelm & Managing Your Time, Energy & Attention.  Get access and download your confidential assessment now: Executive Time Management Quiz.

My name is Christina Haxton, and I am the CEO & Founder of The Center for Sustainable Strategies, a Business & Leader Development consultancy. We have a proven methodology that assesses at exactly how you spend your time now, and then sets specific goals for the most valuable uses of your time as a leader of your organization. From there, we work with you to design your day and week to redesign your time, set boundaries, and put key habits and behaviors in place so that you get back in control of your time as appropriate for your role as the CEO of your company and a leader in your organization.

REAL Results

At a minimum, our work together results in greater productivity, performance, and organizational results. In many cases, this has resulted in executives getting their lives back – from saving their marriages to making more time for their children, making significant improvements in their health and vitality, sleeping better, and feeling recharged and fulfilled about their work again.

What would it mean to you and your family if you had time freedom, greater peace of mind and loved the heck out of what you are doing again?

Please take a moment to read more about our work on this website, and be sure to download a short assessment by clicking here. At the same time, if you would like to discuss your situation, please call me on my personal cell phone at (970) 387-8935 or email me at christina@sustainable-leaders.com.

 

3 Simple Steps To Bust Through Procrastination

Can you stop procrastination and get into action in 3 simple steps?

Absolutely! But first, I have a confession …

procrastination clock

How to stop procrastinating and get into action!

Because I encourage my executive coaching clients to practice the values of  transparency and humility, I will “walk my talk.”

Just last week I delivered a presentation to business owners about how to be more efficient with your mental energy, avoid overwhelm, manage multiple priorities and get things done.

My confession: I have been struggling with how to stop my procrastination pattern this week.

Thanks. I feel better already.

In order to interrupt the pattern of procrastination and take action, I used it as motivation for me to write.

I’ve heard from very smart, successful clients of mine doing (in fact, I did #6 AND #1 just today so maybe I should re-title this: “Top 10 Signs I Am Procrastinating.”  Then I can add Personal Integrity to my values list, too).

Because awareness is the first step to stopping procrastination, or any bad habit, I made a Top 10 List of what my procrastination pattern looked like (and I borrowed a few from my coaching clients, too).

Are any familiar to you?

Top 10 Signs You Might Be Procrastinating:

10. Eating something non-nutritious so you can stay awake while you watch the online training (hopefully not mine!)

9. Checking your email every 3 minutes

8. Looking for inspiration from articles on the internet so you can write your own article (this is me today)

7. Reading just one more article about “how to do …” so you can start doing whatever it is you should be doing

6. Checking LinkedIn for who’s viewed your profile

5. Replying TY for RT’s to all of the Twitter Followers in the past 3 days

4. Looking on Facebook to find people you went to high school with you never really cared about anyway

3. Repairing and painting the wall where the puppy chewed a hole last week

2. Watching the news to find out the horrible things that are happening today

1. Editing the promotional page for your upcoming leadership program for the 7th time today so that it’s perfect before you send it out

I could take this a step farther and feel guilty or ashamed about being so imperfect – and we could take it one step beyond that and say I’m a hypocrite.

Yet I choose not to … I choose instead to offer my human-ness up to you as an opportunity to learn and grow, for myself and most importantly for you if you so choose to take on The “BS” Challenge!

What Do You Mean By BS?

It no longer surprises me when one of my executive coaching clients who is highly respected and extraordinarily successful by anyone’s standards discloses their deep, dark BS: “If people only knew what a fraud I am (or feel like at times), then the secret would be out … and I would finally be discovered for who I really am.”

After years of hearing this fear coming from powerful, influential business people, I now recognize where this shame and fear comes from – it comes from “BS.” BS is far easier to recognize when it comes from someone else’s mouth rather than from inside your own head.

Brain science can now tell us a lot about what motivates human beings (no matter what your title), and more importantly, what we will work very hard to avoid. Proven strategies based in neuroscience can help us to very quickly to re-wire our brain to get unstuck, solve the challenge de jour and keep the problem from rearing its head again – ever.

But first, we need to change at the level of thinking – and explore BS. Let’s use mine as an example.

BS: The SHOULDS and the SUPPOSED Tos

What do I mean by “BS?” (This is where you say “b*llsh*t”).

bs button

Don’t let BS keep you stuck in procrastination patterns!

Okay … let’s go with that one.

BS also can refer to our “Belief System” which for the most part is full of BS.

Now I’ll put the shoe back on my own foot: If I believe I SHOULD NEVER PROCRASTINATE or I SHOULD NEVER WASTE MY TIME DOING SOMETHING UNPRODUCTIVE especially because what I assist others to do is to be productive, and if I procrastinate, then I must also be hypocrite.

Now who’s the one with the big dark hairy BS? That would be me. And I feel incongruent because “I don’t practice what I preach.”

Are these rules similar to what you believe, too?

If I choose to keep this BS, I will not feel creative, inspired or motivated. Just stuck and embarrassed if anyone finds out what I believe … and those feeling states will not get me very far today. The good news is now that I’m aware of the BS, or belief, I can challenge it, keep it or replace it if it’s holding me back. And if I can do it, so can you.

How do I stop the pattern of procrastinating?  Simple.  I asked myself a question to uncover and challenge my own BS, “What do I have to believe to feel embarrassed that I am procrastinating right now?”

One possible answer/belief is “I ‘should’ never procrastinate because I coach other people on how to stop procrastinating.  I should have ALL the ANSWERS!”

The follow up response and question isFair enough … and what elsecould be true?”

Yet, what else is true is that I am human. So I used the strategy ofAcknowledgement … simply acknowledge the feeling … “right now I feel embarrassed that I am unmotivated and procrastinating.”  Here is a surprising fact based in brain science:  Simply labeling a feeling releases negative energy attached to that belief.  And reduces it’s power by almost 50%.

Then I ask the third question, “Okay, so I feel embarrased. What’s one small thing I can do right now to get into action to feel more productive?” The easy answer comes quickly … and my answer was to start writing … just write for 5 minutes. And in 30 minutes, I am finishing this article.

What are some other things you do that keep you from spending time doing the things you could be doing to move you forward?

Do you have a deep, dark fear or belief that holds you back from resolving challenges or avoiding  situations where you lack confidence?

If so, then I have good news for you: ACE!  Take these 3 Step ACE Approach to Get Out of Procrastination and Into Action:

ace

Break the procrastination pattern in 3 Simple Steps!

#1. Awareness of and then check out the BS –“What do I have to believe to feel frustrated, stuck, etc.?  That could be true … and what else could be true?”

#2. Choice:  You now have at least two choices.  Go with the BS as if it’s the only
truth (which it isn’t), or consider other beliefs that could be true

#3. Execution: Find one small step you can take to get unstuck and into ACTION – “What is one small thing I can do right now?”

When was the last time you confronted (or at least checked out) the BS in your head that’s holding you back from being a productive and proactive leader?

If you are ready to check out your incongruent, competing or limiting beliefs and replace them with supporting beliefs so you can take action you need now to propel you forward in your leadership effectiveness, I would be honored to offer you any resources I have to assist you!  Click here now to get more information or to arrange your confidential and complimentary Leadership Strategy Session.

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How to stay on track, get more done & feel satisfied at the end of the day

My father-in-law, a 75 year old ex-engineer, military cook  turned chef for the past 45 years who still works hard yet lives a fairly uncomplicated life (and who will NEVER retire nor get a computer) asked me  tonight, “Christina, are people getting crazier than they were 50 years ago?”

I answered honestly, “Yes.”stress man desk

He asks, “Why do you think that is?”  Again, my response was quick … “TMI” and realizing he would have NO idea what that meant, quickly added, “Too much information …”  and I added … “… too quickly.  And lack of human connection.”

Giving the term “crazy busy” new meaning.  Can being too busy cause insanity?  Yes, the clinician in me answers.  I see it everyday.

Dis-ease of our physical and mental health.  Symptoms of ADD, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, substance abuse and dependence, high blood pressure, heart attack, immune system dysfunction to name just a few.

Dis-ease in our relationships, both at home and at work.  Too “connected” to electronics and not enough real conversation, dialogue, curiosity or listening to each other.  Distractions rob us of our ability to connect with other people by being present, to deeply listen and care.

Dis-ease of our cognitive and intuitive ability to think, create, solve problems.

On a functional level, remember this:  “Your brain is not designed to HOLD IDEAS, it is designed to HAVE IDEAS.”

If you paid to think, piling more on or “stuffing 10 lbs of s*$@” in a 5 lb bag” will compromise your most important asset – your brain!

When we are juggling such a tremendous amount of information coming at us from the outside AND all of our worries, fears that come from the inside, we get “crazy busy” and can’t get it all done, much less do anything well.  Much less see obvious solutions because there’s too much crap in the bag.  Stop thinking.  Play.  Laugh.  Breathe deeply.  Be.

Getting things done and doing them to our satisfaction allows our brain to release serotonin (the neurotransmitter of satisfaction) and dopamine (the neurotransmitter of engagement, interest).  Connecting with someone also cleans out the bag and creates a space for solutions, creativity and inspiration.

Can I see a show of hands if you’d like to experience these feelings once a day? Twice a day?  Several times a day?

Solution #1:  Slow down.  Say “no thank you” more often.  Or don’t say “yes” so quickly, “Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you” is a respectful response that buys you time to give it thought after you look at your calendar and respond rather than react.  Bonus points for public accountability and post it below!

Solution #2:  Choose a KISS from Suzie @Aceconcierge.net.  Commit to taking action on just 1 or 2 of the 35 Tips to Stay on Track and TAKE ACTION.  Keep track of the time you save and the peace of mind you gain after just one or two weeks (whichever feels more do-able to you).

Solution #3:  Practice saying, “If it’s not my genius, it’s not my job …” and consider hiring a Suzie (or Suzie herself @AceConcierge.net) to outsource a task or two that’s a brain drain and a time drain on your productivity!

Have a great week!

PS.  Call your Father in Law (or other-in-law, sibling, child, significant neighbor, friend or mentor) and let them know you are thinking of them and just how much they mean to you.  They can’t hear you think … say it out loud!

Christina

 

5 (more) tips to eliminate distractions, get more done to feel happier and satisfied at the end of the day

What if you could get easily more done in less time AND you felt happy and satisfied at the end of your 8 hour day that you’ve truly given it your all and done your best work …stress man desk

Fantasy, you say?

Sure … because here’s how it really looks:

Your day starts out at a jog or maybe even a sprint and you’d swear you’ve run a marathon by the end of the day (and you haven’t even left your building OR your office).

“Yes, but … I’m very productive … ” you say, with an air confidence in your voice.

Yes, but …

I’ve heard it all from highly successful executive coaching clients  and you, too may believe you can get it all done in 10 or 12 hours, but are you truly doing your best work and feeling satisfied at the end of the day?

Here are a few more questions to ask yourself (and answer honestly, please):

Who in your personal life or family loses out because you want to “do just one more thing” before you leave the office and you end up getting home too late more than once a week?

Does just looking at your never-ending- to-do list cause your stress level to rise?

Congratulations, your very human (and limited) brain is raising a white flag … the question is, do you notice and do something about it or ignore the stress, hoping it goes away?

If you are paid to think … here are 5 tips to make the highest and best use of your PFC (pre-frontal cortex) which is the part of your brain that got you your job or your last promotion … and hopefully continues to work well enough with some TLC so you can keep it.

Primarily your PFC is responsible for:

  • Avoiding distraction and staying focused
  • Deciding between two options
  • Reasoning or comparing two things
  • Understanding another’s position
  • Learning new concepts

Here are 5 (More) Simple Strategies you can use to make small changes that can have a HUGE payoff only if you:

  • TAKE ACTION by picking one or two and practice for a full week
  • Decide what will be your evidence that “it works!”
  • Document your positive change along the way

Understanding is overrated — Action will get you somewhere else!

5 Brain-Friendly Tips So You Can Be Satisfied You’ve Done Your Best Work At The End of The Day:

1. Avoid noise distractions.  If your office is a revolving door or worse, a cubicle farm, use headphones and listen to lyric-free music to increase your focus and eliminate distractions.  Here’s some examples at http://300hrs.com for classical ideas or http://www.menshealth.co.uk/healthy/brain-training/boost-your-office-productivity-with-music

2. Turn off ALL text/email/social media notifications on your phone and computer.  Notifications are a fear trigger for our brain that leads you to believe “PAY ATTENTION or YOUR’E GONNA MISS OUT!”  It’s probably not that critical.  Really.  Set a time (preferably after you have completed the first one or two most important things on your to-do list) to check your email and respond to the top 5 most urgent (and NO they aren’t all urgent!), giving yourself a time limit (30 minutes) to respond to email.   Then get back on track with your next to-do!

3.  Manually manage your time.  If you spend too much time on not so productive activities, or have difficulty transitioning from one part of a task to the next (or doing research on “how to” do X and not begin to do X), time may be the issue.  Take a “to do” from your list and PUT IT IN YOUR CALENDAR blocking out the time you believe it will take as if it were an appointment you would keep with someone else.  Set a timer for 5 minutes less than the actual time (if it’s a 30 minute appointment, set a timer for 25 minutes, then when it goes of for 5 minutes more.  The 25 minute alarm is “time to wrap up” and get to a stopping place, for now!

4.  Be accountable to someone other than yourself.  Put your calendar (what I’m working on today list) up where others can see it (on your door, in the break room on a Google group calendar).  Not that anyone really cares, or will check on you (but then again you never know).  However, the brain friendly tip leverages your social brain so you will naturally hold yourself more accountable for showing up at the meeting you scheduled with yourself in #3.

5. Take a few 5 minute breaks.  If you can’t do something for 5 minutes … you have bigger problems.  Schedule in 5 minutes and hour at the busiest time of day to walk, stretch, play, gossip, daydream, listen to lyric full music or play a quick game of Angry Birds or Solitare.  Set a timer for yourself … this brief break will help recharge your PFC, your spirit and help you get in touch with solutions so you can disengage thinking brain and open up your eyes to your intuitive solutions that are just waiting there for you to STOP THINKING SO HARD so it can present it self … and you will notice!

For more tips so you can become a Sustainable built to last Leader – Enter in your name and best email in the opt in box on your right for a FREE one hour video “7 Simple Strategies to Eliminate Stress” AND be the first to receive upcoming articles, programs and resources from Christina!

What are your favorite tips to be more productive, happier and fully satisfied you’ve done your best work at work?  Feel free to post your comments below.

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