How to get more done

“Only Put Off Until Tomorrow What You Are Willing to Die Having Left Undone” – Pablo Picasso

Do you find yourself saying:

  • I’ll finish that when ________ .
  • I’ll take care of that as soon as ________ .
  • I know I should do this now but ________ .

And, then the day sweeps away and tomorrow comes and goes?

If this behavior of putting off impending tasks to a later time is habitual, you may be a chronic procrastinator.

Procrastination is the avoidance of doing a task that needs to be accomplished. It is the practice of doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones or carrying out less urgent tasks instead of more urgent ones, thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

Sometimes, procrastination takes place until the “last minute” before a deadline. People may procrastinate personal issues (raising a stressful issue with a partner), health problems (seeing a doctor or dentist), home care issues (patching a leak in a roof), or academic/work obligations (completing a report). Procrastination can lead to feelings of guilt, inadequacy, depression and self-doubt.

20 percent of people chronically avoid difficult tasks

Procrastination is the Gap Between Intention and Action

There are many ways to avoid success in life, but the most sure-fire just might be procrastination.

  • Procrastinators sabotage themselves.
  • They put obstacles in their own path.
  • They actually choose paths that hurt their performance.

Why do People Procrastinate?

1 – Twenty percent of people identify themselves as chronic procrastinators. That is as many as 1 in 5 adults (not just students!) may be chronic procrastinators.

For a habitual procrastinator, procrastination is a lifestyle, albeit a flawed one. And it cuts across all domains of their life. (Psychology Today)

Examples of a chronic procrastinator:

  • Don’t pay bills on time.
  • Miss opportunities for buying tickets to concerts.
  • Don’t cash gift certificates or checks.
  • File income tax returns late.
  • Leave their Christmas shopping until Christmas Eve.

2 – Procrastination is not a problem of time management or planning.

Procrastinators are not different in their ability to estimate time, although they are more optimistic than others. “Telling someone who procrastinates to buy a weekly planner is like telling someone with chronic depression to just cheer up.” – Joseph Ferrari, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at De Paul University in Chicago

3 – Procrastinators lie to themselves.

When we procrastinate, we are making excuses for poor performance and behavior. We become expert at making excuses to put off things that we need to get done.

Here are some phrases that indicate you are making excuses and are procrastinating (a nicer way of saying you are lying to yourself), which will hinder your success:

“I work best under pressure.”

When you procrastinate, you try to trick yourself into thinking that you perform your best when pressured by a deadline. However, this is never the case. When you put things off until later, you have less time to review and finalize, so you have more errors in the finished product. (Ziglar Vault)

“I am too busy right now.”

Procrastinators try to justify putting things off until later by saying that they don’t have the time to do what they need to do. However, this excuse usually means that you will still be very busy later. Time is always the same, regardless of how “busy” you are.

“I’m not a procrastinator; I’m a perfectionist.”

Both types of people like to take their time, but the difference here is that there is motivation for delaying. Perfectionists want their work to be the best it can be, while procrastinators just avoid getting things done at all costs.

It's easy to procrastinate when you can convince yourself that everything is important but panic soon sets in.

It’s easy to procrastinate when you can convince yourself that everything is important, but panic soon sets in.

Effects of Procrastination

People experience the devasting effects of wasting time and not meeting deadlines at both the business and personal levels. Procrastination may result in:

  • Stress
  • A sense of guilt and crisis
  • Severe loss of personal productivity
  • Business and social disapproval for not meeting responsibilities or commitments.

These feelings can combine and may create further procrastination.

The bright side?

It is possible to overcome procrastination…with effort!

5 Hacks and 15 Ways to Beat Procrastination

Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to get on top of things and stop feeling guilty, stressed, and sometimes even hopeless about our ability to stick to priorities?

Here are five hacks that will help you beat procrastination:

1 – Schedule your day in 15-minute blocks.

Multi-tasking is one of the easiest ways to procrastinate because it allows you to delay less-enjoyable tasks. The best way to prevent that and increase your productivity is by using time-blocking.

First: Start by planning out your day and everything you would like to get done.

Next: Divide those tasks into 15-minute blocks, because it will allow you to set realistic deadlines and not waste time.

Dividing time into blocks is known as the Pomodoro Technique.

Suggested apps to make time-blocking easy: TimeDoctor and RescueTime

2 – Set S.M.A.R.T goals.

A goal without a plan is just a wish. When you have concrete tasks with deadlines, your chances of delaying are much lower than they would be if the task isn’t well defined. S.M.A.R.T goals are the enemy of procrastination.

S.M.A.R.T goals are the enemy of procrastination.

Suggested apps to help track your progress: Nozbe or Strides

3 – Use the George Washington method.

The George Washington method involves picking an arbitrary point in your day and setting this as “noon”. You then move forward in segments, only focusing on the hour you’re currently in. It’s simply another way of organizing your time.

Interesting fact: This is the same strategy that the White House cleaning staff still uses today.

4 – Remove distractions from your workspace.

Busy workspaces are unfortunately very distracting and conducive to procrastination. If you’re really serious about staying focused, you need to create a distraction-free workspace. Some ideas include:

  • Position your computer screen away from the window. This prevents you from getting distracted with what’s going on outside of your office.
  • Remove knick-knacks from your desk. While stress balls, bobbleheads, and interactive gadgets may look cool, they actually reduce your focus.
  • Uninstall distracting apps from your computer and delete bookmarks to websites that don’t pertain to business. It’s amazing how much time you can waste on your computer by mindlessly clicking through these websites.

Remove All Files From Your Desktop Daily

Read: 5 Practical Science-Based Tips to Make You More Productive

5 – Find accountability partners.

One of the best things you can do is find some accountability.

  • If you work from home, this may look like asking your husband/wife to check in every day to see what you’ve done.
  • If you have a close friend or colleague who is in the same industry, then you can do a daily progress call with them.

Have a look at this infographic for 15 techniques to fight your tendency to procrastinate:



Procrastination isn’t something you can afford to take lightly.

What are you tips to beating procrastination?

We’d love to hear from you.

Please share!

See the original post: The Psychology of a Procrastinator: 15 Ways to Overcome and Get Things Done

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bad posture can affect your health, mood, productivity, and even success?

In our ongoing series of sharing productivity tips to help improve your work-life equilibrium, read more to discover how improving your posture can impact your chances of success (including social media).

In recent posts, we’ve drilled down into why sitting all day at work is considered the new smoking and even gone so far as showcasing some awesome standing desk ideas.

Sitting = Smoking

But in addition to the health issues associated with a sedentary lifestyle, did you know that having bad posture can affect your health, mood, productivity, and even success?

The correct position of the spine

According to data from the makers of the Lumo Lift (a lightweight wearable solution for your posture), the majority of American workers spend an average of only 36% of their workday in good posture.

Workers are spending as much as 38 minutes per hour slouching, says Monisha Perkash, CEO of Lumo Bodytech. Women’s postures are 20% worse than men.

Sitting or standing with your head up and shoulders back, in what is often called a “powerful pose,” can:

  • Help prevent back pain
  • Improve your physical well-being
  • Make you better at your job (think social media blogging)
  • Reduce stress
  • Increase chances for success

What are Power Poses

Amy Cuddy, a researcher at Harvard University, who studies body language and the impact it has on your hormones classified different body positions as “high power” or “low power” poses. In general, the high power poses are open and relaxed while the low power poses are closed and guarded.

Below is an image showing the different types of power poses.

High Power body language is open and relaxed. Low Power body language is closed and guarded.

Striking a powerful, expansive pose changes a person’s hormones and behavior, just as if he or she had real power.

From Fast Company, here are three surprising ways your posture impacts your success:

1 – Good posture improves productivity

The bad news:

  • Poor posture is one of the leading causes of back pain, which is the second reason for visits to the doctor, outnumbered only by the common cold, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
  • Poor posture-related back pain costs American employers over $7 billion a year and is the leading cause of disability for employees under the age of 45.

The good news:

Proper posture contributes to productivity by keeping workers at the office and away from filing disability claims, but is also associated with other health benefits, including:

  • Higher levels of energy
  • Reduced incidences of migraine headaches
  • Lower stress
  • Greater concentration

2 – Good posture improves productivity

The “powerful pose” releases chemicals in the body that can make you more confident.

When you open your chest (push your shoulders back and lift your head), two things happen:

1 – Testosterone, a hormone associated with greater confidence and power, is released.

2 – Cortisol, a hormone associated with stress, is lowered.

One Ohio State University study showed maintaining poor posture for 30 minutes significantly increases stress levels, depression, and fear while holding yourself in an upright posture results in greater confidence and lower stress levels.

3 – Good posture improves communication

“Having poor posture detracts from your leadership.”

Social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, discussed how ‘power poses’ can make you feel more confident in her 2012 TED Talk on posture.

In the animal kingdom, power and dominance is about expanding; making yourself look bigger. When animals feel powerless, they crunch up, making themselves appear small.

When in control:

  • Cuddy says we mimic this behavior, standing tall with our hands on our hips when we’re feeling in control and when we want to exude dominance over someone else.

When in self-doubt:

  • We slouch, sometimes even wrapping our arms around our bodies.

According to Cuddy, changing your body language and engaging in the power pose makes you feel more powerful and confident, allowing you to be a better leader.

Stand Like This for 2 Minutes Per Day

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose.

From James Clear’s post on How to Be Confident and Reduce Stress in 2 Minutes Per Day.

The most well–known and versatile high power pose is nicknamed “The Wonder Woman” pose. You just stand tall with your chest out and your hands on your hips. The images above show powerful women like Christine Lagarde and Beyonce in classic “Wonder Woman” pose.

***Just to be clear: despite the nickname and the photos, the impact of these poses is just as relevant to men as it is to women.

Making This Work in Real Life

If you’re aware of it, body language is easy to adjust throughout your day.

But if you’re like most of us, you get busy with other tasks and completely forget to check your body language. Because of this, get into the habit of starting your day in a power pose for 2 or 3 minutes.

Start your day in a Power Pose:

1. Wake up and stand in a high power pose for two minutes.

2. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply for a count of 3, hold for 1, and then breathe out fully for a count of 5.

3. Start your day – relaxed and confident!

If you are unsure how to stand, try these two alternative’s to get into good posture:

Lightly clasp your hands together behind your back while standing. Stand flat against the wall so that your head, shoulders, arms, and feet all touch the wall.___
Are you standing in a posture of confidence (head up, shoulders back)? Continue to use your power pose and you’ll be well on your way to improving your health, reducing stress and impacting your chances for success.

Did you find this post helpful? Please share pictures of your power pose and comment below!

Originally posted here: Two-Minute Trick to Increase Confidence and Impact Your Success

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Been Told You’re Overqualified?

On January 14th, 2014, posted in: Job Search Tips by Mike

Have you been told you’re overqualified for a job?  Check out this article by J.T. O’Donnell. She offers some excellent tips.

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Article by 

At the end of every job interview, you’ll encounter the inevitable question, “Do you have any questions for me?”

While it’s an oh-so-predictable event, many job candidates aren’t prepared to shine when they reach this final test in the interview. Failing to ask any questions or asking the wrong questions can send the wrong signals.

Stephanie Daniel, senior vice president of career management company Keystone Associates, spoke with us about her thoughts on how job interviewees can take control of their next job interview by asking the right questions. Read on for her thoughts on what to ask and which questions to avoid when it’s your turn to interrogate.

Asking the Right Questions

When the interviewer gives you the opportunity to ask your own questions, be prepared. Daniel recommends that interviewees prepare five to seven questions, with the expectation that there will probably only be time to ask just three. “Keep in mind that some of the questions you might have prepared will be answered during the course of the interview, so it’s always a smart idea to have back-ups,” says Daniel.

“Too many job seekers respond to this standard interview question with the standard ‘safe’ responses,” says Daniel. “‘Will I be hearing from you or should I contact you?’ or ‘Why is this position open?’ In this very competitive job market, job candidates cannot afford to ask safe questions. Candidates must show that they are the best candidate by demonstrating that they are looking out for the needs and interests of the interviewer.”

So, what types of questions should you ask? Daniel suggests considering a few of the following:

  • Is there a work issue that keeps you up at night and, given what you know about my background, how do you think I could help?
  • “Here’s your opportunity to demonstrate a genuine interest in the day-to-day challenges your future manager is facing, Daniel explains. “By asking this question, the interviewer will start to envision you as an employee and will give you some initial thoughts on how you might help solve their most pressing problems.”

  • What is the most gratifying aspect of the work you do for XYZ company? What’s your best advice to someone starting out at this company?
  • “Asking the interviewer about the most gratifying aspect of the work she or he does helps you better understand what drives them,” Daniel explains. “Drivers include things like making the best product on the market, helping others, making money, curing an illness or creating a hot, new technology, etc. Ask yourself how the interviewer’s drivers align with your own. The answer to the ‘best advice’ question yields valuable insights on what behaviors lead to a successful transition into the company. It gives you clues on what you can do to put your best forward in your potential new role vis-à-vis building new relationships, gaining product knowledge, and avoiding potential pitfalls.”

  • Could you describe your ideal candidate for this job? Why are these qualities important to you?
  • “The ideal qualifications were probably outlined in the job posting,” says Daniel. “But many of these postings are not actually written by the hiring manager. Here’s your chance to directly ask the interviewer what he views as the most important qualities of the successful candidate and why.”

  • I’m sure you have a number of goals you’d like to achieve in the coming year. Do you have a particular one that is top priority?
  • “This question allows you to turn your attention to the interviewer and his most important priorities,” says Daniel. “Is there a particular goal the interviewer has talked about that lines up well with some of your current experiences? If so, let the interviewer know how you can contribute.”

Other great questions may revolve around key drivers for employees, what characterizes top performers at the company and whether the interviewer would like to know anything more about the interviewee’s background, says Daniel.

Avoiding Questions with Negative Connotations

To avoid making a bad impression at your interview, Daniel suggests thinking about the connotations behind each of the questions that you’re asking before you ask them. Here are three questions that tend to leave a bad taste in interviewers’ mouths, she says:

  • Could you tell me about your work/life balance policy?
  • “A valid question, yes, but if you ask it too soon, it might appear that you are more concerned about the work schedule than you are about the actual work,” says Daniel.

  • Is there a possibility I could work remotely?
  • “Telecommuting can be a positive thing for both the job seeker and the company, but your timing in asking this question is critical,” Daniel explains. “If asked too soon, it will convey a lack of enthusiasm for getting to know the team and work environment. Demonstrate your interest in the role and potential contributions to the company before inquiring about telecommuting/flex-time, etc.”

  • How long do people typically stay in this position before they move on the next role?
  • “A desire to grow in the organization is admirable,” says Daniel. “But if you’re asking this question early on in the interview process, the interviewer may question your genuine interest in the position you’ve applied for. Frame the question in a way that demonstrates both your long-term commitment to the company and your professional growth.”

Preparing and Managing Time

Once you’ve chosen which questions you’d like to ask, you can either memorize them or write them down. Daniel advises:

“It is not unprofessional to bring a list of questions on paper. If you choose to write them down, make sure you bring them in a presentable notebook or folder, not on a crinkled, loose-leaf sheet of paper. Presentation is very important. That said, make a conscious effort to remember the questions so that you don’t have to rely on your notes. Opening a notebook can be somewhat distracting, and what’s even worse is reading the questions verbatim without making eye contact with the interviewer.”

Once you’ve finished asking all that you’d like to ask, it’s important to close an interview on a good notes, says Daniel. “Rather than fretting about running out of questions, take the left-over time to thank your interviewer and let him or her know how much you’re interested in the position. Cite specifics about why and briefly reiterate a key point about your background that relates to the position. This is called the ‘close,’ and it’s a critical phase of the interview.”

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According to one recent report, members of the workforce who are 50 years old or older are more likely to get hired than their younger counterparts.
The recent survey, conducted by Braun Research and commissioned by Adecco Staff, found that 60 percent of hiring managers said they would employ a mature worker, while just 20 percent said they would bring on someone of the Millennial generation.
The survey also showed that nearly all managers surveyed, 91 percent, believed that mature workers were reliable and 88 viewed these older employees as professional.
Some believe the study reveals that companies all over the country place a high value of those with more experience.

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A recent study by Forbes and looked at the companies in the technology sector that would be most likely to hire in the near future.
The groups found that Microsoft was the leading firm when it came to job openings, with 1,521 unique listings. The roles the company is looking to fill include network administrators, designers, engineers and software developers.
Other firms a sizable number of openings include, with 1,348 and IBM with 1,329 positions, open to those with the right technology skills.
Those looking to get hired will have to ensure that they leverage the right resources to impress the interviewer.
“Websites like will give you a good sense of the types of interview questions you might be asked,” said Gayle Laakmann McDowell, author of The Google Resume, said in an interview with Forbes. “But don’t stop at the technical or expertise questions. You can and should prepare for behavioral questions. Read through your resume and find ways of talking concisely and effectively about each of your accomplishments.”
Technology companies are expected to spend big bucks on bringing on qualified talent to improve products and services.

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5 Cool LinkedIn Features I like

On May 16th, 2012, posted in: Job Search Tips by Mike

Here are five cool things to know about LinkedIn – from

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Here’s a curious article about social media and interviewing for a new job. Read the Forbes article by Lisa Quast.
Are employers really looking at social media profiles of candidates? Has anyone actually experienced this?

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A new report has found that the search for top executives to lead in nearly all sectors continues despite concerns over the financial stability of the U.S. and European economies.

Here is the original post: Executive outlook report finds hiring boom continues despite economic concerns

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Now here’s an interesting business indicator:

By Eric Platt. for Business Insider.

Ken Downing was at the airport late Friday, waiting for his flight to London  to depart. Downing, the head of womenswear at Neiman Marcus, had only just  completed the first leg of a month of fashion shows that span New York, London,  Milan and Paris.

For him, the week that had just ended meant a series of conversations with  buyers who will ultimately pick through the more than 300 collections shown,  including big names like Marc Jacobs and Diane Von Furstenberg, and smaller ones  like Peter Som and Joseph Altuzarra.

But for some traders, economists, and pundits, the month now proves one more  thing beyond fashion: an indicator of how the economy will perform over the coming  year.

“Like the stock markets, hemlines are going up and down daily and  seasonally,” Mr. Downing says.

The Hemline Indicator

The Hemline  Indicator was reportedly first introduced by University  of Pennsylvania Wharton School professor George Taylor, an idea that women’s hemlines fluctuate and can  even indicate macroeconomic performance.  The higher the hemline, the  better the economy looks.

From afar, bloggers and editors have offered anecdotal  evidence regarding the direction of hemlines.

But for the first time, Business  Insider conducted a full analysis of hemlines at New York fashion week,  measuring some 2,092 images from 25 designers, comparing year-on-year changes in  the length of skirts and dresses.

The findings were pretty clear: hemlines are getting  shorter.

Click  here to see the individual results from New York Fashion Week >

The Results

The BI Hemline Index is calculated by measuring hem length as a percentage of  the length from floor to waistline.  The shorter the hemline, the higher  the index.

Overall, average hemlines in 2012 registered a 44.38 on the  index, up from 35.04 for the Fall/Winter 2011 collections.

Complete looks from each designer were measured, however skirts and dresses  were the only data points fed into the data set.  Measurements were taken from images provided post-show.

On first glance, hemlines appeared to fall, with designers like Marc Jacobs  showing little skin. However, when deconstructing outfits and measuring the  skirts shown over pants, hemlines jumped. At Mr. Jacobs show for instance, the  Hemline Index read at 45.6, compared to 41.1 last year.

Eighty percent of the designers included in the analysis registered shorter  skirts and dresses. Rodarte, the quirky womenswear label designed by Kate  and Laura Mulleavy, eschewed the floor grazing gowns of 2011, showing half  as many. Rodarte jumped 17 points on the Index, to 37.0.

Amanda Brooks, fashion director at Barney’s, said hemlines had moved  both higher and lower on the runway this season.

“I would say in terms of the dress or skirt silhouette, it’s kind  of anything goes right now,” Ms. Brooks says. “I wouldn’t say we’re seeing super  short, to me what’s looking the most fresh personally is this mid-calf with a  big slit up the front or an open vent. We’ve seen that on a lot of runways the  last few seasons, and I think it’s addressing the same moment as the idea of the  gaucho.”

Assembling the List

Business Insider chose 25 of  the most influential designers that show at New York fashion week, clothes that  will end up on hangers during the second half of 2012.

Beyond Marc Jacobs and DVF, the list includes 3.1 Philip Lim, Alexander Wang, Bill  Blass, Calvin Klein, Carolina  Herrera, Christian Siriano, Donna Karan  Collection, J.  Crew, Jason Wu, Jill  Stuart, L.A.M.B., Michael  Kors, Nanette Lepore, Oscar de la  Renta, Prabal Gurung, Proenza  Schouler, Ralph  Lauren, Rodarte, Thakoon, Theysken’s  Theory, Tommy Hilfiger Women’s and Vera  Wang.

The names were chosen based on two key factors. The first, the designer  have strong artistic relevance. Marc Jacobs collection, which will sell vastly  fewer pieces than the offshoot Marc by Marc Jacobs brand, was  used for the  official index because the impact from his mainline will be far  greater.

In a  review last February, Nicole Phelps, Executive Editor of, noted  that one retailer remarked that, “We have to come [to Marc Jacobs] in  order to find out what we’ll be seeing next season.”

The second component: the brand be commercially viable, weather through  wholesale, partnerships with broadline retailers like Target, or through  their own sales channels.

Jason Wu, Rodarte and Proenza Schouler have all had  surprising success with capsule collections at mass retailers, while Michael  Kors and Ralph Lauren have an ever expanding retail network.

Click  here to see how long hemlines were for all 25 designers >

A Contrarian View

Not everyone is convinced that hemlines hold much weight when predicting  economic performance.

“It’s interesting, as a fashion director I no longer believe hemlines are a  conversation on trend because its so particular to a designer and their point of  view,” Mr. Downing says. “We are seeing hemlines below the knee, at the knee,  and some that are still quite short.”

I caught up with Jeffrey Monteiro, the creative director of Bill Blass,  after his show on Thursday evening, the last collection at New York fashion  week.

“For me it’s just proportion,” he says. “Let’s make it longer, let’s  make it shorter, and once we find a proportion we like we just keep going with  it.”

Most designers mirror that viewpoint, that the economy has little effect on  what they present. But that is hard to argue, when designers almost unanimously  moved to a black and neutral color palette as Lehman  Brothers failed.

“The customer is definitely looking for something that will give her fashion  credit in her wardrobe. This whole idea of when the economy went upside down  that all that she would buy would be basics and there would be the return of the  black turtleneck, was not what we saw in the luxury market,” Mr. Downing  says. “She didn’t stop shopping, she just was not shopping as robust as she  was before.”

Hemline Index aside, one of the best predictors of economic growth is  consumer spending, and so far Mr. Downing is happy with what he sees.

“We feel very positive about the spring trends in stores now and customers  are responding very favorably.”

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