You have more than enough time

This post might rub some of you up the wrong way but the truth is we all have 24 hours a day. The President has 24 hours and we have 24 hours. The only difference is how we choose to use it.

Our lives are a product of the choices we make with our time.

If you choose to relax for 4 hours each day watching TV, interacting on social media and so on, then own your choice. Don’t complain that you have no time to read books, cook healthy food, organise your home, go to gym, do your hobbies, or play with your kids.

Rather say, “I’m choosing to spend my time relaxing”. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re being intentional.

People ask me how I get all the things done that I do and my answer is always the same – I prioritise and make time for certain things over others (like watching TV).

I have a friend who doesn’t seem to need much sleep because we email at 11 pm, sometimes even at midnight, but then she gets up really early in the mornings and is out for a walk at 6 am while I’m sleeping.

I don’t condemn myself for that; I choose to get 7 – 8 hours of sleep every night instead of exercising that early. I’m owning my choice. She chooses to exercise instead of spending a lot of time sleeping.

Now, let’s roll up those daily hours into a week.

24 hours in a day means 168 hours a week. 168 hours feels much more expansive for me. It always feels like there’s time to do everything I want and there is enough time; it’s just how we frame it.

I sleep for 52.5 hours a week. That leaves 115.5 hours for work, family, exercise, cooking, organising, reading, photography and so on.

When I put it like that, doesn’t it seem like there’s enough time to do everything in the world? There is.

We’re just not aware that there’s that much time because we think we only have two hours at night after the kids go to bed.

Start thinking of the hours before work if you’re an early bird, the hour at lunch time, and the hours once you get home but before bed.

I calculated once and realised I have 4.5 hours every night once I get home from work at 06:00 before I start my bedtime routine, and I even get an extra hour some days.

If we average it out, 5 hours then seems like plenty of time to cook, connect with Dion and the kids, eat supper, work on my business and blog, read and yes, even to exercise.

But only if I’m intentional about it.

Your coaching challenge
• Stop. Realise that you have an abundance of time for everything you want to do.
• Think about how you currently regularly spend your time.
• Is there something you’d rather have in your life?
• Consciously decide to make a different choice for at least one day during the next week.

I wrote a book called 31 days of enough time with small steps to help you move towards a life of time abundance. That’s the first step if you recognize this as a need in your life.

Otherwise, if you know you’d like to work with me privately to maximize your time usage, contact me for a 1:1 laser coaching session or weekly coaching sessions.

Who do you find it easiest to say no to?

One of my favourite experts on goal-setting, Gary Ryan Blair, said this: “success in life requires a short “Yes” list, and a long “No” list”.

I tend to agree with him.

Whenever I coach time management clients or get interviewed on time management tips, one of the first things I tell people is this:

The absolute quickest way to get results with your time is to learn which things to say yes to and which to say no to.

The no list should always be longer.

There are far more demands on our time than we can ever even hope to satisfy. From requests for time commitments to outside stimuli like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, phone and text messages, the list goes on and on.

Remember, you always say no to at least one thing when you say yes to something else.

For example…
• if you say yes to volunteering on 3 committees, you’re saying no to one or all of the following: your family, your self-care, your exercise time, your household… one committee is possibly enough.
• if you say yes to that beautiful new pair of shoes you really can’t afford, you’re saying no to your debt-reduction plan and maybe to some more clutter!

No is a small word but is often so hard for some of us to say.

The good news is that saying no is like going to the gym and building some muscle.

It feels very uncomfortable at first but the more you work at it, the easier it becomes.

The first couple of times you’ll probably cringe inside as you hear yourself saying no, wondering if your family, friends and colleagues will still like you.

Once you get a bit more practice, you start to get more comfortable and very soon, you’ll develop an ease and grace about it.

Why should you say no?

1. it helps you set firm boundaries
2. it helps you honour your values
3. it makes you more productive
4. it reduces your stress
5. it frees you to serve where you’re called to with joy

I’m challenging you to slow down and think carefully before you say yes to anything.

In fact, why don’t you start saying, “let me get back to you on that” so you think clearly about the situation before committing yourself.

And when you say no to things that don’t support your goals, you’re free to say yes to all the things that really do matter to you.

Tell me. Do you have more problems saying no to yourself or to other people?

PS if you need some coaching to help you improve your “no” muscle, this is one of my areas of expertise and I’m happy to work with you. Send me an email and let’s set up your session.

Ask yourself these questions before you set your goals

I realise that many of you have already set goals, some have no intention of setting goals and still others think it’s already too late.

It’s never too late to start, and it’s definitely never too late to review your goals and tweak them to fit you perfectly.

Whenever I sit down and start working on my goals for the year (or period ahead), I follow this exact same process.

Before I even think about what I want to accomplish, I ask myself 5 questions that I’d like you to ask yourself too:

  1. What is my theme or word for the year?

Do you want more order, creativity, security, peace, stability, etc. in your life? I like to start with a one-word theme and build my goals around that word. For example, one year my word was simplify; the next year it was consolidate. This year my word is fun. See? 

  1. What are the top 3 – 5 goals you want to accomplish?

I’ve coached people on goal-setting for more than 20 years and there are some things people always come up with: go on a marriage retreat, start my own business, get pregnant, find a new job, grow spiritually, and of course, the two things on almost everyone’s people’s lists: lose weight and get organised.

 

  1. Are your top 3 – 5 goals aligned with your theme?

Sometimes you’ll feel uneasy on the inside when you’re trying to accomplish goals for the wrong reasons, or just at the wrong time of your life. Listen to your intuition so that your goals align with your theme and life stage.

When my twins were babies, I started signing up for business growth teleseminars but without any real excitement inside until I realised that my newborn babies were my primary focus for the next year and that’s why I didn’t really care that much about business growth.

If you have a big goal in your work life, perhaps training for Comrades is not the best thing to do too. If you have a big family goal, that’s also going to take a lot of time so consider that goal in the grand scheme of your life. 

  1. How will you get there?

Having a strong, clear vision is a big, important first step to your goals. When I coach on goals, I always ask the person to first think about what their big, juicy vision is. Tip – everything is a big, juicy goal when it’s the right goal for you.

Then we start working on the how. And remember, your big, juicy vision is not the same as mine. Once a friend told me that their big, juicy vision was just to survive a month with their sanity intact.

So how will you get there? Find someone who has the gift of being able to distill a vision into tangible action steps. This way you’ll get to your goal quickly and with no wasted effort.

Part of my giftings and skills is being able to craft clear action steps for people. Contact me and let’s set up your one-hour goals session.

  1. Who or what is in your support network?

I can never over-emphasise the importance of having someone in your corner, cheering you on to your goals.

Do you have a friend, pastor, mentor, colleague, coach, etc. who can do that for you? Notice I didn’t say family member because I’ve found over the years that family members are a little too close to the action and often can’t be objective in helping and guiding you.

Of course you can do it on your own… if you’re willing to take a longer time and you have the patience to make lots more mistakes along the way. Or if you’re an upholder on Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework.

Now that you’ve read the 5 questions, I have one last challenge for you:

Write out your goals and stick them up somewhere!

Switching up what’s not working for you

I’ve had a goal on my list since the beginning of the year, and that was to increase the amount of exercise I get in a week, in particular, to strengthen my core.

This was not happening despite wishing it were so. Imagine that.

Then my usual Zumba instructor had an operation and she was off for 6 Saturdays. One of those Saturdays we had a visiting lady do a Pound class.

A post shared by Marcia Francois (@marcia0608) on

That pound class opened my mind to new possibilities and reminded me that I had a fitness goal I’d made exactly 0% progress in.

Another gym in my neighbourhood opened earlier this year, still in the same network. So I checked their classes and phoned them to see if I could try out a Barre180 class.

I tried the class, loved it and have been going ever since.

But that’s not the end of the story.

You see, I’ve been in a habit where we, as a family, go to the gym together every Saturday morning for years and years. I love the time together, that we’re prioritising fitness and health, and I still (two months in) miss going to gym with them. It’s complicated, but basically, there is no kids’ programme at the new gym and in order for me to go with them on a Sat and still go to my new one during the week would cost me a lot of money, which I just can’t justify.

I’m trying not to focus on the missing part too much, and I’m going for more walks with the kids 🙂

And the best thing is… two of my jackets can now close and my flexibility has increased such that I can easily touch the floor again. Yay.

Over to you.

Think back to the goals you wrote down at the start of the year. Are there any you’re completely stuck on? Do you need to shake things up?

Do you need a goals re-set? There’s still time to make inroads into a couple of your goals. If you need a goals brainstorm and strategy session, email me and let’s set that up on Skype or Facetime.

Technology and your Tendency – part 1 (work)

I follow a podcast, Best of Both Worlds, that I recommend especially if you’re a full-time working mother who works at a workplace, not at home. Let’s face it – most podcasts (or most that I listen to) are hosted by either SAHMs or WAHMs whose time is a lot more flexible.

Sarah wanted a podcast that more represented her life so she started one (very Upholder-ish) with Laura.

On this episode, they discuss the role of technology in their lives and ask some really great questions, both on Instagram and in the blog post:

My technology philosophy

  1. I’m a big Dr Phil fan (even though I last watched an episode when I was on maternity leave 8 years ago!) and because I believe that “you teach others how to treat you”, I believe that you need to communicate your preferences to the outside world.
  2. I also believe that if you respect your time, so will others. The reverse is also true. If you don’t respect your own time, why would others respect yours? If you’ve heard me speak, no doubt I’ve said this during my talk 🙂
  3. Design your life around priorities, and then let the other bits fill up your time. No surprise here.
  4. Technology is a tool so to my mind, that means I am still the master. I love technology – I love that I can FaceTime my friend in Dallas at the start of her day and the end of mine, and I love Whatsapp Audio for podcast club.

Technology at work

I work in a highly email culture. Even if I talk to a client about something, I have to follow it up with an email, and then save that email in a client folder on a shared drive.

This is life in a highly regulated industry and doesn’t bother me at all.

I don’t feel the need to have my work emails come through to my phone unless I’m at a seminar/ client meeting and therefore out of the office for more than say, two hours at a time.

Once I’m back in the office, I turn off those emails.

Then, when my out of office assistant is turned on, I specify that if something is urgent, to call or text me.

(to date, I’ve had maybe 10 messages and I’ve worked at this company for over 3 years)

I don’t mind texts/ Whatsapps from clients if I’m away from the office but as a means to chase up an email, I simply don’t respond. I will then respond to the client’s email in the usual manner (and I don’t even reference the Whatsapp).

Can you tell that I’m an Upholder yet? 🙂

I have a Questioner colleague who blocks clients once they whatsapp her. As she said to me, why would they want to do that if our official communication method is email or phone?

I will take work calls from 7:30 ish to about 6 – 6:30 if I know we’re working on something urgent. Otherwise I just don’t answer my phone.

I am very reliable, hardworking, etc. and very prompt so it’s never necessary to chase me up, and I think I’ve trained my clients to expect that I will get back to them as soon as I can.

I don’t make friends with people I work with on Facebook. I had some very inappropriate comments made about my Facebook activity many years ago by a work person so that’s it – I blocked, unfriended and unfollowed this person.

What is the role of technology in your life? How do you relate to it in a work context? And how do you see this linking up with your Tendency?

I love to talk about this stuff – please ask questions in the comments!

Part 2 will be published next week – if you know your tendency and especially if you’re a Rebel or a Questioner, please email me and tell me everything, if you’re so inclined. It will really help me flesh out my next post.

5 more favourite posts about … goal-setting process

Guys, you know I love talking about goals.

I’m actually so excited that I’ve found like-minded people on my @OrganisingQueen instagram page who like to see so much talk about goals 🙂

I did think, though, that I should round up some of my favourite goals posts again in one place, so here you go.

Bouncing back from a not-great goals month

These 3 things will get you halfway to your goals

Goals for kids

Two great goal-setting questions

Put your goals back on track

Tell me about your goal-setting history.

Do you set goals comfortably?

Do you want to set goals but don’t quite … get around to it?

Are you scared in case you don’t reach those goals?

Do you feel like it would be too much pressure?

Tell all 🙂

P.S. If you need help, do email me to set up a goal-setting session. I’d love to help you.

Lovely things to do this year

I have some routines I like to do around my birthday every year which I thought I’d talk about and link to, so that you can be reminded to do them too, if you’re so inclined.

If your birthday’s at a completely different time of year, put a link to this post in your calendar, a week or so before or after your birthday.

If you’re reading on a mobile device like an iphone, tap the square with an arrow pointing up, copy and paste the link into your calendar.

Here’s my annual birthday routine:

1. Organise a celebration. I believe that every year on this earth is a blessing so I like to celebrate my birthday every year.

2. Do a birthday review. This year I changed one or two questions but the main 4 questions are the same as my monthly review: what worked well, what didn’t work well, what did I learn, what do I need to let go of?

As a reader mentioned in the comments last year, it is a brave thing to do, to face up to things may not have consciously considered, but it’s always good to take an honest assessment of things. If you need some hand holding as you do this work, please book a coaching session with me.

3. Make a list of lovely things to do this year. This is purely a fun list 🙂

I put things on this list like books I’ve always wanted to read, restaurants to try, fun things to do like take a photowalk with a friend to take photos of the jacarandas, things I want to do with Dion or the kids, and recipes I’ve wanted to try.

So far on my list I have to (finally) buy new frames because I’ve had my current frames for about 3 – 4 years (lenses have changed, but I kept the frames).

I also have some fun books I want to read, and I think I finally need to read the Total Money Makeover. I also want to listen to Andre Agassi’s Open.

Keep checking my Instagram because I’ll be sure to post my list when it’s done.

I have a friend who schedules a massage on her birthday, another who always takes a day’s leave to “think about her life” and still another who books all her appointments like gynae, eyes, mammogram in her birthday month. Fun, thoughtful and practical.

Please tell me about your birthday rituals and if you’re not signed up to my list yet, please do so if you want the free “lovely things to do this year” printable. My next newsletter goes out on Tuesday 15th.

Have you done your annual birthday review yet?

Creatives can’t get organised. Myth or truth?

It’s true that creative people need different ways to organise themselves because traditional methods usually don’t work too well for them.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to organising; in fact, since each person is unique, each person’s organising system should also be different.

Let’s look at four areas to organise yourself for success:

  1. Attitude
    It’s a myth that creative people can’t work in a structured environment. On the contrary, having a bit of structure in your life actually enables you to be even more creative and to do better work.

A few years ago, a client emailed to tell me how she’s been energised and has been creating beautiful things again.

What was the difference in her life? We’d worked on organising her office space and within the new-found order, she could be creative once again.

Stop telling yourself that you can’t be organised; rather tell yourself that you organise yourself in non-traditional ways.

  1. Schedule
    Traditionally, we’ve all been told to work according to the clock. I’m telling you to work with your energy cycles; don’t try to battle them.

If you know that you go through a bit of a slump around lunch time, maybe that’s when you want to run errands or exercise to give yourself an energy boost.

If you design websites and you know that you’re most creative at midnight, then design your websites at midnight  Who made the rule that you have to start working at 8am?

  1. To-do list
    Scrap the to-do list. Yes, you read that correctly. The to-do list may set you up for failure especially when you feel you’re not getting things done.

Rather use an Eat the Frog list. This list helps you be more flexible so you only need to get the most important things done. My clients are always a bit shocked when I tell them, “the fewer items you have on your list, the better it is”. Just make sure those are truly important things on your list.

  1. Workspace
    When you can find your equipment and supplies easily, your valuable energy is used for actual creativity and not wasted on looking for things.

It’s so important to have your workspace set up according to your organising style. Are you a visual, auditory or kinesthetic learner? Are you a paper or electronic person? Maybe the reason you can’t seem to get your papers organised is because you’re actually an electronic person.

I’ve had clients with very messy offices whose computers are perfectly organised, and vice versa. It’s so important to play to your strengths.

My friend, Suzanne, admitted on the podcast that she hadn’t been creating because her workspace was too messy. She then took up my challenge to organise her environment so she could create again. Look at these fantastic results!

My challenge to you
Check your attitude and start telling yourself you can get more productive once you organise according to your style.

Tag me on instagram to come see your workspaces and creative environments. I can’t wait to see.

Are you creative? What are your particular challenges with regard to your workspace?

PS I wrote about my space to create on the blog before.

I’m on the So Suzy Podcast

Is anybody out there still reading from 10 years ago?

If yes, you may remember my organising buddy, Suzanne Moore.

Suzanne and I both blogged about organising way back in the day when people still commented on blogs. Ah, it was a glorious time back then.

We even met up in Scotland in 2008 and spent 3 wonderful days together in Stirling. Here’s my favourite photo of the two of us at Loch Lomond.

Suzanne also had a podcast back then called Let’s Talk Organizing but nobody knew very much about podcasts back then.

Anyway, Suzanne invited me onto her new podcast and, after some wrangling (what could I possibly have to say?!), I accepted her kind invitation and it was So Much Fun.

Please go and listen at any of these links

iTunes

iHeart Radio

Stitcher

Go have a read and let me know what you think 🙂

Suzanne’s instagram

 

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.

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