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Low Productivity? Questions to ask yourself to take back control.

When you are stuck, these two tips will help you un-glue yourself before you become unglued.

…Sue West and I provide two practical tips to stay on the uphill side of the so-called balance seesaw. (Or at least in the center!)

We’re purposefully giving you ONLY two so they are easy to practice. We know you are overloaded!

To listen, please click this link below. All our podcasts consist of short, “use today” pieces of advice, in 5 to 8 minutes. This one is shorter still!

Listen here: two simple suggestions to make a big difference

If you’d prefer to read our suggestions, read on. It’s all here.

Carol: Our first suggestion today – and it’s really a request – is that you become your own observer or eye-witness. Learn about yourself.  Notice when you’re at your best; when you are feeling “on top of things.” Are you then in “balance?” During this time, what does your life look like? What do you have for breakfast? How many hours each night do you sleep? Who are you with, or not with? How much are you working, and what type of work are you doing? Are you reading in the morning? Exercising? Meditating or doing yoga at some point? How often do you stop and pause to appreciate how your day is going? Or to tell someone you appreciate him or her?

Sue: To do this, and to come up with your own list, have a discussion with friends. Or write about our answers to these questions. You’ll remember them more easily, and then when you’re feeling off kilter, you’ll return to these strategies and bring them in again.

Carol: And here’s our second tip.

Accept that not every day, or week, or month, is perfect. Learn from those imperfect days, but do not berate yourself when you wish that things had gone differently. There is good reason for the motto “tomorrow is another day.”

Sue: My life and business coach once said to me: It is FINE to have high standards for yourself. It is NOT fine to beat yourself up when you don’t meet them.  Jason Womack tells us “Practice makes comfortable.”

Practicalities: I always try to remember that whatever did not go well must have been some lesson I’m supposed to learn. I may not know what that lesson is for a long time. When I was a project manager, we were taught to always have a Plan B. Because things do go wrong or are sometimes just out of our control. But if you start out with a Plan B, your expectations are different. Easier to switch gears. You have a safety net or an alternate plan when plan A does not go as expected.

And a practical pick me up when that’s all that will help: Years ago, I started keeping a “butterfly box.” When I’d have an iffy day, and couldn’t shake the feeling, I’d open up a small box on my desk (pictured). It was beautiful, with a glass knob for a top, and butterflies all over the box. It had been a gift for a presentation which had gone really well. So inside, just picture lots of little, folded up pieces of paper. On each one was a compliment from a client or a colleague about something I’d done for or with them in our work together. I’d open a few of these and end up with a smile. Now, I keep a Word document, in a special place on my PC, and it’s always open – just in case I need a pick me up.

Carol: So that’s it for our TWO tips today! Remember – be your own observer as you move through your days. And accept that life is not perfect but we’re supposed to learn from all of this – somehow, some time!

As a reminder, this is a biweekly podcast series. We’d love your feedback.  If you have a question you’d like answered, please email us at

Or contact us through our blogs and websites:

Sue’s is

Carol’s is

If you found our advice valuable, please consider sharing our podcast or blog with colleagues and friends.


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