8 Strategies to Climbing Your Own Mount Everest

Over every mountain, there is a path, although it may not be seen from the valley. ~Theodore Roethke Quote

“Why would anyone ever want to climb Mount Everest?” I thought to myself as my class on leadership began a case study of the skills it takes to climb the highest mountain in the world. It’s dangerous, cold, and uncomfortable. It would stretch you to your absolute outer limits, and in the end, you may not succeed.

That’s when I realized, we all have our own Mount Everests to climb. While your particular “Mount Everest” may not include literally climbing the highest mountain in the world, you are likely facing a challenge or obstacle, or pushing yourself to reach a goal that may be just as ominous.

Do You Feel Like You Have a Mountain to Climb?

Pushing ourselves to reach our dreams or to overcome obstacles can feel just as overwhelming as climbing a mountain. It can be uncomfortable, stretch us to our outer limits, and it can be dangerous – at least psychologically. We make ourselves vulnerable when we reach for our dreams, and there’s always the chance that we might fail.Continue Reading

One Simple Way to Inspire Your Entire Year

"Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more." Confucious

Whether you’re someone who makes New Year’s resolutions or someone who prefers to set goals throughout the year, one simple way to inspire yourself is to select a word that becomes your “name” for the year.

This tradition started thousands of years ago during a time of slavery in the holy land. When slaves or indentured servants were released from servitude, they were given a single white stone. On the white stone would be written a new name that they would assume now that they were free.

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Are You Struggling with Focus and Time Management? Try Pomodoro

Time Management

 “Lost time is never found again.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

At times, do you feel overwhelmed?

Does it feel like you have far more projects and tasks on your to-do list than you can possibly accomplish?

I’ve had days like that. Days where I’ve spent so much time thinking about all the things I need to do that I don’t get anything done. Sometimes even small tasks seem like giant mountains to be climbed. In truth, these projects may only take a few minutes to complete once you set your mind to it.

Over the years, I’ve read a lot of time management books and articles  trying to find the perfect system, tool, or time saving trick to make myself more productive and able to  accomplish more in my day. While I have picked up a few useful tips along the way, nothing has transformed my work day like the Pomodoro Technique.

My job allows me to work from home which means most days, I don’t have a boss looking over my shoulder. I’m judged primarily on the work that I complete. For me, that kind of freedom is crucial to my happiness. With that freedom, also comes responsibility. I’m far from perfect, but most days, I get up at 6:00 a.m. and go to the gym, getting back in time to be showered and dressed to start work at my computer at 8:00 a.m. The rest of the day, it’s up to me to stay focused and create and complete a wide range of projects.

The Tomato for Time Management

If I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it’s hard to be fully engaged in what I need to do. That’s where the Pomodoro Technique comes in. The word pomodoro is Italian for “tomato”. The Pomodoro Technique was named after the tomato by Francesco Cirillo, its creator, because of the tomato timer that is often used.

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Finding Focus in a World Full of Distractions

Finding Your Focus“Our thoughts create our reality — where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go.” ~ Peter McWilliams

Finding focus may be the biggest challenge individuals face in our time. Information streams non-stop from our radios, televisions, computer, social media sites, and our mobile phones. With this almost never-ending noise, it’s no surprise that many of us feel stressed and overwhelmed at times, wondering how we will ever keep up with everything. The truth is, we can’t.

Pablo Picasso said it best, “Without great solitude no serious work is possible.” We all need time away from the noise, time to reflect and time to create. In Leo Babauta’s new book, focus he says, “Our ability to focus will allow us to create in ways that perhaps we haven’t in years. It’ll allow us to slow down and find peace of mind. It’ll allow us to simplify and focus on less — on the essential things, the things that matter most.”

In focus, Leo, author of one of my favorite blogs, Zen Habits, goes on to give ways to simplify your life and schedule, and find a greater focus. A few of these include:

  • Disconnect: Find time each day, and possibly for an entire day or week, to just disconnect from technology.
  • Separate your day into times for creating and times for consuming and and communicating, “and never the twain shall meet.”
  • Develop focus rituals such as morning quiet time or starting off the day by putting together a simple to-do list.
  • Clear distractions: remove unnecessary distractions from your work environment, and from your life. We got rid of cable television almost a year ago and have no regrets, we can still watch movies occasionally without a television being on all the time.
  • Only use email during pre-set times, constantly checking your email and responding to others is a time and energy drain. Establish set times for this task and communicate it to others so they know when you will respond.
  • Simplify, simplify, simplify – Just like Thoreau used to say, simplifying your life will make it easier, more enjoyable, and allow room for you to focus on the important things.
  • Do work that excites you – When you wake up in the morning, think about the things you need to do and allow yourself time to work on those projects that excite you.

What things do you do to help you focus? What are the challenges you face?

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