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How to Get Shiz Done and Be Zen About It!


I was asked this question on a podcast: “How do you get shit done and still be Zen?” I was immediately in disbelief that someone thought this recovering Type A, born and raised New Yorker was Zen (you can listen to my accent below!).

In all seriousness, I have done a lot of work on myself and made some hefty investments to get to a place of mindfulness and intention. While it’s hard for me to consider myself Zen, I do consider myself purpose-driven.

My effectiveness starts with how I define productivity.

For me, productivity is NOT getting “all the things” done. Productivity is about getting the “right” things done.

When you know what the “right” things are, you can begin to focus on the critical few. This focus does have a Zen-like feel to it. Getting things done and being in a calm state of flow are not mutually exclusive. As a matter of fact, I get far more done when I feel harmonious then when I feel frenzied.

A few years ago my coaching on this subject would have looked wildly different. I would have told you to color code a to do list and barked rapid fire task management strategies at you like I was productivity’s version of Jillian Michaels.

With more years experience at balancing a family of big dreaming go-getters, work, and life my secret recipe for getting shit done has changed dramatically. Aimlessly checking off boxes not longer does it for me.

A Recipe for Success:

I have a lot of recipes for peacefully nailing tasks and goals. Like a cook has more than one way to make a hearty chili. You can consider this my most basic technique.

Make self-care a priority:

For me this means getting a FULL night sleep hours (at least 8 hours), hydrating, fueling with real food, and having a morning routine that gives me energy for the day.

  • How do I define self-care?
  • What are my favorite activities to help me relax?
  • Where can I find those onto my weekly calendar?

Get clear on your values and vision:

Aligning your goals and actions with your values makes it easier to determine what gets done and what doesn’t get a second thought. It’s either a heck yes or a heck no.

  • What are my top 3-5 values?
  • Define each value in your own words. Ex. If you value happiness, what does happiness mean to you?

Have a system in place for dealing with overwhelm:

Even when you are rocking your morning routine and aligning with your values feelings of overwhelm can set in.

  • On a scale from 1-10, how overwhelmed do I feel right now?
  • What small action can I take to move me from that number to a lower number?

Three tips to help you gitter done and feel more tranquil:

Go ahead, press play!

What’s your surefire way to get shiz done and be Zen about it?

PS. Need help staying true to your values and vision in this crazy busy world?

Have no fear, I’m your girl. Check out my From Stuck to Unstoppable Virtual Workshop where we take you from feeling overwhelmed to supercharged in six weeks.

And the best news…you can do it from the comfort of your home (fuzzy bathrobe and bunny slippers not included).

Hurray up! Don’t wait, it starts February 2.

12 comments - Latest by:
  • Katie @ Pick Any Two I really do think it's critical to have a clear sense of your values and vision before you jump in—whether …
  • Tina Muir Oooooh thanks for sharing your podcast, I am gonna take a listen while I drive to my strength coach this …

6 Steps to Take You From Stuck to Unstoppable

From Stuck to Unstoppable Small Group Workshop

Stuck is such an icky word, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you rather be UNSTOPPABLE? Yeah, me too!

The dictionary defines unstoppable as incapable of being stopped. Synonyms are listed as enthusiastic, bubbling, insuppressible, and rebellious.

I like to define UNSTOPPABLE as being in a state of continual flow or making unrelenting forward progress in your every day life. Unstoppable is being eager to get out of bed every morning and greet your day with enthusiasm. You proceed through your day with purpose and intentionality. You end your day feeling fulfilled and like you have lived to your fullest potential.

THAT is what it means to be unstoppable.

I know this because I have been in that icky, opposite place – stuck.

Stuck is where you can’t quite connect the dots between your aspirations and your reality. Stuck looks different for everyone. It depends on what and how much you are resisting. It depends on where you fall on the fear and anxiety scale.

We get stuck in different places at different times in our lives. Some people get stuck in their careers, health, relationships, passions or purpose.

Perhaps you are feeling stuck because you are a new parent or because you are in a transition phase in life.

I have found the more I avoid being stuck, the more stuck I get. However, the more emphasis I put on feeling stuck the more stuck I get.

My story

Even though I had been developing leaders in a corporate setting for 15 years, helping them align vision with goals, I have struggled with doing this for myself. At times I have been too overwhelmed by life’s daily tasks and it blocked me from gaining clarity around my direction. For years I was failing to meet the goals I set for myself. I had no problem setting and achieving family goals but when it came to putting me first, I struggled to connect with my purpose.

I grew to dread the start of the day. I didn’t love how I was spending my time, where I was placing my attention, or the feelings of discontent. I wasn’t totally unhappy but I wasn’t my happiest self either. I didn’t feel accomplished at anything important (to me).

As someone who was achievement oriented this baffled me. It took me a while to figure out what I was missing. There was a lot of research, reading, coaching, and self-discovery that led to me to my purpose. I had to build a new skill set that would allow me to balance my busy life with what I truly desired.

It wasn’t a singular action that would result in immediate turnaround. What I was missing was twofold – structure and mindset.  They took consistent effort to change both (and I still work on them).

Creating a structure provided repeatable steps that I could take whenever I was feeling disconnected. Learning how to shift my mindset motivated me through those moments when I felt disempowered.

The result was a life with greater passion, purpose, and potential. A life with more balance and flow.

The steps I took and continue to take my clients through are listed below. They aren’t here to overwhelm you but to give you a starting point. If a step resonates with you, stay there and answer the questions.

6 Steps to Take You From Stuck to Unstoppable

Step 1. Life Assessment: This is where you dig deep into your personal value system and identify what you want the most in life. This sets the stage for creating your vision.

  • What are your core values?
  • What are your strengths?
  • What do you want more of in your life?
  • What do you want less of in your life?

Step 2. Creating Vision + Dreaming Big: With more clarity on your values and strengths, you are ready to cast your vision. Your vision is your guiding light.

  • What does life look like for you a year from now?
  • What 10 things (big and small) have you accomplished?
  • Where do you work?
  • Who are your friends?
  • What do you look like?

Step 3. Getting Real + Exploring Options: This step tends to get overlooked as we plow straight into making goals without considering our current state. Spending time working through your reality helps you navigate better by being upfront about the challenges you may face.

  • How does your TODAY look compared to your vision?
  • What are 3 challenges that stand between you and your vision?
  • How can you overcome them?

Step 4. Becoming a Person of Action: Action creates movement, movement creates momentum, and momentum brings us closer to our dreams. Using your vision to guide your actions will keep you focused on where you want to go.

  • List all the things you want to accomplish this year.
  • Group them into focus areas. Anywhere from 1-3 focus areas are good.
  • Cross off any goals that don’t match your values and your vision.
  • Make sure you have no more than 5-7 specific goals.

Step 5. Crushing Fear, Negative Thoughts, and Self-Doubt: Honestly, this is where the rubber meets the road. You can be crystal clear and have the smartest goals but if you have a specific mindset that is blocking your success you won’t make it far.  Fear is normal and healthy if you learn how to dance with it.

  • Write down any negative thoughts you have.
  • For each thought, write three ways you can disprove the thought.
  • Reframe the thought into a positive affirmation.

Week 6. Maintaining Momentum: Have you ever spent the day cleaning and organizing the coat closet? You pull everything out. You painstakingly sort things out. You make a quick trip to Target to buy fancy bins. You get done and the closet looks pristine. A month goes by and the closet is a veritable hell hole again. You scratch your head and wonder what happened. You feel defeated and so you shut the door. Another month passes and it is unrecognizable. You sigh, shut the door, and utter that you are too busy. And so it goes for the next few months until you decide to take a crack at it again. Does this sound familiar?

SO, what did happen to the closet?

I will tell you. You put the organizational systems in place but you failed to put a system in place for maintaining the organization.

  • How will you stay accountable?
  • How will you review your goals (weekly or monthly)?
  • What celebrations will you schedule?

Talk to me!

What part of this process resonated with you? What quick action can you take to help move you forward?

Need some help unsticking yourself?

I’ve got you covered!

Join my small group workshop called From Stuck to Unstoppable. I will coach you through this 6 step repeatable process for creating unrelenting forward progress in your life. To learn more about the workshop follow this link –> From Stuck to Unstoppable.

19 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman Mmmm, don't force. It will come. When you are ready. Stuck or adrift...either ones are actually good. …
  • Tara Newman Very Zen Axel. I haven't heard of Miyamoto Musashi. Thanks for sharing.

A Letter to Our Readers

A letter to our readersAs 2014 drew to a close I was worn out, I have had a lot on my mind. I have spent the last three months of the year reflecting and struggling to get clear on my direction. If you subscribe to our weekly newsletter, The Successletter, you know there are some changes coming to this space in 2015.

If you don’t subscribe to our TOTALLY awesome newsletter, you must subscribe now. It’s a carefully selected round up of useful personal development posts from around the web + coaching dialogue from yours truly designed to help you level up where it matters most – your everyday life.

It’s a weekly shot of encouragement and accountability to keep you moving forward with passion and purpose.
John started this blog in May 2013 because he had big triathlon dreams and even with the completion of Ironman Lake Placid under his belt, he isn’t quitting the sport anytime soon. It’s his passion.

John got busy and I took over the blog on a larger scale. Enter MY dream.

Throughout 2014 I realized that my long-term vision of bringing Performance Coaching to everyday people and not just stuffy suits in a corner office could be facilitated through this space as well.

Which brings us to today.

This year we declare there is enough room in our marriage (and on this blog) for both of us to dream big,

Read more

28 comments - Latest by:
  • Katie @ Pick Any Two This all sounds wonderful, Tara. I think it makes total sense to have one site for both your coaching business …
  • Allie I really love this Tara. I love that you will be more of YOU in this space and in your …

14 Ways to Recharge for The New Year

I have a confession. I am feeling worn out. When I reflect back on this year, it’s no wonder. This has been a year of tremendous personal and professional growth. Much of this growth is intangible. I haven’t won any medals or earned a million dollars. What I have gained is WAY better – purpose, passion, and thoughts of limitless potential. I am closing out on a high note – in a place of confidence, clarity, and control.

Are you feeling worn out? It's time to take a break and Recharge for the New Year via @familysportlife

It’s been a tough year with illness, health issues, and missed goals. But along the way I have learned to enjoy the journey and trust my vision.

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5 Ways You Can Restore Balance to Your Busy Weekend

Do you ever feel like your weekends aren’t your own? Errands, chores, birthday parties, playdates, and other “obligations” can really eat away at the time we hope to spend recharging our batteries and restore balance to our busy lives.

5 Ways You Can Restore Balance to Your Busy Weekend via @familysportlife


This summer exposed a serious pain point for me.  I was CRAVING Sundays as a day to rest but the opposite was happening.  I found myself at the mercy of everyone else’s needs specifically my kids.  Their Sunday habit became a never ending refrain of the “I’m boreds.”  This was proceeded by whining about wanting more playdates.  Loathe to schedule one more playdate on top of all the transactional tasks that had to get done, I decided something had to change.  It was time to create new habits.

Read more

20 comments - Latest by:
  • Tara Newman I hear ya! My fourth grader isn't getting much of a break write now.
  • Tara Newman yes, my kids were like that too. I think when they get a little older that changes. My kids …