The living is easy and the kids are…home. You are stuck between wanting to relax and wanting to keep the business ball rolling. You feel scattered, pulled in all directions, guilty for not being all things to all people, unable to say “No,” and stressed about doing the bare minimum to keep the business afloat. So, you suck it up, soothe yourself with the thought that the kids will be in school in just a few short weeks, grab your copy of “City of Girls,” park yourself by the pool and put off work yet another day.
I get it.
This does not have
to be an either/or situation: either fully engaged in your business OR fully
committed to fam. There’s a Both/And
Solution here… One you can begin to put
into practice right now.
Now, I know what
you’re going to say, “Yea, but, how am I going to find the time to do it
all? I can hardly fit one more
commitment on my plate!”
I hear you – and you
may be familiar with an expression Desmond Tutu, Nobel Prize winner for his
efforts in resolving and ending apartheid in South Africa, once wisely said:
“There is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.”
Plot Your Course: Create a Plan
This may seem like an odd question, but have you ever
considered your relationship with time? The
greatest complaints I hear from the women I work in my coaching practice have
to do with their lack of time. They use
expressions such as not having enough it, it flying or passing quickly, wasting
it, it being too late, having limited amounts of it, it being against you,
running out of it and wouldn’t it be nice if they had it to do [fill in the
blank.] Not to mention our cultural
identification and gripping fear of aging, regret, frittering it away… There is
a lot of pressure we put on ourselves in regards to time.
Just as you have relationships with loved ones, partners and
yourself, you have a relationship with time.
If you were to see time as a sentient being, by the relationship
you have with it, would you say it was more of a foe or a friend? Do you follow its lead or feel controlled by
it? Are you time’s driver or its victim?
It’s time to take time back and create a bite-size plan
(remember we’re not going to eat the elephant all at once…)
Let’s take a good look at your next 30 days in your business
and life. We are going to divide your
time into 3 categories: personal time, business time, and contact time.
Plot and mark off your personal
time in first. (Wha? But what about all off my obligations? My clients, my responsibilities? What will people think?????) I know this is a bit of a mind bender, and
you know what they say, “if Mama ain’t happy….”
So, go ahead a chart out your pedicure time, pleasure reading time,
vacay with family time, shopping for school time, girl’s night out time etc..
Next, plot and mark off your
business time. This time is
dedicated to doing things like sending emails, writing copy, planning out your
next workshop, scheduling gigs, creating new packages/programming etc… (by the
way, the work you are doing here in planning your 30 days can be considered
Finally, plot and mark off your contact time. This is
time you’ve specifically put aside to pick up the phone, meet with a client, go
to a networking event, give an estimate, talk to prospective clients….
You may or may not have anything going on during your
dedicated “contact time” and, by making time for it in your planner, it makes
it that much easier to make appointments and dates so you no longer find
yourself scrambling to “squeeze” somebody in.
In fact, you can tell people, I have dates/times available for this
purpose, what works for you?
Don’t you already feel the difference? Yep. You.
In time’s driver seat.
Maintain Routines: Keep a Weekly Plan
Routines… you might be thinking… are only for kids,
You might find yourself throwing a 3 year-old tantrum
here….: But I like things loosey goosey,
I don’t like to be tied down, I do better when I can be spontaneous!
Does this mean you like the unpredictability of your
business? Does that mean you thrive on
inconsistent income? Does this mean you enjoy being at the mercy of time,
obligation and responsibilities that do not serve your financial Dire Need?
I’m pretty certain you’d say no.
So, stay with me here.
Let’s create, what is referred to in The Nia Technique, as a tight, but
loose structure for your week.
Begin your week with your 3 Top Goals… Not planning what you’d like to achieve by
the end of the week is akin to trusting a blind pilot to get you to your
destination… Have you blocked out
uninterrupted time for these activities or projects?
Check your calendar at the beginning of the week, make sure
you’re ready for the upcoming personal, business, and contact time commitments
so you are not caught completely off guard.
Have a weekly planning list – this is a checklist or default
template you can go through every week.
Make sure to have your top 3 priorities on the top of your checklist as
well as all of the regular admin, calendaring and blocked off times accounted
One of the advantages of planning your days, your weeks,
your month is that it takes away a lot of stress because you know exactly when
you will do what and that you have thought of everything. To avoid the sense that you’ve over plan,
account for buffer times in your day.
For example, add 15 extra minutes to every event that lasts an hour or
more, especially when other people are involved.
Be Ready When Unpredictable Events Strike.
Although planning can have its dark side – being
spontaneity’s worst enemy – life is life.
And we are human, subject to the unpredictable: a child getting the flu,
the in-laws dropping in…
So, plan for it. Leave
some space in there for you to breathe and to honor the “loose” part of that
“tight but loose” idea from The Nia Technique.
For example, keep your weekends plan free so you can spontaneously go to
the pool with the kids, hit a matinee on a rainy day, go for an unplanned
You needn’t eat the elephant all at once when it comes to creating boundaries around your time and schedule. Taking a step-by step approach to taking back your time will allow you to decrease your stress level, anxiety and guilt so you can increase your business’ bottom line. Truly working harder is for the birds. Working wiser, now, that’s the way to go.
Let us know in the comments what is your relationship with time and what are you willing to change or enhance in that relationship?
Savvy Blog Contributor:
Joëlle is an internationally sought after Relationship Expert, mentoring smart, successful, self-aware and spiritual women to transform their life and love struggles, low self-esteem and mistrust into ease and confidence. Her clients are able to release their painful stories about what it means to be highly sensitive, take responsibility for themselves as Grown Woman rather than a little girl, and change their life trajectory.
Opinions expressed by Savvy Women blog contributors are their own, and do not express the opinions of the Savvy Professional Women Network.
I was working with a client today, and as is almost always the case, the beliefs and values of childhood were running the show. Many of us don’t understand how our mind and body work together. It’s both simple and complicated.
In the “Biology of Belief” Bruce Lipton teaches us about the conscious and subconscious mind. I could go into my beliefs about past lives, or my alignment with Carl Jung’s philosophy that the human mind is not just a blank slate at birth to be written on solely by experience, but for today, let’s talk about the scientific aspects of the challenges of change.
No one can argue that our beliefs and habits are programmed in from our caregivers, whoever they may have been. Parents, teachers, family, friends, society, religion or lack of, and on and on. Our job is to understand what’s true for us and what’s not so we can line up with our truest self and stop living someone else’s life!
Change Takes Courage!
Your conscious mind is controlling about 5% of what’s happening in your world. The stronger your habits are, the stronger you have to be to change them, and to create the new habits that will make the difference.
You’ve been thinking and doing the same way for most of your life. If you want to change a habit, and consequently your life, then you have to do something different to move toward the change you desire.
When we start to make changes, alarms and whistles go off. No, that’s new, that’s not safe, that’s could be dangerous. The mind/brain likes to stay in what it knows.
When I was sixteen, in a violent incident with my father, I accidentally scratched him with my ring. It shocked him out of his rage and he never touched me or spoke to me again. If that hadn’t happened it’s likely I would have perpetuated that version of violence in my life. As it happened I did keep the violence going but in other ways, until I made the conscious changes that has me living my life with a beautiful man and I am happy and healthy in every way. It was a big old fat process though.
Here’s what happens: The changes start in your mind but also in your body.
You have a thought, your brain starts to make some chemicals that will match that thought based on past experiences and you feel uncomfortable in your body, and do your usual reaction.
Or you have a feeling, and the body creates some chemicals that create a thought based on past experiences associated with that feeling, and once again, you have your usual experience.
It’s not your fault!
Your brain is hardwired to keep you safe and change is not safe – at least according to certain areas of your brain.
When making a commitment to change, you have to go through the process of feeling your feelings and changing your thoughts, at the same time as you keep moving forward. You have to practice over and over. It’s a 24/7 job for a while and then over time it becomes your more natural state.
Whenever I do a speaking gig I get stressed. It used to be I would have endless days and nights of tossing and turning. I had friends and colleagues tell me that if I wasn’t thinking about myself, and instead thinking about the audience, I wouldn’t feel that way. While that may be true, all I could feel was I was in danger! LOL
I practiced feeling my feelings, changing my thoughts, imagining myself having a good time, spending a little more time meditating and eventually it became just a feeling and a thought that has little to no power. I know that there is no boogieman coming to get me and I can embrace the wonderful joy of the possibility of changing someone’s life. I feel lucky! When I get that feeling, I remember and do what I know to do.
You know what to do too!
Answer these questions for yourself:
What’s the one thing that you want to change?
What are the thoughts and feelings that are associated with that change?
Take the time, connect the dots and make the changes that make the difference.
Feel your feelings Change your thoughts Create a life you love
When you get that feeling, the one that’s particular to you, you’ll need to learn to discern the difference between true danger (which is almost never) and avoidance of something you’re not saying or not doing. This is where stress lies. What are you not saying or not doing? The other triggers are experience driven such as a smell, a touch, a familiar and uncomfortable feeling that drives stress and indecision.
There are multitudes of ways that can make a difference, but initially it is beneficial to just start noticing when that feeling sets in and why.
When you change the way you look at things,
the things you look at change. Wayne Dyer
Start the day with focus
Declare that you are ready to change the way you see things
Notice when negativity takes you over
Change your thoughts NOW
Go on a complaining diet – NO complaining
Fake it till you make it
Look around with gratitude – what are you grateful for?
Some days are harder than others. When it just isn’t working use this tool.
Accept – What can I accept right now?
Commit – What am I committed to?
Practice – What do I need to practice – what’s my plan?
Discomfort – Where do I feel discomfort in my body – lean in.
Courage – Do I have the courage to keep going?
Awake – How can I stay awake?
Celebrate – Everything!
You are amazing. Everyone knows it. You are beautiful just as you are. You may desire change and that’s cool too. I know I will always be striving for more, more of myself and more from others, that’s just my nature. What is your true nature? How will you fulfill your desires and purpose? How can we see more of you?
Will the real you please stand up, stand out and be the best, most authentic version of you. We need you, you need you, and the world needs you and your specialness. Comment below… How will you fulfill your desires and purpose? How can we see more of you?
Savvy Blog Contributor
Karen Carey is the founder of Ruby Red Road and partner at Five Star Coaching Group. As a CultureTalk certified partner, she helps businesses and teams create a productive and positive environment with self-knowledge, collaboration and heart to maximize potential and ultimate success.
Karen will be the guest speaker at our Networking Soiree on September 17th in Albany, New York. For ticket details please click here.
Opinions expressed by Savvy Women blog contributors are their own.
A lot has been written about effective communication: active listening, recognizing non verbal communication, asking questions, clarifying and summarizing your speaking points, providing feedback and developing trust and rapport. All of these tips make sense and are useful in any conversation. So with everything we’ve been taught to do or say, why is it that so many of us still feel we aren’t being heard? The real game changer, prior to all the techniques and strategies, is bringing ourselves fully to the conversation. The question then becomes: how do we do that?
Most of the time we just assume the person we’re talking to will hear what we’re saying, but how often does that really happen? It’s far more common to have a conversation with someone who’s simply waiting for us to finish so they can either give their opinion, defend their position, offer advice or refuse to be of any help whatsoever. And that’s not what we’re looking for.
Few people experience really being listened to. When the person we’re talking to is simply inhabiting their physical body we get a particular feeling about that. The most obvious indicator is that they’re not stopping what they’re doing to look you in the eye for more than a second because they’re distracted or checking their phone or multi-tasking. Beyond that, you sense the flatness; there’s no sense of connection and your words seem to bounce off a brick wall. Granted, not every conversation is one in which there’s deep connection and understanding. In a business context that’s often not possible and depending on the situation, maybe not even desirable. But what is possible is a simple acknowledgement of our shared humanness and an intention to have a positive exchange.
What if, in order to improve our experience – both for the listener and the speaker – we began by taking into account our state of mind? It’s certainly not the place most people start. It may seem overly simplistic to say that any conversation is significantly improved when we aren’t already preoccupied with a thousand different things, regardless of who’s doing the talking and who’s doing the listening. First you need to be aware when your mind is full of busy thoughts about problems you need to solve or people you need to deal with. That awareness by itself will break the spell of preoccupation and remind you to take a stop and really be with the person you’re talking to. It’s as easy as making sure your shoelaces are tied before you step out your door. Usually we get so caught up in the need to keep running that we don’t even think to look down until we trip up. But once we know the consequences of trying to run with untied shoelaces, we know to prepare in advance. It’s the same with having a conversation, only we look within ourselves rather than at something outside ourselves.
Our state of mind is colored by our mood and the feelings that go with it. We can improve our ability to relate to each other by factoring in the effect of our moods – both ours and the person we’re talking to. This is something that’s so fundamental we almost forget about it entirely. But, in fact, our low moods do affect our ability to communicate effectively. We forget that when we’re in a low mood, our ability to speak clearly or listen fully is minimized. When we’re feeling badly, it’s way too easy to fall into blame or resentment or defensiveness because we’re already feeling vulnerable, as if we somehow need to protect ourselves before anyone even has a chance to get the words out of their mouth.
If we give each other the breathing room to allow our moods to change, we have a far greater chance of engaging in conversation that may that may potentially contain an emotional charge. We start with noticing our own moods and how they make us feel, and then we begin to recognize how other people are also driven by their moods. This is a form of compassion that begins with you, a form of self care, if you will. And once you take care of yourself this way, you find you automatically extend the same kindness to others.
These dynamics – state of mind and mood – are equally true whether the conversation takes place in the office or the living room. For example, perhaps you run a business and have employees working for you, or you’re in a management position and want to be effective in engaging others in your vision. Understanding the nuances of the human condition is invaluable because it both increases your ability to convey what’s important to you and increases the engagement of those you work with.
As you increase your ability to recognize low moods and busy states of mind, you also become aware of the feelings connected to them. Self awareness is the gateway to so many improvements in our lives! We come to see not only what’s in our way but we gain access to our own resources we hadn’t noticed before. You come to see that low moods will pass and busy minds will settle without the need to manipulate them. They’re much like the clouds that cover over the sun; they dissipate on their own without our having to do anything to fix or improve them. Once we understand how transient moods and thoughts and feelings really are, we can either adjust our timing or make sure we create a safe and supportive context for dialogue.
Recognizing the role of our state of mind enables us to become fully present – and presence is transformative. It’s the real source of connection between us, and we all know when it’s there or it’s missing. When we can let go of rehearsing, anticipating or assuming anything about what might occur, we can set the stage for the most valuable and affirming possibilities to occur.
Nina Lockwood Certified Transformative Coach
Nina Lockwood is a transformative coach, speaker, facilitator and trainer with over 30 years of expertise in psychology and personal development and 20 years in the fields of health and wellness. Drawing from an interdisciplinary background, Nina works with individuals and organizations to achieve improved performance, problem solving, productivity and to minimize the effects of stress and pressure.
One of my favorite things to do is travel! I have gone to almost every state in the United States, and last year, I explored Thailand and Vietnam. I also love to go by motorcycle and check out our National Parks, as well as many other areas. We live in a beautiful country, and the thought of not getting to explore it would be a shame. I also think that planning a trip, and taking into consideration your health is critically important; especially if you are leaving the United States.
When you are excited to travel on a trip, it is easy to get caught up in the planning of where you are going, and how you are going to get there. Also; don’t forget that if you are not feeling well, it may be memorable, but it will not be enjoyable. It is essential to consider your health, and how you can boost your immune system before, and while traveling.
Also, it is essential to consider things like:
Sleep – If you typically get 6 hours of sleep, be sure to get those hours prior, and during your travel. If you usually get 8 hours, then be sure to get at least 8 hours. It is so tempting to stay up late because you do not want to miss anything. But you will pay for it if you end up getting run down and sick, and that is not enjoyable.
Health – I always bring a natural healthy medicine cabinet container in my carry on for remedies like; motion sickness, constipation, diarrhea, headaches, restless legs, and daily nutrition. Remember: take your daily vitamins; and if you take prescription medications, bring the amount you will need for the entire trip. Bring extra, in case of any delays, or you choose to delay your return trip.
Snacks – Super important if traveling by car; bring a little cooler bag with an ice pack, and; some peeled hard boiled eggs, almonds, and good quality protein bars. Never rely on food availability too much, such as; junk food, and things I wouldn’t even consider eating. Be sure to bring lots of clean water also. I bring a thermos with ice, and by the time it melts, I have gone through the water bottles I have brought. Try to use glass or stainless steel; it is healthier for you.
Brimmed Hat – Don’t forget to block those harmful rays by wearing a comfortable brimmed hat. Did you know that you can actually get sunburned on your head? Some people don’t like to wear them. I know I hate it, too; it always flattens my hair. If you are a fashionista, then get yourself a hat. You’ll block the sun,; and stay healthier; so go for it!
Sunglasses – There is nothing like being on a trip and losing your sunglasses. You will have to stop the fun to find a good pair of sunglasses; so why not just bring two. They don’t take up that much room. Comfy shoes – I prefer to travel in Oofos sandals easy off and on and supportive sandals. My feet are super comfortable in these especially if flying.
Ironing – Nowadays you don’t need to purchase clothes that require ironing so why pack something that will require ironing. You are on vacation! No work allowed!
Sunscreen – Look for a sunscreen that is paraben free, water resistant, oil-free, and one that smoothes easily into your skin and absorbs quickly, without leaving a sticky residue that does not irritate your skin.
Inset Repellant – There are a few choices out there that I would not recommend it isn’t healthy to put chemicals on your skin. My personal preference is an organic product that is safe and effective. Pack Ahead – I always begin packing two days before my travel because I remember things as the days go by and can add them while it is on my mind. Be sure to have a running list and check it off as you drop it in the suitcase, so you don’t have to go through to ensure it is packed. I always put in my carry on a travel toothbrush, my natural healthy medicine cabinet, deodorant, bathing suit, sundress, and pajamas. In case they have a delay getting my checked bag, I can still take advantage of the pool if there is one and sleep comfortably.
Disinfectant Wipes – I always bring a ziplock bag with disinfectant wipes to wipe down everything that people tend to touch when flying. The ones I use and recommend, kill odor-causing bacteria and 99.9% of Salmonella and E-coli.
Toilet Paper – In Thailand and Vietnam, the restrooms are a bit different so pack your own travel size tissues. In some locations, there is literally a hole that you squat over so think shoes and clothes that this would be easy to do in. So if you are traveling out of the United States, check what the facilities are like ahead of time. I am sure there are Facebook Groups that you can join and ask. I belong to one called Girls Love to Travel.
Motion Sickness – I get car sick, air sick, and ill on boats. I use peppermint ginger a half hour before my travel, and when flying, I also wear sea bands. Sea bands can be found in most drug stores; the key is the correct placement on your wrists, use two fingers together across your wrist and slide the sea band at the edge. I gave up years ago prematurely thinking they would not work for me, my friend encouraged me to try again, and they actually do work. If you find yourself without any of these remedies and are feeling sick on a plane, ask for half ginger ale and half seltzer that will help you in a pinch.
In February three years ago, we were traveling for a little over 3 months. The first stop was to New York City to go to a birthday dinner and then a Broadway Show and stay overnight before getting back on the road to head south. Here is what I did that made it very easy not to have to carry and unpack and repack a huge suitcase. I packed one bag for the first place we were stopping and put all my toiletries in one kit that could smoothly go from each bag. That bag was so much smaller and much easier to carry for a one night stay.
The second stop was North Carolina, where we had expected it to be a little warmer but not super warm. Upon putting the first suitcase in the car, I added my toiletries to the next bag that was packed with less dressy clothes and for slightly warmer weather.
The third stop was Florida, definitely much warmer and bathing suit weather so that bag had warmer weather clothes and I just added my toiletry kit.
The fourth stop was going to be a bit more of a challenge because we rented a motorcycle and headed down to the Florida Keys. I always have my travel size skin care and toiletries in a bag that is as small as I can make it, so that fit comfortably in the side compartment of the motorcycle. I just needed to fit enough clothes and shoes in the rest of the side bag. I brought lightweight clothing that I could easily wash out at night and hang to dry at the hotel. I always pack a super lightweight sundress that is super thin because I can fit that easily. My sneakers always go in the trunk bag, and my sandals fit nicely in the side bag.
The fifth stop would be back to our friends home, and I was able to do laundry.
The sixth stop was Houston, TX, to visit my father’s grave and spend some time with my cousin and attend the Houston Rodeo. You got it! Another bag in the back of my Honda CR-V.
The seventh stop was New Orleans, and no need for another bag as the Houston, TX bag was all refreshed and ready to go.
I think you get the picture having specific bags for each leg of your journey makes it so much simpler when in and out of hotels, relatives, and friends.
You can never be too prepared. After I return from any trip, I do a 7-Day Healthy Cleanse because the benefits are amazing. This helps me completely reset my system, reduce cravings, improves my sleep, and jump-starts my weight loss to get back on track in case I overindulged a little. I love the carefully selected combination of supplements in convenient daily packets with a step-by-step cleanse guide.
Enjoy your travels and remember your not promised tomorrow so DO IT TODAY!
Savvy Blog Contributor:
Deb Darby – It’s rare for anyone to get an hour to explore their wellness goals with a trained professional. As an Integrative Nutrition* Health Coach, Deb Darby creates a supportive environment that enables you to articulate and achieve your goals. Throughout her education, she has been exposed to the most cutting-edge dietary theories and studied highly effective coaching techniques to help you find the right lifestyle that works best for you.
Often people who have their own business get very concerned that they can’t take a vacation, or they will have to overwork either before/after their vacation like a crazy person. This does not have to be true.
It all comes down to planning. If you know that you are going to take two weeks of vacation each year then plan to make the difference up over the other 50 weeks, not the week before or the week after the vacation.
Make sure that you have tied up all your loose ends BEFORE going on vacation, so they don’t unravel WHILE you are vacation. You need time off.
Also, look at the possibility of having someone “cover” your clients if an emergency comes up while you are gone. Communication is key so, let your clients know that you are away and will not be available. Advise them of your departure and return dates so they know. It doesn’t hurt to send out an email to remind them. You may need to also set something up for new or potential clients, so they know you are unavailable. This can avoid you losing potential business or upsetting a client.
I am all about planning to make sure you can have fun!
On the personal side you also want to do several things like:
Having mail held at post office or someone picking it up
Notify your credit cards that you will be away (this can save big problems while you are gone)
Have someone keep an eye on your house
Remember you can go on vacation and have a great time with some good planning. Plan to have fun!
What are your tips for planning before leaving for vacation? Leave a comment below…
Colleen Parisi owner of A Walk in the Park with Colleen. Takes the stress out of planning a trip to Disney and put the fun in!!
Colleen’s belief is that everyone should have a great time at Disney! Growing up her family called her “Julie” (for those that don’t get it, it is a reference to a TV show called Love Boat and Julie was the cruise director). Colleen has always been a planner and now does it as a business and to help other businesses.
Opinions expressed by Savvy Women blog contributors are their own.