Celebrating 100 Posts! (Lessons Learned Too)

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Celebrating 100 posts!  YAHOO!

Maintaining this blog has become a great creative outlet for me both personally and professionally.  It’s also been a tremendous learning experience.  Every time I sit down to write, it’s a new adventure.  If you’ve been following my posts for a while, you know that the adventure can be a bit hairy, but I sincerely hope you’ve found the adventure to be fun and informative too.

It doesn’t really get easier to create or to write posts, but the fact that I’ve developed a body of work and a routine of posting regularly is a big plus in favor of my keeping going rather than giving up.

I’ve also learned:

  • I can help people just by writing.
  • I can help myself by jumping in and seeing where things go without having a pre-set plan.
  • I can have low-creativity days, but I can survive them and come back from them.
  • I can fit writing work in even when I don’t think I’ll have the time.
  • I can make something out of what seems like thin air.
  • I can feel accomplished when I try new things, even when I don’t know as much as what other people know about those new things.
  • I can make great friends (e.g. those people who know those things).
  • I don’t have to make masterpieces to relay my message.
  • My message is worth working for.

Here’s another thing I learned in preparing for this 100th post:

We can scare ourselves out of just about anything.

In getting excited about this post, I also got a bit hysterical.  First, I figured I needed a really snazzy image or photo to denote the big deal of reaching 100 posts.  Then, I figured I needed some really smash-down content to denote the super big deal of reaching 100 posts.  And then, I worried I wouldn’t have either and my anxiety near shut me down.

In true blogger style, I decided to trudge on and make something of this mini-struggle of mine.  I decided to set it down as it was – my anxiety about something pretty much insignificant and totally made up by me.  You see, 100 is just a number, and it’s actually just another post.  But as Procrastinators, we know well how there are mundane moments or tasks in our lives that we somehow manage to make into momentous nightmares for ourselves, and make ourselves disabled just by our thoughts.

I hope you understand my message — you can move past your anxiety, especially if it’s crafted just perfectly by you for the occasion at hand.  Congratulate yourself on your creativity and your engagement, and then move on and do the work that needs to get done.  No drama, no excitement, just get ‘er done.

Reaching 100 posts does actually mean something to me.  It’s kind of unthinkable that a Procrastinator like me might carry through to 100.  Having readers like you, who care to change your lives for the better makes my journey worthwhile, and the work worth doing.

Here’s looking forward to the next 100.  I’m nervous already.

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    How to Determine If You are a Perfectionist

    USE UP (7)

    I often am asked if perfectionism is linked to Procrastination.  I answer with a resounding “Yes!”  We Procrastinators hold back from completing what we start, for fear of being found out for the imperfect creatures we feel ourselves to be.  We each have different stories about our personal deficiencies, and those stories are underlying our refusal to move forward with what we know we ought to be doing.

    Perfectionism is Neither Simple Nor Perfect

    Your day is filled with dread.  Each turn is loaded.  You rarely experience a feeling of comfort.  You experience generalized anxiety.  Your mood is flat.  You are oriented towards getting the approval of others.  You believe there is a “right” and a “wrong” way to do things.  You feel a hidden, but persistent ache for relief.  You experience a constant pressure to strive for more.  You engage in little to no relaxed leisure time.  You believe that one day your efforts will pay off, but your fear of the total collapse of all of your efforts seems to overshadow your hope for a big win.  You have a high need for control.  You are unable to communicate your full wishes to others for fear of seeming needy or vulnerable.

    Sound like you?  Join the very large crowd.

    Perfectionists come in all shapes and sizes.  We all crave a bit of perfect now and then.  It helps to buffer against the slings and arrows in this world, in our lives.  It helps to have an aim (perfection), but the problem with perfectionism is the goal (being perfect) will eternally be elusive.  This leads to bigger problems, like having our days be filled with fears of imperfection. Ironic, but true.

    Release Yourself from the Grip of Perfectionism

    I encourage those of you who are straining under the weight of perfectionism to consider coming out.  Examine what letting others know about what you know about yourself — the good, the bad, and the ugly — might do for your spirit and your ability to move in your life. Test the waters a bit.  Examine your own demands for order, correctness, meeting others’ standards.  Remind yourself that you can loosen up.  You may need the support of a therapist or another professional to release yourself from the grip of habit and the hold that perfectionism tends to have on our capacity to be flexible, open, and ourselves.

    When you come out you:

    • will feel uneasy
    • will feel like you’ve blown your cover
    • will feel like you’re not the expert anymore

    But you will also feel:

    • liberated
    • anxiously excited
    • renewed
    • available for change and learning
    • more present in your own life

    You will continue to be the striving, hard-working, well-meaning person you always have been.  No one can take that away from you.  When you decide you no longer wish to be bound by perfectionist standards, your innate talents and your ability to effect change in the world will only grow.

    Thank you for taking the time out of your day to follow me and my blog.  If there are topics that you are interested in hearing more about, please let me know by posting a reply here. Have a great day. 

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      Consider Yourself In

      USE UP (6)

      This morning I felt inspired to write about considering yourself in.  Part of the inspiration came from the Lao Tzu quote above.  When you take the meaning of the quote in, it’s breath-taking.

      We are master creators of myths, dramas, illusions, pictures, nightmares, catastrophes, and magical events.  In our minds.  If only those creative skills would magically turn into income, or a hobby, or a passion, or a masterpiece.  In real life.  If only.

      If only we could take our Procrastination-riddled minds and imagine for a few moments that the mere fact that we are Procrastinating means we are already in.  We are experiencing the adrenaline stirring and resisting the creative impulse, but the fact of the matter is we are already in.

      Procrastinators are prone to making a few mistakes with regard to their fear of getting things started or getting things done:

      • they believe they are not a part of things
      • they believe they are not ready for things
      • they believe they will feel run over when things begin
      • they believe they will be incompetent when things really get going
      • they believe they will not be able to adjust to the change they initiate

      Of course, these fears are only illusions.  You are an adaptable being.  You are a creative being.  You are in a community of people.  And you are already in.  I feel the need to add here that in my 20 years of coaching Procrastinators, not once was the issue the client’s lack of ability or competence.  Not once.  (#repeatmyselfThursday)  That fact really drives my work to help Procrastinators move forward with their lives.  I know deep in my heart the only problem we’re facing is the illusion.  That’s a great feeling.

      Today, consider yourself in.  Make yourself aware of the illusion you’ve been tweaking, put it aside for awhile, and consider what is before you — your opportunity to breathe, to act, to create, to move ahead in the real-life drama of today.

      What illusion are you currently masterminding?  Please share.  Also, remember to join me on Twitter @ChristineLiPhD for more insights on the battle against Procrastination.

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        Technique to Try: Get Rid of the Excess

        What's on your list- (1)

        It’s very easy to accumulate things.  E-mail comes in without our asking it to.  Laundry piles swell unremittingly.  Daily snail mail brings with it a pile of paper.  Everything we say “yes” to tends to hang around until we actually do something to terminate it.  There are some things we say “yes” to that seem interminable (can we all say together “neighborhood association board?”).

        When we are in our younger years, let’s say our 20′s, we tend to believe that the more we acquire, the better we have it.  By extension, the better we have it, the better we are.

        I would say when I was in my 20′s (yes, I still can remember thank you), I was not so much about accumulating things because I was knee-deep in graduate school, not making much moolah, and had too little time to focus on acquiring things.  Too much on my hands already.

        But then, in my 30′s, with the pressures of graduate school behind me and some income coming in, it seemed the wisest way to spend my leisure time was to accumulate things.  I wasn’t after anything in particular.  Whatever “need” arose, I suddenly developed the great capacity to acquire the thing that would satisfy that “need” so that I would no longer feel that “need.”  What a great system.  Following that system for several years, I convinced myself that I was capable, because I could take care of myself this way.

        Unfortunately for me, only part of that taking care of myself was working.  Yes, I was able to spot a problem and handle it.  But I was not taking care of myself in terms of making sure my acquisitions balanced out other important items like:

        • my actual need (not just my perceived one)
        • my budget (I didn’t keep one)
        • my space to house these acquisitions
        • my time I had to spend to go get these items
        • my need for rest and errand-less living
        • whether these acquisitions made any sense in my overall life picture

        Fast-forward to the present day.  I’ve spent the past few years — the past 12 to be exact — slowly learning how to curb the aforementioned system of self-care.  I reached a time in my life where real non-stuff matters easily trumped my desire to possess more.  I more recently reached a point in my life where I realized, I not only didn’t want to be saddled with stuff, I also didn’t want to be held back by living “the busy life.”  Being busy to look busy was making me tired, cranky, and pretty much unproductive all the time.  And please of course always remember whenever I tell you a personal story, you should factor in that you are reading about a chronic Procrastinator too.  I think that makes my story much more dramatic, don’t you?

        So what does this mean for you?

        I could go on about this forever, but I know you are reading this because you want to get on with your life also.  You want to be free to move about as you please.

        I suggest you take that potent wish and decide today which of the following categories you are going to take on first.  Are you going to cut out:

        • e-mails?
        • clutter?
        • expenses?
        • debts?
        • appointments?
        • stressors?
        • memberships?
        • apps on your phone?
        • relationships that are purely not good for you?
        • activities that don’t make you feel well?

        Recommendations for a successful go at this

        With excess comes a feeling of being stagnant, heavy, and overburdened.  In light of that, please be kind and patient with yourself when you decide you are going to start getting rid of the excess.  I recommend chipping away rather than hacking away the excess in order to ensure your sanity remains intact.

        Take an hour today and chip away.  Here are some general guidelines for doing so:

        • target your current zone of excess
        • spend 20 minutes in the zone with a focus on reducing, reducing, reducing
        • quickly reset your zone (especially if you created a bit of a mess)
        • set your plans for your next chipping away session
        • praise yourself, breathe, and go on with your day
        • repeat

        Have a great day today.  And tomorrow.  Chip away.

        Please share with us any stories you might have to share of reducing to get ahead.  I’d love to hear them.

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          Technique to Try: Thinking More Clearly

          USE UP (2)If I’m honest with myself, well, then I don’t feel much like myself.  I am a terrific liar to myself.  I tell myself:

          • I can fit 20 minutes into the space of 10
          • I can feel great tomorrow even if I go to bed at 2:30 a.m.
          • I can skip the process of putting important to-do items in my planner and then successfully remember them
          • I can drop this item anywhere in my home and the gods of supreme kindness will make sure it doesn’t get damaged, lost, or forgotten and my home will be uncluttered and neat

          Of course, my lies do not end there.  They can extend to the other major areas of my life, including health maintenance, relationships, jobs, and finances.

          There are a host of reasons why we learn to be deceiving of ourselves.  Here’s a very short list of culprits:

          • we believe we are limitless in our energy
          • we believe we can “make up” for things we’ve lost, like our sleep
          • we believe if we’ve invested money, time, or our feelings into something or someone, we must keep doing so, no matter how bad the situation is
          • we believe we have to be perfect
          • we believe we cannot reveal our insecurities to others
          • we believe no one else feels insecure
          • we believe no one will understand our perspective if we act truthfully

          How do you learn to be honest with yourself on a reliable, consistent basis?

          In trying to fight my tendency to Procrastinate, I have had to learn how to resist my immediate impulses (for delay, avoidance, and cluttering up my living space), and tolerate the temporary discomfort that brings.  In the past few years, I have learned that gratification doesn’t just come from the immediate short term.  I have learned that daily, small efforts bring me the most enduring and meaningful rewards.  Maintaining this blog is one of the examples I can think of where devoting my concentrated effort in small ways daily has paid off big time.

          Where might you start?  Will it be with your finances?  Will it be with your closet?  Your essay?  Take a look at what you’ve chosen and ask yourself:

          • How have I been lying to myself and/or to others?
          • How has that lying served me well?
          • How has the lying hurt me or other people?
          • What is the full honest truth about the situation?
          • What will it take to make a turn-around in my behavior and attitude?
          • Do I need to tell someone about my change of heart in order to make it stick?

          Try this today.  Take an entirely honest view of what you are delaying or avoiding.  Then take action without fear, instead replacing your worry with small actions that head towards the truth.  The truth of what needs to get fixed, opened, replied, reduced, or spoken.

          And the winner is…

          When you learn to be clear in your purpose and thinking, the honest truth tends to surface on its own.  You will feel it in your gut.  The signal will be there for you to read.  But only if you practice that ability of identifying the signal and abiding by it.  When you do, you will find:

          • you will stop hanging around the people in your life who don’t treat you well
          • you will be able to keep your home and finances running more smoothly as you make choices about how you keep your living space and your budgets clear of excess and stuff you don’t need
          • you will be able to make progress on projects that have been stalled if you determine they were really important to you

          Big wins all around, I’d say.  Best wishes to you.

          News to Share:

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          There are just a few more days left to sign up for the Procrastination Coach October Workout Group (deadline: October 6th).  Come join us for direct instruction on how to move past your Procrastination and how to start moving forward again.

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            Derek Jeter Reveals a Secret to His Success

            temp_collage_1411996667.823529I hesitated about writing a post about Derek Jeter because hey:

            • I don’t follow baseball
            • everyone else is writing about Jeter
            • I wouldn’t want you to think Derek told me his secret to me in person #heehee

            Despite my reservations, I could not resist writing about something I read about Derek Jeter this weekend in The New York Times.  In discussing how overwhelming his feelings have been during the last few weeks of his career, he said, “I have ‘em, I try to hide them. I try to trick myself and convince myself that I’m not feeling those particular emotions, whether its nerves, whether I’m injured, pain.  I just try to trick myself I don’t have it.”  When I read this quote, I was struck by the beauty of it.  I’m all with Derek.  It’s important to have your feelings, but it is also important to develop a practice of making sure your feelings do not get in your way.

            Procrastinators suffer when we get overcome by our feelings of:

            • doubt
            • frustration
            • fear
            • confusion
            • ambivalence
            • wanting to control our outcomes
            • hysteria
            • being less capable than our opponents

            So this is where Derek teaches us again (via another New York Times piece): “I think that’s where people get in trouble, when they start complicating things.  It’s really not that complicated.  The more complicated you make it, the more difficult it is on you.  You’re playing a game where you fail more than you succeed.  You’ve got to try to keep it as simple as possible.”  I really got the sense from this quote that he was speaking to US and not just to struggling baseball rookies.  Derek reminds us to strip our purpose to the essentials and to be wary of anything that might prevent us from seeing that purpose clearly.

            This is what the greats tend to do.  They work really (unbelievably) hard at their practice, and leave us thinking they make it look easy.

            Here’s the Jeter Take-away for you:

            • Be present in the moment and feel your feelings.
            • Challenge the feelings that threaten to take you away from your purpose.
            • Preserve your capacity to focus.
            • Don’t complicate your life.
            • Remember what is essential in the game you are playing.
            • We can all be champions.

            Thanks, Mr. November.  Best wishes to you.

            Registration is still open for a few more days for the Procrastination Coach October Workout Group.  Let me know if you’d like more information about it.  I’d love to work with you. 

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              Communication Needs to be Transactional {to be Good}

              temp_collage_1411618365.173272Since I spend my days working as a psychologist, I spend a lot of time thinking about, participating in, and looking at communication and communication dynamics.  I think about:

              • what people are saying
              • what they are not saying
              • what they want to say
              • what I want and don’t want to say
              • the meaning of periods of silence

              Of course, that’s not an exhaustive list, because communication is such a fascinatingly broad field of play.

              Here’s a list of some of the lessons about successful communication I’ve learned over the years:

              1. What we communicate is not conveyed just in words, but how we add our intention, motivation, and feeling into the words we use.  Inject your words with your curiosity, your wisdom, your humor, your drive, and/or your personality when you speak.  When you do, your words will really resonate with those listening.
              2. The energy of communication between two or more people is live, and not fixed.  Though we may try mightily to predict what others might say, we have slim chances of doing so because communication is a veritable dance of human energy and creativity.  Enjoy the playing involved in communicating, and avoid trying to control what’s being said.
              3. Listen well to be a good communication partner.  Let others know you are interested in what they say by listening closely (to what is and is not being said) when they are talking.  Good communication often involves patience, as there may be misunderstandings to work through before communication becomes clear.
              4. What people say to us does not bind us.  We decide to be bound or not bound to those words and to people.  Do not be afraid of what’s being said.  But do be very aware and mindful of how you react to what’s being said.
              5. Fulfill your own responsibility in making sure the communication is clear.  If there are discrepancies in times or dates, for example, play it safe and reconfirm details ahead of time to avoid finding yourself in a last-minute rush or panic.  I’m including this lesson here because I recently screwed up a lunch date because I assumed everything will work out just as I think it will.
              6. Communication is an incredibly powerful method to combat anxiety.  That’s the whole premise behind psychotherapy, after all.  When you put words to your problems, you begin to develop a sense of mastery over your fears.  Talk it out.  You can do it.
              7. What you are most afraid of saying aloud is likely the issue you need to address most.  What you are trying to say matters so much more than how you say it, also.
              8. When you feel free to communicate openly and when you need to, you are likely in a healthy environment or relationship.  The inverse of this is also true.
              9. Communication needs to be transactional.  We need not fuss and worry over what we say or feel our words will “make” or “break” things.  We are not the only ones responsible for making communication successful; those we are speaking to share that responsibility and should participate as such.

              When Procrastinators begin to rely heavily on avoidance and denial, good communication tends to go out the window.  When Procrastinators feel backed into a corner because of disorganization, lack of preparation, anxiety, or workblock, they may lie to others or isolate themselves in order to feel better.  Unfortunately, when we lie or isolate ourselves from others, our stress tends to escalate quickly, because communication is no longer meaningful or effective at getting our point across.

              It’s never too late to change how you communicate.  But good communication only happens with good practice and trust that your words will see you through.

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              Registration Going on Now for the October Workout Group

              If you are interested in learning more about communication or feel you could use some coaching in that area, sign up for the Procrastination Coach October Workshop Group. The first lesson will be on communication.  The weeks following will include lessons on time management, control and perfectionism, and tools to maintain progress post-Procrastination.  Membership for the month is $10.  I think you’ll dig it.

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                8 Methods to Cope with Procrastination-Caused Stress

                temp_collage_1411398678.690100When we Procrastinate, we create opportunities for a chaotic mess of cognitive and emotional changes to enter our lives.  The following is a list of techniques to help you re-emerge from a Procrastination gap, if you are in one:

                1. Be patient with your up-and-down feelings.  We have a tendency to believe our moods should be Even Steven when we are at work.  I know I don’t have to think very long before coming up with many, many examples of work experiences where my mood, which tends to be stable, was anything but.
                2. Remember your doubts don’t represent reality.  To all the “What if?”-ers in the world, those what-ifs are fear statements run amok.  Don’t wager your bright future on those made up, extreme anxiety versions of your future.  Make it a habit of writing your what-ifs down.  The only value they will give you is the sense that your fears are exaggerated once you’ve tallied how many actually come true (if you can even tally a one).
                3. Reject others (sort of).  Part of the reason individual therapy and coaching helps Procrastinators is because they put focus on that one person.  That one person who likely has been spending a whole lot of time comparing him or herself to those around them, even people who don’t actually exist.  It’s really, really, really hard to be the world’s best anything or something, so let’s drop the competition and let’s start living.
                4. Join others.  Get into a group of like-minded people.  If there isn’t a group, form one.  Start with one person.  If that person isn’t a good fit, ask for his or her suggestions for who might be a good fit.  Let the stimulation of meeting and connecting with someone new enable you to forget your worries.
                5. Stick with the basics.  When we sit with ideas or stress too long, complications ensue.  We get overloaded, tired, and unfocused and then get ourselves started on a bum foot.  Ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish here?” or “What aspect of this project do I understand so far?”  With a deep breath and answers to those questions, write two sentences, break out those tools, plug in that device, turn up the music and get started.  Once you’ve started, continue to keep the basics of your purpose in mind.
                6. Look straight ahead, not up.  There are so many pressures to “make something of yourself” and to achieve and to acquire whatever (you fill in the blank).  Sometimes the message comes with the teaser that Happiness will be yours once you’re done.  We often think upward progression is the only path to success.  I’ve come to understand after years of working as a psychologist, that the sense that achievement is beyond your grasp, or only for the super-talented and naturally gifted, is a false one.  Achievement (including the upward progression kind) requires involvement.  Our involvement comes in the moments where we decide our efforts are worth our toil and trouble.
                7. Adopt an accepting attitude.  We rail against life’s unfairness – our need for a root canal or to shoulder a burdensome task, for example – but we tend not to celebrate when life is…well, fair.  When you find yourself in a low moment or period, remind yourself that life is not stable, and then find a way to get your own sense of stability again.
                8. Immerse yourself.  Instead of running away from what you need to take care of, run towards it.  Surround yourself with your unsorted documents.  Turn on the computer and get writing, or e-mailing, or planning.  The boldest way to deal with Procrastination and the stress of it is to go in.

                For me, method #8 is the key.  It’s the key to me staying as clear away from Procrastination as I can manage.  It’s a daily struggle, but one that is well worth my while.

                Which method is key for you?  I’d love to hear.  Please leave a reply here if you’d like to share your technique for getting rid of Procrastination-caused stress.

                News to Share

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                I’m excited to announce that the Procrastination Coach October Workout Group is currently taking members!  The Workout Group will provide members with weekly written lessons on dealing with Procrastination, a live coaching webinar with me, and the opportunity to connect with other members in a confidential Facebook group.  Membership for the month of October is $10.

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                  Who Are You Waiting For?

                  happy days

                  I’ve been having some difficulty getting my act together regarding this blog lately.  I haven’t been posting consistently, and some days it feels like the well has run dry.

                  What I’ve realized in thinking about this current situation is that running a blog is kind of like being in therapy.  Sooner or later, your issues are going to come out.  But, the only way you’re going to be able to look at those issues in a meaningful way is if you stay in.

                  What I’ve learned through running this blog and struggling to make it what I would like it to be is:

                  • Blogging is a tremendous opportunity to reach other people and to explore one’s own voice.
                  • Blogging can reinforce some of the beauty of daily living.
                  • Blogging can make one more mindful.
                  • There is no sure-fire way to do a blog despite countless blog posts written to that effect.

                  In fact, the only way to do a blog is to do the work.

                  Who Am I Waiting For?

                  Part of my recent struggle with posting consistently is I’ve been mired in my own thoughts about what the blog posts are supposed to look like.  What theme should I follow?  What images should I post?  Should I really devote my time to the blog?  The questions go on and on.

                  But the struggle isn’t just me versus me.  I know through working with my patients over the years, that for me and most others, there’s always something else looming.  There’s always the fear of the other person.  That other person, whether they be real or just an internalized voice, holds the key to our ability to act.

                  That other person makes us feel:

                  • afraid to be creative
                  • afraid to be original
                  • afraid to move forward
                  • afraid to commit to time being used
                  • afraid to do things others wouldn’t do
                  • afraid of our own capacity to get things done

                  Believe me, if I could design or devise a one-stop shop place to cure the other person syndrome I would.  It would be my life’s work, I’m sure.  In many ways it is my professional work, as I spend my days talking with patients to help them move past that other person in their head or in their life.

                  The reason this is not a one-stop fixer-upper situation is because we are complex, intelligent, and anxious beings.  We have come to our situations of delay and distress honestly.  Over the years we have convinced ourselves that stressing out over our lives and work makes everything better in the end.  And because doing work is generally inherently a hard thing to do, we get ourselves in long patterns of delay without purpose, of worry without productivity.

                  I’m Ready to Go

                  Although I know I can’t offer a one-stop shop, I am now prepared to move forward with an idea I’ve had in my mind for quite a long time.  I have long dreamt of finding a way to gather people suffering from chronic procrastination together.  My blog and the Internet and your own efforts to find solutions for yourself now make it possible for me to do so.

                  I will be using the month of October to run my first Procrastination Coach Workout Group. The group will be multi-faceted in purpose and design.

                  The purpose:  To help members gain a foothold over their Procrastination.  There will be no set expectations for how members choose to do so.  The Workout Group will provide a forum and arena for experimentation and consideration of what needs to be addressed and worked through.

                  The design:  During the month of October, members will receive written lessons each week covering the topics of communication, time management, control and perfectionism, and tools for maintaining progress.  There will also be a live webinar with me so I may answer your questions and do some coaching.  Members also have the option of joining a “secret” and confidential Facebook group open only to Workout Group members.  My aim is to provide useful and easily implemented information for you.  My intent is to do that without wasting your time and using the most efficient methods I know how.

                  The cost:  $10 for the month of October

                  Why this is worth your valuable time and money:

                  1. Spending some time to evaluate the reasons you are stuck will pay off in time, flexibility, and lowered anxiety.
                  2. Membership in this Workout Group will connect you with peers who are experiencing problems similar to yours.  The Workout Group will facilitate open communication and supportive conversation which I firmly believe will aid you in your effort to recover from chronic Procrastination.
                  3. You will gain information and tools relevant to your personal needs.
                  4. You will gain direct access to lessons and coaching with me during the Workout Group experience.

                  Click the Join Now button below to register for the October Workout Group:

                  I’m really excited about this new venture.  My decision to run with this idea of announcing the Workout Group has renewed my blogging spirit.  I hope you’ll join me and others who are interested in gaining momentum in their lives in the Workout Group.  Who are you waiting for anyway?

                  Please feel free to reply to me if you have questions about whether the Workout Group will be right for you.  I look forward to working with you soon.

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                    5 Back-to-School Productivity Apps for You to Consider

                    In my constant quest for ways to be more efficient, I’ve tried out my fair share of apps and programs.  Below are a few I thought might be helpful if you are on your way back to school or looking for new ways to stay focused and connected.

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                    1. Drafts — This app works well for me because it saves me a few seconds every time I have to send a note to someone, to schedule an appointment, or to log a reminder to myself. This app allows me to go to the Drafts icon to start and to compose each type of entry, and then, and only then, do I decide what the best destination for that entry is. Drafts provides the entire list of choices of e-mail, text, reminders list, print and other send-to options.  I choose one from the list and send or I can leave what I’ve written in draft form.

                    I’ve just recently started using Drafts, but I think it’s fantastic.  The app helps me to stay focused on what I am trying to get done first, so I don’t get lost in a sea of other app icons (#wordswithfriendsblackhole) before I get my message written.  I think it’s helping to preserve my sanity, which is no small thing.

                    2. Gingko — I am also new to this web app, but I am already well-enamored of it.  Gingko helps writers keep a handle on what they are doing by allowing them to see how their writing is taking shape as they are writing.

                    No more one line by one line writing for me.  With Gingko now I can see the entire scope of what I am planning to write.  Gingko encourages you to type your thoughts in a “tree” format, where the root of the tree (your main idea) is on the left side of the screen, and the branches (your supporting ideas) extend out from the root towards the right side of the screen. Gingko even offers suggestions for how you might want to structure particular types of writing.  With my basic ideas mapped out in front of me in the tree format, I can pick and choose where I want to continue writing. One moment I’m expounding on the main idea, the next I’m hopping over to add a small detail to another section.  Shazam.

                    3. Lift – I heard about the Lift app through the blog of Pat Flynn who had heard of it from Tim Ferriss.  Knowing how productive both gentlemen have been, I was intrigued and downloaded the Lift app.  Though I was interested, my hopes were not high because I have tried other habit tracking apps and have just been too bored or unmotivated to keep up with the checking and the logging in processes.

                    I think the Lift app has been working fairly well as a gentle, friendly reminder of the self-improvement goals I set when I first started using the app.  When I actually succeed at abiding by one of my goals, I simply press the screen to indicate that, and am rewarded by praise and phone fireworks.  It’s cute and just fun enough to keep me mindful of the goals I’ve set.  By the way, the Lift app has a community of goal seekers too, so if you’re community-minded, you can also log in your goals and share your progress with others who share the same goals as you.  Try to avoid checking your e-mail before breakfast for a few days with the help of Lift.  I dare you.

                    4. Twitter — Okay, I am pretty sure this is not an “app,” but more like a phenomenon at this point.  I wrote about my love for Twitter a while back, but since I wrote that post, I’ve seen how Twitter has been more prominent in news circles, sports communities, and the like.  I recommend (as appropriate) my patients try Twitter as it’s an easy way to connect with the information communities and sources YOU want to be connected to.  And I’m mentioning Twitter here because I think all students can benefit from a hip research tool like this.  If you haven’t tried it before, get yourself a Twitter handle and send me a direct message (by starting your tweet with @ChristineLiPhD) through my Twitter handle @ChristineLiPhD and I will tweet you back to get you started.

                    5. Google Drive — Again, not technically an app, and probably something you may already be using.  I have been using Google Drive a lot, most recently to co-author the book Stepping Into College with my colleague Diane Elkins who lives in North Carolina.  Using Google Drive, we were seamlessly able to write our own parts of the book and then to collaborate in the editing, publishing, and marketing processes.  Google Drive is very user friendly and has my dream feature — auto-save.  Use it to start making plans for a new on-campus club, future business, or book!

                    I hope you find these apps as useful as I have.  Consider getting a copy of Stepping Into College too if you are just entering college now.  It contains loads of advice on how to make the early months of your freshman year more manageable and how to use them to ensure your success in the rest of your school years.  Please also keep a look out for a new offering I am putting together for Procrastination Coach readers for the month of October.  Announcement coming soon!

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

                     

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