Written by Jenny Blake

If you haven’t yet heard from my post at JennyBlake.me, we got a book deal! This post will catch you up on all the highlights: recent announcements, piv0t-related resources, book deal behind-the-scenes, and a NaNoBlogMo group that I’m hosting in Novemeber. Let’s dig in! 

About the Book

The Pivot Method will be published in hardcover by Portfolio/Penguin in early 2016, one of the top business and career imprints, and I could not be more thrilled.

Penguin Lobby(View from the Portfolio/Penguin Lobby before my big meeting . . . I pretty much died and went to Heaven . . . and yes, this is exactly what my view of Heaven looks like!)

Portfolio/Penguin is home to books by Seth Godin, Richard Branson, Ryan Holiday, Pamela Slim, and many other “new media” authors like me. Now I’ve gotta get cookin’ on writing! A solid first draft is due in April.

I will be documenting my writing process and systems to share with you along the way, and more importantly, I want to write this book WITH you and FOR you. It’s critical that I write what you actually want and need, so I’ll be sending surveys, holding phone calls, and creating a course in the new year to help “prototype” and pilot the ideas in the book with your feedback (fitting in with my Pivot Method process too, as it were!).

Make sure you’re subscribed to my behind-the-business updates and following my blog at JennyBlake.me to get all the insider news.

Pithy description is still a work in progress (especially since the book isn’t written yet!), but here’s a quick overview:

In The Pivot Method, The Lean Startup meets a personal playbook for change.

Borrowing from the Silicon Valley mindset of building lean, agile companies that thrive under conditions of risk and uncertainty, so too can we become more fluid in our own lives. The Pivot Method is a blueprint for becoming more resilient in a rapidly-evolving economy, and includes a three-step process for methodically navigating major career changes by starting from a foundation of what is already working.

This book is geared toward anyone who values growth and impact. Individuals will learn how to take calculated risks to pivot within and outside of organizations, and leaders will walk away with strategies to engage and retain top talent.

Plan Your Next Pivot

I’m also thrilled to be a part of General Assembly’s Find Your Fit series. It features 7 experts who share everything from job hunting, to personal branding, to pivoting your career (hey, that’s me!). Don’t miss my video series on how to stay competitive in your field and make your next career transition a success by starting with small experiments.

General Assembly is also offering newcomers a one month free trial of Front Row, their unlimited all-access service to both live and on-demand streaming classes for a number of topics in tech, business, and design.

Book Deal Behind-the-Scenes

For those curious about the deal-making process, check out this newsletter recap and two very scrappy “podcast” calls I recorded recently:

Part One: Behind the Scenes of the Proposal and Book Deal

Part Two: Behind the Scenes of Organizing, Writing and Gremlin-Taming


*Transcripts and referenced images coming soon!

Do you have questions about the process? If so, include them in the comments below! I may not be able to respond to each individually, but I will continue recording pseudo-podcasts that answer anything and everything you’re curious about. So often big things like this are hidden in a black box . . . and that’s not what I’m about!

You’re Invited: A NaNoBlogMo Group!

November marks National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated as NaNoWriMo), which started in 1999. The goal is to produce 50,000 words of a novel in one month. I’ve never been insane enough to attempt it, but this year feels worth a shot given that I’ve got a book to write anyway.

Since most of you reading are bloggers not novel writers, I’m setting up a very informal group called NaNoBlogMo via Google Spreadsheet to keep us all motivated for daily whatever writing, while still aiming for 1,000 words a day.

I’ve been tracking daily writing routines with my good friend Alexis Grant in another spreadsheet, and it has been a big boost so far.

If you’re interested in joining the NaNoBlogMo Crew, add your name to a blank row of this spreadsheet. Each day we’ll all input the number of words we’ve written, and I’ll likely hold a cheerleading/Q&A Calls during the month as well. Mostly, I’m doing this to hold myself accountable for writing every day, no matter how busy or tired I feel. No excuses! I know it will be more fun with all of you there too :)

[Tweet This] Signed up for @jenny_blake’s NaNoBlogMo group—join the crazy train to attempt 50,000 bloggable words in November: http://bit.ly/nanoblogmo


About Jenny

Jenny Blake Headshot - Author, Speaker, Career StrategistJenny Blake is the author of Life After College and the forthcoming book The Pivot Method. She is a career and business strategist and an international speaker who helps smart people organize their brain, move beyond burnout, and build sustainable, dynamic careers they love. Jenny combines her love of technology with her superpower of simplifying complexity to help clients through big transitions — often to pivot in their career or launch a book, blog or business.

Today you can find her here on this blog (in it’s seventh year!) and at JennyBlake.me, where she explores the intersection of mind, body and business. Follow her on Twitter @jenny_blake.

by Rebecca Fraser-Thill

Optimal_Time_Crunch_Zone
Have you ever noticed that the more free time you have in your day, the less you get done? If so, you’re not just imagining it; many of us experience the same thing.

Does that mean we’re all a bunch of lazy fools who cannot manage to get motivated without hard-and-fast deadlines nipping at our heels? Maybe. Maybe not.

Get Your Time Crunch On

Before we get into the laziness issue, let’s establish why having less time tends to make us more productive:  because it stresses us out – in a good way.

We need good stress, called eustress, to perform optimally, according to an old psychology maxim called the Yerkes-Dodson law. Not enough stress and we’re like sacks of potatoes on the couch. Too much and we’re a bundle of ulcer symptoms.

But I think there’s more to our “laziness epidemic” than a lack of stress. In fact, it’s just the opposite. It all comes down to an improper understanding our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone.” (It’s not as scary as it sounds – promise!)

But how do we know how much time crunch is “too much” and how much is “not enough”?

How to Find Your “Optimal Time Crunch Zone”

What feels like a ton of free time to me (a whole HOUR today?!?) may feel like nothing to you – or vice versa. So we have to do some trial-and-error to find what amount of free time works best for each of us.

We can do that totally randomly. Or, if you’re a dork like me, you can be a bit more strategic about the process, say, like this:

1. Identify your current Time Crunch Status.

  • Signs of low Time Crunch Status = not bothering to do the things you want to be doing (e.g., the blogging, going to yoga and cleaning that you mention, Isabel), fatigue, lack of motivation
  • Signs of high Time Crunch Status = irritability, forgetfulness, exhaustion, missing deadlines, physical ailments like headaches and digestive issues (all sorts of fun!)
  • Signs of being in the “Optimal Time Crunch Zone” = You aren’t worrying about this issue at all! Things are just flowing.

2. Jot down your Time Crunch Status AND how many hours a day, on average, you currently have “free” (i.e., the hours you get to fully determine what you’re doing).

  • Put these notes somewhere you can refer back to them months – or even years – later.

3. If you’re not currently in your “Optimal Time Crunch Zone,” tinker with your Time Crunch Status.

  • If you are experiencing low Time Crunch Status:  try adding a bit more requirements to your day, such as by taking on a volunteer position.
    • Notice I said “adding a BIT more” – I’ve seen many students take this too far too fast, passing right by the Optimal Time Crunch Zone into danger territory. I must admit I did this at the start of my first few semesters of college:  workload felt so light during the first two or three weeks that I signed up for a ton of activities so that I didn’t have so much free time. I’m sure you can imagine what happened to me by midterms. Ugly.
  • If you are experiencing high Time Crunch Status:  Uh, yea. This one is difficult and I’m no master here. In theory, we should list everything we have on our plate, prioritize that list based on what each brings into our lives (both extrinsically and intrinsically), and then pare off the bottom items one by one until we hit our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone.” In practice…uh, yea.

4. Continue to tweak and keep track until you see your personal pattern emerging. Then you’ll know what’s too little free time for you – and how many hours is too much!

  • In my experience, our “need for time crunch” remains remarkably stable over time. When I think to my friends from high school, I can think of some people who LOVE to be crunched to an extent I couldn’t stand, and others who wouldn’t want to endure my pace. Although just about everything else about us has changed in 20 years (good bye frizzy hair!), our individual “Optimal Time Crunch Zone”s haven’t moved much at all.

The Scoop on “Laziness”

Now that we’re clear on why we’re more productive when we’re busy, and how to optimize our productivity, let’s finally tackle the laziness issue.

Although Peter from Office Space claims he’d “do nothing” if he never had to work again, I don’t believe him. Nobody is that inherently “lazy.” All humans have what psychologists call stimulus motives, which are motivations make us feel horrendous if we’re not stimulated “enough.”

I believe “laziness” arises from a simple lack of understanding of our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone.”

I’m convinced this lack of understanding is epidemic. We’re a culture so obsessed with being busy, we experience tons of burnout that LOOKS like laziness.

In other words, we operate so far above our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone” for so long that when we finally get a moment to chill out, our bodies scream for us to STOP. Completely! Then we berate ourselves for not getting anything done.

Pretty ridiculous. (But I am SO a victim of this – at this very moment in time!)

Once we get clear on our “Optimal Time Crunch Zone,” however, we know precisely how much we need on our plates to feel productive and energized. THEN we can work on breaking the “overly busy/overly tired” cycle by respecting our needs.

That said, the “respect” part is something I’m still very much working on! My strategy? Intentionally spending time around people who operate in their “Optimal Time Crunch Zone” on a regular basis and hoping they rub off on me. (Still hoping…)

That’s the best we can do, though:  become aware of our patterns, look for healthy models to help us break those patterns, and forgive ourselves when we (inevitably) slip up.

One day at a time. One hour as it comes. One great Time Crunch moment behind us yet again.

We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:

How do you find the balance between being stressed and being bored?


Fraser-Thill_squareAbout Rebecca

Rebecca Fraser-Thill is the founder of Working Self, a site that helps young adults create meaningful work – that actually pays the bills! She teaches psychology and is the Director of Program Design for Purposeful Work at Bates College. Her work has been featured throughout the media, including on The Huffington Post, The Chelsea Krost Show, and Stacking Benjamins. Follow her @WorkingSelf.

The Alliance: How to Transform Your Career (+ Giveaway)

By Davis Nguyen At first glance, The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age seems to be written for managers who want to improve employee retention. What does this have to do with 20somethings looking for a job—the true life after college? Upon closer look, the book is really about how all of us can be more agile […]

Click here to read the full post →

Set Yourself Up for Year-end Career Success – Now

Written by Melissa Anzman Somehow we’re already in the fourth quarter busy planning our holiday vacations and realizing exactly how much we need to start doing to achieve our annual goals, which of course has us questioning “where did this year go?” The last two months of the year are probably the most important months for […]

Click here to read the full post →

5 Greatest Obstacles Facing Twentysomethings (and how you overcome)

Written by Paul Angone The obstacles facing twentysomethings today are massive and can sometimes feel un-scaleable. I thought in my twenties I’d be running full-speed and winning the race I’d been preparing for so many years to run. Instead, I felt like I tripped at the starting line and looked up to see a race filled […]

Click here to read the full post →

Train Like An Athlete, Speak Like A Pro

Written by Marisol Dahl In August during the Speak Like A Pro virtual conference, I was struck by something Pamela Slim said in her interview: “Presenting is a full-contact sport.” You can know all the rules to the game, but that doesn’t mean you are going to get out there and hit a home run. […]

Click here to read the full post →