Sanity check


They say choose your battles, but how do you know which battles are worth fighting? Which battles to pick, and which ones to stand down and let pass? When you’re in the thick of it, how do you tell the difference between single-mindedness and narrow-mindedness? Between strength and stubbornness? Between self defence and paranoia? Or between letting go and letting yourself down? I had a few moments recently, where I needed a sanity check. Moments where my instinctive reaction to something was at odds with my usual trusting, accommodating nature. “Am I mad? Is it just me…?” I needed to […] Continue reading »

What do you see?


We’ve had a big weekend in the Marshall house, with the last day of school coinciding with my son entering double digits. There’s been lots of partying, lots of taxi-ing (and dodging traffic) and of course, lots of cake. Here’s one I made on Sunday, with the finest of my dark chocolate stash. As we tucked into this beauty, I asked my kids for their verdict. “What’s a verdict?” asked my son. “Kind of like what they do in Masterchef.” I told him. “Well it is a little bit dry, and the chocolate is a bit too rich, and I […] Continue reading »

The Happy Helpful Human approach to selling


  We had our “International Ninjamboree” at Think Productive last week, where Productivity Ninjas from around the world congregated in Brighton. In one of the sessions, I was asked to share how I do ‘selling’ which was rather amusing, as in my mind, I don’t do much selling at all! Despite being a business school graduate, I seem to have an allergic reaction to formulas, numbers and ratios, so here’s what I find works for me – the completely unscientific Happy Helpful Human approach to selling: 1. Build relationships, not empires I don’t have sophisticated funnels, big budgets or a […] Continue reading »

5 Resilience lessons from a 9 year old’s school test


Last week was a big week for us. My son took his first grammar school entrance test, and I spoke to my largest audience so far: 300 sales professionals at a corporate conference (although my son told me he wins, because he’s performed to an audience of 400 in a school choir) We’ve never been pushy parents, and we decided from the outset we weren’t going to get a tutor or drill him for the test. After all, if he had to push himself to the limit just to get in, then he would have 5 years of hell, pushing […] Continue reading »

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 »