Featured Article:

Tame Your Environment

A chaotic environment makes it hard to perform at your best and can be a significant drain on your time and energy. Look around your space. Do you have piles everywhere? An overflowing inbox no matter how often you try to empty it? A boatload of email competing for your attention?

Consider this: Piles represent postponed decision making. It isn’t a question of being organized or adopting a specific process. Delayed decision making creates the feeling that you’re constantly behind, and ultimately that perception can become self-fulfilling.

High achievers often end up holding on to absolutely everything. Be brutal with your decision making. To take control of your immediate environment, you need the mental and emotional strength to set strong boundaries. Organizing experts say there are just four things you can do with information: act on it, file it, delegate it, or toss it.

First, reduce the amount of information coming in. Make sure you are cc’d only on critical emails. Contact the sender or meeting organizer and ask to be removed. It’s work in the short term but ultimately you’ll reduce the volume coming in.

Make quick decisions on information. Quickly sort through it and throw out or remove anything that does not support you in your work or goals. For existing piles in your office, work on reducing them. Schedule time to deal with each piece of paper you come across. If you’re stumped, give yourself a “free pass” once. If you don’t know what you want to do with it when you see it again, toss it—it’s just taking up your time/energy. These piles will take time to address but once you do, you will immediately feel a sense of control.

Traveling presents a unique challenge because not only does information continue to come in while you’re away, but you’re also exposed to new information you may want to retain from conventions and client meetings. Label items with post-its as you pick them up so when you return, you’ll know what to do. Or sort them into themes and clip things together. Whatever works for you is fine—just have a plan to handle the information you’re gathering.

Your time is valuable; make sure whatever is claiming your focus is worth the tradeoff.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from "Our Corporate Life®," a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. © MMXVIII Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Communication

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Taking Control of Your Career® Bootcamp Content Overview

Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

2. Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s easier to succeed when your environment completely supports you. You’ll learn how to easily analyze yours and bring it into alignment. We’ll also cover techniques for viewing your work situation in a neutral, productive way–allowing you to move within it effortlessly.

3. Values & Standards

Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

4. How Your Best Intentions Work Against You

If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

5. Core Beliefs

Understanding how personal beliefs drive behavior is critical to freeing you from feeling trapped. This is a deeply personal and important aspect necessary to move into action. You’ll learn how to uncover the core belief that is out of alignment and the 5 step process you can use to replace it.

6. Who is in Control of Your Life?

Control is like catnip to high achievers – we all want it. But surprisingly few exercise control in the one area where they actually have it. This cycle of relentlessly trying to get control over an uncontrollable situation is exhausting and self–defeating. Resetting expectations so you can focus on fulfilling activities will provide the energy you need to regain your perspective and take action.

7. Setting Boundaries

If you’re surrounded by those who constantly violate your boundaries it will create conflict, drama and drain your energy. When you set and maintain appropriate boundaries you will experience an almost immediate reduction of stress. We will review the 5–step boundary setting process; discuss how to hold the line without alienating others or compromising your standards, and the implications of not being able to say “no”.

8. The Path Forward

Your work each session will have helped you uncover your personal traps and provided strategies for overcoming them. We’ll do a quick review and focus on how to use your strategic plan so you’ll never get in this situation again. We’ll also review how to appropriately take responsibility, how to manage workplace expectations and perceptions and the best habits for self–management when “overwhelm” strikes again – as it inevitably will.

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