40 Days of Baby Steps is back – with a difference!


It’s a big week for us in the Marshall house. It’s Chinese New Year, my daughter’s turning 7, and it’s Pancake Day and the start of Lent. Lent always holds a special time for me, partly because pancakes happen to be one of my favourite foods, but I’ve also found that making a commitment to do something different – however small – for a sustained period of time, can create some powerful shifts. In other words, baby steps can indeed move mountains. One year I gave up alcohol for Lent and inadvertently became permanently tee total! Another year I quit having sugar in […] Continue reading »

Is your can-do attitude getting you into trouble?


Amongst fun stuff like writing, speaking and singing, this is what much of my work has looked like over the last few weeks. Crikey! Deploying 3 Ninjas across 20+ UK workshops, 6 overseas missions across 6 different sites plus 12 webinars, all in the space of 2 months for 1 client is exciting for sure, but organising the logistics is not my idea of fun! It’s something I can do, and I’m happy to do, when it means I get to do more what I love – namely speaking, coaching, training and writing. But it’s not work that brings me to […] Continue reading »

Are you pretty clear or really clear?


This is a question I came across in Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism, and one I’ve been sharing lately in talks and conversations. Greg suggests that in any team or organisation, “clarity of purpose consistently predicts how people do their jobs.” When people are clear they know where to direct their efforts. When things are vague, people begin to grapple with how to look good to justify their efforts, rather than do the right things, because they don’t really know what those right things are. This translates to individual productivity as well as team productivity.  I know that the times when […] Continue reading »

The tiny tasks that can take you off track


How much work can you create with one sentence? Turns out, quite a lot! It all started when a client got in touch. I ran several Productivity Ninja workshops for her and her team last year, and she was now exploring some training around mindfulness. She thought she had seen something on my website, and so got in touch. As it happens, I don’t run mindfulness training (I do offer a Distraction Detox Day, but that’s not quite what she was after) so I offered to ask around for her. In the course of my work I meet lots of trainers […] Continue reading »

The question that should replace ‘how do I get more done?’


I was interviewed last week by the lovely Julie MacDonald, journalist, broadcaster and founder of The Daily Juggle. I loved the question she started with: “Grace, this isn’t a book on how to be more busy is it?” Quite the opposite, actually! But it’s an interesting question. Because much of our conversation on productivity tends to start with “how do I do more?” “Too much to do, not enough time, how do I fit it all in?” “Higher targets, less resources, how do we do more with less?” And if we’re not careful, our efforts to become more productive can become […] Continue reading »

Three words to banish new year panic


That first day back. It’s so easy to get caught up in ‘have to’s. The hundreds of emails you have to wade through in your inbox. The couple of bits that got missed at the end of last year that you have to get off your desk. The brand spanking new plan you have to come up with to make 2016 amazing. The meetings, projects, tasks and commitments already starting to pile up that you have to deal with. It’s easy to get caught up in that panic, like somehow the rest of the world has got their act together […] Continue reading »

Busy is new normal


How often do we answer the question “How’s it going?” with “Busy!” Busyness has become the norm. But it has also become strangely aspirational. As much as we complain about being busy, we’re also strangely resistant to being not busy. When was the last time you heard anyone admitting to not being busy? That they had plenty of time, things were nice and slow, and they had plenty of spare capacity? Why are we afraid of the alternative? What would it mean to be not busy? Does that mean I’m lazy? Not doing enough? Will someone come and give me […] Continue reading »