Tag Archives: Learning

Speed up to slow down

by Petra Lehner

Shailia and Pat asked me to contribute a blog post about “when to slow down and when to speed up”. Here are some of my ideas on the topic.

Today, we face  a lot of situations where one simple ability is not enough to successfully fulfill the job we have been asked to do. More and more, we are required to become multi-taskers and quick-workers. Information-overflow, workload pressure and increasingly technical and/or complex matters are commonplace these days.

The dark side of the game is that doing more and more things will cause stress, illness and emotional breakdown (best known as burn-out).

Now, as we all are coaches, no matter if we are employees, mothers, fathers, leaders, students… let’s quickly change our perspective and look to the: „what can we do“ side. And it is a sunny side!

It is easy to become a multi-tasker/quick-worker in your daily life just by training your brain to stay focused. This will lead to channeled energy and concentrated work. And the key is this:

Slow down and you will accomplish more.

While holding seminars on speed-reading, mental training and excellent learning (which is all about excellent communication with yourself!), I found out that the brain loves to learn and work quite long if it is allowed to take enough little breaks in -between.

Also important: before you start with whatever you need to do, declare what you are going to do!

Most of the time, people begin doing their work only to be interrupted by the cellphone ringing or the mailbox beeping. In an instant, concentration is gone. Instead of reconnecting after the interruption, many people start to do some new work while the first point of the schedule is still open in the unconscious mind. So there is a piling-up of activities never finished and the poor brain does not know where to focus.

Your brain loves to think fast, complex and in a big variety of colourful chaos mixed-up with structure. Yet it can only process information from one channel at a time.

Brain research has found that learning or reading while doing sports at a pulse-rate of 90 to 100 beats per minute is a real turbo-boost and happens absolutely fast and long-lasting. Try it out! If you have a home trainer or a treadmill  grab a book, watch a film or listen to a learning course. Whatever you choose, you will discover, that you have focused attention and remember almost everything after the end of the session.

Sometimes it is too much. Did you know this? You need to write an article, carry out research for a new customer, call some clients, do household chores etc. It is essential that you take a healthy rest.

If you find yourself not sleeping well, this proven, very effective and powerful tool may help: make daily notes.

Get a notebook or some lined paper and write down whatever comes to your mind for 20 minutes. Recall, reflect or just let the paper be the counterpart for your inner voice. Do not censor yourself. Just keep on writing for 20 minutes. After a couple of days you will discover a massive change. Your focus will have become clearer and stronger.

And then: take a break. Take a mind-break, a brain-break. If small but constant breaks are like a routine for you, you will have created your own mental island on which to recover at any time.

Start with a 5-minutes-break. Do nothing else but breathing. Make at least three of these 5-minute-breaks every day and schedule them!!!

If you are interested in speeding up your reading-rate, here is a little Christmas present for the readers of this blog:  Lesegeschwindigkeit erhöhen (PDF in German).

For today, take a break and enjoy the following:

Thank you for your focused attention 😉

Petra Lehner


About Petra Lehner

Petra is a coach, trainer and book author living in Salzburg, Austria. Her areas of specialty are speed-reading, excellent learning, mental training and coaching as well as mental alignment and communication for peak performance. She works with private individuals and business clients and hold seminars on these subjects regularly.




Further information:

MetaMind homepage: http://meta-mind.at/

Petra’s MetaMind Blog: http://meta-mind.at/Blog/index.html

Petra Lehner on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Petra_Lehner


Now accepting help

Lately, it’s been pretty calm on the blog front here at “work in progress”. We’ve been busy with other things.

Pat BoldPat is half-way through the third trimester of pregnancy number two. With just six weeks to go, she is on the record as “nesting”: onesies and baby booties being at the top of her personal agenda. She is also busy “transforming” within the framework of her contextual coaching education.

I, on the other hand, am knee-deep in all that is my master thesis. Typically, I am “in control” and “on top” of these matters. Always prepared, ever organized, invariably ahead. But these days, in terms of my thesis, my state can only be described as flat-footed, pell-mell and twice-overdue.

In theory, I know how to get out of this state. Having a formal coaching education, there are a multitude of tools and methods at my disposal to use and abuse at will – from belief change and anchor processes to positive inner dialogs and resource trances (just to name a few).

But alas, I remain in “stuck-state” and all attempts at self-coaching myself into a pleasant and productive frame-of-mind seem to fail.

In reference to this phenomena (which happens more often than we would like to admit), Pat and I have established a term which we jokingly use: uncoached. We say things like: “I know this shouldn’t bother me, but I am so uncoached right now and just don’t care.”


When I am feeling wedged-in, overwhelmed and otherwise uncoached, I remind myself of these HUMAN TRUTHS:

  • Sometimes we are big and sometimes we are small.
  • Despite all our knowledge and good intentions, we will not always do what we know or intend.
  • It is pertinent to individual survival and just plain smart to accept help at the right times.



Accepting Help

Illustration published with permission of Daniel Jennewein: http://www.danielsdailydrawings.blogspot.com/

And so, instead of beating myself up, I decided to acknowledge that I’m feeling small, forget what I think I know and simply ask for a help. Here’s what I got in return:

  • Daniela sat with me at her house in Vienna for three hours and shared all the things she had learned while writing her own thesis last year. Afterwards, she sent further guidelines and useful information via e-mail.
  • Petra expertly intervened with a simple but direct Facebook message that almost immediately helped me to move from “I hate doing this” to “I’m in control and can make this a great experience”. She also asked some important questions that I hadn’t asked myself and offered to skype to discuss possible completion strategies.
  • Niclas brought me some books on statistical analysis and made time for an idea sparring-match on Friday.
  • My husband Heiko read my dissertation abstract and then helped me find more relevant research which led me to somewhat of a breakthrough.

Am I now loving this master thesis with every molecule in my being?

No. Or should I say, not yet. But I am feeling much better than last week. No longer in stuck-state, I am moving forward. Baby booty steps, grant it. But moving forward none-the-less.

Until we meet again,


[Todays blog post is dedicated to all of my fellow graduate students who are working on their thesis along with me. I love you guys!]


Motivators and reminders (to download): Accepting Help

Revolt and put down your pens


Last week in our Trinergy trainer seminar Roman Braun told the story of a little boy who asked, “Why does the moon make black light and the sun make blue light?”

Can you remember when you were very little and still completely naive about the workings of the universe? You know, when you were not yet tainted by the so-called facts. When you had no knowledgeable point-of-reference and were still asking ingenious questions.

And can you recall when it happened that the world ceased to appear undiscovered and you stopped seeing all the possibilities? You know, when most questions had been adequately answered and you decided there were only two or three ways of doing things anyway. When you became complacent and began getting the same predictable results – good and bad.

As a coach, one of my main premises when working with clients is this: If you keep on doing what you have always done, you will pretty much get the results you have always gotten. If you want something new, do something different.

Dr. Richard Bandler based NLP largely on this idea. He also said, “The greatest personal limitation is to be found not in the things you want to do and can’t, but in the things you have never considered doing.”

Last week my good friend and counterpart, Pat Medros, wrote a “work in progress” blog post in German, kicking off our “Do something different” (DSD) initiative. In it she paid tribute to “Dick” Fosbury, who did consider doing something he had never done before and, in doing so, revolutionized the high jump event. His idea: jump back-first instead of front-first (now a standard called the Fosbury Flop).

I am kicking off the “Do something different” initiative with my own very simple idea that you might want to try…


DSD Idea Nr. 1: Revolt and put down your pens
I used to be a very detail-oriented note taker – in classes, in client meetings, etc. For the last three nine-day coaching and training seminars I attended, I decided to put down my pen and see what would happen. Here’s what I got:

  • Instead of stooping over my notes, I sat upright or leaned back into a relaxing position. This increased my field of vision and I became aware of the things happening around me and on-stage which I had been missing.
  • I couldn’t rely on reading my notes later, so I paid more attention and re-oriented from “learning later” to “learning now”.
  • That lead me to experimenting with visual memory techniques. One whole day I imagined a monkey running me through the process we had just been introduced to. What a trip!
  • My other senses kicked in and I began to unconsciously link information to things I had seen, heard or even tasted on that day. My knowledge of “pacing” is connected to an orange breathe mint I had in my mouth while listening to the trainer speak about pacing theory.
  • I realized I couldn’t miss a thing even if I had missed something. Because everyone around me wanted to talk about what they had or hadn’t understood . I was constantly getting new information and repetition from them.
  • Subjectively, I feel like I can comprehend and retain far more information –  compared to before with note taking.


When is the next time you could put down your pen?
And what something new might you get?

Until we meet,

In the beginning

there was a blog. Untouched and pristine. With every chance to become anything, at anytime. But even before it was anything at all, the newborn blog aspired to be something else, something more. Because already, it had decided it was inadequate. It was yet blank and longed to be full-up with revealing topics, matters that matter and witty discourse.

The baby blog wanted to be perfect and began to worry that it might not measure up in life. It started to feel guilty that it could be doing more, but wasn’t. Barely a day old, the little blog had already taught itself to how to feel bad. How capable!

The Makers, looking across at their afflicted creation, spoke these words of wisdom, “Little blog, take heart, you are a work in progress. At the end of the day, every day, you will be unfinished and your story ever-unfolding. Your purpose is to become and be cause. That’s it. You are perfectly imperfect. And so it should be.”

The young blog smiled, breathed a blog breathe and began to feel relief. In an instant, it had taught itself to have faith. How intelligent and adaptable!

To all of our readers: Enjoy “work in progress”, whatever it becomes.

Shailia and Pat