The curse of the capable

“I wish there weren’t so many things that I can do!” My husband said this a little while ago. He was at a crossroads at his career, and was trying to decide which direction he wanted to steer in. His problem was, he was too capable. For most of his career, he had followed his competency – and the money, opportunities and promotion that had come with it – and found himself doing a job he was very good at but didn’t enjoy. “It would be easier if I was only good at one thing!” because then he wouldn’t have […] Continue reading »

Diving Deep


I’ve realised lately that most of my work happens in two distinct modes. Scanning and deep focus. Scanning is when I’m responsive, agile, on the ball, adapting to what’s around me. When I’m in scanning mode I am quick. I can respond to emails, turn around enquiries and answer journalists’ requests with lightening speed. And that can feel great. To know that no-one’s waiting for me, that I’m surprising and delighting people simply by getting in touch, and I’m ticking things off before they’ve even had a chance to touch my to-do list, let alone gather dust. But when I’m […] Continue reading »

5 tips to stop email taking over your life


The average worker spends 41% of their time on email management, and the volume of email each of us receives is currently doubling every 4-5 years. More than half of all UK workers admit to being stressed by how much email they receive, and being distracted by email can be worse for your brain than being on drugs! None of us are in business to send emails. Email is not our job, but it is a tool we use in our jobs. If you feel like email is doing you, rather than the other way around, it’s time to take […] Continue reading »

Basic Human Needs


Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? When it comes to productivity and performance, we so often focus on the higher levels – fulfilment, achievement, purpose – but what happened to our basic human needs? Why is it that we think we can sacrifice sleep as long as we have enough self-fulfilment or that prestige will compensate for a lack of close relationships? Or that we can do our best thinking on one glass of water a day? It’s true that the higher needs are our true motivators – the more we get, the more it fuels our motivation. Maslow referred to […] Continue reading »

Struggling to get started?


“Begin at the beginning,” the King said, very gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland Start at the beginning – seems straight forward enough doesn’t it? Except when it’s not. Except when you find yourself with a project that’s been stuck on your to-do list for ages, precisely because you don’t know where to start. Except when you have no idea what the beginning looks like. Or when the beginning is SO IMPORTANT that the pressure to get it right overwhelms you and stops you from getting started at all. Like […] Continue reading »

Cancellations and chance encounters


When plans change and you find yourself with a clear diary, what do you do? Do you use it to catch up with work, get ahead of yourself or just keep slogging away at the pile? Do you get annoyed, thinking of the missed opportunity – what you could have booked into that time, had you known in advance? Or do you take the day off? I had a workshop cancellation this week, a rather welcome reprieve as I was launching into a 4-day-workshop-week after handing in my book. I had a pile of stuff to do, deadlines I had […] Continue reading »

More than we expect


Sometimes plans change, sometimes things don’t go to plan. And sometimes, when we are wiling to abandon our plans, we can find ourselves with far more than we expected. In the last days of writing my book I had this nagging feeling. Several people had suggested that I make a fairly substantial change to the structure, but I couldn’t see how it would work. I could see their point, but when you’ve spent so long stitching something together, it’s hard to see how you can tear it out, put it somewhere else and stitch it all back together seamlessly. There […] Continue reading »