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Coach Carlene

You think managing time is the struggle. But what if I told you that’s only one piece of the puzzle?

I know. You wan’t a quick time management trick.

But, there isn’t one.

I work with people who all too often think they have a time management problem… They say, ” Carlene, if I could just learn to block my time better then I would be a SUPERSTAR at what I do.”

And yes, that will probably work in the short term.

But life will happen and you will start to notice that you have another problem.

So what’s the answer????

You need to shift your focus from managing your time to expanding your capacity – in other words – your energy, be it physical, emotional, or mental energy.

This is the secret sauce to getting stuff done – focus on expanding your energy instead of managing your time.

Here are 4 Key Shifts to Make

Shift #1:

From: Time Management
What you plan to do within a certain amount to time.

To: Expanding Your Energy
The energy you use within a certain amount of time.

Shift #2:

From: Time Management
Deciding what priority requires your attention.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Choosing when each priority gets your attention based on your energy.

Shift #3:

From: Time Management
Using a structured process for completing tasks in controlled environment.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Being adaptable to complete tasks, even in unpredictable circumstances.

Shift #4:

From: Time Management
Working for efficiency.

To: Expanding Your Energy
Working for effectiveness.

If you want to expand your energy to be more productive with your time, you need to ask yourself:

Where do I have limited energy?
Where do I have a limited ability to handle situations?
Is it emotionally, physically, or mentally?

While time is a finite resource, energy works differently.

Every one of our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors has an energy consequence.

Energy diminishes with both overuse and underuse, so it’s important to balance energy use with energy renewal.

Energy is a renewable resource, but only up to a certain point.

Scheduling every minute of free time to increase productivity may seem like a good use of time, but it doesn’t account for the need to replenish energy.

Some tasks also require more energy than others. High-energy tasks can’t be done productively when your energy is already eaten up by an already over scheduled day.

Have you ever had more than enough time to get your stuff done but because you lacked the energy to be effectively productive, you never finished?

That’s exactly why time management is not enough.

3 Specific Steps You Can Take to Expand Your Energy So You’re Performing at Your Best.

Step 1: Start by setting your boundaries

No one knows your energy limits better than you. By setting boundaries for yourself, you simultaneously protect your energy levels and motivate yourself to achieve your goals.

Create boundaries for how little or how much you want to accomplish in a specific day, depending on your priorities.

For example, let’s say you’re a therapist and your priority on a given day is to meet with patients. You get to decide how many therapy sessions to conduct in a single workday.

You may say it has to at least be one, but no more than six in a single workday.

Or, you could decide that you never hold sessions with patients on Fridays – you hold that day to get administrative work done.

Setting these boundaries for yourself can help you stay on-track while helping prevent burnout.

Keep in mind that you may need to adjust those boundaries over time.

For instance, you may find that only one or two therapy sessions a day is too little time to keep up with your patient-load, and you’ve found that you’re capable of increasing your maximum number of sessions per day without feeling burnt out.

On the other hand, if you set your boundary to eight sessions a day you may find it necessary to decrease your numbers.

Step 2: Include Rest and Recovery in Your Plans

When managing your energy, it’s important to thing about downtime. It shouldn’t be an afterthought. Instead, rest and recovery should be planned out so that they’re part of of your schedule.

While it’s true that recovery takes up valuable time that could be otherwise used to work, it’s an invaluable part of a routine for expanding your energy.

For example, I end my day with meditation. This is very new for me. But I’ve found that taking time to be still and intentional with my thoughts improves my sleep and gives me the energy I need to have a productive day tomorrow.

When you give yourself time to rest, you’ll renew your energy levels and become more productive when you’re back at work. You’ll also experience more positive emotions if you’re rested.

Be sure to add this rest and recovery time directly into your schedule. This is important if you tend to get distracted by work.

Treat your rest and recovery time just like you would a doctor’s appointment. Even if you’re running behind on other tasks, resist the temptation to work during your scheduled recovery time.

Step 3: Keep a journal of your energy levels.

Unlike time, energy isn’t a constant. Everyone has 24 hours in a singe day. But energy levels will vary from person to person and from day to dy. This true for emotional, physical and mental energy.

There are several factors that will influence how much energy you have. To help you better manage your energy and get more done, keep a journal of what energizes you and drains you. You can track the elements in your work and personal life. These can include:

  • How much sleep you get.
  • Your diet.
  • The frequency and length of your breaks
  • Who you spend your time with (some people suck the energy right out of us, others expand our energy)
  • Physical activity or lack thereof
  • Types of tasks you perform.
  • What gives you negative emotions. (managing negative emotions is a huge energy drain)

Keeping a journal will serve several purposes to help you manage your energy.

First, you’ll become more aware of what you can realistically accomplish, depending on what your day looks like.

Here’s an example. Let’s say teamwork takes up a lot of energy for you compared to working alone. After too long in a team meeting, you begin to have difficulty focusing.

If you have several tasks that require teamwork in your day, you’ll know that you need to schedule more breaks and take it easy for the rest of the day. This will make sure that you can be productive during your teamwork time.

Second, you can make lifestyle changes to maximize your energy levels. For example, if you find that doing exercise energizes you, then you can schedule more time to get a workout in every morning.

And if you discover that long. and infrequent breaks don’t work for you, you can take shorter, regular breaks instead.

Finally, keeping a journal can also help you keep a pulse on your core values. What do you really value and want to spend your energy on?

Wrapping it Up

When you start incorporating ways of expanding your energy into your day, you’ll be amazed at how well all those time management hacks that have had you so frustrated in the past will actually start working for you!

Is your planning system working for you? If not, check out my mini-course,

The Fail Proof Planning System

Have you ever made a list of goals and thought to yourself, “Tomorrow is the day! I’m gonna wake up and get started right away!”

But tomorrow morning comes, and you hit that snooze button a few too many times. Then you go workout (good for you, friend!) and your friend asks you to go for coffee. Of course, you’re excited to catch up, so you go. Coffee turns into several hours. Heck, you’re ready for lunch by the time you head home!

You realize it’s already past noon and you haven’t started on any of those things you promised yourself you would tackle.

Your desire to start fresh “tomorrow” has come and gone and you wake up the next morning thinking – why can’t I just make myself do what I say I need to do, especially when I want to do better?

You are not alone.

Making and keeping promises to yourself is what accountability is all about.

But let’s look at accountability from a different angle. I think it will give you some clarity.

Let’s dive into what accountability is NOT!

#1. Accountability is NOT something someone does for you.

One of the most common reasons people come to coaching is because they struggle to hold themselves accountable. They think that having a coach is magically going to make them do the things they say they’re going to do.

But, accountability isn’t something someone does for you. YOU do it for yourself.

You can say you’re going to use all the accountability strategies but they won’t work unless YOU put them in place. Makes sense, right?

TRY THIS

It’s so important to make and keep promises to yourself. Come up with a few promises that embody the type of character you want to represent. For example,

  • I promise to try my best.
  • I promise to finish what I start.
  • I promise to start.
  • I promise to take care of myself.

You have to start acting like the person you want to be.

#2. Accountability is NOT the same as motivation.

You have to actually want to be accountable. You have to be motivated and accountability will follow.

In order to find motivation you need to have clarity and desire. Without them, you will find it almost impossible to keep your promises to yourself.

If you don’t know what your goal is and why it matters to you, what’s your motivation to do the work?

TRY THIS

Get clear on your goals.

  • What do you want to accomplish?
  • Why is this important to you?
  • How is your life affected by not accomplishing these goals?
  • What is your first step in achieving your goal?
  • What potential obstacles do you anticipate and how do you think you can overcome them?

Now that you know your WHAT and your WHY you have the motivation to take action.

Remember, desire is created by the negative consequences or positive outcomes you’ll experience by holding or NOT holding yourself accountable.

You have to want to keep your job, get that promotion, show up for your friends and family or create that business.

Without clarity and desire accountability will always be an uphill battle.

#3. Accountability is NOT a one-time thing.

Accountability is a habit. And habits are not a one-time, sometime thing; They’re an all-time thing.

There are tiny daily habits that encourage and support accountability. And there are tiny daily habits that kill accountability.

Habits that Kill Accountability :

  • Hitting your snooze button.

Going in and out of sleep makes you more tired. It’s been found that you lose 2-4 hours of focused productivity each day you hit that snooze button.

  • Scrolling on social media.

I got a rude awakening when I started getting those notifications on my phone at the end of the week on the amount of time I spend looking at that screen every day and it was shocking. There is no reason I should spend 4-5 hours a day mindlessly scrolling. Honestly, what a waste of time.

Habits that Encourage Accountability

  • Making your bed every day.

Yes, I make my bed even when I’m traveling and staying in a hotel. It tells my brain it’s time to get up and start my day. it’s a small promise that I keep to myself. And doesn’t a made bed look pretty?

  • Planning your day the night before.

Do you get out of bed and just start your day without a plan? Even if you have a few anchor point to your routine, such as leaving the house at a particular time each morning, having a better map of your day can help you hold yourself accountable.

If you know you want to meditate, exercise, pay the bills, chances are they will not happen. Scheduling the tasks that are necessary to move you forward on your goals will help you hold yourself accountable.

TRY THIS

Track your habits in detail for a week. It will help you become aware of how you are spending your time.

Accountability starts with awareness and happens because of the tiny habits that support you keeping your promises to yourself. Once you know your habits, tweak them to encourage a mindset of accountability.

#4. Accountability is NOT about you feeling ready.

We do not live in an ideal world. There are rarely perfect circumstances, so many things are out of our control. But, you still have the ability to make the best decisions possible and focus on the things you can control.

TRY THIS

Begin by adjusting your mindset from an “I’m just so scared and uncertain” to an “It’s okay to do things and stumble along the way” mindset. To do this you have to acknowledge and accept the following:

  • Every choice has a consequence.
  • Long lasting change comes from long-term effort.
  • Stumbling and erring are part of the process, not an end to the work.
  • I need to be brave and face my truths, which sometimes means answering tough questions about who I am, what actions I take, and what I’m willing (and not willing) to sacrifice.
  • Investing in myself is important and worth the time, money and effort as needed.

#5 Accountability does NOT mean that you don’t get stuck.

If you’re doing anything new or challenging, you will get stuck! So it’s best to prepare for it.

TRY THIS

Take a moment to think of what stands in your way of making progress and come up with strategies to help you overcome or bypass these situations.

Here are some common ones:

Procrastination:

Identify your biggest distractions and come up with strategies to manage them. For example, if you’re distracted by your phone, keep it in another room and set your timer for one hour. When the alarms sounds, you can check your phone. Own up to what distracts you and figure out how to eliminate it.

Negative thoughts:

How you choose to think and frame things can make all the difference with your approach and commitment to working on your goals. Instead of thinking, “I can’t,” replace these words with, “I’ll try.” Instead of spending time at the end of your day focusing on the things that went wrong, focus on the things that went right. The words and perspectives you choose are in your control, so create a can-do mindset.

Are you ready now to take charge and hold yourself accountable?

The bottom line is, no matter how many motivational posts or self-help books you read, YOU have to do the work. You have to hold yourself accountable for the choices you make and the consequences they bring.

What is one thing you’re going to put in practice from this article? Tell me in the comments.

Looking for the best way to plan your goals and make room for everything going on in your life?

Check out the Fail-Proof Planning System – Mini-Course

Busy, busy, busy – mindlessly doing whatever pops up next.

This is how so many of us move through our day. We are constantly in reaction mode, pleasing everyone but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be this way.

You can choose to run your day instead of letting your day run you.

Let’s face it. Left to its own devices, your day can run you into the ground leaving you feeling like a failure at the end of every day.

Here are a few things that I avoid to stay on top of my game, especially when I start to feel a little burnout.

These things help me stay organized, on task and also give me a little bit of time and space to just breathe. What a concept, right?

#1 Avoid ending the workday without a plan for the next day.

I preach this over and over because it’s that big of a deal.

To stay on top of my game, I end the workday with a plan for the next day, and it’s in my calendar.

If I’m going to plan for five tasks tomorrow, five things that I’m going to get done tomorrow, like record a podcast, get on a call with my ads team, troubleshoot my quiz, whatever it might be, then I actually have time slots on my calendar for each of those tasks.

It’s called scheduling it. Give every task a time slot.

Have you ever sat down and wrote a list of all the things you’re going to get done that day, and then you only get half of them done?

Oh yes, I’ve done that and I’d look at that list and realize I never had the time to do all of it. There weren’t enough hours in the day to get all of this stuff done. And I was sick of feeling defeated every day, that I had a list of ten things, and only five got done. I felt like a loser at the end of the day.

The lesson here is don’t set yourself up to feel like a failure.

One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is a reality check of “What’s really possible today?”

It’s not about lowering our expectations, or going easy on ourselves. It’s about setting small, daily, attainable goals.

And when we accomplish these things every day it boosts our productivity, our confidence and our motivation. It creates momentum.

I always, always, always look at my calendar the day before. I’m never surprised in the morning about what’s to come. When I’m shutting things down at, let’s say 5p.m., I take time to look at tomorrow’s calendar and make sure I’m very clear about how the day is going to go. If anything isn’t sitting well, I’ll figure it out in advance, because I love to hit the ground running in the morning.

When you fiercely manage your calendar (and yourself), you win the day. When I’m done at the end of the day, I feel very accomplished and that hasn’t always been the case.

If you’re ending your workday feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, overworked, just mad that you didn’t get all the stuff done, try what I laid out for you here. You have to be really diligent and intentional, but you will win the day. I promise you that.

#2 Avoid hitting the snooze button.

How we set-up our day determines how we end our day.

It’s so common for many of us to hit the snooze button everyday. The amount of sleep you get never feels like enough, so you use your snooze button to tack on an extra 10,20, 30 minutes… whatever you can squeeze in.

Those stolen minutes – as delicious as they seem – aren’t worth it.

I’ve heard you should get up as soon as your alarm rings – but why is hitting that snooze button bad for your?

Turns our this habit is counterintuitive; instead of giving us a little more rest, it makes us more tired during the day.

The body needs some time to get you ready to wake up. When you let yourself go back to sleep, your body thinks, “False alarm! I guess I didn’t need to do anything, because we’re not getting up after all,” and settles in.

When that buzzer goes off a second time, your body and brain are taken by surprise, resulting in the groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling called sleep inertia. The more you snooze, the more confused your body and brain get (“So are we going back to sleep or not?!”), so you’ll probably feel more out of it even though you spent extra time in bed.

What’s more, this groggy, fuzzy-headed feeling can persist for up to two to four hours.

This sleep inertia ads to difficulty getting our day started. It’s harder to get in the zone and focus. Our attention span is shorter throughout the day. We get cranky more easily and we give up on ourselves.

At day’s end, we feel like garbage because we didn’t get our stuff and then we repeat the snooze button habit all over agin.

The answer here is simple.

Set your alarm for the time you really want to get up. When your alarm goes off, GET UP!

#3 Avoid jamming your schedule so tight that you can’t breathe.

I have full days, like head down, 8:30 to 6p.m.

But I also have cushion built in my calendar.

You’ll see 15-30 minute or one-hour chunks of time with literally the name cushion on them. That means that between coaching sessions, meetings, recording podcasts or writing blogs, I give myself a buffer where I have space to breathe, go walk or cuddle with Kipp, refill my water bottle, grab some lunch, whatever it might be.

I always have a built-in cushion because I don’t want things to be so tight that one coaching session runs into the next or other tasks that take me longer than planned screw up my entire day. It’s like a domino effect everything falls apart.

If you can start to get into the practice of adding a little cushion to your calendar, I promise you, you will not feel so depleted and tired at the end of the day.

Wrapping It Up

Again, here’s the three things I avoid to stay on top of my day.

The first is that I avoid ending the work day without a plan for the next day.

Second, I avoid hitting the snooze button. Now that you know how it kills your focus during the day, I hope you avoid it too.

Third, I avoid packing my day so tight that I can’t breathe.

It’s one day at a time. Avoiding these three things helps me stay on top of my game and get a lot done throughout the day, throughout the weeks, throughout the months, throughout the quarters, and throughout the year.

I hope they help you too!

Looking for more support on taking charge of your days? Check out

THE FAIL PROOF PLANNING SYSTEM

Giving you all the coaching and tools you need to tackle every day with confidence.

When I was growing up I kept a pretty, pink diary hidden under my mattress. And of course, it had a lock on it. OMG, I would’ve died if anyone read my deepest thoughts, dreams, and worries. And I’m sure there were some secret crushes in there that absolutely had to remain secret.

Keeping that diary was so good for me and I wish I would have never stopped “paper-thinking” – or today it’s called journaling.

The last few years have taken its toll on me (and I’m sure you can relate) so I started journaling and it’s brought me so much clarity, and reduced my stress and anxiety.

So I want to share with you the 5 Step Technique that makes journaling easy – that won’t leave you staring at a blank page.

All of my fellow journalers already know this.

Getting your thoughts out of your brain and onto a piece of paper is often all the relief you need. Thinking about what you are thinking about on paper is sometimes just enough to allow you to stop the spinning thoughts in your head.

Now, you might think that journaling is just figuring out the garbage that you are thinking about during the day. Yes, that is one way to journal. But there’s more.

Journaling can basically be broken down into 7 categories.

  1. Your past
  2. Other people
  3. Things in the world
  4. Yourself
  5. Your future
  6. Gratitude
  7. Goals

All of these are things you can journal and write about.

So many of us sit around thinking all kinds of garbage about journaling. When you hear, “you need to journal,” do you think…

Ugh, journaling takes too long,

I don’t know what to write about,

This aint gonna help me do the darn thing,

I’m scared of what I might uncover,

I’m so ashamed of what I think so I’d rather not do it,

I don’t seem to go deep enough?

Here’s the problem. If you don’t change your attitude about journaling, you’ll be denying yourself major breakthroughs, a path to finally doing the things you’ve been too afraid to do.

We all got mental baggage that we can’t see throughout the day. But, the problem isn’t the baggage. The problem is leaving our baggage unchecked and unsupervised each day.

When you don’t see your default thinking on paper that means you get to see your default thinking coming true in your life in the form of self-sabotage, overthinking, or worrying.

And when I say paper, I mean actual paper that you write on with a pen or pencil. I don’t want you to type on your computer. I want you to write it with your hand. I mean, call me old school, but there is something powerful about sitting in a quiet room with a notebook on your lap and physically writing it down. Studies have shown your are having a deeper experience than when you’re just typing it. I’m not going to quote the studies, but I promise they’re out there.

So, here’s how I set up my routine. It’s very simple. I’m committed to ten minutes of journaling 3-4 days a week. I’m working up to 5 days. Yes, I absolutely could do longer than 10 minutes, and sometimes I do. But you have to set yourself up for success. So for me, 10 minutes is something I know I can do and a short-enough period of time that I will not let myself make any excuses not to do it.

Here’s the 5-Step Journaling Technique I use.

Step 1: Observe

The whole point of journaling is to just notice what you’re thinking about in any give situation. You want to ask questions that will get your brain willing to respond, like;

What problem am I trying to solve? What are the things I’m worried about today?

Another great way to get your thoughts going and get words on the page is to make a gratitude list because you want to explore some of the great things that are happening in your life, too.

You could also start with your to-do list for the day. Then ask yourself, “What are my thoughts about getting this done today? What are the easiest things to do? What are the most important things I could do from this list?

Remember, journaling for today can literally be three sentences about what you’re thinking. You just want to notice what’s coming up for you.

Step 2: Accept

A lot of people are judgmental of their thinking. I am one of them. When they observe their own thoughts, they start saying judgmental things to themselves like, “I’m ridiculous,” or “What’s wrong with me?” “Okay, listen. This is terrible. But I was thinking…”

Listen here. It’s not terrible.

Everyone has thoughts that don’t necessarily serve them. It’s not weird and it’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of. Give yourself some grace. And when you do this, it takes the pressure off of journaling, meaning no thought is “bad”, anything goes, and it allows you to start taking some authority over this process of getting your thoughts and feelings onto paper.

Step 3: Neutralize

This is when you take all the inflammatory language out of your thoughts.

Instead of thinking and writing.

“Ill never be able to grow my business,” you instead want to write something like, “I’m in the process of trying to grow my business.”

You want to take everything down a notch. Take a look at the thoughts that you have that are highly charged with emotion and highly triggering.

I’ll go over my notes at the end. I’ll look for adjectives and adverbs and descriptors, and literally cross them out.

The goal is to strip your thinking down to a neutral place because it allows you to see more of the facts.

When the emotional charge is removed, you’re able to start thinking from a clean slate, which is way more productive and so much better for your mental health.

Step 4: Recalibrate

Ask yourself, “What’s my next best thought?

If you’re thinking something like, “I’ll never be able to build my business,” and then you neutralize that to “I’m building a business,” your next best thought might be, “I am doing all the things I need to do to build my business right now.” So your next best thought is, “I’m in it. I’m doing it. This is happening.”

Step 5: Activate

Ask yourself, “What’s the next move I can make?”

It could be, to just let it go and stop worrying about things you can’t control. Or it could be, I’m going to call that person I’ve always wanted to collaborate with for my business.

Answer it. No excuses. And do it!

Your Next Steps

That’s it, friend!

I don’t want you to get to the end of your journaling practice where you just feel bad. I’ve been there. It’s like I just literally threw up on the page and I’m journaling all the challenges I’m worried and frustrated about. I don’t feel like it was cathartic. I feel like I just complained for ten minutes.

That’s why I make sure I do this 5-Step Technique, especially when I’m having a really hard time, and I put a lot of negativity on the page. I know I’m going to gently massage these thoughts into something factual, honest, and actionable.

If journaling isn’t part of your daily practice right now, I want you to look at your calendar and schedule 10 minutes – that’s it – 10 minutes to work through the process.

It takes some time to get used to, and you don’t have to do it for every journaling session. But I really do believe that it makes a huge difference.

Now, there is one final thing I’d love for you to do, whether you’re new to journaling or not. Take out your journal and write down the 5 steps on the inside cover or somewhere so you’ll see them. (Observe, Accept, Neutralize, Recalibrate, and Activate)

Do you ever feel like you don’t have enough time to make it through your to-do list?

Me too.

The size difference between what I need to do and how much time I had in the day used to drive me bonkers.

But then I realized something helpful. I’ll always have more ideas, more projects, more tasks and more dreams than I can possibly accomplish on the to-do list.

That’s not failure.

That just means my imagination is bigger than my calendar. No puny calendar is a match for my ability to create new ideas and projects.
What freedom that is!

So, I thought I’d share 3 ways that I manage my huge imagination and encourage you to keep dreaming and imagining.

#1. Get your ideas out of your head.

Everything doesn’t have to go on your calendar. I know, I know. How many times have I preached about having a plan?

Here’s the truth. Not every idea is meant to come to life. Maybe it’s simply an idea that will lead to another, and another and finally another idea that you will bring to life.

Get a notebook or an app on your phone, and write down these creative ideas to get them out of your head. As long as an idea is in your head, it’s taking a little bit of your attention. Keep a rolling list, and trust yourself to look at the list later and take action.

Don’t overcomplicate it. The goal is to be able to capture ideas anytime, any place. The act of writing it down might also be enough to make it stick in your memory.

#2. Tap into your creative energy.

Decide which idea you will explore first.

  • Which idea gets your heart racing?
  • Which idea have you shared with someone because, well, it’s THAT good?
  • Which idea is screaming, “Pick me, pick me.”?

Don’t overthink it. Listen to your gut. Pick one and get started.

Here’s a little secret. You don’t need to schedule a time to work on the idea you choose – unless you really NEED to.

Instead, dive in when you’re feeling that creative energy. If you’re more creative at night, do it then. Pay attention to the times of day your creativity is at its’ peak.

Sometimes, you’ve got to let your energy guide you to where you want to be spending your time.

#3. Let it go.

It’s okay to flirt with multiple ideas. After all, flirting is harmless.

But if you find yourself starting a hundred things and never finishing, try this.

Before starting a new idea, ask yourself these questions about the idea you have already started.

  • Am I still interested in this?
  • Does this excite me?
  • Why is this important?
  • What have I learned since I started this, that has change my energy around it? For example, you discovered you don’t have the money, time, expertise or you’ve learned the results would be harmful or goes against your values.

If your answers are telling you that your heart isn’t in it anymore that’s okay.

Cross it off your idea list, and call it done.

When we don’t finish something we are too quick to say ” I failed”. Not motivating at all. Instead, you need to “call it” – GAME OVER! Move on to something else. Give yourself that closure and move on to your next big idea.

Remember, you are a creative being. Share your ideas with others. Think the craziest things. Let your imagination run wild.

Are you soooooo done with everything being so dang hard and stressful?

We make things unnecessarily hard for ourselves.

You don’t get a badge of honor for having so much “hard” in your life..

No, no, no!

The only thing you get is a pile of stress and a toxic mindset of “life is hard” that bleeds into everything you do.

The thought of “this is hard” is a sneaky one. It’s not accurate. What we really mean is that doing some things is uncomfortable. Ummm…. uncomfortable isn’t the same as hard. Hard is painful. Discomfort is something we can tolerate until we get comfortable.

Most people aren’t willing to experience discomfort. We are wired to avoid pain (or perceived pain) far more than gain pleasure.

What’s the worst that could happen if you put yourself on the line by doing something new, scary or intimidating? A feeling. A temporary bad feeling. It will not kill you or even hurt you.

Research reveals that human emotions last for a whopping 90 seconds before changing shape.

90 seconds! We have more than 1400 minutes in a day, so I think we could all withstand almost anything for one and a half of them.

All emotions are temporary. Good and bad.

A courageous person knows that the cost of going for it is therefore worth it. Because what’s the risk, really? Experiencing some temporary uncomfortable emotions is as bad as it gets.

What would you be doing if you were willing to experience a negative emotion? Asking someone out or asking for a raise at work?

First, be willing to be uncomfortable and then try these 3 simple ways to let things be easy.

#1 Change the conversation.

The reason why things are hard is because we tell ourselves it’s hard.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Don’t Say:

This is gonna be so hard.

Instead Say:

I remember when I did xxxx, and I thought that was gonna be hard, but it really wasn’t.

Don’t Say:

This is huge.

Instead Say:

It’s just a book, (just an instrument, just a talk, just a dish, just a class, just a test).
Now when you finish that book drop the word “just”. Celebrate your accomplishment. When someone congratulates you, accept that and say “Yes!, I finished my book!” Not, “Oh it’s just a book. Lots of people write them.”

Don’t Say:

I don’t even know where to start.

Instead Say:

Hmmmm. This is new. I don’t know exactly know what to do, but I’ll figure it out as I go.

The names you give your work matter, they have power. How you describe something impacts how you show up or don’t show up. Words can make things seem big, intimidating or scary.

#2 Start Before You Start

Starting is usually the hardest part of anything. Well, unless you’re the kind of person who starts tons of things but never finishes them. Wherever you are on the start-finish spectrum, starting before you start will make a huge difference in the perceived difficulty of any task.

What you do the evening before you start matters just as much as what you do each morning. In fact, what you do the night before makes it much more likely that you’ll accomplish what you’re aiming to get done on any given day.

First, set your intention for the day. End each day by writing the 3-5 most important things you want to get done tomorrow. Schedule those things on your calendar.

The worst thing is getting to your desk and scratching your head trying to decide what you should do first. Decide the night before.

I wear 20 different hats in my business. I can choose from creating digital products, to working on certification stuff, to administrative stuff, to networking, to writing blog posts, to personal stuff, and the list goes on. If I leave it up to how I feel in the morning, I guarantee you I will not be working on what is most important.

Finally, set up your workspace so all you need to do is sit or stand at your desk and start.

Let’s say I decide the first thing I’m going to do tomorrow is record a couple videos. Now I need to physically set myself up to start.

  • Tonight, I am going to set up and test all my equipment.
  • I’m going to make sure everything I need is charged.
  • I’ll also let my family know I’m going to be recording at a certain time, so they don’t bust up my recording unknowingly.
  • I’ll decide on what I’m going to wear and lay it all out.

# 3 Take Baby Steps

Don’t focus on going from 0 to 100. Focus on going from 0 to 1.

Gradual progression always double your efforts and it’s the only way anyone achieves a goal.

So stop worrying about where you’ll be 100 days from now. Put your head down and focus on what you can make progress on right now.

It’s the tiny steps you take every single day that will pave the way to achieving anything. You just need to develop the simple discipline to do it.

According to Mel Robbins, simple discipline is the practice of making and keeping promises to yourself. These promises are the foundation for your daily life, which is the foundation for achieving your goals.

The only way to change the big things in your life is to change the small things first – your daily habits, your morning routine, your evening routine and everything in between.

Start by making your bed every morning. Yes, I make my bed even when I’m at a hotel. When you make your bed in the morning it will automatically make you feel productive since you just completed something. And doesn’t it look nice?! You can throw your covers over the wrinkled sheets, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

One small task can make a huge difference in making you feel more confident to start your day.

Wrapping it Up: 3 Simple Ways to Make Things Easy

#1 Change the Conversation

#2 Start Before You Start

#3 Take Baby Steps

If you’re looking for more ways to confidently get through the scary and hard things in life hop on the waitlist for my on-line course opening this month

UNDAUNTED: The Art of Taking Action Even if You Doubt Yourself.

We are busy people. Our clocks are thin and tired, our schedules full and bloated.

But somehow we find a way to give our time to a host of wonderful distractions.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to finish that on-line course and then tell me about all those yummy recipes you’re going to try after watching hours of cooking shows.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to write your novel and then give me intricate plot details about the six shows you’re watching.

Please don’t tell me you’re too busy to update your resume and then update your social media accounts constantly.

There is a reason the average 21-year-old has played 10,000 hours of video games.

There is a reason the average American watches 35 hours of TV a week according to Nielsen.

Our minds running on auto-pilot is the reason!

We make hundreds of mindless choices every day that don’t naturally gravitate to things that matter or work we really care about. Our brains are always looking for the easy way out.

It’s all a big lie. You can’t control or manage time.

But you can control your choices.

It’s about managing yourself in the space of time.

You can’t create more minutes in an hour or more hours in a day.

But, you can find more minutes and hours when you make better choices.

Here’s a better choice:

Wait 15 minutes to turn on Netflix and do something that matters to you. Work on a skill. Take a tiny step to move forward on a goal. Check something small off your to-do list.

I don’t care how busy you are. You have 15 minutes hidden somewhere in your day.

Ready for the challenge?

I dare you to rescue that tiny amount of time each day and then watch what happens this summer. That first 15 minutes will grow to 30 and then 45 and then 60. By the end of the summer, you will have worked for 1.500 minutes. You will have 25, on purpose, goal-crushing hours under your belt.

If you’re with me, pick one skill or goal you want to give your 15 minutes to and then get going. It’s possible to find time. All it takes is making a better decision.

Are you in a season that’s exciting and makes you want to jump out of bed everyday? Or, maybe you’re in a season where you feel kind of meh.? Or, maybe you’re in a season that’s stressful and exhausting and you can’t wait to get back to better days?

I’m in a rough season right now. It’s been grueling and has taken it’s toll on my relationships, my productivity, my energy, my focus, my self-esteem, and dare I say, my outlook.

I don’t want to bore you with the details of this season I’m in. Because, no one’s seasons are the same. Here are some different seasons you can probably relate to like; being a huge support to your grown/almost grown kids, taking care of aging parents. running your own business, staying in the game of your profession because, my gosh, you have worked so dang hard to get there.

Or maybe you’re in a season of transition; moving, becoming an empty-nester, divorce, mourning the end of a friendship that has run its course, a job change, retirement. The list is long.

Some seasons are full of joy. Others are full of sorrow. Others are little of both, AKA bittersweet.

I’ve come to learn that life is full of seasons and it’s how we navigate them that really matters. When a new season rolls around I get overwhelmed. I start to lose my footing, and as result, I become super vulnerable to anything that throws me off.

So, that’s why I wanted to share a couple different ways that I stay grounded, especially in situations like the past few weeks, when things have gotten really tough.

Here’s what has helped me stay grounded as I move from season to season.

Change Your Scorecard

We’re always wearing so many hats, and there’s only so much time to get things accomplished. If you are still measuring yourself by the high bar you set for yourself in a joyful season or a season where you were the master of your days and you are now in a season where your time is not your own, you need a new scorecard.

Why?

Because your priorities have changed. It’s time to change your expectations of yourself. There is absolutely no shame in putting things off for a few months or longer. If you’re in a really busy season you have to look at that calendar.

So, if you had all these projects you wanted to tackle but your time is now spent caring for a sick child, partner, or parent, you need to readjust your expectations. If you don’t, you’ll be constantly beating yourself up for “not getting anything done”. Trust me. It’s terrible for your self-esteem.

You should be measuring if you’ve been showing up for this person as best as you can. Have you brought your best self to the situation? Sure, you can keep one project on your scorecard, but lower the bar. I know that doesn’t feel good initially, but you will soon realize you just took a whole lot of pressure off yourself.

Remind Yourself You Are In A Season

One thing I do when things are tough is to remind myself that I’m in a season and that this, too, shall pass. The season I’m in right now is one I’ve been in for awhile, and it’s a whole lot of bittersweet.

Please hear me when I say that I’m not complaining. I’m beyond grateful to have my amazing family and friends. I’m so grateful for the business I’ve created and to have the opportunity to wake up and do the things that I love every single day. Truly. But just like you, I’m human, and sometimes it can be a lot.

By reminding myself that this is just a season and that it will eventually end, I’m able to rein in some of those negative thoughts and maintain a much better mindset.

Be Grateful

Now, on the flip side, when things are going really, really well – when you’re just hitting it on all cylinders, like, things are just moving and flowing – that, too, is a season.

I think about how I’m in a season right now that on one hand, I’m looking forward to getting out of, but on the other hand, I know there is an incredibly painful loss that defines the end of this season. Bittersweet.

Whether it’s a great season, or kind of a rough season like I’m in now, I’m just going to be grateful because I know the season I’m in now, I’m growing. And at the same time, I’m just grateful that I know things are going to move forward and change. And, if I was in an amazing season right now, I’d be grateful for it because I know it doesn’t always stay that way.

Breathe

When I started doing breathing exercises this year, I had no idea that I have the most shallow breath. It’s hard for me to take a really deep breath. Is it easy for you take a deep breath and count to four? Like, one, two, three, four, maybe fix, six? Can you do a little bit more and then hold it for four? And then let it out for eight? That’s what they do on the Calm app, I breathe in for four, hold for four, out for eight.

When you take a deep breath in, hold it and let it out, your entire body responds. Science backs this up. Deep breathing stimulates your vagus nerve that then calms you. I do this every morning before getting out of bed. Then you’ll find me throughout the day now just taking a moment, just taking a breath. Deep breathing gets me through those anxious moments.

Ask For Help

Finally, when I’ve got too many plates spinning in the air and I feel like they’re all about to come crashing down, I have to be brutally honest with myself. I can’t pretend that I’ll somehow get it all done. This is so closely tied to Changing Your Scorecard above. Lying to myself is only going to make it worse for me and everyone else.

Instead, I need to lean on my amazing family and friends and delegate some things that I absolutely need to take off my plate. Most importantly, I can’t be afraid to ask for support.

So, in this season, I’m not worrying about getting dinner on the table or grocery shopping. My family is so capable and willing to take that on. I’ve had to push some big things off in my business and focus on my 1:1 coaching clients.

Wrapping It Up

When a new season is upon you, reprioritize your scorecard, eliminating, delegating, changing expectations. Remind yourself seasons of life are normal. You will be okay. Just breathe.

My friend, whatever season you are in, know we are all in this together. Right now is the time to love yourself hard. Love those around you you hard. Give yourself the space to move through your priorities at a pace that feels manageable to you. And in the moments you feel like you’ve jumped into more than you can handle or life has just dumped it on you, remember that you’ve got this, and I am so cheering you on.

You’re constantly running from one thing to the next and not finishing anything like a hamster on a wheel. So of course you are stressed and overwhelmed.

One of the key ways I manage that kind of stress and overwhelm is batching.

Batching you ask?

Batching is when you dedicate chunks of time to work on similar tasks without any interruptions. These chunks of time will generally be at least two hours but can go on for multiple days.

Are you ready to discover some key areas in your life where batching will make all the difference?

There are so many great opportunities for batching, from administrative type tasks, to writing, to household chores.

You are about to become a batching machine!

I’ve been batching for years and have fine-tuned my process. Why reinvent the wheel? Take what works for me and see if you can use this time-tested strategy for your own life.

Are you ready to become a batching machine?

Here are some real life examples of batching. See what ideas these spark for you.

If you use social media in your profession, you might batch the writing of your social media posts for the week for three consecutive hours every Monday with no interruptions. Just three fully-focused hours creating social media posts. That’s a batch.

Batch going through your emails; unsubscribing, responding to the them or organizing them.

You might decide to batch other administrative tasks like making appointments on-line or via phone. I do this all the time. By themselves these are the annoying little things that I put off for later. Before I know it, I’ve got six appointments I’ve been putting off. So, I batch it. I make a list of the things I need to schedule, grab my planner, get on-line or make the phone call and schedule all of them. Boom, just like that I got six things off my to-do list and most importantly out of my head.

I batch my coaching sessions. I only coach on Mondays and Tuesdays. This allows me to get and stay in the coaching zone. I’m 100% focused on my clients and I’m not distracted by the hundreds of other things that come up. This is protected time.

I batch my errands. If I’m going to run out, I make a list of the places I need to hit. It could be the bank, grocery store, post office – you get the point. Call me crazy, but I map out my route so I’m not running back and forth from end of town to the other.

I batch write my blog posts, including this one. I set aside four hour blocks and create six blog posts. The first batch I do is six weeks of blog posts and then the next batch is six emails for those blog posts.

Don’t worry. I take breaks between each one or I can start to feel like a hot mess. Recharging during my batching is so important.

When I’m working on bigger projects, like creating the Undaunted Course, I batch for several days in a row. If I didn’t batch certain chunks of the course creation process it would have taken me five to ten times longer to get it done.

Batching can save you time, stress and effort.

Increased Focus and Productivity

First batching allows for increased focus when you work on the tasks you designated for that period of time. More focus equals better quality work, for sure.

Because of your focused effort while batching, distractions are majorly reduced or eliminated. This requires some willpower on your part. You’ve got to create a distraction-free zone and place boundaries around your batching time to protect your focus time.

All of this increases your productivity. You save a lot of time, hours and hours and hours of time, to be exact. Imagine what you could do with all that time.

Reduced Stress

Taking care of similar tasks in the same chunk of time will help you feel much less frazzled and stressed. You’ll know what you’re working on and for how long. Having boundaries around this time will eliminate the stress of making decisions if other things pop up. You know this batching time is the choice you made. Period. This is where you are and what you’re doing.

No Context Switching

There should be no context switching going in your batching. Context switching is when you switch back and forth between tasks. Studies show that it takes 23 minutes to get back on task when you jump around. Imagine if you context switch three times in one day. That’s over an hour wasted.

Less Mistakes

Constantly skipping around throughout the day can be distracting and disorienting. Of course, nobody’s perfect. But, this disjointed approach to your work can result in far too many mistakes and oversights, including typos and emails sent to the wrong people.

By batching, you will find yourself making fewer of these slip-ups. I’m no scientist, but I’ll go ahead and credit the fact that because you are able to dedicate all of your focus to the task currently in front of you, your thoughts aren’t as scattered, which means you are able to proactively catch any of those little blunders and errors.

Time Away From Certain Tasks

Finally, batching allows you to have time away from doing certain tasks. Even if you love what you do, having to always be touching something everyday in your life can really stifle your creativity. I know firsthand what that feels like.

Before I began batching my blog posts, I was working on my blog every single week. A little here, a little there. I never got ahead and it become a little like Groundhog Day where every day felt the same, always working on my blog. It started to suck away my creativity.

It’s important to have white space in order to be creative, to allow your brain to focus on new and different ideas, to find inspiration and refuel. If you’re constantly touching the same project every single day, you’re not allowing that creativity to flow.

What Areas Can You Batch in Your Life?

To batch or not to batch is not the question you should be asking yourself. The question you should be asking is “What are all the areas I can batch in my life?”

If you can’t come up with any, try this exercise.

  1. Look at your to-do list for the next week.
  2. Grab some highlighters to color code and group similar items together.
  3. Then, write an entirely new list – paying attention to the grouping (these are your batches) of items based on your color coding.
  4. Look at each batch category and determine how much time you want to set for each batching session.
  5. Schedule this time on your calendar.

The couple of extra minutes you spend organizing your to-do’s into batches will end up being well worth it!

Wrapping It Up

Your next step is to decide what you’re going to batch, add your batching days to your calendar, and enjoy the newfound free time batching allows you.

Get your free guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

When was the last time you completed a projected that truly mattered to you? When was the last time you set an important goal and you made it happen?

I mean, doesn’t it feel GREAT to check something off your list or complete an important project or say that something is finally DONE?

To take charge and be the BOSS of yourself and your goals is incredibly motivating.

Yes, of course, it feels amazing. I want you to experience that feeling more often. And to make sure that you really master this ability to finish what you start, AKA follow-through, I’m sharing the steps I use every day in my life and business. These steps create a little acronym that spells boss. B – O – S – S. Because BOSS is who you need to be to follow-through.

Now once you’ve mastered these four steps, you’re going to be way more likely to finish what you start. Okay, lets get started on building that follow-through habit using the BOSS Formula.

STEP #1: B stands for: Be Focused & Specific

Right off the bat, there are two big problems that get in our way of following through. First, most of us are working on way too many things at once. We allow ourselves to be pulled in too many directions. Instead of making meaningful progress on a single project that really, really matters, we wind up feeling constantly overloaded and overwhelmed.

Now the second problem. Oftentimes we are fuzzy about our outcome. Meaning, most of the time, we’re just working hard and trying to keep our heads above water and we don’t have a clearly defined, achievable result that we’re working towards.

The good news here is, we have the power to fix both of these problems. And when we do, we gain some serious momentum and we train ourselves to become a master of follow-through.

The very first step is this; we must FOCUS. Meaning, focus on what’s truly most important. And to be clear – I’m not talking about several things here, I’m talking about choosing just ONE thing. One TOP priority. One single goal.

What is one thing you could focus on (a single project or goal) that, if you finished it, it would make a tremendous positive impact in your life?

If you’re having trouble committing to JUST one thing, I want you to remember this:

If you’re unwilling to commit to one thing, you’re going to likely be distracted by everything.

Now once you’ve decided on the goal you want to focus on, you’re ready to Be Specific. Which means, define what success will look like when you get this done. You have to define what finished looks like. Yes, your goal has to be specific, measurable, and achievable. You should be able to say without a doubt – “Yes, I am finished and I followed through!”

Let’s say your goal is to reboot your health and you say to yourself, “Yeah, I really do want to feel better by the summer.” That, my friend, is vague and a fairly useless goal because it’s not well defined.

On the other hand if you said to yourself “You know what, I really need to reset my health and here’s my goal: for the next 30 days I’m going to eliminate gluten and alcohol and dairy and caffeine.” That’s WAY better right? Of course it is – because it is specific and measurable and achievable.

Your action item right now is to decide on ONE SINGLE goal and to define it in specific, measurable and achievable terms.

STEP #2: O Stands for “Organize Your Time and Schedule It.”

You’ve gotten focused and specific about your MOST important goal and now you’ve got to organize your life around achieving it. And in order to do that, we have got to face down the biggest BS excuse we can all use for not following through. You know what that is?

“You know what, I just don’t have the time.”

C’mon now… I know we’ve all said this. And you know what? It’s a pretty sad excuse, because we’re all given the same 24 hours each and every day. It’s just that some people have learned to use their time a lot more wisely.

You and I both know that we always make time for the things that truly matter. So if you want to master your ability to follow-through, remember this.

If it’s not scheduled, It’s Not Real

Meaning, if you don’t decide in advance exactly when and where you’re going to do the work, and have that time specifically blocked out on your calendar, you gotta face it, you don’t care that much about it. It’s not going to happen.

This is not just my opinion. In study after study, researchers have found ONE thing to be true. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, a professor at Columbia University,

Deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chance for success.

Did you hear that? Double or triple your chance for success? Anyone?!

This, my friend, is why your calendar needs to become your new best friend. It’s an invaluable tool to bring your dreams to life. And, scheduling is a simple way to organize your life around what’s most important. Meaning that one incredible goal you just set.

Open your calendar and decide exactly when and where you’re going to work to bring your top goal to life.

STEP #3: S Stands for “Set NO as Your Default Answer.”

Look, saying “no” to yourself and others is essential to follow-through. This isn’t about being an arrogant a-hole, this isn’t about saying no haphazardly. This is about saying no deliberately and strategically and, of course, compassionately.

You have GOT to give yourself permission to STOP trying to do it all. Stop saying yes to everyone and everything and every new idea. Because here’s the truth; everything you say YES to, means you’re saying NO to something else. In economic terms, that’s called “opportunity cost” and it’s a serious thing.

For example, you go to a bridal shower that honestly, you don’t want to go to, but you say yes out of a sense of guilt and drive hours to get there and spend the entire day regretting your choice. That’s time you can’t ever get back – time you could have spent working towards your goal, or just being with your family, or your kids, or doing something meaningful to move ahead.

Simply allow “no” to be your default response to all new projects, new requests, and new demands on your time.

You also need to say NO to spending hours watching TV or getting sucked into the comparison sinkhole of social media. You say NO to any and all time sucks and energy sucks and non-essentials.

Saying yes to too much only leaves you feeling frustrated, resentful and exhausted, right? It’s not a place from which you can do your best work.

When you train yourself to say yes to less, what you really get is more. More time and more space to do the deep and important work you were born to do. More breathing room. More white space. More freedom. More energy to devote to things that truly matter, like spending time with people you love.

One of the things that stop people from making their default answer “no”, is not knowing how to say no with grace and kindness.

No is a complete sentence. But c’mon now, I mean, let’s be real. If someone writes you an email asking for something and you just type back “no” and hit send, it’s not going to feel that good to you or them.

Here’s a simple and elegant way to say no.

“Thanks so much for thinking of me. While it’s not something I’d like to do, please know how honored I am to be asked.” or I’d rather not, but thank you SO MUCH for thinking of me.”

Elegant and honest, right? Just like you.

Your next action item is to re-examine your projects and your upcoming commitments. Is there anything on there that you can decline or get out of? Now of course, if you do, you’re gonna be classy and elegant about it – but honestly, from this moment forward, if it’s not a hell yes, let it be a hell no, because you and your goal matter.

STEP #4: S stands for “Start Before You’re Ready.”

The one mantra I use to start – especially when the goal or project that I’m working on is a little scary and outside my comfort zone. And that mantra is:

Start BEFORE You’re Ready.

Look. Most of us can talk about or think about an important project for months and sometimes even years before actually doing anything about it. But do not confuse activity with accomplishment.

You see, if you’ve had trouble following through, it’s not a lack of competence that’s holding you back. It is this nasty little fear-based lie that we tell ourselves called, “I’m not ready yet.” It is one of the deadliest, most insidious dream killer around. And if you’re honest, I’ll bet, “I’m not ready yet” has probably stopped you a few times in the past.

Well, my friend, here is the secret you need to know. The world’s happiest and most successful people never feel ready to make a bold move – they just GO! They understand that waiting to “feel ready” before taking action is the worst kind of procrastination.

That is why starting before you are ready is the key to executing like a champ and mastering follow-through. It’s helps you sidestep your fear and drive straight into action-based learning. Because when you stop thinking and you start executing, you literally create this energy that pulls you forward. All of the sudden there are appointments and deadlines and real life progress.

This last step is all about execution, once you get started, don’t stop.

When it comes to follow-through, tenacity matters more than tactics or technique. Be relentless about this, do not stop taking action until you can drop the mic and say, “You know what? This. Is. Done.”

Your last action item. Identify the single most important action you could take right now to execute on your goal – even if you don’t feel ready?

Is it making a phone call? Is it making an outside appointment with some kind of professional? Or perhaps it’s telling a few people you trust about your goal and your commitment to make it happen.

There is no right answer. But, I’ll bet you know it in your heart whatever it is what you have to do. Think about it, get moving, and start before you’re ready.

Let’s review our four key disciplines to being the BOSS and following through.

B: Be Focused and Specific: Choose ONE priority and define your outcome so it’s clear, specific and achievable, Set yourself up to win.

O: Organize Your Time & Schedule It: If it’s not scheduled, it’s not real.

S: Set NO as Your Default Answer: No is your default answer to all new requests, eliminate non-essentials, and say yes to less.

S: Start BEFORE You’re Ready: Be relentless and don’t stop taking action until you’ve reached your goal.

And that’s it! Be the BOSS you are and make these four personal disciplines a habit and trouble with follow-through will be a thing of the past.

Feel like your planning skills could use a little boost? Check out the Fail-Proof Planning System here.

“I’m exhausted and I think it’s because I don’t take enough downtime.”

This is what one of my coaching clients is dealing with.

Can you relate?

If you can, you are going to be surprised at the outcome of this coaching session.

Together, my client and I dove into what “enough downtime” meant for her. This lead us to her beautifully color-coded daily planner.

What we discovered was she had plenty of downtime planned in her schedule.

After peeling the onion, layer by layer, she discovered she was taking the downtime, but she didn’t feel like she experienced any of the benefits.

Hmmmmm.

So, what was happening during her downtime?

There were distractions.

She wasn’t present during her “me time”.

Like anything else in life, we have to be there in the moment to have the experience, no matter what it is.

If you’re not present in the moment, you’re going to miss your “me time.”

It means being intentional and committing to your downtime. It is sacred and should be treated as such.

It’s not about how much downtime you have that matters. It’s about how you show up for it – for yourself.

But isn’t the point of downtime to NOT have all that pressure of showing up a certain way – to just let your mind wander and NOT have to be accountable to anyone or anything?

Well, the answer is both yes and no.

Yes. It’s your time to let all the stress go. To stop worrying. To stop doing all the “shoulds” on your list. Yes, this time is about you and no one else.

And the answer is also no. You can’t be distracted during your downtime.

Here’s an example.

You decide you need some time to yourself and you’re going to indulge in some Netflix binging. And while you’re watching you are also scrolling on your phone.

Before you know it, the first episode is over and you have no clue what is going on. You fall asleep because you were never fully invested or present. Netflix keeps popping up the the next episode and the next.

When you wake, you beat yourself up for not even making it through your downtime as you had planned. You also know that you’re not going to be able to fall asleep tonight because you took a 2 hour nap. You also know, that tomorrow is probably going to suck because you know you’ll be exhausted.

That is the exact opposite of what downtime is intended to do.

Downtime is supposed to be your time to relax and get reenergized.

Here’s another example.

You grab your phone and go for a walk. Someone from work calls and it becomes a stressful conversation. You’re not paying any attention to your walk. You don’t notice the warm breeze, birds chirping, or the new spring blooms. You’re present with work but not with your downtime.

You get back home and you’re more stressed than when you left. Ugh.

Here Are 6 Ways to Stay Present During Your Downtime.

  1. No scrolling. You can have your phone on you for emergencies but other than that, don’t look at it during your downtime.
  2. No multitasking. Focusing on only one thing allows you to be present and take in the entire experience you’ve chosen – be it a bubble bath, a walk, reading or working on a project you’re interested in.
  3. Make downtime a consistent priority. Try to keep it at the same time of day. Then it becomes a habit, and you know you can count on yourself to take the time.
  4. Don’t let others in unless they are part of your planned downtime – for example, if you’re working on a project with a friend.
  5. Tell others you will be unavailable for the time being.
  6. Get creative with how you spend downtime. Something active like gardening, walking or baking can help you unwind more-so than a nap. If it’s something that interests you and lights you up, you’ll be more likely to be fully present.

Remember, the challenge is not finding more free time. The challenge is being present in order to realize the benefits of relaxing and getting reenergized.

Don’t forget to grab your confidence building guide:

The Habit of Self-Doubt: Crush It and Build Real Confidence

Are you constantly looking over your shoulder worrying about what others think of you? Is your default to assume they think the worst of you?

Ugh. It’s so frustrating isn’t it?

Here’s the thing. These critics only live in your head. Your brain takes those critics you’ve created and looks for proof that people are judging you.

But what if you stopped looking for your critics and looked for your fans instead?

Fans you say? Yes!

There are people you don’t even notice who are watching you and who think you are amazing. Oh yes, that is correct. You inspire others and don’t even know it.

You inspire others by simply “being.”

What you think is trivial is profound to other people.

You may not know who you are inspiring with your small, daily actions. But trust that everything you do may be an inspiration to someone.

  • It could be how you approach a stressful life event with calm and positivity.
  • It could be that you approach everything in the practical way.
  • Or, you show others that you can handle anything with the right attitude.
  • Maybe it’s your strong work ethic and the willingness to learn.

None of those are extraordinary talents, but the way you carry yourself through your life is both extraordinary and inspiring to others.

You don’t know you’re inspirational because you don’t know who is watching your progress. You’re not looking for your fans because you are too busy looking for your critics.

Maybe you won’t reach millions of people with your life. Maybe you’ll only reach one.

Maybe you’ll reach 10. If you can set an example for 10 people, they may not tell you you’re inspiring them, but it doesn’t change the fact that you’re inspirational.

Imagine what you would learn about yourself when you look at the world through a different lens. What if people weren’t against you? What if you they were cheering you on? What if they were changing their lives based on how you are living yours?

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!

You are inspiring others simply by being you. Just by being you, just by being your unique beautiful self, you’re inspiring others to do the same for themselves.

When you be you, you give unconscious permission to everyone around you to be them and that is your greatest gift in the world.

The most powerful inspirations I know of aren’t the quotes, YouTube videos or articles guaranteeing “10 Steps to Success”.

My biggest inspiration is my Mom. She gets up every day and takes care of my Dad who has Alzheimers. I don’t how she has done it day after day for almost a decade. She does it with grace, patience, and always, always finds something to be grateful for on the worst of days. Her attitude and resilience inspire me beyond words.

Who inspires you?

Whoever it is, tell them.

These are ordinary people in your life who have inspired you and still do.

Next time you are touched by someone’s story, tweet, blog post, comment, photo, let them know how it made you feel, how it shaped your thinking, what thoughts it provoked, what it allowed you to experience, discover, understand.

Tell them the qualities they embody that touch you, such as resiliency, humility, grace, perseverance, and a can-do attitude.

Soon. you’ll realize the ripple effect that because of them, you inspire others too.

What would the world look like if we all stopped looking for our critics and noticed our fans?

What you pay attention to is a choice.

The only thing you need to remember is that inspiring people needs to come from a place of authenticity – the real “YOU”.

Stop giving the critics in your head all the airtime. Instead, look for those quiet souls who are watching you, inspired by you.