Maintaining Focus with a Parking Lot

Have you ever been in a meeting and while you do your best to focus on the content, you can’t help but think of all the other things floating around in your life? Or someone’s comment puts a thought in your mind and you find yourself stuck on it? Sure you have!

It’s always the most random stuff too. Did you ever hear back from that person? You’re out of laundry detergent. Someone recommended a book and it reminded you of that other book you bought and have been meaning to read.

While a simple concept, ensuring you always have a parking lot ready will capture all those random thoughts and keep you present where you need to be.

What is a Parking Lot?

7 Tips for Reading More

I wish I read more.

I think this a few times a week as I try to balance all the aspects of my life. I love reading and probably fall above average for my reading time, but still… I wish I read more.

Turns out, I’m not not alone. According to this article, Reading More is one of the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions made by well-wishers. Whether we want to read more for professional or personal reasons, somehow we seem to be falling short of our desire.

How do we fix that?

Well, I have seven tips to increase your reading consumption without overwhelming your schedule.

The Art of Creating New Habits that Stick

Creating new habits is a struggle for almost every person on the planet. Have you ever met anyone who said, “I wanted to do this…and so I did. Boom! I’m perfect.”? No? Neither have I.

If you are this unicorn, I’d love to meet you!

For the rest of us, habit building is a constant cycle of start, joy, frustration, stopping, and restarting. Even if the new habit is small, like a skincare routine. Why?!

Well, because you’re rewiring your brain, that’s why! If changing or creating new habits was easy, we’d all be perfectly fit, kind, organized, productive, skilled, fabulous people.

However, there are two main reasons we fail on the path of creating or changing habits:

  1. We’re aiming too big/broad.
  2. We’re focusing on the end characteristic – not the behavior.

Let’s explore this a little more.

How to Handle Work Guilt

Call it whatever you want – on some level we all experience some level of guilt around our jobs, especially if our work is particularly demanding. Today, there’s a focused emphasis on “Mom Guilt” but the reality is that dads experience it, caregivers experience it, married people experience it, single people experience it. Unfortunately, the guilt is real for most workers.

Why is guilt so prevalent in our society? First, it’s important to note that this guilt is nothing new. We’re just talking about it more – and making more memes about it. However, due to the climbing cost of living, we have more people in the workforce who are working longer hours to make ends meet, which is resulting in less time at home with our loved ones. Also, technology, while wonderful, is keeping us perpetually connected to both work and home, stretching our attention to full life awareness at all times. We’re hyperaware of all the things we aren’t doing and all the people we aren’t spending time with.

Work Guilt can be overwhelming and lead to emotionality, rash decisions, and mental breakdowns. While you may not be able to change the circumstances around the core of the work guilt (if you have to work, you have to work), there are ways we can manage how we feel.

Increase Your Self-Awareness with the Left-Hand Column Exercise

Self-awareness is all the rage lately. Emotional IQ training. Meditation. Journaling. We’ve made self-awareness trendy.

And that’s not a bad thing.

Slowing down to figure out how we are affecting the world around us is more productive and expected as we interact with each other.

I learned the Left-Hand Column Exercise years ago at my first full time job and it’s been a valuable tool for me over the years. Whether a tense verbal conversation with a coworker or customer or an uncomfortable interaction that you can’t quite put your finger on why it was awkward, this exercise will help you identify factors you may not have noticed or considered before.

10 Tips for Planning a Successful Event

Planning an event for your company or business can be an insanely overwhelming. The sheer number of details can trip planners up. However, have no fear – there is a method to the madness. You just need to have some insight and help.

Whether putting together an all-day meeting or holiday party, the tips below will set you on the right path to hosting a successful event.

Have a clear purpose and audience for the event.

The first step in any event planning is getting clear about the purpose of gathering everyone and defining who needs to be in attendance. The purpose and audience dictate the rest of the planning parameters, including venue, budget, meals, and materials needed.

Guidelines for Effective Email Writing

One of the biggest complaints in today’s modern communications is there are too many emails. We step away from our inboxes for an hour and BOOM! Thirty more emails. And then, we start to dig in and have to use extra energy and focus just to get to the main point of each message.

Let’s be honest – we’re all friends here. You’ve read an email and thrown your hands up asking, “What the hell do you want?”

Whether the email is too wordy or the asks are not clear, we easily get flustered when reading a message simply because… if it is taking this long to figure out what this person wants, how long is it going to take me to get through the rest of my inbox?

The reality is you may be the culprit as well. You may be sending emails that cause this anguish and frustration. While we can’t please everyone, we can certainly aim to write the best emails possible for the masses.

That’s where these simple tips come in.

7 Tips to Clean Up Your Digital Files

Digital records management isn’t something we spend time thinking about until we need to find a file. We spend far too much time searching, wondering where we would have thought to save the file when we were working in it. Frustration sets in as we jam every term possible into the search bar and still we have to sort through file after file to find what we need.

I personally despise wasting time looking for files. It’s one of those delays that drives me nuts mainly because it’s so easy to prevent.

If you’re relating to this, don’t worry – most people do. We’ve become disorganized digital hoarders. With endless storage capacity and search functions, we aren’t as discerning about what we’re saving and how it’s organized.

How to Use LinkedIn’s Find Nearby Networking Tool

Have you ever been to a conference or networking event and you wish you could connect with everyone? Getting to every single person in the room can be daunting but you have a shared experience or interest and you’d still like to connect.

Picture this… You’re at a networking happy hour with your organization and there are lot of fresh faces. You’re working the room but it’s not realistic for you to get face time with everyone in attendance. Thanks to this function built into LinkedIn, you can at least invite them to connect with you and hey! You’ll schedule coffee with them later.

I’m about to change your networking life with a simple LinkedIn tip.

Who this is for:

  • Attendees of limited-seat workshops who want to connect with fellow attendees.
  • Speakers who want to open their LinkedIn to connect with their audience.
  • Networking groups that you want to connect with quickly and swiftly.

Tips for Email Management

Unsurprisingly, email tends to be most workers’ biggest headache. Whether it’s a burning desire to document everything or senders just like the ease of email, we are inundated with messages at all hours of the day.

How do we manage the chaos?

Well, first, start thinking of your inbox as a tool, not the bane of your existence. There are a lot of functionalities built into email clients to make our lives easier – we just have to discover them or actually use them.

So, set some time aside today and let’s get organized!