How to Reclaim 25% of Your Time

How to Reclaim 25% of Your Time

Last week I had my first multi-day headache in years. It crawled into my head on Tuesday, hit it’s peak on Wednesday, and slunk out the backdoor leaving me delicate but better on Thursday. Right in the middle of everything, I had to stop and take a break.

It was terrible timing for an unplanned break!

  • I’m running a free three-week “Website Retool Challenge” for Mental Health Awareness month with my friend and colleague Alyssa Adams, and the Pre-Party begins TODAY. We have ads running, videos to make, logistics to line up… there is much that goes into creating a breezy, fun-filled internet party!
  • It’s the end of the semester and I need to stay on top of my grading and emails with students.
  • My daughter turns 10 on Friday and I really need to figure out how to have a Zoom birthday party and get some gifts delivered and bake a cake and, and, and…
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Amanda approved Coronavirus Oases on Demand

My criteria for Oases on Demand is that I have checked it out my very own self, everything works out in the end, and no one is in any real pain. I want to see conflict and tension and a compelling arc with strong characters, don’t get me wrong… but I don’t want to question the meaning of life or the nature of humanity.


  • Uprooted. It was gripping! It was well developed! It was devoid of body drama (the main character wasn’t “unexpectedly the most beautiful girl in the land,” thank God) and it was LONG. Blessedly, beautifully long. You need this in your life.
  • A Man Called Ove. This book is about a 100-year-old man who escapes from his nursing home and decides that life is for LIVING. He goes on a romp around the countryside that made me happy from start to finish.
  • The Little Paris Bookshop. A man has a book shop on a barge and then one day decides to give it all up and float off down the Seine. He travels down the river and around the south of France to shakes off the ennui of a stuck-in-the-mud life and re-open to the potential of love. There’s a tiny bit of overwroughtness, but nothing that stops this from being a rich and textured escape novel.
  • The Art of Inheriting Secrets. This one was free with prime reading at a moment when my husband had decided $50 a month for books was too many dollars a month. I read it because it was free… AND I’M SO GLAD I DID!!! Step right into a world where it’s perfectly normal to inherit a massive English estate AND TITLE even though you are American! Oh, and let’s suddenly come into millions of dollars to renovate it. That’s how that would go, right? Also, why not fall in love with a best-selling author and eat inexpressibly good food every single day. Ah, real life. Such a treat.
  • Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. I am actually “reading” this one as an audiobook while I go for my daily walk. Now it’s set during Apartheid in South Africa so there’s no escaping the context, but Trevor is so matter-of-fact about it, and so earnest, caring and funny in his descriptions that it still meets my criteria.

TV Shows

  • The Great British Bakeoff < This is my go-to. It inevitably makes me feel like life is actually pretty darn good and sends me off to bake bread. Win-win.
  • Nailed It < Makes me feel better about how my own baking turns out!
  • Some good news. Every single episode of this makes me weep with relief.
  • The Office. <Enough Said
  • Psych < My favorite show of all time. Outrageous silliness mixed with true friendship
  • Phinneas and Ferb < I make an appearance in seconds 34 and 35. I’m the one on the left.

The least overwhelming way to pursue a goal

Ahh, do you hear that? That’s the sound of a lovely, high powered vision pulling on us like a rare earth magnet (the most powerful magnet on the planet!), encouraging us to get to work, make a difference, and create our dreams (in a healthy and balanced way, of course).

The next step is to get started!

So, what do I do next?

Well, here’s one of the paradoxes of change management: what creates excitement overall (a high powered vision statement about end results), makes for terrible motivation on the day-to-day.

When I think about having a “big platform and a small team” (from my vision, which I shared yesterday) it excites me… but then I realize that I can’t accomplish that today or even this week.

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keeping a commitment

I won’t screw me

This week we have been talking about the strong, concrete vision for our business as a magnet. Yesterday we turbo charged that magnet with our why, investing it with our hopes for ourselves, our “we” (the people we seek to provide for and protect) and our “one” (the world we want to change).

On the first page of your guide, you should something like this (this is mine):

I want: A thriving and diverse practice where I offer limited 1:1 coaching, and accessible group programs while also writing, speaking, and being a known source on marketing, mindsets, and change. I want a big platform, a small team, and a lot of supportive friends, clients, and colleagues who help me make my vision a reality, while I help them make their visions come true.

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Simon says… why?

Yesterday, we worked to make our vision statement a little bit more concrete, moving from broad notions of achievement and accomplishment and into the moments of our lives.

Take a moment and look at your mind map, then write up a simple summary on the first page of the guide.

Bam. 1/3 of your strong vision statement, DONE.

This alone will amp up the power of our vision’s magnet.

But if you want to turn it into a rare earth magnet (the strongest magnet on the planet!) then we have to add the “Why.”

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Extract the concrete

This week we are spending some time thinking creating a vision for your business. While you were doing it, it’s likely that you felt motivated and excited. And yet, it’s also likely that when you were done, you weren’t quite sure what any of it MEANT.

In concrete terms, what are you supposed to DO?

Part of the reason vision exercises can feel so “froofy,” despite their clear and necessary place in goal setting, is that they don’t tell you what to do next. And without that concreteness, it can feel frustratingly like empty motivation.

To counteract that feeling, let’s do some brainstorming using what you came up with yesterday as our starting point.

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You *DO* know what you want

Last week I talked about how so much of what we seehearthink and do comes from what we are choosing to perceive. After sitting with that for a week I hope you feel, as I do, that almost anything is possible for you and your business.

Which brings us to the next obvious question:

What do you want?

Now if you are like most of the people I work with, this question feels enormous. It can immediately overwhelm you, and make you feel like you actually don’t know what you want.

But that’s not true. You DO know what you want.

I’ve had hundreds of conversations with therapists, coaches and other entrepreneurs where I ask them what they want for their business. At first they say something neutral like “I want to help people” or “I’d like to worry less about getting clients.”

And while I’m not arguing that they do, in fact, want these things (they absolutely do love to help people, and who doesn’t want to worry less?), I also know that there’s a whole lot more to what they want.

The same is true for you.

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Depends On Who You Ask

Today is the last day of our week-long foray into perception research and optical illusions!

I hope you enjoyed it- we all need a distraction right now! I LOVED hearing from you this week! Here are some things I heard:

  • The girl I can get to go back and forth by willing the foot back and forth. Have no idea how it works since the head also shifts with each way it turns. My answer is sorcery. It is sorcery. lol Will have to keep working on the dress. 🙂
  • Your daily catalyst today was wild!!! I was so solidly in the gold and could not stop trying until the FaceTime call with a patient. When the call was over I still had your post open on the screen and the thing was blue and black. Unbelievable.
  • IT’S YANNY. YANNY I TELL YOU! I can’t find Darth Vader.
  • I am trying to keep a positive perspective on this whole pandemic. These visual examples are a fun reminder of that!

It has been a fun reminder for me, too.

Perception research is “basic” research in cognitive psychology, meaning it isolates a single piece of the human experience and tries to figure it out without all the chaos that comes along with looking at a human in context. That kind of “messy” research is called “Applied Cognitive Psychology.”

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Hidden in Plain Sight

Hidden in Plain Sight

In our last we talked about the key to hearing Laurel and Yanny is to understand that both are there, but one is the “figure” and the other is the “ground.” I put quotes around them because they are visual terms and I don’t know their auditory equivalents. But today we are looking at the real thing!

One of my favorite optical illusions are figure/ground, or white space illusions. Here’s my absolute favorite of these- to my eye it is absolutely beautiful.

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Did you hear that

Did You Hear That?

Almost two years ago today (May, 2018) we learned that it was not only our eyesight that would betray us, but also our ears! An audio clip was making the rounds on the internet and people were utterly perplexed. Do you hear Laurel or Yanny?

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