How To Actually Get Things Done

We’re crazy for productivity right?

Many of us are carting around our to do lists in our phones, in notebooks, in our brains.

The satisfying tick of an item off our to do list gives us the rush we were looking for, but sometimes the list seems to outweigh the time and energy we have right?

Not necessarily true.

Often the time we spend thinking about our to do list or procrastinating on it, could actually be spent getting things done.

So what’s the best way to satisfy that time management urge and avoid the guilt of not getting through what we were planning to get done?

Put it in your calendar

Whether it be at the start of each week or longer term for a larger project, list out each task that needs doing, then pull your calendar out and actually schedule each one.

Writing a big long to do list at work for example, then getting to Friday afternoon realising you haven’t done 75% of it, is a sure sign you need to actually book things in.

Estimating how long each task will take is also super useful and helps spark our competitive side.

Only have 1 hour to write that report? Chances are you’ll get it done within the hour in a race against the clock.

Accept you probably won’t want to do it

Understanding this has pretty much changed my life.

Whether it’s the gym, cleaning or doing a large task at work - I have the best of intentions and when I get to the scheduled time, I think ‘hmm, nah…’.

Once I accepted I was often going to feel like that, I was able to just notice it and make a decision to press on anyway.

It’s a little cliched, but who has ever worked out, looked at their clean house or finally solved a major work problem and regretted it? I didn’t think so.

Accept that your mind is going to try and talk you out of getting things done, and keep going anyway.

Congratulate yourself

Something I’m quite hopeless at is actually pausing to celebrate when it’s called for.

I’m usually on to the next project or idea, when as I wrote here, if we don’t stop to acknowledge milestones, they’ll easily be forgotten.

Make a concerted effort to congratulate yourself in some way after a long week, a big work project ending or a home renovating job coming to an end.

This will make it all worth it and help you reflect back on the effort you’ve made.

Will you put your to do list in your calendar this week? Let me know how you go!

Why Your Future Plans Won't Make You Happy

Obviously I’m all for setting intentions (not goals!) for myself around here but I’ve come to some realisations over the years, and I’m sure some of you have been through scenarios like this too.

Have you saved up for a new car (or any new possession), dreaming what it will be like to finally have it, then a week or maybe a month after getting it (and trying to keep it sparkling clean!) it becomes no big deal?

Did you plan your milestone birthday / wedding / other occasion, working on every detail and planning the perfect outfit, only to come crashing down to earth the day or days after when the anti climax of the event being over kicked in?

It’s all a little depressing yes, but all comes back to the false theory of “I’ll be happy when…” I hate to break it to you readers but this is all an illusion.

If it wasn’t, wouldn’t you be happy now, since I’m sure you’ve had those thoughts before, reached your goals, and thought I’ll be happy when I’m done with ‘X’?

So what can you do to be happy right now?

Practice gratitude

An obvious one, but a goodie. One of my guided meditations from Stop, Breathe & Think is all about gratitude and I love choosing this one in the morning.

It asks you to think about all the people who have supported you in your life, all the people you don’t see who make the world tick as it does for you (think roads, food in your grocery store, etc) and to think about the freedoms you have in your life that so many others don’t.

I love thinking like this and not taking seemingly obvious things for granted. Look around readers, there’s a lot to be grateful for right now.

Go after feelings, not just goals

I’m sure many of you have heard of Danielle LaPorte’s Desire Map. I haven’t done it fully myself but do support the idea of picking core desired feelings and aiming for those instead of focusing solely on goals.

Not to the level of Danielle’s work, but I have picked my top three desired feelings for each day in the past and came up with ‘excited’, ‘energised’ and ‘satisfied’.

If I keep that in mind when deciding what to do each day (or even approaching things I don’t get to decide on with those feelings), I notice a huge difference. You can try Brooke Castillo’s worksheet on this here.

Realise this is all there is

A little morbid but I guess we all know we’re not necessarily promised any future other than today. That’s a struggle to comprehend but is incredibly grounding too.

One of the exercises I did in Self Coaching Scholars was to write out my ideal day.

What really surprised me was that, despite often trying to improve, I’m really not that far from the days I want to have.

Although it can sometimes seem boring or repetitive, on my ideal day, I would still do yoga, meditate, write to you guys, do some coaching and exercise.

I could pass them off as ‘have to’ tasks in my life, but after completing the exercise I realised I really want to do all of them.

How can you find happiness now, instead of waiting for it in the future?

 

April Recap and May Intentions

Ah April, such a nice month for me. In Australia we have a number of public holidays in April, which meant two four-day weekends and plenty of down time, as intended!

For those of you new to the blog - welcome!

Each month I set intentions (not goals - thanks for the word, Jess Lively!) and then recap how I went.

It keeps me accountable (thanks readers!) and upholds the goal of this blog - that perfection isn’t possible, but little improvements are.

To take a trip down memory lane, head here to read previous months’ recaps and intentions.

Now let’s review April and see what’s ahead for May.

April Recap

Smash time management

As I mentioned, time management was the topic for Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching Scholars in April and the theme of her podcast too, if you’d like to get some of her amazing content at no cost.

I did pretty well with this goal in April - I made sure I prioritised the day to day things that make me happy (exercise, meditation, spending time with family and friends) but also made time for my big goal - relaunching my website today!

I wrote out all the tasks I needed to get the website completed, estimated how long each would take, calendarised them and it worked!

If you’ve got something huge on your to do list or something you’ve been putting it off - try the same method and let me know how you go.

Embrace down time after a busy 6 months

Long weekends = mission accomplished.

Easter saw me indulging in a rare weekend of lazy brunches and lots of Netflix, while the following long weekend saw me go off the grid to the country with (gasp) no internet or phone reception. So good!

I of course realised how much I depend on my phone (and found myself searching for it out of habit a number of times on the trip, even though there was nothing I could do with it once I found it).

I also discovered that there wasn’t that much waiting for me when I got back to civilisation and my phone - no urgent messages, no hugely important social media updates that I’d missed ... which leads me to my May intentions.

May Intentions

Have tech free time on the weekends

After my long weekend offline, I’m keen to try this every weekend… but not all weekend of course - that’s way too scary!

I’m going to experiment with taking either a day, or two mornings or afternoons off my phone each weekend.

Recognising the insidious addiction many of us have to our phones doesn’t particularly stress me out, but I think it’s good to be aware and, in particular, try living in my life, rather than in my phone or the lives of others.

Which leads me to thinking about what I’m going to do with that time…

Start weekend hikes

Those who know me well know that I love to walk as much as possible. It clears my head, allows for great, relaxed conversation when I have company and is obviously pretty good for me too.

I’ve always walked the trail behind my house but have also many times over the years bookmarked links to great walks or hikes around Melbourne.

Each weekend, when time allows, I want to spend at least half a day doing a walk in a new area - and if I’m alone, I’m allowing myself to listen to podcasts on my phone, but no scrolling through social media!

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What’s your plan for May? Do you have success with tech free time? Let me know below!

 

What To Do When You're Low On Energy

Confession: over the last few weeks, I feel like I have run out of energy.

Between the clocks changing, work slowing down and the weather feeling much cooler, I’ve fallen out of routine and, to be really honest, feel like a bit of a slug getting around most days.

Now, this is not my style at all. I enjoy being busy - catching up with friends, exercising, working on my business and writing to you guys.

So you can imagine my brain started going a little crazy when those activities fell away and I found myself nodding along to the Netflix notification that my next episode would be starting in 10 seconds.

‘What’s wrong with you?’
‘Get up and do something’
‘You are way behind on your to do list’

Thanks brain! But of course, berating myself wasn’t working or making me feel any better. I took a new perspective and tried these steps instead.

Be kind to yourself

Instead of beating myself up, I took a step back and looked at what was going on.

I’m not a robot who is going to feel the same way and do the same things every day for the rest of my life. I’m going to have ups and downs and feel different week to week and year to year.

Once I accepted this, it took a big load off and I could just accept that I wasn’t running at full steam at the moment.

Appreciate what you had

A few weeks ago, pre-energy slump, I was probably begrudging my busy schedule and responsibilities - and ironically, now I missed them!

The grass is not always greener and I know when I’m back to feeling energetic again, I’m going to bear in mind how much I missed that busy life I created for myself.

Just do something

The other night, while feeling tired after work, I thought: 

‘I’ll just get the laundry on, and will make it a bit more fun by listening to a podcast while I do it.’

After that, I knew I could sit down again and rest.

Lo and behold, once I got the laundry on, I started doing a few other things around the house, then felt ready to reply to some emails I’d been putting off.

My energy level rose as I went and after about an hour of productivity, I was ready to chill out again, knowing I’d made some progress. Don’t push yourself here but doing small things can make you feel much better.

What do you do when you’re in a slump? Let me know in the comments below or over on Facebook.

 

Struggling To Get Out Of Bed In The Morning? Read This...

Do you ever get the feeling you’re the only one who struggles in the mornings?

Your alarm goes off and you a) hit the snooze alarm or b) start the desperate bargaining for how you can stay in bed.

Can I exercise tomorrow instead? Can I call in sick? Can I work from home? Can I cancel all my plans and stay in the warmth?

I hear about this happening a lot in conversations with clients and friends and - shock - also sometimes feel this myself.

In particular, over the last week, with clocks changing, I’ve been struggling to get out of bed in the morning.

So what can you do?

Expect it

We often go to bed with grand plans of yoga the next morning, prepping our lunch and jumping out of bed gleefully to our to do list. If you wake up and don’t feel like the person you expected to the night before, that’s ok.

The worst thing you can do is berate yourself and feel shocked, disappointed or guilty about your struggle.

If you know you don’t usually feel great, expect it and it will be easier to take when it comes up in the wee hours of the morning.

Watch it

In one of my favourite personal development books, The Happiness Trap (read my review here), Dr Russ Harris talks about distancing yourself from your thoughts.

As we’ve come to understand, our thoughts are not necessarily the truth, so if you can name the thoughts or watch them from a distance, they will likely be easier to deal with.

For example, you can name the thoughts you go through each morning (“Here comes the ‘stay in bed’ story again”) or mentally stand back and watch your thoughts drift by from a distance.

This loosens their power and effect on you and helps pull you out of the intensity of your feelings.

Move on with it

I’m sure many of us have had this experience - we are 100% sure we cannot face the day and will feel like rubbish all day if we even attempt to face the world.

We promise ourselves as soon as we get home from the day we can go back to bed and pull the covers over our head.

Then after dragging ourselves out of bed, we shower, have breakfast and can barely remember that crazy person who told us to not to get out of bed today.

We get on with our day and enjoy the evening, before returning to bed at regular time that night.

I’m not dismissing the need to have a doona day now and then, but usually it’s not actually what we need or want by the time we start our day.

Try moving on with your day’s activities and observe the results.

If you’re ready to try becoming a morning person, read my three tips here.

And let me know how you go with your morning thoughts this week and if these tips help you face the day. 

March Recap and April Intentions

Bye bye Q1, hello cooler weather!

Welcome to April readers - how have the first few months of your year been? Mine feel like they’ve gone quickly, but I feel like I’ve done a lot in that time too.

My life coaching spots are now all booked out, which is fantastic - but click here if you want to jump on the waiting list for when my next coaching series spot is available.

For now let’s look back at March and ahead to April.

March Recap

Obsess a bit more over Brooke Castillo

It’s hard to express the full extent of my love for Brooke Castillo - she is truly my guru at the moment. Self Coaching Scholars is amazing and I love doing the thought work she recommends doing.

Sure it’s hard going but so, so worth it. I’m learning stacks about myself and my brain and I can’t recommend this course enough.

Prep to launch my new website

You heard it here first - I am launching my updated website on Monday, 1 May.

I have not done as much prep as I’d have liked to in March but have a weekend set aside in April to work on this with my masterminding buddy.

Wish me luck and I hope you like the updated site!

April Intentions

Smash time management

Ha, my intentions are clearly aligning with the work in Self Coaching Scholars.

This month is all about time management in the course, and who isn’t looking for better strategies here?

Between work, health and fitness, my social life and my life coaching business, I am a busy bee, so I’m excited to find out more about Brooke’s recommendations.

If you’re interested in time management, start with her podcast here.

My number one takeaway? Stop using the word busy (oops, I already have in this post). A tough one right?

Embrace down time after a full on 6 months

Work has been crrrraaazzzy (I didn’t say busy!) for me since last October, and it’s finally returning to a manageable level.

Although I love working hard and being busy, I’m enjoying this time to clean up all the work I’ve neglected over the last 6 months and spend more time with my coworkers and clients building relationships.

April is full of public holidays here in Australia so it’s nice timing that work isn’t too over the top.

Plus I can start to implement all those time management strategies I’m going to learn right?

What’s in store for you in April? I hope you have a fabulous month!

 

5 Ways I Sabotage My Days

Between thought downloads, segment intending and working on sleepless nights, you can imagine I’ve got a lot of stuff rolling around in my head day to day.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a few readers contact me and tell me how wise I seem in these types of blog posts. I truly appreciate that feedback and obviously do work hard on myself and try and bring newly discovered concepts to you readers.

But the true and original purpose of this blog was to show that I am not perfect and that these are just concepts to help you feel a little better, not to live an impossibly perfect life.

So here’s a peek behind the (sometimes dusty, sometimes ripped) curtain of my life and 5 ways I sabotage my own day.

I check my phone during sleepless nights (and first thing in the morning)

Despite my wise mother and her tips, if I wake at 3am and can’t get back to sleep, instead of working on getting rid of my worries, I usually find myself scrolling through social media - not the best way to lull myself back to sleep.

Oh and despite having better habits in the past, I also start reading my phone as soon as I wake up in the morning...

I drink too much coffee

I have always prided myself on being a 'one coffee a day kinda gal' - sure, I definitely need that one coffee, but it’s manageable.

I work in a great area full of amazing cafes, but instead of buying one coffee on the way to work, I usually try and save money by making one at work. But then, by mid-morning, I fancy a break so go and buy one and then… usually after lunch I’m ready for another.

I know three coffees is not crazy but it’s triple where I used to be.

Maybe if I stop checking my phone at 3am I won’t be so tempted by the three coffees?!

I get distracted all day by email and chat

Sound familiar?

Some days are managed better than others but, in all honesty, whenever I start a task, I’m suddenly preoccupied by chats from coworkers or random emails from clients.

To state the obvious, this leads to barely focusing on a task longer than 10 minutes and then ending the day wondering what I’ve achieved.

Yes, communication is huge in a workplace but so is actually getting some work done.

Now that I’ve confessed this, I’m really going to work on it again.

I rarely stretch after exercise

My amazing trainer has always tried to instil stretching into my routine - and, although I want to be flexible, spending time stretching somewhat goes against what I think is important health and fitness wise.

He tells me that the most important thing in your regime is stretching, then what you eat, then working out.

He encourages me to stretch for at least 15-30 minutes a day (oh and lie on a foam roller 15 minutes a day too...) but, despite my best intentions, I usually pick a gym workout over stretching, promising myself I’ll do a big stretch at the end.

Instead I stretch for about 5 minutes and am out the door…

I know it’s going to help with my crunched-up office worker body and be particularly beneficial long term but I just do not prioritise it.

Any tips on how to prioritise stretching readers?

I eat when I’m not hungry

As I mentioned in this post, I have come a long way with intuitive eating and avoiding the lure of diets.

Most of the time I listen to my body, but for some reason after dinner, while doing some work or watching some TV, I’m still in the habit of looking for a snack.

I know my body doesn’t feel its best when I eat just before bed but I still find myself heading for the pantry for something to do.

My new strategy is to grab a tea, which usually helps, but heading for food is definitely a default mode for me.

What do you think of my sabotaging ways? How do you sabotage yourself day to day?

 

3 Reasons To Let Go Of Control

Now if I know you reader, you are leading a busy life balancing a mix of career aspirations, family commitments, your health and fitness, hobbies and a fun social life.

You likely want to find satisfaction in all of these areas and, with that hope, comes a certain desire to control your life - through a to do list, an organised calendar or a running list in your head (or all of the above).

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to live a well-rounded, fruitful life but with that desire to control every aspect of your life comes pretty big risks.

We can easily let ourselves down by missing an item on our list, others might not measure up to the image of our perfect life and it can just bring a whole heap of stress and anxiety with it.

Although I love to stay organised and work on creating a great life, I have also learnt to let go of some of the control I used to so tightly hold on to.

So why should you let go of control?

We are not living life on a points system

The brilliant coach Amy Young said this quote and I remember it daily.

Sure, ticking things off our to do list feels good, as does an organised schedule, but remember - there are no points for any of this.

 The experiences I’m more interested in prioritising involve fun and connection with other people, not scrubbing my bathroom floor or answering every email in my inbox.

At the end of January with an empty public holiday weekend ahead, I thought to myself ‘I could declutter the house this weekend and get everything super organised’.

My next thought was ‘Hey, I’ve got nothing on this weekend - I could go visit my family for a few days and go swimming, go on long walks, eat out and catch up with them’.

Guess which one I chose? I’m pretty sure I’m going to remember that weekend more than I’d remember a Marie Kondo-ed linen closet.

Control never lasts

How many times in the last year have you finished your to do list? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

We obviously don’t want to let our lives and households fall apart, but adjusting to the idea that I’ll never really be up-to-date with my to do list is something I’ve come to accept.

I remind myself that it would be worse to have nothing to do, no aspirations and be sitting around bored with an empty to do list.

I have things I want to do, blog posts I want to write, TV shows I want to watch, places I want to visit and I don’t need to come at them with a sense of control - just a sense of curiosity and appreciation.

Controlling others is fruitless

Trying to control others is one we’ve all indulged in, I’m sure.

Our partners, kids, coworkers - if everyone could just behave as we want them to, life would be so much easier right?

A big lesson I’ve learnt is - you cannot control anyone, only your own thoughts about that person.

An attempt to control someone may seem like you are helping them or making life easier for yourself, but accepting others as they are is much more likely to serve you.

Think of someone trying to control your actions, nagging on you to change, telling you to act in a different, unnatural way. Even if you agree to it, you will most likely go back to what you wanted to do in the first place.

Other people are exactly the same.

Letting go of the need to control others lets you off the hook stress-wise as much as it lets them be who they want to be.

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What are you trying to control in your life? How can you let go of that grip over the next week?

My Number One Tip To Solve Sleepless Nights

I’m pretty lucky readers - my mum is kind of a genius.

She likes to drop little pearls of wisdom in people’s lives and then shrug like it’s no big deal. Except it is a big deal.

Case in point. Maybe 15+ years ago my mum shared this tip with me, probably while I was bemoaning some insignificant boy in my life and tossing and turning each night worrying about what was going to happen next with us.

She told me I could use this technique to either help me get to sleep at night or to fall back asleep if I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind racing.

Over the years, I’ve often shared this tip with struggling coworkers and stressed friends, when they’ve confessed to me that they can’t sleep at night.

And still to this day a random person in my life will remind me over coffee that they’re still using this technique during hard times.

Pretty cool right?

So what’s the tip?

My mum explained to me that while our mind is racing with work worries, relationship woes, money troubles or whatever the issue du jour is, it’s almost like the people involved are IN YOUR BEDROOM WITH YOU.

I’ve had bosses, exes, clients, real estate agents, the whole lot over the years, standing at the end of my bed, while I stress about what has happened with them that day or mentally rehearsing what is going to happen next.

You simply say something along the lines of:

“Ok <insert name here>. I know that you think it’s really important that I think about you and our situation right now, but I really do need to get some sleep. I’m happy to think about you in the morning, but for now I’ve got to say goodbye.”

You then visualise walking that person out of your bedroom and closing the door behind them. They’re no longer in your metaphysical space and you have moved them along until morning.

And guys, it really does work!

That act of acknowledging how in your personal space they are (like, get out of my bedroom random coworker!!) and moving them out of a sacred time like sleep, not only helps you get more sleep, but often makes you realise how insidious the situation has become.

One last tip - in really tough times, sometimes the bedroom door doesn’t work and you’ve got to walk them all the way out of your entire house (slamming the front door in your mind can be therapeutic here too depending how much they’re frustrating you!).

If you’re having trouble sleeping, let me know if you try this tip. I hope it helps you as much as it’s helped me and the people in my life.

 

My March Intentions

So I dropped off the radar for a couple of months on the intentions front but you readers know me - I haven’t been lying stagnant since December. I’ve been working on plenty of things, self development wise, work wise, fitness wise and business wise.

Sounds exhausting right? Bizarrely, it hasn’t been.

I think this is due to a few people and theories popping up for me - meeting Jess Lively was amazing, plus I’ve been working on segment intending, doing thought downloads and I started Brooke Castillo’s Self Coaching Scholars in February. I am seriously obsessed with Brooke right now.

This combination has had me feeling much more relaxed about life, working full steam ahead on things yes, but just focusing on what needs going, when it needs doing.

So what’s on for March?

March Intentions

Obsess a bit more over Brooke Castillo

Self Coaching Scholars includes monthly work, based on Brooke’s Self Coaching Model. March is dedicated to new beliefs and I’m going to keep up with the homework and podcasts as best I can.

Working on emotions and thought downloads in February was so beneficial to me so I’m sure whatever’s in store for me in March will have similar positive benefits.

Prep to launch my updated website

Just a small one here! Eeeek.

So after putting it off for a while (due to an unhealthy combination of doubting my design and tech skills, and fear of launching a crappy website), I’ve been working pretty hard on getting my content ready for a new version of my website.

As you guys know, I’m offering life coaching packages now and am almost fully booked up already, bar 1 spot (Would you like it? Go here and message me to set up a complimentary consult!)

So stay tuned for a refreshed website, hopefully followed by a new design later in 2017.

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What’s on for your March? Hopefully the last month of Q1 will bring you plenty of momentum towards your goals.