Photo by Marlon Trottmann for Pexels

Every choice you make in life requires some mental energy. Minimize the choices, save your energy

The average adult makes about 35,000 decisions (give or take a few) every day, and every one of those decisions uses up a little bit of mental energy. Many of the decisions are made out of habit, which means the energy drain is low. But decisions made on more new and novel things exact a more energy-heavy price.

The more decisions you have to make, the more mental energy you’re going to burn through. This can become a problem when you need the energy to make big decisions or perform at your best, and the energy isn’t there.

My husband…

You can do so much more when you stop looking at your screens

The power of decreasing your dependence on your digital devices

Are you a victim of Application Creep? Like Scope Creep, where the parameters of a project just keep growing and growing, Application Creep occurs when you keep adding and using apps on your digital devices without consciously thinking about it. Chances are, you’ve been a willing victim of it.

How do you know if you’ve been afflicted? Grab your phone or your favorite screen, and you can easily find out. Click it on and look at the number of apps you have. I’m guessing you might be surprised at how many there are.

You obviously didn’t start using them all…

What is your Definition of Done?

How adding one simple thing to your to-do list changes what you get accomplished each day

Take a moment right now and look at your to-do list for the day. Among all the tasks and jobs you are hoping to accomplish today, do any of them have a clear Definition of Done attached to them?

Probably not, but for the sake of your productivity, they all should.

A Definition of Done tells you your task is completed. You have reached your destination. It’s time to move to the next thing.

You wouldn’t get into your car to go run errands without knowing what you needed to accomplish. You wouldn’t drive through town looking at businesses and…

You’re a little like a cellphone

Your energy is limited, don’t give it away

When I begin my day, bright and early in the morning, I’m full of energy and ready to take on the world (or at least my little corner of it). But as the day wears on, each decision I have to make, every situation I need to diffuse, every choice I am confronted with steals a little bit of my energy until I am drained.

You and I have a limited amount of energy to work with each day. When it is gone, it’s challenging to continue to make smart choices regarding our work, our health, even our leisure activities.

Where do you get your best work done the most efficiently?

How to combine your time and your energy for optimal productivity

I used to write whenever I could “find” time. This meant I would keep my fingers crossed that I would have pockets of time in my day when I could write. Sometimes it worked perfectly, but it would often end up being mid to late afternoon before I could sit down and start writing.

On the glorious days when I wrote first thing in the morning, writing felt effortless, and the words and ideas flowed freely. A direct contrast to the times when I was only able to write in the afternoon. …

How do you do this when you don’t know how to?

Two ways to be stronger than your fear-based procrastination

For someone whose business is all about productivity, I put things off more than I’d like to admit.

I put off making the doctor’s appointment when something feels a little wrong. I put off taking the car in when there is a rattle. I put off calling the electrician when a light in the kitchen keeps doing this weird little flicker in the morning. Obviously, all of these things need to be addressed by someone more qualified than I am, so why do I put these things off?

Because I’m afraid that these are all symptoms of something worse.


Quit worrying about people judging you

And get on with your amazing life

Years ago, when I left the world of graphic design and started speaking to and training businesses on various aspects of productivity, I was worried about what people, especially clients and friends, would think or say.

I imagined them questioning my decision, my qualifications, and possibly my sanity. I imagined them telling me I couldn’t do this. That it was foolish to change careers. That I would regret my decision. I was so worried about what people thought I delayed making a clean break with graphic design for an entire year.

Let me repeat that for those in the back…

Photo by Dogukan Sahin on Unsplash

Build a midday routine that stops mid-afternoon energy crashes

The first two hours after I get up in the morning are boring.

Not boring in the “I’ve got nothing to do” sense but in the “lack of stress and emotional surprises” sense. And I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way.

I wake up, and I know exactly what happens in the next two hours to set me up for my productive day. Yeah, I’m one of those people who have a morning routine.

I know I’m not alone. Millions of people have morning routines, all designed with one goal in mind: to set us up for a fantastic…

Man jumping in the air in the mountains
Man jumping in the air in the mountains
Photo by Cam Adams on Unsplash

You hold the power to get more done by talking to yourself (and saying the right things)

Last week, as I was wandering through the grocery store’s produce section, I found myself talking, out loud, to myself. Not an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence in my day since I talk to myself a lot. (Psychologists call this external self-talk, I call it a typical Tuesday.) While I was discussing the nutritional and taste merits of different vegetables, someone heard me and assumed I was talking to them. It was a little awkward explaining that, no, I was talking just to myself (and having a great conversation.)

I’m okay with talking to myself, not just when it comes to the vegetables…

Don’t go all in when things go off track

When life throws you and your goals a curve, don’t give up

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve decided to make a change in your life. Let’s say something like eating healthier so you can drop some pounds. So you’ve started bringing a salad from home for lunch every day — no more fast food for you — just well-thought-out, healthy choices.

Your intentions are good, your actions are on point, and you’re committed to making a real change.

Everything is working out great. You’re looking good, your clothes are fitting better, and you’re feeling virtuous about your choices. And then…

Since so many birthday celebrations were missed during 2020, it’s…

Ellen Goodwin

Productivity Consultant, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Co-host, Author of DONE: How To Work When No One Is Watching. Learn more at

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