Category Archives:


The Two-Hour Rule

Success focused people tend to be harder on themselves than most, especially when things don’t go as planned. When you experience a setback, do you find it difficult to get re-motivated and jump back in and continue working? If so, you might suffer from the limit violation effect. Overcoming the limit violation effect (LVE) will increase your willpower and free up your motivation, but it does requires a conscious effort.

Here are the top 3 steps to overcoming the LVE:
1. Slow down
2. Look at the big picture
3. Forgive yourself

If you haven’t gone through those first three steps, watch this video on the limit violation effect first. If you’ve tried those and find you’re still experiencing a lack of willpower, it’s time to invoke the 2-hour rule.

People who live a high-demand life tend to beat themselves up for longer than they should. If you keep reliving setbacks in your head, ask yourself, “Was that more than two hours ago?” If so, you have to let it go. While it’s ok to feel sad, upset or angry about a mistake, you can’t let those feelings take over your life. Continuing to analyze the situation often only leads to a greater loss of willpower and increased stress.

Staying positive and moving forward in times of stress is important. In order to transform your negative momentum into motivation, you have to focus on the present. Forgive yesterday so you can work on today.


Frustration to Motivation

Motivation drives success. But, what drives motivation? Specifically, what drives our motivation after we miss a goal or deadline?

When you become frustrated with your progress, does it increase your willpower – “I’m going to do this no matter what!” – Or does it reduce your willpower – “Why don’t I do what I know I should?”

Understanding what drives motivation after a setback can help us regain and keep daily momentum or motivation. If your willpower drops after a setback, you are probably suffering from the limit violation effect.

The limit violation effect occurs when we set goals for ourselves, don’t meet them, feel bad about ourselves and the result is a reduction in your willpower. While not everyone experiences this, many do and this can lead to a struggle to stay motivated and a significant reduction in productivity. If this is a problem for you, here are three things you can do to overcome it:

Step 1: Slow down

The first step in overcoming the limit violation effect is by realizing that it is happening. Simply being aware that this is influencing you can increase your feelings of self-control and improve willpower. Take a deep breath and analyze how you’re feeling. If you don’t feel like getting back to work after missing a goal, continue to step two.

 Step 2: Look at the big picture

Remember you’re not alone. You’re part of a family, a team and a population that makes mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Missing a deadline isn’t the end of the world. Reevaluate the true impact of what you did and figure out if it’s really worth the stress you’re putting yourself through. Once you’ve established some perspective, move on to step three.

Step 3: Forgive yourself

The last step to getting back on track is to forgive yourself. There is great research to show that increasing “Self Compassion” increases willpower[1][2]. Realize that you’re only human and that being too hard on yourself for too long sabotages your willpower. It’s time to forgive yourself so you can move on from the mistake and move toward your goals again.

Remember, people who thrive in a high demand world are better at understanding “Why don’t I want to do what I know I should?” They are more meaning oriented, or big picture focused and are faster and better at forgiving their own mistakes, which enables them to consistently and efficiently move from frustration to motivation.

 By following these three steps, you can turn around any negative momentum you may be experiencing. If you try these and are still experiencing a lack of willpower, stay tuned for my next tip on the 2-hour rule.

[1] Adams, C. E., Leary, M. R., (2007) Promoting Self-Compassionate Attitudes Toward Eating Among Restrictive and Guilty Eaters, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 26, No. 10, 2007, pp. 1120–1144   [link: ]

[2] Neff, K. (2003). Self–compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–101 [link: ]


Two Ways to Work Less While Working More

Convincing yourself – and your boss – that some “no” work is good work

How many of you have found yourself:

  • Chasing rabbit trails on the Internet?
  • Checking emails in order to avoid doing other work?
  • Attending unnecessary meetings?

This is a sure sign that you need a break. But, don’t mislead yourself in thinking these types of activities are actually breaks. They’re not! These are known as “junk hours.”

Junk hours are a little like junk food. While they provide short-term pleasure, they contribute to long-term imbalance and exhaustion. You need to replace junk hours with regeneration. Here’s how:

First, realize everyone needs to take breaks and shift gears. You need to identify when you’re going through the motions of work, versus when real work is being done. Sometimes taking a break at the right time enables you to jettison your afternoon junk hours.










Second, work through lunch less often. One of my clients shifted his lunch hours to time with friends or going to the gym, instead of trying to squeeze in more work around bites of a burger. In both instances, these scheduled breaks increased my client’s energy level and sense of well-being. He felt less of a need to take low-value breaks in the afternoon and began to experience more productivity.

And, yes, he began getting out of the office earlier, too.

Are you a junk hour addict?
I can help! Click here to sign up for our free e-newsletter. Each week you’ll receive tips and tricks to stay productive, energetic, and most importantly, balanced during your workday.


I Work Here Because…

One Short, Simple Mental Exercise for Work-Changing Results

mo·tive  [moh-tiv] noun 1. something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.

Your motive is directly related to your motivation at work. Although this may seem like an obvious concept, if you take a step back and reflect on your motive, you begin to see how compounded and cluttered your motivation can become.

For instance, answer this one simple question: Why do you work where you work? Can you fill in this blank: “I work here because…”

If you’re struggling to answer these questions, first off, you’re not alone. Secondly, you might want to do some basic soul-searching.

According to researchers at Portland State University and the University of Michigan, reflecting on the meaning of your work (your motive) is one of the most effective ways to keep your energy up at work. Read more by clicking here.

Once you figure out the “why”, write it down, post it somewhere around your desk, in your car or anywhere you will be sure to see it periodically. When workdays get tough, as they often do, if you have no “why,” your enthusiasm will be shallow, your energy level will drop and your motivation will be…unmotivated.

Having a why speaks to “meaning” and “purpose.” Having meaning and purpose are highly motivating.

Are you dragging at work?
I can help! Click here to sign up for my free eZine. Each week you’ll receive motivating tips and information directly to your overworked inbox. Get inspired, get motivated and get with it!


Five Steps to Achieve Real Work-Life Balance

“The less that I differentiate between my “personal life” and my “work”, the less that I make the two compete with each other for my time and my energy, the less guilt I feel for spending too much time on one or the other, and the more “balanced”, well-adjusted, and happy I feel.”

I read this in an article today about finding true work-life balance, and I really love this perspective. I’m lucky. I love what I do. I love to exercise. I love my family. But it didn’t used to be that way. When I was young, I often struggled to do what I wanted. My work self was a stark difference from who I was at home. I loved to hang out with my friends and family and there were times that working was the last thing I wanted to do.

So when work took over my time, my life started to suck. I didn’t want to spend all day in an office working for someone else’s dream. I had a vision for helping people live their lives (including mine) better. I knew that the old way of doing life didn’t work, and I wanted to figure out how to encourage change.

So that’s what I did. I now work to make the lives of other people more energized, productive and positive. I knew I liked to write and talk to other people about their life, so that’s what I started doing. Pretty soon, my experience and research mixed with my passion, and I started to enjoy my whole day. Work was my life and I loved it.

Here is some advice for all of you pursuing that same reality, which I’m guessing, is all of us.

1. Pay Your Dues.
Sometimes you have to do things that don’t make you automatically happy. I had to go to school, do research and work for someone else before I could be my own boss. This took time, years even. And sometimes I hated it. Sometimes I was really hard. But in the end, it got me to the place I am today, and I wouldn’t take back that work because that work made this life possible.

2. Keep it simple.
You can’t achieve all your goals at once. You have to take things slowly or you’ll get overwhelmed and discouraged. You may have a whole host of things you need to accomplish before you can reach your goal, but all you have is today. All you can do is make this day better than yesterday. That means adding better habits slowly into your life, that means reading good books overtime, that means exercising a bit on a regular basis. Just do what you can with what you have today, and find the balance you’re searching for.

3. Be intentional with your community.
It doesn’t matter who you are, people need people to be successful and happy. Prioritize those people who love and support you. Spend time with inspiring people. Prune those relationships that are more toxic than helpful. Train your perspective to be one that provides a silver lining. Friends and family make your life good or bad depending upon who they are. Invest your time into a community of people who are good to themselves, to the world and to you.

4. Value your Health.
Do not. I repeat, do not run yourself into the ground. Take breaks on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. Sleep. Eat well with thoughtfulness. Don’t consume too many things that you know are bad. Take walks. Spend time outside. You don’t have to be perfect, but keep in mind that if you don’t care of yourself, your life will never be what it should be.

5. Take risks.
Life is scary and change can be even more so, but the simple truth is that if you don’t take new opportunities and do things differently, then nothing will ever change. Pursue new experiences, take leaps of faith, make mistakes, rediscover a childlike perspective people, and most of all don’t assume that you have the answers.

Page 3 of 121« First...234...Last »

Change Your Day, Not Your Life
A realistic guide to sustained motivation, more productivity, and the art of working well
read more

About Andy Core
Author and speaker on work-life balance, productivity and wellbeing
read more

Receive monthly email tips, research, how tos...
read more