Overwhelmed By Stuff? 4 Tips for Gaining Control

Time to read: Because you want bonus time to clean your desk, 1:08.02 minutes to read

 The storage room in our attic. Many of those boxes are going to go!

The storage room in our attic. Many of those boxes are going to go!

Hello corporate rebels!

Every year at Christmas, I feel the need to purge my house. I feel stressed about the number of gifts that come in the door during the holiday so in preparation, I want piles of stuff to go out first. This urge got me thinking about you and the gifts you feel you can't send to Goodwill, your cluttered desk, or your filled basement. How are you effected by your stuff?

For better or worse, Christmas in America heavily features things. So, as holiday gift-giving fast approaches, here are some tips for dealing with the stuff on your desk and in your home.

  1. Stuff takes energy. Recognize that stuff isn't neutral. Your stuff requires management, sorting, and organizing. The crap on your desk takes attention, focus and time that could be freed for more creative and productive activities.
  2. Manage the in-flow. Minimize the amount of stuff that comes into your life. You know all those freebies given away at conferences? Resist. Does your mother show love by showering your kids with toys? Talk to her. You don't have to manage stuff you never get.
  3. Prioritize space over stuff. Empty shelves, clear counters, and a clean desk feel like a giant exhale. Create space so you can breathe and open your creativity for meaningful work. Space lets energy flow more freely. More of that, please!
  4. Trust the future. I've heard that holding onto things because you "might need it someday" is a vote of no-confidence in your ability to trust the future. You can trust that you can handle whatever happens in your life and that you will be ready for anything. Releasing things you don't use now is a testament to trusting yourself.

So, in those precious hours when the office is quiet during the holidays, use these tips to help you clean out your files and create space on your desk. The you who returns after Christmas will be grateful!

My commitment is to throw out boxes of mementos and files from my dissertation that I haven't opened since 1999. Hit reply to this email and tell me your commitment to creating more space in your life this holiday season.

Happy purging!

Christina

P.S. Have a friend who likes Christmas as much as I do? This December's theme is gifts. Forward this newsletter to them. They can join us here.

 

Want to Feel Like a Kid at Christmas?

Time to read: December is all about gifts, including the gift of time. Less than one minute to read. (Even though it's technically still Nov, I like to start the Christmas countdown the day after Thanksgiving!)

 I've been watching the mail for these! It's like Christmas!

I've been watching the mail for these! It's like Christmas!

Remember when you were little and Christmas took FOREVER to come? You watched the mail and snuck around the house peeking in closets looking for gifts. Do you remember bursting with anticipation? You lay in your bed, propping your eyes open, hardly able to stand the wait until Christmas morning.

Do you ever feel that sense of pure excitement, thrill and anticipation in your life now? If you do, you're lucky. And I have a feeling that your morning commute doesn't make you leap out of bed at 4:00 am or that staff meeting doesn't cause you to ask, "Is it time yet? Is it time yet?"

What if you could, every once in a while, give yourself the gift of anticipation and thrill?

You can.

You don't have to wait for someone else to give you what you want. You don't have to spend a lot of money to feel excited. And you don't have to hope beyond hope that Santa will still put a present under the tree for you.

Giving yourself a gift may be the best... well... gift you can give yourself.

Here are some easy gifts for self-giving:

  • Order something and have lots of fun checking the email every hour to see if it has arrived.
  • Plan a tea date with a beloved friend you haven't seen in a while and count the days.
  • Schedule a phone call with someone far away and relish the waiting to connect.
  • Plan a block of free time over the weekend to paint, read, or listen to a favorite album and then get excited.

The key is to plan something and have fun waiting. Choose one and enjoy the feeling of being a kid at Christmas again!

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Invite your friends to join us for December where I will be all presents all the time in honor of Christmas. They can join us here. Did I mention that I LOVE Christmas?

 

Can Money Buy You Happiness?

Time to read: 1:22.25

 Money, money, money!

Money, money, money!

I spend my days talking to people about their work lives and how to make their work lives more fulfilling and life giving. A topic that comes up with some regularity is MONEY.

Here are the things I hear:

  • How can I get more money (i.e. get promoted)?
  • How can I stop spending so much money?
  • I feel guilty for wanting to buy this couch, jewelry, trip... fill in the blank on your own guilty purchase.
  • I feel shallow for even caring about money.

So, as the spending season of the holidays approaches, let's talk turkey about money (HA! Pun intended.) by dispelling some money myths:

  1. Money can't buy happiness. This myth has been scientifically debunked in many studies. Increasing income does equate to more happiness, to a point, and that point is around $75,000 a year. Reducing financial worries increases happiness. Being able to meet your family's needs buys happiness. Being generous with your money buys happiness. More than $75,000 is not correlated with ever increasing happiness.

  2. Poverty is noble. Somewhere deep in our collective psyche is the notion that poverty is noble - that not having or not caring about money means you care more about social justice or you are somehow living closer to some deep truth. I've lived in many places in the world and have had many friends who would never say their poverty is noble. They work very hard to achieve a level of financial security that supports their families. Perseverance and autonomy are noble. Love and generosity are noble.

  3. Wanting money makes you greedy. There is certainly a way that striving after money for the sake of amassing a huge bank account or using money to step on others is greedy. And, the desire to have money can be channeled into a desire to live according to your values - buying an electric car, donating to causes you care about, buying a couch to provide a place for family to gather, providing scholarships to children to receive an education (to name just a few).

  4. Money is about buying stuff. Yes, it is lovely to be able to buy groceries and Christmas gifts without anxiety. And money buys much more than stuff. It buys you freedom. It buys you time. Paying for help in your house or someone to cook (I wish!) frees your time to do your work in the world. Money enables you to make choices, about where you live, how you spend your day, and how you honor your values.

The existence of money is simply another form of energy in your life. Use it consciously to honor your values and create freedom, and you will find that in fact, money does buy happiness.

Happy almost Thanksgiving!

Christina

P.S. As a big fan of Christmas, December's newsletters will be inspired by Christmas - all things gifts. If you know someone who would love to spend this season celebrating gifts and presents, please forward this newsletter to them. They can join us here!

 

I Hated It! 3 Things to Help You Do Things You Hate

Time to read: 1:07.89

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I just returned from a 3-hour volunteer get out the vote shift for a local non-profit. My goal was to feel more involved in the upcoming election (now past when you read this) and to do my part to make the world a better place.

OMG, I hated it.

Even when I care about the cause and have respect for the passion of the person on my porch, I hate when people interrupt family dinner, and I hate getting solicitation phone calls. I became the person on the phone today.

People hung up on me, told me to stop calling, and offered me feedback. Thank goodness the majority of calls went to voicemail. (I did help two people find their polling place so that's something.) It was hard. It was discouraging. I did not like it one bit. While I was having this horrible experience, I was, as always, thinking of you and the world of work.

In any job or any life, you have to do things you hate sometimes. It's part of belonging to an organization and community.

So, when you have to do something you hate, here are 3 tips to get through it:

  1. Trust that there are things you don't know. There may be very good reasons for why you are doing what you are doing. The political organizers of elections know a lot about how elections get won and lost. You and your actions are one small piece of a very big puzzle.

  2. Do your best. Even if you don't like what you are doing, do it to the best of your ability. I was friendly and personable. I kept good notes on my calls. Find the ways you can do good work even when you don't like it.

  3. Know your gifts and use them well. Making political phone calls is not my gift. Other people in my group were inspired by their calls, and the organizers have chosen this work as their job. As much as you can, recognize that someone else loves data entry when you hate it or someone else loves supervising people when people problems make you want to put a fork in your eye.

Oh, and vent to a friend. It will help you feel better. Thanks, Anne!

I hope that helps.

Christina

P.S. If you love this newsletter, please share it with your friends. They can join us by signing up here.

 

Want to Make Powerful Decisions? Follow These 3 Steps.

Time to read: Just a little over one delicious minute!
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I was talking with a client last week who was trying to make a big career and life decision between two good but very different options. He came to our call unclear about what he wanted and muddled about conflicting priorities. He felt stuck and unable to move forward.

Have you ever been in this situation?

After listening to the list of pros and cons, his competing values around family and career advancement, and the decision points that had been keeping him up at night, I asked him to step away from the content of the decision. Meaning, for a little while, let go of the details of location, job particulars and possible futures for his family.

Instead, I asked him to look at the energy of each option. The key question was: Which option had the energy of expansion and which felt like selling out? Which felt exciting and enticing and which felt limited and constricting? What felt like an energetic BMW and what felt like a go-cart? What was important was the energy of each option as either one could be terrific.

When making a career decision (or any big decision), here are 3 tips:

  1. Feel free to do the age-old model of listing your pros and cons. This info is useful. And it isn't the whole picture. For example, sometimes the job with the most money isn't the right choice.
  2. Step out of the details. Tune into how you feel about each option. If you feel meh or sick to your stomach with any of the options, run! and choose something else, even if that means starting over.
  3. Focus on the energy of each choice. Choose the one that feels expansive and optimistic, even if the details don't make complete sense. You can trust your gut to steer you in the right direction even if your head doesn't understand why.

By looking through the lens of the energy, my client quickly became clear about which choice he wanted and left our call to immediately put the pieces in place to make it happen.

If you have been lying awake at night over a decision in your life, I'm happy to help. Email me at christina@boydsmithcoaching.com and we can set up a time to chat.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. If you have friends and colleagues who are trying to make big decisions, please share this with them. And invite them to join our merry little band of rebels right here.

 

I Email (Text), Therefore I Am

Time to read: Email Mastery - Part 2 of 2. 1 minute and 15 seconds to read.
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Last week I wrote about email as a distraction that we call "work." This week, I want to highlight another way that email invades your consciousness. First, a little background:

As an executive coach, I work from home, and I spend a lot of time with my dog alone. As an uber extrovert, I've been surprised at how ok I am with this arrangement. And, I love connecting - with friends, on the phone with clients, the person at the checkout counter, and other parents at my children's school. I love email. Email gives me an easy way to connect with all of you, and a great way to keep in touch with friends in countries far away.

And, email can get out of hand.

Geez, I hate to even admit this.

At times, email gives me a reason for being. Texting does, too. Tell me if you've ever experienced this (please really do tell me so I don't feel so weird): It's the weekend and you check your email more frequently than perhaps is necessary since no one is online, except they are, and when you receive an email (or a text), you get a little dopamine hit that says, "thank goodness, I matter."

Wow. Did I really admit that?

Here's the thing. I'm saying this as much for my sake as for yours. Your email does not equal your mattering. In fact, you matter just because you do, even if you never received another email in your entire life.

What does matter is your ability to connect. You matter because you show up, you're kind, and you make a difference in the communities you occupy, at work and in life. Your presence makes a difference to the people you love and even to the strangers who cross your path. That matters.

Your email has nothing to do with it, even if it feels like it sometimes. So, you really can put it down.

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Wanna share the mattering with your friends? You can! Just forward this email to them and they can join us here.

 

Are You Distracted?

Time to read: Part 1 of a 2-part series on email mastery. Less than one minute to read so you don't get distracted!

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Today is newsletter day, meaning I set a goal to write 3 newsletters. Here is what I have accomplished thus far: walked the dog, marinated chicken, went to yoga, ate lunch, unloaded the dishwasher, folded laundry, scooped litter boxes, and checked email, like 6 or 7 times. When you work from home, the danger is distraction.

And, if you work in an office, the danger is distraction! Tea, anyone?!

Email is a special form of distraction. When you chat in the hall with your friends or I clean out the garage, we know we are not working. (I mean, yes, you can make a case that you are building relationships and still getting things done, and it's not writing a newsletter or attending to that big deadline you have at the end of the week.)

Email, on the other hand, has the illusion of working. If you spend an hour replying to requests and setting up meetings and cleaning out the old inbox, it feels like working. Sometimes, cleaning out your inbox is a worthy activity, but it is not moving you forward on the creative, thoughtful, innovative projects and ideas that will advance your career. "He did a great job crafting emails this year" or "She really kept her inbox in check" is not going to get you promoted.

So, what to do?

  1. Close your email and focus on the innovative and creative projects that need your full attention, even if only for 25 minutes.
  2. Check email once or twice a day at designated times. (I have never been successful at this one. You'll learn more next week in Part 2 of Email Mastery).
  3. Only use email for quick responses. For longer, more nuanced situations, and certainly in conflict, pick up the phone.

Get off your email. You have creative things to do!

With rebel love,

Christina

P.S. Please forward this newsletter to your friends. They want to be happier at work, too. They can join here.