Self-Activation: What’s Getting in the Way of Getting Yourself Going?

When you can't get going

If you’ve ever seen the meme, “I can’t adult today,” you know the feeling. It’s known as “self-activation,” or “getting that heavy ball rolling” a phrase coined by author Ari Tuckman. Self-activation is harder some days than others. It’s harder depending on the task at hand. There are certain tasks which really make us cringe, and we ignore, delay, and avoid these tasks as much as possible. Sometimes, these tasks get done late or never get crossed off the to-do list at all.

Some tasks feel so overwhelming that we can’t seem to begin

Whether it’s cleaning out the garage, paying your taxes, or planning a Thanksgiving dinner for a large group, if the task before us feels overwhelming, we may never start.
Sometimes these are tasks are emotionally charged. We might worry we are going to disappoint or fail. To overcome this type of overwhelm, the key is to do any small part of the difficult task, and build off that.

The first action of an overwhelming task can be to ask for help. Why not?

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Taking Back the Time I Waste on Social Media

social media

We love social media. Some of us admit to being downright addicted to checking our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts many, many times a day. I’ve come to realize all my social media “checking” comes at a big cost. This cost is time, energy, stress, and anxiety.

Josh and Ryan, aka “The Minimalists,” spoke at The Neptune theater in Seattle recently, and told their story of how they rescued their lives from debt and consumerism to a huge captive audience. It was an instructional evening in many ways, but my main take away

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Organize Your Home by Marginal Gains

Marginal gains contribute to a more organized home.

If you improve how you manage different areas of your home by just 1%, would that lead to staying more organized in the long run? You bet.

This brilliant concept, called “aggregation of marginal gains” was utilized by Dave Brailsford, who took a historically good but un-winning U.K. cycling team and made many small improvements, which contributed to their win of the Tour De France just three years later.
For the U.K. cycling team, this meant 1% improvement in a whole slew of things from aerodynamics, nutrition, healthcare, the list goes on and on, but the sum of all those incremental changes contributed to the Tour de France win. Great athletes, with incremental changes and improvements in their training regime became winning athletes.
Some families suffer

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How Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is Killing Your Productivity

FOMO is killing your productivity

Every second of everyday, we are barraged with TV and internet ads, special sales, loyalty program offers and marketing messages cleverly designed to instill FOMO and to make us want to buy “stuff”. Of course, we need some “stuff”, but it takes serious mental strength to resist the FOMO and the constant pull toward over-buying.

“May we have your email address so that you can receive special promotions?”

Every time we visit a store (physical or online) we are asked for our email address so that we can receive coupons and

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Paper or Digital Calendar? Which is Better?

digital calendar

The short answer is of course that it comes down to a matter of individual preference. There are advantages and disadvantages to both the paper or digital type of calendars. We love all things digital, and many digital calendar apps are great, but there are many instances where the paper calendar diary works just as well, if not better. Our preferences may change over time and depending on the task at hand.

Digital Advantages

The digital calendar has many advantages. We are virtually attached to our smart phones these days so we always have our calendar with us. Doctor appointment cards no longer get lost in our coat pockets because we can now enter the appointment straight into our favorite calendar app. We can schedule recurring

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Planning and Budgeting for the Remainder of 2016

planning and budgeting

As we wind down summer, we are thinking about back to school. We also need to be planning and budgeting for the next four months. Here are some things to plan for now, so that you feel on top of things later.


Back to School Planning and Budgeting

  • Purchase back to school supplies:
    • Inventory what you already have in your home before you go shopping.
    • Print school supply list to take with you while shopping.
    • After shopping put all the new supplies together in one spot; like in a new backpack.
    • Take kids with you to shop for clothes and shoes. This will prevent having to return clothes and shoes that don’t fit.
    • Resist buying more that you need.
    • Don’t stress if you can’t find it all. Students don’t need everything day one.
  • This is a great time to inventory your child’s clothing and purge outgrown or worn out items.  Purchase new school clothes or school uniforms and shoes. Do fall sports shoes fit? Is there a PE uniform that needs to be purchased?
  • Schedule any overdue medical, vision or dental exams for your children.
  • Complete any school medical forms.
  • Budget for beginning of school year PTA, school and sports fees.
  • If you are planning on applying to private schools for the 2017-2018 school year:
    • Research potential schools.
    • Sign up for informational meetings and open houses.
    • Research test preparation courses.
    • Register for entrance tests.
    • Begin contacting teachers for letters of recommendation.
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Goal Setting Strategies for Adults with ADHD

Many adults who have ADHD are curious, intelligent, resourceful, imaginative, genuine, hyper-focusing, out of the box thinkers. This is especially true when they are working on something they find novel and exciting, interesting and fun! But when it comes to tasks they find horribly mundane and boring – ADHDers often can’t get going, they struggle, they get distracted and derailed. Even getting through daily responsibilities can be tough. They may set huge goals (or too many goals) for themselves but just can’t execute on them. They may have great intentions but come up short. Sometimes, they get discouraged and frustrated, and give up on setting goals altogether. This is not caused by a lack of effort; it’s caused by brain chemistry!

If this sounds at all familiar, help lies in customizing time management strategies to work specifically for you and making those strategies part your daily routine.

There are some things in our lives that energize us and some things that sap our energy. Only you know what types of activities recharge your batteries – thus making you more mentally available to get work done.

Think about your best days, your most energy filled, most productive days. What helped you feel so good? Were you well rested? Did you get to exercise? Did you have a great conversation with a friend?  The answer is different for every person. When we are aware of what energizes us, we can seek to optimize that energy and harness it toward more productivity.

Consider what derails you while you are trying to work. You may get started on something productive, but soon get distracted, derailed, lost. Are there specific triggers? Is it social media? Is it online shopping? Is it email notifications? Is it anxiety? Is it your children constantly interrupting you? Is it your cluttered desk? Is it depression? Is it your pet vying for attention? Again, only you know. Awareness, is a great starting point to try and minimize the triggers that derail you. Think about how you can eradicate the triggers that curtail your productivity. Can you turn off all notifications? Can you work in a coffee shop or library? Are you able to hire a babysitter? Would it help to report to a friend who is your accountability partner? Do you need to talk to a therapist or life coach?

When you have identified your sources of energy and have become aware of what derails you, it is time to set a goal. One very clear, very specific small goal. You are less likely to procrastinate if you know you have only one small thing to do.

Specific attainable goal: After dropping the boys at 8:30am I will jog three miles around my neighborhood. 

A vague daunting goal: I want to train for a marathon.

  1. Set a timeframe to achieve the goal. Run the Turkey Trot 10K in six months on Thanksgiving.
  2. Break goal into smaller goals. Run three miles for four weeks. Then increase run length to five miles.
  3. Break smaller goals into action steps. Be very clear about what needs to be done. Jog three miles each week for a month, then jog five miles twice a week until race day.
  4. Identify time to work on action steps – a fixed period of time in which to focus on work. Set reminders or alarms on your phone or computer. Tuesday mornings, from 9-10am is my time for jogging.
  5. At the end of each completed action step – reward yourself! Your choice!
  6. Repeat the action steps. Even if you have set-backs, keep going! You are on your way toward a positive routine.
  7. Complete all small goals. Celebrate when you complete your goal! Note how you feel each time you complete what you set out to do. Your success on each small action item proves that you are in control of your life and that is a reward in in itself. You have the tools to help yourself.



It has been proven that our brains don’t actually multi-task they quickly switch from one activity to another, making us less effective in the end.

Try the Pomodoro Technique to extend your productivity. Set a timer for 25 minutes. Work only for that time frame. When the bell goes off, take a break for five minutes. Energize during your break. Then set the timer for the next 25 minutes.

Use productivity apps. Try different ones to see which ones work for you. There are many: Trello, Asana, Basecamp, Any.Do, ToDoist, WunderList, EverNote.

If a strategy doesn’t work, tweak it a little. Use a different timer to give you visual cues and help you stay on task. Write out a checklist with specific steps you need to take to complete a task. Print it out and post it where you work.

Get outside help. Use an accountability partner. You are more likely to get something done if someone else is counting on you. A family member, a friend, or a life coach can help you stick to deadlines.

Delegate tasks. If household chores or errands are sapping your energy, consider hiring a housecleaner or having your groceries delivered.  Blue Apron delivers wholesome ingredients for recipes chosen by you.

You may have setbacks. You may fail to achieve some goals. Keep trying, routines are built by repetition.  CELEBRATE your successes, even the small ones. Duplicate small successes until they become routine.

Don’t give up. You can be in control of your ADHD. It doesn’t control you, you control you.

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Are You Monitoring your Long Term Goals?

long term goals

We all have our own individual goals and dreams. They have evolved over our lifetimes as our lives have changed. Long term goals are things that are very important to us. Some goals are really just dreams because we haven’t taken them seriously enough to take any action toward achieving them. What dreams and goals do you have? Can you take some action on them this summer? Talk through your goals with your spouse or partner and take steps toward achieving the life you want.

Some examples:

Long Term Financial and Legal Goals:

  1. Check in with financial advisor to confirm investments are on track for retirement goals.
  2. Revisit any college funds and make sure they are on track.
  3. Create or update your will and last testament.
  4. Create or update living will or medical health care directive.
  5. Revisit your insurance policies including life, umbrella and personal articles policies.
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How to Enjoy Traveling More With TripIt App

Enjoy your summer travel with TripIt!

Summer vacations should be all about having fun and making new memories. But we all know that there are some aspects of traveling which can be stressful.  One cause of travel related stress is managing all the logistical information that comes with every trip.

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