Time Management


February 10, 2019

Here is a lightly-edited version of the blog that followed last week’s blog in 2015. It has an equally important message for everyone who wants to effectively and joyfully pursue their Big Goals, whether personal or professional.

“In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.” – Sid Caesar

 Last week, I re-published a Fan Favorite blog that I wrote about a past client who had reached a very Big Goal in just 30 days because she applied three specific success principles:

  • Use all the tools available to you to their full advantage.
  • Be strategic (work smarter, not harder.)
  • Use every available minute.

Because she had a very big “Why” for reaching her goal and because 30 days was the specific amount of time she had to reach it, she committed to focusing and giving it everything she had for that short amount of time, even though she also had to maintain a demanding day job.

Her reward at the end of that intense effort was promoting to Director Level in her direct sales company, which enabled her to quit her 50-60 hour a week job and work her business on HER terms, so she could spend more time with her new husband and have the lifestyle freedom she had always dreamed of.  For her, that was a Big Goal worth pursuing with all her might.

Risking Burnout

Now, let’s examine the flip side of this: What happens if you get TOO consumed with pursuing a Big Goal that has a longer time frame than just a few months?  You are risking Burnout — depleting your emotional, mental and physical resources to the point of trying to drive to the finish line on an inner fuel tank that has run dry.

Burnout can bring some dire consequences:  The constant stress of pushing yourself hard and worrying about where you are in relation to a long-term Big Goal can lead to physical illness and/or emotional breakdown.  It can also alienate loved ones who feel you have abandoned them or that they are less important to you than your Big Goal.  Ironically, Burnout can lead you to abandon your Big Goal altogether, so that in the end, you have nothing to show for all the time and effort you put toward it.

Signs of Burnout

Another past client came to me after pursuing a business goal for several years with only modest success.  Every day, she beat herself up emotionally for not being where she thought she should be. She felt like a failure, despite recognizing that she hadn’t been given the proper training, support and resources during her first several years in the business. She had to figure it out by herself and actually did a pretty good job, yet, she couldn’t stop negatively comparing herself to colleagues who surpassed her results during that time.

She also beat herself up for the toll she felt her pursuit of success had taken on her family.  She had two wonderful school-aged children and a loving and financially successful husband, yet she believed they must feel resentful because she hadn’t spent all her time with them.  She admitted to neglecting herself, too, by allowing herself almost no Me time to replenish her physical and emotional reserves.

I coached her to begin treating her home-based business like a real “business” and set her office hours.  That way, she could focus on her business for a few hours during the day when her kids were at school and perhaps three nights a week she could spend an hour on it as well. The rest of the time, she should be taking care of her own well-being — including exercise, rest and relaxation, personal and spiritual development time– and spending precious time with her family every day.

Despite promising that she would work to find balance and act like she truly is her own boss, she came to our calls crying almost every week.  She just couldn’t let up on herself.  When she was with her family or doing something for herself, she kept thinking she should be working her business.  And when she was working her business, she felt guilty that she wasn’t taking care of herself and her family.

Since my job as a Personal Success Coach is to help my clients reach their Big Goals as quickly, easily and joyfully as possible, I realized after several months that we were not making progress, and so did she.  I recognized that she was showing signs of major Burnout, and was unable to put into practice the simple strategies and support I tried to give her. Finally, I warned her that if she stayed on her self-imposed “hamster wheel” of stress, she would inevitably have to quit her business altogether for the sake of her well-being. I recommended she seek professional help to regain a balanced view of herself and her life and that is what I believe she ultimately did.

How to Beat Burnout

When you are pursuing a long-term Big Goal, the same three principles apply that were followed by my client who reached her Big Goal in just 30 days. The key is the definition of using “every available minute.”  That does not mean “EVERY minute of your life”!  If you follow a daily schedule that balances work, play, spiritual and personal development, physical well-being, family time and Me time, you can use your available WORK time strategically by working smarter, not harder.

And, of course, I recommend that you learn to harness the power of the Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) to reach your Big Goals with greater speed and ease by focusing your belief and channeling your own positive energy toward your Big Goal, which inevitably attracts the perfect people, resources and serendipitous breaks to you.

Here are the four Success Principles I believe will help you reach your long-term Big Goal with healthy balance and emotional fulfillment, instead of Burnout and tears:

Four Principles of Long-term Success

  • Treat your Big Goal like a Big Game, rather than a struggle for survival. Nobody, including you, is going to die if you don’t reach your goal by when you thought you would.  Remember you are PLAYING to win and you will win your Big Game by getting to the finish line feeling happy, healthy and fulfilled. Maintaining a centered, enthusiastic and positive energy each day will make others want to join you and help you win your Big Game.
  • Pace yourself to play the Long Game. Realize this is a marathon, not a sprint.  Focus on reaching a series of short-term goals within your Long Game and take time to celebrate those victories as milestones on the path to the finish line. If you don’t, the finish line can seem mighty far away.  Regularly acknowledge yourself and allow others to acknowledge you for the ground you have taken, instead of focusing on how far you have left to go.
  • Treat yourself as valuable and others will too. Make and follow a Daily Game Plan to give yourself whatever you need to fulfill your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical needs. Don’t try to play Superman or Superwoman and go it alone. Make clear, specific requests for whatever help you need.  Those who care for you will be happy to step up and support you, if you simply ASK.
  • Stay committed and maintain perspective. Don’t let the petty disappointments of today make you doubt that you will win your Long Game if you just keep on keeping on. Realize that the last “No” just brought you that much closer to the next “Yes.” If you truly want to beat Burnout, you must view your Big Goal as just one part of your life, not the all-consuming focus of your life.

Here’s my final suggestion for beating Burnout: Take at least ONE FULL DAY off each week and once a month, take the ENTIRE WEEKEND off to refresh, relax and rejuvenate your body and soul.  Plan fun activities and get-away trips with friends or family, instead of using the whole weekend to catch up on paperwork, run errands or tackle honey-do lists. You will return to the pursuit of your Big Game with renewed enthusiasm, greater productivity and enhanced creativity.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  The blog will be taking the next weekend off so I can enjoy President’s Day Weekend with my family!  This is one of the ways I avoid writer’s BurnoutA Cup of Caroll will return on Sunday February 24.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer yourself or someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change your/their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching, with no obligation and no strings attached!  To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

January 27, 2019

“We need to find the courage to say ‘NO’ to the things and people that are not serving us if we want to rediscover ourselves and live our lives with authenticity.” – Barbara De Angelis

 I hope you have been enjoying creating your 2019 the way YOU want it to be, using the guidelines I gave you in the last blog (Your Time to Shine – Blog 326).  If not, the time is NOW to get it done because it will truly set the stage for your Big Dreams to manifest sooner, rather than later!

No matter how distant your Big Dreams seem from your current reality, it is possible to reach them. Manifesting your dreams requires that you demonstrate both a real PASSION for them and a BELIEF that it is possible to achieve them. It’s not your job to know HOW you are going to get there – that is up to God/the Universe.

Your job is simply to say “YES” to your dreams.  Saying “YES” with every fiber of your being sets in motion the Law of Attraction, which states that “energy attracts like energy.”  Your “YES” energy (your thoughts plus the emotions your thoughts create in you) will attract the perfect opportunities, people and resources you will need to reach your Big Dreams.

But there is also a time for you to say “NO.” In order to make the time and space for YOUR dreams and live YOUR life with integrity and authenticity, you must sometimes say “NO” to other people’s requests.

“Having the courage to say ‘no’ to requests that are unnecessary could be your most effective time-management tool!  Never say ‘yes’ without considering the time investment you are committing to. Ask yourself, ‘What is the potential consequence of saying ‘no’?  Then make a good decision on what you commit to.  Be incredibly selective about your commitments.” – From the book 175 Ways to Get More Done in Less Time by David Cottrell and Mark Layton

This can be emotionally hard to do, especially for recovering “people-pleasers” like me.

For much of my life, my knee-jerk reaction to just about every request made of me was always “YES!”  Even if it was something I wouldn’t have chosen to pursue for my own happiness or fulfillment, I generally agreed to the assignment in a misguided attempt to “help” the nice person asking me to perform the task.  My thought was, “If I don’t help them, who will?” (If you say that same thing to yourself, NOW is the time to stop!)

Most of the time, I was saying “Yes” to other people’s requests strictly out of guilt.  And guilt is a negative emotional energy that will NOT engage the Law of Attraction to help you perform a task with ease and efficiency!  Thus, at the end of such a “self-coerced” project, I often felt emotionally and physically drained and resentful of both the good work I had done and the good person who had innocently made the request.

In the early 2000s, I was asked to volunteer my time with a worthy organization that relied heavily on unpaid volunteers to do much of the work.  Were it not for an army of volunteers, the organization couldn’t have offered their services at low rates to the people who needed them most.

Since I had personally benefited from their services and believed in their work — and had skills they could use — they naturally approached me and asked me to “give back.” At first, it was just a few hours a week, which didn’t seem like much to ask in return for all that I had received.  But as my skills grew and the workload increased, the requests for my time grew as well.

For the first year, volunteering was a fun, challenging and personally enriching experience, even though I was beginning to struggle to find the time, as my fledgling coaching practice was just beginning to grow.

By the beginning of year two, I found myself performing 15-20 hours a week of unpaid work for a cause whose time had passed for me. I had gotten all there was to get out of the work I was doing there, and it had become simply a repetitive chore for me.  I was not one of the “Yes, we can!” people who came there eagerly each week, happy to be contributing to the cause.  The work was still purposeful for them, but it no longer was for me.  I felt more and more resentment. I knew in my heart that I was done.  Yet, I lacked the courage to simply say “NO” every time the volunteer coordinator called me.

Finally, tired and depressed, I was forced to ask myself, “Why am I doing this?” The honest answer turned out to be my guilt-ridden belief that “If I don’t help them, who will?” When I forced myself to think about it, the answer to that well-meaning question was very clear: The people who will help are those for whom this work is purposeful!

My Ah-Ha Moment was realizing that, by “contributing” my time out of guilt instead of genuine passion, I was doing an uninspired job that neither forwarded the work nor reflected the spirit of the organization.  I was occupying space that could have been an opportunity for the RIGHT person to contribute their skills, to grow and develop and experience fulfillment, just as I once had.  By lacking the integrity to say “NO,” I was not only depriving myself of the opportunity to pursue purposeful activity, but I was also selfishly depriving someone else of their opportunity to contribute their priceless gifts.

After this self-revelation, I did one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I called organization’s volunteer coordinator to resign after giving three years of weekly service. I didn’t beat around the bush, explain myself or make excuses. I knew from studying the Law of Attraction that defensive, “guilty” energy would only attract similar negative energy.

Recovering People-Pleasers take note: Well-meaning people who attempt to cajole you into participating in their projects will view your attempted “explanation” as a sign that you are wavering and will try to pressure you further.  I recommend stating firmly and simply, without a hint of guilt, “Thank you for thinking of me for this opportunity, but I am going to say No.  I wish you all the best with your project.”  You will be amazed at their reaction!

The volunteer coordinator replied that he understood and thanked me for my service. It was that simple to free myself from the time and emotional bondage that was preventing me from pursuing my OWN Big Dreams!

So, if you are still saying a guilt-induced “Yes” to hobbies, committees, politics, a dead-end career or personal relationship which no longer serves you, please know that you are preventing another soul from bestowing his or her priceless gifts on the world.  And, you are depriving yourself of the joy, prosperity and fulfillment that will come from living a life of authentic, purposeful self-expression.

So what are you waiting for?  Pick up the phone right now and “Just say No!” Then you will be free to pursue your own authentic Big Dreams — the ones you are passionate about and truly believe in….the ones that make you say, “YES, I can!”

If you would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to my website http://www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** Give the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

This New Year, give a friend, colleague or loved one a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching.  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* with no obligation and no strings attached!  You can give this to as many people who will really appreciate it as you wish.  (If you haven’t been in coaching with me for a while, feel free to claim it for YOURSELF, too!) 

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help them clarify their Big Goals for the New Year and get into ACTION to make this their BEST year yet, have them email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com  to schedule their session.  

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2018

 “Your success depends mainly upon what you think of yourself and whether you believe in yourself.” – William Boetcker

This month is important to many of my clients who are all in the same network marketing company.  July is their “convention qualification” period, where the status and titles they reach by the 31st will determine how they are recognized at their international convention in New Orleans in September.  It’s a big deal, and they are all running hard and giving it their BEST effort to reach their individual goals.

I fully support playing full out for a Big Goal.  If you really, really want something – especially if it has a drop-dead deadline – you need to be willing to work smart every available minute and use every mindset and Law of Attraction (“energy attracts like energy”) tool available to help you succeed.  Playing full out demonstrates your commitment to your Big Goal and causes God/The Universe and your own subconscious mind to conspire together to give you a boost with the “How.”

But there’s a hidden danger if you are always running at breakneck speed from one goal to the next.  While reaching important short-term goals can require a full-out sprint for a limited period, achieving long-term success is more like running a marathon.  You have to pace yourself or you risk physical and emotional burnout.  And you must always remember that you are not defined by your achievements.  You are valuable and worthy simply for being the unique and special person you are.

Here is a lightly-edited blog from “convention qualification month” two years ago that reminds us to keep a joyful attitude and take sufficient time to play, spend time with our loved ones, rest and recharge if we are going to win the LONG RACE.

July 17, 2016

I didn’t have to look far for the topic of this week’s blog.  It kept recurring among my clients last week and it is the subject of a collection of articles published by the Unity church entitled You Are Enough.

Two of my clients had their phones die for a time this week.  Both admitted to feeling a secret sense of relief because they could not be held responsible for not working their businesses.  One of them was at the beach for a week with her family and was able to spend some guilt-free time playing with her kids and just relaxing, while the other, with a few precious days off from her day job, had time to play with her daughter and just “float in the pool.” The latter confessed that she had actually contemplated not coming to her coaching call because she didn’t want to admit to me that she had been “unproductive” this week.

I told them both that they shouldn’t feel guilty for doing what they really wanted to do.  Their worth is not defined by how productive they are being.  Their self-worth should come from knowing that they are unique and special and valuable because of who they ARE, not what they DO.

As a Personal Success Coach, my job is to help my clients get whatever they want in life.  The Big Goal they choose to pursue is up to them – greater prosperity, a fitter body, a loving relationship or a successful business.  Nobody, including me, can tell them what their heartfelt goals should be.  Nor should they put undue pressure on themselves to reach those goals at the expense of having life balance, fun and fulfillment.  If they become so driven to succeed that pursuing their Big Goal feels like a burden, I recommend taking a step back to examine their true motivation.

Many people have a strong “Why” for pursuing a goal, especially a financial goal.  One of my clients wants to succeed at her business so her mother can retire from her job.  Several want their spouses to be able to quit their jobs to pursue their dreams or spend more time with their family.  Some are motivated to financially support a cause they care deeply about. Those are all great reasons for consistently doing the daily activities that will get them closer to their goals with a sense of joy and enthusiasm.

But I have seen some people approach their daily tasks with a joyless, teeth-gritted, “this is hard, but I MUST do it” mindset and energy. I believe they are actually driven by the idea that they must prove their value through their achievements.  Their sense of self-worth depends on outer successes and the approval of others.

One of my clients recently shared a journaling she had done to explore her Limiting Belief that “If I give it my all and fail, my life has been a waste.”  This was her Ego’s internal worst case scenario about what might happen if she didn’t reach the level of success in her business that she wanted.  In the course of her self-exploration, she had the Ah-Ha Moment, as Oprah calls it, that she doesn’t remember her father saying “I love you” very often when she was growing up.  But she does remember him frequently saying, “I am so proud of you.”

Thus, her father’s pride in her accomplishments became her Ego’s path to “earning” the unconditional love she truly craved. She wrote, “I think this has sort of made me think that if I can’t do something that makes a splash, it’s not worth doing and certainly not worth talking about.  So I find myself striving for that over-achiever status.  I feel like anything less is pointless and even something to feel shameful about, so I just don’t talk about it.”

Being human, I am sure each of us feels or has felt at some time that we are not good enough. For some, it’s about their appearance:  “I’m not…young enough, pretty enough, thin enough…” to be worthy of receiving unconditional love and acceptance from those I care about.

For me and others, it’s about our performance: “I didn’t go to the gym.  I didn’t get an A.  I didn’t win the competition.  I didn’t put on the perfect birthday party for my child.”  Therefore, I suck.

The truth is, your inherent value doesn’t increase or decrease with age, beauty, fitness level, accomplishments, job productivity or salary.

As minister Joel Osteen, puts it, “You are the apple of God’s eye” simply because you exist. If you are alive on planet earth, you are enough.  In fact, you are PRICELESS.  Otherwise, you are claiming that only the pretty, thin, A students, celebrities and sports stars are worthy of God’s love, their own self-love and the love of people whose opinion matters. What about the rest of us, then?

I believe there is no swimsuit competition in Heaven – or here on Earth, for that matter. As the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said, we should not be judged by the color of our skin (or any other external factor), but by the content of our character.

So if you long to take a little break from your pursuit of success to just “float in the pool” from time to time, do what your heart calls you to do.  When you are working, give it your 100% BEST…. And when you want to relax and recharge, allow yourself to enjoy and be fully present to it, without guilt or shame.  Schedule time for both work and play and you CAN have it all.

I urge you to make this your daily mantra:I am not my job title or accomplishments.  I am whole, complete and perfect, just as I am. I am the apple of God’s eye and I am ENOUGH.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog will be on vacation for the next two weeks while Rick and I relax and recharge ourselves and visit our wonderful family in beautiful Washington and Oregon.  A Cup of Caroll will return with a brand new post on Sunday, August 19.

If you would like your own F.R.E.E. subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top to enter your name and email.

****************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

To schedule a no-obligation F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help you clarify your Big Goals and get into ACTION on making them a reality, email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

February 25, 2018

“What we feel, think, and do this moment influences both our present and the future in ways we may never know.  Begin.  Start right where you are. Consider your possibilities and find inspiration…to add more meaning and zest to your life.” – Alexandra Stoddard

The following is a blog written by the wonderful personal trainer I used to go to who co-owns a popular fitness studio in Sacramento, CA. (www.HealthyHabitsStudio.com)

I believe that her wise words apply to ALL long-term goals — personal and business, as well as health and fitness.  All Big Goals require patient, committed one-day-at-a–time focus and one-step-at-a-time planning to reach.  If you take her advice to heart, and make it your own guiding philosophy, I believe you can and will achieve your BIGGEST personal, business and fitness goals this year.

Today is a big deal!

By Rose Zahnn

“You woke up this morning and began making choices.

You chose whether or not to exercise, to eat a healthy breakfast, or to do something productive. You chose whether or not to eat that donut, to sleep in, or to watch an extra hour of TV.

At the end of each day, the sum of your choices pushes you in a direction.

It could be pushing you in the direction of fitness and health, if your choices were predominantly healthy.

Or, the sum of your choices could be pushing you in the direction of weight gain, health issues and problems.

I find this perspective helpful when it comes to making a major body transformation. It’s tempting to feel overwhelmed about changing your body when you have many pounds to lose and much work to do, since you can’t do it all in one day.

However, by capturing the power of each day by making healthy choices, you will be pushed in the direction of weight loss and health day after day, week after week.

Until, one day, you’ll look in the mirror and see that you’ve arrived at your ultimate destination: a lean, healthy and fit you!

So, embrace the power of each choice that you make today, and allow a momentum of good choices to push you through to your goal.

Do This At Bedtime: The best way to ensure that you will make great choices tomorrow is to plan for it tonight. Before you go to sleep, jot out your plan for the next day.

Today is a big deal.

Today is all you have.

Make the most of today.”

IMPORTANT NOTE: The blog and I are taking next weekend off.  Look for your next Cup of Caroll on Sunday, March 11, which also happens to be the start of Daylight Savings Time for most of the USA.  Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead!

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

*************** Give Yourself the Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ******************

To schedule a no-obligation, F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make them a reality, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com.

January 21, 2018

“Today is unique!  It has never occurred before, and it will never be repeated.  At midnight, it will end, quietly, suddenly, totally. Forever.  But the hours between now and then are opportunities with eternal possibilities.” – Charles R. Swindoll

 I hope you have had a chance to complete your 2017 and create a vision for the brand new year that lies before you. If not, there is still time!  Go to my blog archives at www.practicalprosperitycoach.com and use the past two blogs to guide you in these important steps to lay the foundation for a happy and successful New Year.

If you have completed these two steps, there is one remaining step for you to get your year off to a successful start and maintain order and ease throughout the year ahead – getting organized. If you practice using the plan I am about to share with you, I can promise your 2018 will be filled with more internal peace and ease and more external efficiency and productivity.

(What follows is a lightly-edited post I published in June, 2015 that is definitely worth reviewing to get your year off to a great start!)

One of the biggest challenges my coaching clients seem to face is how to sort out multiple priorities among all the important tasks and projects they want to accomplish each day. With a demanding full-time job and a side business to manage, along with a family that needs their time and attention, how on earth are they supposed to find time for their own personal needs like daily exercise and Personal Development time? Where is that elusive “life balance” everyone wants?

I show them how to prioritize and manage their many accountabilities with ease, using a simple system I learned years ago.  I call it the “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system, after a memorable demonstration by a time management/efficiency expert.

First, he placed a big glass jar on a table.  Next to it, he placed four glass jars containing rocks, pebbles, sand and water. He asked the audience in which order he should put the four substances into the jar so that ALL of them would fit.  Looking at the four containers separately, it seemed unlikely that the rocks, pebbles, sand and water could ALL fit into the one big jar, but he promised they would IF they were put in the right order.

Finally, someone got it: Put the BIG rocks in first, followed by the pebbles (which filled in the open spaces between the rocks), then the sand that sifted down into the cracks between the pebbles, and finally the water, which seeped down between everything, filling the jar to the top.  Yes, all four items DID fit into the available space, even though it looked impossible when you considered them separately.

The point he was making is that if you take care of your most important tasks (the “Big Rocks”) FIRST, all your other tasks can be managed with ease.  But if you eat up most of your day checking off a long list of meaningless “little stuff” – or worse, spinning your wheels trying to figure out what to tackle first — you won’t have enough time and energy left to accomplish the truly IMPORTANT things that will make the biggest difference for you.

In addition to this great prioritizing insight, I also learned another key principle of productivity from the book “Master Your Workday Now!” by Michael Linenberger. He asserts that, while you may like to think you attend to the most “important” tasks first, the truth is, we all invariably do the most URGENT tasks first, whether or not they are the most IMPORTANT to us.  These may or may not be your personal priorities, but they are tasks with a short deadline that your boss, church committee, spouse, kid’s teacher, Team members or customers say they MUST have your help with right NOW.  You will put out these annoying little fires first because alleviating the internal pressure caused by the feeling of urgency trumps all.

Linenberger believes that, as a rule, we can handle a maximum THREE urgent matters each day. When more than three urgent tasks are competing for your attention at one time, your brain loses the ability to prioritize and accomplish them. Most of the time, attempting to accomplish more than three urgent “Big Rocks” causes your brain to shut down and not finish some or all of them, or makes you to try to get them done in a slap-dash way that produces poor results.

What is the best way to accomplish your most urgent and important Big Rocks tasks each day?  Rule #1 is DO NOT schedule yourself for more than THREE Big Rocks per day. These are defined as tasks that must be done by YOU (meaning you cannot delegate them to someone else) AND must be done or worked on TODAY.  If it can be delegated, ask for help!  If it can be put off to a later time and still be done properly, schedule it as one of your “Big Rocks” for another day.

All this talk of urgency probably doesn’t sound very easeful, does it? So how do you accomplish three Big Rocks, along with the rest of your To-Dos every day with a feeling of ease and control?  Simply PLAN your Big Rocks in advance! Here’s how Mr. Linenberger’s book taught me to do it:

  • For 20-30 minutes each weekend, sit quietly with your long To-Do list of upcoming tasks and projects and your day planner calendar open to the coming week. Study your To-Do list carefully and decide which tasks are going to be your Big Rocks to accomplish during the coming week.
  • Schedule a maximum of THREE Big Rocks tasks per day into your weekly planner/calendar at the TIMES of day you think they should be done. Some Big Rocks will be appointments at set times, such as a conference call with a potential business partner at 10am on Tuesday, a dentist appointment at 3pm on Friday, getting your car’s oil changed on Thursday morning, going to your kid’s soccer tournament Thursday at 4pm, etc. Other daily Big Rocks will be projects and tasks that you must choose the best day and time for YOU to work on. In that case, you will be blocking out times on your appointment calendar that you feel are optimal for you and the results you want, such as making prospecting calls from 10am to 11am each day, writing a report that’s due by the end of the week from 2pm to 5pm on Tuesday, practicing the cello each day from 5 to 6pm, in preparation for a recital in two weeks, etc.
  • IF a conflict arises between a previously-set appointment (which, of course, you wrote in your planner the minute you set it) and a Big Rock task or event that came up later, your weekly planning time alerts you to either change the current appointment OR negotiate a time change for the task or event. Being in integrity requires that you notify anyone else who will be affected by such changes, just as soon as you become aware of them. If another’s expectations are not going to be met, alerting them ASAP allows them time to either get someone else to fill in for you or to negotiate a new time for you to accomplish it.
  • After scheduling the three Big Rock tasks and appointments for each day of the coming week, you then can fill in the rest of the open times with your “Pebble Tasks.” These are not as important as the Big Rocks and/or they can be done at flexible times, so you can fit them in after you see what the Big Rocks schedule looks like each day.
  • Next, come the “Sand” and “Water” items, such as errands. If these small items don’t get done today, it’s not a big deal; you can still fit them amongst the Big Rocks and Pebbles another day. Try to be efficient by looking at your To-Do list for multiple errands that can be done in the same trip and block those out for 30 minutes or an hour in a given day.  TIP: Always have something useful to read or listen to while you commute or are stuck waiting somewhere for a few minutes.  Don’t waste precious time playing games on your smart phone when you could be reading a good book or improving your skills via a recorded training call.

IMPORTANT CAVEATS: In order for this system to work:

  • You absolutely MUST keep a daily/weekly planner that has slots of at least 30 minutes for each day. (My coaching appointment calendar has 15-minute time slots from 8am to 8pm each day.)

AND

  • You must keep ALL of your appointments – business, personal, doctors, kids’ sports, social engagements, etc. on the SAME planner/calendar.  If you have multiple calendars going for different areas of life, you will inevitably double-book yourself for something important and tears will flow.

My clients who faithfully use this simple “Big Rocks” weekly scheduling system report that it really works!  They have a greater sense of control over their time and no more stress and guilt from double-bookings or forgotten appointments. And they have a real sense of accomplishment at the end of they day because they were able to complete the things that really mattered to them, instead of just checking off a bunch of little tasks that can’t help them reach their Big Goals.

Is setting aside time each weekend to plan your week ahead worth the sacrifice of 30 minutes of precious me time or family time? I promise that, in return, you will gain a greater sense of personal control, lower your stress level, and begin to create that “life balance” we all crave. Seems totally worth it, doesn’t it?

PLEASE NOTE: The blog will be taking the next two weekends off for taxes (Ugh!) and Super Bowl Sunday (Yay!).  A brand new Cup of Caroll will appear in your in-box on Sunday, February 11th.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com and request a complimentary session.

“Whatever we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become a reality.” – Earl Nightengale

I hope you are enjoying the final precious days of summer! Many of my clients tell me that, while they enjoyed the extra time and fun activities with their families, they also look forward to getting back into a more focused daily routine, once school starts.

Whatever the season, I believe that EVERY day should start with a personal practice to center, calm and focus you so that you can be as productive and happy as possible.  If you don’t take the time to prepare your mind and spirit each morning, it’s easy for your daily schedule to end up running you instead of you running it.

I hope this lightly-edited blog from two years ago will demonstrate how simple it is to master your mindset and energy by starting each day with quiet, focused time for yourself that will pay big dividends in prosperity, health and productivity!

May 31, 2015

A man is but the product of his thoughts.  What he thinks, he becomes.” – Mahatma Gandhi

If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly someone who cares about your personal development.  You believe that good ideas, tips, techniques and the experiences others share can contribute to YOUR success, well-being and happiness.

I would venture to guess that you also invest precious time and money attending workshops, trainings, webinars and/or reading and listening to a number of gurus, experts and inspiring speakers whose wisdom can help you reach your Big Goals and develop your personal potential.

If so, bravo!  You are one of the few people who are willing to go beyond the status quo and make a real effort to develop new skills, explore new ideas and even change any limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from greatness.  As a result, you could be delighted with your growth and progress in your business, family life and well-being.

On the other hand, you may wonder “Why am I not further along after spending so much time and money to learn all this good stuff?  Why isn’t any of it making a real difference for me?”

The Pull of the Same Old Same Old

As a “Workshop Junkie” for thirty-plus years, I can attest that simply paying the fee, listening carefully, taking good notes and underlining good material will NOT change your life. Returning home with a “workshop high,” then parking my notebook on the bookshelf and never opening it again is something I did many times.  Sure, some of the more vivid ideas from trainings and books stuck with me and I implemented a few here and there.  But unless I made a concerted effort to put what I learned into DAILY practice, all those great Ah-Ha Moments soon faded from my memory and I inevitably found myself reverting to my entrenched habits and comfortable old beliefs.

Unfortunately, after your thoughts and beliefs have been stirred up with something new,   your own Ego is pre-programmed to get you back to status quo as soon as possible because that’s what it thinks is the safest thing for you to do.  It knows you can survive your life just as it has been, but it’s worried that all those NEW ideas and tactics might change you in ways that could have dire consequences. Any time you try to implement something NEW, you are going to have a fight on your hands from your own Ego.

Installing New Thought Patterns

So how can you overcome this strong inner voice telling you to stay comfortably parked on the couch and not change anything about your life? The answer is simple: PRACTICE.  Training studies done by NASA on astronauts prove that it takes 25 to 30 days of consistent repetition for the human brain to build a new neural pathway for electrical thought impulses to flow through.  These thought corridors in the brain enable you to drive a car without having to consciously think about where your feet go on the pedals, or how each of your fingers should move to play a piano sonata or type an email message.  They form new go-to thought habits, if you will.  A single infusion of inspiration or knowledge – no matter how impactful – won’t stick around for long without being anchored in your brain via consistent repetitive practice.

I’ve found that while I’m learning an online accounting program to keep all my business records up to date so tax time will be a breeze, I must practice it regularly in order to master it.  If I don’t use it on at least a weekly basis, I inevitably forget parts of the process and have to refer back to my notes.

What You Think About, You Bring About

As Gandhi said, we are each a product of our own thoughts. The Law of Attraction (which states that energy attracts like energy) dictates that the people, resources and circumstances that habitually show up in your life are a reflection of your inner reality.  For things to change in your outer world, you must habitually think new thoughts and feel new feelings in order to attract what you want in your life.

But how do you develop consistently positive thoughts and energy?  I believe it is through simple Daily Personal Practices. If you will discipline yourself to spend just 30 to 60 minutes each morning on your own personal practices, they will help you turn many great ideas you are exposed to into consistent, habitual thoughts and actions that will set you up for success and inner enrichment.

Develop A Daily Personal Practice

Here are four simple but powerful Daily Personal Practices that I recommend to all my coaching clients:

  • Read or listen to an enlightening, uplifting message each day. This can be religious or something secular that is positive and uplifting. There are scores of  books, message texts or emails you can subscribe to for a positive daily thought or affirmation. I particularly enjoy both Joel Osteen’s daily messages and the affirmations in the Daily Word put out by the Unity Church, but they don’t necessarily have to be spiritual or religious. Reading any inspiring and uplifting messages will expand your consciousness and empower you to handle whatever challenges or opportunities you may face that day.
  • Pray or Meditate for a few minutes. After putting some good thoughts into your head, you can close your eyes and pray or meditate for maybe five minutes to let them sink in.  The goal is to stop your Ego’s monkey-mind chatter for just a few minutes so you can receive valuable guidance from your Higher Power or Higher Self.  It has been said that “Prayer is talking to God and meditating is listening to His reply.”
  • Maintain a regular Gratitude practice. I love to keep a Daily Gratitude Journal in which I list 10 things I am grateful for in my life right NOW. I learned this from Oprah, who said that just knowing she was going to have to list the things she was grateful for that day before she went to bed made her NOTICE all the good things in her life, which made her happier with her life.  And, of course, the Law of Attraction causes whatever energy you are sending out into the world to come back to you. So, whatever you feel grateful for now will attract even MORE of the same to you – like money, for instance!
  • Get some kind of exercise every day. Just 30 minutes of walking has been shown to provide substantial health benefits for people of all ages.  If you claim you “don’t have time” to exercise, you are REALLY saying, “Health and well-being are not a priority for me.” You can get up 30 minutes earlier or spend an extra 30 minutes after you drop the kids at school before you start in on your daily routine IF you value your health.  I walk for one hour six days a week and use this time to do a walking meditation and prayer session.  You could also listen to a daily positive message while you walk or do yoga. So you see, there’s really no excuse for not getting all four of these beneficial personal development practices done in just 30-60 minutes every morning!

Be Patient and Keep Practicing

Like any other habit, developing your Daily Personal Practice takes time, so be gentle with yourself as you explore different ways to fit it into your day and make it a priority. (One client listens to her recording of a weekly business training call each morning while putting on her makeup.) Just don’t let your Ego fool you into thinking you can do it once in awhile and still get meaningful results.  If you consistently do your Daily Personal Practice, your thoughts and energy will inevitably grow more positive and help you to get The Best results from your day.

One of my clients recently shared some major positive shifts in her life, which she attributes mainly to consistent Daily Personal Practices helping her develop a more positive mindset: “My business has really taken off, yet I feel so much less stressed than I used to be! I am sponsoring the right people with more ease. My life feels more balanced between work and family.  My Team and I are having FUN together and they seem more motivated.  I even took the whole Memorial Day Weekend off with my family and just enjoyed being together in the outdoors. There was no cell service, so I was completely cut off from work, and yet I still met a great new prospect for my business while we were fishing!”

 If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top.

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift!

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

“I learned that we can do anything, but we can’t do everything…at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything.” – Dan Millman in Stress is a Choice

 Everything is going great guns in the first annual Prosperity Summer Camp course!  I am running fast to stay one step ahead of 52 eager “Campers” who are each actively working on manifesting a Big Goal by August 31, using the three steps of the Law of Attraction I am teaching them.  We are gaining insight and assistance from reading “You Are a Badass at Making Money” by Jen Sincero, who has truly mastered the art of allowing dreams to manifest more quickly and easily by letting go of the How.

To give me time to prepare for the weekly course, I want to share (again) with my cherished readers some simple but very effective suggestions for recharging yourself mentally, spiritually and physically, so you can manifest your own dreams with greater efficiency, focus and ease. Here is the edited blog that was very popular with my readers two years ago:

April 26, 2015

“Dedicate yourself to the good you deserve and desire for yourself.  Give yourself peace of mind.  You deserve to be happy.  You deserve delight.” – Mark Victor Hansen

 You may recall that one of my suggestions for “How to Beat Burnout(see blog #188 if you missed it) was to take at least one full day off each week and one entire weekend off each month.

If you find it challenging to imagine creating that much “recharging” time for yourself, I understand.  It’s challenging for me too.  There always seems to be plenty of paperwork, errands and projects to tackle on the two days a week I don’t have coaching clients. But I am striving to walk my talk and take regular time off to rest and re-charge my mind, body and spirit so I can be a more effective Personal Success Coach for my clients, a more attentive and loving wife to my husband, and a happier, more fulfilled ME to myself.

No matter how diligently we try to keep up, the chores will always be there. Trust me, the world will keep spinning if you unplug from them for a few hours a week. Isn’t it more important to nurture yourself and your personal relationships than to have a spotless house or completely orderly office?

I’ve learned to prioritize and do the weekly “musts” like writing this blog first, and then if I also manage to knock off a couple of the “would be nice” chores each week, that’s a plus that makes me feel EVEN better.  What really makes me feel happy and balanced is spending a few hours each week reading, relaxing, enjoying leisurely meals with my husband and watching good television. We also make it a point to go out on a weekly date night and enjoy a “Big Kids’ Play Day” once a month with our annual passes to Disneyland.

Here are four specific suggestions that I know for certain will have a very positive effect on your personal relationships and your mental, emotional and physical well-being if you follow them:

  • Be fully present. “Haste makes waste,” is accurate. If you focus 100% of your attention on what you are doing, you will do a better job in less time. You may think regular multi-tasking is a time-saver, but it actually makes you chronically half-present in your life. You half-understand what you hear and read, and are emotionally half-present with the people you are with. If you aren’t giving your projects, conversations and reading your full attention, you will eventually miss something critical that will lead to misunderstanding and/or having to completely re-do a task. One of my clients was dismayed when her five-year-old child recently asked her, “Mommy, why are you always in a hurry?” It’s not the amount of time you spend with them, but the quality of your undivided attention, that makes your loved ones feel that you care about them.
  • Be mindful in your health habits. Obesity studies show that people who eat slowly and savor their food, instead of shoveling it in mindlessly while watching television or working at their desk, consistently consume fewer calories. Taking time to prepare dinner and eat it with your loved ones most evenings will benefit your family relationships, as well as your waistline. Similarly, in your exercise routine, if you do your running, Pilates, yoga poses or weight lifting repetitions mindfully with proper form, your muscles will respond faster and avoid injury.
  • Get enough sleep. The late evening hours when the kids are in bed may seem like the ONLY time you have to get your own tasks done or just collapse on the couch in front of the TV or on social media.  However the price of sleep deprivation is very high, including stubborn weight gain, emotional and mental stress and a compromised immune system. Falling asleep at the wheel or a tired driver’s slowed response time are now said to cause as many deadly accidents as drunk drivers. If you discipline yourself to go to bed even 30 minutes earlier on weeknights, it will pay off in greater mental acuity, emotional control, and physical health. Back-lit screens like TV, computers and e-readers have been shown to interfere with your brain’s ability to wind down and let you fall asleep and stay asleep.  Exercising too close to bedtime can keep you awake too. Make the last 30-60 minutes of your evening a quiet time to meditate, converse with your partner or read an enjoyable paper book.
  • Unplug from your devices as often as possible. 84% of smart phone owners use their device while watching TV. Many people are tethered to electronics 24/7. “If you’re with your children and checking your phone all the time, the message to them is ‘Anyone in the world is more important than you,’” says Tanya Shevitz, a spokesperson for Reboot, a Jewish nonprofit dedicated to reinvigorating Jewish culture for a modern world. Orthodox Jews refrain from business transactions, writing, driving, gardening, shopping, laundry and other tasks from sunset Friday to sunset Saturday, spending time focused on God and their loved ones. But you don’t have to unplug from the internet and your phone just for religious reasons. “Embracing the sensual pleasures of life – having a special meal, lighting candles, having conversations where we really listen to others and listen to what our souls are trying to say to us…is rejuvenating when we give ourselves a day of rest once a week,” Shevitz suggests.

You will recall that last week’s blog urged you to ask God/The Universe and/or your own subconscious mind’s deeper wisdom “What must I change about myself in order to have what I want?”  Well, you can ask that same question about how to find a way to re-charge yourself regularly.  You may think it’s impossible to get off the hamster wheel of constantly running and doing, but if you take that question into prayer or quiet meditation, I promise you will receive some inspired guidance to help you begin.

If you commit to making even one small change in one or more of these areas and stick with it, you will begin to create a more balanced, healthy, happy and fulfilling life for yourself and those you love.

And don’t you deserve that delight?

IMPORTANT NOTE: A Cup of Caroll will be taking next weekend off and will return on Sunday August 13.

If you or your friends would like your own free subscription to receive this blog three Sundays a month, just go to http://practicalprosperitycoach.com and click on the Prosperity Tips button at the top. 

****************** The Gift of Dreams Fulfilled! ********************

I invite you to offer someone you care about a truly unique gift that can change their life — ONE HOUR of Personal Success Coaching!  It is absolutely F*R*E*E* of charge, with no obligation and no strings attached!  And if YOU haven’t coached with me in awhile and would like a “tune up” session please give yourself this gift! 

To schedule a F*R*E*E* HOUR of phone coaching that will help clarify your Big Goals and get you into ACTION to make this the BEST year yet, please email me at caroll@practicalprosperitycoach.com or call toll-free 888-503-8145.

 

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