New Beginnings: The Gift Of Starting Over

I recently had the pleasure of seeing the movie, “50 First Dates” starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. (Note: this article contains spoilers for the movie. If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want me ruining the surprise, you might want to put this article aside until after you’ve seen it.)

The main character, “Lucy” (Barrymore) has virtually no short-term memory due to a car accident. She remembers everything up until the point of the accident, but retains no new memories of anything that has happened since. When she goes to sleep at night, she forgets everything that happened that day, and awakens thinking it’s the day before the accident happened.

I’m sure you can imagine the challenges of such a condition! Anyone she meets, she forgets. Holding a job is nearly impossible since she can’t remember the previous day’s events. Relationships present another challenge. When Henry (Sandler) meets Lucy, there is instant attraction between them, but each day she forgets she met him the day before. It seems impossible to have a long-term relationship with Lucy, since she can’t even remember him! Finally, Henry gets the bright idea to make a video that she can watch each morning, detailing her life since the accident and her budding romance with him. Lucy also begins to keep a written journal, so she can skim through the previous entries and read about her life from her own perspective.

Though the situation is difficult to say the least, this movie contains a beautiful metaphor for new beginnings. How much baggage do we bring to each new day in our own lives? How many grudges do we hold? How many disappointments do we cling to, and let them color today?

Though we can’t fully forget like Lucy, we can certainly make a decision to wipe the slate clean each morning and start over again! It is often our own refusal to let go and move on that causes the most pain. Each day can be a new beginning if we choose to make it so. Each night before bed we can choose what we want to keep and what we want to release. We can become someone new, purely by the power of our thoughts and intentions. The toughest part is deciding exactly who we want to become, and having the courage to see it through!

I am currently doing this in my own life. I’m pulling out the old, dust-caked parts of myself that I deemed unacceptable years ago, and giving them another look. And I’m discovering they aren’t so bad. 😉 What about you? Are you ready for a new beginning? Are you afraid of starting over? There really isn’t anything to fear but fear itself. Once you actually begin the process, it becomes wildly exciting!

Maybe you’re happy with yourself already. If so, that’s wonderful! No need to fix it if it ain’t broken. But if you’re living in a vacuum of dissatisfaction and boredom, it might be time to write the next chapter of your life. Or even a whole new book. You are the author. What do you want the storyline of your life to say?

New Beginnings: The Gift Of Starting Over

How To Cope With And Reduce Stress

I have always struggled to live a stress-free life. I worry about almost every aspect of life and living this way has caused me a lot of problems including various bouts of ill health from time to time. I needed to find a way of coping with and reducing the amount of stress in my life and in this article I write about how I have managed to achieve this.

I suppose my main areas of anxiety have been to do with relationships with my friends and with members of the opposite sex, financial, for example worrying about money and also work related stress.

I am the kind of person who is classed as a thinker. I basically think far too much about personal matters. This thinking is very much in a negative manner and is a cycle which I have found hard to break.

About a year ago I was invited to appear on a national radio show to talk about my occupation which is website promotion and website marketing. I was due to talk live on this radio program at around 2pm. All morning as was my way of course, I was thinking and worrying about how I would come across to other people. I was afraid that I would make a fool of myself and would sound like a bit of an idiot. I also, for whatever reason, started to stress about whether I would be able to remember, under the amount of pressure that I was likely be under, the important aspects of my occupation which people would be interested in.

I was getting myself into a bit of a state and even thought about phoning up to cancel the interview. I then called up a good friend of mine who has always provided me with sound advice. I explained about the radio show and about my fears. He stated that I needed to relax and to even look forward to the experience. It would, he continued, be a chance to promote my own services and therefore was something to be grateful for.

He advised me that what I needed to do was to keep myself busy. If I am very busy, I would not have any time to think in my usual negative way. He informed me that my main problem was that I had too much time on my hands, which results in me spending far too much time thinking and worrying.

This is something I had realised a few years before but had in truth not acted on. I thought about what my friend had said and then decided to get stuck into some much needed gardening. I am happy to let you know that the radio interview went fine.

I have now learnt from this experience and whenever I start to worry or stress, I quickly get to grips with some job, for example housework. This soon takes my mind off the fear and is the best way to stop me from over thinking.

How To Cope With And Reduce Stress

Hypnosis Power And Inevitable Success

There are hundreds of studies that have shown how the power of hypnosis can be used to create amazing changes in your life from alleviating pain to creating new behaviours. It has worked for millions of people in the past, continues to work for millions today and it will probably work for you also!

Are you hypnotizable? Is there a possibility that YOU could enter into the deepest states of hypnotic trance? If you are an average person you will most likely think that you can’t be hypnotized. This is normal. The majority of people feel that if it were possible for them to be hypnotized then this, in some way, indicates that they lack any real will-power are naive or of below average intelligence. This could not be further from the truth.

The best hypnotic subjects are actually very intelligent, have a great deal of concentration and have a highly developed ability to focus. You should also be aware that the hypnotic state is different for each person who enters it. It is a state that can vary from individual to individual. Some people can enter extremely deep states of trance where their awareness completely changes and their memory of the event is hidden when they awaken, while others find themselves in a state that is equal to complete relaxation. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Wherever you find yourself on the hypnotic trance scale one thing is for certain everyone can be hypnotized to some degree.

In fact you go into trance states constantly throughout the day. Have you ever been “going through the motions”, just performing a task without any conscious effort and been thinking of something completely different? If you travel on the bus or train have you found yourself day-dreaming or remembering past events and been so engrossed in your mental image that you lost track of time or your surroundings? Have you watched a great movie and totally identified with the characters or got so lost in the plot that it was all you were focused on? If you can answer yes any of the aforemention questions, and everyone can, then you have already experienced the state of trance.

Although just entering a hypnotic trance can be very therapeutic, as your body and mind relax and ease tension throughout your whole system, the real power comes from the suggestions and images that are used in this state. Such suggestions can easily, quickly and permanently alter your behaviour and your dominant thinking about any subject you choose. Through suggestion a hypnotist will, mostly, guide you into a mental rehearsal of the new behaviours. New feelings are also anchored to old memories or a visualized future event in order to retrain your mind and body to respond to certain situations differently.

So are YOU hypnotizable?

Well, research shows that the best hypnotic subjects are those people who can easily immerse themselves in any imagined event. This is, in and of itself, a skill that many people in the self improvement field strive very hard to acquire. Hypnotic subjects who can easily enter the deepest, conscious altering, states of trance are those than can easily become absorbed in a fantasy while blocking out their external surroundings.

This basically means the better your imaginative abilities the more profoundly you will experience the hypnotic state.

However, as I have already stated, everyone can be hypnotized and you are no exception! Under the correct conditions you most definitely can and will enter a state of trance. With the right stimuli you can then use this state as catalyst for change in your life. It is possible to remove unwanted behaviours, instil new ones and even program yourself with characteristics and personality traits that you desire.

You can use hypnosis for making changes in just about every area of your life utilizing it to heal your body, mind, and spirit. Hypnotists are now finding that its uses are almost endless! I remember watching a television program featuring the UK hypnotist Paul McKenna, called “I Can Change Your Life”, where he hypnotized a man diagnosed with a form of hysterical blindness. The man’s doctors believed a psychological trauma had caused the man’s blindness and that his eyesight should be working perfectly. After a few sessions with Mr McKenna the man’s sight began to return and he was able to function more productively than before. However, and this is the fascinating bit, before the program had finished shooting the man was sent to an eyesight specialist who discovered that he had been wrongly diagnosed and in fact there had been substantial damage done to his visual equipment! As far as medical science was concerned this man should not be able to see anything, yet through hypnosis his sight was dramatically improved. Why? Because both the hypnotist and the subject believed that it was possible!

Here’s a small example of what hypnosis can be used for. This list could fill a book but I have included these to give you some indication of how you could use it to benefit your life. What do you think hypnosis can do for YOU?

Aid In relaxation
Weight Loss
Smoking Cessation
Improve Sleep
Pain Management
Eliminate Fears & Phobias
Alleviate Depression
Reduce Anxiety & Stress
Awaken Your Creativity
Create More Success
Improve Your Self Confidence
Past Life Regression
Improve Your Memory
Improve Your Sports Performance
Better Study Habits
Release Issues From The Past
Healing Of Skin Conditions
Elimination Of Warts
Lucid Dreaming
Remove Addictions
Change Habits

It would appear that the only limitations of hypnosis are those you place on it! Try it you might just like it.

Hypnosis Power And Inevitable Success

Use Your Commute

Two commutes a day, ten a week, forty a month, about 440 times a year. If you commute 45 minutes to work, that is ninety minutes a day, 1,650 hours a year!

You know those goals you’ve been meaning to achieve? Why not use this time to work on them! How you choose to use the time is as broad as your imagination.

So much of our commuting time now is spent as a negative experience, that it drains us for other activities in our day. When we use our commuting time to benefit ourselves and make accomplishments, it not only will benefit us, but you will see positive impacts at work, home and play!

Using the time to organize your day at work will help you to be more productive at work and less time will be spent away from home and play. The more you are able to achieve, the goals you have been putting off will no longer seem like clouds hanging over you, and will free you up to both mentally and physically.

If you have things to do for the day call into the office (on speaker phone) and go over things that will make your day at the office more organized. If you never have time to write, bring a tape recorder and narrate your stories in your car. If you’re into exercise, isometrics (muscle contractions held for a count of 10 and repeated; do not do this if you are hypertensive or have a heart disorder) are well-documented to work in developing muscle. There are, of course, books on tape and even courses on various subjects. Why not take the time to enrich your life.

The commute is also a great time to schedule the day or review how the day went. Whatever you choose to do, getting value out of the commute helps to change your attitude about the commute and relaxes you throughout the time because you are focused on something more interesting than counting the minutes or the traffic jams. So now, instead of a major block to living, the commute can actually become an opportunity to advance your life.

Think of ten activities that you can do during your commute, and prepare some of them ahead of time. This way if you don’t feel like doing one, you have another ready to go, even if it’s just as simple as listening to your favorite music. You won’t always want to read or listen to music, so you might be prepared to work on a puzzle or compose a letter or song in your head. Your commute is as open to possibilities as you are!

Use Your Commute

Help For Social Anxiety And Phobia

Certainly social anxiety & phobia is indeed a complex isssue. People with social anxiety disorders have the following features: –

Fear that everyones attention is on them and everybody is watching them; Fear that they will make a blunder and everybody will be aware of it.

They are underestimated by thinking that everybody in this world is more capable than they are.

People with social anxiety disorder will feel anxiety and this same anxiety may lead to nausea, a sinking heart, sweating and blushing etc. This may then later result in a panic attack

There are some people who lose their confidence when dealing with people of authority such as employers or perhaps if you are a student you may be slightly overcome by your tutor. At the top scale of this is another important condition which is called acute panic syndrome and this condition people will cause the sufferer to feel fear of speaking in front of the public which may be characterized by sweating and a sinking of heart.

Social anxiety disorders arise in the childhood and early adulthood but these disorders are rare after the age of 25 years. Women are affected 2 times more than men and as we go further, we must differentiate between shyness and social anxiety disorders. Shy people do not feel as much anxiety as experienced by persons suffering from social anxiety disorders and people suffering from social anxiety disorders tend to avoid visiting public places.

There is an association of depression with social anxiety disorders and this can occur after a sufferer has been taking medicine to alleviate the condition. Drug dependance is common but it would seem that certain medicines are also helpful in treating the condition somehow. The medicines used for the treatment of social phobia are the type of anti depressant drugs named SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) which include fluoxitine and paroxitine. Beta blockers may also be used for these treatment purposes with the most important being propanolol.

Social anxiety disorders lead to embarrassment for persons suffering from it and subsequently this same embarrassment may prove to be destructive for that person so it should be treated as soon as possible.

Help For Social Anxiety And Phobia

Finding Your Balance

There has always been quite a bit of buzz in the personal development industry about “finding life balance”. It seems that everyone is seeking this “life balance”…and more importantly wondering how to get it.

Life balance means different things to different people – for some it may mean a feeling of organization, for some it is a sense of freedom, for others it may be emotional serenity. How do you define life balance? This is the most important question.

The first thing that you must remember is that balance is a state of alignment – energy alignment, emotional alignment. It is the state of equilibrium that is achieved when your emotional resonance is in alignment with what you are seeking to create, desire, and focus upon.

For example – if it is your desire to create pleasant and joyful relationships with your children, you would not experience balance if your focus is on everything you dislike about their actions. To experience balance, you would need to line up your thoughts and emotions with your desire, versus your lack of it. What do you love and appreciate about them? Thoughts of ease versus thoughts of resistance – the place to be.

Another example – If you desire more in your life than you think that you can achieve…you are out of balance! You must take the emotional journey to line up your thoughts and emotions with what you desire in life. If you desire a million dollar home, the you must do the emotional and energetic work to be alignment…you need to redirect your thoughts, emotions, focus, to be in alignment with this desire. Replace thoughts with negativity with perhaps the thought that “anything is possible”!

One more – And I will speak directly to money because it is such a prevalent “issue” when it comes to creating. But imagine for a moment the affects of being out of balance with money…desiring more money in your life that you are allowing to flow into your experience. Gets a little uncomfortable doesn’t it? So, sense for a moment how it might feel to be in alignment with the amount of money that you would like to create…to love money, to appreciate it, to give up negative beliefs about it. Shifts you to a different place doesn’t it? This is the place of balance.

So, let’s talk a little more about how to create life balance….here are a few tips from this perspective.

1. Keep your desires loud and clear. Ask yourself, are my signals muddied by thoughts, beliefs, and emotions that are not in support of where are I want to go? Do I have negative resonance in my creation field? If the answer is yes, then keep reaching for thoughts and emotions that support the joy of your desires.

2. Balance the emotional journey with the action journey. How you feel is much more important that what you do. What you visualize, what you expect, what you hope for, what you get passionate about is your emotional journey. What you do is important – but make sure you are taking “inspired action” …which of course was brought forth from such a juicy emotional journey!

3. Be cognizant of your resistance, and take this as a clue from your built in guidance system that your are not in balance. If you are not, then release your resistance by making emotional choices (thoughts and feelings) and line up – or make a choice to change your desires. Do you want something because you want it, or do you just think you want it…or think you should want it? Do you need to walk away from something or is your negative belief system need tweaking? Pay close attention.

4. When you experience difficulty or contrast in your life use it as an opportunity to become even more crystal clear about what you are wanting, your preferences, your desires….will you settle for less? NO! Use contrast as a learning tool and as spring board. Ask yourself, hmmmm, now how did I attract this and create this in my life? (By the way this is a very powerful place to be)

5. With that said, “get” there is no “random”. Life balance, or the experience of it, is a state that you create, period. You don’t randomly get picked for a terrible career, you don’t randomly get in a car accident. You are a magnet, and you live in a world of attraction. Period…(does that sound harsh?) It is the lovely and beautiful truth. Truly, when you start to step into this state, you will begin to realize how absolutely powerful you are.

6. Do not let others needs, circumstances, emotional balance supersede your own. Self care…this is something that is foundational to an emotional resonance that brings forth a state and an experience of life balance. Do you put yourself first? Do you honor yourself as the perfect spiritual being that you are? Do you honor yourself enough to step into your power? Do you allow yourself to make “mistakes”, learn from then, and know your are perfect no matter what? Do you give yourself permission to believe? Do you give yourself permission to want more? There are millions of different ways to take care of your self and allow this resonance to permeate your life. Find what feels good to you….

7. Do not forget to ask yourself, what does life balance look like to me? What would it feel like? and focus on the feeling of balance…step into this place and know that it exists within yourself, versus outside of yourself. Will you allow yourself to step into life balance, let’s say…RIGHT NOW? Begin by writing down and appreciating all that you can in your life this very second.

Peace,
Lori Hamann

Finding Your Balance

Life Is Wonderful

It is so simple and so easy to get what we want that we have a hard time to believe it. We are programmed to do things the hard and difficult way, in order to get what we want. We can not believe that we can get anything without hard labour, sweat and tears, obstacles
and misery.

This is nothing else but a tough old programmation, a conditioning from our childhood. If you are like me, you were bombarded as a child with expressions from adults about how hard life is and how we have to struggle to get something. We were submitted to a hazardous universe or a God of revenge who could pick us out without any reason to take revenge on us for something we did wrong. We needed to avoid being bad or wrong, but disease could strike us anyway. Sometimes they even said : “It’s again a good one who’s punished, and the bad one take off easily like usual without paying anything!”. We learned that life wasn’t fair. We lived in fear and thought life was a valley of tears, fear, struggle, pain, disease
and death?

How would it have been if they’ve told us the truth? The truth, nothing but the truth? That life is easy, wonderful. That miracles happen all the time and that we have the power to make them happen in our own life! That the universe loves us. That there is wealth and health for everyone. That we don’t live in a universe of scarcity but of abundance. That we only have to put the right thoughts in our heads to make these dreams real for us.

What would your life have looked like if your parents and teachers would have taught you the truth?

You would have suffered much less! You would not have believed you were less than nothing. You would not have been filled with fear over your ears of getting sick or failing, of being stupid or being not good enough.

If you would have known from the beginning that you were a creation of the Creator, that you will always remain, that you will always be around, that you were created for a reason, and when you find this reason you will be happy, what would your life look like now? If you were told that you had talents, unique qualities, that make you a special person, and that you are on earth with the mission to offer these talents to others, where would you be right now and what would you be doing now?

Isn’t it nice? The Genius who created this whole thing did really well : we are sent to earth with a mission and to be able to assume our mission we are already fully equiped from the beginning : we are gifted with natural talents and all we have to do is develop our talents and offer them to the world! Simply said, we have to do what we can do easily already and what we are talented for, and than happiness, satisfaction, love, money and everything we want comes flowing our way!

It is so beautiful, this concept! All we have to do is to do what we love! And of course we need to stop once for all to think we don’t deserve happiness or wealth or health. All these thoughts are wrong because they go against the principles of creation of the Universe.

We are already wonderful! We are already loved! We are already rich! We are already free! We are already intelligent! We are already healthy!
Why? Because we were all this before we started our life. It is the way we really are. It is the way we were created, we were born. This is the truth about ourselves. Everything else is “learned” afterwards.

The good news is whatever is learned can be un-learned. Every programmation can be changed and replaced by a new program.

And again, life is wonderful, because a positive thought is 10,000 times more powerful than a negative thought. So you don’t have to take another 40 years to undo the negative conditioning in your head. One positive thought can counterbalance 10,000 negative ones.

Can you imagine? Aren’t we lucky?

If you choose to do so, you can rapidly turn around your negative program in your head. Go to the bookstore, buy some books with positive thoughts, put them at every toilet in the house, in the bathroom, in your bedroom, in your living room, and read them whenever you think of it or see them. It doesn’t matter if you read one page after another or if you just open the book as it falls in your hands. The message you will receive will be the right one for you at that very moment.

Every morning you start your day by saying thank you to the Universe for your bed, your house, the roof over your head, the people living with your, the water coming out of your tap, the light switching on by a simple gesture of your hand, the food available, the choices you can make that day, the love you received in your life and the love you will receive, the miracles which will happen today and the air you can breath.

In your car, listen to CD’s or cassettes with positive programmation. Listen to them while you make dinner, clean the house or iron your clothes.

Surround yourself with positive people and stop nourishing negative social talk. Don’t watch television unless there is some really positive program.

There is a lot you can do to take a positive turn in your life. Don’t think you can do nothing. You are responsible for your life now. Make your choice! Know that every thought you think is either one which will weaken you, or one which will make you feel stronger.
The choice is yours!

Life Is Wonderful

Alcoholism And Healing

Jeffrey showed up at one of my 5-Day Inner Bonding Intensives to deal with his alcoholism and resulting relationship problems. His past two marriages had ended in messy divorces. His business was falling apart. Yet in the face of all of this, Jeffrey could not or would not stop drinking.

Two things were immediately apparent in my first session with Jeffrey. First, he had completely abandoned himself, making others responsible for his self-worth. Due to his unwillingness to take responsibility for his own feelings, he was constantly pulling others for approval with his “niceness.” His inauthentic saccharine niceness felt like sticky glue trying to ooze its way into having control over getting others’ approval. Needless to say, it was not working for him.

Second, he had no spiritual connection, no Source to turn to for love, comfort and guidance. As anyone who has attended AA knows, being able to turn to a spiritual Source is essential for healing. The support of the people within the program can help sustain abstinence, but true healing comes from the inner spiritual connection.

No one had ever confronted Jeffrey with how much they were put off by his controlling niceness. They would just go away, leaving him to wonder what he had done wrong. At first, when the Intensive participants told Jeffrey about feeling pulled at for approval, he felt hurt. But within the loving energy of the Intensive, he was soon able to open to learning about the gift they were offering him. He was able to see that, because he was abandoning himself by ignoring his feelings and judging himself, he was handing others responsibility for his feelings of worth.

Once Jeffrey opened to how alone he felt inside when he abandoned himself, he was able to move into compassion rather than judgment for his feelings. As his heart open to compassion for himself, he began to feel the love that is always within and around us the love that is our Source.

As a result of learning and practicing the 6-Step Inner Bonding process and connecting with himself and his spiritual Guidance, Jeffrey no longer wanted to drink. The alcohol was filling up the inner emptiness caused by his self-abandonment and disconnection from his Source. He left the Intensive with no desire to drink. Jeffrey has been alcohol-free for many years now.

Rachael had been struggling with her alcoholism for 19 years before attending an Inner Bonding Intensive. While she had a strong belief in God, she had never felt a deep and personal connection with God. Like Jeffrey, she had used alcohol to fill the emptiness and avoid the pain that came from her own self-abandonment and disconnection from her Source. Rachael was constantly judging herself as inadequate. Until the Intensive, she had believed that her pain was being caused by others’ behavior towards her others’ judgments of her. At the Intensive, she discovered that she was not a victim that her pain was being caused by ignoring her feelings and judging herself, as well as by not speaking up for herself with her husband and family.

As Rachael learned and practiced the Inner Bonding process, she started to attend to her own feelings and make the connection between her pain and her self-judgments. She also started speaking up for herself. As she opened her heart to her Source, to her feelings, and to the beautiful essence within her, she discovered a joy that she had never felt in her life. The inner emptiness and anxiety that had been her constant companions were gone. Gone too was her desire to drink.

Addictions are caused by self-abandonment by ignoring your feelings, by judging yourself, and by closing your heart to your Source. They can be healed.

Alcoholism And Healing

Controlling Stress At Work

The every day excitement of life tells everyone that it is a game of the best on top. If you want to be the one that is on top you will need to be prepared to tackle anything that comes before you at work. You will need to become ready to deal with many types of stress that will come from work.

New developments in the workplace have made stress higher than it was before. Knowing this bit of information is also realizing that the well being of the workers is in a decline. At work, many different kinds of stress are faced.

In 1996, the World Health Organization released a report that stated that stress is thought to be a global problem. It is also known that over three hundred billion dollars are used up each year to pay for situations that are caused by stress. These include the workers ability to do a good job, late workers, those who do not show up at all, and health problems. Dealing with stress at work has now become one of the priorities that are dealt with.

You may question what the real cause for stress at work is and what a worker should do to cooperate with the boss to find a way to deal with that stress.

Helpguide is an internet site that will provide information of work related stress. Stress at work is caused by our thoughts turning to all the burdens at work being to large to handle. Work gives so much anxiety that the workers can not deal with them correctly. Most of the stress that comes from work is more visible when the satisfaction of the work is gradually starting to be aggravating and tiring. When these thought get worse and is too much for the workers to deal with, stress in the beginning will cause the flu, colds, coughing, headaches, and stomach problems.

Some other things that may begin to expose themselves are tiredness, muscle cramping, anxiousness, and anger issues. Work related stress control must be able to deal with these things before they are a real crippling and upsetting problem. For more info see http://www.stressmanagementmethods.com/Stress_Management_Program on Stress Management Program.

The HelpGuide will give you distinctive types of work related stress. They are:

1. Detailed work situations to much work to handle, irrelevant work or responsibilities, no regular break times

2. Your surroundings excessive noise, lack of proper air flow,

3. The structure of your job – unreasonable demands on the quality of the work

4. New developments at work – working more hours and not getting paid much for it

5. The relationship with others at work – Too many people in one area

Workers are able to deal with stress in better ways if they are given the right situations. These include:

1. Clearly stating what is to be done in that particular job
2. Expectations that are not met
3. Few people who are in charge
4. Addressing the concerns of the workers about loosing their jobs because of cuts and layoffs
5. The ability to move up in the company

Work related stress is something that should take precedence to make sure that the workers are at top form. It is true that creating a human resource in your company will be the best thing to start with.

Controlling Stress At Work

How To Plan Time So I Can Stay Highly Productive

I have learned that not all time is the same quality. In times when I am very alert, rested, focused and efficient, I can be three to five times as productive as other times. My goal is to have more of these highly productive hours.

This harkens back to Stephen Covey’s Seventh rule of Highly Effective People – sharpening the saw. The vignette is of a wood cutter who is desperately sawing at a huge tree. A passerby asks the woodcutter why he does not sharpen the saw so he can cut more easily and quickly. The woodcutter replies, I don’t have the time, I have to cut the tree down.

Lately my life has been like that of the wood cutter. I have spent too much time sawing and not enough time sharpening the saw.

So my exercise today is to figure out what things sharpen the saw for me and plan to put those in my days and weeks first. Then allow the wood cutting to take the other time as opposed to the other way around. I call this Reverse Planning. Rather than planning what I have on my to do list and trying to get that done, I plan my down time and deliberately work to get that done.

This exercise is particularly good for highly driven people. Highly driven people tend to feel guilty if they are not working. So good things to put on the list are things that make you feel a bit guilty. Most of what I put on my list are things that I like to do a lot and if left unchecked would likely do too much.

For me, I think the following are my ways of sharpening my saw:

1 – Sleep. I tend not oversleep. I have pushed myself so hard for so long, I am not really sure how much sleep might help me be more productive. I am going to schedule 6-7 hours per night to see if that helps productivity.

2 – Exercise. I become resentful when I push so hard that I do not have time to work out. I will schedule one hour workouts 5 days per week and 2-3 hours once per week. For me this is also tied to sleep. If I push too hard, I end up choosing between sleep and working out. Not good.

3 – I will allow time for a 15-20 minute walk each evening. I find this clears my head.

4 – Tidying and Organizing. I know I like my environment more and am more productive if things are neat. I will schedule an hour per week plus 10 minutes per day on that.

5 – Social time. I will schedule a couple of evenings per week of social time.

6 – Intellectual challenge. I will play bridge, chess or sudoko 5 hours per week. (this tends to be guilt time for me as I enjoy it too much)

7 – Reading for pleasure. I will schedule a few hours to read for pleasure.

My list is not yet complete. I am still working on it. My challenge now is to stick to my reverse time plan and not allow myself to get caught up by the usual daily volume.

How To Plan Time So I Can Stay Highly Productive