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How do I become less reactive?

This week’s reader question is common. I start every day with good intentions, but then fire drill after fire drills happen. How do I become less reactive? Here are some ideas... Play offense: Limit email. Only check email 2 to 3 times per day, so you only have a few times a day that you can get derailed. Set office hours. Tell your team that you will be completely available for them during a specific set of time (say 11 am to 2 pm), and try to put-off interruptions until the

Ask Before Freaking Out

Last week, I had to make a last-minute trip out to SF for an accelerator interview. I booked my flights, rearranged a bunch of meetings, and was psyched.  Then I saw a note in Rowan’s backpack: “Just a reminder that you are the mystery reader for the class on Wednesday.” I have no idea how this fell off my calendar. Guilt rushed in. I had been looking forward to this for months.  I took a deep breath and sent a simple email to his teacher explaining the last-minute trip and

What would you regret?

When deciding what to do, a key question for me is, “If I do/don’t do X, would I regret it?” For example, I had to decide whether to fly cross-country for an interview versus doing it on Zoom. I knew that I would perform better in person. If I didn’t fly out and didn’t get it, I’d always wonder, “What if?” This practice works for decisions as small as deciding to be 10-minutes late to get the extra cuddles in, or as big as launching that dream side hustle.  Life’s too shor

The Power of ‘Your Best Year’ Vision

Last week, I sat down and crafted what was needed for 2020 to be my best year ever. Looking at my previous best years, I realized that I wanted an amazing summer of adventure and travel with my kids: road trips, shore-time, and camping. I can work from anywhere and my kids can go to camp anywhere, so why not take advantage? Last week, a well-known startup accelerator asked me to apply to their summer program. Normally, I would have spent days torn on what to do. (Yes! No! Agh

Another Single Dad Hack: Cleaning Pomodoros

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some “Dad hacks” from a Marc Picket, who is raising two young kids on his own. I love his approach and hope it can help us all see a different perspective. The second dad hack (which works for time management in general) is the Pomodoro method. Basically, I have an egg timer that I set for 25 minutes and focus on a single task until the timer goes off. This helps by making sure I don't spend too much or too little time on somet

How to maximize each season of life

This week I had an eye-opening chat with Bill Perkins, author of Die with Zero, in which he helps you make the most out of each season of life. Seasons might be major changes like your switch to being a parent, or minor ones like your kids outgrowing playing a favorite game with you. You die many deaths, not just one. I will never be a college student again. I will never not be a mom again. I will never breastfeed again. In order to maximize life, you need to match the experi

Visualize How Little Time We Have

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing some “Dad hacks” from a Marc Picket, who is raising two young kids on his own. I love his approach and hope it can help us all see a different perspective. The first dad hack to help fix my mindset is to realize that with kids 3 and 5 years old, I only have them both in the house for 13 more years. That's 676 weeks. I made a chart showing what this looks like. If every O is a weekend, then this means I have this many weeks with

Your Daily Juggling Act

Recently Yvette Butler, the founder of the financial education platform,  Impart Wealth, told me a great analogy for our lives of a working mom. Every day we are juggling. One of the balls is glass; the others are rubber. It’s our job to figure out which is each and keep the glass one in the air. If the rubber ones drop, fine, forgive yourself and move on. You still saved the glass one, which is what matters. What is your glass ball today? #prioritization #values

Make a 'One Day List'

I like to do things now but have learned the hard way that jumping on every good idea leads to overwhelming and burnout. That's why I love the idea of a 'One Day List'—a running list of all good ideas (at home and work) that you would like to do one day. Just because you are saying, 'no' to something now doesn't mean 'no' forever. Once you are finished with your current projects, you can turn to that list versus just reacting to whatever comes your way. For all you product

Overwhelmed today? This can help

I'm always fighting the feeling of being overwhelmed, which is why I love Shawn Blanc's tool—the overwhelm grid. First, make a list of all the tasks overwhelming you, including the ones that you know need to be done, but you aren't working on. Second, assign each a category on the following two by two: how much do you love versus hate doing this and how much only you can do it. Then develop a strategy for each box. You love doing it + only you can do it: savor these items You

Your Two-List Strategy

I'm stealing a page from Warren Buffet this morning. 1. Make a list of 25 goals in your life. 2. Now circle your top 5. Great, those are your current focus. 3. But, here is where his strategy gets interesting. The other 20? According to Buffet, "Everything you didn’t circle just became your Avoid-At-All-Cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top 5.” In that vein, I've been numbering my priorities each week. It's hard

Do the Most Important Things First

Today’s tip is so simple that I almost didn’t write it. Do the most important things first. When you look at your todo list for the day, what would you do if you only had an hour? Great. Do that. Better yet, do this for your week and complete your biggest priorities by Monday afternoon. You will remove the constant pressure or a grueling todo list and be amazed at what you can accomplish. So, it’s Monday morning, a perfect time to try this out. What can you tackle right now?

Don't Plow Through

The past few weeks have been intense, work-wise. My default is to enter super-execution mode. Do. Do. Do. However, I’m wiser than that. (Thanks to years of slip-ups.) Whenever I start feeling that manic panic, I block off an hour on my calendar to take a step back. I first look at everything on my to-do list and cross off the non-essential. I then look at my team. Do I have the right people? What are my holes? What on my plate can I give to others? Is my time better spent hir

A Five Dolphin Fire

Jay Newton-Small, the founder of MemoryWell, a digital storytelling platform for the aging, recently mentioned a simple prioritization method for her team—the dolphin scale. Each project on her team gets assigned a "dolphin" rating—5 for high priority, 1 for low. Every week she relooks at projects to adjust the scores. This process acts as a communication shortcut. People on the team know five comes over three. It also prevents folks from spending all week tackling the ones.

If You Had a Magic Wand

If you had a magic wand, what would you make happen in your life in the next year? In your career? At home? For my business, I want to hit the tipping point of success. I want the uncomfortable excitement of having demand for our coaching put the pressure on us to grow fast. I'd also love to be the go-to expert on what it means to be a working mom. At home, I want a little fairy sitting on my shoulder to remind me to slow down, enjoy the process, and be present. My simple mom

What if I only had 15 minutes?

Today I attempted to both parent and work at the same time -- always a recipe for disaster for me. I just needed to do 90 minutes more of work, but a screaming Rowan made that impossible. I needed a different approach. Stressed, I asked myself, "How can I do this in 15 minutes?" I calmed him down and looked at my to-do list. I cut two tasks and deprioritized others. I then delegated most of the rest. Honestly, I should have done all of this from the start. In three minutes, I

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