Does this dialogue sound familiar?
‘Hey! How are you?’
‘Busy, as usual. Yourself?’
‘Yeah – really busy. Life’s just crazy, you know?’
We live in a world where it’s not only cool to be busy, it’s glorified. It’s the first thing we say when we greet each other. You’re given a pat on the back when you pull a hefty 13-hour day, or if you’ve done an all-nighter, or if you’ve rushed around like a mad thing to meet a deadline.
We wear our ‘busy-ness’ like a badge of honour and will proudly tell everyone in our lives how crazy and hectic things are.
For me, there’s nothing glamorous or sexy about ‘being busy’. In fact, it’s something I want to steer away from. I don’t want to be run off my feet, stressed out, and overwhelmed. Instead, I choose to move through my day with a sense of ease and grace. How much nicer does that sound?
While we’re busting through myths and misconceptions, let’s debunk another one: life isn’t about trying to find ‘balance’ either.
I think the idea of striving for balance is unrealistic… and kind of destructive. Besides, it doesn’t even exist — it’s just another thing us ladies use to compare and measure ourselves against each other. We even use it as a self-inflicted weapon to make ourselves feel guilty and unworthy. I spent way too much time at work this week, I’m such a bad mamma. I didn’t fit everything in today, I’m such a failure. (Can you believe the awful things our Mean Girl says to us sometimes?!)
The fact is there are times when my work requires more of me. Like when I’m bunkering down to write a book, or knee-deep in a speaking tour, or launching a new product like Get Your Glow On.
There are also times when my family or friends need me more, and everything else gets put on the back burner so I can show up fully for them. I believe it’s all about being present and riding the waves of life. Sometimes one particular area will call for more energy or more love and it’s our job to be so aware and tuned in that we can recognise it and act accordingly.
INSTEAD OF RIGIDLY STRIVING FOR ‘BALANCE’, TUNE INTO THE NATURAL EBBS AND FLOWS OF LIFE – THAT’S WHERE THE MAGIC IS.
Ready to take action?
If you want to ditch the overwhelm and avoid the busy-ness trap once and for all (and supercharge your productivity while you’re at it), try these 7 hot tips:
1. Start using your digital calendar
I used to love using a pretty hand-held calendar that I would carry around in my handbag everywhere I went. But not only was it chunky and extremely heavy, I found myself missing appointments and stuffing up times because the inside of my planner looked like my 2-year-old nephew had taken to the pages with a bunch of pens!
We live in a world where things move and change all the time, and constantly crossing out and writing over things takes time and can look overwhelming (especially if you have writing like mine!).
It’s so easy to move things around on your digital calendar. Plus you can sync it to your smartphone and computer, which makes booking things in super easy. You can also send calendar invites to other people so they don’t miss your meeting or catch up.
For many years, I really struggled with this. My business is my baby, so handing anything over to someone else scared the bejeebers out of me. But since I have learnt to delegate, I have really been able to focus my attention on what I love most, which is writing, speaking, teaching, sharing and creating. As a result, my business has grown exponentially.
To make this shift for yourself, work out what you love doing in your business. If you love writing and creating content, and don’t necessarily love sending invoices, bookkeeping and assigning tags in Infusionsoft (also lovingly known at MA HQ as Confusionsoft), then hire someone else to do it. You need to stay in your zone of genius and stop wasting your precious time doing things you don’t enjoy. Life’s too short to do anything that doesn’t light you up.
3. Make sure you schedule in time for you
I know it sounds ridiculous that we have to actually schedule in downtime, but we do: if we don’t, it doesn’t happen! I personally make sure my yoga, meditation and afternoon self-love time are all added to my digital calendar, otherwise I know they’ll just fall by the wayside.
Set yourself up for success by scheduling in your self-love time today. You can also make it a recurring task, which saves you time and makes sure these essential activities are always front-and-centre in your day. Need ideas for your self love time?
Check out my FREE self love menu today.
4. Ask for help
There’s a common misconception that we have to do it all alone and that if we don’t, we’re a failure. This is BS. When you really let go of that belief — and simply ask for help when you need it — you can avoid burn-out and stop overwhelm in its tracks.
Give it a go.
ASKING FOR HELP ISN’T AN ACT OF WEAKNESS; IT’S AN ACT OF SELF-LOVE.
5. Brain dump
In this post I talk about “Things“, which is one of my favourite productivity tools.
Every morning I do a brain dump into the app, which helps stop my brain swirling into overwhelm and falling into that unproductive busy-ness trap.
Want to supercharge your productivity? Meditate! But let me guess: you’re too busy and don’t have time, right? Wrong. We all have the same amount of hours in the day — it’s about prioritising yourself, scheduling it in your digital calendar, then showing up every single day.
As Tom Cronin says, we have 72 units of 20 minutes per day. All you need to do is allocate two of those and you still have 70 units left!
7. Eat your frog first
Once you get all of your tasks out of your head and into your app (or onto paper), you need to start organising them. Divide your brain dump into four categories:
- Things you don’t want to do, and actually don’t need to do.
- Things you don’t want to do, but actually do need to do (the frogs).
- Things you want to do and actually do need to do.
- Things you want to do, but actually don’t need to do.
Once you’ve got your list organised, it’s time to prioritise the sections. The most important place to start? The ‘frogs’. These are the things you don’t like doing, but that actually really need to be done. They’re the ones you aren’t motivated to do, and that send you spiralling into procrastination. In fact, they can hang over your head all day and fill you with guilt… yet you still can’t bring yourself to actually get ‘em done.
So how can we finish our frogs?
Frogs need structure around them to ensure that they actually get finished. You can create the motivation you need to make them happen by either transforming them into something desirable (say, turning your weekly vacuuming session into a lounge room dance-jam) or by linking the act of frog-finishing to another, stronger habit.
In his famous book Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy suggests that the best habit to get into is eating your frogs first thing in the morning, which is exactly how I like to structure my to-do list. Not only does it mean you get the icky stuff over with first (leaving you free to do the things you enjoy without a cloud of guilt hanging over your head) but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Within the first hour or so of my work day, I already feel like I’ve made great headway, and that surge of momentum helps me glide through the rest of my day with ease. (Like Mark Twain once said, “If you have to eat a live frog, it does not pay to sit and look at it for a very long time!”)
Bonus Tip: Ban the ‘B’ word
My team and I have eliminated the word ‘busy’ from our vocabulary. It helps, a lot! Try it if you like. And next time someone asks you how you are, try not responding with, ‘Oh, I am so busy’. Instead, connect with how you’re feeling and go from there.
Now I’d love to hear from you, beautiful. Tell me, are you ready to ditch the busy-ness badge of honour? And do you have a favourite tip for supercharging your productivity and sailing through your to-do list with ease and grace? I’d love to hear your insights.
Thanks so much for being here, and for sharing from your heart. I love the bejeebers out of you!
P.S. Do you know someone who could really benefit from this post? I’d love you to share it with all of your friends, family and tribe so we can all get un-busy together!
A Step by Step Process That Will Help You Make the Impossible, Possible
We have all been there, looking at something and wishing we had it. The girl, the car, the money, the family, the lifestyle…but then we tell ourselves “Yeah, but that’s not me”. The people who get that are cut from a different cloth and we keep telling ourselves that until it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We waste the wings we got believing the entire time that we can’t fly and that it’s impossible for us. We don’t even see our wings most of the time. (more…)
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
What Is Dark Motivation and How Can I Use It to My Advantage?
It’s Thursday, 8 PM. I’m relaxing at home, doing normal things, and scrolling social media. Tomorrow is a big day. There are lots of things to do with moving pieces of furniture because I’m moving to another city. On top of that, a repairman is coming to my house at 8AM, so I’ll have to get up early. (more…)
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