Take Your Time

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As a Productivity Ninja, I have many conversations around time.  “Not enough time, too much to do” is how most of my conversations start. We talk about good use of time, about how to work faster, smarter, how to not get bogged down in detail, paralysed by overwhelm, waylaid by procrastination or drowning in email. In fact, my whole book is about dealing with the stuff that sucks up your time. But sometimes people say to me “I’m focused, I’m clear, I’m fired up, I’ve got my baby steps, goals, projects and to-do list set up. I know exactly what […] Continue reading »

Where’s your fire?

“Where’s the fire?” The times when I get asked this, I’m probably flying around a million miles an hour like my life depends on it. Usually it means: Slow down. Stop panicking. There is no real fire. Nobody’s going to die. Breathe. In the main, I help people do less firefighting. And to fight fires with less headless chicken and more brilliance. But there is something about a fire that makes us focused. When we’re up against a deadline or a crisis. When there’s impending destruction that will get rapidly worse if we leave it. When there’s a wider impact […] Continue reading »

Being Kind

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Last week I looked at my diary and saw two late nights followed by two early starts, in four different cities. My first thought: “I should have scoped this better…” followed by “I need to start booking hotels if I’m going to keep doing this.” I decided to be kind to myself, and get a train 20 minutes earlier that would actually cut an hour off my journey, and give me the opportunity to grab some proper breakfast when I arrived. I’m never hungry when I wake at 5am but breakfast at 8am after all the travelling was done and […] Continue reading »

On the road: Surviving long days, early starts and travel

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How do you maintain your energy levels (and sanity) when you travel? How do you make sure you arrive fresh, on the ball and raring to go for a full day’s work, training or meetings when you’re getting up before the crack of dawn and stumbling back in late at night? I’ve been travelling a lot recently. Officially, I’m the Productivity Ninja for the Midlands, but lately the Midlands has stretched to include London, Edinburgh and Geneva! On the whole it’s a lot of fun, but I have to admit, those early starts and long days can be a bit […] Continue reading »

Where do you do your best thinking?

Where do you do your best thinking? | Grace-Marshall.com

One of the things I often challenge my clients to do is to give themselves more thinking time, which sometime prompts the question of ‘where?’ There are the usual suspects: in a quiet room on my own in the shower on a walk/run in the car The glamorous: On holiday On the beach In a cafe At the art gallery And the bizarre: Sitting on the toilet Standing up anywhere While doing housework (really?! I’m not convinced…) Where do you do your best thinking? I don’t know about you, but my best thinking rarely happens at my desk and certainly not […] Continue reading »

Killing yourself to meet a deadline? Give yourself a lifeline.

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  I have a bit of a love hate relationship with deadlines. I love them, because they work. There’s nothing like a deadline to get me moving, out of uncertainty and procrastination, and into crazy wild-eyed get it done mode. But I also hate the stress they bring on. The way they loom in the distance for ages, then all of a sudden creep up on us and send us into blind panic. Even the word deadline seems so final and last minute – do it or die. I won’t deny it, there is something quite seductive about that adrenaline […] Continue reading »

Planned Sponteneity

Planned Sponteneity | Grace-Marshall.com

My husband laughed when I suggested this.  When we first got together we were pretty spontaneous. Meeting friends, going out, what’s for dinner, driving over to Italy for the weekend – all that just happened, when we felt like it. We didn’t do much planning. We didn’t need to. Then we had kids, and in came the routines. The meal plans, the bed times, the school runs, the housework… My theory is that kids are so unpredictable, we tried to scope ahead and plan as much as we could, to give ourselves at least a fighting chance of being able […] Continue reading »