Failing and Falling

coaching, creative work, productivity
I listen to a productivity podcast (Productivity Alchemy) on which the host, Kevin Sonney, asks all of his interview subjects roughly the same six questions about how they organize their lives, how they stay on track with their goals, and what advice and processes they regularly use. His last question is always "What do you do when you fail?" Kevin interviews a lot of creative people. His wife is the writer Ursula Vernon and they have tons of friends in the art and publishing worlds and those friends give him interviews and let him be nosy about their personal productivity habits. Frequently these interview guests chafe at the very notion of failure. "I don't think of it as failure." "Failure is really just another way to say 'learning opportunity'." And…
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Writing Resources

creative work, productivity, services
Right now, a small group of writers and I are about 1/3 of the way through a my ten-week course to Get Your Book Done (or make crazy serious progress on an important writing project). One major theme that has emerged in the first couple of weeks is "keeping myself honest." All of the participants know that we can tell ourselves any number of things: I'm going to get up every morning at 5 am and write for two hours I can totally have this chapter finished by the end of the term These revisions are minor; they won't take much I love this project; it'll be easy to stick with But telling someone else that you're committed to finishing the chapter, finishing the draft, sending off the revisions, etc.…
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Buckle you seatbelts and get ready for the ride!

coaching, productivity
Ok, so I have a super corny metaphor going about the Wheel of Life that I want to work with and I'll admit that I'm stretching it a bit with the title here. But bear with me!    For my new program for graduate students, Thrive PhD, that I'm launching with Katy Peplin in the New Year, we are asking people who are interested in participating to sign up for information on registration and receive a copy of the academic Wheel of Life to fill out and think about in terms of goal setting and life planning during graduate school. (That link will take you to the sign up!) On the Wheel of Life, for each of the named pie pieces on the wheel, you indicate what your level of…
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Mindfulness, Creativity and Being Comfortable with Uncertainty

creative work, productivity, services, Uncategorized
The interwebz are full of articles extolling the virtues of mindfulness. You can find encouragement to practice mindfulness whether you are a reader of Forbes, The Guardian, Time, Harvard Health, or Cosmo!  It appears that any industry or endeavour can point to mindfulness or meditation and draw connections between being aware and paying attention, non-judgmentally, to the present moment as a way to boost well being and productivity and reduce stress, burnout, and fatigue. I'm on board. I know that when I take even 10 or 15 minutes a day to sit and watch my brain work and remind myself that I am not my thoughts my days go better, my mood is more stable, I am less likely to lose my temper or be irritated by little things, and…
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What are you BEST at?

coaching, job market, productivity
I work in the world of self-improvement now and, as you might suspect, there are some shady claims out there. A lot of self-help or self-actualization or self-improvement work seems to be focused on what you can do to overcome some essential flaw in your human make up. They imply that if you can just get this one thing in order, you'll be a champ. Flaws--we all have them and most of them are not likely to go away any time soon. Stress, excitement, sincerity all speak to the fact that we will let our true light shine when it matters most. We regress to the mean, as it were. Ok then. Go with that. What is it about you that makes you most YOU? Most unique? Most interesting? It…
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5 Tips for Taking On #AcWriMo

coaching, creative work, networking, productivity
And since you should be writing anyway . . . here are a few ways to approach a BIG writing push during the month of November. You can make your daily goal about time spent writing, number of words, number of items dealt with (annotations, notes, etc.). Whatever makes sense for your biggest priority project at its current stage is a great goal for #AcWriMo. Daily is HARD but it isn't impossible. As we all know, even fifteen minutes per day will slowly but surely amass enough words to move a project from where it is now to where it needs to be next. Commit to at least one writing session per day during the month and stick to it. You and your physical or virtual writing group can keep…
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Group Dynamics–Creating Your Academic Network

job market, networking, productivity
There was something magical, for me anyway, about graduate school. I was surrounded by smart, engaged people who were interested in things I was interested in (or at least open to); every week brought new encounters and ideas; every semester required me to step up and deliver something unique and, if I was lucky, compelling. Seminars with my peers guaranteed that I got immediate feedback on half-baked and brilliant ideas. The insights of my peers pushed me to re-orient my own thinking. It felt rigorous AND communal. If you miss that intensity, or the knowledge that you are not working on your projects alone, maybe it's time to re-invigorate your professional network. OR, if you're getting ready to leave the ready-made community of graduate school for the wider world of…
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Groupwork: 5 Ways an Academic Mastermind Group Can Recharge Your Career

creative work, productivity
Do Mastermind groups, with their hot seats and business optimization strategies, sound squarely corporate to you? One of the things I've been learning during the last year and a half of transitioning out of academia and into the world of coaching and becoming a small business owner is that some of the tools and tricks of the business world deserve a second look by most academics. Even if the verbiage or the packaging don't resonate with you, the concepts behind a lot of leadership training have a lot to offer graduate students, professors, researchers, and writers of many stripes. Briefly, a Mastermind group is a small group of people (ten is probably too big) who come together to achieve their own personal and professional goals, relying on mutual support, inspiration,…
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How’s Your Book Coming Along?: 5 Ways to Jump Start Your Big Project

creative work, productivity, Uncategorized
How is your dissertation coming along? Are you STILL working on that book? You've probably heard variations of that question over and over again in your academic career. And the question can be uncomfortable because the asker might not understand the timetable for something like a dissertation or a monograph and you grow weary of explaining. OR the question can be uncomfortable because, well, you probably should have had it done a long time ago. Writing is hard work. Writing something about which you care deeply and which will be used to evaluate you professionally for years to come is doubly so. But whether you're working on an article, a dissertation, your first book, or your seventeenth, you don't have to do it alone. Whether you want formal accountability or…
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Time Budgeting for Academics

productivity, services
Do you want to be more productive with your time? I sure do. People say that time is money, but I disagree. Time is MORE VALUABLE than money. You can (almost) always go out and make more money, but today never returns. The time you spend today or tomorrow is time you'll never get back. I've created an E-Book with Eight of my best Time Budgeting tips and tricks, and it's free for people who sign up for my newsletter. Fill out the form below to get your copy! (And subscribers to the newsletter also get deals on coaching, special reviews of books of interest to the academic community, and access to my private FB group, if they wish.) [contact-form][contact-field label="Name" type="name" required="true" /][contact-field label="Email" type="email" required="true" /][contact-field label="Website" type="url"…
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