Time Miracles: The Get Your Life Back Funcamp!

Are you a woman who is tired of the crazy juggling act and never having time for yourself?Jo2-1

Do you sometimes feel stressed and overwhelmed with all that’s going on in your world, worrying you’re going to forget something important or just not be able to fit it all in?

Life is so busy, and it can seem impossible to find balance. Many women end up putting themselves last, just to fit everything else in – but the problem with that is then we can end up resentful and burnt-out.

Which is pretty much the opposite of fun, right?!!

If you’ve read my book, you’ll know the importance I believe we need to place on looking after ourselves. Self-care is actually vital because you are the most important asset in your business – and you need to put your own oxygen mask first. From there you can look after all the other people and commitments in your life.

But if you’re like many women, especially Mums/Moms, you’re probably wondering how on earth to even fit that in, right?!

So I’ve created this fabulous new ‘Time Miracles: Get Your Life Back Funcamp’ to walk you step-by-step from overwhelm to having your desired work-life balance. You can find the details here: http://joanneernst.com/resources/time-miracles-coaching-program/

 

 

Perfectionism – it’s a Time-Hungry Beast

One of the greatest obstacles that I see people, especially women, struggle with when it comes to time management is this drive to have everything perfect. Occasionally it’s coming from a place of professional pride – the graphic designer who can see tiny niggles that the rest of us don’t notice. But most of the time, it’s really coming from a place of fear.

perfectionism is a time-hungry beastIt’s that fear that we’re not good enough, that creeping sense of being an imposter in our own lives.

It’s the thought that somehow if we get it everything absolutely perfect in all areas of our lives, then, finally we’ll be happy and able to relax.

Then, we’ll be OK….

 

Well I’m sorry, but just like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, that kind of perfection doesn’t exist.

It’s just a stick that we beat ourselves with to push ourselves harder and harder towards some imaginary ideal. Brene Brown says it best:

Perfectionism is addictive because when we invariably do experience shame, judgment, and blame, we often believe it’s because we weren’t perfect enough so rather than questioning the faulty logic of perfectionism, we become even more entrenched in our quest to live, look, and do everything just right.

Life’s messy, and full of drama and unexpected events. Maybe we cling to perfectionism as a means of trying to feel in control? I don’t know; but I do know that this drive to have everything perfect in all areas of our lives is a huge cause of stress and overwhelm, eating up time that we could instead be enjoying with friends, with our families or just doing whatever we love to do.

I’m a big believer in pragmatism. When you’re clear on the outcome you’re trying to achieve with a certain task, and why it matters, then you can focus on achieving exactly that. No more, no less.

Being pragmatic means taking a wider view, putting in sufficient effort whilst understanding that you have other tasks to complete as well and the rest of your life to enjoy.

(Your inner perfectionist may be screaming that this is just an excuse for shoddy workmanship…. ! I wouldn’t believe that if I were you, it’s just fear talking. You are enough.)Screenshot 2016-02-20 09.21.30

Perfection is a time-hungry beast, save it for the occasional tasks that really require it. Use pragmatism for the rest so that you have time to actually enjoy your life, relaxing with family and friends now – not waiting for some mythical far-off time when all work will have been completed perfectly… that time will never come.

Life is for enjoying now, it’s incredibly precious and can be so so fragile. Let the joy in 🙂

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Want to Get Your Life Back??

image4So many of us seem to be rushing around ticking off items on our to-do lists, or even just ricocheting from one task to the next with no concrete plan, yet we still feel unsatisfied. Why is that?

It’s just so easy to get caught up in ‘doing’, to be too busy to think and to just keep putting important things off ’till life calms down a bit’.

Here’s the bad news: this is probably as calm as it’s going to get!

One of the big lessons I had to learn early in my project management career was that there actually is not enough time for everything. There simply isn’t. The key is therefore to prioritize how you spend your time.

If you spend it all helping other people, doing favours and running errands – you’re going to get resentful.

If you spend it all rushing around trying to be the perfect Mom / Mum / Dad / other superhero – you’re going to get burnt out, and maybe also resentful or feel like a martyr.

If you spend all your time working, you’ll miss out on your family, friends and other aspects of your life- and sooner or later that’s going make you sad.

So how can we create the mythical perfect balance?

Well, first up – ain’t no such thing as perfect!! Secondly, balance is a practice, it’s not a one-time deal. We need to work at it, be conscious of our choices and keep bringing ourselves back to the right choices for us.

You have the full view of your life; you know what is most important to you, right here, right now. If you’re feeling rushed and stressed, I’d like to invite you to look through your diary and see how much time this week, this day, you have allocated to the things that really really matter to you?

Sadly, we often get caught up in all the other ‘stuff’, and our own important dreams or projects get pushed to the side (I do it too!), and we end up hearing ourselves wishing we could ‘get our lives back’.

The great news is that you absolutely can get your life back. The less fun news is that no-one is going to give you it – you’re going to have to go and get it by making the space in your diary for it.

Yup. It’s up to you.

Here’s a great question for you to think about: what can you say No to today and this week, to say Yes to time for your important dreams and projects?

(then… When will you do that?)

I’d love to hear what you’re saying Yes to!

See what I’ve found is that when you prioritize what’s truly important to you, and give it some time, this energizes and recharges you. Some of the stress you’re probably feeling is from the lack of letting yourself do what matters to do – and as you let that joy in, the tension eases and everything becomes easier.

Try it and see, I’d love to hear your comments.

Emergency Plan for the Stressed out!

Aargh! If you’re feeling stressed out, this post is for you. Just a few quick tips to help things calm down a bit …

1. Take a deep breath (it’s corny but it works – stress tends to make us breathe shallowly, which makes us more stressed – breathe deep, break the cycle)

Screenshot 2016-02-09 11.04.322. What’s a quick win you can get on the board quickly? list the two or three actions to achieve it.

3. Quick wins give you breathing space – I’d recommend using this space for some planning. Planning ahead, even just for the next day, can get you out of the firefighting cycle and back in control.

4. Squeeze in something that nourishes you and recharges your batteries – a 10 minute walk in nature, doing something creative or listening to some great music.

5. Remember how amazing you are, all the talents and strengths that you bring to the table! You can absolutely handle this, you’ve got this!

With love

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Why Inspiration Matters

One of the greatest compliments to receive is to hear that you’ve inspired someone – it is SUCH a gorgeous feeling to know that you’ve helped another person really move forward, that you’ve made a difference!  I’ve been inspired by several amazing people recently, and I’m making sure that I let them know about it.

It did get me thinking though – why is inspiration so important?

My inner project manager tends to list logically the steps required to achieve a certain outcome, juggling and shuffling to ensure the most efficient use of time overall. Yet you can hand someone the best project plan in the world and they still might not achieve the outcome – why is that?

screenshot-2016-09-27-10-49-58I think it’s that secret sauce of inspiration. We need to have not just the logical steps mapped out, but our hearts also need to buy into the process and the outcome too.

I learnt this from an amazing man, Matt Cooper. Sadly he’s no longer with us, but I treasure greatly what I learnt from him several years ago. He valued people and respected their opinions and concerns, really taking them to heart in the delivery of his work. With that authentically in place, the logical tasks and outcomes were so much easier – even under very challenging circumstances.

So translating that from a corporate environment to how it applies to your business, I want to invite you to give time to what inspires you.

The journey of self-employment and entrepreneurship is not an easy one, it takes a lot of tenacity. Getting clear on what inspires you, and whispering it to yourself with love every day, will help you as you proceed on this path. When fear and doubt creep in, as they always will at times, your inspiration is your secret weapon.

Growth and change is messy, it’s uncomfortable – and it can be SO tempting to lean back into your comfort zone. But when you have a strong inspiration pulling you forward, you’ll conquer that seductive inertia.

Integrating your heart, mind and spirit into your business is a bit like turning a kaleidoscope until a perfect moment of pattern and unity happens; the facts of your life may be the same, but suddenly you’re looking at them from a different, centred viewpoint – and the result is ‘Wow!’

Defining your inspiration, or your Why, is a multi-layered process. You’ll find more on this in my book (shameless plug!!) ‘Time Miracles: A Sanity Saving Plan for Women Juggling Family & Business, and for now, here are two ideas to get you started:

  1. There can be some obvious clear needs such as paying your mortgage and bills, buying groceries, having a secure income and so on. As with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, once our physiological and safety requirements are met we can move our attention to other aspects. That’s where it gets really inspirational – and I find that a great coaching question is ‘and what makes that important?’ a couple of times to help you uncover some of those deeper reasons that fuel your personal fire 🙂
  2. An alternative angle is to focus on your Core Desired Feelings (Danielle LaPorte) – how do you really want to feel, most of the time? Then look at what you need to do to create THOSE feelings. I use this as a liberating touchstone to remind me of who I really am, and what I’m moving towards.

Once you’ve defined what inspires you, remember that great quote by Zig Ziglar:

 ‘People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily!’

With love

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The Difference that Calm Makes…

Calm is when you can think clearly and make a considered, yet prompt decision.

Calm is an inner quiet that you’re living your purpose.meditation1

Calm is space to breathe, to realise you’re a ‘human being’ not a ‘human doing’

Calm is the peace of mind of knowing you and your family are ok, everyone is safe and life is flowing smoothly.

Calm is a feeling of being centred, of knowing what is true for you and what you’re a stand for.

Calm is knowing you’ve done all you can to create the outcome you want, then letting go. What will be, will be.

Calm is trusting that life is unfolding as it should, that the Universe generally conspires for our common good.

Calm is being conscious of your instincts and reactions, and choosing whether or not to follow them.

Calm is knowing that fear and doubt are never truth.

What difference would more calm make for you? I’d love to hear.

love

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Any Other Book-Addicts Out There?!

I had to laugh at myself this morning – for all I know about time management and keeping focus, I realised that I actually have at least 3 books on the go. We know that  multi-tasking doesn’t really work, right? Well, multi-reading surely doesn’t either.

I mean, it was ok … I just had 2 on the go, and both were sort of personal development related. But then last night while my middle-schooler was at swim-training I decided to do a Costco run with my toddler.

Mistake # Number One right there! Who shops in the early evening with a toddler when they don’t have to?? Aargh! what was I thinking??

Anyway, I figured it needed doing, it ‘entertained’ him while we had 90 minutes to fill, so why not. (How bad could it be…? Ah, well, maybe that’s a post for another day ;-))

We got our usual grocery stash and were heading to the checkout with only a couple of extra goodies that weren’t on the list when I spotted the books; namely two books that I’d heard of and been intrigued by but hadn’t bought yet.

Firstly – ‘The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up’ (Marie Kondo). I’ve read so many snippets about it online and in magazines, it just had to go in the shopping trolley!

photoThen secondly, right next to Marie Kondo’s book, I spotted Gretchen Rubin’s ‘The Happiness Project’.

I tried to choose between them, but hey, it’s Costco and I’m with an increasingly less willing toddler – so yep, I have to confess that they both ended up in the shopping pile.

Which is all well and good, but once we eventually got home and the kids were settled I found myself wanting to read both books (as well as keeping the two I’ve already got going – I mean, seriously??).

So I just had to laugh at myself for wanting to do it all, do it now and being so completely ridiculously unrealistic in how many books I can juggle! Why do we even do that?!!

I love to read, I really do, but life is busy; I’m lucky if I get maybe an hour a day to read once the kids are in bed and all my jobs are done – so to spread that focus over multiple books is just kinda silly! (yet so tempting…)

And yes, I do get the irony of trying to multi-task with a book about decluttering 😀  😀

I’ve cut it back to just one book, and I’m keeping it on the kitchen island so if I magically get chance while my toddler is busy playing I might just be able to sneak in a couple of extra pages …. (ever the optimist!)

Just Give Me a Minute to THINK!!!

Aaargh! It’s the common refrain from Mums (Moms) everywhere I’m sure! Someone (probably a little person) is asking you yet another question while you’re trying to get something done and think about the next things you need to do. Combining motherhood and work is such a juggling act isn’t it?!

If you’re having one of those days where it feels like you just can’t get ahead because you’re so busy ‘doing’ stuff, things that only you can do and that all need doing right now, it’s incredibly stressful. I get it and I just want you to know that you are doing a flipping amazing job!

It is not a path for the feint hearted, and you’re already achieving so much. I am going to encourage you to relax that grip on yourself, just a little, though. It might feel like the world could end if Sammy doesn’t have a nicely packed, healthy lunch for school and your new client doesn’t get a response right this second – but it won’t. Truly. So give yourself a minute, breathe and figure out a better way to get your KEY priorities done. (The rest can wait)

I’ve got a lively toddler, as well as an older middle-school child. Now, I’m a planner from way back – I love to plan, to create Gantt charts and work out the most time and resource-efficient way to do anything from grocery shopping to the opening of a new museum. Yet even I struggle with it sometimes, being able to think while I have a demanding (yet gorgeous!) little person tugging at you to go play cars, get a snack or fetch some important toy from somewhere … it’s kinda crazy some days! The days that do go well though, are the ones where I feel I’ve got ahead.

Let me explain. A few months ago, maybe even a year, I read a great book called ‘The Miracle Morning’ by Hal Elrod (highly recommend it). He explains the power of getting up an hour earlier to do your key personal development activities (reading, affirmations, visualisation, meditation and so on). Indeed it is.

But I must confess I found it hard to get up early enough to have an hour before my little guy woke up – not helped by the fact that any alarms would wake him up, so then not only was I up pre-dawn, I was up pre-dawn with a miserable, tired toddler ….

So I amended it to work for me, and I suggest you do the same for you. Most mornings just 5 minutes to breathe and 10 minutes to grab a shower before he wakes up are enough to set me on a good trajectory for the day. Ideally another 10 minutes to write in my journal – then I’m really set up for a fabulous day! But the key, the absolute key – is to plan out your next day the night before. That stops the day slipping away from you and keeps you on track for doing the IMPORTANT stuff first!

We all know that there is never enough time to do everything right?! (read or listen to my book for more on that!) So the key is to figure out the important stuff and do that first.

With love

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Craving Peace and Quiet?

There’s so much noise in our everyday lives now isn’t there?

Both actual physical noise, and the background busy-ness of our lives that feels like a constant stress. We can start to feel irritated by it all, and just kinda overloaded. Do you know what I mean?

Especially if you tend to be somewhat (or a lot!) introverted. This noise can get overwhelming, and just the constant interaction with other people can become exhausting. It’s so much stimulation; yet we keep going, right? Battle on through … well, I’d like to offer an alternative.

Although decamping to a deserted beach for a week solo sounds blissful – for most of us it’s just not feasible. What we can all do though is decide to give ourselves a little bit of space. It doesn’t need to be much, it’s actually amazing how much good even just a short break can do. Where could you carve out 15 or 20 minutes to just be on your own? Today? Or even just 10 minutes.

Don’t ‘do’ anything with that time. It’s space – don’t fill it. Just breathe, just be. Think about your blessings if you need something to focus on. Just be. Breathe in that peace and quiet, it’s incredibly calming.

Then go about your day, refreshed and just that little bit more centred 🙂 It’s OK to take a break – you deserve it.

With love

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Time Miracles – the Printed Version! Wahoo!!!!

time-miracles-bookI’m so excited! My book, Time Miracles, is now available in print!

It’s been on Kindle for a couple of months now, and I so appreciate every single one of you who have purchased it – thank you! If you haven’t downloaded it yet, or if you just prefer to read on good old paper (I hear ya! me too!), you can buy the printed version at long last 🙂

Here’s the link, thanks in advance!

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Let’s Talk…

Ok, so here it is. If you want to be at the top of your game, if you want to be a great parent and an amazing businesswoman, you absolutely can – but there’s something you just can’t ignore: your wellbeing.

As women we can tend to put everyone else first, and we end up at the very bottom of our to-do list. Yep, I do it too.

So those things that nurture your spirit, the moments or hobbies that feed your soul – just get left off. They don’t happen – we ignore them. And you know, sometimes that seems necessary – work has to be done, the children have to be fed etc. Painting a watercolour or reading poetry can feel like an unnecessary indulgence, and I can understand that. earth_heart

I wouldn’t advise letting that go on too long or your well will run dry, but what’s even more drastic is when we put our physical health at the bottom of the list. It seems like a whole other list of ‘to-do’s’ sometimes, right?!

Yet without our health, what have we got?!

Not a whole lot!!!

So, when you’re getting the kids a check-up at the doctors and dentists, make sure you get yourself one too. If you’re not feeling great, listen to the warning signs – have your physician run some tests.  Give yourself some time off, rest and recouperate when you need to – commit to fabulous self-care.

After a recent diagnosis of hypothyroidism I’ve become really particular about taking my vitamins every day, and I feel better for it.

From what I gather from my own reading and talking to friends who are health professionals, there are some basics that we all need that we no longer tend to get from our regular diets. These are:

  • a high quality Omega oil
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin B12
  • a good probiotic (not those awful yogurt drinks – unless you want a sugar bomb!).
  • Possibly also an Iron supplement, depending on your diet.

(By the way, liquid or spray vitamins are worth the extra because they are much more easily absorbed by our bodies)

For more details on this and building a healthier lifestyle I highly recommend checking out www.completelifestyle.co.uk  

I’m really working on improving my health at the moment, increasing my greens, getting more exercise and drinking more water. It’s an uphill battle sometimes I’ll be honest – but having vibrant health underpins everything, including how effective we can be with our time. It’s hard to succeed at all the roles we choose for ourselves when we’re not feeling well. So look after yourself – you’re absolutely worth it!

With love

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Back to School (Tips for taming the chaos!)

Screenshot 2016-08-30 14.31.40Yep, it’s that time of year again already – despite the summery weather it is actually Back-To-School time in the Northern hemisphere. Yikes – the thought of it fills most of us with horror!

Let me help you with a few easy tips to make it all go as smoothly as possible…

#1 Preparation is key

Getting a few things done ahead of time will save you a lot of stress – buying clothes/uniforms, sports kits, shoes, trainers (US: sneakers), fresh notebooks and stationery is par for the course. Yep, they’ve grown, again 😉

How about health checks? Haircuts? Dental check-ups? Enrollment for sports and other activities?

Wherever possible we try to ease back into the sleep routine too – what with all the sleepovers, adventures and late nights of the summer holidays, getting up for school can be a bit of a shock to the system for your kid! (and you too maybe!). A few early nights can really help everyone, and gradually dialing back the waking up time for your sleepy teenager will help them adjust.

Also have a think about what more they can do to help now that they’re that little bit older. New (school) year, new start. If they can’t make their lunch, maybe they could at least grab & wash the fruit for their snack?

(Tip: present this as a bit of an honour for them, now that they’re so big & so much more mature –backtoschool not a task to ‘help you’)

The night before school starts, help them get organised – bag packed, lunch made, clothes out ready, any kit they need for after-school activities and so on.

This is the time when the new schedules come out for their sports and activities too, so get your diary & family calendar out and write them all in now.

#2 Celebrate

It’s a crazy rush most mornings I know, and the first day back is a bit of a shock for most of us after a long summer, but take that moment to snap a photo of your children just before they head off to school. It’s a precious milestone, and it’ll fly by all too fast. Take a breath, take the photo and send them off to school with all your love <3

One of my friends has lovely little framed chalkboard that the kids hold with ‘First Grade’ or whatever written on it – it looks gorgeous on their photos (Note to self: Buy chalkboard!).

#3 Keep Calm and Carry On

Now you may still have younger children at home, even after your older kid(s) have gone to school, but wherever possible give yourself a little breathing space this week. It’s an emotional step when they start school or move up a grade/ year, and you might need a few moments to process that, it’s totally normal. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a tear in my eye!!

It’s ALL good!

Oh, and make sure you’ve got a couple of easy, healthy dinners in the freezer or fridge so that you’re not busy trying to cook something complicated while they’re trying to tell you all about the new classes they’re in and all the news from their friends.

Plus you know there’s always a stack of forms that need signing and other bits of paperwork that need to be done – so allow a bit of breathing space for that. Here’s a photo of what my daughter brought home on the first day of school!!!

2016-08-29 17.21.47Remember the ‘Eat That Frog’ bit in my book? Well, I ate that multicoloured multilayered frog in one sitting!! Urgh, I seriously hate paperwork. It’s the worst.

I’ve found that the best way for me is just to buckle down and get it over with. A reward to look forward to afterwards is always good too 🙂

Wishing you a smooth and easy transition into the school year – hope you & your kids have a wonderful year!

love

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