January 09, 2017
1) Find the daily schedule and rituals that work for me
If there are polished, organised people and unpolished, creative-clutter people; then I definitely fall into the latter group. I frequently leave the house without something in the morning, or lose my phone/keys/purse and have to go on a house-wide search, or get to bed late & then struggle to get up on time in the morning – and I’ve been like this in some way shape or form since I was a little girl. A nice, neat, consistent person, I am not.
BUT, I do work extremely hard, and I do get things done – in my own way. And when it comes to organising my day, I know what works for me and what doesn’t – just like most of us do. (Yes – you do know what works for you, if you really think about it!). For example; if you’ve tried keeping to a tight daily schedule and just can’t seem to keep it up – then that’s probably because it isn’t right for you. (It isn’t right for me either.)
Personally, I find daily ‘to-do’ lists much more helpful when it comes to time management. If I write down every Sunday (or at the beginning of every month, for regular scheduled things) what I need to do each day, in each week – then look at my daily list every morning when I come into the office, those things DO get done. I don’t go as far as to write down what time I’ll do each thing, or when I can take a coffee break (because I can’t operate with that much structure.) I just make sure that during each day, I cross off that day’s to-do list. Try that and see if it works for you – and if not, try another technique! There are so many. But remember – organisation does not look the same for everyone; and that’s okay. Keep trying different things until you find the system that works for you.
2) Be more present
This sounds extremely cliché – and not very helpful if you don’t really know how to be more present and live in the moment. So here’s a trick I learnt recently.
I was watching an episode of Marie Forleo’s ‘MarieTV’ (if you’re a female business-owner – or even just a female – I can’t recommend her videos highly enough), and the topic of the episode was ‘How to Live in the Moment’.
In the episode, Marie is interviewing her fiancé, Josh Pais. Josh is an actor, director and founder of ‘Committed Impulse’, which is a series of workshops aimed at teaching actors and professionals to live more in the moment.
In the episode, Josh talks to Marie about this one technique he has for being more present, which he calls, ‘I’m Back’. How it works is this: every time he notices himself drifting off, worrying, ruminating or just thinking about anything besides what he’s doing in the current moment, he snaps his fingers & says, ‘I’m back’, then gets back to thinking about whatever he’s actually doing right then & there. (For example, if you’re in the shower and you start thinking about what happened that day, or what’s about to happen that day, or something you said to your colleague, or something you meant to do yesterday but didn’t – etc, etc, etc – then once you catch yourself drifting off like this, say, ‘I’m back!’, snap your fingers and get back to concentrating on how good the hot water feels, and which part of your body to wash next – which is all you need to be thinking about in that moment.)
After a while, you don’t have to physically say the words out loud or click your fingers – just notice whenever you catch yourself daydreaming, and say to yourself internally, ‘I’m back’. It’s such a simple, powerful thing – and it really does help you to be more self-aware about your thoughts, and to exercise more control over them. If living in the present moment is something you struggle with (and don’t we all?!), I highly recommend giving this technique a go.
3) Don't justify myself
I’ve been seeing a lot of articles and commentary lately about how women de-value themselves without even realising they’re doing it.
For example, do you frequently use the words ‘just’, and ‘only’? (‘I’m just calling to check on my proposal….’ ‘I only need a minute of your time’). Imagine how much stronger and clearer you would sound if you lost those words entirely (‘I’m calling to check on my proposal’. ‘I need a minute of your time’). It doesn’t make the sentences sound any worse (after all, you’ll still say them politely) – it just means that they’re said with more conviction. You’re asking for what you want without apologising for it. (Why do we do that…?).
And it’s not just about words. I naturally tend to put a lot of emphasis on what other people think about my actions (I think a lot of women do this) – and as a result, when something didn’t come across the way I intended it (or even if I suspected there was a small chance it could be interpreted in the wrong way), I would follow up by explaining or justifying the things I’d said and done – to make sure I was being fully understood.
Unfortunately, all this does is make it seem like I’m not sure myself about my intentions. (Otherwise, why would I explain them?). It indicates a level of insecurity.
Instead, what I try to do is to trust that the people around me know me well enough to see my intentions. Do I really believe that people close to me would think negative things about me? No; of course not. I trust that the important people in my life know where I’m coming from, and that they can see the real me through my words and actions without me having to constantly monitor them.
So, next time you find yourself worrying about how something you said or did ‘came across’ – stop it. Forget about it immediately (maybe practice the ‘I’m back’ technique I just talked about!). Have confidence in who you are, in your full expression – that means through every moment, every mood and every situation - and have more faith that the people around you have this confidence in you also. It will change your relationships for the better!