thinking tips
Taking Words Seriously Can Help You Get Things Done

Taking Words Seriously Can Help You Get Things Done

"I need more time." That is what a client told me was the solution to his grueling work schedule. We say such things without thinking about it, but it's worth pausing for a moment to focus on the thought. How could the solution possibly be more time? There is no such...

Stuck in a Pattern? Break Out with an Experiment

Stuck in a Pattern? Break Out with an Experiment

It's easy to fall into a counterproductive pattern. Perhaps you often check email before settling down to work--and then reading the email wipes out your morning work time. Or three days in a row you put off an important call until the afternoon--then forget to make...

The Work of Worry

The Work of Worry

If worries never break your concentration, congratulations. Most of us get stuck occasionally in a worry loop. For example, you might be trying to work out some budget numbers, when you start worrying about whether they will be acceptable to your boss. Each number...

Find Yourself Digressing? Take a Quick Timeout

Find Yourself Digressing? Take a Quick Timeout

It happens to the best of us. You sit down to work on your top project, but soon you find yourself thinking about how to respond to a contentious email. Or after a solid hour's work, you step out for a quick break and get waylaid by a co-worker who "just needs five...

Coping with Interruptions

Coping with Interruptions

By some estimates, people lose 2 hours of work a day due to interruptions. The time is wasted in two ways: First, when you are interrupted, you often lose your place. You have to go back and redo some of the work to restore your working context. Second, the topic of...

How a Decision Log Can Help You Move from Scattered to Focused

How a Decision Log Can Help You Move from Scattered to Focused

Don't be embarrassed if you occasionally feel scattered. It's a normal transition state. For example, after you've finished a major project, you may feel somewhat scattered until you've figured out the next big thing to focus on. But don't let yourself remain feeling...

How Triage Can Help You Prioritize Under Pressure

How Triage Can Help You Prioritize Under Pressure

In the chaos of battle, military doctors use a system of triage to determine whom to treat. They divide the wounded into three categories: those who will survive without treatment, those who will likely die despite treatment, and those for whom treatment will make the...

Distinguishing Feeling Overloaded from Feeling Overwhelmed

Distinguishing Feeling Overloaded from Feeling Overwhelmed

When your thinking process feels stopped by too much on your mind, take a moment to distinguish whether your are overloaded or overwhelmed (or both at once). "Overloaded" is a cognitive state. It occurs when you are juggling too many ideas in your mind, perhaps...

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