They call it a ‘gut feeling’ for a reason…
Most of us have too much going on in our lives. Demands on our time come from all directions and we keep on adding new things to do, while trying to hold on to everything else that’s already there. Sooner or later it becomes impossible. Are you wondering how you could simplify your life to make space for more of what you want? Here are some quick ways to get started.
1. Say no more often
Is “yes” your automatic answer to everything? Become more selective and consider each request that comes your way before you answer. Do you really want to do it? If yes, go for it. Otherwise, say “no”.
2. Ask for help
You won’t get a medal for doing everything on your own and who wants a medal anyway? It’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help and you won’t bother people (if you do, it’s up to them to say “no”). Even if you outsource one little thing a day, it’ll add up and you’ll feel the difference.
3. Declutter your home and your work space
Start with the areas where you spend most of your time – your desk, the living room, the kitchen. Once your space looks more organised, you will feel more organised and won’t be spending time looking for things.
4. Limit your media use
There’s no need to miss out on your favourite TV show, but if you find yourself mindlessly staring at a screen only because it’s there, turn it off. All of a sudden you have ample free time to meditate, go for a walk or get creative.
5. Buy less
Shopping therapy is a popular way to combat stress, but is it the most effective one? Very unlikely. When you buy less you spend less money, less time and have less stuff to make space for.
6. Be selective who you spend time with
Choose to hang out with people you love and avoid those who complain and drain your energy. Don’t agree to catch up just because you always do or because you feel obligated. You can choose who you give your time to and still have friends.
7. Slow down
It might be counterintuitive, but when you get enough sleep, make time for yourself and meditate, you will notice that everything else in your life happens with less effort.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the things you could do to simplify your life, don’t be. Pick just one thing and do it today.
Image via Pixabay
With all the convenience and flexibility that a mobile office provides, this time of ultra-connectivity and a global business place can also mean that it’s almost impossible to create a clear separation between work and home.
Long gone are the days that people clocked off at 5pm and left their work at the office. Instead, we respond to emails as they arrive on our smart phones, catch up on work reading on the laptop or Skype with colleagues in other time zones – often late into the night. Stan Gordon, CEO of Franchised Food Company and international businessman offers his tips on how to find the all-important balance between work and home:
Spend just five minutes at the start of each day prioritising your tasks and save yourself valuable time throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be complicated, a simple ‘to do’ list is sufficient. Lists are great way to determine what needs to be achieved for the day, and will enable you to work more proactively rather than reactively, highlight the things that are urgent, and reassess the not-so-important tasks. Mark off tasks as you complete them… There’s something extremely satisfying about ticking off the boxes!
In any working day, there’ll be minor interruptions – that’s just life – but you can put methods into place to ensure you stay on top of your workload. Just like any business, sometimes there are bumps in the road, but it’s learning how to overcome these roadblocks that is key. Work out how you can handle these situations whilst keeping on track.
Don’t be afraid to delegate
Once you’re in the routine of prioritising your work, delegate certain tasks to others. Be realistic – you can’t do it all – believe me I’ve tried! By delegating tasks, your immediate workload will be reduced. And whilst your input may be required to oversee some tasks, your focus can be turned to the important projects that need your full attention – the real nitty gritty stuff.
Done well, delegation is a win-win. Your team will feel valued at the opportunity to take on new challenges, while you can move beyond the smaller details of your business, allowing it to grow. Step back from the smaller things and find balance within your projects. Take note of people’s strengths and weaknesses and assign tasks accordingly. Be aware of your own abilities (and sometimes inabilities) – don’t waste time on something you’re not good at, especially if there’s someone else who can do a better job! Remember you surround yourself with people for a reason. Give them the tools and freedom to excel; it’ll benefit you and your business in the long run.
Play by the rules
Set yourself some hard and fast rules about what time you’ll leave the office, and how you will use your portable devices when you are at home. Depending on your commitments and values, these rules will vary from person to person. The reality is that sometimes you might have to work late… Just don’t make it a habit. All work and no play isn’t good for anyone. Running a business can be stressful, and everyone needs down time to ensure you’re more productive when you’re actually at work.
Once your rules are set in place, commit to playing by them. If you can’t help yourself, put your phone in a drawer for an hour during dinner – or even better, turn it off. When you are at home, set a time to check your voicemail and reply to emails. Not only will you be more productive, you’ll also be able to focus on enjoying your family time. At the end of the day, they are the ones that count! Never forget, you need to have balance!
Just say no
In an ideal world, we would all love our business’ to grow quickly, our brands to get maximum exposure and our personal brands to be recognised in the right industry. It’s important to remember that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself and your business’s longevity is to say no to that additional project, that extra piece of work or another networking event. Be smart, assess your workload and ask yourself the question: is this really important? What are the benefits in the long run to me and my business, and what sacrifices will I have to make? It’s simple; do the pros outweigh the cons? If you’re already at capacity and struggling to keep that elusive work/life balance, then taking on another task is probably not the best idea.
Remember that sometimes, it’s perfectly ok to say no. If it’s a project you really want to be a part of, ask for help, shuffle your schedule around and delegate some of your work. Keep in mind that too much on your plate can mean important things fall by the wayside. As the saying goes, many troubles in this life stem from saying yes too quickly, and not saying no soon enough!
Learn to switch off
It’s a hard lesson to learn, but you don’t need to be contactable all the time. It’s ok to switch off every now and then. For me, Friday nights is family time. So, on a Friday night, I leave my phone in my bag – on silent! Voicemail was created for a reason, and if it’s that important, they will call back! Remember most of the time, everything can wait a while (unless you’re a doctor or fireman on call).
Most people don’t expect a response to an email they sent at 10pm on a Friday night, nor should they! Don’t fall into the trap of responding during out-of-office times, it only creates unrealistic expectations. I never answer calls after 9pm, as I said there’s not much that can’t wait for a while! Answer emails during business hours and set a precedent for everyone with which you interact. Be firm with yourself – you have the power to make these decisions – and stick to them!
Get a hobby
It might sound simplistic, but find yourself a hobby – have fun in your own time! Whether it’s playing golf, cooking, joining a special interest club, wining and dining or just spending quality with your family, set aside some ‘me’ time.
I love crazy, cool and fun ‘gimmicks’ and enjoy spending time adding to my collection of toys… anything from a novelty USB to a jet ski. If it’s different and fun – I want it – and am known in my household for driving everyone a little crazy! It’s also really important to me to always allocate down time to spend with my family. After all, I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for their support.
The benefits of having a hobby means that instead of spending time answering emails, you’ll find yourself focusing on bettering your golf score or branching out to try new things… or even looking for the latest gimmick! Give yourself the time to achieve something non-work related. It’ll benefit your business interactions come Monday morning, and anything that helps you ease into the working week is a plus!
Stan Gordon is the CEO of Franchised Food Company, the umbrella company encompassing the brands Cold Rock, Mr Whippy, Trampoline Gelato, Pretzel World and Nutshack. Ever thought about owning your own business? For info about owning your very own franchise visit http://www.ffco.com.au/buy-a-franchise.html
Talk show queen Oprah Winfrey: “You can have it all. You just can’t have it all at once.” I’m feeling burdened by mother guilt today and I know I’m not alone. Is it a curse of Generation X that in our eternal quest to “have it all” we expect to be able to seamlessly simultaneously juggle motherhood, work and relationships? Are we just setting ourselves up for failure, right there?
Mother guilt seems to be a very common affliction among my close friendship circle. In fact, almost every mum I’ve met struggles to strike a work/life/relationships balance – it seems we’re all struggling to be good enough, to be enough.
Today, I feel guilty for “hiding out” at my favourite cafe in order to meet a writing deadline, while my two toddlers are being cared for by family members. A friend of mine even sometimes shuts herself away in her pantry from her three children, for five minutes, just to de-stress. She is then wracked by terrible mother guilt, only alleviated by a glass of wine. Meanwhile, yet another friend is plagued by debilitating mother guilt after every day-care drop-off, especially after her mother-in-law insinuated she was “abandoning” her child due to her wicked desire to enjoy some much-needed time out to herself.
But back to me: am I selfish for wanting a creative and fulfilling career outside of my family life? Will I ever be able to fulfil all my obligations and keep my husband, my children, my boss and myself happy, all at once? How do we, as women, curb this awful, energy-sapping and ultimately pointless mother guilt and learn to accept that in striving to “have it all”, we will fail at times, and that’s ok? That there is no perfect wife, mother, friend and worker bee and we’re all just trying to do our best?
A-list actress Angelina Jolie once said: “I think if you love what you do, and the choice you’ve made in your life, somehow that drives you forward to enjoy it all. Even the chaos, even the exhaustion of it, and even when it seems out of balance.” And leading Brisbane psychologist Judith Retrot’s advice is for women to stop putting pressure on themselves to be perfect.
“For a child to develop in a psychologically healthy way it needs a ‘good enough mother’. She doesn’t have to be perfect, but in fact it’s imperative that she be ‘good enough’!” Mrs Retrot says. “Don’t waste time feeling guilty! The criteria for ‘good enough’ parenting could be: Do I, more often than not, strike a balance between my responsibilities to give my child enough loving attention and guidance and my own need to fulfill myself and enjoy my life outside of motherhood?”
“If you teach the child that you will compromise your own needs in order to cater to their wants and desires then you will, most likely, both undermine its genuine sense of itself as a caring considerate member of society, while giving it a grandiose sense of entitlement over others.
“The secret to having it all is starting early with looking after yourself and setting age appropriate boundaries for your child, because if you aren’t doing well then neither will your child.”
Image via someecards
By Nicole Carrington-Sima