Category Archives for "Productivity"

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity
Jun 16

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

By Noreen Music | Productivity

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

Hello, my name is Noreen.

I’m a recovering perfectionist and I struggle with the dark side of perfectionism every single day

Trust me friends....this blog is written from a place of hard-learned lessons.

My perfectionism was once the enemy of my productivity, but no more!

Ask yourself these tough questions to find out if you are a perfectionist ...

  • Do you avoid failure at all costs?
  • What about feelings of unworthiness?
  • How about low self-esteem?
  • Do you base your worth on what you accomplish?
  • Are you highly critical of yourself and/or others?
  • Do you have a problem with starting or finishing projects?
  • Are you afraid of trying new things or taking risks?

If you answered yes to one or more of the above questions, perfectionism may be a challenge for you too.

What is Perfectionism?

Perfectionism is a deep need to appear flawless and a wrong belief or way of thinking that perfection is possible.

If taken too far, perfectionism can express itself as obsessive-compulsive disorders, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic stress, and workaholism. 

These extreme expressions of perfectionism are not a healthy way to live.

Perfectionism is NOT the new black.

Why Does Perfectionism Derail Productivity?

Having an impossibly high standard of “perfect” makes it almost impossible to get anything done.

That being said, striving for excellence (not perfection) is a good thing. Wanting things to be well done and polished is perfectly fine.

This excellence mindset is far more balanced and attainable than a perfectionist mindset. 

Let’s just agree that the goal of reaching perfection is unattainable and can become toxic to ourselves and others.

Perfectionism is the Enemy of Productivity

One of the high costs of perfectionism is to your productivity at home and at work. 

Productivity isn't about how much you get done but rather what you get done.

Completing your most meaningful and important work is critical to increasing the time you spend with family and friends, enjoying your hobbies or working on your passion project.

Defeating perfectionism and improving your productivity will give you the freedom to live your best life, whatever that means to you.

If your mind is set on perfection, you may not start projects or if you do start them, you don't finish.

Being afraid to fail or believing your work is never quite good enough, can paralyze you from completing it. 

As you can see, perfectionism is debilitating and inhibits healthy progress on your goals and tasks.

Perfectionism really is the enemy to your productivity.

You Can Overcome Perfectionism and Boost Your Productivity

There are ways you can combat and overcome your perfectionist tendencies!

Trust me, it is a counterproductive mindset that is worth letting go of.

Stop striving for perfect (it doesn’t exist) and focus on working towards getting your most important tasks or projects done instead. 

Read the following points and allow the 2-3 that resonate with you to really sink in.

  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Come up with a “good enough” plan.
  • Adopt an excellence mindset as opposed to a perfection mindset.
  • Break down important goals and tasks into small time blocks.
  • Schedule time in your calendar to complete your tasks and stick to it.
  • Learn to fail forward instead of seeing failure as a death blow.
  • Avoid looking for faults in yourself and others. We all have them and it's okay.
  • Vulnerability is the door to walk through to build true connections. Most people are less critical of you than you think.
  • Bite your tongue when a critical comment or thought pops into your head. It serves no one to speak harshly.
  • Not every decision requires your full attention - delegate to others and let it go.
  • Focus on what you are deeply grateful and thankful for.
  • Realize that most people think about you way less than you think they do.
  • Stay in the present moment so fear and worry of the future doesn’t take over and you spiral downwards.
  • Be flexible - don’t let your self-discipline turn into a compulsion.
  • Don’t over-deliver when you don't have to.
  • Remember that you are more than what you produce. You are human and are worthy of living abundantly and with great joy.

Take one step and then another.....

The key to overcome your perfectionism is to just take the first step on the journey.

Be content with what you accomplish, even when it's not perfect.

Take small steps everyday and this will make a huge impact on how productive you are.

Let go of your deep-seated fear of failing. These are lessons and good for you in the long run.

You only truly fail if you never start or if you start and take yourself out of the game before you cross the finish line.

Contact Me!

Feel free to reach out to me below if you are ready to crush your perfectionism and increase your productivity!

I know exactly what you are dealing with.

Additional Resources

Find your freedom.
Live your life.


Mindfulness Reminders
Apr 05

Mindfulness Reminders

By Noreen Music | Productivity , Uncategorized

Mindfulness Reminders

With all of us staying home to help flatten the curve and not get sick, it can be extremely challenging to deal with everything we are faced with.

These mindfulness reminders will help you focus on what you can do on a daily basis to stay mentally and physically healthy plus stay connected with your family and friends.

1. What Am I Grateful For Today?
Taking an approach of gratitude leads to an increase in positive thinking and you are better able to handle adversity.
When you look for and appreciate the good things all around you, this helps you trend upward as opposed to going on a downward spiral into the negative realm. 

Cultivating a spiritual practice of gratitude is powerful and it impacts your entire life and outlook.

There is always something to be grateful for every day even if it's that you managed to get out of bed and brush your teeth today!

Mindfulness Reminder: Gratitude
2. Who Am I Checking In Or Connecting With Today?
Checking in on the people in your life is a very tangible way of saying that you care about them enough to find out how they are doing. 

We all want to feel that we are cared for and that people think about us as they go about their day.

Especially now as there are so many of us struggling with deep emotions, fear, worry and concern over what is going on in the world. We all need a listening ear and someone to check in with us.

Take a few minutes a day to send a text, pick up the phone, set up FaceTime or write a letter!

Mindfulness Reminder: Connection

3. What Expectations of "Normal" Am I Letting Go of Today?
Nothing about what you are going through right now is normal. It feels like everything you knew about your world, the plans you had and where your life was headed has been turned upside down. 

The uncertainty is all that is certain.

While it is uncomfortable and scary to be here in this moment of time, these kinds of life altering situations can change you for the good if you allow it.

As my wonderful friend Kristine Morris from The Change Maven said on her Coffee Conversations zoom call the other morning, these are Gravity Problems and we are powerless to change them.

What you do have the power to control is how you choose to move through this experience.

You get to decide what you hold onto to and what you let go of.

Mindfulness Reminder: Letting Go
4. How Am I Getting Outside Today?
Being outdoors and getting out into nature just feels good. 

Breathing in the fresh, cool air of spring.

Seeing the signs of Mother Nature coming alive again after the long, cold winter.

Hearing the birds sing.

Seeing the beautiful, dancing shadows as the sun moves across the sky.

Getting outside is natural medicine for the body and soul so go spend some time outdoors today!

Mindfulness Reminder: Get Outside
5. How Am I Moving My Body Today?
I don't know about you, but it is easy to convince myself that I am going to take a vacation from my normal life during this self isolation and just watch hours of TV, eat way too many sweets and not move my body.

I personally need this daily reminder to kick my butt and get my body moving. And not just running up and down the stairs from my home office to the fridge or the coffee pot but actual heart pumping, muscles screaming MOVEMENT!

There are so many online options and ways to workout from home with little to no equipment and very little space.

The only excuse is the one you tell yourself (I'm speaking to myself here too) so retrain your brain and just do it!

Mindfulness Reminder: Movement
6. What Beauty Am I Creating, Cultivating or Inviting In Today?
Even in the midst of hardship and pain there is beauty. Granted, sometimes it is ugly beautiful, but beauty nonetheless.

We can choose to look for it, create it, till the hard soil, invite it in, let it grow and soak it up.

These are tough times, no doubt. I am worried about my husband's employment status. I don't want him to get sick when he's at work (for now).

But I am still choosing to focus my mind and heart on the beauty in the world around me.

There is a Bible passage that I love which speaks beautifully to this:

Philippians 4:8
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

Mindfulness Reminder: Beauty
If You Need More Help
If you are struggling, please reach out to the people around you. You are not alone.

If you need more help, here are some links to resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic and other local services:

Take Care of Yourself
This too shall pass. We are experiencing a season of global challenge and concern and we will get through it together.

The pandemic won't last forever and we will be able to slowly get back to our normal lives. 

We will learn valuable lessons during this time. Even the hardest of times brings hope and good things.

Ask yourself these mindfulness reminders every day as they will help you to focus on what's good and important right now.

I am here for you. Really, I mean it - if you need anything, I am already there. 

It's as easy as filling out the comment box below and you will get in touch with me right away.

Take good care of yourself.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.


Being Productive Working From Home
Mar 15

It’s True: You Can Be Productive While Working at Home And Here’s How…

By Noreen Music | Productivity

It's True: You Can Be Productive While Working at Home and Here's How...

You may already work from home or in light of current world events, you may be asked (or required) to work from home for a certain period of time. 

Whatever your reason is, it is important to set yourself up well and use your time wisely to be productive while working at home.

There are many advantages to working at home. Here's how.

Being productive is a huge advantage of working at home...I am willing to bet that you are way more productive at home than at the office, as long as you have set yourself up properly.

Spending less time commuting, reducing stress and improving work-life balance are even more benefits of working from home whether it's on a full time basis, one day a week or just when you need to get focused project work done.

Managing distractions.

Having greater control over reducing distractions in your home environment is a serious advantage to working from home.

There's no one asking you "just one quick question" or telling you about the fantastic movie they saw on the weekend and your phone isn't ringing off the hook.

Managing distractions allows you to focus on one task at a time and gain serious traction on completing your important projects and tasks.

Saving time.

Saving time is another great reason you are more productive when working from home.

Think of all the time it takes you to commute to work, grab your morning coffee at the coffee shop, say good morning and catch up with co-workers, etc. before finally firing up your computer and getting settled in to work.


You have much more flexibility on when you decide to work based on your energy levels and brain power.

Your calendar is clearer as you generally don't have 4-6 time sucking meetings to attend when working from home so you are able to accomplish so much more.

If you need to do a load of laundry, take something out for dinner, walk the dog, go to the doctor/dentist or grab some groceries you have the flexibility to do these errands during the day. Then you can get back to work after your home to-do's are handled with a more settled and focused mind.

This way of working is truly a more balanced work-life integration.

Here's how to set yourself up to be more productive while working at home.

Keep your same morning and evening routines.

We are creatures of habit so it is important to maintain your weekday routines as close to your normal work schedule as possible while working at home. 

Keep your same bedtime routine and go to sleep at the same time. 

Get up early and get ready for the day. You don't necessarily need to wear a suit, nylons or your best jewels, but do your hair, put on a bit of make up and wear clothes you wouldn't mind answering the door or going outside for a walk in. 

The exception is if you have a video/virtual meeting - keep it professional by always looking the part even when working at home.

Maintaining your normal morning and evening routines while working at home will keep you from feeling you are on holidays and you will be super productive by getting a ton of work done!

Set up your physical work space properly.

If you don't have a home office already set up, select a location in your home that is optimal for you to work in. 

Preferably it should be where you can have peace and quiet away from the hustle and bustle of the household, kids, TV, etc. and distractions can be kept to a minimum.

It also needs to be a space that you will be physically comfortable working in for the long haul. Organize your office or workspace with proper ergonomics and furniture in mind so you don't end up experiencing back, wrist or neck issues.

Having a clear desk or table surface to place your computer or laptop on plus a notepad, project files and a few basic supplies close at hand is key.

Set yourself up with all of the technology you will need to attend virtual meetings/training sessions, etc. from home.

Proper lighting is also critical. Natural lighting is ideal during the day but if you are working where there are no windows or at night, overhead lighting with a task light for your work surface is a must.

Keep distractions to a minimum.

Distractions will knock you off your productivity track every, single time. Attention management is a powerful tool and is the secret sauce of people who are productivity ninjas.

When you are sitting down to focus on work, turn off your phone and TV. Minimize your email inbox and turn off all notifications. You get to decide when it is convenient for you to return phone calls and process your emails.

Resist the urge to check your social media accounts, the stock market or Google as these things are all designed to keep you going down as many rabbit holes as possible for as long as possible.

Use the Pomodoro technique by setting a timer for 25 minute blocks with a 5 minute break or 50 minute blocks with a 10 minute break.

Block time in your calendar to complete work and stick to it.

Focus on what's important.

Keep a to-do list and write everything down. When your brain knows you have all of your important tasks written down in one place, you relax. Yes you still need to do the work, but your calendar is now set up with blocks of time to be productive with limited distractions.

Use tasks in Outlook, OneNote, Evernote, a paper planner/notebook or any other system that works for you. Your to-do list is the place where your tasks from various sources are captured.

Your to-do list helps you know exactly what you need to do and how much time you need to block in your calendar to get things done. There is also a real rush in crossing off tasks and seeing how much you accomplish!

Tackle your most unpleasant or least favourite task first and get it over with right away.

Stay accountable.

Having an accountability partner is critical for some people to stay on track. Is there someone on your team you can be accountable to and visa versa?

Talk about when and how you check in with each other - is it daily, weekly? For instance, you could connect every morning and go over your plans for the day and then again at the end of the day to report on what you accomplished.

Be accountable to your boss and your team with regular project updates as well. Set up a regular virtual team huddles, use a team project tracking and communication software such as Microsoft Teams.

Stay connected.

Working from home can be isolating so it is important to keep ties with people both at work and socially.

Establish with your boss and/or your team how you will stay connected. Determine what makes the most sense for your work and the communication levels required to keep your company goals, projects and bottom line in mind.

Keep connected socially in person (if safe) or virtually. Go for a walk in a park. Have a Skype coffee date with a friend. Set up a Facebook group for your book club or women's group to regularly converse and stay connected.

Log off at the end of the day.

Once your work is done for the day, tidy up, shut down and walk away.

Working from home makes it even more important to log off and set good boundaries.

We all need time with family, time in nature, time to exercise, time for self care, time for fun, time for creativity, time for our souls. 

It's True: You can be productive while working at home.

It's true: You can be productive while working at home. 

For more tips, read our post on top 10 productivity secrets on how to reduce stress and be more productive. Read the post here.

Now it's time to enjoy your freedom and live your best life.

We love to hear from you!

Let us know how you stay productive while working at home by leaving a comment. We love to hear from you!

If you have a question, need help getting organized or becoming more productive at work or at home, comment below and we will get back to you.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.


Top 10 Productivity Tips
Feb 21

Top 10 Productivity Secrets

By Noreen Music | Productivity

Top 10 Productivity Secrets to Reduce Stress and Leave the Office on Time

Are you always stressed out and never able to leave the office on time?

Do you feel no matter how hard you try, your email inbox never gets to zero, your calendar is out of control and your to-do list is overwhelming? 

You are not alone….

The sheer volume of information to sift through, the myriad of distractions and ever-increasing workplace expectations is constantly increasing. How we worked a decade ago doesn't work anymore.

To combat the overwhelm, we must think differently about how we work. 

Being organized and productive is the key to eliminating stress and feeling good as you leave the office on time at the end of the day.

Try these top 10 productivity secrets to reduce stress and leave the office on time.

1. A stress-free day starts the night before.

Think about your current evening routines - what can you do the night before to make your next day as stress-free as possible?

  • Do you set out your work outfit while changing into your casual clothes?
  • Have you prepared a healthy lunch/snack when making dinner?
  • Do you get your morning coffee/tea/breakfast ready after doing the dishes?
  • Is your gym bag packed and good to go for your workout tomorrow?
  • Should you set your alarm half an hour earlier so you aren't rushing or late?
  • Have you established the practice of journaling, meditating/praying or reading before lights out?
  • Do you go to sleep at around the same time every night and get a good 7-8 hours of restful sleep?

Being organized in advance keeps your stress levels down as you feel confident in your preparations. You can't control the traffic, bad weather or a surprise meeting at work but you can control how you set yourself up for success.

This will help reduce stress and let you leave the office on time.

2. Schedule your hardest projects for when your brain is the most active.

Determine the time of day when your brain is the most active and you are ready to accomplish your hardest tasks. It could be the first thing in the morning, just after lunch or later in the day.

Now is the time to tackle your most difficult or least favourite projects and the ones you have been putting off. By doing this, you are actually training your brain not to procrastinate and these tasks get easier. 

To ensure maximum attention, reduce distractions by blocking your calendar, closing your door, turning off all electronic notifications and settle in. You will be amazed by how much you can accomplish when you simply schedule your hardest work during your brain’s most active state.

3. Remove any unnecessary clutter.

If your work environment is disorganized and cluttered, declutter your workspace. Solid productivity practices rely on creating an environment that is conducive to efficiency and effectiveness.

Remove any obvious trash. Clear away any unnecessary clutter from the top of your work surface and only store on top of your desk what you use daily. For papers set up 4 file folders or boxes - 1 for important & urgent, 1 for important & not urgent, 1 for not important and 1 for agonizing. Keep a notepad handy and write down any to-do's as you go so you don't sidetracked.

Group similar items together then put them away. Daily items go on top of the desk, items you use several times a week go in a desk drawer close by, items used once a week or once a month can go in a cabinet close by, items used a few times a year can go in the least accessible cabinet and rarely or never used items can be archived.

4. Clean your email inbox to zero.

Now before you gasp in disbelief and close your browser, hear me out. Even if you have 7,000+ emails in your inbox, this will work for you. Follow these simple steps to find the bottom of your email inbox once and for all:

STEP ONE: Mass Deleting & Filing

The fact is, at least 80% of your emails do not require any real significant action on your part so get comfortable using the delete button. A word of caution ruthless but not reckless with deleting. DO NOT read each email in its entirety - at this stage you are focusing on weeding out all of the unnecessary noise and the emails you don't need to do anything with.

Sort & delete emails by FROM - Ask yourself these questions - has this person left the company, is the project over or is it the fridge cleaning notice from 4 months ago?

Sort & delete emails by SUBJECT - Do you have email strings from a group conversation that you can delete except the last one? Has a date or event already passed and is no longer relevant? Do you have emails from retailers or blogs that you never read (hint unsubscribe from these please)?

Sort & file emails by DATE - If you have many months worth of emails, the chances are pretty good that anything over 6 months can be safely bulk filed in an "EMAIL BONEYARD" reference file.  If you haven't needed anything from this folder in another 6-8 weeks, delete it.

STEP TWO: Processing Emails One by One

Now that you have mass filed and deleted, you should only have about 20% of your email backlog left. This is where you sit down and process each email one by one.  Use the D is for Decision method:

  • Delete it or file it.
  • Do it now, if it takes less than 2-5 minutes.
  • Do it later by sliding the email into your task list or writing it on your to-do list.
  • Decide if it should be filed for reference or future use.
  • Delegate it to someone else to do.
  • Defer the decision by adding it to your task list or calendar.
  • Decide if you need to follow up with someone or track if someone else follows through.

When you make one of these decisions for each and every email, your email inbox will be at zero. This will reduce stress and let you leave the office on time.

5. How to keep your email inbox at zero.

Now that you are on top of your email inbox and no longer scrolling up and down wasting precious hours a day and stressing about what you are missing or not getting done, here is how you keep your emails to zero:

STEP ONE: Set Up Processing Folders

Action Folder - This is where every email goes that you are actually working on NOT sitting in your inbox. Emails here should only take 2-5 minutes to deal with. Emails that take longer to work on go into your task/project list.

Read Folder - This is for those emails that you need to read but they can wait until later. Use unproductive time like waiting in line or at the doctor's office to do your reading.

Holding Folder - This folder is where emails go while you are waiting on someone else to do something or you're waiting for an answer, a quote, etc.  This folder can also be used to remind yourself to send reminders to other people.

STEP TWO: Set Up Reference Folders

Set up reference folders into larger buckets with NO sub-folders (and definitely no sub-sub-folders). A smaller number of folders ensures you make quicker decisions about where to file an email when you are processing your inbox plus it leaves fewer options and makes it easier to look for an email in the future.

STEP THREE: Process Emails 1-3x a Day

Your email inbox is where new emails land and are waiting for you to process them, that's it.

Schedule in your calendar 1-3 times a day to keep your inbox at zero. Resist the urge to check your emails at any other time unless you are expecting an urgent message. We only do this to procrastinate on work, when our brains have decision fatigue or to look busy. 

Clear the handful of emails that have accumulated in your inbox since the last time you checked using the D method and you will always be at zero!

6. Take control of your time.

Is your calendar filled with the will of others rather than the necessities of your work or the company? Do you make casual commitments and then regret offering to set up that lunch or coffee? 

Schedule and attend meetings only if absolutely necessary. Use your goals to be clear around what's important to you and as a filter for what you say yes to and what you say no to. You are still a good person with a kind heart even if you (nicely) say no.

Move to a fixed calendar. Block your calendar for your various projects or tasks when you know your brainpower is at its peak and when it's not. Try scheduling your calendar using themes such as "Marketing Mondays" or "Catch-All Fridays".

Remember that we are not able to work more than 20-30 minutes at a time on one project so set time limits on longer projects, take breaks and switch projects/tasks during the day to keep your mind activated.

Schedule uninterrupted periods to reflect and be creative. Make yourself a priority by scheduling in your workouts, downtime, family and fun time.  This is your life and your calendar after all.

Don't forget to leave white space in your calendar for the unexpected, travel to and from commitments/meetings and time to go dark and take a break. Down time is critical to reduce stress and to be productive and in control so you can leave the office on time.

7. Keep a To-Do List

Keep a to-do list and write everything down. When your brain knows you have all of your important tasks written down in one place, you relax. Yes you still need to do the work, but your calendar is now set up with blocks of time to be productive with limited distractions.

Use tasks in Outlook, OneNote, Evernote, a paper planner/notebook or any other system that works for you. Your to-do list is the place where your tasks from various sources are captured. When you come back to your office from a meeting and have an action item - record it on your to-do list. You speak with a customer and need to follow up - put in on your to-do list. You have a great idea in the shower - write it down on your to-do list.

Your to-do list helps you know exactly what you need to do and how much time you need to block in your calendar to get things done. There is also a real rush in crossing off tasks and seeing how much you accomplish!

8. Don't multitask

Multitasking is impossible. Our brains can only focus on one thing at a time (music playing in the background is ok). It's good to have a one-track mind. Be present and concentrate on the task at hand or the conversation you are having at that moment.

You will accomplish far more by focusing in on one thing at a time, then juggling multiple tasks and completing none of them.

9. Take regular breaks.

Take breaks. Get up, stretch, go outside, grab a healthy snack or a glass of water, listen to your favourite playlist. And no, being on social media or playing Sudoku while your work is open in the background is not a break.

10. End well

How you end your day is just as important as how you start it.

Keep the last 20-30 minutes of your day for tidying up any loose ends. Jot down any last-minute tasks on your to-do list. Make sure your email inbox is at zero. Get your meeting notes ready for tomorrow. Clean your desk off. Organize your project folders and tasks in order of priority ready to start fresh in the morning.

Implement these top 10 productivity secrets to reduce stress and leave the office on time.

Please comment below which top 10 secret you plan on implementing to improve your productivity.

Also let us know what you would like to learn more about!

Need more help getting organized at work? Go to our business organizing page and check out our 4P Productivity Program and coaching services or call us at (587) 889-7198. 

We are always here to help you.

Find your freedom.
Live your life.