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Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’

Sunday, June 3rd, 2018

Getting to “NEXT”

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Q: I’m an intrapreneur in my company. I come up with and execute revenue-producing ideas with little risk to me personally. But when a great idea goes bust, I have a hard time shirking it and moving on. I think this tendency will come to bite me when I’m my own boss someday. Transitioning is hard, what to do?  Dan R. Toronto, Canada

“Transitioning” has a broad definition. For those who have the gift of hyperfocus, breaking away from one activity to move on to something else is challenging. You know you need to stop, but you need a team of wild horses to drag you to the next activity. Others need lots of time to stop thinking about one task so as to start thinking about the next task. For example, you may find yourself in a meeting with your accountant, and as he points out the numbers, your “guy in the basement” (see blog from 5-8-18) is still stuck on the design of your packaging.

Dan’s transitioning concern is about moving on emotionally from a failed project to a new idea. Even though he experienced no personal financial loss, the time spent grieving, blaming and shaming wastes time and energy. Lots of hands go up when you ask founders if they know what Dan is going through. One solution is to step back and examine the situation like a scientist peering into a microscope − what went wrong and how you can avoid these mistakes the next time around.  Common missteps to avoid in your next project include:

  • communication failures between persons and departments
  • no “walk through” period to identify weaknesses or ambiguities in the process
  • identifying persons key to the success of the project who were not suited or not in favor of the project from the start– the stealthy saboteurs
  • a lack of oversight during the rollout; poor monitoring the money, service quality and customer feedback.

Swallow that “jagged little pill” and take responsibility for the failure. Even though others may have contributed to the project’s demise, release your grudges. These persons know who they are, what they did and realize they have let you down. You have learned something new about the people you work with. Be professional and remain cordial. Note that especially in small companies, you may need these folks again in the next project. Perhaps, next time, they’ll step up to the plate.

Emotional self-regulation is a core executive function that every self-starter needs to master. Learn about effective, non-medication ways to manage your emotions and make transitions easier. Contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

Your “Guy In The Basement”

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Several years ago at a National Speaker’s Association meeting, I heard a motivational speaker who planted a metaphor in my mind that I’ll never forget. He described a friendly fellow somewhere between our conscious and subconscious, who works mostly behind the scenes and is loyal to the core. He is, figuratively, your Guy In The Basement, your GITB.

Your brain’s CEO, located in the penthouse (your prefrontal cortex), orders the GITB to dig up information, and deliver the data for the CEO to synthesize and execute. For example, when the CEO is trying to recall the name of your 6th grade teacher, he directs the GITB to do a search, and a few minutes later the GITB runs up the stairs to the CEO and announces: “MRS. CRUM!”  Although it may take awhile, your GITB is good at retrieving data.

The GITB also loves autonomy. He likes to scan your existing knowledge base, integrate anything in view that is novel and shiny and interrupt your deep work (including your sleep), to proclaim his findings. Be kind to your GITB; he is always at work. But he is impulsive, gets bossy when restrained and has no sense of time.

Instead of getting mad at your GITB, shutting him out and blaming him for all your unfinished deep work, let him get his ya-ya’s out. When you’re working on a task that requires a lot of focus, have a pad of paper handy to capture ideas that your GITB sends forth. Keep a notepad at your bedside for his middle-of- the-night revelations. He’ll quiet down once he’s been heard. You can come back and elaborate on those ideas later. If he just can’t settle down, take your GITB for a walk. Remind him of your goals, problems you’d like to solve, or visions you have for your project. After the romp, your reliable GITB will gladly hunker down with his new orders, mind his own business and get to work, giving you the peace and concentration you need to do your CEO thing.

Let me help you manage distractions, get things done well and on time! Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

Monday, April 9th, 2018

Managing Your Time: Hey Big Spender! Part 3 of 3

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

In my previous blog on Managing Your Time, I urged you to look at “time” as you do “money.” I invited you to assign a dollar amount to each work task in your day. By the end of the day, ideally, if you did everything on the list, you’d figuratively earn a day’s pay. If you slacked off instead, it would reflect in your bottom line. In this blog I’m suggesting you think of every minute of your workday as a dollar. Periodically throughout the day, ask yourself: Am I wasting or saving time right now?

Time is more precious than money. There are many similarities: they are limited, have value, and are measurable. If you viewed your time this way, you might be shocked to see how much better you are with your money than you are with your time. The difference between the two is that you can earn money back, but not time.

Consider viewing time spent playing video games, surfing social media, consenting to interruptions, and worrying as “throwing time” out the window. If you “throw out” an average of four hours a day ( 240 minutes) with every minute at $1, it’s $240 lost a day, x 7 days is $1680 a week out the window! Would you throw $1680 out the window every week? Hell, no! If you’re conservative with money, thinking of “time as money” is a great way to think twice before you act.

Need some extraordinary ways to manage time? Let me know. Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com

Sunday, March 18th, 2018

Overwhelmed and Under-delegating?

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

As a leader, delegation is an essential skill for maximizing productivity and managing stress when workloads are large and deadlines are tight. The problem is, many entrepreneurs wait too long to entrust others. This is often where “delegating” gets its bad name.  When you are stressed out you are likely to delegate poorly. Here are a few ways to pass along tasks with greater success:

  1. Start letting go. Create a list of tasks that rank from “can’t/won’t let go” and “can let go.” Get comfortable with passing along the latter list – the routine, low risk tasks that eat up hunks of your valuable time. Eventually, this move will free up time to train others to take on some tasks from the former list, so you can focus on what you do best.
  2. Think about delegation when hiring. Don’t wait for disaster to strike. When you interview candidates it’s good to choose a few players who are fast learners and flexible within a job description. Know each individual’s strengths, weaknesses and range of skills.
  3. Be specific with your instructions. A most common delegating mistake is assuming your “delegatee” understands the task and the outcome. Make the instructions as simple and clear as possible. Some people do better with written vs. oral instructions. Show an example of the ideal outcome. Be clear about deadlines. Avoid having to hover and re-do tasks because of mindless communication.
  4. Hire a competent student. If money is tight, advertise for a “Girl or Boy Friday.” These persons can be low cost interns who just want to shadow or hang around a startup. They are often quite capable (see #3) to take on personal, household and low priority workplace tasks that can save you an immense amount of time.

Delegating is not easy, but often necessary. Think of your time and energy as valuable commodities. From a cost savings perspective (do the math!) it’s cheaper to pay someone less to do a job that costs you more.

Having trouble letting go and getting things done well and on time? Perhaps some Core Four Coaching is in your future. Contact me at Rebecca@mindfulcommunication.com

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Get Motivated: Let “A” Help You Get to “B”

by Rebecca Shafir, M.A.CCC Personal Development and Executive Functioning coach at the Hallowell Center MetroWest

Don’t think for a minute that motivation is available 24/7 to high achievers. Many successful entrepreneurs need to jump-start their day with morning rituals, strong coffee, prayer, lots more prayer etc. Others go to outrageous extents. For example, I met a couple who hired a former Navy Seal to burst into their house, yell and call them names until they finished their big projects… (I took his number, just in case!)

What make these jump-start activities effective is what they do for our brains. These activities release extra calming (serotonin) or energizing (dopamine, endorphins, BDNF, etc) brain chemicals. The release of these chemicals brings us to action. We love the Seals, but they can be rather loud and expensive. Instead, consider a simple, practical and self-driven method that creates just enough spark to get you started − called “A then B.”

1) Select a physical activity (Activity A) that will spark enough motivational juice needed for your must-do activity (Activity B). Activity A should be a desirable activity that puts you in a good mood and pushes you physically a bit beyond your comfort zone. Activity A should take no longer than 30 minutes.

2) Identify the task (Activity B) you need to complete or get started on. Today, for example, I have a boatload of writing that I love to do, but it means a few sets of two hour stints in a chair. It being a sunny and warmer Sunday, it’s the sitting for hours part that I’m not psyched about.

To get my brain’s chemistry working for me, I have elected a winter bike ride (Activity A). It is a physical and mental challenge greater than the mental challenge (Activity B) that awaits. So, today I suited up for a cold and windy 30 minute ride. I pumped up my tires (already uncomfortable) and chose the nastiest bunch of hills I could find (really uncomfortable). As I pushed up those hills, I could feel my brain’s juices ramping up, as I surpassed my comfort zone to the top. I said to myself with a big grin, “If I can do this, then I have the fortitude to sit for the rest of the afternoon and pull off some mighty good writing. It will be awesome!”  My KITA (I’ll let you figure out what that stands for) bike ride, gave my brain enough of a boost to hunker down and meet my writing quota for the day.

You don’t need to go to those extremes. Just be sure to add some self-mentoring talk to Activity A as you take a fast walk around the block, or do 25 good pushups and 20 jumping jacks, or bicep curls with cans of tomatoes− something that gets your heart pumping and your mind in gear to execute Activity B.

Let me know how the “A then B” strategy works for you!

Need some help in getting things done well and on time? We can do this! Read more about my Core Four Coaching for COREageous Entrepreneurs. Write to me at Rebecca@mindfulcommuication.com

 

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