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This everyday challenge is stopping you again and again.

29 May

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image19385242Whenever I speak to women about what is stopping them from achieving their goals, the number one answer is lack of time.

These are the the kind of things I hear:

‘I want to change career, but I just don’t have the time to retrain’.

‘I would love to do more exercise, but I can’t fit it in’.

‘I want to write a book/create an ecourse/revamp my website, but I’m just too busy right now’.

This perceived lack of time can keep us stuck in a place we don’t want to be. It can keep us stuck feeling less healthy than we want to be. It can keep us paralysed in our business or career. It can prevent us from living the truly fulfilling life we want to live.

This one challenge comes up every single day, stopping us in small ways and big ways.

Have you ever found yourself saying to a friend on the phone or when you bump into her on the street, ‘Can’t stop, I haven’t got time!’

Or maybe you’ve turned down an event you want to go to as you feel you’re too busy?

I personally can think of an opportunity that I was offered recently where I would have to step up out of my comfort zone. My first thought wasn’t, ‘I don’t know if I can do this’, it was ‘I’m not sure if I have enough time’.

(By the way, sometimes, we can use lack of time as an excuse to mask an underlying lack of self-belief.)

The fact is when you feel time-pressured, it’s a major cause of stress. When you feel that you don’t have enough time in the day, you are heading for burnout.

The good news is that there are some simple ways to overcome the time challenge. Here’s what to do when you are feeling time-pressured.

1) Prioritise (aka cut the crap!)

Have a think about your day today. What are you spending your time doing?

Now I know a lot of the stuff you are doing is super-important and necessary (like reading this fabulous article!). But if you are honest, how much of your time is spent doing stuff that just doesn’t matter?

How much time do you spend checking Facebook or email? How much time do you spend watching crappy TV programmes? How much time do you spend procrastinating about what to do next?

Now I can hold my hands up to all of the above! The truth is you have plenty of time to do all the things you want to do (truly). You simply need to focus on your priorities.

Ask yourself the question – ‘What is most important to me?’

Make a list, with your highest priority at the top.

Now you have something to work with. You can clearly see what means most to you and where you want to spend your time.

Each day, focus on the top three priorities on your list. This is now your guide. Whenever you find yourself feeling time-pressured, ask yourself, ‘Am I spending my time wisely right now? Am I focusing on my priorities?’

If the answer is no, let go of what you are doing.

This might take practice, but in time you will find yourself experiencing more space and fulfilment in your life.

Take action now: Make your priority list! Tune in to what’s truly important to you and then think about where you are spending your time right now. You might be surprised to realise that most of your time is being spent on crap (to be frank!) that’s just not meaningful for you.

2) Change your time story

We all perceive time in a particular way. I’m sure you’ve noticed that some people are laid-back and easy-going, never in a rush. Whereas others are always dashing from one place to the next, feeling pressured and stressed.

Which are you?

Your time story (or mindset) will certainly have been influenced by how your family were growing up. I know for me, we always had to be on time, if not early. In fact, if I get to a meeting just on time now, I feel like I’m late!

Like any aspect of your mindset though, this isn’t set in stone. You can create a shift in the way you experience time. You can change your time story.

The first thing to do is to mind your language. Notice any times when you find yourself saying things like, ‘I haven’t got time’, ‘I’m too busy’, or ‘Where does the time go?’ (Big hands up to this one for me!)

When we make statements like this, we are reinforcing the story that there is not enough time.

Start telling yourself a different story.

The next time you begin to say, ‘I haven’t got time’, catch yourself, take a deep breath and say, ‘I have all the time I need’. As you do that, notice how you feel different.

Like any time we start to change our mindset, it might feel strange at first. There will be occasions when you don’t catch yourself and start talking your ‘too busy/can’t stop/must dash’ chat. That’s okay. This is a process.

The first step is to recognise when you are telling yourself an unhelpful time story and the next step is to start shifting it.

Take action now: For the next 24 hours, commit to telling yourself a different time story. Look out for those times when you’re thinking or speaking negatively about time. When you catch yourself, change your story. Say something different.

3) Chunk it baby!

Have you ever noticed how time can seem to slip away? You might have a whole day or week ahead of you. You think about all the things you’re going to get done. Then somehow, you don’t end up achieving half as much as you wanted to.

Alternatively, you might have a busy day or week coming up. You have something you really want to get done, but you just can’t see how you’re going to squeeze it in as it’s going to take a substantial amount of time.

Chunking can help with both of these scenarios. What I mean by chunking is carving out specific ‘chunks’ of time to focus on a particular task.

Here are some examples.

If I have a whole free day ahead of me, I can easily drift aimlessly from one thing to another, never getting anything done. However, if I say I am going to spend 45 minutes writing an article or 30 minutes working on my website, I will be super-focused during that chunk of time.

I might faff around for the rest of the day, but I will do what I need to get done in my designated chunks.

In the same way, when I have a busy week ahead of me, for example when I’m travelling to work with clients on retreat, I can still carve out small chunks of time to write or create.

By using these manageable chunks of time, I feel productive and much less overwhelmed.

So, over to you. Where can you chunk your time to achieve what you want to? The key is to keep them manageable – certainly no more than one hour.

Take action now: Think about something you want to get done over the next week. Schedule some chunks of time in your diary now when you will work on this particular task. Notice how good it feels to be taking control and planning for action.

These are my top time transformation tips! I’d love you to comment below and let me know which one resonates with you most. Which one will you be taking action on first?

If you would like some extra help managing your time, I am running a free Get It Done Challenge in June.  Click here for all the details and to join us.

How do you experience time?

12 May

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-time-now-2-image1543231Are you the kind of person who is always telling yourself that you don’t have enough time?

Do you find yourself saying to others, ‘Can’t stop, too busy!’

Do you feel that you have so much to do and no time to fit it all in?

I hear you!  I often find myself feeling pressured and a little panicky about time (even though my work is all about being more mindful!  We teach what we need to learn.)

When we feel that we don’t have enough time, our stress levels rise and our sense of wellbeing drops.

The good news is we can choose how we experience time.  We can learn to bring ourselves back into the moment.  We can start to tell ourselves a different time story.

It’s all about perception.

My Tuesday Challenge video focuses on time this week.  I share a story about how I started to shift my experience of time and I invite you to start doing the same.

You can watch the video below and I’d love to hear your thoughts.

How do you currently experience time?  Do you feel pressured, busy and rushed?  Please comment at the bottom of the post and let me know your time-style.

 

Your 3 Steps to Happiness

9 Apr

holistic-joy-300x300What does happiness mean to you? When I asked this question on my Facebook page recently, here are some of the responses I received: inner peace, health, enough money in the bank, smiles on the faces of my husband and kids, everything!

It seems that we all have our own meaning when it comes to happiness, but whatever it means to us, we place huge importance on being happy.

There is often a mis-match between what we are experiencing and what we imagine we need to have or be in order to be happy.

It’s all about perception. We can tell ourselves:

‘I can’t be happy until (I have a certain amount of money/am a particular weight/meet the right man)’

or we can say, ‘I choose to be happy right now’.

We can think about what we perceive to be missing from our life, or focus on what we already have.

I know that often it doesn’t feel like we have a choice about what we think or feel. Our thoughts can feel out of control, constantly comparing our lives to those of other people who we perceive to have more money, better relationships, slimmer bodies. Who knows what goes on inside the minds of ‘those people’? I can guarantee it’s not all joy and peace!

The truth is if you want to feel in control of your happiness levels, you don’t need to rely on your external circumstances.

Just like you can improve your physical fitness, losing fat and building muscle, you can also give yourself a mental workout – building your positive thoughts and feelings and ditching the negative, critical thinking.

Let me present The Happiness Workout, three simple steps which will help to build your happy muscle. Commit to following these steps every day and happy will start to feel natural for you. The happiness workout takes just fifteen minutes a day – are you ready?

Step 1 – Driftaway

This is a super-simple technique I often use with my clients. The idea is to recognise that you are in control of your thoughts. Once you realise that, happiness and contentment are yours!

Find somewhere you can be quiet and undisturbed for up to fifteen minutes (you can certainly start off with a shorter period of time and build up to the full fifteen minutes).

Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Just start to notice your thoughts. Don’t try to change them, just watch your thoughts.

Notice each thought as it comes into your awareness. Set your intention to simply allow each one to drift across your mind, watching it like an observer.

Imagine you are taking a step back and watching your thoughts from a distance. Notice how you feel as you create that distance.

As each thought drifts across your mind, imagine then that it is floating away from you, like a bubble. You might visualise each thought encased in a bubble. Allow each bubble to float away from you, until it is out of your awareness.

At first you might have a lot of thoughts and a lot of bubbles! It may be difficult to identify each individual one. That’s okay. Just let them come and mentally take that step back. Give yourself some breathing space.

Continue with this practice for up to five minutes.

As you allow yourself to practice the driftaway technique daily, you will come to realise that you don’t have to become involved in your thoughts, you don’t have to engage with them. You can simply choose to watch each thought and allow them to float away from you.

This is a great way of making some mental space for yourself, building the feeling of being in control and knowing that you have a choice.

Step 2 – Body Talk

Now that you have done some mental clearing, you can bring your focus down from your mind into your body.

Often it feels like we are living up in our heads. It can be such a relief to spend some time down in our bodies and listen to the wisdom they have to share with us.

This is the next step of your happiness workout.

Stay in your quiet place and start to bring your attention into your body. Begin up at the top of the head and work your way down through each part of you. Imagine each muscle relaxing and releasing.

If you notice any tension or tightness, imagine that it is melting away, dissolving, like a warm liquid.

Your mind may wander during this process. That’s completely natural. If you notice your mind drifting off into thinking, bring your attention back to your body and continue working down towards your feet.

Once your attention arrives at your feet and your toes, ask your body silently in your mind, ‘Do you have anything to share with me today?’

Listen for the answer, maybe a thought will appear in your mind, maybe you will see an image or experience a physical sensation.

Maybe your body will let you know that it needs to rest, perhaps you will see a particular food that could nourish your body or you will be drawn to a part of your body that needs some attention.

Trust whatever comes to you and act on it.

Don’t worry if nothing comes. Just continue with the practice each day and you will start to become more aware of any insights your body has for you.

Notice how you feel to move out of your busy head and into your body; away from your thinking mind and into that more intuitive part of you that knows exactly what you need. You are building a relationship with your wise inner self.

Spend up to five minutes bringing yourself into your body. You will begin to become aware of a sense of peace and calm that maybe wasn’t there before.

You are now ready to move on to the final step of your happy workout…

Step 3 – Thank you!

As I mentioned earlier, much of our discontentment and lack of satisfaction comes from comparing ourselves to others, or feeling that we should be a certain way.

The last step of the workout gives you the chance to focus on where you are right now and what you do have, rather than what you don’t.

You’ve probably heard that an attitude of gratitude is one of the key ways to being happy? Well, this is what we are going to use now to super-charge your happiness muscle.

Stay in your quiet place and start to think about all the things that you appreciate in your life right now. If you can, write a list of everything you are grateful for. Writing the words down helps to reinforce the power of gratitude and appreciation you are expressing.

If you are thinking, ‘I have no idea where to start’, or ‘My life is so plain awful, I have nothing to be grateful for’, here are some appreciation tips:

  1. Back to basics. Focus on your body to begin with – what do you appreciate about your body? Your ability to sit comfortably? Your legs for moving you around? Your eyes that see the world around you? Your ears for hearing the words of loved ones or beautiful music?
  2. Widen your scope to include your home. What do you appreciate about your home? The shelter? The warmth? The comfort?
  3. Include any people you appreciate. Your partner? Your family? Your friends?
  4. How about any situations in your life you are grateful for? Your work? Your social life?
  5. Think about the natural world around you. What do you appreciate there? The warmth of the sun? The nourishment of the rain? The feeling of the ground beneath your feet? The sound of birds singing?

Once you start, you might find you aren’t able to stop! Keep going for five minutes and notice how you feel at the end.

To end your happiness workout, take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and affirm to yourself, ‘All is well in my world in this moment’.

Delicious! If you commit to doing this mental workout daily, you will bring yourself back to happiness. You will feel in control of your mind and more satisfied that you have everything you need in this moment.

Take Action Now: When are you going to do your happiness workout? Schedule a time right now and stick to it. Show your commitment by posting a comment below this blog post and let me know how you get on. Happy times ahead!

Psst…Did you like this post?  If you enjoyed my Happiness Workout, you will be pleased to know I am creating an audio version guiding you through each of the three steps.  The good news?  This audio will be completely free to anyone on my list of subscribers – to make sure you get your free Happiness Workout MP3, just enter your name and email address right at the top of this page.

Are you ready to simplify your life?

1 Apr

simplicity imageAt the beginning of 2014, I picked a word to focus on for the year: SIMPLIFY

I often have a number of projects on the go,  I work with many different clients and I like to challenge myself personally, so often my mind can be whirring with different ideas and thoughts.   By choosing to focus on the word, simplify, I have given myself permission to focus on one thing at a time.

When we simplify, we can let go of that feeling of overwhelm which comes when our attention is scattered.

Many of the clients I see are experiencing a form of overwhelm and I know that it is a common feeling for many of us.

That is why I have chosen to focus on the theme of simplification this month in my blog posts and Tuesday Challenge videos.

This week, I am inviting you to try out the concept of uni-tasking.

You may be familiar with the idea of multi-tasking.  In fact, we are encouraged to multi-task in today’s world.  People are complimented on their ability to do more than one task at a time.  However, when we try to do many tasks at once, our attention is scattered, we can end up feeling stressed and we lose the ability to be in the moment.

In my Tuesday Challenge video this week, I encourage you to focus on one task at a time: uni-tasking.

Watch the video below and comment at the bottom of this blog post if you choose to accept the challenge.

 

Take Action:  Are you prepared to accept the Tuesday Challenge?  Pick one area of your life where you normally multi-task and experiment with uni-tasking.  Let me know how you get on, your insights and experience, by commenting below.

How to deal with feelings of stress or overwhelm

25 Mar

simplicity image Many of us have to deal with feelings of stress or overwhelm at times.  Maybe life throws us a curveball, perhaps we have a never-ending to-do list or we feel that those around us are constantly making demands on our time.

Whatever the reason, when we are stressed and overwhelmed, it can feel difficult to cope.  We might find ourselves reaching for junk food, caffeine, alcohol or drugs.  We might experience physical symptoms, such as muscular tension, headaches, low immunity or even chronic disease.  Stress and overwhelm can also impact on all areas of our lives in a negative way, for example, our relationships, health, weight, fertility and general well-being.

So, how can you cope with any feelings of stress and overwhelm you are experiencing right now?  One of the best ways I have found, for myself and my clients, is EFT (emotional freedom technique).  This simple tool can be likened to emotional acupuncture, a way of shifting and releasing any unhelpful feelings.

I often use EFT in combination with hypnotherapy to help my clients achieve powerful results.  To give you a taster of this wonderful technique, I have created a video specifically designed to help you with any feelings of stress and overwhelm.   You can watch the video below and tap along to feel calmer and more in control.

 

Please do comment below to let me know how you found this video.  If you would like to know more about how EFT can help you, get in touch to arrange an initial chat.

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