Need a Procrastination Blaster? These 3 little words are dynamite!

Need a Procrastination Blaster? These 3 little words are dynamite!

I am the world’s greatest procrastinator. And I have an array of tools to assist my expertise.

The Internet is one of my best. A guaranteed sink-hole for goals and plans.

I am forever listening to podcasts, online courses, downloading kindle books galore on all kinds of subjects—all of course relevant to something important I need to be doing. Indeed.

Did I mention YouTube? Another wonderful option for dealing with those ‘I’m not quite sure what to do next’ moments. You. Can. Spend. Hours.

Let’s not talk about email or social media.

I do make attempts to combat it. I can make an amazing list and then lose the list. Every time I start something I immediately feel there was other stuff I should be doing instead. So I stop, look for the list, change course and do something else. Until I remember the other thing that needed doing. Put it on that dang list so I don’t forget.

My head is stuffed full of wonderful ideas that would help a lot of people, generate a fabulous income, and make me a New York Times best selling author….

I could make a difference!… if I would just put them into action.

Big if.

The problem with this is I waste my day and end up feeling bad about myself. There were things I meant to do, yet somehow didn’t. The time just slipped away. It’s not fun and it’s not satisfying. It’s yuck. I feel out of control.

Then the best time management tool ever, fell into my inbox.

While fooling around I happened upon a bit of advice in one of the many email lists I subscribe to…that actually changed everything. It was a blog by Derek Doepker and it addressed this very problem. Derek (a best selling author, business coach and marketer) said that the best advice he had for managing those days when you can’t seem to focus was this:

Three little words.

Can I just…?

And then fill in the rest of the sentence.

Can I just get hold of that important contact number?
Can I just get a title and subject for that script?
Can I just spend 5 minutes starting that project that’s looming over me?

It’s dynamite

An amazingly powerful procrastination blaster. In fact, I don’t just use it for those overwhelm times—I use it every day. Can I just get these 4 things done today?

The idea is that if you can just, or at least, get something done, it’s better than not getting anything done and simply throwing in the towel on your day.

Can I just get X, X, and X done today? The secret of course is you will end up getting lots more done. But if you can at least get this done, your day is not wasted.

These three words will transform your life, I promise. You’ll feel in control, pleased that you’ve accomplished something, and that you’ve earned your Netflix fix at the end of the day.

Derek is now my coach

I was so impressed with this that I engaged Derek to be my coach. He’s amazing. I’m much more focused and not procrastinating nearly as much as I used to.

I got my new book finished by just finishing a sentence, a paragraph, a chapter. Or just looking up a phrase that I wasn’t sure about.

Now. Can I just get this blog finished before lunchtime?

Yes, I believe I can!

Take Care
Margaret

Check out my life-coaching—local if you are in San Miguel de Allende, and online if you prefer coaching from your couch, your dog on your lap, sipping your favorite beverage. No video I promise.
Margaretnashcoach.com

Here’s my new book, all credit for finishing and publishing to Derek, on kindle at
https://www.amazon.com/review/create-review/ref=dpx_acr_wr_link?asin=B07T8CCRV7.

You can look up Derek at https://derekdoepker.com. He’s wonderful but costs a lot more than I do…just sayin’.

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How ‘Commit 100% or You’re Not Serious!’ can cause you to fail

How ‘Commit 100% or You’re Not Serious!’ can cause you to fail

I’m lazy. I like things to be easy. If you tell me that in order to get healthy I need to go on an anti-inflammatory diet where I have to give up, well, let’s just say, food, I won’t do it. It’s too hard to stop tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, flour, dairy, sugar, pasta, bread, and everything else that makes life worth living all at once.

I will not do it. Not one bit of it—much less the whole shebang.

I balk like a stubborn mule. Do you have a mule?

Mules don’t like overwhelm.

How my Physical Therapist unwittingly used a Japanese strategy to deal with my mule

I recently engaged a Physical Therapist for a repetitive strain injury. Typically I left it until I couldn’t move my thumb at all and was in agony. He helped a lot with the recalcitrant thumb, but it was something else he showed me that you may find interesting.

We discussed a health problem I had had for several years that caused breathlessness and left me exhausted after even the smallest amount of exercise. I was terribly unfit as a result. And mule-like I didn’t like going 3 times a week to the exercise classes my doctor insisted on.

My PT taught me just one thing—how to breathe. I mean really breathe. Big gulping deep breaths for minutes at a time. All day. Whenever I thought about it. He persuaded me to buy a fitness watch that would beep to remind me to breathe.

Breathe. I can do that. It’s pretty cheap and very easy. The Mule in me didn’t notice.

Well, gentle reader; I’m here to tell you it got me off the couch. After a few weeks I had more energy and was using the treadmill for more than 2 minutes before collapsing. I even got in a swimming pool for the first time in 5 years.

All because of breathing? Yes.

One thoughtful change had worked better than all the expert advice from umpteen doctor/chiropractor/acupuncture/massage therapist appointments pooled together. Oh, and kick in a portable oxygen tank that I never used.

What my PT had done for me, albeit unconsciously, was mimic a Japanese system called Kaizen.

A little background here is interesting

Hang in there with me.

In the years following WW2 the Japanese were exhausted and defeated—their economy destroyed by the devastating effects of war. Japan was in dire straits, yet within 30 years bounced back with one of the strongest economies in the world.

American businessmen traveled to Japan to learn their secret and discovered that the Japanese employed a method called Kaizen to get back on their feet. It involved making itty-bitty changes—not big ones. They tackled their huge problems one tiny step at a time, one week at a time. It worked. Spectacularly well.

Kaizen literally means ‘incremental change, continuous improvement’.

Start with the smallest and practice the easiest.

How does this apply to me, I hear you cry?

Simply this. If you make small, seemingly insignificant, but thoughtful adjustments in your life, slowly but surely everything will start to improve.

What about, if instead of those huge monstrous dietary deprivations, you gave up just one thing for that flipping anti-inflammatory diet?  Let’s say sugar. Or pop drinks. Or cereal. Just one thing. Won’t kill you.

You can do that. Even I could.

Overly ambitious goals will trigger overwhelm and defeat. They don’t motivate.

Tiny changes will slip under the radar of the mule-mind.

So, let’s look at your goal or challenge

What is the smallest step you can take this week in relation to it? Can you do it for a week?

  • Treadmill for just 5 minutes a day?
  • Learn one Spanish verb this week and use it?
  • Give up sugar in your tea? See if you can stand stevia. Just for a week.
  • Don’t watch YouTube while you eat breakfast. (Not sure I can do that one. May be too challenging.)

Think tiny. Don’t go big. Think easy. Think small.

Ignore advice to ‘Go big or go home!’ ‘Go all in’, or ‘Make a 100% commitment if you’re serious! 98% is not good enough’. Bad advice.

Instead, go for 50% max. More or less willing to give it a go. What have I got to lose. Why not.

Next time you feel overwhelmed with an issue and all your myriad options, try Kaizen. You’ll be amazed. It’s unimpressive, dull, unspectacular, not at all sexy, but will get you results.

Let me know how you get on. I’m genuinely interested.

My approach to coaching is based on this philosophy. So if you want help getting that mule moving, or more info about Kaizen, contact me by replying to this email.

Easy and effortless beats difficult and challenging every time.

Fool that mule.

Cheers!
Margaret
Kaizen Coach and Mule Kicker Extraordinaire
margaretnashcoach.com

 

 

 

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The 20 Second Rule to Live By

The 20 Second Rule to Live By

I confess. To the bewilderment of most of my friends I’m a huge sports fan. I like watching almost everything—from Wimbledon to American Ninja Warrior, I can watch for hours.

Maybe it’s because I’m so un-sporty that I admire and am in total awe of athletes.

I especially love watching the best in the world and can’t even imagine the discipline and practice it took them to get where they are. It inspires me. If I had just a smidgen of their zeal, what could I accomplish?

I heard a great sporting metaphor this morning on YouTube. It was related by a young man named Andrew Kirby and was based on the ancient philosophy of Stoicism.

Andrew had just completed a 28 day Stoic exercise on focusing on death (memento mori, remembering death in order to live better.)

Andrew insisted that meditating on death for 10 minutes every day had made him realize how important it is to live each moment fully, as if it were your last. It may be. You never know.

He likened it to a soccer player being allowed to play in the last 20 seconds of a game: the player runs on the field, and doesn’t give a thought to the fact that he wasn’t there for the whole game, nor to what will happen after the game.

He just grabs those 20 seconds he’s been given and makes the absolute most of it. He goes for the goal. Why not? He won’t have another chance. It’s his moment to make a difference and show what he’s made of.

I love this. What would it be like if we lived our lives as if we had been given 20 seconds to accomplish all we wanted to accomplish?

I wish I had heard this in time to put it in my new book on finding life purpose. The theme is so similar. The book is called Follow the Trail of Your Spirit and is all about how to live life in your best way.

You can grab it here.

Unfortunately it has no great sporting metaphors (!) but it does include lots of personal stories from me and my coaching clients. Hey, you may be in it! I hope you will find it fun and motivating.

It has gotten great feedback from early readers for which I am grateful. If you like it, I would be delighted if you gave it a nice review on Amazon. We indie writers are totally dependent on them!

Have a great week and seize your 20 seconds!

Margaret
www.margaretnashcoach.com

“Follow the Trail of Your Spirit is a fast-paced, easy-to-read, down-to-earth life-coaching guide to finding purpose, meaningful activity, and your perfect career. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find productive, satisfying, and fulfilling things to do, whether at work or simply hanging out at home, by just answering 10 questions?”

Click here

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My ‘Let’s Get Real’ Goal Resuscitation Scheme

My ‘Let’s Get Real’ Goal Resuscitation Scheme

Well here we are, a third of the way into 2019. And already some of those terribly exciting goals I set in the New Year have fallen by the wayside. Seems like just yesterday I was frantically recording them in notebooks. I love doing that. It’s one of my favorite activities and I faithfully set my goals in stone each year.

I do not want to admit how many come to fruition, how many are totally forgotten, nor how many seem to end up on the stone tablet year in, year out without the slightest discernible progress. I don’t think I’m alone here—apparently losing 10lbs, getting more exercise, and learning a foreign language rank high on this perpetual list of non-achievement for many.

Sigh. Put learning Spanish on that one for me. I live in Mexico so this can safely be said to be important, politically correct, and embarrassing not to have accomplished.

For over a decade it has reared its troublesome and challenging head on my lists of Very Important Goals for any given year. And I think I can honestly admit I understand a conversation in Spanish about as well as I did 10 years ago.

This goal needs life support, resuscitation. I had pretty much given up on it.

Until recently. I happened upon a comment about project management that seemed to apply to this area. It was about being realistic with what you’re not willing to do in any given circumstance where you’re trying to accomplish something. I played around with it, added some steps, got it to work for me and dubbed it the “Let’s Get Real Goal Resuscitation Scheme”.

It’s especially for those annoying goals that stubbornly won’t manifest for some reason. The ones that seem to fizzle somewhere around January 5.

And it’s working! Two months into it, I have actually been complimented on how much my Spanish has improved lately. Please trust me, this has never happened before.

Here it is.

Take a recurring goal that needs life support. Choose your favorite. Fill in the blanks.

  • State the goal.
  • I am NOT willing to…..
  • I AM willing to….
  • There is a remote possibility I might just, maybe, POSSIBLY be willing to….

So….let’s say it’s learning Spanish. Ahem.

Goal: I want to get better at Spanish, be able to understand conversations, speak and be understood.

I’m NOT willing to:….go to any more classes, employ a tutor (shoot me first), spend two hours a day on it, watch Spanish speaking soaps or cartoons. (I’ve done all of that)

I AM willing to:….do some online course of some sort. Maybe 10 mins a day.

I might just, maybe, POSSIBLY be willing to:…work with a friend, go to a class with a friend (combine it with social occasion), start speaking it every chance I get for practice.

Well, lo and behold, getting real about it, and recognizing what I absolutely am not willing to do any more, kind of broke the impasse I had created.

When we kid ourselves about what we are actually willing to do, we remain stuck. And sometimes we set unrealistic or overly vague goals (to learn Spanish) and become overwhelmed. I had this big picture of attending classes, which cost a fortune and were held 3X a week. And did nothing for my Spanish. I’ve done it before.

After getting real with myself, I discovered an online course that doesn’t make me with froth at the mouth or bleed from the ears after 10 minutes (SynergySpanish.com), and while I don’t listen every day, I am managing it several times a week. It’s working. There is this smidgen of progress. A teeny tiny light at the end of the Spanish-speaking tunnel.

Try this process on your most stubborn goals. Try it on the 10 lbs one (come on, it’s on everybody’s list unless you’re skinny). See what comes up.

Let me know.

(If you want to know more about how to get goal setting to actually work, instead of just depressing you, shoot me an email and we can work together. I have some great processes for kick starting stubborn stuff back into gear.)

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A Life Lesson Learned in London

A Life Lesson Learned in London

Bliss, anxiety, and an interesting life lesson

I’m just back from London where I had the happy job of helping look after my brand new granddaughter for 2 months. Amazing how one tiny person can take up the entire attention and care of three doting, (and frequently frazzled) adults!

But despite the inevitable anxiety mixed with bliss and hard work, there was something strangely de-stressing about what I was doing. I had one job—rocking a baby for hours on end. So I couldn’t, and didn’t worry about all the other stuff I should be doing. No multi-tasking allowed. There was nothing more important I needed to do. Period.

It made me realize how seldom I am that focused in my everyday life.

One of the downsides of being self–employed and semi-retired is that I have to be a self-starter. The result is a long list of things to do and nobody to make me do them. Usually I fool around awhile with several at once getting nowhere and eventually get going on some great life-changing million dollar project.

The Saboteur strikes!

This is when I inevitably sabotage myself with thinking about all the other things I could be doing. The obvious solution is to go on Facebook. Just to see what’s happening since I last looked five minutes ago, otherwise I might miss something important. I may as well make some tea while I’m at it.

There’s no one to make me prioritize, focus, or concentrate. It’s just me and the computer, and it doesn’t care. No one to answer to except my demanding dogs. Am I the only one who finds this challenging? I don’t think so. Most of my life-coaching clients complain at some point about not getting enough done, wasting much of their time on distractions, and feeling frustrated with their absence of discipline.

All of this is down to lack of focus—the ability to concentrate on one thing at a time. 

Learning to relax, do one thing at a time and do it well—rock the baby so to speak— is the number one key to feeling happy, productive, and at peace.

Just aim to do one thing each day. Focus on it. Do it until it’s done and don’t allow yourself to get sidetracked. At least you will have accomplished something.

Stop multi-tasking. It’s a curse. Rock the baby.

 

Please contact me if you would like some life-coaching— whether in person here in San Miguel or online.

Details:

In person life coaching: 600 pesos per one hour session. Cash or Paypal. San Miguel location.

Online coaching: $50 for 40 minute session using Facebook Messenger Call or Zoom (no video so you can be in your PJs in bed). Paypal only.

I also do Hypnotherapy if it seems appropriate to your issue. Talk to me.

Contact me at margaretnashcoach@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Attitude of Gratitude—Thoughts From a Seasoned Contrarian

The Attitude of Gratitude—Thoughts From a Seasoned Contrarian

As a Life-Coach I like things that work, that get results and help people make useful changes in their daily lives. And I’m especially impressed by how well one practice seems to work in shifting a self-pitying or complaining attitude into a more positive one.

I’m talking about the practice of gratitude; that is, writing or focusing on what you are grateful for in your life, rather than paying attention to what is going wrong. The attitude of gratitude seems to trump all others and when you are feeling grateful you cannot simultaneously feel resentful, angry, or sorry for yourself.

Kudos to it. It is an important point to remember, and does seem to help many feel better about themselves and able to cope with whatever life throws in their path.

However, sometimes I find myself, like the proverbial stubborn mule, balking at the word itself. I just don’t like the word gratitude very much and I think I know why. I’m sorry. I know this borders on sacrilege, so if you love it and it works for you, then stop reading this bit now and skip to the next section.

Here we go. For me gratitude always seems predicated by ought and should, as in, you ought to be grateful for your health/home/good income or you should be grateful for the food on the table. There are lots of starving children in Africa—sort of thing.

I’m so blessed, gushes the movie star from her Malibu home where she does yoga and meditation on the beach each morning while she sips her smoothie. The subtext is, I am the recipient of all these wonderful things that have somehow been bestowed on me and I am so thankful I am not like others.

Sound of teeth grinding.

Yes, I guess you would be. In the next breath she is saying in her L’Oreal ad that she gets to live this life and wear this makeup because I’m worth it. How does that work? Worth it? You mean you think you deserve it? Does that mean all who don’t have this stuff aren’t worth it? Are we all entitled to a house in Malibu? And how will she feel when she loses it all in bankruptcy or her next film is a failure? Still blessed?

Caveat here. I was never very good at what I should and ought to think and feel. I’ve always been one of nature’s rebels—cantankerous and bratty. And OK, a little catty at times.

Words That Work for Me

Back to the matter at hand. I am always casting about for words or phrases that take me away from either entitlement or victimhood. Words or phrases like gratitude and I’m so blessed but without the baggage.

There are lots of them: cherish, relish, not take for granted, appreciate, to name a few.

I really like appreciate. It carries no remonstrance or guilt-trip for me. It means more or less the same thing as gratitude, but with slightly different connotations. It is more about “valuing, noticing, being conscious of, or placing a high estimate on”. I like that. It’s good to appreciate things and people in your life.

But I don’t want it to feel like I’m thankful for being privileged when the rest of the world is not. Something feels ‘off’.

I don’t deserve anything any more than anyone else—trust me on this one.  I’m not especially worth it and I don’t feel I’m entitled to anything. But I can appreciate everything.

My Favorite Word

The other day I stumbled across another word that expresses similar feelings, but in a way I like even better. It made me tingle with recognition. It’s a well-known word, but not used all that often in everyday conversation.

This word was lurking in a book called Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu by J Maarten Troost. (How’s that for a title? I’m so jealous.)

It was recommended to me by my equally rebellious and curmudgeon-in-crime niece, so I couldn’t resist downloading it. (We’re in this together Sally. I won’t give you away.)

Here’s the quote. See if you can spot the word before I tell you what it is.

“For what is life, a good life, but the accumulation of small pleasures? In Washington, we lived in a place where everything was available, for a price, and yet I couldn’t recall the last time I had really savored something—a book, a sunset, a fine meal.”

There. There it is. Savored. That word just jumped off the page at me, daring me to ignore it.

Savor. That works better for me than gratitude. I want to savor life, everything about it, appreciate it, experience it, even the smallest of details.

Savor reminds me of chocolate—you put that truffle on your tongue and know you have to savor every moment of it before it disappears forever. You know it’s not a good idea to have another (well, maybe one more) or you will feel sick. But this first bite is just heaven and you want to enjoy it fully. When you savor something you totally appreciate it with all your senses.

I want to approach life like that. When I step out into my garden in the morning I want to savor the soft sunshine (unless I’m in England in which case I savor the rain and chilly breeze.) I savor looking at the trees and I savor watching my dogs playing. I know they won’t always be with me, like the chocolate, so I want to savor every tiny moment with them.

The Benefits From Nearly Dying

Eckhart Tolle, the great spiritual teacher and author, says he enjoys reading about near death experiences because it seems to be the closest any of us will come to proof of what happens when we die. Everything else is just speculation. He notes how, despite the differences in what is experienced or who people meet up with while journeying to the other side—Jesus, parents, Buddha, Yogananda, a spirit group, and a plethora of different scenes such as tunnels, beautiful palaces, brightly lit scenes from nature—everyone seems to come back with the attitude that all is well.

They also have a new perspective on life and most never again take anything for granted. They savor the life they have left. Every second. And are filled with purpose.

Ok, I guess they are grateful to be back in the land of the living, but strangely not always. Sometimes they resist being sent back, at least initially, because their experience of the afterlife is so incredibly blissful and interesting. And when they return everything is changed, different. They seem able to experience and enjoy life more than before. They’ve been given a second chance. They can accept whatever is happening. All is well.

Gary Zukav in his wonderful book, The Seat of the Soul, refers to this emotion as reverence for life. That’s another good word that resonates with me. He says,

“Reverence is simply the experience of accepting that all Life is, in and of itself, of value. If we perceived life with reverence, and understood our evolutionary process, we would stand in awe at the experience of physical Life, and walk the Earth with a very deep sense of gratitude.”

Oh, I know. He uses the G-word there. But it’s in reference to reverence. And I like the way he uses it, as acceptance. If I’m accepting life as it is, I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself. I’m grateful, and appreciative, and I don’t take anything for granted.

How about this idea: It always seems to be the ‘good’ things we are grateful for. How about being able to accept and flow with everything that happens to us, things we judge as both fortunate or unfortunate? We are truly blessed when we can enjoy everything in life—good and bad—and savor whatever weather greets us each day.

A Beautiful and Elegant Turn of Phrase

Not too long ago I was grousing to a friend about how the word gratitude didn’t work for me. She said, “Hold on, I heard a phrase the other day on YouTube, or a podcast, can’t remember where, and it makes a perfect mantra for you.”

“Try this; first thing when you wake up say, I am the essence of gratitude; when you step outside, say I am the essence of gratitude; when you go to sleep, say I am the essence of gratitude. At every moment in the day, when you remember, say, I am the essence of gratitude. You don’t have to say what you are grateful for, unless you feel like it, or to whom, just that you embody gratitude. See if that works for you.” (Thanks for this Sharyn. I’m eternally grateful!)

Well, it does work. It’s a powerful mantra. I recommend you say it, all day, all the time, for everything, and every experience, without judgment. It completely reframes the idea of gratitude for me. It takes it away from objects to be thankful for, like the Malibu beach home and big bank account, and expresses an appreciation for simply being alive.

So I guess the word doesn’t really matter as long as it takes you to a place that feels empowering and significant. Who cares what the word is if it is life enhancing?

This works.

I want to savor, reverence, walk the Earth with a very deep sense of gratitude, and enjoy every moment, taking the good with the bad. Just as if I had been given a new lease on life—a second chance. That seems to me to be what living my purpose and following the trail of my spirit is all about.

 

(Excerpt from my soon to be published book on finding life purpose, called Follow the Trail of Your Spirit—The Search for Life Purpose by Margaret Nash.)

If you find the ideas in this article interesting you may like some personal life coaching on getting your life to work the way you want it to.

Contact margaretnashcoach@gmail.com for personal coaching in San Miguel or online coaching from anywhere in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like what you just read? Sign up for free email updates. You’ll get a free copy of my ebook Sacred Cow Alert - 5 New Age Myths that May be Killing All Your Relationships!

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