Posts Tagged ‘time’

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!



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,, 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

Visit Jen on the Web at

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 (, 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!!”

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 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:


Visit Jen on the Web at

Tales of a First-Time Novelist…

January 31, 2008


On January 28th 2008, twenty-eight days after putting hands to the keyboard, I met my personal goal of completing the first draft of my very first novel in one month’s time!

During the wild ride, I vacillated between times when I marveled at my own elation (quite literally, I was nothing short of shocked at how much I could enjoy the process) and times when I would have preferred to rub my palms against sandpaper than stare at the screen and wrench another 1,000 words from my constipated brain.

That’s the experience in a nutshell, but it leaves so much out. The takeaways for me were the lessons I learned about how to approach and enjoy any meaningful undertaking that starts out feeling daunting.

I found a few things to be extraordinarily helpful along the way. I figured it might be valuable to share the three BIGGIES:

1) WRITING IN JANUARY: Although NaNoWriMo takes place each year in November, I found January to be an ideal writing month for the following reasons: It’s a long month (31 days); it includes a 3-day weekend (ideal for catch-up); it’s cold and dreary where I live (so no problem missing the outdoors, as long as skiing isn’t your thing); and it’s still football season (which, if you’re the wife of a JETS fan, makes the play-offs less painful).

2) TRUSTY WRITING COMPANIONS: Mine are (and its cousin;; and

3) A FOCUS ON ACTION OVER CONTEMPLATION: Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo, calls it “exuberant imperfection”. As the NaNoWriMo website states, “The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly…By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.” And, I found it to be TRUE. The relentless drive towards quantity took my focus away from perfecting each line, and kept my sights set squarely on the action I had set out to do — WRITE.

Some reflections on writing a novel in one month:

What I come to love most about writing my novel “NaNoWriMo-style” (i.e. in one month flat) is this — AGONIZING is not an option. On days when I’m not “feeling it,” I simply don’t have the TIME to feel sorry for myself, get angry, give up, or (the deadliest time-waster of all) RE-READ what I have already written. I know that to do so means not finishing by the end of the month — not meeting my personal goal — and in effect, sacrificing however many days I have already committed to this insane project in the first place. I am not about to let all that prior labor and elation (not to mention, word-count) go to waste. And so, what I realize by Day 5 is that it isn’t the BIG GOAL (a 50,000-word finished novel) that keeps me going; rather, it’s the DAILY GOAL (of writing 2,000 words/day) that keeps me motivated. On the practical side, I have incentive to NOT GET BEHIND for even one day, as 2,000 words are more than enough to shoulder each day.  While maintaining my full-time coaching practice, I am writing anywhere from 2-5 hours per day (depending on the muse’s whims), pulling early mornings or late evenings before and after clients.  On the more emotional side, I come to see that while the big goal (50,000 words) continues to feel overwhelming (most of the way through), the daily goal (2,000 words) continues to feel doable — and MORE DOABLE each day I do it!

But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it is harder to write on Day 5 than it is on Day 1. Even though I begin Day 1 without so much as an outline or a plot (appropriately, I might add, as the NaNoWriMo book written by founder, Chris Baty, is after all, titled No Plot? No Problem!), I find myself flying through Days 1-4, charged up on adrenalin as well as Brie, hard salami, and imported olives (which I spy at the grocery store and jokingly fancy might make me feel a cosmic connection to one of the “Lost Generation“). I keep a log of REFLECTIONS as I write. Reflections from Days 1-4 include: “Getting such a kick out of the fact that as crummy as the sentence may be, it has never been written before!” “The best part of writing is losing all sense of space and time — when I turn around and 2 hours feels like 20 minutes,” “I’m enjoying laughing out loud as I write (nothing new here, as I’m always laughing at my own jokes)”……..and so forth. A plot starts to emerge slowly, and then…Days 5-8 HIT like the 20-mile “wall” in a marathon (many miles short): “Having trouble, words don’t flow easily,” “I’m dragging my carcass behind the keyboard,” and “It feels great afterwards, until I think, I have to do that all over again tomorrow.”

And so, as with most things in life, this one comes in spurts and drags…and spurts again. Allowing myself no weekends off is one of the toughest parts, and Day 10 marks the first time I miss my self-imposed 2,000-word daily quota, but I manage to make it up quickly. On Day 13, I reflect with joy, “I crossed the half-way point today with just over 26,000 words!” and by Day 20, I write for the first time, “I have a strong feeling that I can do this.” On Day 22, I reflect on the physical “toll”: “Exercise has suffered, as have the eyeballs…I’m trying to remember to blink as I type.” It is towards the very end, Days 24-27, that I pull back some, missing the daily quotas. In one reflection, I wonder at my reasons for slowing down, “Could it be I’m really going to miss this?…I think so.” At 3:23pm on January 28th, I type the final two words — THE END — and instead of what I anticipated (jumping up and down, painting the town red), I enjoy some quiet moments of feeling very lucky to have experienced something I’ve always wanted to do AND some twinges of sadness that this part of the journey is complete.

So what comes after writing a novel in a month? Some rest & relaxation, some enjoyment of weekends again, and one quiet afternoon I have planned to read the first draft from start to finish for the very first time. I have been told that a good re-write can take upwards of a year to pull off, so my work is cut out for me if I decide to continue this extraordinary process. And not least, I look forward to giving back. One of my favorite things to coach around with my private coaching clients is “how to effectively take on a challenging personal goal — something bigger than ever before.” I feel more energized than ever to coach others to GO FOR ACTION and enjoy the messiness of the ride…

Personal Coaching is an incredible asset…If you’ve ever thought about writing a novel of your own — or taking on another wild adventure that more closely suits your personal style — I am enclosing my loudest cheer of support and a warm welcome to reach out. I would love to hear from you!

To learn more about personal coaching with Jen, visit

To adventure!

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