Author Archive for Gayle

Banish Procrastination

Procrastination is a problem that affects me and almost everyone else I know.

In fact, I left home today to drive my daughter to a friends house. Then I headed to my home away from home, Starbucks, where I had every intention of sitting down and writing this article. Dealing with procrastination is something I believe certainly affects our ability to achieve success.

Unfortunately, instead of writing about it, I proceeded to engage in it. I plugged in my headset fully intending to listen to radio to drown out the conversation of the other people at the same table, when instead I opened up Netflix and spent the next two hours watching reruns of Bones.

Now don’t get me wrong, each of us needs a bit of a break once in awhile . . . and I had been insanely productive for the last couple of days. But, having procrastinated on writing this article ensured time with my daughter in the evening would be next to nothing.

Over the years, I found several strategies that I’ve used to successfully get past my inclination to procrastinate and therefore to enjoy greater productivity. Had I engaged those strategies today, I may have finished this article during the time I had allotted and not taken away from time with my daughter. But alas, we don’t always get done what we plan to do.

Psychology tells us that procrastination may be related to your inability or subconscious desire to avoid a challenge or a particularly unpleasant situation.

However it can also be the result of an overtaxed mind or body. If you think you have a problem with procrastination then you’ll want to first determine you’re getting enough sleep, enough nutrition and enough exercise to power your brain cells and keep them moving all day long. That’s right – exercise powers your brain and your muscles.

Without these three foundational pillars of health, your brain just doesn’t function as well as it should. So, your first strategy is to determining whether or not you’re really addressing procrastination or if you’re just overtired, overstressed, overworked, and underappreciated.

A secondary strategy you can consider to overcome procrastination is to use more technology in your life to achieve greater productivity. By this I mean I don’t mean installing a Facebook app so that you can surf Facebook all day long or post pictures to Instagram and Snapchat.

Instead, use technology by using voice activated text to speech in order to write your lists, write an article, write a report or otherwise jot down notes of things that you need to remember throughout the day. Use an app to shut off your email, and allow yourself just an hour or two a day to get through your email and not the hours you may spend each day checking each as it comes in.

Recently, I was faced with filling out many pages of paperwork in order to finalize a legal situation. I literally put this off for months. I would open up the folder take a look at what needed to be done and close it once more, absolutely convinced that it would take hours and hours of time in order to complete the task.

But today, I opened up the notebook and committed to finishing what needed to be done for the first step. Lo and behold it only took me an hour. It’s amazing what you can get finished with when you put your mind to it.

And realistically, that’s the underlying issue with procrastination. When your motivation and inspiration is great enough to overcome your lack of desire to complete a task, then you’ll pick up what needs to be done and finish it.

I remember watching my older son pick up things off the side of the road and spend an hour or two fixing them to turn around and resell them. But he hated to pick up his school work and spend more than 15 minutes at a time. Once completed, however, his feelings of achievement overcame his desire to procrastinate the next time, as long as the next time happened quickly after the first.

In essence, this is the definition of intrinsic motivation, which does an exceptional job of helping you to overcome procrastination.

Intrinsic motivation is an internal force that moves you forward.

Research has found people who dislike exercise do so because they don’t enjoy the anticipation of engaging in exercise. Whatever the reason – whether they don’t enjoy sweating, going to the gym, or working hard – anticipation is always worse than the actual event.

Knowing that exercise will reduce the risk for diabetes, help maintain weight, improve balance, and just make you feel better are not enough motivation to get most people out of bed.

These are extrinsic motivators.

Research has found that when people do exercise, they exercise more since they experience the intrinsic motivator – the feelings of euphoria that accompanies the release of feel good hormones that happen during exercise.

Intrinsic motivation just works.

And it works to help you overcome procrastination as well. When you complete a task, you feel good about yourself. You feel as if you accomplished something – and you DID.

By tapping into those feelings of accomplishment, achievement and growth, you can help reduce the amount of procrastination you practice, because procrastination takes practice.

Just like anything else you do in life – you do procrastination better the more you do it. It becomes easier the more you practice.

And, just like Nike advises you – JUST DO IT!

It’s easier said than done, but the reality is that most of what we accomplish in life is easier said than done.

Raising a child alone isn’t easy. Being mother, father, teacher, housekeeper, bookkeeper, banker, employee and employer – at one time – is not easy.

You are doing all that – now.

Choosing to get past procrastinating on a project or two is just one step in your life’s journey  . . .


. . . . and you CAN DO IT!


Start Aiming for the Path You Want Your Children to Take

There is such hope in a new baby, sleeping peacefully in their bed. They haven’t tried to put a fork in the wall outlet, or bit a child at daycare. This newborn has not yet torn up their crib mattress or smeared their sister with diaper cream. The hope lying in the face of new innocence hasn’t talked back to you, wrecked the car or come home with a new piercing.

There is hope. And with hope, there is a future.

Your parents had the same hope, and their parents before them. This hope is God given, because without it no one would have children!

At some point along the way adults have gotten tired and hope has been lost. At some point we began to expect our children to do their best or to do good enough – and nothing more. And then we began to expect it of ourselves as well.

Without expectations we all fall short – because we have no idea where the finish line is . . . and neither do our children.

Our kids are taking guns into schools. They are failing in math, writing, logical reasoning and history. They are expected to do just good enough in school so they can excel in athletics.

When did football replace math? Basketball replace reading?

I’m not usually thrilled with my youngest son’s focus on his future – he’s a perfectionist and it drives him crazy. No one is perfect – and while it’s important to STRIVE for perfection, it’s also critical to recognize our human failings and accept that failing means you’re one step closer to perfection.

There is a balance there – where “just good enough” is NOT acceptable, but 100% perfection is not attainable.

In some instances, perfection is necessary. You don’t want a heart or brain surgeon to do “just good enough,” you demand perfection. You don’t want your child to get the wrong medication from the nurse, or ordered the wrong test by a physician – you demand perfection.

And rightly so.

Outside of some professions, we’ve come to accept that just good enough is just good enough. And by accepting that 98% of the time the job is done, we are also accepting the cost to our children and to their future – and the future of this country.

If drivers are right 98% of the time, then people die. If airline pilots are right 98% of the time, then people die. If surgeons, computer coders, housekeeping and manufacturers are right 98% of the time – then people die.

And people ARE dying. Drivers, hospital patients, and airline passengers are dying.

Perfection may not be attainable ALL of the time – but it’s certainly not expected if you don’t try.

Perfection comes through practice, through trying, through paying attention every day to everything you do. And your children are watching!

You may expect perfection from them in their report cards, cleaning up at the end of the day, doing laundry, putting away their possessions – but what do you do? How do you practice perfection in your own life?

And are you afraid of failure?




This is something I came face to face with in the last six month. I am afraid of failure. And because of that fear, I haven’t moved forward, haven’t taken the next step and developed what I KNOW can be something really good for my family.

But fear has stood in the way – because I haven’t practiced perfection.

And without practice, how can you expect to produce anything close to perfection? When my sons and daughter have learned basketball, they practiced. Sometimes for hours and hours they practiced in order to get better. And by getting better they enjoyed the game even more.

When you practice perfection in the smaller things in life you learn to apply these principles to the larger things in life. But without practice, you are doomed to fail.

And failure is not fun!

Consider this – medical errors are now the 3rd leading cause of death in America. Each year 250,000 professionals probably thought they were doing their job “just good enough” and someone else paid a lethal price.

But failure is necessary – it’s a necessary stepping stone to achieving perfection. At some point we’ve dismissed our natural ability to accept failure and learn from it – and instead have embraced the idea that failure will screw up our self-esteem or cause us too much stress.

So we started to tell our children that it’s ok to give your best and to stop there. There’s no need to continue down a path that may not yield more or better results.

Perfection may not be attainable 100% of the time, but it won’t be attainable at all unless you try to get there in the first place.

Our school systems are giving awards to all the kids so they don’t have to confront the student who doesn’t put forth the effort or chooses less than what they can achieve.

In other words, we’re more comfortable rewarding the effort than the result.

The effort is important. The result is what counts. You won’t get results without effort – but you can put forth effort without achieving results.

In 2015, 20% of all graduating seniors in Dublin OH left school with the title Valedictorian. Two hundred and twenty two students were valedictorian that year. I can guarantee you, there wasn’t a tie between 222 students for top grades in three high schools!

Instead of top honors going to the student with the highest GPA, they awarded the honor to all students who graduated with a GPA higher than 4.0.  If 4.0 is the highest GPA you can achieve . . . how can you get higher than 4.0? And if you can get higher than 4.0 – where does it stop?

At this point the school is offering an equal outcome – when everyone rises despite results, then you have to wonder – how do you rise above the crowd? If you don’t have the potential to fail – then how do you reach your potential?

Failure is a motivating force when you harness it so you are willing to do what is difficult to achieve what is right.


When we seek perfection without fearing failure we will stop living in a world where we reap the rewards of “just good enough.”

Seven Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time


the effectiveness of productive effort, especially in industry, as measured in terms of the rate of output per unit of input.

“workers boosted productivity by 20 percent” Synonym: efficiency

Did you ever play with those balsam wood airplanes? You know . . . the ones that were propelled by the force of a twisted rubber band?

I used to play with those planes all the time as a kid. I just knew that if I twisted that rubber band as tight as it would go that my plane would fly faster and farther than any of the other ones that my friends were playing with.

Well, friends might be an overstatement.

Essentially, faster and farther than the plane my sister was playing with.

I loved those planes. Even though they broke easily [sometimes when I was putting them together!] and the rubber bands lasted for 2 or sometimes 3 flights before snapping in two, I could spend the time, however brief, imagining that I was piloting that that little plane through the backyard.

The plane would gracefully float through the air, sometimes narrowly missing the tetherball pole planted squarely in the yard and crash land near the evergreen trees. If the rubber band didn’t snap, then one of the wings might on landing.

Although I played with those planes for several years as a child, I didn’t seem to generalize the knowledge that when stretched tightly, beyond capacity, the rubber band would snap in two.

Unfortunately, as an adult I also have to keep learning that same lesson over and over again. This time when the rubber band in my life snaps there are more dire consequences than when the little plane wouldn’t fly and my mother had run out of rubber bands that fit the plane.

Producing good work . . . at home, in the office, at school or with our children . . . requires so much more than just one rubber band. Those rubber bands stay flexible when we work efficiently, experience quality sleep, eat foods that feed our body and not only our palate and drink plenty of clear water.

Working efficiently means you’ll be as efficient as you can be without sacrificing your children, your home and your mental health. And, like all things in life there are tricks or secrets that efficiency experts have found will reduce the amount of time it takes us to accomplish specific tasks, get more done in less time and improve our productivity quotient.

I love to be productive. I get a real feeling of satisfaction when I finally lay down at night to know that I accomplished the goals I set for myself that day without stressing the children or sacrificing my own mental or emotional health.

But I have this huge flaw. Well, I think of it as something requiring change, while other members of my family tend to think of it as a major flaw. And, truth be told, it probably is a major flaw.

I overbook myself. I make too many plans. My list is longer than my arm. I NEVER finish my list for the day.

All things that industry experts tell you will make you crash and burn before you accomplish your goals.

Knowing this and realizing that there were other recommendations that would increase my productivity without sacrificing my end goals, I went on a hunt for the best tools and changes that I could make in my single mom life. These had to be realistic for my circumstances, work within my lifestyle and not require extra expense.

So, without further ado, here are the seven changes that I would recommend you make in the next few weeks. I have, and have seen some remarkable differences in what I get done and how much better I feel at the end of the day.

Sleep, Water and Nutrition.

You had to expect this – so I won’t spend a lot of time here. Sleep 8 hours a night. Drink enough water to stay hydrated (so your pee is a light straw color) and eat a well-balanced diet that is low in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates will increase the release of insulin in your body, increase the inflammatory response and cause dips in your blood sugar, which make you feel tired and sleepy. In order to be as productive as possible you have to keep both your mind and your body healthy.

Blocks of Time.

Productivity happens when you can complete tasks in a specific amount of time. That time period is one that you define. In order to be as productive as possible you’ll want to block out your time during the day for specific tasks. Create the habit of blocking your calendar to check email, write the report your boss needs, make dinner, doing homework with the kids and anything else that needs to be done during the day. Make sure you also include downtime each day. Without time to recover and recharge your batteries your productivity levels will plummet like a rock in water.

Balance everything.

You’ve heard it before, but you must balance your work and life together. Have you heard of the Pareto Principle? It’s also known as the 80/20 rule. It’s the theory that 80 percent of the results from a given situation is determined by 20 percent of your work. This means you must manage your time and not let your time manage you. Working in blocks of time, including down time and balancing your recreation, family and work is extremely important to improve your productivity.

Set Boundaries.

Can you say no? Most women have trouble saying no to their friends or when they’re asked to do something. But that’s not the only thing you have to say no to! You must also guard your blocks of time and set boundaries to what you will and won’t do. Don’t check emails, take phone calls or answer text messages when you are committed to a block of time to finish a project or work on homework with the children. Set your boundaries with your friends as well. If you have people who enjoy dropping by unannounced, it’s time to set new boundaries.

Let’s do double time.

Can you do two things at once? Although most women are great at multi-tasking, it’s not the best way to accomplish any task. It requires that you split your brain between two tasks and neither get your full attention. On the other hand, you can schedule a playdate with your children’s friends and spend time with the mother catching up and call it downtime. Or you can take your child to her playdate and sit at a local coffee shop and work on your computer. You’ll be without the distractions you usually have at home and can access any content that you save in the cloud, so you can work anywhere.

Focus on one thing and finish it.

As women, we often struggle with focusing on one task. There is a joke that talks about how a woman walks through the house. Her intention is to clean the bathroom. She picks up the dishes in the family room and delivers them to the kitchen. She loads the dishwasher and takes clothes out of the dryer. After folding the clothes and delivering them to her children’s room, she fixes their bed and dusts the bookshelves in their room. She empties the garbage can and ties up the kitchen garbage can. After taking out the garbage, she starts another load of laundry. While the machine is running, she walks into the bathroom and starts cleaning the mirror, which reminds her that the mirror in her bedroom is dirty and she heads in there to clean the glass. Once finished it’s time to start dinner, she hasn’t finished one project and she’s exhausted.

Focus on one thing and finish it. It doesn’t matter about the extraneous things. It doesn’t matter that there are clothes in the dryer or the kitchen is mess – if you need to clean the bathroom, write the report or organize your files – don’t leave until it’s done.

Use the tools you need.

There are several online tools that can help improve your productivity – whether it’s at home or at work.

Momentum: a Chrome extension that shows a beautiful picture and your to-do list each time you open a new tab in your browser.

Trello: Has both a free and paid version. You can develop projects with different lists and tasks associated with them. Share the project with your friends or virtual assistant.

Wunderlist: Has both a free and paid version. Develop project lists with tasks. You can share the list, email yourself information, set due dates, reminders, attach audio files and take notes. This is my favorite tool!


Take the time TODAY to make one change in your daily routine and work to make that change a habit. If you can make one change every two weeks, it won’t be long before you are productivity machine!

Consult Your Inner Child When You Make Decisions

Have you had the chance to watch a young child playing? Of course you have! They are amazing – children can find joy in the smallest things and be happy playing with a box.

Do you remember how that felt? The pure joy of feeling rain on your face or mud between your toes? Can you reproduce that feeling in what you do today?

Go back in time . . . what did you want to do when you were a child? What were your dreams? When I was a child there were two things I wanted to do – or be. Studying oceanography was first on the list. Studying dolphins, whales and sea lions appealed to me. Living near the ocean, being on a boat, diving and becoming familiar with sharks – it all sounded like heaven on earth.

Of course, I grew up in Illinois and the option of going to college on the coast – any coast – was completely out of the question.

The second dream was to become a writer. Books, articles, programs and screen writing were all possibilities.

Today, that’s exactly what I do. After practicing medicine for over 20 years and going through a number of different life experiences, the experiences have all come together to make this life work.

What did you want to be when you grow up? Can you remember?

Maybe you had a dream to be a doctor, cowboy or a ballerina. No matter how silly you might think these dreams are today, do you think your life is close to what you dreamed? In other words have your dreams met your reality?

You may not have become a doctor, but maybe you practice nursing, or veterinary medicine. Maybe you volunteer on medical missions or volunteer at a local clinic. Each of these activities fulfills the dream of helping others.

So while you might not have become a doctor, maybe you have realized your dream to help others. Too many times we listened to our parents and move toward a career or choice that seem to fit with their vision in life. And all too often we do the same thing to our own children.

My youngest son is a talented basketball player. He could have played a division II college – but his dream was to get a top-notch education, which didn’t include practicing for hours on end each day. While I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching him play college ball it wasn’t in his dreams.

Were your dreams thwarted by your parents or relatives? Sometimes even well-meaning friends can stifle a dream. BUT – nothing is wrong with any job – as long as you choose the job and as long as you are happy and satisfied with the choice.

The same is true for your children – you can’t live out your dreams through their actions and their actions will not complete you. I was happy with my choice of becoming a nurse – until I wasn’t. And when I wasn’t, I chose another route, a different path. A new path is not always smooth and easy and many times it’s so far from easy that you aren’t sure if you made a complete mistake by choosing it!

If you decide to do something and then your life plans fall apart, you won’t have been the only one. Events can conspire to push you toward choices you may not have otherwise made. But, those choices may leave you feeling as if your defaulted on a contract with yourself, leading you to feelings of depression, anxiety and lack of self-esteem.

No matter how well you perform your job, you may feel dissatisfied and unfulfilled. . . unless you consciously change your choice and honestly enjoy what you’re currently doing. No one can make you do that or feel it. Even you can’t force yourself to feel a way that you don’t.

The great thing about feelings is they don’t have a life of their own. There is no life in your feelings. You give them life by meditating on them and believing them to be true – but that’s an entirely different conversation!

So what’s happening today to make you doubt your decisions?

It’s likely that something is – it’s possible that you want something different without fully appreciating that you want it.


It could be you’re perfectly satisfied with your life and you would be a very blessed person.

Society and  advertisers prey on your desire to have more, be someone better, do something memorable. And, while these desires are not bad – they are not good if they tempt you to want more than you actually DO.

It’s okay to be satisfied and to enjoy who you are and what you have, but if you honestly don’t,  it may be time to start evaluating your choices and your options as you did when you were a child.

Without the addition of an adult filter, take a good look at your life, consider your options and decide if those choices are:

  • Smart
  • Considerate
  • Made from love
  • Won’t hurt anyone
  • Will help you and your family
  • Smart financial choices for your family’s health
  • You are willing to make the sacrifices to achieve those goals and enjoy the results


These are difficult questions  – and the right answers are those only you can provide for yourself and your family.