How would you feel if you had enough time to get everything done AND you still had time to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family? You’d feel AWESOME, right? What would you do with that extra time? Take a long, hot bath? Go hiking? Sit down and read to your kids?
What if I could snap my fingers and give you an extra hour in your day? Or maybe a FEW extra hours? In a way, I can. Because I can give you the tools to be more efficient and, ultimately, it will FEEL like several extra hours have been added to your day—hours that don’t have to be spent catching up on work, racing from one task to the next, or worrying about how to get it all done.
You’re invited to join me for an exclusive FREE webinar where I’ll be sharing 10 simple but POWERFUL strategies for managing time effectively.
In this session, you’ll get tangible, real solutions you can put into place immediately to gain a better sense of control over your life and work.
Limited to 100 participants so register TODAY!
Even if you’re unable to attend the live session, register anyway. I’ll send you a link to watch the recorded version online when it’s ready.
Those who attend live will be given the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session. Only 100 participants can join the live session so please come early so secure your spot.
This webinar is celebrating a special promotion I’m running. If you’d like to pick up a copy of my Career Success Combo Kit, which includes my two most popular e-workbooks (on the topics of Time Management & Stress Management) you don’t want to miss this 50% off sale. It’s the LAST TIME these e-workbooks will be offered together at this low price. Learn more here >>
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, July 05th, 2011 | 2 Comments »
Admittedly, this post is a little late. The Oscars were several weeks ago now but, for those of us who love movies, fashion, and snarky commentary from Joan Rivers, this year’s ceremony won’t quickly be forgotten.
In case you missed it, the show was widely panned by critics who placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of the two young hosts: Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Franco, in particular, received a brunt of the criticism because of his lazy demeanor. Some people went so far as to suggest he was stoned during the telecast—an accusation I think is probably unfounded, considering what we know of this man. In truth, it’s probably much more likely that he was just the victim of his own overly ambitious schedule. Those who still think multi-tasking is legitimate productivity technique, pay close attention. This is what it looks like when the quest for productivity goes wildly out of control.
Who Is James Franco?
First off, here’s a little background for those of you who don’t really know who James Franco is or why we should care: He’s a 32 year-old actor with a pretty stellar list of credentials including a Golden Globe for his performance as James Dean and mainstream pop culture cred for playing Harry Osborn in the Spider Man trilogy and for his role as a loveable pot dealer in Pineapple Express. This year, he was also nominated for the Oscar for Best Actor in 127 Hours, making his hosting gig even more unprecedented.
However, the most impressive thing about James Franco isn’t his acting resume; it’s his extra curricular activities. The list is pretty incredible…and very odd. A few of the most notable things he has done include a guest role on General Hospital (which he called “performance art”) that mirrored his actual life, a generally well-received book of disturbing short stories called Palo Alto, and various multimedia art projects that have been on display at Sundance and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
On top of all this, he’s an almost compulsive student. After earning his Bachelor’s Degree in English from UCLA, where he took 62 credits per quarter (the normal max is 19), he then simultaneously attended graduate school at Columbia University for creative writing, NYU for filmmaking, Brooklyn College for fiction writing and North Carolina’s Warren Wilson College for poetry. Now, he’s a Ph.D. student studying English at Yale and also attends the Rhode Island School of Design.
I’m pretty sure he’s not a pothead. That kind of schedule doesn’t exactly align with the typical stoner mentality.
But keep all of this in mind as we explore the Oscars debacle and how this uber-productive person got in over his head.
Watch Out for Diminishing Returns
Now, James Franco is kind of known for that squinty eye thing. It’s actually pretty adorable. But during the Oscars ceremony, he looked downright out-of-it. At one point, he even stumbled over his words so badly, I don’t blame people for thinking drugs could have been involved. But that’s what happens when you’re exhausted. Running around the globe—from graduate classes to film sets and back again—must cause an unbelievable strain on the body and mind.
In a recent interview, Danny McBride, Franco’s costar in an upcoming movie, said the following:
“There was a teacher that he had at school in New York, and James (Franco) had missed a class or two because of filming, and (the teacher) basically said if he didn’t come to this class, he would be dropped from the class. So for the last half of the production, James (Franco) would finish shooting Monday night, get on an airplane in Belfast (Northern Ireland), fly to New York, go to the class, get back on a plane, fly back to Belfast and come back to work every week.”
If this is any indication of how this guy manages his crazy schedule, it’s no wonder he was out of it.
There’s a limit to how much stuff one person can do before exhaustion sets in. If you want to be productive, you have to recognize when you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns—when you’re so exhausted that you’re actually working against yourself. I think that’s what happened the night of the Oscars.
Multi-Tasking Doesn’t Work
Franco actually started off the evening with his cell phone in hand, taking pictures of the Oscars audience to post on Twitter. Um…kind of a bad idea. In fact, the night of the ceremony, he posted dozens of tweets, complete with photos and videos. This is the very definition of multi-tasking and the resulting unfocused, disinterested, and distracted performance the audience saw is exactly why we should all avoid it.
Franco’s attention was literally split in (at least) two different directions from the get-go. While one side of his brain was thinking, “Focus on your lines, be charming, smile big, make ‘em laugh, blah, blah, blah,” the other side was thinking, “Get a good shot so the Twitter fans will be happy, gotta upload this as soon as I get backstage, wonder if that pic was blurry, blah, blah, blah.”
Doing two things at once might sound easy enough. It might physically even BE easy enough. But mentally, you’re straining your resources. And, when something really matters, you want to be playing with 100% capacity. Divided attention is usually fairly obvious to everyone involved, and most people find it insulting. This is one of the reasons I think people were so outraged by his lackluster performance. It was like a smack in the face for those of us who were expecting more.
Jack of All Trades = Master of None
Poor James Franco turned in a really bad performance as host of the Oscars. And, as it turns out, his peers at Yale also raked him over the coals for his lame Twitter stream. So, apparently, he failed at both things that night. This is pretty typical for multi-tasking. When you try to be a “Jack of all trades” you end up “master of none.”
Who’s to say if the rest of his life will play out the same way? From this perspective, it certainly doesn’t look good.
When I think of James Franco, I remember my number one rule for productivity: If you’re trying to do too much, there’s no system in the world that can help you. Dividing your attention and packing your schedule full to the point of exhaustion is a sure-fire way to end up with a bunch of mediocre performances.
Clearly, a person like James Franco doesn’t want to be mediocre. And when he has his head in the game, he’s insanely talented. But the same productivity rules that apply to everyone else, also apply to him. Multi-tasking doesn’t work any better for famous people than it does for the rest of us. Trying to pack every conceivable goal into the span of a few years might sound great in theory, but I’m guessing that, in practice, it’s a big pain in the ass.
So take heed. Give your full, undivided attention to the one, important task at hand before moving on to the next. No matter how rich and talented and smart you are, human productivity has its limits.
Even an adorable smile can’t change that.
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, March 28th, 2011 | 3 Comments »
This past weekend, I attended a coaching course on the topic of Fulfillment. While I gained so much from the information presented, one of the most important things I learned was that fulfillment can’t wait. It’s the single most important thing we are all searching for. It’s the essence of LIFE.
And yet, so many of us put it off. Life, you might say, gets in the way of LIFE. We want to be “responsible” and “rational” and the end result is that we put our own fulfillment at the bottom of the priority list.
Now, let me clear: There’s nothing wrong with being responsible and rational. These are great qualities for any adult. But it’s easy to use them as excuses for not taking action.
And, when it comes to fulfillment, action can’t wait.
There’s another great excuse for not taking action that’s all around us this time of year. It’s called PLANNING. Yep. That responsible, rational side of your brain is convinced that making a New Year’s resolution is a real step towards achieving fulfillment.
Let’s be clear: TAKING action is not the same as PLANNING action.
Does this mean you shouldn’t plan? Absolutely not. Establish goals, create your to-do lists, dive into planning mode as much as your heart desires. But don’t get it confused with action. Realize that planning can, at times, be a hindrance to action.
Action is the key component to creating fulfillment. There’s nothing stopping any of us from taking action today. Really. I know it’s scary. I know it’s easier to just pull out the calendar and mark a day in the future as “The Day I Will Take Action.” But things come up. Life throws unexpected circumstances at us. That responsible, rational part of you will always find a way to jump in and say that today’s not the day, no matter how long you’ve been planning it.
I believe, with all of my heart, that you can take action today. It doesn’t have to be a giant leap of faith; just one tiny step is all it takes. LIFE is waiting for you to do this.
So today, instead of putting “run a marathon” on your New Year’s resolution list, go register for one. Instead of saying, “Next year I’ll start my own business,” go out and get a new client. Just go do it. There’s nothing stopping you.
What action will you take today to get closer to fulfillment?
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, December 10th, 2010 | 1 Comment »
I hate to admit this, but I’m a bit overextended. I know, I know. I wrote an entire workbook on Time Management and yet sometimes, I still have trouble with it myself. I think it’s just one of those things that can never be entirely mastered. We all go through phases where we feel mentally and physically overwhelmed. At that point, we need to take a step back and re-evaluate.
As I’ve said before, I’m a productivity junkie. And, in reality, I think this harms my productivity. It sounds counterintuitive but, when you spend a huge amount of time thinking about how to better use your time, you eventually stop looking adorably neurotic and start looking mildly disturbed.
I’m facing a few time management obstacles and, as I’ve started to recognize them, I’ve realized that others may be dealing with the same issues. So I’ll share my thoughts here and (hopefully) help those of you experiencing similar challenges:
Overemphasis on Tools
I’m a sucker for organizational tools. I love them to the point of obsession. Boxes, books, binders, notepads, folders, pens, planners, techno-gadgets, you-name-it. I can’t walk into a stationery store without getting giddy. The other day, I had just sat down to do some work on my upcoming Reinvent Your Career workbook when, all of the sudden, it dawned on me that I needed a whiteboard.
“Yes, a whiteboard will make the brainstorming process much more productive,” I thought. “I simply can’t work without a whiteboard!!”
I got so wrapped up in the stupid whiteboard idea that I finally had to stop what I was doing, drive over to OfficeDepot and buy one—just to regain my focus.
Why do these kinds of tools matter? They don’t. They give us the feeling that we’re being productive but, ultimately, they’re just soaking up time, energy and money. Sure, some of this stuff is useful. But most of us put too great an emphasis on tools that, in all honesty, we never end up using to the degree we think we will. That whiteboard was really helpful for about a day, but I haven’t touched it since. Like most of my fabulous productivity paraphernalia, it’ll probably end up collecting dust in a corner somewhere. *SIGH*
These kinds of tools can easily become excuses. We convince ourselves that everything will be different once we have that new computer or filing cabinet or day planner. But really, there’s nothing stopping us from being productive right now, this second, with or without the tools.
“I Have Too Much To Do”
Sometimes I find myself repeating this mantra over and over. It’s been burned into my brain and, like any limiting belief—once it’s in there—it has a way of manifesting itself and becoming true. Do I really have too much to do? What is too much? Maybe it just feels like too much but, in reality, I have the perfect amount. The more I tell myself I’m overwhelmed, the more I feel it and the less action I take. Instead, I focus on being frustrated and complaining. I spend all of my energy managing time rather than using it wisely.
I think, in the workplace, we’ve all been trained that being busy (or looking that way) makes us more valuable. The more we have to do, the more secure and important we feel. So, it becomes second nature to emphasize our heavy workload and overflowing calendar. But all too often, we frame it in a negative light. We think, “I don’t have enough time to do it all!” We need to reframe this belief into, “I have enough time to do what matters most.”
What matters most.
This is the crux of the issue: knowing your priorities and understanding the difference between time-wasting fluff and the truly important work. If we honestly assess our situation and whittle our task list down to what really matters, we almost certainly have all the time we need.
Losing the Forest in the Trees
Why do I want to manage my time effectively? In truth, it’s so I can have more time to do things I love with people I love. But I often forget that. When I’m especially productive and end up finishing a project earlier than expected, I just grab another task and keep working. What’s the point in that?
We all have to remember our bigger values and the reasons we treasure time so much. We need to reward our efforts by doing those things we dream of doing with our time—going on vacation, relaxing with our kids, just doing nothing! What makes time so precious to you? Probably not work. And yet, when we work effectively and find ourselves with extra time, we often fill it with more of the same!
I’m trying hard not to lose the forest in the trees. I’m making every effort to reward myself when I hit my time management goals. I take long walks with my dog, spend evenings out with friends, and, every once in a while, I let myself visit a stationery store. After all, once a productivity junkie, always a productivity junkie.
1. Become a fan of Eat Your Career on Facebook and share a link to this post with your friends. (To become a fan, just click the “like” button on the Eat Your Career Facebook page)
*Note: If you’re already a fan, just share a link to this post to be entered.
2. Follow me on Twitter and send a tweet about this contest. (Be sure to use the hashtag #EatYourCareer so I can track it!)
* Note: If you’re already following, just tweet with the hashtag to be entered.
3. Write a blog post about this contest and put it up on your blog. (Be sure to send me an email with a link or just add a comment here.)
For each one you do, you’ll get one entry. So, if you do all three, your name will be entered three times.
The contest ends on Friday, August 27th at midnight Eastern Time. At that time, I’ll take a final list of all the people who have entered the contest, dump it into the Randomizer, and choose five people to win.
Go on! The contest ends soon so get going.
Written by Chrissy Scivicque, August 26th, 2010 | 4 Comments »