Until recently I saw my design work stuff as my “day job.” I saw it as a means to make money to support my life (duh) and fund my passion project. Now, however I feel a real shift. Instead of largely not acknowledging it, and desperately trying to own the space of “Coach” and “Writer,” I am recognizing how much I enjoy it and how much it lifts me. This simple change of mind has allowed me to fully embrace my present professional state proudly, without concern of transition, the future, labels or any other stigma I had previously attached to it.
To give you a little context, I should say that I’ve never been the kinda girl to hold down a job for long. I have tried many different roles at a variety of organisations, but if I wasn’t happy or realized this gig wasn’t for me, I found a new passion/ career to explore and went for it. I felt compelled to make a move as soon as I knew in my heart that I couldn’t see myself doing it when I was older or when the cons started out-weighing the pros. This did allow me to experience quite a lot in my twenties, but it didn’t provide much in the sense of security and every new adventure was preceded by a breakdown. I felt lost, unsure and without purpose. How would I ever find my perfect career? The one where it all clicked. I could be creative and learn and enjoy every moment. A place where no-one watched me work or projected their unnecessary stress onto me… You know, Work Heaven.
After a few years of being a professional nomad, I thought I’d return to my discipline and I launched the freelance design portion of my career. I got a few clients, worked at an agency for a bit and it was okay. I tried to grow it into a business, even pulled Hubby into it, but even with all that, I wasn’t feeling that zing, that “this is it, this is what I am here to do.” I was waiting. I was waiting for an idea or an opportunity to simply launch myself into success.
A few years down the line, I hit my quarter-life crisis and felt so depressed that I started reading a self-help book. At the time, this was not my jam, but WOW, BEST THING I EVER DID! I learnt an infinite amount of wisdom from this single book, but most of all, I learnt about taking ownership for where I am right now and how I choose to show up in this moment.
I made a number of changes, which you can read more about in one of my earlier posts, How to Be You. One of these was the decision to get a job. I realized that I wasn’t doing well with the freelance work because I wasn’t committed and simply didn’t really care enough to put my all into it. This meant that the long hours required to both grow the business and be the talent, was not something I was willing to give. My solution was that I would remove the long hours part. No more stressing about finding new business and checking the numbers. At a job I could keep it simple. I could do the work and get paid at the end of the month. This would allow me support, space and time to focus on my next big move, writing this blog.
I started putting it out into the Universe, telling anyone who would listen exactly what I was after. This is what I said over and over again, “I want a part-time job that pays X, is close to my house, flexible hours and requires a low emotional investment.” Most of the responses I got were, “Good luck.” But I was convinced it was out there. This combination in a job would provide enough support and enough space so that I could continue on this path of spiritual and personal development.
Well, I got it. All of it. Ok, not the last one. The very first interview I went on was exactly 7 minutes from my house in Johannesburg, it paid the exact number I was looking for, was part time and flexible. I walked out of there with a job and overwhelming joy that I had just manifested the next chapter in my life.
During the first couple at weeks of the new job I really tried to keep to myself. I clocked in and out and worked only my designated hours. I was trying really hard to just do the work and not get too involved, but it was impossible, because the Universe also gave me amazing people to work with and before I knew it, I was 200% emotionally invested in the work and where I worked.
Now, almost 2 years down the line I could not be more grateful. This is the longest I have ever been at a single job and I can see why. In my nomadic years, I was looking for the job to give me inspiration and creativity and opportunities to have fun and learn and grow. I was expecting an environment to have an open space just for me where I could shine in my special way. But this time around, I entered the space without expectation or attachment. I didn’t add any arbitrary requirements and or look for pre-mature ways to elevate myself. I arrived every day with gratitude for the job, its financial support and security, the opportunities to learn, and to connect with great people.
This “day job” is now as much a part of my identity as anything else. I love the work I do. New projects get me energized and I throw myself into each one. Of course, there are some projects that are more fun than others, but rather than hating a particular task, I understand that every new project means income for the business, which means I get to continue working there, I get to continue to add value and help grow the business. I am a part of something and am very grateful for that.
You have to bring it though! You have to be the source of the joy you seek wherever you are. If it is a day job that you don’t love right now, ask yourself which part you do enjoy and extend that feeling into all parts of your day. Choose to be inspired by even the most menial of tasks, as it is helping you feed yourself, and providing support in a number of ways. If you’re struggling to see it, I suggest writing down all the things that your paycheck lets you do. Everything from groceries, to taking care of your pet, living alone, feeling secure and empowered to pay for the bill this time around, your yoga classes, your data and so much more.
When you see this list, allow all that joy to reflect back into your work. I know it might not be your end game, but I promise that if you choose to see your job as a source of inspiration and support, and you show up with a grateful attitude every day, you will see shifts. People become kinder, the work becomes lighter and even the coffee tastes better. When you’re happy where you are, you attract opportunities for more happiness, in this job or your next.
If this is not exactly where you thought you would be by now, my advice to you is simple. Forget about where you thought you would be because where you thought you’d be, does not exist. You are here now. This is happening now. Choose to let go of your expectations and simply show up and do the work. Engage, share your ideas and give all you have to making whatever you’re doing the best it can be. This is a shift away from the expectation of others towards ownership of your reality. It changes everything when you lose the attachment of cause and effect and simply stay present and do the work. When I started at this job, I was a WordPress designer with basic coding knowledge. Today I am a front-end developer and project manage a small portfolio. Taking stock, I am very happy with how I’ve grown and am flabbergasted at how little time I spent planning it. None to be exact. You see, I went into the job without attachment and this became my superpower. Instead of wondering about my next strategic move or whether a particular task was beneath me, I simply showed up every day and did what needed to get done.
I’ve grown a lot in the last 2 years, both in capability and responsibility, but this would be true if I continued to stay uninvolved and only focused on what was required. I would not be doing the work I do today if I went into it with expectations and anticipations; if I demanded more without giving first and if I didn’t choose to show up with gratitude every day.
I’m still writing, I’m still committed to BloomHabits, but that does not mean I can’t also be committed to other aspects of my professional world. When I started my day job, I claimed I was in transition while I got Bloom off the ground, but today, I realise it’s not a job at all; I am, very unexpectedly, building a career.
Today I own where I am right now. Still unconcerned with “where I am going,” because I know that I am where I need to be, doing what I am meant to doing to invite more joy and love into the world.
Embrace where you are right now. Find joy and love in what you’re doing, even if you start with just one aspect of your day. Cherish it and let the power of that gratitude extend into more and more of your life. Choose to be inspired and happy where you are, and you will be.
This morning I woke up, checked my phone and was hit with a very real feeling of betrayal. I went quiet, still with hurt and anger and blindsided. I see now that the only way out of this feeling is to let go of the poor me victim I’ve constructed in this story.
By doing that I will be able to let go of the entire thing and move on. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not. That feeling was raw and ugly, and it held on tight. So, before I let go, I must own my space within the situation, see the lesson and the blessing. It is when I can see the situation from these perspectives that the feelings will dissolve.
I started by seeing the blessing. What good came from my not being a part of this occasion? Well, I’ve been getting myself back on track, focusing my energy on writing, learning and how I want to show up in this space. If I had participated, I would have been distracted from my focus and the progress made might not be at all.
I’ll add here that during my “silent rage time” I was agonizingly scrolling through my Facebook feed searching for some further dagger to perpetuate this feeling. When I found this meme, I stopped as it allowed me to see this blessing and how my path is simply heading in a different direction:
“Sometimes the very thing you lost was in the way of you winning.”
In that moment, a smile came over my face. I felt humbled by all that is working and conspiring for me. I could see the blessing, and it allowed me to choose how I wanted to feel. I closed Facebook and shifted my focus back to feeling good.
The lesson became clear in trying to decide how to respond. Do I call this person to explain my grievance? What would happen if I do? What will I gain? The answer: Nothing.
As a result of my call, she may know how I feel and she may apologize, but that’s about it. It will not change what happened and we will still be where we are. What could happen is that my response becomes a part of her story and something she repeats to friends and colleagues. None of this would serve me. In fact, it would only add energy to something I don’t want.
This leaves me with one option. Forgive her, the situation and my part in it. I do not need her to hear me say it or for her to know about my experience for it to be real forgiveness because forgiveness is simply the practice of acceptance without attachment.
So, I have forgiven. I am grateful for the blessing and the lesson and I hope we cross paths again when it suits my journey and hers. All Posts
This was my miracle today. As the Course in Miracles says:
“Miracles are both beginnings and endings, and so the alter the temporal order. They are always affirmations of rebirth, which seem to go back but really go forward. They undo the past in the present, and thus release the future.”
So, my dear, how do you practice this in your own life? Here are the steps should you wish to let go of the dark into light and love:
- Remember that what has happened is for you. No matter how bad it seems, or how much it hurts, it is happening so that you may learn a deep lesson and is guiding you towards the highest good.
- Find the blessing. What have you gained/ been able to do achieve/ been able to avoid as a result of this situation? It can be an internal realization or a massive shift in your life. There are no criteria for the blessing, except that it has a positive impact on you.
- Find the lesson. This may be a deep personal/ spiritual lesson of how you wish to respond and move forward. Be open to a new perspective or a confirmation of an idea and that will be your lesson.
- Once you see the lesson and the blessing, you are able to confirm point 1: it is all happening for you. This allows you to view the situation, the person and your part in it with love. Feel the relief in that. The weight begins to lift.
- Now, with love, forgive yourself, the persona and the entire situation. Thank each party for their role in delivering the blessing and the lesson to you.
- From this place you are able to let it go. Release it as it no longer has a hold on you.
The dark feeling may pop up again over the next few days. When this happens remind yourself of the above. Affirm for yourself: It happened for me. This was the lesson, this was the blessing. Thank you.
Learning to surrender into “Being”
For the longest time, I feel like the world (and therefore, me) has been in-flux. We are (and have been) chasing massive material and status-driven goals, pushing to win, outrun competitors, see others as advisories and generally push everyone out of the way in order to get to the top.
While there is nothing wrong with chasing big dreams and wealth (please dream BIG!!) the way most of the world goes about it feels very aggressive and cutthroat and if you want to play, you have to be the same.
Why do we deem it acceptable to push others aside, let them fail and fall with the simple justification that we are chasing our goals? Almost as if their falling is collateral damage of our success – regrettable, but necessary loss.
I believe it is because of one reason: An imbalance between Being and Action. You could also see these two sides as Yin and Yang, or Feminine and Masculine. It is the energy that we call on as we move through life.
Human beings have mastered the Action (Masculine). Chasing, pushing, forging ahead. This is a powerful energy that gathers intense momentum and can create massive change when harnessed towards a goal. It isn’t too difficult to understand why we’re so good at it. Men have led the narrative, discovery, and evolution of the human story for centuries. It is through the masculine, the yang, that many incredible discoveries of new land, inventions and more are known to us. It is through this relentless perseverance that humans have intelligent infrastructure and constantly innovate to improve.
That said, it is, I believe, due to a lack on the Being (Feminine), that we also see centuries of hate, destruction, conquering and pushing out of the way for the status and success of leaders. The suppression of the Feminine Voice has, with it, suppressed acceptance, trust, curiosity, openness, and kindness. And while there are glimpses of it throughout our history, it is largely overshadowed.
Now, before we get into a gender debate. I am not blaming anyone living today for the actions of generations past, nor am I (and this is a biggie) saying the men are bad. Not at all. We are all (men and women) a beautiful mix of Being and Action. Allow me to elaborate
I’m sure you’re familiar with the famous symbol of yin and yang (a circle of black and white halves, each half containing a dot of the opposite colour.) The meaning is simple: In every part of Yang, there is always Yin and in every part of Yin, there is always Yang. Men and women are not exclusively Yang or Yin. We all have feminine and masculine qualities. We are all capable of perseverance, taking action and leading; AND we are all capable of kindness, acceptance, generosity, and love.
The feminine side in all of us is where our “Being” resides. It is where our soul/ spirit/ intuition/ whatever you call it lives to guide us along our path. It serves us by keeping us connected and open to ourselves and to others.
While the masculine is an incredible driver, our feminine being is what keeps us on purpose, compassionate and for everyone. We need both.
Today, many of us (men and women) are feeling a call to get closer to Being. We are moving into a space where we answer the call of our soul for experience and connection. At the same time, there is less emphasis on the ego’s need for excess. We seek abundance with joy and for all. We seek connection with new experiences and cultures and the freedom to find purpose in how we contribute to society.
Writing this piece, I could not avoid the current political climate and the feminist movement. In every avenue the movement has taken, #metoo, #timesup etc, you will notice the language of the masculine: aggressive, in-your-face and unapologetic. This is the language of today. It is the language we know and understand. On the flip side of that, you will notice the message is 100% feminine. It is not about taking over, conquering or exclusivity. It is not about eliminating men. It is simply about acceptance, fairness, a call to kindness and openness; a call to love. It is a call to humanity to connect to Soul and see that in order to have a lot, you don’t need to have it all. There is enough for everyone, there is space, love, and abundance for all.
This message runs through me and hits every cord I have. It is something I know I have felt very deeply for a very long time. It is something I did not always understand, connect to or know how to articulate, but I felt it.
Even before my rediscovery of me, when I was deeply insecure and would be judgmental, it always felt misaligned to my core. It felt off and wrong, but I had no idea how to fix it.
Can you relate? That sense that something feels a little misaligned, as if you are being pulled somewhere, but you’re not sure why or how to get there? I think this is a call to reconnect with Being. To let the Action in us relax a little, giving space to the Feminine voice to guide us home. Again, this is not about exclusivity. Men are invited to the party so there is no need to worry about hurting or disappointing the men that are in your life. Being is a part of all of us. This is not a war, but about restoring an internal balance. The female voice must rise up, it must stand strong in order to penetrate and connect with our overly masculine minds. We need to allow our bodies, minds, and souls to reconnect to Being so that we may reconnect with beauty, abundance, and love. It is not about taking over or kicking anyone out, it is about finding an equal and opposite push and pull, that guides us towards love.
How do you raise the Female Voice in you?
The best, most profound thing you can do to join the rise of the Female Voice is to connect to and accept your Being. Allow a sense of softness and femininity to pour into every part of your life. Invite kindness, openness, and compassion where you once responded with aggression, exclusivity, and judgment.
These qualities are powerful and can be deafening in contrast to the ever-present voice of action. Simple daily shifts towards acceptance will change your personal experience and simultaneously allow others to follow your light.
It starts with you. Choose to be the light wherever you find yourself. Do this by staying present in your truth and as your light shines, others will feel it and do the same. Embrace your feminine energy, your acceptance, your truth, your deep, loving Being.
In any situation, commit to responding with love Connect to love to embrace your feminine energy, your acceptance, your truth, your deep, loving Being.
Develop your own practice:
A Being practice can take many forms. You can cultivate it through meditation or yoga practice, allowing you to become increasingly connected to self. You can also simply see your practice as simple shifts in your approach and response to the world, choosing to respond with kindness, openness, and softness. It can be spiritual and/or practical, find the balance that works for you.
If you are hearing this call and in surrendering to Being, then I’m sure you are experiencing a deep sense of calm and, at the same time, a feeling of excitement to share and proclaim. As you do share your experience and newly discovered wisdom, please remember the Female Voice does not push or persist, it simply is. It invites light and love and embraces that light towards deeper connection, a softer sensibility and an open heart and mind.
Be patient, allow others to discover their own truth, their own path along this collective journey. Resistance is cultivated from fear and fear is easily fostered by a dominant voice. It is not for any of us to preach or proclaim, it is for us to share our light and be the example for those seeking the shift.
3 steps to discovering an unshakable inner confidence in who you are.
I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the launch of the Power Women Project in Johannesburg, South Africa. It was such a beautiful day filled with a stunning group of women, committed to making a difference, growing as women and living fuller lives.
The topic was Inner Confidence, a quality we all desire. We all want to be the woman that walks into the room and owns her space. She is someone who seems effortless in her movements, comfortable in her skin and is someone that people want to be around.
Like many people, I am not a naturally confident person and have looked into the topic many times. I’ve been in a room of people psycho-analyzing myself, wondering why I feel so inadequate; I’ve read a variety of books, watched videos and tried to find how to solve this problem. How do I feel and exude confidence?
Over time, I realized that there is no fix, magic formula or switch that would perform a Cinderella-like transformation and make me confident.
The truth is that you cannot feel truly confident until you know who you are. It is in knowing your core, deepest truths, what you stand for, what you don’t stand for and what feeds your soul that you are able to accept it all. Once you accept yourself for all you are, you begin to feel comfortable in putting yourself out there.
In other words, it’s when you know, love and accept yourself that you find your personal truth and your confidence within.
But how do we get there? I mean, it is pretty obvious that this is not an overnight/ quick fix solution. Rather, it is a consistent and life-long practice of self-discovery that yields an ever-deepening connection to self, which automatically strengthens your inner confidence.
So, while there isn’t a one-size-fits-all super-fix, below are the steps I have taken and continue to practice towards developing my connection to self and thereby, building my confidence:
Let go of expectation and comparison
Comparison and expectations are a major cause for feeling less-than, inadequate and even anxious. We look at other people who have some similarities to us and we see all of the ways that they are “ahead” of us. We think, “Oh no, she is so creative… so beautiful… she’s already done it… she’s natural at it… blah blah blah.”
What we are doing is seeing a portion of their story (mostly what we think is the whole story) and then automatically deem it superior in every way. We see her as having an advantage and ourselves at a disadvantage.
Comparisons also lead to us creating arbitrary expectations for ourselves. We define a set of criteria we should meet in order to “be successful” or to simply give ourselves permission to be who we are.
Well, allow me to burst this metaphorical bubble right here, right now! Comparing your story to some one’s else’s is a waste of time. I mean it is a completely redundant exercise.
Let me give you an example by looking at popular actresses, Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone. They are both stunning actresses who bring something special to the silver screen. Each has their own story that led them to their success. They have played very different roles and learned different lessons, worked with different people and all the while, they have arrived at a very similar place to share their gifts with the world.
Comparing them is irrelevant. Their stories, personalities, and presence are unique. If they tried to be like each other, they would lose what makes them special and likely fade into the background. It is because they celebrate who they are and their own stories that they command the attention of audiences across the globe. They do not compete, rather their individual success builds the career opportunities for each other and countless other actresses.
How does this apply? I can’t look at your path for guidance as it will only show me how to be like you. I must look at my own lessons, my own victories, the things that bring me joy and get me excited to be alive. Because it is when I focus on my own path that I achieve my dreams my way, the way intended for me.
Let your heart lead the way
Being unclear about your path can cause all sorts of havoc in your life. For a long time, I bounced around between careers, searching for that perfect job that would give me purpose. It was only much later that I recognized that I was really looking for a connection that I could only find within myself.
This was a difficult time for me. I constantly felt like a fraud and like I wasn’t going anywhere. I would be terrified of telling people what I do because I thought they would judge my indecisiveness or my lack of experience or purpose.
When I started my journey towards my true self it was like opening a magic door to understanding myself and what I bring to the table. Early on, a yoga teacher of mine shared Gaia cards with us and I pulled the card entitled, “Sacred Mother Earth.” When I read the message on the card I became emotional as it was exactly what I needed to hear:
Sacred Mother Earth:
“We travel the endless corridors of our mind until one day we find a pathway that leads us to our heart.” Who we truly are has nothing to do with your personality, or your achievements, success or failures. The “you” you think you are is an actor, playing a role that your soul has chosen. The essence of you is “soul” – “light” with no beginning or end. You are an eternal spark of pure creativity, unlimited potential that yearns to be expressed and fulfilled. Your potential is your destiny, it awaits your call.
Trust your heart and apply its love and wisdom to all you do.
In this way, all you create or do will be a true expression of your soul. It is through expressing your truth that you create things of lasting value. Be true to you.
This blew my mind and awakened me to the absolute fact that as long as I am true to my soul (my values, my integrity, my joy, my love) I can do anything. I immediately let go of the expectation to be that one thing and started writing. At first, it was just journal entries to somehow give movement to what I was feeling. Over time my musings became more structured, more focused and this blog grew out of that.
I also stopped looking for the pigeonhole career path and instead, focused on what I want my life to look like. (A very different perspective that allows you to choose your career path/ business style so that it feeds your ideal life, rather than picking a career and living for Friday.) Once I was clear on that I designed my business (offering, craft, and model) to make that a reality. I am still in transition towards that goal, but unlike my former self, I celebrate what I don’t know. I celebrate the process of discovery because I trust that as I grow closer to my truth, I am guided towards my vision.
Confidence in practice
Another beautiful soul I met recently, Caroline Hopkins, shared a profound truth about discovering confidence. We instinctively stay in our comfort zones, afraid to stretch. However, it is when we do stretch ourselves into what we don’t know that we grow our confidence in that space.
Why I love this so much is that it encourages you to try, to jump, to risk and subsequently grow. Every time you take a step out of your comfort zone, you learn about yourself. You learn what works for you, you learn about your interests, passions, and things you don’t enjoy. You gain skills and confidence in your abilities, knowledge. Ultimately, you enable yourself to grow into your vision while grooming yourself to be ready for its challenges and achievements.
In this way, you develop an unshakable confidence that is anchored in your abilities and a knowing that you can overcome any unknown challenge. You became more optimistic and willing to take risks.
So next time you want to do something, whether it’s a new career, learn a new skill, take on a project, start a family; and you feel a little fear. Don’t let it overwhelm you. Instead, embrace the risk with a few small steps. You don’t have to jump all at once. Practice moving closer. Before you know it, the small steps will become big leaps as you realize just how strong, capable and courageous you truly are.
As you learn about your interests, where your passion lies and what you want to know more about, lean into that. Follow the spark of your joy with curiosity to learn more and delve deeper. This is where you find your calling, your purpose that will lead you towards your dreams.
Finding the opportunity for joy in every moment.
Gratitude is a feeling that most of us understand as a result of receiving a gift of some sort. We feel it instantly and automatically when we’re happily surprised, finally achieve a milestone or get given something valuable to us.
It’s a feeling that many people describe as warm and good; exciting and dear. It’s something we hope for because in that moment of sweet simple gratitude we are some form of happy.
Have you ever thought about gratitude as more than a result? Yup. Gratitude can also be a powerful driver for true intent, a motivator towards your biggest dreams and a state of calm, content bliss with which you can move through your life.
Motivating with gratitude
When you set a goal, you typically decide what you want, maybe take some action towards it and then when the initial excitement wears off, you start longing for it, worrying that it won’t work out or simply feel impatient. This starts stunting your motivation, slows progress and you feel miserable waiting for it to happen.
On the flip side, deciding what you want and maintaining gratitude for all the possibilities it holds will keep your excitement levels high and ensure your stay motivated to pursue it till the end. Actively turning on a feeling of gratitude for your goals puts you in a frame of mind that attracts love and joy closer to you as you live those sensations and take action.
Driving your true intent
Often, intent doesn’t quite match behaviour. You start off great with a positive and true intention, like wanting to grow closer to a new friend, for example. You know you should just send a text and ask to meet up, but you’re scared, “What if she ignores me?” “What if she says no?” Your insecurities take over, you don’t call, and you miss the opportunity to grow a beautiful friendship.
Your intention is to grow closer, but your behaviour pulls you further apart and you’re left feeling confused and misunderstood.
What if, instead, you could recognize the fear and insecurity for what it is: your brain simply trying to keep you safe. While that’s really sweet of your brain, I think you’re a bit stronger than it gives you credit. Imagine if you leaned into that strength and let go of the fear? When you let it go and you focus on the possibility of the call, the coffee date, and the life-long friendship, that potential of her not reciprocating, is pretty teeny-tiny in comparison.
Putting yourself out there, whether it be for a new friendship or pushing for a big goal, is scary because it stretches your experience. You are bravely going into the unknown to live the true intentions that feed your soul. I’d say that’s worth the risk.
So, make the call with a grateful heart, lean into the joy and comradery you could share. If she can’t make it, that’s okay. You’ve lost nothing. You’re learning to take action from your true intent and you are overcoming your insecurities with every step. It’s a win either way.
With this in mind, there is no need to dwell on an embarrassing faux pas or rejection. Remember, everyone is going through the same stuff and if they’re not ready to receive, that’s on them, not on you.
It’s all for you
You are more than one moment in time. Whether that moment is sad, embarrassing, rejection, happy, hilarious or love, you are more. You are infinite, living a continuous experience. I invite you to see this continuous experience with a grateful heart. Every twist and turn of your past has brought you to this moment, to the person you are now. It has been preparing you all along, just as your present experience will continue to teach and guide you through the lessons to come. So please my dear, there is no need for worry or feel guilty. You’re learning and growing with every moment that passes.
Choose to see your life as a beautiful experiment. Every delay is a little extra time and every set back is an opportunity to reflect and regroup. If you choose to see it, you will recognize these moments as opportunities for clarity and perspective. They are gifts that allow you to be better, go faster and live stronger.
You are exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go.
Embrace your past, present, and future with love and gratitude. Trust it will lead you to your dream. Open your heart to feeling passionate gratitude for every circumstance, every moment of joy and every lesson you learn. It’s all wonderful and all part of you.
How to stop being busy and start getting stuff done: Simplify your to-do list to stop feeling overwhelmed and start moving towards your goals. 💃🤩💃🤩
It is easy to get overwhelmed with long to do lists, huge workloads, looking fabulous, posting something cool/ meaningful/ funny once in a while, spending quality time with family and friends, traveling, did I mention work? You get the idea; our lives are filled to the brim and often we get to the end of a crazy-busy week only to find that a couple of the most important tasks had been left behind.
This is not the best feeling. You feel defeated and as if you’re not moving forward. I know just how demotivating this can be. In fact, on a few occasions last year I became so overwhelmed that I felt paralyzed to do anything and I would spend entire afternoons watching TV while thinking about, wait for it…. my to-do list 🤦♀️.
I couldn’t snap out of it. Towards the end of that year, I realized why (and it wasn’t because I was lazy.) I was so stuck in the details that I was unable to pull myself out long enough to see the big picture. Once I did, I could prioritize, make clear decisions and my days started feeling far less hectic.
The weird thing about overwhelm is that you don’t need to be working 5 jobs to feel this way. It can creep in whether you have 3 or 500 tasks on your plate. Its less about the list, your management tools, and your work ethic and it’s all about mindset. So, no matter where you are, if you are feeling too busy and struggling to get through your tasks, try these steps to clear up space in your mind and your calendar:
Simplify, eliminate, align
Stop being busy for busy’s sake:
How many of your daily tasks actually move you forward? Really? How many are really just there to fill up the day? Don’t answer too quickly. When you have a minute, go and look at your lists from the last few days and check for the following:
- Which items actually made a difference to the next day?
- Which items took you a step closer to your big goal?
- Which items are left undone?
If you are feeling like you’re not getting through your day, you probably noticed that it’s the big important tasks (the ones that move your forward) that get left behind. Now, review your lists one more time and ask the following:
- Which items took a lot of time and felt frustrating?
- Which items were completed but had little impact?
Chance are there are a few overlaps here. These time-consuming-and-low-impact tasks are the ones you need to question. Are they worth it? Or can you drop them and never add them to another to do list ever again? If you do drop them, how much time will that give you and will that time be enough to get through the big important tasks that have been waiting for your attention?
Outsource whatever you can:
There will always be a selection of tasks that do move you forward but take too much of your time. Make a plan and align financial goals to outsourcing these tasks. When you hit a certain revenue mark, you will outsource your social media scheduling or administration. Whatever doesn’t feed your joy but must be done, must be outsourced. While it may feel scary to hand over part of our list to someone else, it will free you up to reach your goals faster and spend more time doing what you love.
Set goals – where are you going?
Another common reason for feeling overwhelmed or like you’re not getting anywhere is that you don’t have anything to measure and so it all feels like “failure.” Not ideal. Instead, think about where you want to be in 3, 6 or 12 months from now. Set one or two goals for this and then make sure that every week contains a smaller action step that moves you towards those goals.
Assign time for everything – macro and daily level
This particular perspective-shift saved me. I was constantly running, chasing the clock and believing there simply wasn’t enough time. When I stopped and took a step back, I could see time as pockets that I can fill however I want. I have larger pockets for months or weeks and smaller pockets for daily tasks. Each night I fill my time pockets for the next day. If anything is left over once the time pockets are filled, I need to make some choices about what is getting left behind.
If you have a lot of goals for the year, this is an ideal way of approaching time. You don’t need to do everything in the first month. You can assign space and time for every goal at a certain point throughout the year. This practice has made me 100% more productive with fewer items on my lists.
Simplify your tools:
When it comes to time/ project management tools, there are about 100 000 available but don’t get sucked in. Keep it simple. There is no point in spending half an hour trying to manage your time management tool. I understand if you are part of a team and everyone needs to be on the same page but keep that tool top-level. Work with people who are responsible and then choose to trust them to get the tasks done. For your daily management, use a simpler tool to track your tasks. I use the Reminders tool on Mac OS. I have a list for each project I am working on. This is where I store the full list of items associated with the project. Then I have a Today list. Here I drag ONLY what needs to happen today. Nothing else. As its done, I mark it complete and I never see it again. At the end of the day, I run through my projects and fill the Today list for tomorrow. It’s not groundbreaking and that’s why it works.
Make conscious choices:
Consider for a moment that whatever you are doing at any given moment is using time. If its something that adds value to your life, then its time well spent. If not, what could you be doing instead? Spend your time surrounding yourself with work, activities, people and social situations that bring joy and add value to your world.
Now, I realize I’ve just gone and added a bunch of organizing tasks to your already overflowing cup. Don’t worry, no need to get it all done today. Your next right move is to take 15minutes today to simplify and re-prioritize your week. (Just this one, that you’re in right now.) As part of this week’s list, assign 1 hour to do the same for the next 3 months.
Simple right? Haha 😜! Even with all of these tools, sometimes we lose control, all the balls drop, and we start to spiral. When that does happen, and you start to feel yourself losing grip, STOP. Right there, where you are, just stop. Take a few deep breaths and then ask yourself: Is this helping or hurting me? Chances aren’t great it’s helping, right? From that place of clarity and space, ask yourself: What’s the next right move? Every time you practice this quick tip, you condition your brain, training it to notice these feelings sooner next time. Soon, you’ll be able to notice those familiar feelings very early on. This means you can stop earlier, recover faster, and get on with living your fab life without skipping a beat. 💃💃💃 No need to get to the breakdown.
Finding the right balance is not one size fits all. Your priorities are different from mine and from your friends. Finding balance is about knowing who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to get there. When you get that ratio right, work won’t feel like work, it will feel like purpose and quality time won’t feel like you’re cheating on your business, but much required rest. There is time for everything you want to do, you simply need to be bold enough to make conscious choices for what you really want to include in your life.
Author, Annie Dillard said, ‘How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.’ With that in mind, how are you spending today?
Post a comment here or tag me on Instagram @bloomhabits with your new and improved to-do lists. Let me when you’ve cleared all your tasks for the day and you’re going for a manicure to spoil yourself. I want to celebrate with you!! 🤩👑🙌
Live happy, be happy. Live a life you love. 💜💜💜