Work Life Balance made Simple

How to make work life balance simple:

  • Everything is not equally important. Do fewer things and do them well.
  • Decide what your values are — and which ones take precedence.
  • Do the things that get results.
  • Focus on the things only you can do.
  • Do the important things, which must be done now.

Work life balance can be simple over time. It won’t be resolved tomorrow but you can get much, much better at this with practice.

Five Key concepts that make work life balance simple:

  1. Learn to say no.

Say no to requests that are not your highest-level priority. Ask your self: am I being helpful or I am doing someone else’s work for them? Is this the best use of my time right now?

You can do anything once you stop trying to do everything.

When you say yes to one request, stop to think what you are saying no to at the same time. You can only spend your time on one thing at a time.

  1. Plan ahead.

Planning out your schedule makes sure the important things get done. Setting up a list for each day, helps you stay on track.

Schedule the important things on your calendar. If getting to your daughters soccer game is important, put that on the schedule.

Schedule some time for yourself as if it was an important meeting.

When you plan ahead for your high value activities, they happen. If you neglect to plan you end up dealing with what ever comes at you in a random fashion.

That feels like a lack of control and is exhausting to react rather than take action.

 

  1. Bundle chores or errands.

Check your patterns; be mindful of how you spend your time and the choices you make on a daily/ weekly basis. How many trips to you make to the grocery store?

When you have a plan for meals you can reduce time spent at the store and preparing meals. Plan ahead for errands and take once a week to do them.

Return phone calls in a batch at work. Save low priority tasks for when you need a mental break.

 

  1. Manage work time

Start each day with the high priority list. Plan ahead on what time you will leave work each day. Cut back on distractions by closing your door or asking questions when you are interrupted. Asking questions can save everyone time. Ask about time, priority and who else is involved before you take on another project.

What is the deadline for this? What do you need from me right now? If someone brings you a problem or needs help: ask first: What solutions do you have in mind? Or ask what have you tried first? Refer back to # 1. Learn to say no.

 

  1. Enjoy weekends and vacation time.

When you are home, really be home. Keep work out of your personal time.

Unplug from work emails, phone calls or texts. Don’t feel like you have to spend every spare moment on chores or tasks. Set up personal rest time doing something fun and enjoyable, even if it seems wasteful. It is not. Time for self-care is critical to enjoying your life and reducing stress.

My final few thoughts are about letting go of expectations and being perfect.

Give up on perfection. Good enough is good enough for many tasks. Other people can do things instead of you doing everything. You just have to let them.

Gaining a work life balance is a process. Reflecting on what is important to you is the first step to making changes that last. Feeling unbalanced? Contact Gwen for a grounding coaching session.

Click here to get a 30 min coaching time

The Habit of Completion will simplify your Life

 

The Habit of Completion

Who feels good about checking off something on your list? It seems like a small satisfaction to know you have completed a task. Yet those some acts of completion help motivate us to keep moving forward with goals, projects or just the steps of everyday life. What stops us from completing projects?

Time. Lack of time is what everyone says prevents them from getting things done. I would disagree. I have found with my clients that when drilling down how they spend time, there are things they could stop doing, give away or spend less time on. This change would then gain some valuable time for personal projects.

I challenge you to reflect on how you spend your time and look for areas that you can make a change. Consider how these three steps might help you develop a habit of completion.

 

Step One: Learn How to Say No

Practice saying no to demands on your time and energy. Only say yes to things that make the best use of your time and bring you energy.

 

Step Two: Get Rid of Clutter

Start with a small area and create a clutter free zone- on your desk and in your home. Use this area to work on projects or planning where you are not distracted by other items that might claim your attention. Clean out closets of items you do not use or do not fit and find them a home with someone else who could use these items.

 

Step Three: Chunk it Down

Take any project that is too big or overwhelming and break it down into steps. Decide what five actions you could take to start on the big project and do those. Pick a time period between 20-40 minutes and just commit to spending that amount of time on the project every week or every day.

 

The habit of completion can be improved when you focus on small steps along the way. Give yourself credit for each step, so you avoid that feeling of overwhelm that prevents you from even starting on a new project.

I am planning on spending the last few days of this year cleaning out files, clearing up loose ends and clearing out the clutter that allows me a fresh start to 2017. Need help? I won’t physically come to your office or home, but I can give you some practical ideas on how and where to start your new habits for 2017.

Swim around the Rocks

 

 

 

Habits can be helpful or they can be so automatic that we forget to reflect if we could improve or change a process to make it easier.

What makes us push through the toughest possible path because it is what we have always done? What stops us from trying a different path to see if it might be easier?

I had a dream last night. I love swimming. It feels good, improves my mood and gives my brain a rest while my body gets a great workout.

In my dream the pool was full and in each lane people were just floating in small boats taking up all the space. If I attempted to swim with the boats, I would hit my head, have to stay underwater or just get pushed around by the boats. Even when I asked nicely, the people in the boats were not willing to move for me. So my dream self decided if I wanted to swim I would have to give up on the pool and just go swim in the air.

Dreams are magic. What I discovered was how fun and easy it was to swim in the air. Why had I not tried this before?

If you find yourself pushing through obstacles, consider how you might go around them. How could you avoid the obstacles and make life easier? Is there a path or new idea you could try? Play the “what if” game. What if this might work?

What if someone else has a good idea? How could I make this process easier?

What patterns do you have that might be improved by trying something completely different? In my dream I was free to explore unheard of possibilities. In real life you will benefit by thinking as if anything were possible. Surprise yourself by taking a different path and see what you learn.

 

Make Happiness Top Priority

 

thumb_img_0793_1024What would change in your life if you decided make happiness your top priority?

Edwin Edebiri, thinks that happiness needs to be our default position and has declared himself the Chief Happiness Officer. Listen to his Ted- ex talk here. Happiness as a Default Position
He speaks to a core belief that happiness is a state you deserve to enjoy and everyone can find happiness. I agree that happiness is a state of mind that improves when you pay attention to what does make you happy. What I like about his talk is the idea that self-compassion or the ability to forgive your self is a key component to happiness.
I pulled a few ideas that appealed to me from his talk.

How to make Happiness your priority in life
1. Decide to be happy
2. Smile more and learn to laugh at yourself
3. Create a gratitude list, include what makes you happy
4. Create a list of all the things that make you unhappy and seek solutions
5. Eliminate some things that that contribute to unhappiness
6. Be active and make healthy choices for self care
7. Create a dream list and take actions towards your dreams
8. Play
Is it really that easy to become happier?

There is research that supports that idea of happiness linked to attitude and your focus on need satisfying goals. Remember that these are goals that nourish and support you, not just achievement goals.
Goals that nourish you can be long-term projects that you work on over time. Happiness comes from taking good care of your self in small ways.

What makes me happy?
I have small things that make me happy: hearing a bird sing, riding my bike instead of driving to the store, connecting with people on a summer walk, swimming and a quiet start to the day drinking tea. Consider the small things that you find pleasure in. What does make you feel good? It can be an activity or something you view or appreciate. When you pause at the end of every day and create a gratitude list, it gives you a reason to be happy. In hectic times the only thing we really can control is our attitude.

Look at the ideas above and find what fits your needs. Try one or two of them and see what happens.  Really it can be that easy to enjoy happy moments.
Need some other ways to check your happiness level? Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Self Talk Inspiration

 

 

thumb_7qrodllp5v6o_1024What do you want to hear when you talk to yourself?

How would you inspire your best friend who needed support in a time of crisis?

I hear too many why questions in my self talk.

Why did you do that? Why didn’t you finish that? Why are you still worried about what you cannot change?

You are strong. You have courage. Follow your heart. Be kind. Give yourself credit. Pay attention to the light within. Listen to your heart. Be caring to yourself so you have the ability to share that caring spirit.

I can change my self talk by focusing in the words that demonstrate love, courage and compassion. My mantra has been: you are loved, you are loveable.

What do you need to tell yourself? Find those words and repeat as often as needed.

Responsibility- Is this Mine?

When did I first learn that I was responsible?  Some where in the lesson of responsibility – I twisted up what I was responsible for. I took on the belief that I was responsible for all others first, that I was responsible for other people. That I was responsible for happiness, feelings, outcomes, being perfect, doing it all.

That other people’s feelings and needs came before mine. I used to think that doing things for others was important and I was not important.  Now I reject that belief and have let go of my idea of being responsible for the entire universe.  Are you really in charge of the universe today? Only when I ask myself that out loud does it sound silly.

Responsibility is a habit that is difficult to sort out at times. I am at heart a responsible person. It is the order of my belief that has changed. I cannot be helpful, compassionate or caring when I am overwhelmed or carrying the weight of all responsibility around with me. What happens if you pick up every task or problem that you see? How many of these problems or rocks can you carry and still keep moving without impacting your own health?

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On good days, I will gently hand you back the responsibility you attempt to pass over to me. On bad days, I will say yes to anything asked of me, and then get angry or upset when I realize I have taken on too much responsibility again. When I carry around things for other people, there is no space in my life for me. I am important. I need to be responsible to me before you.  Another lesson to be learned.

When I do forget and slip back into that outdated idea of what is mine, I am able to remind myself by asking better questions.  Is this really mine? Pause. Say no before yes. Who does this belong to? Why would you ask me that? Is this mine?

I am responsible.

I am responsible for my own happiness.

I am responsible for self -care, honoring my feelings, being kind to myself.

I believe that self- care is critical to self- development and growth.

I am responsible for me.

How to Save Time

take your seat

 

Would you like to have an extra hour in every day? How would it feel to have plenty of time every day? We all have the same amount of time. We all get to decide how we spend it every day. In reading articles about time management: I found two main areas of focus. One was how to create systems and shortcuts to be more efficient with your time on daily tasks. The second idea was to make deliberate choices on how you spend your time in a way that reflects on what is important to you.

I think the easy logical path is to plan ahead, creates systems, get rid of clutter and make specific to do lists to manage your time. This is frequently the first choice for traditional time management. Best ideas for this area include:

Plan your weekly menus. You will save time and money at the grocery store. This helps you avoid extra trips to the store and you have healthy snacks and lunch stuff ready to go every day.

Cook in batches. Make enough food for leftovers and to freeze for another week.

This gives you an easy healthy option for a busy day.

Get rid of clutter. It is easier to focus when your physical area is clear. No clutter makes it easy to find things, you spend less time searching, moving piles around or repeatedly sorting through things.

 

 

The other time management choice is to stop and examine how you are spending your time.

Here are some questions to help you clarify where you want to spend your time.

  • Are you spending your time on high value activity?
  • Do you find joy in your daily routine?
  • Are there things you want to stop doing or get rid of?
  • Are there areas that that you want to spend more time in?

Annie Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” The choice is yours. You can learn to catch yourself before things catch and entangle you. Try to apply mindfulness — intentional and nonjudgmental consideration — to everything you do, say, and think, before you blindly react.

Instead of keeping an ongoing list of things we should do or need to do. Stop and reflect on what things you want to do that enrich your life and nourish you. Turn your to do list into a “what matters most list”.

Need more ideas on your specific needs around time?

Schedule a call with Coach Gwen

Do you Have Spring Fever?

What is spring fever? The common definition is restless and distractive behavior brought on by changes in weather and daylight. It seems that spring weather brings out my urge to clean out my closets, start new projects and reflect on how I am spending my time. I use the wild ups and downs of the weather patterns in Colorado to refocus, slow down and think. Some days we get clear sunny days and I just want to be outside. Then when it snows or hails again I get this urge to take massive action on projects and complete undone tasks.

 

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Why does the weather or longer sunny days affect our mood or behavior? I know there is a research-based answer; I am more interested in what longer sunny days can do for us. Do you feel like skipping work and spending the day outside? Is that an outrageous thought? Have you really looked at how much you work lately? What would it take to get you outside and enjoying the weather more often? Spring weather can be an opportunity to reflect, reassess and make changes that allow you to feel centered and happy with how you spend your time.

 

Is there a cure for spring fever? Yes. Get outside. Spend time on things just for you. Stop doing everything for others. Start doing things for yourself. Start with a change of pace. Slow down and pay attention to how you feel and what you really need. Then decide what actions will support you in this changing season. Short-term ideas are simple steps.

  • Create a change in your daily routine.
  • Get outside more often
  • Do something just for the fun of it
  • Be social
  • Take a trip for a day or longer
  • Be lazy and unproductive for a full day

A good solution to make a lasting change is to take a day to reflect and consider what you want from life. What do you want more of in your life? What do you want to spend less time doing? Dream big. Consider all options before you start making plans. Review your long-term goals. Break those down into shorter actions that you can do daily or weekly. Use this changing spring weather to create a positive space in your life for healthy change.

 

There is no Perfect Plan

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There is no Perfect Plan

Do you have dreams? Do you have plans that are waiting for the right time to implement? This can apply to your professional goals or your life plan. Each of us has an ideal concept of how we want to live, work and play. What are you doing to achieve that ideal goal or vision? Most people will admit to having some vague ideas or goals. Very few people have their goals written down.

Yet I would suspect many of us are avid list makers. Why? When I capture my tasks on a list, they get done. It is that simple. If I don’t write them down or get them on my list, there is a much higher chance they get neglected or postponed. What does this teach us about getting what you want in life? Have written goals. Goals need to be very specific so you can work towards a real objective with a time line attached. One year I decided that my goal was to live in a cabin in the woods for a month. What I had in mind was a cozy cabin on a stream with lots of walking trails where I could spend a productive month working on next year’s projects. I did achieve that goal. My goal was not very specific, so what I got was living in a KOA cabin with no heat or running water for a month while on a travel assignment. I laugh now at this comparison between my ideal and my reality of a goal achieved. To me it is a great reminder that goals need to be very specific or you might get something completely different then your intended outcome.

Now comes the action part of any goal. What are you willing to do for this goal to be achieved? There will be a cost in time, effort or choices. Every step can be broken down into small actions that are reasonable and fit into your daily schedule.

The last step is to make a plan. Here is a sticking point for many people. We want to get it right. So the plan has to be air tight, all options considered and be sketched out all the way to how you achieve your final goal. Right?

Wrong.

Your plan for achieving any goal is to start with a plan. Getting starting is the plan. As you move forward you then will monitor, modify and adjust your plan based on how it works for you. Remember this is how adults learn, by doing. By making mistakes and adjusting or changing course from learning what does not work.

Throw out the idea of a perfect plan. Get a plan that gets you started on your goals.

That plan is the basis for taking action. Spiral Coaching offers a Laser Coaching 3 call special this month to jump-start your actions.  Decide Act Results- Click here to Start

Small actions will move you towards your goal. Say yes to your dreams by turning them into realistic goals one action at a time.

Healthy Food Habits for Busy People

Healthy habits are small choices that you make each day that support your larger goals and vision of living well. This list will give you some ideas on how to turn your ideas into action steps that move towards a higher quality of life. Keep it simple when it comes to food choices. That is what works when you balance a busy life with healthy eating habits.

 

  1. Plan meals ahead. You know that if you have a plan for the week you make better choices. Set up a time each week to plan out your meals, snacks and needs so that you have healthy choices on hand when you need to eat.
  2. Use a list at the grocery store. This will save you time, money and avoid impulse decisions at the store.
  3. Buy the bulk of your food on the outer isles of the grocery store in produce and protein. Avoid the center isles where the processed food lives.
  4. Read labels. Start looking for added sugar with words that end in –ose: Frutose, dextrose, glactose, or syrup, barley malt, fruit juice concentrate.
  5. Stop drinking soda. This is the one thing that could make the biggest difference to your health. Diet soda with artificial sweetener is no better when it comes to keeping you in a cycle of craving sugar.
  6. Drink more water. Have a water bottle or glass of water close to you. Just the habit of having water in front of you will increase your intake. Ideal is 8 cups/ day.
  7. Cook ahead or cook double portions so that on hectic days you have food ready when you get home or leftovers to pull out of the freezer.
  8. Eat out less at restaurants. You can both save money and calories by cooking your own food. When you do eat out- choose foods that are baked, grilled and not fried. Ask for salad dressing on the side so you can control how much you use.
  9. Make a large pot of brown rice on the weekend when you have more time. That rice will last all week to add to your protein and vegetable dinners. Try quinoa as a grain that is healthy and easy to cook as your side for meals.
  10. Make open face sandwiches that only use one slice of bread- you can have lettuce on top to hold everything in. Pack your sandwich with protein and veggies. Try mustard instead of mayonnaise to flavor it.
  11. Avoid late night snacks. Put up a closed sign in your kitchen as a reminder

 

Here are some ideas of healthy snacks that you can grab and go with.

  • Fruit- it is a fast food
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Cheese- like mozzarella sticks
  • Almonds or nuts that are raw and unsalted
  • Protein shake
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Yogurt- Greek – plain- you can add your own vanilla or nuts

The bottom line is to make your food choices ahead of time so your system makes it easy to eat healthy at the end of the day when you are tired or low on energy.

Keep it simple and start with small changes that fit your needs. If you need more ideas on how to simplify your life: take action and Contact Gwen for a complimentary coaching session

 

 

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