Are you an Empathy Hijacker?

“We can relate to people without hijacking the conversation” Communication expert Sharon Steed.

Sharon and I connected recently as we were both on an empathy panel together. I’m in love with her work transforming company culture with empathy. She has a great LinkedIn course about communicating with more empathy as well, and that’s where I got this insightful quote.

People often assume that sharing similar experiences with someone is empathy. Not quite. Empathy is more about listening and sitting with someone to see things from their point of view. Unless asked, it’s not about you hijacking the conversation and making it about you. 

You know you’re doing this if you ever tell someone: “I know how you feel, when this happened to me, I…..”

I say this with love, because I think we all (myself included) do this in an effort to show people we understand them. It’s our way of active listening and our intention is to make others not feel so alone. So I get it.

During my long recovery from a ruptured brain aneurysm, and even today, as I struggle with life-long cognitive impairments as a result, well-intentioned people do this all the time:

“You have to write everything down? Oh my gosh, I forget things all the time, too. You’re just getting older like the rest of us!”

“Wow, now you know how I feel, not remembering dates and faces.”

“I have bad short-term memory too – it must just be mommy brain!”

All of these are well-intentioned attempts to connect. But all this does is diminish another person’s pain and experience. For me, when someone says this, it negates everything I went through, all the therapy, education, and struggle, as if it’s no big deal. 

Somewhere along the line, we mistakenly learned that sharing your own similar experience was empathy. It’s not. (Tweet This!)

Empathy is about perspective taking, information gathering, and actively listening. It’s about acknowledging another person’s experience. Yes, where appropriate one can share lessons learned or how they got through something, but the initial sharing is not the time. Just be patient. Give the person room to process and share first before you dive in with wisdom or advice.

Your response is about you, not the other person. You want to feel more comfortable, or “fix” things for the other person. That is not what they need. They need to feel heard.

You can understand someone without hijacking the conversation.

Sharon also shared this gem in her LinkedIn course: “Patience means slowing down your response to judgement. Without patience, there is no empathy” (Tweet This!)

When someone is sharing their experiences, here are 4 things you can say instead:

  1. Tell me more…
  2. Wow, that must have been a lot to go through. How does it make you feel?
  3. What I hear you saying is… that right or do you want to share more? I’d love to understand more.
  4. How can I help?/What support do you think you might need?

Got more? Tweet me @redslice or DM me on Instagram @redslicemaria

Photo Credit: Jude Beck via Unsplash

How to Set Boundaries…and Break Them.

We’re always talking about boundaries.

How to set them.

How to think outside of them.

How to break them.

So which is it? Set them or smash them?

It’s both.

Setting boundaries is key to getting more done. When you know who you are, and what needs doing, you can focus. And that means saying no to the wrong opportunities, clients, relationships that don’t serve your purpose.

Setting boundaries enables you to go after the life you want.

But….we also can’t let boundaries box us in!

Setting a boundary that cars can’t cross the double yellow lines in traffic saves lives.

But, setting a boundary that you can’t go talk to that VP you really admire because that’s just not the way we do things around here helps no one.

To make change, invent, or ignite, we have to question certain boundaries. We have to cross them and see what’s on the other side. It could be better. If boundaries exist around people, or your work, or heck, your dreams – you owe it to yourself to step through. 

How do we reconcile setting boundaries with smashing them?

We must ask: Is it a healthy boundary? If I set my schedule to get offline at 4 pm so I can pick up my son from school and spend time with him, that serves me. That is something that energizes me, gives me quality family time, and enables me to come back stronger and recharhed for my clients the next day.

But if I put up a boundary around becoming friends with my clients, who does that serve? I want to work with people I enjoy, and people I enjoy often become friends. You can dance the line between work and personal if you’re just open and honest. This also is true for corporate types. Some say, “Keep your personal life out of your work.” Which is true, to some extent, but it doesn’t  mean we have to keep your humanity out of your work! You don’t park it at the door.

Get to know your work colleagues. Understand their lives. Check in. Then, when it comes time to collaborate, innovate, or invent, there is trust there. There is mutual understanding of each other’s lives outside of work. You can understand where someone is coming from, and build from there. It doesn’t serve you to set this boundary because it stops you from collaborating and  effectively with and trusting each other. 

When I was in corporate, I did my best work with a team of people I was close to. People I would work with all day and then go out for drinks with at night. We trusted each other. We could brainstorm crazy ideas without fear and create amazing marketing campaigns. We could adapt quickly when things went wrong during a global roadshow and trust each other to get someone to the airport on a moment’s notice. We had each other’s backs. We got each other through and delivered amazing work.

When you are pulled into creating a boundary, be sure it’s one that serves you. (Tweet This!)

That makes you and your work better, not worse.

Photo Credit: Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Say No…But Try it This Way

No Trespassing Signs

As a business owner, or even just a busy executive or changemaker, the best skill you can master is prioritization. Since you can’t clone yourself and you do need to sleep (and perhaps see your spouse every once in a while), the art of saying no is a powerful tool in your arsenal.

Work and life are all about choices. You can say yes to more of the right things–the right projects, clients, people–ONLY IF you say no to others.

As an organization, your brand strategy can be a great compass to keep you on the right path and not get distracted by inefficient investments, bad advertising opportunities, new social media platforms, or other shiny objects.

Further, your organization’s (or personal) mission, vision and values can keep you focused and moving forward.

Learning to say no is just as important as saying yes. But be sure you’re saying NO in a positive way. (TWEET THIS!)

I’ve seen many entrepreneurs in recent years swing so far the other way down the “learn to say no” track, that they make it impossible (and frankly, unpleasant) to do business with them.

You can say no with respect. Offer them a path forward if possible. “Wow, that sounds like an amazing project and opportunity. Unfortunately, I’m unable to help with it right now. Here are some other folks who might be able to work and I’m happy to make an introduction.”

You can say no with empathy: Some rules can be broken because…life. It’s not “making exceptions” – it’s being understanding. “My usual policy is that meetings cancelled with less than 24 hours notice require payment in full. But that is terrible about your daughter being ill. I hope she’s doing okay. You’ve definitely got a lot on your plate. Why don’t we go ahead and reschedule this for free this time- but I won’t be able to squeeze this in for another month. Does that work for you?”

You can say no with kindness and collaboration, rather than assuming ill intent or that someone is trying to take advantage of you. Not everyone is your mortal enemy so take it down a notch. Instead of:

(Huffing) “Well, it’s my policy and you did sign the contract so you knew this was an issue!”

Don’t confuse being unreasonable and aggressive with being professional. 

How about: “What can we do together to remedy the situation while still staying true to the contract terms in Section 1B?” (and then go make sure that section of the contract is bolded and requires initials in the future!)

And if you decide to say no with this phrase “Nothing personal.” there are kind tones and aggressive tones. Remember, only 7% of your communication comes from the words you say. Non-verbal communication is everything, and that includes your tone of voice. As my mother used to scold, “It’s not what you said, it’s how you said it.” Usually before sending me to my room.

It’s super important to have boundaries, clarity, and conviction. You definitely don’t want to say yes if something is not the right fit, you don’t have time to do your best work, or you run yourself ragged. That’s not fair to the other person who needs you to be all-in. But…show some grace when you say no and you’ll not only still be able to prioritize or stick to your values, but you will also create a positive personal brand for yourself. 

Try not to take “setting boundaries” so dangerously far that you build a wall around yourself that no one can–or wants to– scale. (TWEET THIS!)

Photo Credit: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash.

Use Your Platform for Good

Use Your Platform For Good

Whether you reach 5 people or five hundred thousand. Whether you are CEO of a global brand or an entry-level manager or a solopreneur whose office staff consists of you and a lazy Black Lab who lounges next to your desk all day. Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent, work for a big corporate giant or a small scrappy local business. 

You have influence. You have a voice. Use your platform for good. (TWEET THIS!)

We are in a crazy time right now, where the lines blur between work and home (how can they not when you’re Zooming in on your boss in his guest bedroom/makeshift office as his 5-year-old wanders in, demanding a cupcake?). The façade is gone. We are vulnerable and real. There is no longer a “work you” and a “personal you” just YOU. A whole being, with all your complexity, obligations, life circumstances…and values, ethics, and opinions. 

Now is the time to speak up. Now is the time to align your work with who you are and to use whatever influence you have. 

If you have expertise, share your thought leadership generously. If you passionately support a social justice topic, be visible. Post. Tweet. Share articles. Donate money. Raise awareness. Get involved.  

In my twenties, I used to believe in “Work Maria” and “Personal Maria.” Personally speaking, back then,  it was probably a good thing to have those boundaries!  

But we cannot continue to be one person in business and another at home. Not that we don’t have rules and etiquette for the workplace, but you need to be whole.  

You can impact change by raising your voice and standing up for something. Regardless of the size of your sphere of influence. 

So whether you are a website design, or coach, or software engineer, or marketing executive or whatever….you have a brand. You have a community. Make work that matters. Be a light. Speak out. Use your work, your voice, your platform for good, not evil.  

No one is going to ask for credentials or limit you because you are not famous or have less than a million followers. Make the impact, one person at a time.  

That is how change happens. 

How to Listen to Your Inner Wisdom

How to Listen to Your Inner Wisdom

Has a leadership coach or self-help guru ever said to you, “You have all the answers inside of you; you just need to listen?” 

Upon hearing this, I usually roll my eyes. 

Please, I’m a smart cookie. If my intuition or whatever tried to speak to me during this crossroads, I would tell myself, I’d have heard it by now. But I’m still lost as to what to do. I’m still floundering. So she must not be speaking my language. 

But at a retreat a few years ago seriously changed my tune. Here’s what went down: 

I attended a women’s weekend retreat in Calistoga, California. Hosted by my lovely friend, speaker and author Shasta Nelson, this was about getting away, diving deep and learning how to listen to that quiet little voice that (seemingly) speaks a foreign language to me. 

Fueled by prompts, deep questions and fun exercises, we did a lot of journaling. Some of it was led by out guts, some of it was more thoughtful. We used words and images to wake up our inner wisdom and get it talking. Some of the work didn’t make sense at first….until it did and the insights cracked open right in front of me. 

While I’m not a “woo woo” kind of gal, I have to admit: it worked. 

The topics I journaled about, the images I was unknowingly drawn to, the words that popped into my head–they all pointed me to the same conclusions for how to spend my year.  True, some of these themes had been marinating for months, but I still craved clarity and direction. It dawned on me that I already had direction, but lacked  the confidence and permission to do what my soul was crying out to be done. I was too wrapped up in other people’s expectations and self-invented pressures. Doing the work shed those layers and forced me to face the core truth, with flashing neon lights pointing me in the right direction. 

I think I actually heard my soul huff in exhaustion, “Finally! She gets it!” 

What I uncovered is less important than how it was revealed. Like a lightning bolt, I finally got it. When people say, “You have all the wisdom you need inside of you,” all they mean is that… 

When you take the time to journal, or ponder, or use your gut to find images or words that speak to you (for whatever reason), themes will emerge.  (TWEET THIS!)

And you have to parse out and pay attention to those themes. While I was guided by activities and prompts all weekend, in the end, no one led me to these conclusions but my own subconscious. There was no therapist, guru or teacher spoon-feeding me these ideas. No one else but me came to those conclusions in my own heart and mind. 

This, my friends, THIS is what they mean by tapping into your inner wisdom.  

So how can you as a leader or entrepreneur, do it, too? I’m clearly not an expert, but here’s what worked for me: 

  1. Write down your thoughts. Yes, not everyone likes to journal, but you can’t believe the power of getting the slush and mud out of your head and onto paper. Feeling angry for no reason? Write it down. Have a daydream or desire? Write it down? Want to feel a certain way, even though you’re not sure what action it takes to get you there? Write it down. A sentence, a paragraph, a word, Whatever. If writing is not your thing, perhaps use simple one-word descriptors or images. The important thing is to get the chaos out of your head so you can examine it and find the patterns. It’s amazing what your subconscious is trying to tell you, but like a toddler, it can’t always find the right words, so it needs your help. 
  2. Find some quiet: Your wisdom is struggling for to speak to you: you just can’t hear it above the constant noise in your life. Turn off the phone, shut down email and go for a walk, sit by the beach or just lie on your couch with a warm latte in your hand. We try so hard to numb our confusion with external distraction that we can never discover what our body and intuition yearns to reveal. Maybe we’re scared. Maybe we’re lonely. But finding the quiet is essential to hearing the small voice inside of you. I have a rule of never listening to music while I walk my dog by the cliffs of the Pacific Ocean. I spend that time listening, dreaming and pondering in silence. It is truly a delicious luxury. 
  3. Share your journey: This one can be especially scary. But sometimes the best insights can come from hashing it out verbally with someone. Open up about your fears, dreams, and dilemmas with a trusted friend and as you do, you’ll find your own truths will reveal themselves as you talk it out. Introverts may not love this idea, but as an extrovert, I can tell you that some of my best ideas have come from talking things out. Forcing yourself to verbalize your desires and challenges (especially if you hate writing, see #1 above) helps you to clearly focus on the real issues. This is why talk therapy works so well. Try connecting in person with a confidante and instead of dishing about our latest Netflix obsession, spend time sharing what’s coming up for you in terms of direction and desire. You may surprise yourself. 

Want some help crafting a juicy and delicious brand story for your business, or finding just the right words to intrigue your audience? Take a look at what we can do together and let’s chat! 

How to Break the Rules of Success

Be a maverick. Break the rules of success.

Everyone applauds mavericks and innovators for breaking the rules when it comes to products or technology.  It’s the classic Cinderella story. And we celebrate this image of the lone wolf, standing on a TED stage, sharing with the world how he or she refused to listen and followed their own heart to find success. 

We tend to think of technology companies or big thinkers with huge global acclaim when we envision this inspirational story.  

Some of you might believe you can’t be such sexy mavericks in your own industry. I mean, what can a wellness coach, website designer, or financial planner really do to break the rules and innovate? 

I’d like to encourage you to think bigger about breaking the rules. 

For too long, the myth of the maverick has been stuck on replay: Compete. Be fearless. Invent something new. Take no prisoners. Be relentless. Hustle. Move. Go. Go. GO!   

But here’s the thing: you can be a maverick, a true innovator, by breaking the rules… of success and achievement.  (TWEET THIS!)

You can show that vulnerability is sexy (thank you, Corey Blake!) and endear yourself to your clients or community. 

You can use empathy and compassion, not more paid ads, shiny objects or get-rich-quick courses to build a stronger community and attract raving fans. 

You can prioritize quiet time, family time or creative time and still keep forward momentum. 

You can patiently achieve your goals and still make space to rethink and reinvent without constant hustling, “crushing” anything, or grinding yourself into the ground.  

You can use your success–at any level–to make the world a better place. You don’t have to wait until you have Oprah or Branson influence. 

You can be scared, confused, lost, and unsure when tackling any challenge. And admit to the world that you are doing so. Calling fear out by name, publicly, can fuel your resolve and drain its most potent power: the power to make you turn back or never try at all. 

You have the power today to be an innovator and rewrite your story of success so that it works for you.  

So what’s your story going to be? 

The Stubborn Person’s Guide to Creating Habits

The Stubborn Person's Guide to Habits

I’m stubborn and it’s hard for me to change.

We can have the best of intentions, but if we can’t make healthy habits stick, the results will always be the same.

Apply this to any habit you might be trying to create: updating social media on a regular basis, finding time to focus on writing, sending invoices every week, working out 3x per week, drinking more water.

Flossing every night.

Yes, at 46 years old, I had still not been able to create a nightly habit of flossing. I make my preschooler do it every night, and so, feeling guilty at not being a proper role model, and being sick of every single 6 month dentist visit ending in a lecture, this stubborn girl finally made it happen.


Well, what do stubborn people often need? To prove their point.

After my last dentist visit six months ago, I issued myself a data-driven challenge:

I will floss every night until my next dental visit and see if she can tell the difference.

This was purely a scientific experiment, a competition in which I would know if I was right or wrong.

In order to not “skew the results,” I had to do it every night. Even when I didn’t feel like it. Even when I was tired. Even when I thought I could cheat.

“You can’t prove the theory right or wrong with biased data,” I told myself. See, stubbornness has it benefits.

And what happened? I stayed mum at my recent dentist visit. After cleaning, the hygienist remarked, “Wow, your gums are in great shape. No bleeding! Things look really healthy in there.”

So… I had proved that flossing does make a difference.

But more than: After doing something for approximately 182 days, for whatever reason, solidified this habit. I literally cannot go to sleep now without flossing!

Habit accomplished.

When you look at a habit as a scientific experiment or a challenge, this can awaken a more logical side of your brain (totally not a neuroscientist here, but this is my theory). For me, I activated my curiosity and competitiveness. If I could prove once and for all whether flossing every night really impacted my dental health, then I could put this issue to bed forever.

Next time you want to create a habit in your life, think about it as a personal challenge. Approach it logically, gather the data and aim to prove someone WRONG. (Tweet this!)

Experts tell you to post on Instagram 3x a week comment on 90 other posts daily? Give it a shot for 3 months just to prove them wrong.

Experts tell you to eat more oatmeal to lower your cholesterol. Give it a shot for 3 months just to prove them wrong.

And yet another great option to create good habits: Try out Sarah Von Bargen’s fabulous Make it Stick Habit School for an alternate and fun way to form lasting habits.

More articles you may like on forming healthy habits for your life and business:

Make good habits stick: A chat with Sarah Von Bargen
Why you need to untangle your brain
5 ways to make marketing more enjoyable
Check out for a wonderful piece on habits!

7 ideas for how to make tough decisions

7 Tips for Making Tough Decisions

We very rarely, if ever, get to make a major life decision and live with it as reality – before it is undone. We often wish we could “try decisions on” and then turn back the clock if we change our minds.

Why? Because it’s one thing to talk about a choice and quite another to actually DO IT.

This is a rather personal story about what it’s like to feel a real decision and then have it unmade.

In 2011, I found out I was pregnant. It was completely unexpected, as I just happened to go to the doctor for my annual physical and told him I was late. “Let’s run a pregnancy test to be sure.”

I half-listened to the doctor’s voicemail, knowing it would be negative.  “Your test came back positive. You’re very early, about 5 weeks, I’d say, but congratulations. Let’s talk about next steps.”

You must understand the current state of affairs. My husband and I had talked about kids but were not even close to a final decision. I’d had a major health crisis a few years prior and, in the aftermath, we leaned toward no kids. Still, I always wondered what it would be like. Sweet cuddles and fun adventures balanced with sleep-deprivation and no more freedom to take off at a moment’s notice.

But there was no way to predict how I would actually feel if/when it happened.

Until it was real.

I vividly remember driving to lunch to meet a friend that day with a new found sense of safety to do the speed limit. And wondering, “How do I do this? Who do I tell first?”

Mind you, I had left my husband a message that I had something to talk to him about at home. But no way was I going to drop this bomb over voicemail.

At lunch, it felt weird to tell my good friend, but good to share it with someone. Me. A pregnant woman?! Between our shock, we giggled.

As the excruciating hours passed before my husband got home, I settled into the idea. No more imagining. This was happening. How did I feel? I sat with my emotions in this new reality for about 8 hours before my husband knew anything. Panic. Excitement. Shock. But the overwhelming emotion? Joy. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Then later that afternoon…

Some light bleeding. Maybe this decision was being undone right before my eyes? Fear. Dread.

My husband came home and I told him. But with a caveat that “this might all be going south.”  He reeled from the shock but also expressed concern about me.

And then….it all unraveled.  Light bleeding turned to heavy turned to emergency doctor calls and then finally, that last callback where a total stranger, the on-call doctor, said out loud what I dreaded to hear.

Two days later, an exam at the doctor’s confirmed it. There had been a very early pregnancy but it was over now. No baby.

The decision had been undone. 

But it gave me what I needed to be sure about my choice. And now we have a beautiful almost 5 year old boy.

This story is not just about the 48 hour pregnancy. It’s about how we make decisions.

And what we really want when we have to make especially tough ones is to understand how our final choice will make us feel. (TWEET THIS!)

We rarely get visceral certainty. We can only speculate with what we know right now. We really wish we could marry that guy, start that business or take that job and get a taste of it before we truly commit.

We often cannot.

We have to examine both choices from two angles:

  • How will I feel if I do make that choice?
  • How will I feel if I don’t make that choice?

You don’t often get the luxury of emotionally and physically stepping into that reality before you decide. So you have to do your best to imagine. But even that can trick your brain, because I’m telling you, the emotions I felt that day were not even close to what I imagined.

So what can we do? Short of being able to go back in time…

Here are 7 ideas for how to make a tough decision:

  • Gather the right information. Get enough data to make a balanced, informed choice… but then stop. There comes a point where you start simply seeking data that confirms what you already want to do!
  • Use pro and con lists wisely. Such lists are okay as inputs, but they’re not a useful decisioning tool, so say Chip and Dan Heath in their book Decisive. We often construct those lists with an existing bias. And sometimes that one pro is worth way more than all of those cons (or vice versa!)
  • Get a similar perspective. Talk to people who’ve been through it and probe about their before and after. Especially if they possess a similar worldview to yours. But remember, they are not you. You are not them.
  • Trust your gut on how you may react if it happens….and if it does not. When you tell yourself “This is happening” or “This is not happening” take note of your physiology and mood.  Sometimes, you actually already know!
  • Ask others to notice for you: When you describe the dilemma, ask your friends to notice how you talk: voice pitch, facial expressions, body language They may tell you that you are already pointing out all the negatives of one option, or that your face lights up for the other.
  • Make all things equal. Great for deciding between two options. Ask yourself what you would do if most things were equal. For example, when faced with two different kindergartens for our son, one close to our house, one 20 minutes away. I asked myself, “Which would I choose if the commute were not a factor?” When put in those terms, I didn’t even hesitate, which told me what I needed to know. We made the decision to put up with the longer commute.
  • Take the leap. Or don’t. At a certain point, just decide. You only know what you know right now, so stop trying to predict the future. While it is true that we often regret more of the things we did not do, than those we did do, you just need to make a call. Often, we can adapt to whatever decisions we make.

P.S. While this post is about making decisions, if the topic brought up anything difficult for you around miscarriage, please find some resources right here:

For those in the UK, this may help.

Emotional support after miscarriage.

After a miscarriage: Surviving Emotionally from the American Pregnancy Association

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Representation Matters

Be Resilient. Stretch. Adapt. Succeed.

If motherhood has taught me any important lesson that has benefitted my business the most, it is this:

Be resilient.

My son is now four-and-a-half and he tests my patience, grace and sanity on a daily basis.

But he’s also taught me how to think on my feet, come up with creative solutions, adapt on the fly and roll with the punches.

Yes. Motherhood has made me elastic. ☺

When he won’t do as he’s told, I come up with creative ways to motivate him into action. No, yelling does not work most of the time, but I sometimes forget that. NOTE: My on-the-fly winning games and stories will be fodder for future children‘s books, mark my words!

When he’s hurt or upset, I put down what I’m doing and focus on him – no small feat for me. I have learned to adapt to quickly shifting my attention.

When he asks questions that stump me (“Mommy, what does ‘ever’ mean?”) I dig deep, think hard and learn how to explain things in a new way (or figure out where to look them up.)

All of these actions require resilience. I must stretch and bend to be creative, thoughtful and innovative.  I must not let failure or the unexpected knock me down.

And, damn, it feels good to flex those muscles!

There is no better lesson for anyone in business.

Resilience is a trickster: It helps you stand firm against the wind while still propelling you forward at the same time. (TWEET THIS!)

The winds will knock you. Work will paralyze you. Failures will upend you. But never stop growing, expanding, stretching, learning…..all while STANDING TALL.

Learn how to bounce back from criticism and failure. Or at least learn how to keep you head up and filter criticism so you can find the seeds of improvement.

Read more about varied topics. Dive deep. Go beyond the surface and fluff.

When you get stuck, learn how to extend out and grab inspiration.

Photo by Swaraj Tiwari on Unsplash

How to Feel Less Busy and Get More Done: A Chat with Laura Vanderkam

Do you feel like you never have enough time?
Are you so crazy busy, you can’t get anything done?
Do you feel like the weeks are zipping along in a chaotic, unmemorable haze?

What would it feel like to get it all done and still find time for the important stuff: self-care, quality time with your kids, a walk in the park? You know…time freedom? Time when you feel “off the clock.” 

That time freedom is so alluring…and so elusive. Or is it?

I am thrilled to share my interview with time management and productivity expert Laura Vanderkam. Laura is the author of several books, including the new Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done. She is the co-host, with Sarah Hart-Unger, of the podcast Best of Both Worlds. Her TED talk, “How to gain control of your free time,” has been viewed more than 6 million times. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four (!!!)children, and blogs at  

Yeah, so she personally and professionally knows a lot about managing time.

Her book was amazing. More than practical and data-driven time management advice, it is a profound look at time nourishment: How to slow down time, create precious memories and savor each moment of every day, no matter if you’re at work or at play.

We covered it all in the video interview below: Where your time really goes, how to keep a time diary so you can feel time abundant versus time scarce, why planning actually gives you more freedom, how to slow down time, and practical tips for being more productive while savoring more of your life and creating memories.

If you yearn to feel less busy while getting more done, making time to enjoy your days, watch the video interview below! 

YouTube video

Highlights include: 

  • What Laura learned when 900 people with full time jobs and families tracked their time for a day – and what she has learned about herself by keeping a time diary for three years.  
  • Why equally busy people can feel time abundant versus time scarce and why some have time for everything and can feel “off the clock” more often while others feel stressed, manic and unproductive.  
  • Why our generation “feels” busier (7:42) “The issue is not that we’re busier, but that we have leisure time which we’re just chopping up throughout the day and that our quest for constant stimuli in wasted activity, like checking our phones, actually robs us of more intentional, thoughtful uses of our time. 
  • Why fun takes effort! Why the best planners are those who also have the most freedom with their time…and why freedom does not mean having no obligations. (10:14) 

“We don’t want our fun to take effort, but when we don’t put effort into our fun we only get effortless fun. In the long run, the effortless fun isn’t really all that memorable or enjoyable.” (TWEET THIS!)

  • Pro tip: Front-load your week to get more of the important stuff done (16:47) 
  • Our remembering selves and our anticipating selves are the keys to making time move more slowly. Why our human brains can’t actually be blissful “in the moment” and why that’s totally okay! (19:14) 
  • What being “in the moment really means” to create a lasting memory. And why you shouldn’t always listen to your “experiencing” self when making decisions about how to spend your time. (22:42)
  • How to get yourself out of the victim mentality of time happening to “you” – and the surprising lesson you will learn from a woman with 18 month-old triplets who tracked her time to discover she had 3 hours of personal time every day! (24:30) 
  • Why everyone should track their time. And why you might not want to because you’re clinging to a false story or source of identity: “I’m a busy entrepreneur or I give everything to my family so I have no time for myself!” (26:20) 
  • Balancing planning and routine with memory-making. How to make everyday tasks more memorable with a “mindset toward adventure” (30:10) 
  • Research that explains why the years fly by now but high school seemed like it lasted forever! (31:23) 
  • How to create “conscious artifacts” (35:14) 
  • Why intentional moments of nothing can make time feel plentiful. (36:34 ) 

And don’t miss Laura’s tactical pro tips to make more time and do more of what you love – including how to do Friday Planning Sessions. (41:32 )  

“Expectations and demands are infinite, but time is finite. You’re always choosing and you have to choose open space.” (TWEET THIS!)

Did any of Laura’s advice change your thinking, like it did for me? How do you currently manage your busy schedule or where do you have challenges? Reply back to this email and let me know!