Race Against Yourself

So many things need to get done every day. When they don’t, it’s not so much fun to catch up (like laundry). But it’s not always so much fun doing it every day either!

A friend recently shared a tip she uses in the morning to motivate herself. She races to see how much she can do before her coffee is done in the morning. This includes emptying the dishwasher, washing any pans soaking from the night before, etc. She challenges herself to keep moving and to get as much as possible done in that short amount of time.

That’s such a great idea.

  • Because it’s a short time, it’s manageable instead of overwhelming.
  • Because it’s a race, there’s a little more energy put into completing those mundane tasks.
  • She knows what needs to be done and makes it fun to do. Who doesn’t need a little more fun in the daily task list?

You may have used this or seen it used with kids, but it’s just as fun for grown-ups — and for the same reasons.

Ready! Set! Go!

A Little Bit Better

Today’s the day — the first day of the new year! Whether you are a dedicated resolution maker or just enjoy a fresh start, it’s a milestone day for all of us.

My challenge for you this year: Get a little better at something of value. You don’t need to become an expert this month, just improve a bit. Take some time to look at your areas of responsibility, list your strengths and weaknesses, and tackle one weakness. Just one.

Remember, how do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.elephant-1598359__340

Looking at the Proverbs 31 description is usually intimidating and overwhelming. The breadth of knowledge and skill used there is impressive. But take a deep breath, step back, and think of all the things you already do. There is a wide variety there! If you continue that trend, adding a little more each year, learning something new, sharpening your tool set — think of how much more skill you will have in a few years. You are capable and are able to become even better.

This can be a brand new skill that would be useful but you’ve never tried before (like bread-making or book-keeping) or just getting a little better at what you already do (cleaning the house or studying or calendaring). Either way is progress.

Take advantage of the resources available to you, whether that be through people you know or online or at the library. We are blessed with so much to use for learning. A friend holding you accountable helps a ton (and keeps you from settling for less out of laziness or discouragement).

Sharing what you are learning to encourage others is a fringe benefit of these efforts. We’d love to hear what you will tackle and your plan to do it. Comment below or on social media. We’re in this together.

Happy New Year!

 

Personal Goal-Setting Session Giveaway

Are you thinking about New Year’s resolutions? Are you afraid to think about them because they’ve failed before?

Personal coaching is a tool for you to use as you seek to handle all your responsibilities calmly and confidently. Strategies and support are at hand as you successfully create a resolution — or just a personal goal — and then work the action plan to see it happen. Instead of viewing goals as a certain failure, you can face each year with confidence!

IN their own words

Enter the giveaway for one personal goal-setting session below. You can win and walk away with clearly defined and achievable goals to make 2018 a great year.

 Enter Now

Habits Help

Each day a million thoughts run through your head. You see and hear lots of good things to try. Your goals are many and varied. But, how to do it?!?

We have discussed multiple strategies on this blog that help answer that question, and today we will add one more aspect.

Routines are effective. The more habits you can create in your day and then string together into a routine, the more you will accomplish without thinking about it. Yes, it takes time to build those habits, but the investment pays off immensely in the future.

When you think about eating an elephant one bite at a time, habits are a great illustration of “one bite” a day. If you do one thing every day (or every weekday), how much would be accomplished in a month? Or a year? If you want to do something more (like exercise or read), doing that thing 10 minutes a day will add up. After a few months, you will indeed have done something more.

Habits provide rest. When you get to the point that you have a habit (like brushing your teeth), you don’t have to think about what you are doing while you are doing it. Some days that is a micro-nap for your brain; other days it is free space for creative or deep thinking. Make the most of it!

Also, we are not designed to go full-out all day long. Scattering mental breaks throughout your day gives you a chance to catch your breath — while still accomplishing what you continually need in hygiene or chores or growth — before expending energy on the major efforts of the day.

Structure builds security. When you know the road you’re on, you are comfortable lifting your foot to take a step. In complete darkness in an unfamiliar room — not so much. When your routine is established, making exceptions is safer. When you know what to expect, you will naturally feel less anxious. You can be confident you will come back to the “normal” day. Bases are covered, so a special activity is not a concern.  If you have put wise effort into big picture planning ahead of time, you can relax and enjoy the small trip.

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Not only do these points all apply to us, they also help with children. A regular, daily routine will:

  • minimize repeated instruction (they know what they are doing; they do it every day), and
  • require less energy in creating and communicating a new schedule for every hour and every activity.
  • Children love the security of structure. Once it is established, they will be active advocates for keeping it in place and you on track!

Relax

So, continuing on the theme of the joys to be had with shotguns and clays and a wide-open field…

You’re standing in the hot sun, holding your shotgun, joking around with friends. You know the goal is to vaporize the orange clay on the first shot. You know everyone around you is counting their shots and keeping one eye (or both!) on yours as well. Will you just chip it? Will you miss? Can you hit double after double? There is pressure to perform. If you are competitive, multiply that pressure exponentially!

Time after time, there has been consistent, obvious improvement in my accuracy when I am relaxed. The more relaxed, the more I hit. I’m breathing better, my muscles respond better, my energy is not wasted and can be used for what I want to do.

There’s a life lesson here too.

Relaxed and focused will maximize your time and efforts. Overwhelmed, panicked, tense, disturbed and distracted — all take time and attention from your goal or task or schedule for the day. The more time you spend ‘stressing’ or worrying about all you have to do and how you are going to do it, the less time you use to get it done. You psych yourself out of productivity when you focus on the potential problems.

Time after time, when I am coaching someone on process or time management, we start the hour with a HUGE project that seems impossible to get done. But as we break it down into steps and make a plan, twenty minutes later — it’s no problem at all. It’s possible. Not only that, it often is a project that can be enjoyed! How would you rather spend an hour: worrying and procrastinating, or working and enjoying the results?

My encouragement to you is this: Enjoy the moment! Do the work that is given to you for that time. Relax and get it done.

 

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Another way to support a little less tension in your day is to schedule margin. We have discussed this before, but it has a huge impact on reducing stress in your project or your calendar.