August Recap and September Intentions

I don’t like to wish time away but I have to say I’m pretty happy that winter has flown by this year - September sees more sunshine during the day, evenings staying lighter and just a general feeling that a fog has lifted.

Looking back over my August calendar, I had some fun nights out with friends, but also had a pretty low-key month day to day… which actually suited me fine.

Between my full-time job, coaching, and keeping up with my intentions, I was happy for the downtime.

Good news though - I now have two free coaching spots in September so if you’re interested in three months of focused work towards your goals, jump over here and set up a complimentary 30 minute call with me. I can’t wait to chat with you!

So how did I go with my intentions?

August Recap

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Stay healthy at work

I think I have found a gap in the app market - I could not find one app that fulfilled my needs for August!

As I mentioned last month, I wanted some pretty simple reminders around focusing on my health at work - standing up more, drinking water, not getting distracted by my chat tools… kinda basic stuff that we could all use yes?

In my search, I found apps that suggested embarrassing exercises to do at my desk, apps with annoying buzzers as reminders, and nothing that had all the basic office hygiene stuff I wanted.

I settled on Momentum, a habit tracker that worked ok … but I ended up ditching it about a week in.

In general, I definitely stood up more during office hours and even broached one of the standing desks at my work. But maybe it’s time for me to take care of the office health app market…

Would that be something you readers would use?

Complete an early spring clean

I did pretty well on this one - decluttering a scary wardrobe of my house, and even attacking the area under my bed that had been gathering random magazines, online shopping packaging and cat toys for the last three years.

It’s all about mindset when we go into these less than fun tasks.

I can’t stress enough how much easier it is if you’re in alignment - rather than trudging in disgruntled, I would plug a podcast in, get in some comfy clothes, set up a system for keeping/donating/throwing away and work methodically through everything.

I hope this approach helps if you’re planning a spring clean soon too.

September Intentions

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Start regular Pilates practice

I’m pretty consistent with my exercise and have been for many years, but lately the gym has not been doing it for me - I’ve been doing some of the same routines for a while and feel like I’m ready for a change.

After dabbling in Pilates over the last few months and feeling both strong and stretched out after each class, I’m ready to be more consistent here.

I’ve bought a monthly pass to a studio and can book classes ahead of time (good for accountability!), so I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to keep up with this one in September.

Tackle life admin

Even writing that intention, my mind makes an enormous ‘blergghhhhhhhhh’ sound.

I have my tax return and some fun government applications to do in September and yeah, you can understand why that sound comes to mind.

Luckily I have Brooke Castillo and the Self Coaching Scholars course I’m doing to help me get over the protests from my brain.

Brooke suggests writing a list of what needs doing, allocating time against each one, then getting them into your calendar.

Here’s the clincher… you should also expect your brain to try and talk you out of the task when the appointment rolls around in your calendar.

I’m going to lock the time in, get in alignment before I start, and just get these things off my to do list and out of my brain.

Happy September readers! A reminder that I have two coaching spots available if you want to get in touch and find out if coaching is right for you.

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!

Segment Intending (aka trying to live in the moment)

As you guys know, I am a big fan of Jess Lively. I’ve followed her for over 5 years now, from her original blog, Makeunder My Life, through to her Life with Intention work and for the last couple of years, her fantastic podcast, The Lively Show.

In the past few months, Jess has started speaking quite a bit about the Law of Attraction and Abraham Hicks. Now, I never saw The Secret and am still not sure how much I believe in the Law of Attraction, but after Jess’ recommendation, I listened to the audio book on a 6 hour drive over the holiday season.

One useful concept I did take from the book was what Abraham calls segment intending. So what exactly is it and how can it help you?

What is segment intending?

Essentially to me, it means living in the moment or the activity you’re undertaking. Abraham defines it a little differently as setting your vibration and pre-paving your path before moving into an activity, but let’s go with my definition for now.

So if you’re getting up in the morning, having breakfast, taking a shower and getting ready, you go into that phase of the day aware of the activities and concentrating on each, one by one.

It may seem obvious but how often in the morning, instead of focusing on your routine, are you spinning out on your to do list, checking your email or social media, or already trying to think of what to have for dinner?

Why is it useful?

If we’re not conscious about the activities we’re undertaking, depending on how you’re built, you’ll often be living in the future, constantly thinking about what’s next on your list, or dwelling on the past, overthinking past conversations or worrying about something that happened yesterday.

Those simple morning activities may not seem that exciting day in, day out, but, let’s remember, you’re only going to get a certain number of mornings in this lifetime, so let’s not wish them away.

What if you concentrated on your breakfast, preparing it slowly, exactly how you like it, and enjoying it at your kitchen table, staring out at your garden?

What if you bought amazing scented shower gel and luxurious moisturiser and enjoyed your shower routine each morning?

What if you filled your closet with clothes you love wearing, picked out your outfit and accessories and shoes, and dressed feeling fantastic for the day ahead?

Suddenly your mundane, rushed morning routine doesn’t seem so bad right?

Where have I seen benefits?

As I’ve been more aware of segment intending in my life, I’ve mainly noticed benefits on my commute, at work and surprisingly, at the gym.

Commuting often seemed boring to me or (quite obviously) a means to an end (i.e. hurry up and get me there!).

Rather than wishing this time away, I’m much more relaxed in traffic or on a busy train, listening to my music, looking out the window and just being where I am at while travelling. I know I’ll be busier once the commute is over, so enjoy the down time.

At work, I’ve talked about getting easily distracted by email, chat and urgent requests.

I haven’t nailed this by any means yet, but I’m trying to just do one task at a time or work on one project at a time. I then try and let there be a specific time or times for checking emails and chats. Wish me luck continuing this one as it’s a toughie...

Last but not least, my visits to the gym have seemed much better and worthwhile since hearing about segment intending.

I do enjoy working out but was often rushing through exercises, keeping an eye on the clock so I could get out of the gym within a certain time and planning my dinner and to do list in my head for once I got home. Sounds pretty stressful right?

Now I still distract myself a little with music or podcasts (no one wants to focus that much while lifting weights) but I’m much calmer, working through each exercise, making sure I have all the equipment I need set up, and taking it easier on the clock watching.

I focus on what I’m listening to or the routine at hand and actually leave the gym feeling kinda rejuvenated and chilled now.

Can you work segment intending into your life this week? Even trying it for your morning routine, commute or work day will likely help. Let me know how you go in the comments below. 

 

How I Stay Healthy At Work

As I’ve mentioned here and here, I’m well into the principles of intuitive eating.

‘Healthy’ isn’t the restrictive word it used to be to me though.

Today it’s a way of eating and moving my body that makes me feel energised, light and able to make the most of my days.

I don’t want to eat bland, healthy food that leaves me longing for more, and nor do I want to punish my body with grueling exercise.

But I also acknowledge I don’t live in a bubble.

At work there is the temptation of morning tea cakes, free pizza for lunch and a vending machine that calls my name when I’m stressed and/or bored (how kind of it).

So in order to maintain my version of healthy, I have a few tricks I use at work that keep me feeling good.

Be armed with snacks

Not having healthy snacks around me is a one way ticket to eating foods that make me feel unwell.

I stock my drawer with nuts, fruit and popcorn most weeks. This makes sure that when I’m feeling the urge, I’ve got something I can grab and snack on that will not make me feel sluggish.

BYO lunch or rotate some healthy options

After working in the middle of nowhere for almost five years, I am pretty damn good at making my lunches. You can read more about my meal prepping tips here.

However, if I’ve lost cooking motivation or I’m out of lunch ideas, I have a few local healthy options (let’s face it, 99% of them are one of my favourite cuisines - Japanese) that I rotate.

I feel just as good eating those as if I had brought my own lunch in.

Loosen the reins so you don’t splurge on Friday

On Fridays there is a different feeling in the air. I often have lunch with coworkers and a chilled glass of white wine is calling my name by 4pm.

A few years back, this was usually a slide into splurging and sometimes a whole weekend of eating and drinking to excess.

However, these days I realise I need to have this much fun every day, in one way or the other.

If I treat myself in other ways throughout the week, I’m less likely to go crazy and feel blergh every Saturday morning.

Do it if you want to, then move on with your life

This is definitely my most important tip.

If your body wants a piece of pizza, or a cookie with your coffee or a pint of beer at Friday lunch, HAVE IT.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying those guilt-free, then moving on with your life.

Don’t obsess about it, or promise yourself you’ll be better tomorrow.

Simply enjoy the moment, listen to your body and move on with your life. Seriously.

My Most Embarrassing Technology Sins

You don’t have to look far these days to find an article full of recommendations about ‘switching off’, staying present, connecting with people in real life, reading ‘real’ books, and so on, and so on.

I have no qualms admitting I’m addicted to my phone (and, let’s be serious, my iPad too).

But I still go out for dinner with friends, I still read ‘real’ books (not as much as I scroll my feeds, but hey) and I don’t own an Apple Watch.

Today, to make us all feel a little better, I thought I’d repent on everyone’s behalf —  here are my current worst technology sins, warts and all.

I check my phone before I get out of bed

Yes, it’s true. I used to avoid doing this, but these days, I can’t fight the feeling.

And the first thing I do when I wake up is feed my cats in Neko Atsume. Yes, it’s true. I love video games and I love cats so there you have it. Sin one down.

I cut my finger and suffered through the phone-holding pain

A couple of weeks back I managed to slice my finger while cooking, right in the crook of my index finger, where you apparently hold your smartphone.

Every time I held my phone it hurt — the leaning of the phone against the skin, the bending of my finger, everything really.

But do you think I stopped checking my phone? No way.

I ignore people at lunch so I can read my phone

I don’t do this every day, but if I’m having a particularly busy morning, I do like to escape to the work kitchen, eat my lunch and zone out on Instagram.

Sometimes this involves rudely ignoring a co-worker who’s trying to strike up a conversation with me.

I know that makes me a bad person, but sometimes I just need my fix.

I fall asleep to YouTube videos

In line with my zen way of waking up in the morning, over the last few weeks I’ve found myself depending on YouTube vlogs to put me to sleep.

I guess this is the same as watching TV in bed (also a no-no I’m sure) but it does feels wrong, particularly when you wake to find the iPad tipped onto your arm in the middle of the night. Whoops.

Anyway, my favourites are Vivianna Does Makeup and The Lindquists. Enjoy!

Ok, now that my shame is out in the open, tell me — what are your worst, most deplorable technology sins? Please share below!

 

October Recap and November Intentions

We are almost through October so it’s time to review my intentions for the last month.

Cut off technology at 10pm (and read hard copy books)

I am getting better with this intention. I’ve been reading this great book, which is basically short interviews with interesting Londoners. It does entice me to read every night but I still find myself often taking ‘one last look’ at social media. Disconnecting from technology is a work in progress for all of us I think.

Enjoy the daylight

Unfortunately I injured myself earlier in the month, so I haven’t been able to do much exercise, including going to the gym. However, walking has been doable so I’ve been walking along the river most nights after work before we sit down to dinner.

With the clocks moving forward in Australia, it’s been beautifully light and warm, so I have definitely felt an increased appreciation for the daylight. And with less wine than I intended to enjoy last month, which is probably a good thing!

Revel in upcoming events

An expressive birthday moment with friends...

An expressive birthday moment with friends...

Over my birthday weekend I made sure to sit back and enjoy special moments with friends and family and not let them pass by too quickly.

Unfortunately the music festival I was going to was cancelled but I still have plenty of upcoming fun activities to practice this technique on.

November Intentions

Schedule quarterly shopping days

Uh, how fun does this sound? This year I’ve been planning my budget a little better and putting some extra money away for clothes and beauty.

It’s starting to build up and I figure rather than making spontaneous online shopping hauls (hello Asos), I should make a day of it and go into stores, try on and buy great products and finish with a meal or drink with a girlfriend. Who’s with me?

Eat more frogs at work

I ebb and flow with this concept, but back when I wrote this post, it was working really well for me. It’s a very busy season at work so, rather than fall behind, I’m going to try and get my ‘ugliest’ task out of the way first thing.

Whether that be a phone call I’m dreading, a report I’ve been putting off, or plugging my headphones in and getting my inbox back under control, it will put me in good stead for the rest of the work day.

Plan for the holidays

Yes, it’s nearly that time again! Between work and social events, I usually do a frantic online shop (are we seeing a pattern here?) in early-mid December.

This year I’d like to think ahead, work on some great, thoughtful gifts and also get a food and drink list started to make this season extra special.

What are you planning to get done in November? Let me know in the comments below.

Light Links: July

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Welcome to the monthly round up of my favourite links. I have to say I’ve been laying low this month as the weather has been pretty grim here in Melbourne - leaving more time for me to find great links for you to enjoy.

Despite many quiet evenings, I have also been spending a lot of time with friends and family.

I often forget how much relationships fill you up in between a busy work and home schedule.

And of course I had a fabulous time with the visitor I mentioned in this post. I hope you’re spending time with people who matter, and can also take some downtime to read through and get some take aways from these links:

I’m pretty much obsessed with the concept of intuitive eating lately. Here’s the basics. Could you make this mindset shift?

How many days a week do you take 8 hours for play? That’s the premise of work life balance.

I’m not too sure I have a good relationship with my smartphone but this article got me thinking about ways I could be more mindful. I’m good at #5, #10 and #13, but pretty awful with #12 and #22.

My husband is on holiday at the moment so I’m living vicariously through him by reading articles like this and this.

And for the parents out there. It doesn’t sound confusing at all…

Alissa Vitti has been popping up in my feeds a lot over the last few weeks. Jess Lively interviewed her last week about hormones and the power of your period. Very interesting stuff.


What stood out to you on the internet this month? Let me know in the comments below.

Light Links: April

 
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How was your April? Mine was a great one - work has been busy but fulfilling, I've had some balanced weekends catching up with family and good friends, and life with Pickles the kitten is always sweet.

Grab a cup of your favourite coffee, tea or wine and enjoy some of my favourite links this month. And do let me know which one strikes a chord with you in the comments below.

See you in May! 

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We're starting off with something to bring ease to your weeknights: three easy, fresh and tasty pasta dishes. Sending this to the husband now. Hint hint...

Working too hard? Ok, who isn't really? I'm not guilty of all of these points, but holy moly numbers 3 and 4 stuck out to me.

I think I've always known I'm an HSP (highly sensitive person). Here's why we need rituals

You ladies know I'm now living the pared back life in my wardrobe (and yes, I promise there are more posts to come like that!). Here's some more realistic tips on building a minimalist wardrobe

Do you read Cupcakes and Cashmere? Her blog is massive, but she seems really down to earth. I'm always into behind the scenes posts - here's one on the tech and apps Emily uses day to day.

I could pretty much recommend every episode of the podcast The Lively Show, but this one stood out to me because of the bravery and honesty around, I'm sure, a fairly taboo topic. An interesting story about dealing with painful sex

How To Deal With Energy Vampires and One-Uppers

 
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Although we try to keep things positive here at Where the Light Plays, it is worth admitting life isn't all peaches and cream.

Many types of people will come our way in life, but here's two I personally have trouble dealing with - the energy vampire (aka the drainer) and the one-upper. 

Energy vampires

I can feel them right now! These people seem to cross your path just to suck the life out of you and leave you feeling exhausted. They constantly mope and bemoan their own lives.

Now, I'm completely up for listening to and helping friends (and they do the same for me), but these people take, take and take some more, and never give much at all.

The one-upper

I'm sure you've crossed paths with a one-upper in your time. They seem to pop up at many stages of life - high school, work, mother's group. If you did this, they did that. If you went there in 2004, they were there in 1989.

I used to think people like this thought they were better than everyone else. Upon closer examination, I truly think they are either insecure OR they are trying to impress you, which is essentially a compliment.

So how do we deal with these people?

Don't play the game

It's extremely easy to get caught in the trap of an energy vampire or one-upper.

For energy sappers, we either try and make them see the bright side of life or provide advice that they'll never take. One-uppers we might try and compete with or talk over the top of during conversation.

Neither work. Step away from the conversation.

Now.

Get yourself a mantra

When we're seeing red or feeling overwhelmed, it can be hard to step back and have perspective. Here's where a handy mantra can come in.

One of my ex co-workers was a total drainer - I would leave conversations feeling completely deflated. So I got a mantra from Gabby Bernstein: 

"I choose to see peace instead of this."

It worked brilliantly before, during and after conversations to repeat it in my head as needed.

 Gabby has some great ideas and videos on how to deal with these types of people.

Spend time with the right people

You may not always be able to but, when you can, hang out with friends and coworkers who are like-minded.

Don't use that as an excuse to gossip about the energy vampire or one-upper who's getting you down - that won't bring you any joy.

Just appreciate those who truly get you and let them fill your energy up. They will listen to your stories, without the need to interrupt with a 'better' one.

Avoid

If you've tried everything, it's time to take the obvious path. If it's a friend or coworker, see if you can bring other people along as buffer, or only catch up in positive circumstances, like at a group celebration or for a quick coffee when you're following it up with a fun-filled day.

Try and see a movie with the one-upper so they can't spend the entire time trying to outdo you (ha!). Or share your family weekend snaps with the energy vampire at work to instill positivity. 

And for your own sanity, choose 'less about' these people on social media.

Do bear in mind that most people won't change, so look out for yourself and remember, life's too short to let people irritate you.  
 

Light Links: February

 
The newest family member - Pickles! 

The newest family member - Pickles! 

It's the last Monday of February (and the last Monday of summer here in Australia) and we're a couple of months into the year. It's going pretty great for me so far, but there's lots of things I hope to work on in 2015, including one of my favourite things - this blog.

February was full of quality catch ups with friends and a new addition to our family, a rescue kitten named Pickles. He's pretty amazing.

Here are some interesting links I've found over the last month. Enjoy your week lovely readers.

I'm not sure how realistic this is, but here's a take on the perfect routine for your work day. Yeah, power naps still don't fly at my workplace.

Do you regularly criticise your body? I know I do. Hopefully it won't take illness to appreciate it - here's a beautiful take on how we view our bodies from Susannah Conway

A breakthrough for me in February - I deleted the MyFitnessPal app from my phone! This article reminds me why.

I forgot to share this one back during the holiday season, but it's just as relevant throughout the year. Ditch the pressure of planning an amazing holiday, stay home, stay off social media and relax

And for a laugh I'm sure we can all relate to - The 12 emotional stages of a pedicure

My new 2IC here at the blog.

My new 2IC here at the blog.