5 favourite posts about…. how I do my goals!

If you’re a longtime reader, you’ll know I’m fairly passionate about goals, but not only for nerdiness’ sake, but because I’ve seen and tested them in my own life for over 20 years.

Here are 5 of my favourite posts on goal-setting (and goal getting), basically how I do goals:

How I choose my goals for the month

My favourite night of the month, Goals Night

I started doing my goals like this, and it continued into this year

A mind-shift to change your thinking about goals

Weekly goals

Which is your favourite post?

Soul care vs self-care

If I speak to a group of 10 women, I can guarantee that the majority feels like they don’t have enough time for themselves.

We all have many roles in life. I’d guess that if you’re reading this post, you probably fulfill 5 to 7 of these roles: a wife, mother, homemaker, daughter, sister, friend, business owner, employee or employer.

What then happens is that you tend to the more urgent roles and your personal time is usually the last thing on the list.

As a result, you start feeling resentful but also you may soon burn out.

That’s the point when people usually contact me.

This is great because I love working with people who are ready to take action and make changes in their lives.

Do you just accept this as your lot in life while you have young kids in the house or what do you do?

  1. Decide that you are also important

I never ever believe that we need to sacrifice the parts of us that make us feel most alive.

This is a mindshift change from mothers being the martyrs so take your time and work on this mental adjustment.

We can only input into others when we are replenished. I read a great parenting book, Parenting without Power Struggles, and in the book, she says we have to be calm before we can correct or parent our kids. I can tell you that a mother who has not had any time for herself is not going to be calm.

  1. Identify soul and self-care activities

Self-care activities are activities like a manicure, pedicure, hair appointment or massage.

Soul-care activities are those that feed your soul like sewing, mosaics, scrapbooking, painting and decorating. Still others are time, either by yourself to recharge (often the introverts) or with a couple of close girl friends to connect with yourself again (often for introverts).

Soul care is deeper and more nurturing than self-care, but both are good.

  1. Choose the minimum response that will make you feel like your needs are prioritised

In my work I talk about always knowing your minimum effective responses.

When my twins were newborns, life was crazy. I felt like I had no time to do anything for myself as I was running around washing bottles, making bottles, feeding, burping, bathing, changing, getting the baby to sleep, and then the other one would wake!

During those crazy times, I was happy if I could have just 5 minutes to sit, drink a hot cup of tea in peace and eat breakfast. Seriously, my expectations were just that low.

That was my minimum effective response.

Now, I expect to have hours every day to “do my thing” and I have that time because I’ve set things up that way.

But I started very, very small.

What is the minimum effective response for you to feel like you’re prioritising your needs?

Now that you have those questions sorted out, start creating the time for yourself.

What I want less of this year

A few weeks ago I wrote a post, what I want more of this year, and so this is the companion post to that one 🙂

I just mindmapped it and quickly came up with 8 things, but I’ll share 5 here today 😉

reading bad books

Part of my personality is that I’m a great completer of projects, persistent and I follow through. The shadow side to that means that I have a problem letting go.

I abandoned about 4 books last year which is AWESOME for me, since I just never could ever stop reading a bad book.

So while I’m not as bad as I was, I could get much better at this.

commuting time

I have a very flexible role at the moment which means I don’t need to be as office-based as before. Yet, I love the energy of my team and I’m an extrovert (ESTJ – with a driver function of extroverted sensing) so I’m probably in the office a bit more than I need to be.

This year I want to commute less than last year and use my time more productively.

Instagram coma

Instagram coma is a term I use to describe the state where you go into a trance just scrolling all the pretty pics, liking, commenting, etc. It’s addictive and often a lot more time passes than you realise.

A few weeks ago I realised it was getting worse so I’m trying to do something productive instead of that coma, like write a blog post, organise something quickly, throw in a load of laundry. Anything to break that trance-like state.


Being a firstborn at work

When I read The Firstborn Advantage last year, I realised that a lot of my tendencies at work are actually firstborn traits.

Like being the one to log a call for the printer cartridges to be replaced, volunteering for things no-one else wants to do, being the first to actually do and submit reports, etc.

I think it’s related but I also realised at the end of last year that sometimes I fight the point because I’m right instead of choosing the work relationship and letting them figure it out in their own time that a solution was the right way.

So I’m going to be super relaxed this year with things that don’t matter, saving my energy for the real stuff I’m employed to do 🙂

weak boundaries

This is an interesting one but there is one relationship in my life where I have very weak boundaries. My husband even commented recently that this is not like me!

I think it’s because this relationship is linked to something I consider a big part of my identity and I don’t want to mess that up. Still, it’s not good because it leaves me feeling resentful and frustrated when I feel my boundaries are being pushed time and time again.

I would love some ideas for gentle boundary strengthening 🙂

What do you want less of this year?

How I get it “all” done

When people hear that I work full-time, am married, have twins and coach time management part-time, they often ask me how I get it all done.

First I laugh and then I realise that it’s a serious question.

The short answer is that I don’t.

Yes, I do a lot but the bigger question is what I don’t get done.

Let me explain and also help you to get it “all” done:

  1. Get very clear on your life’s purpose

I have a life mission typed out and I know my definition of success in life.

I also know my values. A quick secret – one of those values is not to have the laundry perfectly done (I don’t ever do ironing!), but it is to take action and just get the clothes clean.

Are you clear on your life purpose?

  1. Make friends with “good enough”

It’s better to have something done than to have it perfect.

If you’re cringing at that sentence, know that I used to be you. That was until I realized that trying to get the last 20% of any project perfect usually takes more time than the previous 80%.

E.g. If we were to make a picture collage, it would take just a few minutes to select photos and group them in a collage. The playing around to get the best configuration with the best background and font, and so on takes 3 – 5 times longer than just creating the initial collage.  If you organize a space, decluttering and arranging the zones takes less time than all the faffing afterwards to make it “Pinterest-perfect”.

There is a time and place for prettying something up – maybe for your children’s birthday party but for general sending out of occasional photos to family or just tidying your desk, that level of extreme detail is not necessary.

Do you know when 80% is enough in your life, or are you still stuck on being perfect?

  1. Make a To Not Do list

We all know there are 24 hours in a day and there is not enough time to do everything.

It’s far more important these days to know which things to leave on the To Not Do list.

  • In my business, I do only things that need my “essence” and delegate the rest to my virtual assistant.
  • In my personal life, it’s important for me to cook from scratch but it’s not important for me to peel and chop all the vegetables myself.

Can you see the difference?

  1. Decide where you want to use your time and don’t feel guilty about it

Be intentional about your time usage. If reading is your thing like it is with me, then don’t feel guilty about cuddling up with a book and a mug of tea every day for an hour after supper.

If you scroll Instagram to unwind, then be conscious that you’re doing that and own it. Admit that you want to scroll Instagram for an hour every evening, and enjoy it.

Don’t feel guilty about the time but know why you’re doing it.

Of course I do procrastinate sometimes by too much time on blogs or Instagram but since I generally get things done, occasionally if I slip up, I don’t beat myself up about it.

How about you?

Where do you want to be spending your time and why? Are you intentional about it?

  1. Take consistent action

Unfortunately getting things done is not going to just happen unless you take consistent action.

Whether it’s moving forward with a big leap or lots of little leaps, I try to take some action every day.

I’m fairly good at constantly reviewing where I am in relation to my goals weekly and monthly.

Do you take enough regular action?

To end off, let me leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone.  The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.

-Lin Yutang 

 

I’m curious.

What’s on your to not do list? (we all have one)

Where in your life have you let go of perfectionism?

My happiness project for March

Here’s my happiness project for February if you want to have a look.

So this month, March, my intentional calendar says this:

What’s working for you well so far in 2017? How can you replicate this in other areas of your life?

Well, a few things immediately came to mind:

  1. If I schedule “fun things” like book club and podcast club, they actually happen 🙂
  2. I’m reading a ton and that’s because I’m consciously leaving my phone to charge in another room, and of course, I always have a book ready to go on my phone too. My environment is set up for success in this area.
  3. When I batch things, the doing and thinking goes very well. This works mostly for kitchen things like cooking and making lunches.

So are there places in my life I can replicate these ideas?

My focus areas for March

Scheduling

  • Schedule all dates with Dion and the kids for the rest of this year.
  • Schedule weekly planning in my diary
  • Schedule quarterly dates with my university friends
  • Schedule quarterly dates with the supper club

Environment

  • Be very strict about no phone in the bedroom every night, not just most nights
  • Computer off at 10:30 Sun – Thurs

Batching

  • Write blogs on only one night every week without listening to podcasts so I fully focus
  • Do photos on another night

And that’s enough for March – I’ll report back in four weeks time.

What’s working well for you so far in 2017?

Can you replicate that in other areas of your life?

What I learned in February

I love doing these monthly round-up posts.

The only snag is I feel like I’m talking to myself and just to one other person 🙂 So this month, can I ask you to just write a little comment and tell me ONE thing that stood out about your month – good, bad, ugly, whatever. It’s so good to share.

This month has been interesting in that it’s the first month of My Year of Happy.

My focus was on relationships and increasing connection, and here’s how that went:

  1. after getting lazy about Valentine’s presents and such, I actually bought one for D, arranged notes and chocolates for the kids, and for their teachers (when does the teacher thing stop?)
  2. D and I also set a small goal for the rest of the year – to do one thing each month for us. This month it was to properly talk every day, even if just for 5 minutes. And it’s been great not talking only about logistics 🙂
  3. I’ve had dates with both kids, and D and I went to see West Side Story.
  4. I’ve made time for friends. This one is interesting because I always do, but I think I’ve found the perfect comfort number for socials per week (2!), whether in-person or phone dates.
  5. I sent out three birthday cards (it’s a big birthday month), a get well soon card and temporary tattoos to my niece and nephew.
  6. I think the biggest change for me was this – because I was conscious about my month’s intention to connect more fully, the minute someone popped into my mind, I phoned/ whatsapped/ smsd/ made the lunch date/ tea instead of saying “I’ll do it later”. And I’m so glad I did because life is short!

Other things I learned:

  1. I love the cooler weather and really am happier and more productive when the weather’s not as hot. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I love grey skies (#marcialoveswinter and #marcialovesautumn).
  2. Book club is a good thing. I started a book club and we had our first meeting on the first Saturday of Feb to discuss Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty.
  3. I discovered that we can access free ebooks and audio books through our libraries’ Overdrive app. Full post to come soon – I wanted to thoroughly test the system first.
  4. Podcast club – like book club, but for podcasts. I started a God Centered Mom Podcast Club with a friend. At the moment it’s just the two of us but it’s so easy. We agree which episode to listen to and chat every second Thursday evening for an hour on the telephone. If you live near a like-minded friend, you could meet at each others’ houses for tea but alas, she’s in Cape Town.
  5. My head is much clearer when important things are either done or scheduled. I had some financial things to finalise, all my medical stuff to do and I scheduled a dental procedure for next week (which I’m not thinking about at all :))

Did you have a focus for this month?

What is ONE thing you loved/ hated/ learned this month?

My 7 steps to a balanced life

I know it’s popular these days for people to say they don’t believe in life balance.

Perhaps I should tell you why I still believe in it.

Because when I feel like my work gets enough of me to stay under control while I’m satisfied with my contribution, and my home life is ordered, comfortable and fosters connection, then I’m happy.

I’d wager a guess that our definitions might be different but all of us have some sort of standards for our personal and our professional lives to run well. And when that happens, we feel calm and happy.

  1. Realise you only have so many hours in the day

We all only have 24-hour days. Some of us think we’re Superwoman and have more time than that. We don’t. The sooner you realise this and work within the limitations of time, the happier you’ll be.

  1. Write down your different roles and the time commitment required from each

Don’t forget to add in managing your home time and personal time!

The idea is to see if you’re a time optimist or if you’re being realistic with your time. Sometimes we think a certain activity only takes, let’s say, two hours a week. When you factor in travel time plus preparation time, it may increase to four or five hours. No wonder you always feel frazzled when you think about this specific activity.

  1. Check in with yourself and ask the hard questions

    Am I too busy?
    Am I trying to do too much?
    Am I being realistic about the amount of time specific commitments take?
    Do all my scheduled activities spark joy?

What do I need or want to focus on at this stage in my life?
What can I cut out?
What can I delegate?

  1. Implement good ideas immediately

I am terrible at many things but I’m a great implementer because I’ve put systems in place. You can be too.

When you see a good idea or hear of something that resonates with you, screenshot it, jot it down in your bullet journal and then schedule it so that you can test it out.

You’ll know within less than a week if something works for you or not. But if something does resonate and it works with your style, you’ve just found a new trick.

  1. Be honest about your priorities

I do an exercise with my time management clients where they tell me all the different areas of their lives. Some people have many balls that they’re trying to juggle. That’s okay…. as long as the priorities are in order.

Don’t neglect your home and family commitments just to look good on a committee.

My preference is to do less and do those things well rather than to feel overwhelmed by taking on more and more, and then do nothing well.

However, if your work is a priority during a particular life stage, don’t feel bad about that. Admitting it to yourself will free you from guilt.

  1. Realise that when you say yes to something, you automatically say no to something else.

Some things in life are just for a season, like the newborn stage. So while reading and going to my dance classes are extremely important to me, I personally did a lot less when my twins were little because I had to sleep whenever I could.

Yes to sleep, no to reading.

If you need to work late, you’re saying yes to work and no to one or two evenings of bedtime stories. That’s okay; there are no rules. We design our own lives.

  1. Keep evaluating and tweaking

I can guarantee that just when you think you have things figured out, suddenly something won’t work anymore.

That’s normal with organising anything, and especially your time.

We figured out the first term’s extra-mural activity schedule for the kids and then they all change. Completely normal. The key is to realise this so you don’t get frustrated every time you have to tweak.

Keep evaluating where you’re at – I do this on a weekly and monthly basis – and tweak, tweak, tweak. Just because it suited you to work really long hours a few months ago doesn’t mean it still suits you to do so now.

That’s how I create balance in my life. By realising it’s fleeting, always moving and needs constant attention. Just like a toddler!

How do you create a balanced life? Is balance an important value to you?

If you’d like to work with me to create more of a balanced life, I do have a few coaching spots open. Please contact me to find out more.

Memory-keeping: the system that works for me

Since this month is a month I want to focus on relationships, I thought I’d write one post to show you all about my memory-keeping, and at least I can then link to this one instead of the 5 or so on the blog 🙂

Cutouts

  1. I take tons of photos on both my camera and iphone, and use photos from both devices for my albums. I’m still partial to my big camera (Canon) but life is much easier with my iphone 6 since the quality of the photos is so magnificent. As they say, the best camera is the one you have with you. And I add, keep your big camera out so you’re more likely to use it.
  2. I do a 52-week photo project of the kids. This is my third year.
  3. I then choose 4 pics per child per month, and 4 pics overall. Because I take so many photos, I purposefully choose images for that are not from our 52 project pics. One day soon, I’ll just print the 52 photos for our album but that day has not arrived yet. These limitations have given me a lot of freedom.
  4. Then I do project life. Here’s how I used to do it and here’s how I now do it.
  5. The key to successful memory-keeping is being realistic about time and money.
  6. And here’s where I talk more about money because all of this stuff costs money so the key is to think about what will work for you.

How do you preserve your family’s memories?

What have you found is the most realistic method for you, both in terms of time and money?

If this is one of your goals for the year, join me for monthly accountability coaching to get your things done this year!

What I learned in January

I’m so excited by the beginning of the year and this, my first, What I learned post of 2017.

I get slightly antsy if I have absolutely nothing scheduled to look forward to

I’ve always known I need to schedule a holiday or book leave as soon as I’m back from work. So during my second week back, I wrote out all the public and school holidays on my calendars, and then I put in leave for the next two work days next to public holidays. That got me started.

I then identified good breakaway times and we’ve booked our first holiday for the year. Yay!

The same is true for scheduling socials so I scheduled a few for late Jan/ early Feb and that’s been great.

Spicy pork sausages are actually chili

I love pork sausages. There were some limited edition spicy sausages at the shops and I (optimistically) thought they’d be just spicy. Instead, they’re so hot none of us could eat them.

Have a things to buy page in your bullet journal

I started a page in my bullet journal called things to buy. So useful and I’m not sure why I didn’t do this sooner.

Now, when I’m at a specific shop, I check to see if I need anything from that shop.

These are personal things, not groceries, so they’re almost never urgent.

Online shopping is magic

I firmly believe that one of the reasons I’m a happy person is that I truly delight in small things. Like online shopping.

It really feels like magic to me.

The other day while emailing a friend, I remembered that I’d been wanting to buy a scale. I’m one of those people who needs the Strategy of Monitoring to keep my weight stable.

I went onto the site, ordered the first scale that was suitable and the next morning before I’d even left for work, the scale was delivered.

Magic!

More magical was that I didn’t have to go to a mall, find parking, and stand in queues. Yay. And double yay for free shipping!

The kids were totally ready to be in separate classes

Our twins spent their first two years of pre-school forced to be in separate classes. Then they had two great years in the same class at “big school” and now, in Grade 2, they’re separate again.

It’s meant much more organising on our parts (different days for PE, etc.) but it’s been good for the kids. They’re developing their own sets of friends and relationships with their teachers and best of all, no more “Mummy, K said this or C did that” 🙂

What did you learn this month?

Yip – I’m doing a bullet journal/ diary hybrid

I wrote a few weeks ago about my goals diary planner for this year. If you didn’t read that post, or just want to refresh your memory, you can find it here 🙂

And if you want to get your own copy, you can get it here.

Thanks to the comments and just common sense when I thought about it clearly, I’m going to do a hybrid this year.

This is my bullet journal

So how do I use each of them?

Let’s talk about the goals diary planner first. I use it for:

  • monthly planning of events
  • setting intentions and goals for the month ahead (I finally did January’s goals as a breakdown of my annual goals last week 🙂 Remember there are no rules for this stuff. You create your own rules)
  • weekly planning of the main things
  • weekly intentions: there are prompts for how you want to feel, what you’re grateful for, what you want to receive and what you’re giving yourself that week 🙂
  • monthly goals review (what I do on Goals Night. You can join me this year.)

And then, this is how I use my bullet journal.

Remember I don’t go super fancy because my aim in using one is getting stuff done 🙂 Here are my previous bullet journal posts.

  • I use it for my weekend to-do lists. This seems to be very popular on Instagram. Either that, or people are curious 🙂
  • Weekly accountability
  • Running list of things to buy
  • Friendship spreadsheet
  • Good ideas list (this is the stuff I get from the podcasts :))
  • Books read to me by the kids (they’re as motivated as I am by lists!)
  • Goals for 2017 (copied and pasted in)

Logistically

The goals diary planner lives on my desk at home.

The bullet journal moves around with me. I only don’t take it to the gym with me because I don’t want any accidents happening with my water bottle, my gel pens and my bullet journal.

So tell me, what are you doing this year as far as planning is concerned? Diary/ planner? Bullet journal? Hybrid?

PS I actually asked the people at Exclusive Books if they ordered Legami diaries this year – they didn’t 🙁

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