Are You So Busy That Nothing Gets Done?

“Busy is a drug that a lot of people are addicted to.” Rob Bell

Exhausted woman from Stress Express!Too Busy for Life?

My next book is on women and overwhelm, and I find that in general, with the digital world being on 24/7, we have so much more to do.  And less time to do it.  And than results in major stress and burnout.  I know what it feels like to have worked hard for 8 hours and wonder at the end of the day, what did I get done?  Here are a few cures:

The Solution to Busyness

Do a Data Dump In the course Managing Accelerated Productivity, I learned how to do a data dump. Write down everything you have to get done in every area of your life.  The list is usually several pages. Afterwards, organize it into categories: Urgent, Important, Someday Maybe, Next Week, Next Month, etc. And then schedule each item in your calendar. The Someday/Maybe need not be scheduled, but write it somewhere so your mind won’t have to carry it around. (Evernote is a great app for this.) )It  helpa to actually write it all out and then highlight it in your favorite colored marker when you have assigned a time and date to it. Your little kid inside loves that!

Evaluate your calendar Are you too busy because you want to be? Are there things you should be saying no to?  How much of your day is driving your kids to activities or wasted in meaningless meetings? Take back your time.

• Use  smarts tools  Kanbanflow®, Sanebox® and other software can help with your time management, email and overwhelm. Try different apps and strategies to save yourself time.

Accept the Inevitable We will never get it all done because there is not enough time in the day and because we want a good quality of life. Life balance is important. Realize some tasks are less meaningful and just won’t happen. And that’s ok. Delegate, decide not to do and enjoy your life.

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©2017, Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Is Your Job Worth Your Life?

Is the Stress of Your Job Killing You?

Screaming man who is very stressed out80% of Americans are burnt-out and stress costs business $300 billion a year in missed work, low productivity and illness. For you, the key question is, “Is your job killing you?”  If you are seriously considering the answer to that question, here’s what you can do.
• Take time off immediately.  Go away, even if it means staying with a friend.  Use the week or so to reflect on your life and heal yourself.  You need downtime, badly, before you get sick.
 Get real about what you need in a job.  Be flexible.  What are your top 3 requirements?  That extra $15K a year may not be worth the extra 20 hours you have to work. Choose quality of life over money.
• Network like crazy.  Today’s jobs are found through personal 
relationships.  Get out there, clean up your resume with your strengths and successes clearly listed.  DO NOT complain about your current job.  Just say you’re ready for the next oppportunity.

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©2013 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication or reprinting without permission and author reference


Stress Express Tip: Sick Days Are Legitimate

My husband got a bad cold a while back, after working long hours and battling  substantial stress. In the last decade, he has very seldom taken a sick day.

Exhausted womanBut twice, he went to work, came back and went to bed. He just didn’t have the energy or strength to worry about anyone but himself.

And it was the right thing to do.

We are workaholics in this country. So many people never take vacations and end up sick, burnout and bitter.  That leads to increased illnesses or worse.

Sick days are legitimate.  If you or your employees are truly ill, recovering from surgery or a disease, contagious or absolutely exhausted, sick days are appropriate.  Having that time to get  rest and medicine, removed from the constant stress in life and the workplace, makes a huge difference.

And for those of you who employ many people, know that an appropriate sick day can save you thousands of dollars in health insurance claims, workers comp claims, and employee replacement fees.  It costs 1.5 times a person’s salary to replace them, according to Merck.  If a worker feels they can never call in sick when they need to, they will find another job. Take good care of yourself and your people and everyone wins.

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 ©2011 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. No duplication 
or reprinting without permission and author reference.

Burnout Prevention Tip: Just Say No

An especially effective way to politely decline an invitation for leadership or board work is to say ” I only want to give you 100% effort and right now, I can’t do that with all my other commitments. Please ask me again next year and I can re-evaluate.” People appreciate your candor and would rather have you at your best.

Have you ever noticed that people who aren’t busy all the time never seem to get burnt-out?  That’s because somewhere along the way, they learned how to say no.

Say No
Man says no

It’s actually a very important skill to cultivate, especially if you have a busy work life and want to have a good family life.  How many nights are you out in the evening, at work or community -related events?  An excess of two nights a week starts to tax your energy and your family life.

So if you’re already feeling pressured and exhausted, start saying no. The next time someone asks you to do something new,  to take on additional responsibility, even to attend a new social event, politely decline.  Explain that you’re overtaxed right now, that you appreciate the invitation, but you need to take care of yourself and cut back on your time away from home.  Most everyone will accept that.

An especially effective way to politely decline an invitation for leadership or board work is to say ” I only want to give you 100% effort and right now, I can’t do that with all my other commitments.  Please ask me again next year and I can re-evaluate.” People appreciate your candor and would rather have you at your best.


To sign up for Snowden’s ezine newsletter on stress, happiness, marketing and motivation, go to:

@2011 Snowden McFall.  All Rights Reserved. No duplication without permission




#1 Stress Tip

According to a late 2008 report in Forbes, if you get less than 7 hours of sleep at night, you are at a “cognitive disadvantage;” your brain does not function properly. People who get less than 7 hours of sleep are three times more susceptible to colds and lack of sleep is a major cause of obesity and diabetes.

sleepless woman looks at alarm clock (from Stress Express book)The biggest contributor to stress is lack of sleep.

According to a late 2008 report in Forbes, if you get less than 7 hours of sleep at night, you are at a “cognitive disadvantage;” your brain does not function properly.  People who get less than 7 hours of sleep are three times more susceptible to colds and lack of sleep is a major cause of obesity and diabetes.  Those who sleep between 7 and 8.9 hours a night on average have healthy weights; those with less do not.  Typically, this is an extra 20 pounds of weight.
Entrepreneurs are also very stressed. 13% of those polled by Fortune Small Business reported having trouble getting to sleep every night.   So how do we handle it?  What do we give up?  All too often, we sacrifice precious sleep, which has become increasingly dangerous

So go to bed earlier, do NOT check email & social media before bed, do not take your cellphone to bed prepare yourself to sleep in a quiet, dark room.  You’ll be more effective in everything you do.

The Powerful Value of Naps

Exhausted woman Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Most Americans are not.  In fact, 40% of the US population is sleep-deprived.  According to the World Health Organization, less than 7 hours a night is considered a carcinogen, cancer-causing agent.


If you get less than 7 hours, you are:

•3 times more likely to catch the cold or flu
• likely to carry an extra 20 pounds of weight
• 4 times more likely to have a stroke over age 45.

What’s the solution?  For many people and more and more companies- naps!

I love naps.  I hated them when I was a kid, but today, I find them rejuvenating and energizing.  Naps work!  And there is a great deal of research to support it.

Naps of half an hour or less don’t interfere with sleep patterns, and  can restore clarity, alertness, and memory.  Albert Einstein was a big fan of naps. has a nap room and employees are encouraged to use it regularly.  More and more corporations are providing nap rooms.  Many railroads have them, and even Ben and Jerry’s believes in naps.

An exhausted employee is an ineffective and possibly dangerous employee. Both Chernobyl and Three Mile Island were related to sleep deprivation.

Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap, Change Your Life, says a 20 minute power nap is very light and easy to wake from, and good for your motor memory.   A nap of 20 – 60 minutes is slow wave sleep, which is restorative.  It promotes muscle and tissue growth, as well as memory  performance.

“Sleepiness alone costs the American economy and employers about 18 billion dollars a year,” says Darrel Drobnich of the National Sleep Foundation in Washington, DC.  So why not address that proactively and provide a nap space at work?

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©2014 Snowden McFall All Rights Reserved. You may share this post and reprint with author reference and copyright.

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Are You Burnt-Out? The Top Ways to Find Out…


Stressed out Woman pulling her hairOne third of Americans say they are living with extreme stress.1 Career says that 78% of all American workers feel burned out (not just stressed.) Nearly 80% of all doctor visits are stress-related and 43% of all adults have ill health because of stress.

Stress is linked to the six major causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease, accidents, cirrhosis, and suicide.2  How about you?  How are your stress levels?

Check any questions that apply to you:

– You come home regularly dead-tired with little or no energy.

– The concept of vacation is inconceivable to you- you have way too much to do to go away.

– You don’t have time to exercise regularly or participate in your favorite hobbies.

– You snap at your loved ones and friends fairly often.

If 3 of the above are true for you, you may be hovering near burnout.

1. Being continually exhausted. Whether you are getting less than the 7 hours a night of sleep (the minimum to prevent cancer according to the World Health Organization) or you are working very long hours, this symptom is a wake-up call. Get a medical check-up, consider vitamins and supplements, and spend more time in play, in addition to getting more sleep.

2. Vacations: Expedia found that 34% of Americans don’t go on vacation at all!What’s scary about that is for women aged 45-64, two weeks of vacation cut their incidence of heart attack in half! 3 Expedia found most people feel rested and rejuvenated after vacation, are more productive and more satisfied with their marriages.  A coach in Canada discovered that when his clients doubled their vacation days, they doubled their income.4

3. Exercise- You know exercise is good for you, improves your memory and slows the aging process.  But did you know that it can also reduce stress reduction and increase joy? The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports reported that runners were 70 percent less likely to experience high stress and life dissatisfaction.  You don’t have to run, but do something physical at least 30 minutes 4 days a week.  Tufts Health and Nutrition Letter says even a sometime workout can reduce the risk of heart failure by 18%.

4. Relationships are key.  Snapping at loved ones destroys relationships. Whether they’re family or friends, they are critical to your health and well-being.  Spending time with friends creates the release of oxytocin, a neurotransmitter that relieves stress and promotes euphoria.  Those who had the most friends over a 9 year time period cut their risk of death by 60%.5 Whether with a friend, partner, a parent or relative, a key indicator in two different happiness studies demonstrate that strong friendships and connections lead to joy.6

Whatever you can do to change your life, reduce your stress levels and increase your joy is going to make a big difference, both in the short and long-term.  Take care of yourself and the rest of your life will come into much better balance.


1. “Stress in US Rises, Causes Health Problems,” The Scoop, The Meeting Professional, March 2008, p.442.

2. Anschuetz, Barbara L. Dr, “The High Cost of Caring- Coping with Workplace Stress,”

3&4. Brown, Sarah,  “Clean Break,” Vogue, June 2003

5. &6. Taylor, S. E.; Klein, L.C.; Lewis, B. P.; Gruenewald, T. L.; Gurung, R. A. R.; & Updegraff, J. A.                “Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight”, Psychological Review (2000), 107(3), p.41-429.

Manage Your Stress through Volunteering

Different hands placed on construction beam

One of the last things you might think of doing when you are very stressed is to take the time to help someone else. But it can truly be the best thing you can do. I know this from my own personal experience.

Not too long ago, I was tired, frustrated and upset over a business issue. Heading home with my husband that night, we turned down our street. My husband said, “There’s a girl sitting on the corner crying.” We immediately stopped the car and I got out to talk to her. Turns out, she was working for one of those magazine sales companies where they drop off youths and pick them up at the end of the day. She had no phone and no money. Her ride was two hours late. So we called her manager from my cell phone and he said a ride was on its way. She waited in the car with us, shared her tragic life story, and when no ride arrived after 45 minutes, we turned around and drove her the half hour distance to her motel. When we arrived, I spoke to the manager about taking better care of this young woman (she was 20,) gave her some money and hugged her goodbye with some encouraging words. As we drove home again, all thoughts about my problems had completely vanished. My concerns were for her and how I could help others like her in the future. I realized my problems were far less pressing and there are those who are struggling to get by every day on the streets. It gave me a whole new appreciation of how fortunate I am.

That’s the value of volunteerism. It gives you instant perspective, awareness of how blessed your life really is, and it gets you out of the worry and anxiety of stress.

The Benefits of Volunteerism

There are several benefits of community service. It:

• promotes connection and sharing

• decreases stress and depression

• improves interpersonal skills

• enhances communication skills

• increases gratitude and empathy

• improves understanding of community issues1

• strengthens your ability to cope

• makes you feel good about yourself and your gifts

• increases how long you live2

• provides a sense of fulfillment and purpose

• strengthens the community

Next time you are stressed, think about all those less fortunate and instead of giving into depression, worry or fear, take some action. There are infinite ways to volunteer. Here are a few:

• mentor a child

• help a neighbor repair their home

• work at a soup kitchen

• walk a friend’s dog

• make a meal for someone in crisis

• be kind to a complete stranger

• help at a homeless shelter

• participate in a “clean up your park” project

• volunteer at an animal shelter

• read to seniors at a senior center or hospital

• collect diapers for newborn centers

• help out at an elementary school

• collect books for literacy programs and then read for them

• run a food drive for local food banks

• teach some craft or art skill to children or seniors

Volunteering has a huge impact on your health, longevity and stress levels. For me, it is absolutely one of the best instant stress relievers around, and you can do it at any time, any place, anywhere.


“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” Leo Buscaglia


1. “National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating: The Benefits of Volunteering,” Canadian Centre for Philanthropy research Program, 2000

2. “The Health Benefits of Volunteering,” Corporation for National & Community Service, from the Office of Research and Policy Development April 19, 2006


Staying Healthy as a Way to Keep Fired Up!

Warren Whitlock, author of Twitter Revolution, wrote of my last post that he wanted more information about how to prevent illness. So for my friend Warren and the rest of my friends, new and old, here are some stress management tips and health tips to help prevent illness.

be proactive, especially when it comes to your teeth. A recent tough lesson for me came when I ground my teeth so badly that I abraded my front tooth. My dentist told me it was infected and required a root canal in a few weeks! Uggh! Teeth grinding is a very common problem, and it results in broken teeth, TMJ, headaches, neck aches and shoulder problems. Fortunately, it can be treated with cranial-sacral work, massage, mouthguards and good dental care.

• Find a way to exercise that’s fun for you, and do it three-four times a week for 30 minutes. The best way is one that does not feel like work. Get an exercise buddy and go to the gym together, go for walks and catch up on your day, or do a sport you love. My husband and I are ballroom dancers, and it’s a great workout that is fun and challenging. Find what you enjoy.

Watch your food consumption, especially sugar and sugar substitutes. Over 1 billion people worldwide are obese, and many of them are diabetic. Read Sugar Blues by William Dufty to learn about the dangers of sugar, and check on-line studies on how sugar substitutes can damage your liver and kidney. I have a sweet tooth, so I use stevia, which is an herb with no calories and no side effects. Check with your doctor for what works best for you.

Get enough sleep- 7 hours of more. The World Health Organization says less than 7 hours may be a carcinogen- cancer-causing agent!1 Less than 7 hours lowers your immune function, makes you 3x more susceptible to colds, contributes to diabetes and creates a large drop in concentration and productivity. 40% of Americans are sleep deprived, are you one of them?2

Be careful of dependency on outside stimulants, whether they’re caffeine, alcohol, prescription drugs, or sleep aids. All of these can wreak havoc on your immune system and you body’s ability to relax naturally. A study published in Harvard Science Review said that walnuts and molasses may be just as effective at fighting depression as prescription drugs!3

Spend time in nature. Nature is soothing to the system on so many levels, from the physical contact of bare feet on sand, to the soothing relief of negative ions from oceans or waterfalls. Drink in the beauty of a crimson sunset on a lake, giggle as sea gulls dive for a piece of bread, or inhale the soft fragrance of a fresh rosebud. Nature is healing; spend time outside.

This is part one. Share your suggestions with me for more tips on staying healthy! Write me at
1 Fisher, Anne, “ Make sleep work for you” Fortune Small Business, Sept. 2008, p.86-90

2 Schwab, Dave, “Study: Naps improves brain power,” La Jolla Light, CA, April 1, 2009

3 . “Eat your way happy and healthy,” Woman’s World, May 5 2008, p.12