I love my job. I do, I really, really do. I don't have a "normal" 9-5 job, I get to pick and choose my hours, my days, my weeks (all under the understanding that the more I work the more income I generate and the less I work the less income I get).
I still suffer from that monster called Procrastination.
(Just an aside here - there are some peeps who advocate for some Procrastination ... and essentially I have to agree with them, cause really, when you are daydreaming, or reading a book, or taking a walk, these are the times when your mind is ripe with creativity, so please keep this in mind when reading this blog post - SOME PROCRASTINATION IS GOOD!!!
Want to know more about why procrastination can be a good thing? Check out these groovy links:
Why Procrastination is Good for You.
6 Reasons to Procrastinate.
Even Marie Forleo has gotten in on the argument for some procrastination.)
Recently I was going through my emails and a question popped up in one of them, asking for opinions about good time management ... and I am sure, we can all agree that procrastination is the death nell for effective time management ... but, what if we factored in more breaks, more time for daydreaming, during our work hours, so much so that we actually get more work done with more efficiency?
A dream? A crazy crazy dream?
(Image from Claudia)
Time management is something I have always struggle with ... except for the most successful time of my life - my Paralympic Years.
I kid you not!!! My time management skills during my teens were beyond outstanding! My days, my weeks, my months and years were laid out in a time managed dream, with moments of focus, rest, and focus. Life was cool, calm, and collected, with me knowing exactly when and where I had to be at every point of the day, and it worked - my three Paralympic medals have to be a testament to that.
SO how did this happen? What made my time management so successful? AND how can this be implemented into work life, everyday life, your life?
Successful time management is as unique to you as your fingerprints. What works for someone else may not work for you, so you have to take it upon yourself to look at your habits, preferences, and body clock to see how you can perfectly fit your work and other things into your day.
So here are a few tips on how to successfully figure out the perfect time management plan for you.
1. For me, as a teenage swimmer, I had set activities that had to be fit into my day, including swimming training, school, and homework. Write down your set activities for your day, week, month. These are your starting points for structuring your unique plan.
2. Are you a morning person, a midday person, or a night owl? I am probably midway between a morning/midday person. As a swimmer this was slightly problematic as it was hard to be up at 5am!! But now, an 8am start is good for me, and then a fairly early night. So I start work at about 9.30 - 10am and try to clock off by 5pm (Unless I'm out speaking of course, and then my timings are up to my speaking schedule).
3. What is important to you outside of work? I like to make time for my friends, to go hiking, and do yoga. Sometimes, without proper attention to my time management these activities can get a little lost through work, so I have to keep on top of it, and even if I feel I am behind in email marketing, follow-ups, and blog post writing, I will still stop and do a yoga session, or meet up with a friend for coffee. Schedule time in for the activities that help to keep you sane.
4. When you have your hours set up for each day, break down the hours into segments, so that you have periods of intense focus and periods of relaxation and/or movement. As a swimmer my training sessions didn't just involve two hours of non-stop swimming. Each session ran to a plan, which involved gaps between each set, to allow for recovery, catching of breath, and a chance to guzzle some water. So think carefully about how you are structuring your hours of work.
5. With all of these things now being considered, plan out your weeks and days, placing activities at ideal times, but remembering that you have to allow flexibility in the plan. Remember to also have fun with your time - life really is to short, and it is nice to remember to slow down and let your day take you where it takes you sometimes, try not to get too hung up on keeping to a perfect time management schedule.
(image from flickr)
I attended my first session of a Cafe Psychologique last night in Leeds.
Cafe Psychologique? I hear you ask.
HISTORY LESSON TIME!!!!!
Back in the day when philosophers were still king, a certain arts movement started to create discussion groups in the Cafe's of Montparnasse in Paris. (A hug and a good luck wish for the person who guesses the correct art movement). They would gather in Cafe's and discuss life, love, art, journey's, destinations, passion, beauty, etc. However, it was the well known philosopher, Sartre, who put the Cafe Philosophique on the map. After WWII, Sartre held the discussions, which became known as "Cafe Philos," in the Cafe de Flore, opening up philosophical ideas to the general public ... or in this case, the taxi drivers and "ladies of the night" who inhabited the Cafe during the hours Sartre was there.
This was the inspiration for people in more recent times to take interesting ideas out of academia and into the general masses, to open up the wonder of knowledge and the power of storytelling to those who may not have ever had a chance to experience such delights. Cafe Psychologique is one of many groups that have started and flourished since the 1990's, engaging with people on a grass-roots level, encouraging discussion, encouraging openness.
I attended my first one last night.
the topic? SELF CARE AND MINDFULNESS.
What was interesting about this topic was the way that the people in the discussion interpreted the meaning of self care and mindfulness. Some felt that self care could lead to self indulgence, where you literally do 'nothing' as to do anything takes effort, emotion, thought, etc; others, like myself, felt that self care was more wrapped up in the mindfulness aspect, where you focus on the present moment, lose yourself in the moment, no matter what you are doing - but in being aware of yourself in the moment you can identify anything bad, not good, or disastrous that may arise in that process - i.e., running too much that you pull a muscle, eye strain from working at the computer too much, or even falling asleep during meditation and falling off your cushion (?).
I heard many differing opinions, and as Chris - the organiser of the evening stated, "all opinions are valid," and so they were. But this is my blog so I want to give you a little insight into how I think self care/mindfulness can help you on your goal journey.
When you set a goal it is expected that you will continue to drive yourself forward until you achieve that goal. In that process, however, it is highly likely that you will lose sight of the number one priority in achieving goals .... YOU! Self care and being mindful reminds us that we cannot achieve our goal if we are burnt out, injured, or dead! So what are some steps you can take on your goal journey to ensure that YOU are the main priority in the journey?
1. Live your goal journey day by day. Keep the end goal in mind, but recognise that you can only do so much each day towards reaching that goal.
2. Embrace some daily meditation, in whatever form that takes. Since I have started my yoga practice I have noticed that I am more likely to make space for a form of meditation during my day, even if it is just a few stretches and deep focused breaths for two minutes whilst I wait for the jug to boil. It is taking that time to make sure that I am stepping out of my mind, my thoughts, and am remembering that I only ever have this moment. I can then take this focus to my work, as can you!
3. Create a solid (yet fluid) structure for your day. Know what you have to achieve, but recognise that you may not get it all done, but that that is okay. Give yourself a cutoff point for work ... I always try to finish up work by 5pm (unless I'm speaking in the evening of course). Once that 5pm arrives I switch off the computer and RELAX!!!
What do you think about self care and mindfulness? What self care rituals do you follow? Comment below!
Over the past few weeks there has been this little sports competition that has captured everyones attention ... the 2014 Word Cup!!
Held in Brazil (only the second time it's been held in South America), it has proven to be a spectacle of epic proportions, with many favourites not doing as well as expected and other, not so well known football countries doing surprisingly well (like my own home country Australia!). However, it was the Germany v Brazil match that I want to draw your attention too. This semi-final was geared to be a top game, with Brazil likely to win due to the home ground advantage ... but no, it was a whitewash of German players outclassing the Brazilians ... i watched in amused horror as Germany first got one, two, then three goals, within the space of minutes, the Brazilians body language said it all - disbelief, horror, dare I say it, fear?!?
But this is where the problem lay for Brazil, the pressure obviously became too much and the much needed team dynamic and discipline unraveled in the face of the impossible - defeat.
And there was Germany, an obviously tight team, almost seemingly able to read each others minds, so in-tune with each other they were. With an efficiency the Germans are renowned for, they took control of the game, as a team, and kicked butt like no one has ever seen.
That is the clue, the step to their success, efficient team work.
(image from here)
On friday night I was invited to watch the Leeds Rhinos play Hull in Rugby League at Leeds Carnegie Stadium. It has been years (if not decades) since I watched a Rugby League match live. I was going for Leeds, of course, and as I watched the first half I could not believe it as no-one seemed to be scoring. In fact, both teams seemed slightly disconnected, missing obvious plays, and lacking in communication. When they went off at half time I though if they keep on playing like this then this could be the first time I ever see a Rugby League match end nil all.
As they came out to play the second half I noticed a perceptible change in the Leeds side. They seemed more relaxed, more in touch with each other as they made their way out to line up - this change was evident in the first ten minutes when they communicated themselves to an eighteen/nil lead over Hull. What a change to first half! They were talking to each other, directing each other, intuitively passing the ball to each other, suddenly they were in the flow, the stream of success and things were going their way. Sound familiar? Like a particular German football team that blitzed Brazil?
(image from here)
So, what is Germany and the Leeds Rhinos trick to awesome teamwork leading to amazing success?
1. They all know what they want to achieve ... as a whole. The goal they have is clear in everyones mind and because of this there is no deviation from the game plan, no ego's involved, just plain understanding of what each cog in the wheel has to do to get the required results. Simple really!
2. They bond like no-ones business. They communicate clearly with each other and will listen to all opinions, knowing that this is best for the team dynamic - no-one feels left out or disregarded, everyones opinion is valid and this fosters a relationship of trust and triumph.
3. Because they trust each other they can get a little creative in their plays, take a few risks, knowing that their team members will be there to back them up. AND whether the risk is a success or not, the team does not blame them, in fact they forgive, learn, and move on.
4. They give a hundred percent of effort, because the game isn't just for them, it is also for everyone else on that team, and therefore the responsibility is greater and something they take seriously. They do, however, understand that people can have bad days, but in recognising this they support and take up the slack without complaining if a team member is out of sorts.
5. They have a fantastic leader (or team captain) who doesn't let their ego get in the way of the team dynamic, in fact, they will often sacrifice themselves for the good of the team, knowing that the shared goal is more important than the individual.
Can you think of anything else that makes a great team? Let me know in the comments.
Hi all, how you been? Here I am with another inspired interview with a lady I had the privilege to meet at the Professional Speaker Association (PSA) and who has inspired me beyond belief, she is one amazing woman who has not let ill health stop her from anything ... in fact I think it's made her a much tougher and kick-arse woman then ever. Read on...
Describe your personal situation (i.e., disability, illness, caring responsibilities, as much as your comfortable with) and your business?
I live in a fabulous apartment in Leeds near Roundhay Park. Although I am classed as "terminally ill" by the medics, you wouldn't know it and I am keeping really well and enjoy working and socialising in equal measure.
My work is my speaking business. I use the name Nina Joy (Joy is my middle name) because I like it! I speak on two major topics - Who has got the remote control - to your life? which covers how to cope with massive challenge or change. The other is on Mind Body and Business, how to be healthy and deliver peak performance.
What motivated you to start your business?
After over 25 years in corporate life (working in financial services), I had the opportunity to take voluntary redundancy. I grabbed this with both hands, thinking that it was time to go freelance and do my own thing. Throughout my career I had delivered presentations, enjoyed connecting with people, and was told that I was rather good at it. So in 2011 my speaking business was born
How do you balance your personal needs with your business/work?
I make sure that I have play time as well as work time. I make it a priority to do things for me, and have a pretty healthy daily regime. Most weeks I will have a treat, maybe a massage or healing session. My ideal way to wind down is to spend time with friends and family and that's what I do evenings and weekends. Plus I love to sleep! I always make sure I have enough rest.
What is the toughest thing you have had to deal with in life/business and what got you through?
My toughest time was in the summer of 2012. Not only did I find out that I had breast cancer, but that it had spread to my lymph, lungs, liver and bones. This means it's classed as incurable. I was devastated. It seemed that my life was at an end, and all the plans I had wouldn't be fulfilled. However, I decided to take on this challenge and see what I could achieve, despite the awful prognosis. I have taken charge of my own health. I have learned a lot about cancer, and have undertaken a range of therapies, from the cutting edge through to the alternative. Now, almost two years on, although I still have cancer, I am well and carrying on living my life to the full, and building my business.
What is the most “WHAM BAM” exciting thing in life/business that has happened and how did you celebrate?
I suppose the most exciting thing is that I am alive, when the doctors thought that I wouldn't be! I celebrate by making sure every day I do the things I enjoy, and make being happy a priority. I can't take life for granted, and I don't. I feel so proud of what I've achieved - it is devastating to hear that you are "incurable". I wouldn't want anyone to feel as I did - hopeless and helpless. So I have written a book The Adventures of a Cancer Maverick to share what I have learned with other "Incurables". I want to show that there are many things you can do for yourself outside orthodox medicine, and that it is possible to live, and even to thrive, with cancer.
Which business/person has inspired you and why?
My initial inspiration came from my parents. My dad was in sales, and we used to talk about PMA (positive mental attitude to the uninitiated) over the dinner table. I remember him teaching me "you can if you think you can, and if you think you can't then you're probably right!" My mum was an incredibly energetic vibrant lady, and she had absolute confidence and unshakable belief in me. If ever I waver, I imagine her looking at me with those twinkly brown eyes, telling me " you can do it, I know you can".
The business people I admire would be Richard Branson, and Anita Roddick. I like that they remained very human, don't really care too much what others think, and believe that success doesn't have to be at the expense of others. They are both a force for good in the world.
Do you have any life/business tips you could give my readers?
Decide to be happy. Now. Do the things you love, that make your heart sing. And then do them some more.
Make yourself a priority - it is only when you are fulfilled and happy that you then have enough to take care of others.
Look for the good - in people, in life, in each day. You will find it by the bucket load.
Don't take life too seriously. A playful approach is a lot more fun
Soooo, how was your New Years? Was it everything you thought it would be?
Mine was great - playing trivial pursuit (my Canadian friend won with a Canadian flag question .... it should not have been allowed, lol), counting in the new year, and then retiring to bed to get up the next morning to do a walk.
On the Dales Way, the part between Bolton Bridge and the Cavendish Pavilion at Bolton Abbey. All up it was 4.2miles long (the longest distance I have ever walked - in relatively one go of course, not like, in my entire life!!)
it was WET
OH SO MUCH FUN!!!!
There I am, nearly soaked through, my hair frizzed into a curly mess, sweat and water on my deepest layer of clothing, but you know what - I didn't care!
This walk, ALL the walking I am doing, is opening my eyes to the actual simplicity of being human - without all the ancillary attachments that we gift our lives with. Walking, especially in the miserable weather like I did, took away any concerns about how I looked, what I was wearing, removed the fear of decision making, doubts, and fears, bought me immediately into the present and firmly held me there.
It levels you - this walking - the camaraderie you have with fellow walkers, who are also, cold, wet, and muddy, becomes a defining feature. I didn't know any of the people I passed on the walk, but everyone, no matter how cold and desperate they looked, had a smile for you and a 'hello, happy new year.' We were all out, in the middle of no-where, no running away, no hiding, just being open to the experience and knowledge that you can enjoy the walk, the cold, the mud, because in the end, we are all in the same situation, AND this situation (as with any other) will not last.
it did not last - before I knew it, I was in a pub having a delicious hot chocolate to warm up!
But the day made me think that just as I am pushing myself and growing my strength physically, I can also transmute this to all other aspects of my life - and by other aspects, I refer specifically to business, and education. To grow, to move forward, we all need to be aware of our boundaries, but be fearless to push past them, to know that in being fearless we are creating conditions of change, and that through change, not all states of being last forever. Are you going to be fearless this year?
How did you start your new years?
"Your Determination is Limitless"
- Elizabeth Wright