Productivity Miracle

Are you afraid to look at your to do list because a big scary project is lurking there? Maybe it’s writing your memoirs or cleaning out the garage. Maybe you really want to do it or maybe you feel like it’s an obligation you can’t wiggle out of. Whatever the case, it’s draining your confidence and productivity.

Reclaim your peace of mind by learning how to jump start stubborn projects. Take a look at these suggestions to help you move ahead and avoid future impasses.

1. Break it down. Divide a massive project up into little pieces. Create intermediate deadlines and milestones where you can evaluate your progress. The process will look more manageable when you separate out each task and component.

2. Start somewhere. Take a first step. You can begin with the easiest job or the top priority. Once you create some momentum, it will be easier to keep going.

3Identify your peak hours. If possible, work on challenging tasks when you are at your top capacity. If you’re a morning person, that could mean putting in a couple of hours before your day job. If you prefer evenings, ensure you stop before bedtime.

4. Ask for help.

We can accomplish more when we collaborate with others. Exchange services with a colleague so you both can cover the areas where you shine, and find support for where you need to grow.



5. Minimize distractions. Make it easier to hunker down. Move away from the phone, snacks, and video games. Stay off the internet unless you need it for your work.

6. Take a break. On the other hand, maybe you need some strategic time off. Stop thinking about your project for a day or two so you can view it with fresh eyes.

7. Assess the costs. Increase your motivation by calculating how much it’s costing you to neglect a certain activity. Are you losing money or other things you value?

8. Focus on rewards.

Above all, think about how good it will feel to complete your project. Give yourself a treat or just bask in the sense of accomplishment.



Adjusting your attitude and work methods can help you forge ahead with projects that used to linger around like the smell of burnt popcorn. Figure out what’s behind your procrastination, and devote your time and energy to your top priorities. You’ll soon be checking that sticky project off your list.

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18 Simple Pleasures to Share with Your Aging Parents

Taking care of your aging parents can be hard work, but there are also great joys. Remember how lucky you are each day that you still have your mother and father in your life.

In fact, it’s natural to want to find some way to give back when you think about all that your parents have done for you. Use this list to get you started on creating your own moments of love and happiness.

Simple Pleasures That Take Less Than 15 Minutes

1. Listen closely. Give your parents your full attention. Let them know that you value what they have to say.

2. Send flowers. Brighten their home with flowers or a plant. No special occasion is needed.

3. Share photos. Even if they check Facebook regularly, your parents would love a printout of a cute photo of their grandkids inside a pretty frame. If you can’t pick just one image, make a photo book.

4. Sing along. Buy them a CD of golden oldies. Bring back memories of high school days or summer road trips.

5. Dance around. Get up on your feet. Try a little ballroom dancing or the twist.

6. Experience nature. Watch a sunset or listen to chimes ringing in the breeze. Notice trees changing color in the fall or sparkling with ice in the winter.

7. Laugh out loud. Tell a joke or a funny story about what happened at work. Reminisce about the silly things you did growing up.

8. Hug each other. Touch is essential to our emotional well being, but the longer we live the less we tend to receive. Wrap your arms around each other or squeeze your parent’s hands when you’re coming and going.



Simple Pleasures That Take a Little Longer

1. Read a book. Read out loud from a novel or the newspaper. Pick up large print books if your parents like them.

2. Watch TV. Families used to gather around one giant device. Turn on an old sitcom.

3. Write a letter. Letters are more memorable than email. Drop one in their mailbox.

4. Adopt a pet. If your parents’ circumstances allow, help them find an older dog or cat to love. If not, bring your dog over to give them some affection and entertainment. Call around to see if there are therapy animals in your area that could visit them.

5. Work out. Take a walk around the block. Offer to drive them to senior exercise classes at the local Y.

6. Eat as a family. Prepare lunch together. Sit down in the dining room or out in the back yard.

7. Gussy up. Grooming becomes trickier in the later years. Invite your mother along when you’re having a haircut or a manicure. If your father prefers privacy, buy a kit so you can give him a cut and a shave.

8. Clean the house. Chores can be fun. Agree to vacuum the living room if they’ll treat you to cookies and tea afterwards.

9. Volunteer together. Show your parents that they can still make a contribution. Teach English to recent immigrants or sort food at a local pantry.

10. Plan an outing. Fight loneliness and isolation by suggesting activities outside the home. Take your mother and father out for an afternoon at a local museum or shopping mall. Maybe your local library shows free old movies where you can mingle with other families with the same idea.

Each stage of life has its own special pleasures. Even when you and your aging parents may be struggling with your changing roles and the loss of independence, facing the transition together draws you closer.

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