Save 15 Minutes in the Morning

January 30, 2009
Do you often find yourself rushed for time in the morning? Do you spend precious minutes looking for your keys or for that report you want to bring to work?  Most of us contend with daily morning hassles that leave us frazzled even before we’ve walked out the door.

Creating a “launch pad” in your front hallway can make all the difference — and easily shed 15 minutes off your morning routine.

Think of a launch pad as a designated area containing the essential items you always want to take with you when you leave the house.  To create a launch pad, all you need is a small table, a ceramic bowl, and a couple of wall hooks.  The bowl sits atop the table, and in it you keep your wallet, keys, cell phone, (sun)glasses, and any other small essentials (e.g. a makeup bag or work ID tag).  The hooks on the wall are for hanging a coat, hat, umbrella, and bag.  Voilà!  No more hunting for your keys on the way out the door…

Well, sort of…The real trick is making sure to off-load items onto the launch pad when you come in the door the night prior. This takes some amount of practice, but once you get used to hanging your bag on the wall and dropping your keys & wallet in the bowl, it becomes habit. …And, this simple evening habit leads to happier mornings.

Want to take it a step further? Place your cell phone charger next to the bowl on the small table…and always leave with a freshly charged phone in the morning.  Consider placing a waste basket beneath the table and an IN/OUT box on top for sorting mail.  Soon you’ll never forget to mail another letter on your way to work.

Let me know how this works for you. And, please don’t hesitate to share your own tricks for saving time in the morning!

Cheers,

Jen

Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914-617-8283
Email:
Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

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No money or wrapping required…

December 19, 2008

This holiday season, there are few gifts we can give each other as precious as the act of listening.

When we provide another person with the time and space to tell his or her story — and we really listen — we let that person know how much he or she matters to us.

I’d like to share with you one of my favorite public service projects, especially designed to help us share stories; bring us closer to our loved ones; and encourage us to listen collectively.  Perhaps you’ve heard of StoryCorps, one of the largest oral history projects ever undertaken.  Since 2003, over 35,000 people have recorded conversations and interviews with loved ones through StoryCorps.  Each conversation is recorded on a CD and is preserved at the Library of Congress.  Millions listen to StoryCorps broadcasts on public radio and the Internet.  (*There is a permanent StoryCorps Booth in lower Manhattan where you can make reservations to record your story, or you can record in the comfort of your home).

Whether you record your conversations using StoryCorps’ Do-It-Yourself Guide — or you simply sit down over the holidays to chat with a parent, grandparent, spouse, sibling, or child — you will be telling that person that he or she matters.  Taking the time to ask someone special about his or her life is a gift that costs no money and is more valuable than anything that comes wrapped. In the words of StoryCorps, “it may be the most meaningful time you spend this year.”

For a great list of questions to get your conversations started, visit here.

If you’d like to learn more about how to make your own recording with a friend or family member, I encourage you to visit StoryCorps.

Wishing you joyous holidays and a happy New Year!

Jen

P.S. Make sure to turn up your speakers to hear one of my favorite StoryCorps clips (running-time: 2 minutes): Listen here.

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Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914-617-8283
Email:
Jen@JZBcoaching.com


Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

It’s National Stress Øut Week

November 13, 2008
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You may think, “What will they come up with next?”  But, considering the challenging and uncertain times we live in, this one hits the mark:

It’s National Stress Øut Week! That’s right.  This week, The Anxiety Disorders Association of America invites every one of us who struggles with stress and anxiety to take a time out and learn more about ways to manage these “gremlins”.

This year, ADAA’s focus is on the benefits of physical activity in reducing stress.  We all know that exercise is good for us, but according to ADAA, studies suggest “a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout” and “even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.”

In fact, exercise is a part of every treatment program recommended by ADAA President and CEO Jerilyn Ross, MA, LICSW. “It’s one of the first things I tell patients,” she says. “People may feel powerless in terms of home life, finances, or politics, but they’re in control when they exercise.”

To learn more about National Stress Øut Week and ADAA, visit here.

And, then let’s celebrate!

Jen

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!

Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone:
914-617-8283
E-mail: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

Are You Doing This on Interviews?

September 29, 2008
When it comes to job interviewing, by-the-book advice is easy to come by.  But these being far from by-the-book times, it is with great pleasure that I share an inspiring client story about the power of approaching an interview differently.

What made the difference for the career changer I’m about to introduce was his recognition that a job interview isn’t simply the culmination of weeks and months of networking…
A job interview is a relationship-building opportunity itself.

True story
*: Four months ago, Roger contacted me for career coaching.  During the course of our work together, he landed 3 rounds of interviews at the very company he most wanted to work for, vying with 2 other candidates for his “dream job”.
Roger recognized the position might be a stretch based on his prior experience and technical skills, but he felt firmly “in the running”.

After a nail-biting couple of weeks, Roger received word that he had been turned down for the position.  Disappointed but undeterred, he and I put our heads together, keeping in mind the value of relationship building.

During the interview process, Roger had established great rapport with one interviewer in particular named Stan.  Roger felt Stan would be upfront with him about the decision that had been made, so he decided to call Stan.  He asked Stan for feedback, expressed his interest in keeping in touch, and requested pointed advice on resources that could improve his chances next time.  This was Roger’s initial way of building on the relationship he had begun to develop with Stan in the interview room.

While Roger continued to apply to a number of job openings elsewhere, he made a point to buy the books Stan recommended and to enroll in a class after work.  Each step of the way, Roger e-mailed Stan to let him know he’d taken his advice and how well it was going.  By taking the initiative to keep in touch, Roger continued to build that relationship.

Fast forward…Well, wouldn’t you know what happened two weeks ago?  Roger received a call from Stan, asking him to interview for another position that had opened up on his team.  This time, Roger was the only candidate…and this time, he landed the position.  Furthermore, on his first day on the job, Roger already had a relatively established relationship with his new supervisor, one built on mutual respect.

Granted, things came together pretty nicely for Roger.  Interview candidates aren’t always able to get honest feedback from employers, or witness the timing work to their advantage.  But Roger’s story is a great reminder that regardless of outcome, a job interview is an opportunity to establish a relationship with a key member of an industry.  Once we dismiss the perception that an interview is a pass/fail evaluation, we lower our anxiety, increase our confidence, and put the interviewer at greater ease, too.   Essentially, we make room for big things to happen!

Warmly,

Jen


*Permission was granted to share this story, and names have been changed.

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914.617.8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

Quality Results Guaranteed

September 12, 2008

The trick to doing most anything well is doing it badly first.

My favorite illustration of this comes from the pages of a wonderful (short) book called Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland:

“The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pound of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”. Well, came grading time and a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.”

Perhaps it is truer to say that the trick to doing most anything well is DOING the thing in the first place. The hurdle lies in moving from contemplation into action…and the best way over the hurdle is practice.  Far too often, we don’t give ourselves permission to practice — to dive in head first, make a mess of things…in essence, create a bunch of ugly pots.

But what if we did?  What if, more often than not, we moved across the great divide between contemplation and action by focusing on doing rather than on doing well?  What if we set our sights on the quantity of practice rather than on the quality of our efforts?

Consider it…What would change for you if you gave yourself more permission to practice?

Jen

P.S. Many thanks for the terrific response to last month’s ZoomLetter on Laughter! Friend and veteran television director & producer, Abby Russell, makes it her mission to share the benefits of laughter with others.  Abby is the founder of Comedy Fights Cancer, a non-profit organization that delivers live and taped stand-up comedy to patients in hospitals and care facilities and organizes comedy benefits to raise money for cancer research.  CFC’s mission is to improve patient quality of life through humor. Learn more about this amazing organization at www.comedyfightscancer.org.

Jen helps people to set goals and then exceed their own expectations!
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed for students and professionals.  Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services, or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914.617.8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at  www.JZBcoaching.com

Fun, Free and Good for Us

August 15, 2008
It was Milton Berle who said, “I live to laugh, and I laugh to live.”

Few things in this world are more enjoyable, or better for us, than LAUGHTER!

If it weren’t enough that laughter makes us feel better, an article published by staff at the Mayo Clinic attests to the physical benefits of laughter, including the following:

-laughter stimulates organs and increases endorphins (like exercise)
-laughter eases digestion and soothes stomachaches
-laughter improves our immune systems
-laughter is a natural painkiller (with no side-effects)

You can read the full Mayo Clinic article here.

Everyday, we find ourselves bombarded with information about all of the things we “should” do to keep ourselves healthy (including: exercise, get enough sleep, eat fruits and vegetables…drink enough water, but not too much). Perhaps it’s time LAUGHTER got its rightful place at the top of the list. And the more, the better!

With a chuckle,

Jen

Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914-617-8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at www.JZBcoaching.com

Readers Share Tips for Making Time

August 1, 2008

Kimberly Ishoy writes:

“I block out time on my work calendar every morning and every evening as “email time”. That way I am not interrupted by email all day long. Another tip that works is to end each day at work by doing a “mind dump” into my task list of everything that is on my mind. That way I can go home with a clear head ready to spend quality time with my family, rather than trying to remember a bunch of little to-do’s.”

***

Paige Carbone, Life Purpose and Career Coach (LifeCoachPaige@gmail.com), writes:

“I thought readers might do well if they set aside certain times of the week or month to take care of the things they need to, like paying the bills, organizing the home office, shredding junk mail, doing the laundry, etc. For example, readers can choose to do their laundry only on Wednesday evenings, or sort through and pay their bills on the first of the month and only the first of the month. If they stick to it, it becomes a routine and a creative way to manage time.”

***

Harriet Shohet writes:

“I love both of these ideas [referring to the prior post and ZoomLetter, “2 Ways to Buy Time”] – and am going to buy myself two egg timers – one for home and one for work!!”

Capture Your Best Ideas!

August 1, 2008
For most of us, our best thinking happens when we’re least equipped to capture our thoughtsin the car, in the shower, or just as we’re dozing off to sleep.

Often, what stands between imagination and implementation is committing pen to paper.

In countless circumstances, one strategy has enabled me and my clients to capture our thoughts and bring to fruition our most creative ideas:

Post-it Notes. Purchase a 6-pack, and keep one in your car, another on a bathroom shelf, and another on your bedside table. Pair each with a pen. If it turns out that you do your best thinking while exercising or cooking, consider leaving a set in your gym locker and another on the kitchen counter. (No brand loyalty necessary…If sticky notes aren’t your thing, plain pads of paper will do just as well).

Most importantly, resist the temptation in the moment to think, “I’ll remember that,” and instead commit your thoughts to a notepad immediately. Then transfer the contents of those notes to your planner, PDA, to-do list, or cell phone…so you can take action on them.

And, enjoy bringing your best ideas to life!

Jen

Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her personal & career coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The Financial Times, Smart Money, Forbes.com, Time Out New York, and on The Today Show.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

Phone: 914-617-8283
Email: Jen@JZBcoaching.com

Visit Jen on the Web at www.JZBcoaching.com

2 Ways to Buy Time

July 18, 2008

How often do you tackle a task and then ask yourself, “Why is this taking me FOREVER!?”

There is an old adage called Parkinson’s Law, which says that “work expands to fill the time available.” It’s a short way of saying that we can SAVE time by setting aside LESS of it to begin.

The following are 2 practical applications — tools you can use to literally buy yourself time:

1) ADOPT AN EGG-TIMER: The egg-timer is one of the greatest time management tools! (If it’s more your style, a stopwatch works just as well). Set the egg-timer to 15 minutes, and race against the clock to finish all assortments of pesky tasks around the home or office. Try it for limiting the time you spend on cleaning, filing, writing emails, or getting ready to leave in the morning. This really works!! By setting a clear time limit, you force yourself to get more done quickly. Fifteen minutes is arbitrary. Set the time limit to suit your purposes…but keep it much shorter than you’re used to. For habitual tasks, experiment with decreasing the time allotment week by week, effectively training yourself to work smarter and faster.

2) SET AN EARLIER DEADLINE: This strategy works well when you find yourself dragging out the process of making a decision. There is freedom (and time to be gained) in realizing that other people’s deadlines need not be your own. It’s not often that we think about making deadlines tighter, but shorter timeframes have a way of reducing days of worry. Try it next time a client or vendor wants an answer “by next Monday.” Set a personal deadline to speak with him/her by 3pm on Friday, in time to enjoy the weekend with the decision behind you.

With cheer!

Jen

Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

914-617-8283
Jen@JZBcoaching.com


Visit Jen on the Web at www.JZBcoaching.com

Don’t Put Your Dreams On Hold…

June 30, 2008
This week’s blog entry comes courtesy of a client (I’ll call Laurie) who gave me permission to share one piece of her inspiring story.

Laurie had a dream for more than a decade to own and operate her own vineyard. She had been putting her dream on hold, content rather to keep it in her mind as the perfect fantasy. This perfect fantasy would indeed “rescue” her sometimes when she’d think about it during especially tough days at the office. Laurie liked having this dream to turn to, but she’d been frustrated for a long time that she wasn’t taking steps to make it a reality. Instead, she realized she was stowing the dream away in her mind like an artifact in a museum, keeping the vision wrapped up perfectly in its exquisite detail (ripe with beautiful rows of magenta grapes beneath a golden sky).  She was worried to take it out and touch it, lest she ruin the dream or risk not being able to bring it to fruition in all its glory.

Each one of us has dreams like Laurie’s — dreams we put ON HOLD because they seem too BIG…too SCARY…too CRAZY…too IMPOSSIBLE…or too PERFECT.

The visions we have in our mind’s eye are so resplendent that we have the feeling any steps we were to take in real life would fall far short, and perhaps, leave us disappointed. We effectively create our own hurdle, too high to cross.

The way out of this conundrum is by carving a messy path straight through our picture-perfect dream…and delighting in the process!

So how did Laurie carve her messy path?

She planted a garden in her backyard.

Once she recognized what was most appealing about her dream, she saw the chance to make that part a reality. What Laurie loves most is being outside, getting her hands dirty, tilling the soil, and watching life grow. She can do all of these things this very moment, everyday if she wants to, without moving to the wine country and without buying a vineyard. Owning that vineyard someday is still very much a goal of Laurie’s; she hasn’t relinquished the dream. Rather, she’s taken one step in its direction — one fairly messy step that tracks mud into her house and leaves a smile on her face. And that step, my friends, has made all the difference.

With joy!

Jen

P.S. I dedicate today’s ZoomLetter to all those who want to run a marathon…and sign up for their first 5K race; to all those who long to be published authors… and sit down to write their first blog entries; to all those who wish to be rock stars…and jam in their basements; to every one of us who has a dream…and doesn’t wait until tomorrow to enjoy it.

Jen helps dynamic individuals achieve professional success and personal fulfillment.
Her coaching programs are custom-designed to help you meet your unique goals.

To learn more about Jen’s private coaching services or to schedule an introductory session, please contact Jen directly:

914-617-8283
Jen@JZBcoaching.com


Visit Jen on the Web at www.JZBcoaching.com