The Best Of The Blog, 2017 Edition

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Welcome to 2018 lovely readers!

I hope you had a great holiday season and are ready for an amazing year ahead.

If you’d like some support setting your 2018 goals (with a few weeks to recover from the excess of the holidays first, of course!), I'm running three complimentary discovery sessions in February, which you can sign up for here.

2017 was an amazing year for me and included launching my life coaching business, which I’m expanding in 2018, so stay tuned!

A huge influence on my year (and my coaching) was the amazing Brooke Castillo. I discovered her podcast in 2016, but enrolled in her more intensive Self Coaching Scholars online course during 2017. I'm so happy my post about her teachings was one of the blog's most popular last year.

There’s also a few themes coming through in what everyone is reading.

We’ve acknowledged we’ve become obsessed with being ‘busy’ and trying to maintain a tight grip of control on our routines and lives. Wanting to fill our days with more pleasure is what we're seeking.

Ease over control seems the way forward this year.

Top 5 Posts of 2017

Enjoy the top 5 posts of 2017 and here’s to more pleasure and less perfection and busy-ness in 2018.

I Worked Out Why You're 'Too Busy'

If you think back over the last week, how many times did you reply ‘good... busy’, when asked how you are? 

I hear it so often - from coworkers, friends, clients and, of course, I hear it come out of my own mouth too.

I genuinely feel busy - I have a job that keeps me busy, a social life, a side business, family, friends. The thing is I don’t want to feel bored and have nothing to do - I’m grateful for all in my life.

But I also don’t want to use ‘busy’ in a negative way or as an excuse.

This is unfortunately what I hear so often - not just I’m busy, but I’m ‘too busy'. That’s when alarm bells start ringing for me, and here’s why...

You are prioritising ‘busy work’

We’ve spoken a lot about the second shift here on the blog - the household labor women do after their paid job is done.

After all, if you look for it, there’s always something to do in your second shift.

Is your house clean? I bet you could take everything out of your kitchen cupboards and clean those out too (please don’t).

I really want you to think about the things you can let slide… I’ve had two examples of this in the last few days.

Firstly, I got back from my holiday to Hawaii and my general inclination is to unpack and put the washing on once I get in the door. Why? I just got back from holiday. Instead, I made myself a coffee, sat on the couch and watched a movie. The suitcase was still there the next day once I’d had a good sleep and eased back into home life a little more.

Now, once I got the washing on the next day, I heard the washing machine beep its last beep, just as I was in the middle of writing this post. My inclination? Jump up and go hang the washing out. Why? I’m in the middle of something more important to me and the washing will be there in an hour when I’m done.

If you’re not ready to let anything slide this week, at least observe when you might be doing this - either doing things you don’t care about, or interrupting yourself constantly to rush on to the next task.

You’re avoiding what you care about most

Ding, ding, ding! This is the clincher my friends and something I observe frequently.

For my brain it’s much easier to hang out laundry than it is to write a blog post.

Writing a post takes thought, effort, courage, working through fears.

Who wants to do that when I can just stand in the backyard, pegging t shirts on the clothesline?

So often we deprioritise the things that are important to us for the sake of being busy. And this can include self-care or relaxation.

For example, I noticed earlier in the year that my days were going like this - work all day, go to the gym, cook dinner, then sit down to work on my website…

Of course, I was too tired to work on my website by then and although the other tasks were still important to me, I was putting less important things ahead of my main goal.

I’ve seen this in many areas with clients - 'I have to look after my family so I don’t have time for exercise', 'I have to check my work emails in the evening after dinner, so I don’t have time to paint', 'I can’t sit on the couch when there are dirty dishes in the sink', and on and on.

The things that scare or challenge us are the things we push aside, but they are also usually the most rewarding.

What step can you take towards a scary goal this week, ahead of your busy work?

You’re letting your mind run the show

Have you ever noticed how you can do things on your to do list with pain or ease? Let me give you an example.

Some Sunday afternoons, I cook around three meals for lunches and dinners for the week ahead. I can do it one of two ways.

  1. I try and do it as quickly as possible, multi tasking across recipes, huffing and puffing around the kitchen, watching the clock, lamenting having to cook on a Sunday. I also notice I’m more likely to cut my finger with a knife when I’m in this type of mood. Sounds fun right?
  2. I put on a podcast, pour myself a drink, grab everything out that I need for the first recipe and methodically work through each step in a relaxed way. I admire my handiwork when everything is in tupperware containers and reward myself when I’m all done - with a bath, an episode of a great show or getting ready for dinner out with friends.

The crazy thing is it usually takes me the same amount of time to meal prep whether I choose option 1 or 2 and guess which one leaves me happier?

If you have chosen to do something, do you want it to be mentally painful or pain-free? Try it out this week and also have a read about segment intending for help focusing on the task at hand. 

Want to chat about this further? Book in for a complimentary 30 minute consult with me and we can look at your to do list and move you away from being ‘too busy’.

How To Make Your Energy Last All Day

One of the biggest issues for people these days, and something I talk about often with my clients, is finding the energy to do everything we want to do.

Between the mandatory work and family obligations, let alone the plans of exercise, good food and a side business, it seems inevitable that we're going to collapse into bed each night depleted.

And the worst thing is - we still don’t feel like we got to everything we wanted to that day, so are already planning the to do list of tomorrow.

I was vacuuming my house today (yes, exciting) while listening to a podcast (are you guys into the Audible Esther Perel podcast on relationships? So fascinating!) when I felt super thirsty, hot and overall pretty tired. Old Georgie would have told me to suck it up and keep going until the job was finished. Yeah, she was pretty nice.

New Georgie listened to her energy level. She grabbed a glass of water, her Kindle and sat on the balcony for 10 minutes, taking a break before returning to the housework. She sounds much nicer right?

It’s taken me a long time to learn this but ‘pushing through’ is no longer the best way to get my to do list done and is a surefire way to run out of steam. So what can you do instead?

Change your self-talk

As I mentioned in the scenario above, my self-talk didn’t used to be the greatest. I thought I was super motivated and resilient but, really, I was just treating myself like shit to get things done.

Now, I get to the same destination, but treat myself much more nicely along the way.

I’ve also adopted the mantra ‘I have plenty of time’.

When staring down the barrel of a busy day, I remind myself that ‘I have plenty of time’.

I can either stress and huff and puff through every activity, living out of the moment and fretting about what’s next on the list, or I can do one thing at a time in a relaxed way, with the same result...and so much less stress. Try it!

Get into alignment

Hello Jess Lively. She is all about alignment (I think she recently mentioned she takes around 2-3 hours to get into alignment before she starts work). I’m not at that level but I definitely take time to think about this concept before launching into my next activity.

Tonight, I knew I had to make dinner, then jump on the computer to write to you guys.

Instead of ‘pushing through’ again, I cleared up the kitchen, made myself a peppermint tea, lit a candle, got comfy and settled in to write from a much nicer mental space.

I love to write so why make it a ‘have to’ when it’s a ‘want to’?

Check in with yourself regularly

This is probably my favourite tip and so bleedingly obvious, despite all my years of not doing it.

I learnt it as part of my intuitive eating journey with Paige Schmidt, and although it was specifically related to food back then, I now use it for general day-to-day use.

Depending on my schedule, I try and take a short break mid-morning and mid-afternoon, as well as my regular walk at lunch. I step away from my desk, grab a cup of tea or water, and just take a few minutes to reset my brain.

It helps me refocus on my tasks and particularly helps if I’ve been in a perpetual cycle of email/chat/phone for the last hour or so.

It’s no wonder we don’t feel productive if we never check in with ourselves or step away to recalibrate.

Try these tips this week and let me know how your energy levels go. Have a great one!

Do You Feel Guilty For Relaxing?

There’s certainly a pattern forming in the types of posts here on the blog (see here for example).

Women in all sorts of lifestyle situations (single, partnered, parents) are either taking no time to relax or, when they do find time to unwind, they feel a strong sense of guilt for taking downtime.

Where did we learn to keep so busy?

I’m sure it’s a mix of factors - comparison against other women’s lifestyles, productivity articles, societal changes. Somehow we now wear being productive as a badge of honour.

How many hours we’re working, how often we’re exercising, how organised we are at home are now seen as measures of success or self worth.

This mentality is in direct competition with lazy mornings, spare time with loved ones and long walks (without burning calories in mind).

What will your life be made up of?

I spoke to Paige from Healthy Hits the Spot about this and loved her response. She asked me if I wanted a large chunk of my life to be taken up with relaxation and enjoyable downtime activities. Absolutely yes, was my response. This really helps my mentality and I hope it helps you too.

Personally, I am planning on a life full of books, music and film, as well as time outdoors enjoying nature.

What is the damage of busy work?

The above point leads me into the idea of busy work and the inability to relax.

We really need to prioritise being present over the menial tasks of the day - it’s not a long term way to live to be constantly on the go, pottering around the house or ticking through your to do list.

Yes it has its place, but it’s usually not the time memories are made.

Do you find time to relax? Do you rate relaxation as highly as productivity? Let me know in the comments below.

 

The Importance of Single Tasking

Do you ever feel paralysed by the list of errands awaiting you every Saturday morning?

Do you ever look up from your computer at lunchtime and realise, not only have you got nothing done, but you’ve added ten more items to your list?

One technique I’ve become pretty disciplined about over the past year is single tasking.

Fun fact: the word 'priority' is derived from French and Latin terms and the term was ALWAYS used as and intended to be singular.
As in, the plural ‘priorities’ doesn’t actually exist. We’ve just adopted it because apparently you can have more than one 'number-one important must-do thing to do' at once.
Crazy right?

We’ve certainly glorified the idea of multi tasking over past decades and then wonder why we feel frazzled and overwhelmed. We think we’ll get more done by doing three things at a time, but we are mistaken.

So what do can you do?

Pick ONE priority.

It’s singular remember? Pick one task or errand to focus on until it's done.

Leave buffer.

As you’re planning your day and which priority to work on next, try and leave buffer in your schedule.

If you finish early and can have a break, even better.

Hands off technology.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced this. Trying to regain concentration after reading a SMS or checking Facebook is a challenge you don’t need.

Don’t believe me? Read this to understand your brain on technology and also try playing the game to see how multi tasking is hurting you... 

Reminding yourself throughout the day that priority is a singular term can help keep you grounded. And I’m sure your productivity will increase because of it.

Does single tasking scare you? What’s your number one priority today?

Light Links: March

 
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How was your March lovely readers? My first thought was to say that mine was busy, but I've been reading a lot recently about how busy is some kind of proud badge we're all trying to wear.

'I work longer days than you', 'I haven't taken a lunch break in weeks', 'I check my email at 3am' ...and so on... This is definitely not me, but I don't want it to become me either. I've been very mindful to take care of myself through good food, exercise, meditation and kitten cuddles, so I don't burn out.

The weather is getting a little cooler in Melbourne which does make my motivation waver a little. I'm going to try and take advantage of future hibernation instead. I'm hoping for chats with friends on the couch, red wine and fuzzy blankets. To my northern hemisphere friends, enjoy all that spring brings!

Here are some of my favourite links from the last month:

When I have the motivation to prep for my morning the night before, things run much more smoothly. If you're not a morning person, here's some ideas on how to become one

I'm always on the look out for new gym songs and I found this '90s collection to work out too (or just listen to as a Monday motivator!) 

I'm sure I've said this before - but I love Zen Habits. Read this one about doing less, or really leaving yourself wanting more

For those struggling to see the positives at the moment - three great reminders. 

And lastly, a longer ready about how being busy is making us sick.  

 

Light links: October

 

October has been a busy month, enjoying birthdays and finishing up my current job. Melbourne has had some lovely warm days too. I won’t rub it in to my northern hemisphere friends, but I’m looking forward to a great summer. Here are some links that caught my eye in October:

Totally boring and practical, I’m always googling how to store my fruit and veg. Why do my carrots never last?!

I love these 5 pragmatic tips about finding time for the things you want to do and not getting lost in busy days. My favourite is number three.

In the same vein, are you addicted to being busy? I do find the guilt seeps in if I’m not always ‘being productive’.

1984 and Brave New World are two of my favourite books, so I was excited to read this note Aldous Huxley sent George Orwell when 1984 came out (and to find out that he taught him briefly!). I must agree, I favour Brave New World.

An encouraging post about why it’s ok to do ‘the phantom’ (as I call it) at parties, and leave without saying goodbye.