Will Power, Procrastination, and Getting It Done Early

 

Delighted to have a good friend and wonderful leader sharing her insight about leadership today as I travel – I know you’ll learn as much as I did when I read these insights.  Welcome and thanks for sharing Brandy:

I’ve been reading the research on willpower, and it fascinates me.  Psychology Professor Roy Baumeister uncovered this concept which states that humans only have x amount of self-control, and no matter what choice it is used on, it’s used up.  Now let me give you my analogy.

We all have a Hershey bar of willpower.  Some of us have the tiny two bite Halloween trick or treat size.  Some of us have the normal size, and a lucky few of us have the giant movie theater 6 serving size.  But whatever size your Hershey bar, every decision that you make in a day (even decisions that don’t appear to be related- like salad vs. greasy burger, or return your co-worker’s call or blow her off) is like breaking a block off the Hershey bar.  And once it is gone, it’s gone for the day.

What’s that mean practically for your leadership and efficacy at work?  It means that if it matters, you need to get it done in the MORNING.  Each morning you get a fresh Hershey bar, you have reserves of energy and willpower and self-control that you simply will not have later in the day.  It’s not a matter of how committed or focused you are, or how “tough” you are.  We all eat up our Hershey bar throughout the day with each decision we make.  Put bluntly, procrastination never helps, due to degraded decision making and self-control as the day wears on.  So, once you admit that, what do you change about your day up your leadership?  Here are some changes that I have made, which you might consider in the event they work for you.

  • Schedule your most important meeting for the morning.  Ideally, make it a breakfast meeting. I never used to do breakfast meetings.  I now embrace them.  The level of conversation and enthusiasm is markedly higher.  Also, not many people do them, so I’ve had greater luck with schedule availability.
  • When you can, get to work an hour earlier, and do NOT turn on your emails. Don’t answer your phone.  (Get in early enough and your phone might not even ring.) Use that hour to focus on your most important project, without interruption.  Or use it for the thing you never have time for- like updating your connections to grow your network.
  • Get your workout done before work.

Ok, I realize this one is painful, or at least it is for me.  Rolling up to the gym at 5:30 am is not fun.  But at 5;30, no one can stop me but me.  There is no call, or meeting running long, or PTA event.  At 5;30 PM- there are all of those things.  (Plus my bar of willpower was gone by then!) So I was continually missing or blowing off my workout.  Since I switched my workouts to the morning, I have only l missed one.  And back to the willpower issue, do your best to make it not a decision at all.  Set your alarm and lay out your gym clothes and water bottle the night before.  Your full bar of willpower will get you there much more reliably than it ever could at night.

  • Plan your day before you start your day.

This was life changing for me.  I used to roll up to work, open my email and start reading to see what I had to do that day.  That was honestly how I started my day.  Wow.  Not impressive.  Everyone was in control of my day, except me.  Now I start my day with my email off, and a blank sheet of paper in front of me.  I think it over, and write down what MY goals are for the day.  What do I need to do before I leave?  I start there, with plans and goals.  Then I can open my emails. 

  • Finally, when you can, have breakfast with the family. 

When I don’t have a breakfast meeting before work, I try to have breakfast with my family.  Nothing fancy- oatmeal works.  But connecting when I am fresh and happy, mellow, usually on a post morning workout happy endorphin rush, that is magic.  I am not a fresh happy mellow mom right after work, I admit.  I’m stressed about dinner, and homework, and soccer practice, and something my jerk coworker said to me, and the dishes that always seem to fill my sink.  My bar of willpower has often been consumed, and I may snap or be surly or quiet.  Not so in the morning.  So I treasure that special morning time with my family.

I hope these tips help.  At least give one or two of them a try.  I’ve been working on this system for about 5 months now, and it truly has changed my work life, my family life, and my fitness.  Not a bad trade for getting up a little earlier in the morning!

brandyBrandy is Managing Director & Counsel for GE Energy Financial Services.  She represents GE in equity investments, M&A, debt, and project financings for energy companies in the upstream, midstream and power sectors in the US, Latin America, Asia and Australia.  Brandy serves as the local Lean In leader for her GE Houston hub, and is a WEN mentor.  She was named a Houston’s Best Corporate Counsel in 2013, and has been named a Super Lawyer Texas Rising Star multiple times.  Brandy also serves on GE’s Diversity and Inclusion council. Brandy is passionate about pro bono work and has also been a foster mom to eight foster children and currently serves as legal guardian to five children in CPS care.

Give Them Jobs – Worst Parent Ever Series, Guest Post

I’m so delighted my dear friend Kristen Smith allowed me to use one of her funny, but wise, posts on parenting.  She wrote this funny series called Parenting Advice From The Worst Parent Ever, because let’s face it, none of us want someone pretending to have it all together and telling us what to do.  As a mom in the thick of the mayhem, I just loved this series.  Welcome Kristin:

I have said it before that being a parent is tough business. When we were pregnant with Isaac I had no idea what being a mom would really mean. I loved babies and had babysat as a teenager…so it would be a piece of cake loving on your own baby, right?

But sleepless nights and a colicky son that cried for hours at a time, quickly showed me that this thing wasn’t for the faint of heart.

It has been a few years since I have paced the hallways with a crying baby…but as I find myself in the thick of raising two toddlers along with 2 older boys, there is a new sound that has emerged inside my home.

Whining.

Oh the whining! The fighting and hitting is awful too…but I don’t know that much else irritates this mama more than the constant whining and fussing.

Because Elijah and Karlena are so close in age (18 months) it seems to have magnified. There is 7 years between Isaac and Gabriel, and 5 years between Gabriel and Elijah. I just don’t remember it being THIS terrible with them.

And while Elijah and Karlena really do play well together at times, and I know they love each other, they also argue and bicker and fight and cry and fuss and bawl and whine.

The whining was threatening to push me over the edge on the way home from church on Sunday. Oh yes – even then!! I can leave church happy and filled because of worship and a good sermon, and want to scream myself silly after a 15 minute car ride home! :)

Because I am really trying to change my pattern of screaming at them when they are screaming at each other I decided to try something different this time.

I gave them jobs.

Elijah, who just turned 5, is interested in helping. I don’t always give him enough opportunities to be helpful but he loves the praise that comes with being a good helper. So we got home and we got right to work.

I asked him if he wanted to be a bog boy and help mom with some important work. He said yes and we set to task.

It wasn’t anything huge, and honestly I could have done it myself in 1 trip upstairs. It took him 3 trips, but he was very proud of himself for getting the work done. And he didn’t whine once during the entire process.

Once we had finished that task, I had him help me set the table for lunch.

Now the Type A, perfectionist personality in me cringes at a sloppy set table, but again this was a chance for him to learn. So we talked about where to put the fork, and Gabriel helped with the napkins…it wasn’t pretty but the whining had stopped.

Of course I was sure to praise him heavily during this time. Telling him how much I appreciated that he was being such a big helper and what a great job he was doing.

Kids LOVE to hear how awesome they are. Sometimes I forget that really. I get overwhelmed by the whining and fighting and I find myself focusing on everything they are doing wrong, instead of celebrating all they are doing well.

I know it isn’t a perfect plan. Sometimes asking them to help may cause more whining, oh heaven help us if it does!! But it is worth a try and might just give you a few more minutes of peace and sanity in your home!

What kind of jobs have you given your kids to do? Please leave them in the comments below so I can add to my list!

kristinKristin is a wife and a mother, but most importantly I am a daughter of the King. Redeemed by His Grace and so very grateful for it. Through the past 18 years we have walked some hard roads. Many of them difficult by our own doing. But despite our choices and at times lack of faith – God loved us anyways. We have seen and continue to experience the riches of His love.  I blog over at The Riches of His Love and you can find me on Twitter and Facebook @therichesofhislove.

Fashion Fridays: Game Day Fashion

Welcome to the second installment of our guest post Fashion Fridays.  I am delighted to fling open the boutique doors to Christie Sullivan who has some fabulous looks for a fall-filled with football frenzy:

Happy Fashion Friday everyone! I’m thrilled to be guest posting for Gindi today.

September brings an excitement in the air and much of that has to do with the start of college football. I’m married to, quite possibly, the biggest Auburn fan ever, so it’s definitely an exciting time in our house! College bookstore tees are great for sitting in the stands, but for watch parties at someone’s home or out and about, I find it fun to dress up a bit.

For today’s Fashion Friday post, I’m offering up some inspiration for incorporating team colors into stylish game day outfits.

 GV913

Where to find these fashionable game day ensembles?  I’ve got the inside scoop (links embedded below):

You can’t start a Texas game day post without….A&M:

The dress is courtesy of Anthropologie while the knee high boots and the animal print accent clutch can be found via Nordstrom.

And I personally can’t write a Fashion Friday post without a shout out to my husband’s beloved Auburn:

This simple gingham dress can be found on Vineyard Vines, with the quilted vest featured at Joule USA and Kate Spade drop earrings from Nordstrom.

As a little homage for Gindi’s alma mater, here’s how to dress for Vanderbilt:

This adorable golden bloom skirt can be found at Ann Taylor loft.  The kimono (that’s right, kimono – own it!) is sold at Hackwith Design House and Kendra Scott necklace and booties are featured at, you guessed it, Nordstrom!!

Who made it to the Houston-hosted LSU game at Reliant this month?  This ensemble would have been perfect for LSU fans: 

This simple purple shift is courtesy of Neiman Marcus as is the Fendi mini leather crossbody.  The bold, you can’t miss I’m an LSU fan, trench can be found at Nordstrom with a must-have tiger inspired flat from Net-A-Porter

{*Special thanks to my LSU guru Annie over at MontgomeryFest.com for helping me curate this fabulous purple + gold look!}

Which is your favorite game day outfit?

xoxo,

Christie 

tea time - 0033Christie McMillan Sullivan is a marketing professional in the oil and gas industry living in Houston, TX. She enjoys writing, photographing, and ‘Discovering Life’s [Little] Luxuries’ for her blog KiKiMac. For Christie, [little] luxuries include weekend getaways at the best hotels, unique spa experiences, gluten free afternoon tea, and dressing up her table for guests. Connect with her on her blog at  www.KiKiMac.me, Facebook Page at Kiki Mac, or Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest: @KiKiMacBlog

Wordless Wednesdays

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Letting Go

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I like to have control of things.

I plan.  I manage.  I organize.  I recommend.

I struggle letting go.

Some leaders need to be more engaged.

But some leaders need to let go.

Delegate.  Trust.  Release.  Realize that one person can’t do everything.  It’s not that the leader trying to manage it all does it poorly (which inevitably happens when trying to control it all).  It’s that one person literally can not do it all.  Things don’t get done.  People are let down.  Expectations fall flat.

Leading may just mean letting go. 

Turning it over.

Releasing it to someone else to free you up for the next opportunity, challenge, possibility, adventure.

What are you holding on to today that’s holding you back?