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Tag Archives: Margaret Smith life coach

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As we tiptoe into summer in the Upper Midwest, it can become increasingly difficult to concentrate. Who wants to be stuck inside staring at a screen when the weather is mild and sunny? Who wants to enter information into a spreadsheet when you could be riding your bike, barbequing with your family, or simply taking a walk in the fresh air? The procrastination bug can bite hard when you’re resistant to the tasks in front of you! To help beat summertime procrastination, try any or all of the following 6 tips:

1. Take a midday break

Taking a midday break is a great way to recharge your brain and get moving. Take a 30-minute break to go for a walk, ride your bike, or simply sit outside with a good book or cup of tea and enjoy the sunshine. Getting outside can boost your mood and energy, making it easier to focus when you return to work.

2. Work during off-hours

If you’re finding it difficult to concentrate during the day, try working during off-hours. Wake up early and work before the sun rises, or work in the evening when you’re not as tempted to go outside. This way, you can take advantage of the sunshine during the day (at least for a few hours) without feeling guilty for not working.

3. Break tasks into smaller pieces

Breaking tasks into smaller pieces can help make them feel more manageable. Instead of trying to finish a big project in one day, break it into smaller tasks that you can complete over a few days. This way, you’ll feel more accomplished and less overwhelmed.

4. Set a timer

Setting a timer can help you stay focused and avoid distractions. Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on a task without any interruptions. Once the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break to stretch, grab a snack, or check your phone. Repeat this process until you finish the task. Remember, there’s really no such thing as multitasking! Focusing on one project at a time is a better use of your time AND produces better results.

5. Create a summer schedule

Creating a schedule can help you stay on track and make time for both work and play. Set aside specific times each day for work, exercise, and leisure activities. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to do each day and won’t feel guilty when you take time off to enjoy the summer weather.

6. Find an accountability partner

Having an accountability partner can help you stay motivated and on track. Find someone who shares your goals or is working on a similar project and check in with each other regularly. This way, you can hold each other accountable and offer support and encouragement along the way.

By trying these 6 tips, you can beat summertime procrastination and make the most of your summer. Remember, it’s important to take breaks, stay motivated, and enjoy the sunshine while it lasts. Happy (almost) summer!



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Photo by Danist Soh on Unsplash

Earth Day has come and gone, but sustainability is important all year long, both in and out of the workplace. It’s not too difficult to live an eco-friendly lifestyle at home—buying organic or locally-grown foods, recycling, reducing your energy usage, walking or cycling to nearby places instead of driving. However, it may be a little trickier to apply sustainability efforts to the workplace. You might have to get many people on board with your initiatives, or you might have to make major changes. However, there are steps you can take. Here are seven ideas for promoting sustainability and creating eco-friendly changes in the workplace:

Implement a composting and recycling program

Businesses can reduce waste and their carbon footprint by implementing a composting and recycling program. Composting food waste and plant matter can reduce greenhouse gases in landfills, while recycling can reduce the need for new products to be created, and save energy and natural resources. Educate employees on what can and cannot be composted or recycled, and provide bins and containers in convenient locations around the workplace. Make sure to have a system for regular pick-up and disposal of compost and recycling to keep the workplace clean and free of clutter.

Promote Energy-Saving Practices

Energy-saving practices can reduce the amount of energy used by businesses, and in turn, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Businesses could consider swapping to energy-saving light bulbs and unplugging electronics (and even chargers) when not in use. Make sure you also encourage employees to turn off their workstations when they are not in use. Consider scheduling maintenance checks for HVAC systems and other appliances to make sure they are running smoothly and efficiently. Or, if your company is willing to upgrade its space, consider advocating for motion sensors or timers for certain lights.

Reduce Paper Usage

While using paper is sometimes necessary, excessive usage is wasteful and can add up quickly! Encourage employees to avoid printing when possible and instead rely on digital copies. When printing is required, use double-sided printing or print on recycled paper. Promote emailing instead of sending physical mail, and encourage employees to recycle paper when they’re done using it.

Encourage Alternative Transportation

Encouraging employees to carpool, walk, bike, or take a commuter train/bus to work can greatly reduce the carbon footprint of your organization. Consider offering incentives such as preferred parking spots, rewards, or recognition programs to promote alternative transportation. Encourage video conferencing and virtual meetings when possible to save on travel costs and to reduce energy usage.

Go Green with Office Supplies

Businesses can take steps to use eco-friendly materials in the office, such as energy-efficient light bulbs, recycled office supplies, and plastic alternatives (bamboo is often a great affordable option). Employees might also take individual actions, such as using products like refillable pens, reusable water bottles, and recycled paper products.

Create a Green Team

Get a group of volunteers together to form a green team. This team can help educate fellow employees, lead sustainability efforts, and host special eco-friendly events in the workplace. Having a green team is a fun way to encourage everyone to participate in sustainable practices.

Offer Telecommuting Options

Consider offering telecommuting options for employees, as it can greatly reduce carbon emissions and save energy (not to mention commuting time!). This can also be a great way to improve work-life balance for your team.

Make sustainability a part of your company culture. Encourage and reward employees who make efforts to be eco-friendly, and consider incorporating sustainable practices into your company’s mission statement. By making sustainability a priority, you can create a positive impact on the environment and inspire others to do the same. Remember, small changes can make a big difference, so start by implementing one or two of these ideas and continue building from there. With a little effort and creativity, your business can work towards a greener future.


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Photo by Kenny Eliason on Unsplash

Everyone has a pulse…and I’m not talking about the beating of your heart. Your “second pulse” is the rhythm you experience throughout the day—your ebbs and flows of energy. Some people get a burst of energy in the morning; others experience this in the afternoon or evening. And then there are times when you feel depleted and distracted—stretches of time during the day when you’re not performing at your peak.

In his book When, researcher Daniel Pink calls these daily lulls your “troughs,” but you can also think of them as your valleys or low points. Since it’s difficult to do your best work during a trough, it can be beneficial to focus on relatively simple busy work during these periods. Save the high-engagement, creative, high-stakes work for the times when your energy is high and you’re feeling motivated.

Here are 4 ways to do that:

Pay Attention

For most people, a daily trough occurs in the afternoon. Our concentration begins to slip, we grow tired, and it’s difficult to think on our feet or be terribly creative. But everyone’s different! That’s why it’s important to pay attention and begin to understand when you’re energized, and when you’re simply not.

You may also notice that your energy tends to increase or decrease during certain days of the week (e.g., low-energy Mondays vs. productive Thursdays) or during certain events (e.g., at the beginning of a new project). If you’re feeling energized, take note! And if you’re not, pay attention to that, too.

Block Off High Energy Times

If possible, block off high energy times on your calendar so no one can bother you during your peak moments. This may require setting a few healthy boundaries and saying “no” to some things (that 8 a.m. meeting), but your efforts should quickly pay off. Additionally, if you get into a pattern of consistently blocking off a certain time period for deep, intense work, your brain will start to anticipate and recognize that this is a time for high productivity.

Batch Tasks

If you’re feeling energetic and creative, take advantage of the moment by batching several tasks that can be done in one sitting. Approaching several tasks at once gives you the opportunity to take advantage of the momentum of your high energy moments and finish more in less time. Plus, you don’t have to waste time switching gears and starting up again if you’re feeling tired or disinterested.

Break It Up

If you find that the task in front of you is too daunting or complicated, don’t be afraid to break it into smaller, manageable pieces. Doing so will enable you to take advantage of moments when your energy is high, without feeling overwhelmed. It’s also a great way to ensure that you’re still making forward progress on large tasks even when your energy is low.

It’s important to pay attention to your daily energy flows and use them to your advantage. If you’re feeling energized, embrace it and tackle tough projects. If you’re feeling drained, that’s OK too – use that time to check off items from your to-do list or catch up on emails. By acknowledging the natural rhythms of energy that come with the passing of time, you can make the most of your high energy moments and effectively manage the ones that are lower.


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