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How to Be More Productive Today

Do you struggle with productivity? Are you always striving to get your task list accomplished but end up constantly moving tasks to the next day? If this describes you, here are a few tips for making your day more productive.

Create a To-Do List the Night Before

Instead of waking up in the morning to make your to-do list, make your list the night before. This way you can go to bed relaxed and confident for the next day. You also wake up in the morning knowing exactly what you have planned for the day. You might also consider planning on Sunday night for the upcoming week. Then when you wake on Monday you have a plan in place.

Prioritize

Take a look at the tasks on your list. What tasks offer the largest return? What tasks offer the most value and achievement? For example, answering email or paying bills isn’t a task that offers a large return. However, making a sale or meeting with a client is a very productive task. Put your most profitable or results-oriented tasks first on...

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Top 10 Year-End Review Questions

As the year speeds to its end, we begin to mentally prepare for next year. But don’t forget to take time to assess your personal and professional challenges and accomplishments THIS year. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What have I accomplished this year? Be specific. Write it all down. Schedule some time to celebrate this!

  2. What have I learned this year? What skills did you pick up? What emotional lessons?

  3. What got in my way? This is where your work will be next year. Be honest if it was your own self that got in the way.

  4. Who contributed to my successes? What can you do to recognize these members of your personal or professional team?

  5. What mistakes did I make, and what did I learn from them? Writing these down is a good refresher for what not to do next year.

  6. How was my work consistent with my values? What will you do with the inconsistencies?

  7. Where did I not take responsibility? Sometimes this is easier to see with a little...
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Minding Your Business and Busyness

Are your decisions based on urgent demands for your immediate attention?
Do you find that your intuition is speaking but you’re not listening?
Do professional demands overshadow your personal well-being?

5 Guiding Statements to Help You Mind Your Business and Busyness

Guiding Statement #1
Awareness helps me make thoughtful, purposeful decisions based on my inner wisdom.

Contemplation and discovery:
What will help me deeply connect with my values and life’s purpose?
How can I better listen to my inner wisdom?
How can I remember to connect my choices with my purpose and values?

Guiding Statement #2
As I learn to wait, watch and be guided by the wisdom from each moment, I am more comfortable with the unknown.

Contemplation and discovery:
Knowing that change is natural and inevitable, how could I welcome the continuous flow of new experience and information?
How could I expand my capacity to practice present moment awareness in order to reduce stress?
How can I begin to give up...

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How Well Do You Maintain Balance?

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you’re not alone. Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy that life can feel like a three-ring circus. Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities, while also recognizing and fulfilling personal needs and wants.

True or False

____1. The best way I can successfully manage my life is to take care of myself spiritually, physically and emotionally.

____2. Nurturing myself enlarges my capacity to help others.

____3. I eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

____4. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and take preventative precautions.

____5. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

____6. I experience the gifts of each season: skiing, bundled-up beach walks; gardening, hiking, more time outside; camping, swimming, barbeques; harvesting the bounty, gathering wood, spending more time inside.

____7....

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The Solopreneur’s Guide to Giving Great Presentations

There is no more effective marketing than powerfully delivering your own message to a rapt crowd.

And yet far too many solopreneurs shy away from presentation opportunities due to a fear of public speaking, a fear of putting themselves “out there” before an audience of people that may or may not receive them warmly.

Fortunately, there are effective ways of conquering those fears and putting a presentation to work for your business.

Follow these tips for each of the three stages of a great presentation to have a successful, confidence-building experience when you speak.

Preparing Your Presentation

Start as early as you possibly can—months in advance, if at all possible. There’s a reason the list of tips for this section is much longer than for the two sections that follow it. That’s because when it comes to presentations, preparation is everything!

  • Tailor your topic to your audience.If you’re given a specific topic, try to find out...
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Addictive Eating: Are You Powerless Over Food?

The holidays of winter often bring to mind the image of a full table—and a full stomach. We gather with friends and family and feast merrily on pies and potatoes, turkey and ham and all of the fixings that many of us dearly enjoy.

There is another side to that pretty picture, however.

What if our extra consumption of calories during the winter is fueled not by good cheer and companionship, but by anxiety? And, further, what if it’s not the gathering of loved ones that we most look forward to, but the food that we can’t get out of our minds?

Also, while we may welcome gatherings with friends and family, they do bring with them extra stress and preparation. Add to the mix the anxiety caused by a sputtering economy, and many of us might find ourselves reaching for “comfort” food.

An anxiety-provoked behavior, such as overeating, is an attempt to cope with that anxiety, but as with most such behaviors, it can become a problem itself. Overeating can become a...

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Living and Loving from Gratitude

Be joyful even when you have considered all the facts.” —Wendell Berry

Jennifer has recently been through a painful divorce and she’s not sleeping well. She’s having difficulties with her children, who blame her for the divorce. Her work life is rocky as well, and sometimes she’s unsure if she’s in the right career.

What she thinks: Yes, life is rough right now, but every life has difficult times. Really, I am so grateful to be alive, for my children, for my home, my good health, all that I have. 

Robert has lots of everything—a nice apartment in the city, a well-paying job, new car, nice clothes. But he didn’t get that last promotion at work. His last vacation was a disappointment, and no matter how hard he tries, he just can’t save money.

What he thinks: I just don’t understand why things are going wrong. It just doesn’t seem fair when I work so hard. People don’t appreciate me and I...

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Listening Practices: Tips and Traps

Have you ever noticed how GOOD it feels to be really listened to? It’s impactful, particularly when the listening goes beyond just the words you’re speaking. That kind of artful listening conveys respect and value to the speaker, and promotes positive relationships of all kinds.

And, like any art, it takes practice.

According to widely referenced statistics by Dr. Albert Mehrabian, known for his pioneering work in nonverbal communication, only 7% of communication happens through a person’s actual words (38% through tone and 55% through body language). That’s why it’s important to hone our skills to listen at deeper levels.

A good place to start is by understanding the three listening levels described in the book Co-Active Coaching, by Laura Whitworth, Henry Kimsey-House and Phil Sandahl.

Listening Levels

Level 1—Internal: We hear the other person’s words, but our focus is on what it means to us—our thoughts,...

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Quiz: How Well Do You Manage Your Energy?

When the seemingly relentless demands at work and burdens of a busy life take their toll on work performance, we tend to think that managing our time better will improve the situation. If we can just work faster, multitask more efficiently, things will be better, we think, as we buy the latest time management gadget or software.

However, as Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz, authors of The Power of Full Engagement, explain, it is the skillful management of energy, not time, that most significantly affects high performance. Too often, we squander this valuable resource through energy-taxing habits—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual habits. Take this Self-Quiz to see how well you are managing your energy.

  1. I rely on sugary or carbohydrate-rich snacks for bursts of energy when I need an energetic pick-me-up.
  2. Life is an endless marathon to be endured; you just have to keep on running.
  3. I tend to do what feels immediately pressing and easier to accomplish rather than...
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Quiz: How Well Do You Manage Stress?

The impact of stress accumulates, and, beyond the ongoing, regular stress that comes from living in our high-impact culture, specific life events can really knock us for a loop. Even happy changes can cause bumps in the road, which we register both physically and emotionally. While we can’t eliminate stress from our lives, we can learn where our hot spots are and how to best reduce and manage the stress we do experience.

You won’t be scored at the end, but answer true or false to the following questions, and elaborate a bit on those that feel especially relevant.

T /F   1. I set the pace for the day by beginning with peaceful thinking either through reading an inspiring passage, saying a prayer or acknowledging the gift of a fresh, new day.

T /F   2. Throughout the day I live in the moment. I don’t brood about a past event or fret about the future.

T /F   3. Each day I do something physical even if it’s just a walk around the...

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