Are Personal Trainers Worth the Money?

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You know how to jump rope. You also know how to climb up stairs. There might be a treadmill lurking in your basement that you certainly know how to use.

The question is: Do you?

People need the structure of a gym to get their exercise done, even if they could do it cheaper at home without driving anyplace. Still, plenty of folks pay their gym memberships every month even though they never seem to make it over there.

If they’re smart and serious about getting exercise, they hire a personal trainer.

They’re smart enough to know that they won’t go to the gym unless someone is there waiting for them. They’re serious enough to understand that it’s worth hiring someone to stand there with a stopwatch and make them jump rope.

Knowledge and intention don’t flatten your stomach. Doing the exercise flattens your stomach.

A colleague of mine commented that I shouldn’t be publishing blog posts that spelled out exactly how people can get organized. “You’re giving away the cow!” said she.

Anyone who can get organized simply by reading my blog is perfectly welcome to do so. Yay, you! There are plenty of people who can’t, or don’t, or don’t want to, and those are the ones who want to work with me.

These folks read a post and say “that’s a great idea!” but never make the time to do it. Or they get confused or distracted. Sometimes they understand a concept but don’t see how to relate it to their own situations.

These people hire professional organizers.  They know what they want and they can see that this is the most effective way to get it.

So, unearth that jump rope, or give me a call.

The Six Styles of Procrastination

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Hey, it’s like a quiz! Don’t you love taking quizzes? Identify your particular procrastination style and try the suggested solutions. Or try any of the solutions that appeal to you, even if you don’t match the style. If it works, it works.

These definitions come from the book It’s About Time, by psychologist Linda Sapadin, condensed by me. You may have characteristics of several types; that’s okay. Pretty normal, actually.

The Perfectionist
These people don’t want to finish, or even start, a project that they fear won’t be perfect.  They waste time refining and honing their work, but adding no value.

How to overcome:

  • Set absolute deadlines.
  • Devise other criteria and adhere to it.  Remember that anything can be improved infinitely.  There’s no ending point for improving something.  You have to pick an end point and stick to it.
  • Most of the details you’re worrying about won’t matter in the end
  • Keep in mind how much effort you can afford, given everything else that’s going on in your life.

The Dreamer
These people are better at ideas than execution.  Actually doing the work seems tedious and boring.  They are vague about how to make things happen and tend to believe they’ll be magically rescued.

How to overcome:

  • Make plans in writing
  • Talk to others regularly to “test your reality”
  • Give yourself specific tasks to do, some routine and some that make your dreams reality
  • Use a timer to keep yourself on track and honest.

The Worrier
These people fear risk and always worry “what if?”  They put off acting if it means doing something unfamiliar or uncomfortable

How to overcome:

  • Remember that avoiding decisions is still deciding
  • Motivate yourself by focusing on the positive outcome you desire
  • Break down your tasks as small as possible to circumvent fear

The Defier
These people hate feeling controlled by others.  The feel oppressed by mundane chores.  “You can’t make me” is their line.

How to overcome:

  • Realize that people are requesting you to do something, not demanding it
  • Don’t take it personally!
  • Do what you know is right, even if it means “giving in.”

The Crisis Maker
These people are adrenaline junkies.  They thrive on and even create near disasters because they’re exciting.

How to overcome:

  • Don’t wait to feel excited about a project.  That might not happen until you get involved in something.
  • Satisfy your need for speed in more benign ways, like speed cleaning your kitchen.
  • Before you act, focus on how you’ll feel later, not just in the moment.

The Over Doer
These people are indecisive and unassertive.  They say yes to everyone and then get stuck.  They over commit and burn out.

How to overcome:

  • Realize you aren’t superwoman, and you’re fine the way you are now.
  • Don’t let the priorities of others take precedence over your own.
  • Remember that you are already in control of your time.  You are choosing what happens to you.  Let that empower you to make positive decisions.

Still stumped? You could get a few customized tips to deal with your particular brand of procrastination during a free 20 minute consultation. I’m offering this for another week or so. Jump on it!

Not Ready to Get Organized?

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picture1Are you using “I need to get organized” as a smoke screen? You could be doing that without even realizing it.

Think about this: what would your life be like if you were already organized? If those boxes were all cleared out of the back closet, if all the Christmas gear were not still on the guest room bed, if those shopping bags of paper weren’t crowding your knees under the desk? After you finish basking in the wonderful feeling of accomplishment, you would realize that you now have no excuse not to start on … The Big Project.

Many of us have a Big Project (and sometimes getting organized IS the Big Project) that we should do, even want to do, but are putting off for some reason. Maybe it’s too big or too scary or too hard. Maybe it will make us realize something that we don’t really want to know. Maybe we will have to make some changes that will be difficult.

Relax, nobody’s going to make you do anything. If you’re not ready, that’s fine. Just don’t let the smoke get in your eyes.

Psyche Yourself Up to Get Organized

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Just like dieting or staying on a budget, the hardest part of getting organized isn’t that you don’t know how, it’s the psychological barriers your brain throws up to hinder you. In her current PsychWisdom newsletter, Dr. Linda Sapadin urges readers to practice positive self-talk to achieve their goals (you can subscribe to her ezine at her site; I recommend it!).

Two biggies that get in the way are regret and guilt. Regret that you haven’t gotten organized yet and guilt that you don’t seem to be able to do it or maintain it at all. As for regret, Dr. Sapadin recommends that you “learn to view any setback as temporary.” While it’s important to learn from mistakes, it’s equally critical to do what you can right now and move forward.

Guilt can be tamed in a similar way. Instead of wallowing in what you haven’t done, let yourself start anew today and everyday. Remember Thomas Edison’s statement, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Edison’s lightbulb from Stuti’s photostream.

A Million Ways to Organize Your Stuff

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Feed the babiesEverybody loves top ten lists. Or any kind of numbered list. Five Ways to Pamper Your Siamese Cat. Top 50 Favorite Bagel Toppings. 100 Best Tips for Losing Weight by Eating Pineapples.

Ideas galore!

Throw them out. You don’t need them. I’m not saying they aren’t good ideas. I’m just saying you don’t need them. And I’m saying that you already know this. What you need is to do something with the good ideas you already have.

I’m guilty of this myself. I look for inspiration, for motivation, for something new, dammit. What I notice, though, is that I look more obsessively for a new idea when I’m stuck on an old one.

I was on a conference call this morning and got two good ideas. I am committed to working on one of them today. I know that if I don’t, its luster will fade a bit. It won’t seem as exciting or promising. My infatuation for it will be over and I may callously discard it.

The second idea I will keep safe and at hand, because I can only work on one at a time. I’m already mentally preparing myself for not loving it quite so much when I’m ready to act on it. I’m making notes about why I think it’s a good idea, in case I look at it later and scratch my head.

Maybe it’s not the best idea in the world. But I have it now. I spent time finding it. I don’t want to waste that time by not using it. If I decide not to use it, I want to be sure it’s not because I feel intimidated or worried or discouraged about whether I can use it effectively.

It’s that, not just the distraction of the new, that gets me out searching again.

What if it doesn’t work?

What if I waste a lot of time?

What if people don’t like it?

What if I’m horribly embarrassed by it?

It’s not easy to get through that swamp of worries, but I need to.

If I don’t, I’m caught in an endless quest for the perfect idea. And I never find out what would happen if I actually did something.

Does this happen to you? How do you handle it?

Birdies by novemberwolf

Are You an Overdoer Procrastinator?

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This is the second part of my series on Linda Sapadin's six procrastination styles, based on her book, It's About Time! Last year I wrote about perfectionism. Today's style is overdoing. The other styles are the dreamer, the defier, the worrier and the crisis-maker.

House of cards People who are overdoers:

  • feel they have to do more work than others to prove themselves, even if it's too much to handle
  • hate to say no or ask for help, again from a desire for approval and respect
  • spread themselves too thin, causing them to have to work even harder
  • let their work rule their time so that personal needs and relationships are put on hold
  • have a hard time relaxing without feeling guilty or ashamed

Now, how do you go about changing those habits? Dr. Sapadin writes that overdoers often have low self-esteem and overwork to compensate for it. In my view, they also let their lives be controlled by external forces.

A good place to start in overcoming overdoing is to bring yourself back to your own goals, your own vision of how you want to live. Take a clear, hard look at all that you do and be honest about whether each activity is fulfilling to you or something you're doing for approval, image or obligation.

Here are Dr. Sapadin's suggestions:

  • Accept that you can't "have it all." You're not superwoman or superman and that's fine.
  • Remember that life is an adventure, not a struggle. We all have different capacities for work; when you exceed yours it starts to be drudgery instead of exciting.
  • Distinguish between what you believe is important to do versus what others want, or what you "should" be doing
  • Don't depend on others for approval. This gets easier the more you reaffirm your own goals and desires.
  • Remember that ultimately it's you who decides how to spend your time. You aren't really a victim of other people or circumstances, so take back your control.
  • Write leisure time into your schedule so you'll remember to take a break!

House of cards from vincegiantesano's photostream

Autofocus with the Master List

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To do list The master list is one of my favorite tools. I love making lists and I usually make them by hand in a notebook because they’re simpler to work with.

Time management coach Mark Forster is a man after my own heart. He’s written several books about personal effectiveness and he’s now sharing his Autofocus system on his website for free.

The Autofocus system is simply what I described above, one very long list in a notebook that you keep adding to and crossing off of. The cool thing about this system is that it doesn’t involve prioritizing. Forster asserts that as you scan the list, you’ll be able to select the important items naturally, using the “balance between the rational and intuitive parts of your mind.”

This is really important because so much of procrastination results from just not really wanting to do things. People do what they do. If They don’t want to do a particular thing, they just won’t, no matter how “important” they’ve decided it is. This system forces you to be honest with yourself and either favorably recast (meaning figure out a way to achieve the same goal in a way that you prefer) or delete the to do’s that aren’t getting done.

List from Carissa GoodNCrazy’s photostream.