Is it a Pineapple or a Banana?

April 8th, 2015

pineappleEver wonder why certain things don’t seem to get done? Whether it is the laundry, a report at work, or a project your child is struggling with, there is one major reason. It is because it is a “pineapple!”

Let me explain. If you were hungry and in a hurry as we often are, which fruit would you chose for a snack, a pineapple or a banana? You would probably pick the banana because it is easy to grab and eat, and only takes a second to unwrap before you are enjoying it. The pineapple, on the other hand, has to be peeled, cored and chopped before it is ready to eat. The banana is a “task” and the pineapple is a “project”. Do you see the difference?

This is not my idea but comes from the book, Stop Organizing Start Producing, by Casey Moore. Here’s a link to a video she posted explaining it. Now, if the pineapple was already chopped and ready to eat, which do you think you would pick? The choices are now more equal and you can pick by preference. If the things on your “to do” list are simple, one step tasks, then they are more likely to get done (and it feels so good to cross things off, doesn’t it)? Now if your project was in bite sized pieces do you think you might be more inclined to work on it?

School projects often come with implicit directions and unless your teen is capable of breaking it down into individual steps…..or should I say unless your teen can actually see the project for the multiple steps it really is, then he or she will approach it as a banana when it is really a pineapple. Hence, the all night project marathons. Essays and studying for tests are also pineapples. Help your teen by explaining the difference between a task and a project – or better yet, send them the link to the video.

Check your task list for pineapples and if you find any, reduce them into their chunks so they are much more easily digestible. If you are unsure how to do this or  would like some support, then join our 4 week Group Coaching Class starting Thursday, April 30th at 7p in Norwell.

5 Key Study Skills for Teens

February 18th, 2015


With all the snow days of the past few weeks, it may be hard for students to remember the information they have previously learned. Here are some basics to pass along to your teen. A great place to start is to take some time to review class notes before heading back to school. Of course,

1. Chunk down the information into manageable pieces and create an outline or a mind map (web) with key concepts as you learn new information and as a review for previously learned material. The brain remembers color, shapes, placement, words and numbers in that order so anytime you can use those things to add to your mind map or notes you are helping your brain remember. Review by covering up a section and repeating. For you auditory learners, you can use a digital recorder or create an mp3 of your notes and play it back.if your teen’s test scores have recently been declining, you may want them to join our Study Skills 2.0 class on February 19, 2015 at 1pm. Register here: held at the South Shore Learning Lab, 683 Main Street, Norwell, Ma. (Next class during April vacation week)

2. Study in 30-45 minute blocks and take a 3-5 minute break to allow your brain to process the new information. Then continue.

3. Studying is not about rereading…interact somehow with the information. Ask yourself questions, group facts together, draw a timeline, etc.

4. Don’t cram, it doesn’t work. Space out your studying/reviewing over the week and do a short review of the topics covered each day and then continue on with your homework.

5. Keep good health habits of eating, sleeping and drinking plenty of water (the brain loves it) and also get some exercise – it stirs up the dopamine in your brain which helps it to think. Remember to relax and breathe. If you get stressed your body sends out cortisol the stress hormone and that can shut down your ability to think clearly.

Reviewing in small bites is more effective than cramming and easier to do too. Taking a few extra minutes each day can make a big (actually a HUGE) difference in your grades.