I read an interesting blog today by the author of Little Things Matter. Each day, a post is written about the daily rituals we do to help or hinder our personal development. Funny thing is, so many thing that Todd Smith writes about seems so obvious, yet we neglect to do this little things day in and day out.

He emphasizes the need to listen, eat right, sleep well, set goals, find time for fun, etc, all issues that I have ranted about in Blogland a time or two. However, today, one of the issues resonated with me as I sit here and type of this rainy day.

Each day we wake up and do what we have to do to get through the day, right? Get ourselves ready for work, the kids up and at 'em, house organized, etc. These are all things that we have to do day to day as they are our responsibilities. However, during the hour to hour scheduling, how many times are we reactive with our day than proactive? What are we doing during the course of our day that is going to get us one step further towards our goals - be it personal or professional? Simply put, are you on the right track towards getting ahead with your life?

As a coach, I hear all the time that my clients have these grandiose ideas on how much they want to get done in a day - professionally or personally - however, life gets in the way. All of a sudden, you sit down to work on a trial you may have on Monday, and another client calls with some issue that needs immediate attention. It's the constant need to reassess and redirect your attention. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a business owner, athlete, whatever, many times we are not able to get what we want accomplished during the day.

Here are five tips I think are essential to leading a more productive day and stress free life.

1 - Delegate time to catch up with yourself.

As I sit in my office and look at my desk, I realize it is just as important to set aside an hour or two to put things away, file, throw out old papers, basically, set aside time to clean up shop. When you go go go all the time your life starts to show it. (a pocketbook that looks like you could pull the kitchen sink out of it, cluttered countertops, messy offices, old french fries in the car after a McD's run - you get the picture) These are tasks we tend to not consciously write down but are like nails on a chalkboard every day when you don't address them.

Dedicate a few hours a week to do these tasks that go to the wayside when you are busy achieving bigger goals.

2. Slow down.

I know, it may sound hypocritical when I talk about time management and then tell you to chill out, but it's true. The faster you move the more apt you are to make mistakes - thus, make a wrong turn at a light when you are on your way to a meeting with no time to spare or you leave a candle lit and you have to go home to double check which only takes more time. You get my drift.

When you are consciously aware of what you are doing you will do it better.

3. Make list.

Each night before you go to bed, write down what you want to do the next day. You don't have to go nuts and make it a novel with a detailed version of each hour of your day, simply bullet item your priorities. That way, when you go to bed, you will be processing the best way to do them. It really is true.

Studies show that when you actually take the time to envision what you want your following day to be like, you will be more apt to have a day that is more productive and in alignment with those goals.

4. Schedule in extra time to complete tasks.

If you are like me, you schedule in to the last minute how long it takes to take a shower, get yourself ready and how long it takes to get to the event, for example. For me, I would always say it took an hour to get ready and then I would add the traveling time, etc. However, how many of you ad in the time for distractions during that "get ready" hour? For example, the son who needs a ride to practice, getting the kids dinner ready before you go out to dinner, forgetting that you left your outfit at the dry cleaners, etc. Nope. I don't and I bet many of you don't either. So, by adding in more time to do your chores, get ready for an event, etc., you will be automatically giving yourself a ticket to a more stress free life. What is the worst that can happen? You have ten minutes to lay on your bed and take a deep breath or are able to crack open that book that has been sitting on your nightstand for three months.

Whatever you are doing, Give yourself 15 - 30 minutes to do it.

5. Identify the biggest time wasters in your life.

For me, I have to admit, it's surfing the web. I am almost afraid to see how many hours in a week I spend Googling stuff. In fact, I think I could be a professional Googler if there were ever a title. Whatever the case may be, if you take a good hard look to the patterns of how you spend each day, I am sure you could identify a few things that suck up your free time. When you do that, you can pick and choose how you would rather spend that time. For me, I decided the time I spent sitting on my butt in an office chair reading facts that may not be that pertinent to my life, I will dedicate to the gym. So far, I have found one hour a day to do this when I thought it was next to impossible with the schedule I have with the kids, work, outside obligations, etc.

Give yourself permission to reclaim a bit of your day for personal goals with the time you save on being more efficient. It will get you get you on a goal setting bandwagon that may have gone to the wayside over the years of doing for everyone else.

Just as Todd Smith states - Little Things Matter - and he is right. By following these five simple steps, you will be less likely to get off track day to day. And, when you are faced with that detour sign, you will already know the way to go since you have already been there.

For more information on Todd Smith's blog - http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/littlethingsmatter?ref=ts


Author's Bio: 

Become a Facebook Fan! Read about daily success tips, events and workshops - http://bit.ly/9VyfhG

1. Who is Patti?

I am a forty something single mom of two awesome kids. In the past six years, I have: separated and divorced, finished a graduate degree with honor’s, started a part-time career as a writing instructor at a local college, opened up my own business as a transition coach, and as of November 2008, became newly engaged! In addition, I have finished my basic training to become part of a collaborative law team.
As you can see, it has been quite an eventful few years! However, I have never felt more fulfilled in my life.

2. How did I do it?

I can honestly tell you that I have utilized many of the same principles I learned in graduate school (I have a Master’s of Arts in Teaching) and applied them to my life. I thought, “What are my goals? Where do I want to be in one year – two years – five years? How am I going to get there?” (Think of this as being your own tutor!)
Like a teacher does with her class, I wrote out my lesson plans on how to achieve those goals. Hour-by-hour, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, slowly but surely, I kept my eye on those goals and made sure that I kept forging ahead, even on the days I barely could get out of bed. (On those days, I gave myself a gold star for even making myself a pot of coffee or going to the dry cleaners!)

This is a true testimony on how you can use a crisis to create a new path for your future. That is what I did. I took all the pain and suffering I had during my divorce, turned it around into a positive learning experience.

3. What is the magic formula that makes my business thrive?

I knew that knowledge was power and the better educated I was as to what I could expect from the transition going on in my life – my transition process – the better. I wanted to be one step ahead of the game when meeting with the professionals and my goal was to be the ideal client.I wanted to use this change as a way of exploring my character and my drive.

So, I challenged myself – I wanted to get the most for my money when meeting with my lawyers and other professionals for many reasons – I wanted to save money, not waste my time talking about emotional issues during our meetings and I wanted to get it over with as smoothly (and quickly) and possible. And, most of all, I wanted to learn the tools on how to learn and grow from this time of change in my life. I didn’t want this possibly uncertain time to define who I was. I wanted to own it and move on.
In the meantime, I read and studied books on goal-setting and laws of attraction as well as countless books on people who not only survived, but thrived during times of transition (refer to recommended book list). I realized there was very little information out there on how people overcame obstacles in their lives and the techniques they had when accomplishing goals during tough times.

While I was studying and researching the various aspects of life transitioning and how to do it right, so to speak, I would reward myself with reading books on how to achieve your dreams! As a result, Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A., the Transition Coach, was created!

All you need to do is commit to wanting to move forward in a positive direction.

Let’s get started! www.positivelifetransitions.com - (50% of my coaching is done via telephone and/or online correspondence)

4. What material will we cover at your coaching sessions?

* We will find the necessary resources for you during this transition process.

* We will focus on creating a positive client-based relationship that will give you the ability to compartmentalize this transition process separate from your emotions.

* I will help you achieve your goals and find a balance between the transition you are facing and moving on with your life.

* A step-by-step plan will be devised on how to come up with an action plan towards obtaining your goals.

* By creating a road map for you to follow during this time of uncertainty in your life, we can concentrate on empowering you with the peace, self-respect and hope that may have been lost along the way.

5. Background Information and Training

A. Adjunct Writing Instructor - Brookdale Community College

* specialty: collaborative teaching and process writing approach, basic skills teacher.

* focus: instruction via academic coaching – my goal is to have the students feel academically enthusiastic and confident upon completion of the class while mastering the fundamentals of essay writing.

* areas of interest/themes of the lessons: modern day heroes, laws of attraction, life lessons with Morrie from Tuesdays with Morrie, the Pay it Forward movement, how to stay motivated in an academic world.

B. Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC – Founder

* specialty - motivational speaker, consultant, coach – business and professional.

* focus - executive coaching, social media networking, finding professional resources for clients going through transition, working as part of a legal team on assisting clients to stay-solution focused and goal-oriented, utilize proactive methods on how to navigate the waters of change – both professionally and personally, how to encourage moving forward during times of transition.

* areas of interest - Collaborative Law. Social Media and Marketing, Strategic Planning, Success Principles for Entrepreneurs.

Mediation Training- as approved by AOC for CLE hours.
Basic Collaborative Law Training – completed 6/13/09

Graduate Student - Rowan University

* candidate for M.A. In Writing - 4.0 GPA (previously obtained an M.A. in Teaching - 3.97 GPA)

Favorite Quotes:

“We can only appreciate the miracle of a sunrise if we have waited in the darkness.”

“Anxiety is the hand maiden of creativity.” T.S. Eliot

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.” Judy Garland

“Talk about a dream, try to make it real.” Bruce Springsteen

Business Address:

Patricia Phelan Clapp M.A. LLC

Piff – Tomaro Professional Building

1704 Maxwell Drive

Suite 302

Wall, New Jersey 07719

(732) 865-5377


“Helping you find the resources you need to stay focused and balanced during professional and personal times of transition.”