≡ Menu


Earlier in the year, we talked about ugly thoughts (e.g., I can’t do this, I don’t belong here, I’m not smart/good/fast/creative enough, I’m not going to make it), including a cheatsheet to get rid of them quickly. But of course there is more than one way to deal with those negative thoughts. Today, let’s discuss a different approach.

One day last year, I was at a really cool aquarium that had a shallow pool exhibit where you could touch the different animals. I immediately felt conflicted. On on the one hand I was intrigued and curious, and I would probably learn something by interacting with the animals. On the other hand, I was wearing long sleeves, I was in a hurry, and there wasn’t a full hand-washing station, so things might get messy. Plus, it would be interesting enough to just observe the fish swimming by then move on to the next exhibit.

Very similar to the dilemma we face when a negative thought pops up – we’re often tempted to dwell on it, investigate it, and interact with it. But we might not have the time at that moment, we could get caught up, and things might get messy. An ugly thought is like the proverbial fish that grows to the size of its container, so it doesn’t always make sense to give it too much room in your mind. [click to continue…]

You may think you have only one to-do list, whether you use a to-do app or keep a list on paper. However, most of us actually have more than one way of tracking our to-dos. For example, in addition to your to-do list, do you also:

  • keep emails in your inbox to remind you about something you have to do?
  • set a reminder on your phone to remind you to run an errand?
  • put a reminder appointment in your calendar for another work task?
  • leave a post-it note on your desk to remind you to return a phone call?
  • leave someone’s business card in your wallet to remind you to send them an email and put them in your contacts?

In this situation, there are actually several to-do lists and methods.

Ideally you will have just one system, but sometimes we do really need more than one. For example, for one person it may be a to-do list app and phone reminders, but for someone else it may be a paper planner and extra calendar appointments. It’s not typically necessary to have more than two systems.

Checking too many places for tasks wastes time and distracts us.

So, if you have more than one way of tracking your to-dos, choose the one that makes the most sense (or two that work well together) and try sticking to that system. No more time lost to double-checking scattered to-dos – time and stress saved!

Guest Post*

Women face a wide range of gender stereotypes and biases.  Men are presumed to be competent and get judged on their potential.  Women, are presumed not quite up to snuff and must prove their competence – over and over and over again.  How many times have we heard something like:

  • “She’s just lucky. He’s skilled.”
  • “She’s hesitant. He’s thoughtful.”
  • “She’s impulsive. He’s decisive.”
  • “She has trouble balancing work with her family. He’s busy.”

These stereotypes are at the very heart of why women are held back — by others and by themselves.  Women become aware at a young age that when they act forcefully or competitively, they are diverging from gender stereotypes.  If they push to get a job done, if they focus on results rather than pleasing others, they are acting like a man.  If they act like a man, people dislike them.  And, women don’t like not being liked.  So they hold back.

We call this the Goldilocks Dilemma.  Women are viewed as too tough, too soft, but rarely just right.  If they defy expectations, behave against stereotype and grab those opportunities, they are viewed as pushy, selfish, and just plain not nice.  If they act in stereotypically feminine ways, they have great difficulty in reaching for and taking advantage of the same opportunities as men. In other words, women are literally damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

*The above explanation of the Goldilocks Dilemma originally appeared in this interview with Andie Kramer and Al Harris on WLN.  For more detail on this issue, as well as valuable, concrete tips for how to improve this situation in your own career, visit Andie & Al’s article on this topic right here.  


  1. GOOD Guys
  2. A Law Firm Serving Women
  3. Making Yourself Work When You Don’t Want To
  4. More Harm Than Expected From Your Phone-Checking Habit
  5. Working From Home – Especially Helpful to Women?


1.  GOOD Guys.  As you may recall, NCWBA launched the GOOD Guys (GOOD = Guys Overcoming Obstacles to Diversity) program last year and now has a GOOD Guys toolkit to help organizations, such as women’s bar associations and other groups, host their own GOOD Guys events.  The toolkit is available here.  The GOOD Guys program was “designed to appeal to men, honor their efforts, engage them, and provide information about…efforts to advance diversity, education about bias disruptors and diversity initiatives, and examples of the incredible positive impact diversity has on a corporation’s social responsibility and profitability.”  We’ve talked about the importance of involving men in gender equity efforts, and hosting your own GOOD Guys program is a great way to start those efforts in your bar association or organization.  For more information, check out the website, or email me, and I would be happy to personally connect you with a member of NCWBA’s GOOD Guys committee. [click to continue…]