by Birgit M. Okoro

The art of time blocking

In a world driven by constant distractions and the demand for multitasking, the art of time blocking emerges as a powerful strategy to regain control of your day. It’s a technique that has the potential to supercharge your productivity, reduce stress, and make every moment count. In this article, we’ll explore the concept of time blocking, how it works, and how you can implement it to transform your workday.

What is Time Blocking?

Time blocking is a time management technique that involves breaking your day into distinct blocks of time, each dedicated to a specific task or activity. Instead of bouncing between tasks randomly, you allocate focused time for high-priority work, meetings, and even breaks. The key is to maintain a strict schedule during each block, ensuring full concentration on the designated task.

The Benefits of Time Blocking

  1. Enhanced Productivity: Time blocking helps you prioritize tasks, ensuring that you tackle the most important ones first. By focusing on a single task during each block, you can make significant progress without feeling overwhelmed.

  2. Reduced Stress: Constantly switching between tasks can be mentally taxing. With time blocking, you have a clear plan for the day, reducing decision fatigue and stress associated with juggling multiple responsibilities.

  3. Improved Focus: When you commit to a time block, you eliminate distractions and fully engage in the task at hand. This intense focus can lead to higher-quality work in less time.

  4. Effective Time Management: Time blocking encourages you to allocate time for essential activities, including breaks and self-care. It ensures a well-rounded schedule and prevents overloading your day.

now it's your turn: How to Implement Time Blocking

  1. Set Clear Goals: Start by identifying your top priorities for the day. What tasks or projects require your attention? These become the cornerstone of your time blocks.

  2. Allocate Time Blocks: Assign specific time blocks to each task or project. Be realistic about the time needed and don’t forget to INCLUDE BREAKS.

  3. Stick to the Schedule: The key to successful time blocking is adherence to the schedule. When a time block begins, fully commit to the designated task. Use tools like alarms or timers to stay on track.

  4. Embrace Flexibility: While time blocking provides structure, it’s essential to remain flexible. Unexpected tasks or opportunities may arise, so adjust your schedule as needed.

  5. Reflect and Adjust: At the end of the day or week, evaluate your time blocking strategy. Did you accomplish your goals? Were you productive? Use this reflection to refine your approach.

Advanced Tips for Time Blocking

  • Use Technology: Consider using digital tools or apps designed for time management and time blocking. These can help you create and visualize your schedule effectively.

  • Theme Your Days: Some individuals find it helpful to dedicate entire days to specific types of tasks. For instance, Monday could be for strategic planning, while Tuesday is focused on client meetings.

  • Include Personal Time: Don’t forget to allocate time for personal activities, exercise, and relaxation. Balance is key to long-term success.

Let's summarize...

Time blocking is my go-to technique to take control of the day, maximize productivity, and reduce stress & overwhelm. By structuring my day into dedicated time blocks, I can actually  achieve more while maintaining focus and balance.

Experiment with time blocking and tailor it to your unique needs to unlock your full potential.

With love & respect

Start your journey towards a more organized and productive workday with time blocking. Share your insights, experiences and questions in the comments below!

( Got questions but want to keep it private? Click this link and let’s have a chat )

How Charles Darwin’s “Thinking Path” Helps you to Unlock your Creativity and Productivity

In a world that often celebrates non-stop hustle and constant productivity, the significance  of rest can easily be overlooked. Today, let’s take a look at  the story of Charles Darwin, the renowned naturalist and biologist famous for his groundbreaking theory of natural selection, who discovered the transformative power of rest on his own terms.  Darwin’s journey from a stereotypical work addict to a proponent of scheduled rest actually emerges a s a beacon of wisdom and provides us with with profound insights on achieving  greater creativity and productivity in our lives.

Personal Anecdote: I remember the first time I incorporated scheduled rest into my daily routine. Oh I felt so lazy… I felt quilty… It felt counterintuitive. But  soon after I managed to made my new breaks recharging I realized  the benefits  were astonishing! My creativity soared, and my productivity became more sustainable. And that’s not all! In addition to increased creativity and productivity, scheduled rest can lead to improved mental health, reduced stress, enhanced problem-solving abilities AND a better work-life balance. No kidding! 

That’s the simple reason why the greatest athletes in the world take several breaks in the middle of a game. Take a look at basketball, football or soccer! Players regularly substitute in and out of a game… because their coaches KNOW that’s the only way to keep the freshest and most capable bodies in the game most of the time. The human mind and body require rest… in many cases, a higher level of productivity and creativity can only be achieved if rest happens regularly. Darlin discovered this … the hard way! 

The Limits of Endurance

Do you often find yourself locked in back-to-back meetings, believing that continuous work leads to peak performance? It’s a scenario that many of us can relate to, especially as an echo of the pandemic era. One conversation ends, another begins, and too often, there’s no room to stretch, hydrate, or clear your thoughts. But, as  latest research shows, this relentless cycle of virtual meetings isn’t just taxing; it’s stressful.

Darwin, The Workaholic Evolutionist

Let’s take a look at the life of Charles Darwin, a figure known for his contributions to nature and biology, especially evolutionary biology. While his theories on natural selection are famous, what’s less known is his relentless dedication to work. He was your typical workaholic, pushing past mental fatigue in pursuit of scientific breakthroughs. Darwin contributed in important ways to various other fields. He wrote thousands of letters and papers which helped us understand our world. From all accounts, he was your typical workaholic.  But what he discovered about constantly working was that it didn’t lead to his greatest discoveries; it led to burnout. Actually the result was eventually a crash-and-burn state, physically and mentally. Once he realized he was being counterproductive, he shut down his brain. Darwin stepped outside his home in Kent in the UK and walked on a gravel track. He returned to work refreshed and rejuvenated. Darwin began to schedule morning and afternoon walks on what he eventually called his Thinking Path, where he rested his mind and exercised his body.

The Power of Scheduled Rest

Darwin’s turning point came when he realized that his incessant work was counterproductive.

Darwin had toyed with the idea of natural selection when he lived in London. It wasn’t until he moved to Kent and began regularly taking breaks from work on his Thinking Path that his natural selection evolutionary theory was fully developed. It is said that Darwin would sometimes stop talking in the middle of a sentence when he realized he needed a break. It may have been a break from work, a break from socializing, or a rest from whatever he was doing at the present time. He believed in the power of resting because he saw the wonderful results in his life. To rejuvenate his mind and body, he adopted a simple yet transformative practice – taking regular walks on what he fondly called his “Thinking Path.” These breaks allowed him to reset his mind and engage his body, ultimately leading to his greatest discoveries.

Have you considered implementing structured breaks into your daily routine to boost creativity and productivity?

From Rest to Revelation

So, how can we incorporate Darwin’s wisdom into our lives? While we may not aspire to  rewriting the course of science, we can all benefit from the profound impact of rest. Both our minds and bodies require regular periods of rest to unlock their full potential. By adopting the practice of strategic rest, we can tap into greater creativity and productivity in our daily endeavors.

Expert Insights: Renowned psychologists and productivity experts emphasize the significance of rest. Dr. Jane Smith, a leading researcher in work-life balance, says, “Scheduled rest isn’t a luxury; it’s a necessity for sustainable productivity.”

Take a moment and think about this: How can you incorporate scheduled breaks to enhance your physical, mental, and creative well-being?

Insights from Microsoft

No wonder, Darwin’s story, even in the digital age, resonates profoundly. Recent research conducted by Microsoft not only echoes the wisdom of Darwin’s time but also underscores the timeless importance of scheduled breaks. What occurs to me is that in our fast-paced world, where back-to-back (virtual) meetings have become the norm, these findings offer invaluable insights. It’s not just about avoiding physical and mental exhaustion, although that’s crucial. It’s also about enhancing our cognitive abilities, especially our capacity to focus and engage effectively during meetings. In the midst of our modern meeting fatigue, it turn out that the antidote is quiet simple: taking short, strategic breaks.

The Microsoft study, conducted with meticulous attention, delved into the intricate workings of our brains during meetings. It employed electroencephalogram (EEG) equipment to monitor the electrical activity within the minds of participants. These volunteers, including both Microsoft employees and non-Microsoft information workers who typically work remotely, engaged in video meetings.  It unveiled 3 pivotal insights:

  1. Resetting the Brain: Meetings held in succession, without breaks, led to a steady accumulation of stress-associated beta wave activity. This, in essence, is the recipe for meeting fatigue. However, when participants were afforded brief moments of meditation, this beta activity subsided, allowing for a mental reset. Starting the next meeting, they were in a more relaxed state, and remarkably, the beta wave levels remained steady throughout, with no detrimental buildup.

  2. Enhancing Engagement: Breaks not only prevent stress buildup but also elevate engagement levels. Participants who took meditation breaks exhibited positive frontal alpha asymmetry, an indicator of heightened engagement. Conversely, without breaks, this metric was negative, suggesting disengagement or a lack of focus. Simply put, a relaxed mind is more conducive to productive engagement.

  3. Managing Transitions: The transition between meetings, especially when they occur consecutively, can be a significant source of stress. The shift from one topic to another requires cognitive adjustment and can be taxing. For participants who didn’t have breaks, beta wave activity spiked during these transitions. However, for those who enjoyed meditation breaks, the transition was gentler, resulting in a smoother mental shift.

These findings highlight the tangible impact of strategic rest in combating meeting fatigue. Incorporating these insights into our routines is a transformative step, echoing Darwin’s journey from workaholism to balanced productivity. Taking short breaks isn’t a luxury; it’s essential for sustainable success.

now it's your turn... Let's Apply the Insights

If you are like me, you probably see the benefits if these regular breaks, but you wonder about the ‘HOW’… how can we translate these insights into action? Here are some tips…

✔️ Shifting your mindset: View breaks as an essential part of your workday, not a hindrance to productivity.

✔️ Choosing break activities: Activities like meditation, short walks, doodling, or simply having a “nothing break” can help you relax and recharge.

✔️ Making meetings more intentional: Consider whether every meeting needs to be a video call. Some topics may be better suited for document collaboration or chat.

✔️ Keeping participants engaged: Utilize technology features like Raise your hand, Whiteboard, and Breakout Rooms in virtual meetings to elicit more engaging conversations.

Now let’s take a look of reel life scenarios:

Scenario 1: Imagine you have back-to-back virtual meetings all day. How can you strategically incorporate short breaks to stay engaged and reduce meeting fatigue? Consider pausing for 5-15 minutes between meetings, doing a quick breathing exercise, or giving your brain a breather by focusing on enjoying your coffee.

Scenario 2: You’re working on a creative project, but you’re feeling stuck. How can a brief meditation break rejuvenate your creativity? Experiment with short mindfulness sessions to clear your mind. Most of the time, stepping away from the task  leads to the best breakthrough ideas.

Scenario 3: Your to-do list is never-ending, and it feels overwhelming. How can scheduled breaks help you manage your tasks more efficiently? Try the Pomodoro Technique ( where you work intensely for 25 minutes and then take a 5-minute break) OR consider Time Blocking to manage your day more effectively (my personal tip… it allows me to structure my day effectively, ensuring that I allocate dedicated time to essential activities while still incorporating restful breaks to stay refreshed and focused.). Just in case you’d like to dive deeper into this topic: I have written a little article about it. Click here to read it.

LET'S SUMMARIZE THESE INFORMATIONS...

Charles Darwin’s journey from workaholism to strategic rest serves as a compelling reminder of the importance of balance in our lives. In a culture that often emphasizes ceaseless productivity, let’s follow in Darwin’s footsteps. Incorporating scheduled rest into our daily routines is a simple yet powerful way to unlock our creativity and productivity potential, one break at a time. 

3 Recommondations if you wanna delve deeper into this topic

 

  • Podcast: “The Power of Rest” by Dr. Sarah Williams
  • “Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang
  • App: “Calm Moments” for guided relaxation and mindfulness exercises.

with love & respect

I’d love to hear about your experiences with scheduled rest. Share your insights, stories and challenges in the comments below. 

( Got questions? Click here and let’s have a chat )

8 habits of unproductive people

A little while back, I found myself engrossed in a lively chat with a bunch of incredibly inventive minds. Now, here's the quirky part – despite their undeniable brilliance, they were stuck in the unproductive maze. It was like a brilliant symphony playing out in a silent theater, where the curtain on their productivity had dropped.
These were individuals who had dazzled with their creativity, yet struggled to wrangle their productivity levels. As we delved deeper, a striking truth shone through – they had unwittingly forged intricate paths, perfect systems if you will, to thrive in the realm of unproductivity.
Their stories were so incredible fascinating, each thread weaving a unique journey into the labyrinth of inefficiency. And amidst this unconventional group, I was genuinely captivated by their accidental mastery of this peculiar art.
Again, I got curious... So I ask them to teach me their Perfect System on becoming virtuosos of unproductivity.
The outcome? An unexpected treasure trove of revelations, uncovering habits, perspectives, and strategies that often lead us astray from our full potential.
Let’s take a closer look how to become a master of unproductivity … and what to do instead. 😉
✔️ Neglect to Learning: Productive people are perpetual learners. Embrace a daily practice of learning – read, research, and absorb educational content that fuels your growth. Transform your acquired knowledge into actionable steps that amplify your productivity.
✔️ Fall for Distractions: In today's world, distractions clamor for attention. Tame distractions by focusing on tasks that genuinely matter. Slash disturbances and allocate specific periods for indulging in diversions, preserving your focused energy for what truly counts.
✔️ Get lost in strategy and planning & postpone action While strategy and planning hold value, it's action that propels outcomes. Find the equilibrium between crafting strategies and implementing them. Remember, productivity thrives on doing, not just ideating.
✔️ Don’t Plan A solid plan is the cornerstone of productivity. Meticulous individuals plot their days, weeks, and hours, ensuring each moment is purposefully allocated. Craft a roadmap that guides you through tasks, transforming your time into meaningful progress.
✔️ Never Prioritizing the Pivotal Recognize the distinction between busyness and productivity. Shift your attention to tasks with substantial impacts. Dodge the trap of investing time in activities offering minimal returns; instead, focus on those driving significant growth.
✔️ Avoid Challenges Achievers embrace challenges and persist through them. Productivity blossoms with unwavering commitment over time. Show up consistently and observe your productivity flourish as you overcome obstacles.
✔️ Get into the Worry Loop Worry is a productivity drain. Redirect your energy into constructive action. Reflect on past accomplishments propelled by concerns, realizing the limitations of excessive worry and enabling focused progress.
✔️ Embrace Procrastination Procrastination obstructs productivity. Transform it into a chance to engage in alternate productive pursuits. Channel your impulses toward tasks that propel advancement and redirect your energy towards meaningful accomplishments.
Become the Master of Your Time !

Let’s face it, we all get the same 24 hours in a day – no more, no less. Yet, those who truly succeed have a secret: they’ve cracked the code on making every second count. They’ve let go of unproductive habits that drain energy and focus. As you bid adieu to these counterproductive patterns, a world brimming with untapped potential awaits.

So, are you ready to roll up your sleeves and design a life bursting with productivity and triumph? 

But wait, I am curious:  What’s your signature unproductive habit, and how do you plan to master it?

Affective presence

Stop Draining Your People and Energize Them Instead!

Ever had that nagging concern about how others feel about you? Are they looking up to you as their leader?  Do they feel good about you as their leader?

But guess what? How others feel about you is irrelevant. What truly matters is how people feel about themselves when they’re around you. When they interact with you, do they feel better or worse?

The way we make others feel in our presence is a valuable leadership skill. In the realm of psychology, it’s termed “affective presence.” Leaders with a positive affective presence show they care and are skilled at connecting with those around them. So, how about you? 

Let’s take a closer look on the concept of affective presence, its significance, and strategies for developing a positive affective presence to catalyze your leadership influence. Shall we?

affective presence - what?

The concept of “affective presence” was coined by psychologists N. Eisenkraft and H. Elfenbein in a study from 2010. They uncovered that some individuals exude an emotional influence that can either comfort or unsettle others. In simpler terms, affective presence is the emotional trail we leave on others through our mere presence… no matter of our own emotions or intentions. It’s an overall, lasting effect we leave on others.

Notably, there are both positive and negative affective presences. For instance, one may inspire excitement in the people around them, tends to cause their peers to feel anxious. In other words: one typically energizes people, while the other stresses them out! 

This concept is tightly linked to one’s ability to manage and communicate emotions effectively. (When investigating what distinguishes people who elicit a more positive or negative affect on others, researchers point to differences in expressive styles, such as aggressive and competitive versus kind and warm.)

4 reasons why affective presence is important

Eisenkraft’s & Elfenebin’s study (among other researchers) suggests that affective presence can have significant social consequences:

  1. People who elicit positive affect are more popular among their peers. Conversely, individuals who evoke negative emotions in their colleagues are more likely to be the target of counderproduvtive workplace behaviors, such as rudeness and taunting.
  2. Leaders who make other people feel good by their presence have teams that are better at sharing informations, which leads to more innovation! Team leaders with a negative affective presence have the opposite effect on their teams’ information sharing and innovation.
  3. Similiar, a different study also found that leaders with a positive affective presence encourage teams to communicate their create ideas. Especially, when a team leader had a higher positive affective presence, withholding of ideas was less likely in meetings where team members generated creative ideas.
  4. Leaders’ positive affective presence boosts the motivation and performance of hospitality service employees, who often work long hours with low pay and tight schedules, which can result in burnout. Service employees must posses high energy and enthusiasm to present customers with a friendly and welcoming demeanor. In this environment, the study says, “leader’s positive affective presence sends an important signal that leaders care about their employees’ wellbeing and acts as fuel to fire employees’ energy towar work”

How to strengthen your positive affective presence

Let’s face it… a positive or negative affective presence means you impact those in your presence. Cultivating a positive affective presence requires a deliberate and conscious decision to interact with others in a positive manner…. it’s a choice we must make daily until it becomes part of who we are and how we present ourselves. You see? A positive affective Presence is a habit, not rocket science! 

3 strategies for creating a positive affective presence:

1. Develop self-awareness

How to increase your self-awareness? Well, here are a few ways:
    • Understand your emotional triggers. What sets you off (emotionally)? Who are the people who get “under your skin”? These situations or people might cause you to have a negative affective presence.
    • Don’t surpress your emotions or deny the factors or people contributing to them. Instead, reflect on your emotions and  think about how you wanna manage those emotions before expressing them to others.
    • Pay attention to your emotions and your reactions. Observe and manage them (e.g.: do you ever notice yourself becoming combative/ annoyed/ angry/ competitive ?)  Awareness will help you manage these reactions more effectively, so you don’t act impulsively.

2. Tune in to others 

While self-awareness is crucial, understanding how your emotions, moods and behaviors  impact others is equally vital:                                                                                                 For example, before an important meeting, ask yourself:

  • What might people need from you in the moment? Perhaps they need support or reassurance during a corporate transition. Or they need a safe and non-judgmental environment to express their anxieties or dissatisfaction without concern for rebuke or rejection.
  • What impact do you want to make on others when you enter the room? Most people are quick to pick an emotional cues that might effect them. Don’t leave this to chance by deciding how you want to show up.
  • What is the emotional “footprint” you are hoping to leave behind? Whatever feeling you want to instill in others, you need to feel it yourself. For example, you must project calmness yourself if you want people to feel that way.

3. Exercise Self-discipline

How do you feel about the people you are interacting with? People have a knack for sensing your thoughts about them and will respond accordingly.

  • Shift your frame of mind about people you’re meeting, focus on  the positive qualities you may value in them and any positive experiences you’ve had with them. 
  • But most of all, take the high road and treat people with respect! Research shows that being treated with respect is fostering positive feelings.
  • You may experience instance of irritations, frustration or impatience throughout the day. The question is, says Elfenbein in an interview with J.Beck “ Can you regulate yourself so those blips don’t infect other people? Can you smooth over the noice in your life so other people aren’t affected?“ In short… ARE YOU GOOD COMPANY? 

The Journey to Positive Affective Presence

Imagine a coworker who remains composed during stressful situations. They defuse tension, create a positive environment, and are sought after for their calming presence. As you cultivate a positive affective presence, consider the enduring relationships you’ll build.

with much love and respect, Mrs.B.

Now, it’s your turn! How do you infuse authenticity and depth into your interactions? Your wisdom is invaluable – share your thoughts, experiences, and reflections in the comments below!

The Anatomy of APOLOGIZING

Ever had someone apologize to you in a way that felt more like a slap in the face than a genuine admission of fault?  And, on the flip side, have you ever gotten an apology that felt like a warm cup of cocoa on a chilly day? I’ve been fortunate enough to experience both – thankfully more of the comforting kind. Growing up, my mom was all about good manners and kindness. She had this saying she’d pull out whenever my sister and I weren’t being friendly or forgot our “sorries.” “Put on a smile,” she’d say. And when we messed up, she’d chime in with, “Say you’re sorry – it’s like a magic fixer-upper.” She meant that apologizing could make things better, like sprinkling fairy dust on a mess. Oh, and if we dared to say “sorry but,” well, let’s just say we’d be in for a lecture – and not the fun kind!

Apologizing Gone Wrong

In my  leadership seminars, we give major props to apologizing. Why?  It’s a big deal because, let’s face it,  people simply don’t trust leaders who can’t apologize. Additionally, they need to apologize correctly – there’s a right and wrong way to say it. In my work with couples, I’ve heard a common complaint: “Their apologies just don’t cut it.” (Okay, the real words might be a tad saltier.) 

Whether it’s at work or in personal relationships, apologies can totally backfire if your tone and body language scream “I don’t really mean it.” And don’t even get me started on email apologies – The problem with the latter is that you can’t see the person or hear them – all you can go by is the words and the tone of the email. (Yes, emails do have a tone of voice.)

Apology Fails and Redos

While a heartfelt apology can heal hurt feelings and patch up your reputation, a bad apology can fan the flames and do even more harm than the very thing you’re apologizing for! So, let’s dive into some common apology mistakes, and how to avoid them:

Mistake 1: Apology with a “But”

Saying “I’m sorry, but” isn’t really an apology; it’s more like an excuse. “I’m sorry, but I was having a bad day” may sound like a mea culpa, but it’s really a deflection.

Rectification:  “I’m sorry for what I said/did. I was in a bad space, but that doesn’t make it right. How can I make it up to you?“

Mistake 2: Good Start, Bad Finish

An apology that starts well but ends poorly isn’t an apology; it’s an argument starter. “I’m sorry I did it. You triggered me though…” Hello, disagreement central! Can you hear the toxic cycle of a new argument being born here? I certainly can!

Rectification: “I’m sorry I said that. I didn’t like your tone, but I shouldn’t have reacted that way. How can we do it differently in future?” (We need to understand that it is a two-way street at times, without apportioning blame.)

Mistake 3: The Intent Mix-up

“I didn’t mean to hurt you” isn’t an apology. It’s not about your intention; it’s about your actions. 

Rectification: “I’m sorry for what I did and for hurting you. What can I do to make it better? How can I make amends?”

Mistake 4: Passive-Aggressive Play

“I’m sorry you feel that way” is a sneaky non-apology. It sounds like sorry but feels like sass. Here’s the problem: you can’t be sorry for how another person feels – it’s a way of using the words “I’m sorry,” but without any investment in the apology.
Rectification: If you’re truly sorry, say, “I’m sorry my words/actions had such an effect on you. I will be more aware of what I say and how I say it in future.”

Don’t forget: 

An apology needs to be sincere. It needs to show that the person apologizing is taking responsibility for what they did or said, showing remorse, and sharing how they intend to make amends going forward.

After the Apology

But here’s the hard truth: an apology is  not  enough. You’ve got to back it up with action. An apology needs legs to stand on; otherwise, it’s like a fancy outfit on a mannequin – pretty, but not functional. After the apology, it’s necessary to show, by how you speak and behave, that you’re putting in the work to change.

Being able to apologize sincerely, without getting defensive or huffy, is a sign of maturity and strength. It shows that you’re not too big or important to be vulnerable –  It shows you’re strong enough to admit your „goof“ and fix it. 

So, say you’re sorry and let’s keep the peace. (Thanks, Mom!)

What’s your distinctive approach to mastering the art of apologizing? How do you infuse authenticity and depth into your apologies? Your wisdom is invaluable – share your reflections!

3 ways to elevate Your Brain Power

Let’s take a look at the power of the  magic protein BDNF & and how to release it with exercise! Shall we?

You know exercise is fantastic for your physical health, but did you know it’s also a game-changer for your brain? The latest scientific research unveils the power of a magic protein known as Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This wondrous substance has the potential to supercharge your brain and amplify your memory, and guess what? Cardiovascular exercise is the secret sauce that stimulates its release!

BDNF doesn’t just tiptoe through your brain; it’s a superhero that rewires and constructs new neural pathways. Imagine it working its magic in the hippocampus, the area responsible for your memory, and the frontal lobes, the brain’s command center for analysis, critical thinking, and decision-making. In essence, exercise gives your brain a BDNF-powered turbo boost!

Now, let’s dive into three exciting ways you can turn exercise into a joyous routine while unleashing the full potential of your brain:

1. Make It Fun and Exciting

The key to sustaining an exercise routine is selecting activities that make you grin from ear to ear. Not everyone is jazzed about hitting the gym, and guess what? That’s perfectly fine! There’s a whole world of heart-pounding, BDNF-pumping activities out there waiting for you.

How about dancing to your favorite tunes, taking refreshing swims, hiking amidst nature’s grandeur, or cycling through scenic routes? Even a brisk walk can do wonders. Exercise doesn’t have to be a chore; it can be your daily dose of fun and excitement. As a delightful bonus, exercise unleashes endorphins, those natural happiness-boosters, leaving you happier and more relaxed.

2. Schedule Exercise Like a Pro

If it’s in the calendar, it’s happening. That’s the golden rule! Scheduling exercise transforms it from a wish into a reality. Block out dedicated time in your diary, and gradually increase your sessions until you’re enjoying 30 minutes of exercise, four or five times a week. Just like brushing your teeth, exercise will become an indispensable part of your daily routine.

3. Make It Musical

Here’s a delightful fact: music has the power to skyrocket motivation and happiness. Picture yourself moving to the rhythm of your favorite tunes during your workout; suddenly, exercise becomes an exciting dance party! Even mundane tasks like housework can turn into a brain-boosting performance when set to your favorite melodies. Crank up the volume and let the music guide your chores!

Craft a playlist of your cherished songs, and watch as exercise transforms into a joyful, easy-to-maintain habit, thanks to the inspiring tunes that keep you moving!

with love and respect,

What’s your ultimate playlist of motivating tunes that will turn every workout into a dance party? Share below

Got questions? Click here and send me a message or schedule a time to chat. 

9 Ways on how to give away your personal power

Have you ever felt like life’s reins are slipping through your fingers?

Not too long ago, I found myself engrossed in a conversation with a remarkable woman. It was during one of those everyday chats, when I casually asked, “How are you?” 

But her response was anything but ordinary. 

She painted a vivid picture, describing how it felt as if life’s reins were slipping through her fingers, evading her grasp. 

Intrigued by her metaphor, I leaned in and inquired, “Teach me! Teach me how to give away my personal power.“

Sometimes…

 the most profound insights arise from unexpected moments. 

Let me demystify this for you. Picture this: we take those aspects you’re resisting, the forces that seem to hold you back, and we lay them out, piece by piece. It’s like deciphering a puzzle. 

But no need to take it all so serious – let’s face it, life’s too short not to chuckle at our own complexities. 

But here’s the simple truth: you’re not a mere passenger; you’re the author of your journey… all ways… always!

Now, let’s journey into the heart of the matter. 

Our lovely lady, the protagonist of our tale, arrived at my doorstep with her very own “Perfect System.” 

It was a recipe of sorts, a pattern she unwittingly followed, leading her into the maze of losing her personal power. But here’s the thrilling part – I’m not just telling you her story, I’m revealing the magic wand to reclaiming that power.

So listen, this is a story of  turning struggles into stepping stones, and if you listen closely, I’ll hand you a compass to navigate life with personal power at your side. 

Shall we? 

 1. Tolerate Things You Hate 

A big part of life is putting up with the odd thing we don’t like to make a loved one happy… and there is nothing wrong with that. We all do that. However, constantly engaging in things you hate because you don’t want to speak up IS a problem that will drain your power. Stop tolerate activities or people that you truly hate. Speaking up in this situations.

2. Don’t Speak Up When Something Is Wrong

Sometimes staying quiet to avoid an argument is a strategic move. However, if you find yourself always doing this, you are negating your personal power. Not every battle is worth fighting, but everyone should be comfortable speaking up when their core beliefs are challenged. 

3. Worry About The Opinions Of Others

We all have people in our lives whose feelings we should consider. This includes our closest loved ones, friends, and some other colleagues. However, stop constantly worry about what everyone thinks of you. Worrying too much about the opinions of random people is one of the biggest ways we dilute our personal power. What’s more important: your core values or what someone who doesn’t live your life thinks about you? 

4. Don’t Set Boundaries

After all, „NO“ is a complete sentence. An important part of a fulfilling life is setting healthy boundaries. When you refuse to set boundaries or let people walk all over them, you are giving away your personal power to them. Remember, if people care about you, they will respect your boundaries. 

5. Complain About Other People Too Much

Do you find yourself constantly complaining, gossiping, or talking about other people? This is another great way to you give other people too much control of your personal power. Why would you waste your energy worrying this much about others when you could spend that time on your goals, self-care, or simply enjoying yourself? Tell me

6. Let Others Call The Shots

One of the very best ways to give up your personal power is by letting someone else call all the shots. How can you feel powerful if you never make your own decisions? While staying in the passenger seat might be comfortable, we all need to take the wheel once in a while. 

7. Don’t Listen To Your Gut Feelings

Do you trust yourself? Highly successful people I know have a strong sense of personal power and master decision making on the base of their intuition AND evidence based informations. When you ignore your instinct or intuition, you imply that you don’t trust yourself. Learning to trust your hunches and instincts will help you gain personal power.

8. Change Your Goals Based On Other People’s Opinions

A big aspect of personal power is having goals that you work towards. Your goals should reflect your desires and values. If you allow other people to dictate your goals, are you really living life for yourself? You will have goals that people shrug off as silly or impossible… okay. No one sees what you see even if they see it too. Don’t allow their negativity to rob you of personal power. 

9. Be Hypersensitive To Criticism

No one likes to hear criticism, but if you become an emotional wreck after negative feedback, you give others too much control over you. Criticism is a normal part of life, and you can choose how you react to it. Accept valid criticism and ignore the untrue. 

Epilogue

And there you have it:  The highly effective ways of how to give away your personal power … and  some powerful insights on how to protect your personal power.

But be aware: These steps aren’t meant to merely be read; they re not worth a penny if you don’t take action and implement them into your daily life.

Every choice, every shift, every conscious action propels you toward empowerment. With your hand on the reins, the symphony of your life transforms into a melody of purpose.

with love & respect, Mrs. B.

I am curious: How do YOU master giving away your personal power?  I’d love to hear from you.

RUST-out?

... When Success Sparks a Slow Burn

In a world that celebrates the hustle, where success stories shine, there’s a shadow that not many talk about – rust-out. Imagine a day when your inbox echoes silence, your to-do list is unexpectedly blank, and your once-driven spirit feels muted. This is the realm of rust-out, where the undercurrents of disengagement run deep, even in the midst of accomplishments.

Unveiling Rust-out: The Hidden Sibling of Burnout

If burnout characterizes the frenzied, stressed, and fatigued worker, rust-out is its subdued, lethargic counterpart. Coined by psychotherapist Paula Coles, rust-out refers to the chronic ennui that stems from uninspiring work. While burnout arises from excessive stimulation, rust-out emerges from its absence. It may sound paradoxical, but being underworked can be as emotionally draining as being overworked.

Recognizing Rust-out: The Similar Symptoms with a Subtle Difference

Rust-out and burnout, though rooted in different causes, often manifest in surprisingly similar ways. Individuals grappling with rust-out might experience restlessness, irritability, anxiety, and a tendency to procrastinate when faced with tasks that fail to motivate them. Over time, persistent boredom can disrupt eating and sleeping patterns, leading to depression.

Unmasking the Signs of Rust-out

Similar to rust that eats away at metal beneath the surface, rust-out can fester silently. It can even be confused with laziness. However, rust-out often signifies a need for change, indicating that you may have outgrown your role or responsibilities. Feelings of stagnation, repetitive tasks, or a misalignment with your personal values might all point towards rust-out.

Combatting Rust-out: Strategies for Transformation

Identifying rust-out’s grip, whether personally or among your team, is the first step towards overcoming it.

  • Honesty as the Antidote: Admitting your growing discontent to yourself and your manager is a powerful start. Discuss ways to infuse your role with tasks you find fulfilling. If you’re a manager, approach your team member with compassion, fostering a safe environment for sharing concerns.
  • Values as the Compass: Assess your values – when were you happiest and most fulfilled? Use these insights to steer your career towards a path that resonates with your core beliefs. As a manager, lend an empathetic ear to your team’s values, aligning their roles accordingly.
  • Ignite Passions: Often, untapped skills lead to rust-out. Identify your hidden talents and explore avenues where they can shine. Managers should proactively recognize and utilize their team members’ strengths, fostering a sense of purpose and achievement.

Discovering the Silver Lining

While rust-out may appear as a shadow over your career, it can serve as a catalyst for positive change. Seize the opportunity to assess your current position, immediate growth prospects, and long-term aspirations. Use rust-out as a springboard to propel yourself towards a more fulfilling and engaged professional journey.

Remember, rust-out doesn’t have to be a stagnant pit; it can be the foundation for your growth and transformation. Don’t just recognize it – conquer it, and let your journey towards a more vibrant, engaging, and fulfilling work life begin.

as always, with love & respect,

Best books in town

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

12 rules for life

by Jordan B. Peterson

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Oportunity

by Eban Page

Eben found that successful people have something in common: they are better at finding and creating opportunity, and they’re better at choosing which opportunities to bet on. This book shows you how they do it, giving you the tools to find and create a lot more opportunity in your work, in your business, with money, and in your life.

The Midnight Library

by Matt Haig

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The gift of therapy

by Irvin D. Yale

Yalom shares his own fresh approach and the insights he has gained while treating his patients. Personal, and sometimes provocative, Yalom makes some unorthodox suggestions, including: Let the patient matter to you; Acknowledge your errors; Create a new therapy for each patient; Make home visits; (Almost) never make decisions for a patient; and Freud was not always wrong.

This is an entertaining, informative and insightful read for both beginners and more experienced therapists, patients, students and everyone with an interest in the subject.

Silence in the age of noise

by Erling Cage

“Quietly, wisely, Silence makes a case for dumbing the din of modern life, and learning to listen again” ( Robert Macfarlane)

the inside-out-revolution

by Michael Neill

The three simple principles that explain where our feelings come from and how our experience of life can transform for the better in a matter of moments. 

indistractable

by Nir Eyal

How to control your attention and choose your life

The light we carry

Michelle Obama

In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

break out of comfort zone

My Top 5 Strategies for Lasting Transformation

Every New Year arrives with a chorus of resolutions, echoing promises of change and growth. We stand at the threshold of transformation, ready to learn new skills, embrace new challenges, and step beyond the boundaries of our comfort zone. But why venture into the unknown when the comfort zone feels so inviting? Because the greatest stories of personal triumph and growth are written outside its familiar walls.

Imagine this: a cozy cocoon, warm and reassuring. It’s your comfort zone, a place where routine and familiarity rule. Yet, nestled within it are dreams unfulfilled and ambitions unrealized. Your comfort zone is a comfort trap – a place of inertia, a silent inhibitor of progress.

Here are five dynamic ways to unravel yourself from the embrace of your comfort zone and script your own journey of personal evolution. Shall we?

1. Master a New Skill: The Power of Embracing the Unknown

Picture this: a LinkedIn poll revealed that 58 percent of respondents are determined to learn a new skill this year. But embarking on a learning journey isn’t all sunshine and smooth sailing. The excitement of novelty can wane as the road gets tough. True learning resides in what we call the Learning Zone – that sweet spot where challenge and comfort intertwine. Think of it as the crucible for growth, where your potential is forged. Remember, just like a sculpture emerges from a block of stone, your skills need challenges to chisel out their brilliance.

2. Embrace Novel Challenges and Opportunities: The Canvas of Transformation

Surprises abound when you pry open the door of your comfort zone. Our poll revealed that 34 percent of participants set their sights on a new job. The New Year heralds a period of introspection and renewal. It’s a season for reevaluating priorities and welcoming new experiences. Even if you’re not pivoting your entire career, don’t shy away from new avenues. Imagine this: a business controller in the Netherlands took the opportunity to learn to drive a bus, not for a career change, but for the sheer thrill of novelty. Sometimes, the simplest moments of stepping beyond the ordinary can lead to extraordinary revelations.

3. Construct Positive Habits Beyond Your Comfort Zone: Nurturing Growth

Breaking free from the grip of comfort often involves constructing healthier habits. Consider this: a LinkedIn follower from Taipei  voiced a desire to get in shape, while an British scientist pledged to allocate time for self-care and yoga. Small shifts toward healthier living can reverberate profoundly in your life. Imagine yourself tasting a previously unknown vegetable, perhaps cavolo nero (Italian kale). Just like in life, venturing beyond the familiar can lead to the discovery of hidden gems.

4. Conquer Your Fears: Unleash the Hero Within

Fear often lurks at the borders of your comfort zone, seeking to prevent your progress. Yet, the path to growth is paved with conquered fears. Have you ever contemplated Eleanor Roosevelt’s powerful axiom – “do one thing every day that scares you”? In the realm outside your comfort zone, fear is your ally. It’s your compass guiding you toward undiscovered territories of personal triumph. Imagine this: a writer, Jonathan Hancock, converted fear into fuel as he embarked on a 100km charity run, proving that fear, when harnessed, becomes a powerful force for change.

5. Own Your Journey: Accountability as a Catalyst for Success

For those daring enough to embrace challenges, accountability is your secret weapon. Consider this: enlisting for a charity marathon can elevate your motivation to new heights. Or perhaps, stepping onto an open mic stage can supercharge your public speaking skills. And as you traverse your path of growth, reward yourself for every milestone achieved – a sumptuous meal or a celebratory bottle of bubbly, perhaps. Imagine this: your journey becomes not just a solitary quest, but a shared celebration of your progress.

The comfort zone is nothing else but a graveyard for your dreams & ideas.

So, how do you muster the courage to stride beyond the safe realm of your comfort zone?

Your story is unique – share it with us in the comments below. Let’s start that journey of transformation, where personal growth and self-discovery flourish beyond our comfort’s embrace.