create a stress free zone

“Stress level: extreme. It’s like she was a jar with the lid screwed on too tight, and inside the jar were pickles, angry pickles, and they were fermenting, and about to explode.”
― Fiona WoodSONY DSC

 

Wouldn’t be nice to have a stress free zone where none of the pressures of the world or of your own mind would invade the quiet?   There is without doubt more demands on people’s time than ever before.  Everything is rushed and hurried and that only serves to build stress.   People work more hours in the hopes of staying ahead of the tidal wave of work and they can’t keep up.

I know of people who are working so hard that they give up the only thing left in their day to give, sleep.   The lack of sleep only increases their stress and it boils over into relationships that start feeling the toxins of living in a time compressed week.  Only if there was a way out of the tension and pressures that each day grip us in a tightening vise.

With so much to do and little time to do all that needs to be done it doesn’t seem like there is any way to take time away to restore and revitalize your life.

There are ways to create small quiet zones and little bit of peace in a noisy day.

1. Go for a walk alone – it can be as short as 5 minutes.

2. Sit in your chair, close your eyes, relax and take in some deep breaths and exhale slowly.  Do that for 5 minutes – focus on letting the stress go.  You can say to yourself, “Let my stress go”, just repeat it as you breathe in and out.

3. Get away from electronic devices – phones, screens, texts.  Take a technology break and step away from what those devices say to you.

4. Take a piece of paper and draw or scribble – just do some freehand movement.   Think about your stress and draw it out – let it emerge from you without any direction or control.

The important thing is to take time out to get the stress out.  You might have a bad manager that creates stress for you and the best way to manage that is to “get away”.   Take some time to “get away” from it all.   Even a few minutes can have a powerful and lasting impact on the reduction of your stress.

OK.  Now go try it.  Find a stress free practice that helps you destroy stress in your day.

 

you have to be present to win

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”
― George Harrison

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In life you have to be “present” to win.    It’s like a raffle ticket, you have to be there to collect the prize.  It’s the same with our life, we have to be there to win and so often we are somewhere else and we miss the opportunity to win the prize.

For many people their career is the target of most of their energy.   Sometimes so much energy is put into the career that there is nothing left for other things in life.   Vacations get put on hold because the work load increases so quickly that a vacation only means doing more work when you get back.

Living in a world of distractions means that being present to enjoy the moment or participate more fully in life is often pushed to the side.

What does it take to be present?

1. Know who you are?

2. Know where you are?

3. Know what you are doing?

It looks simple doesn’t it?   Do you really know who you are?   Many people really don’t know “who” they are.  They usually know what they aren’t though.   Do you know where you are?   If you have a plan you must be somewhere on that path to achieving your life’s goal.  Do you know where you are?   And, do you know what you are doing?  Are you asking for help when you want help.   Perhaps you don’t want help until you need it and if you wait that long you might be in place you really don’t want to be.  Ask for help and seek it before you need it.

Go out and be present in all that you do.

5 ways to more focus

“He well knew his mind’s natural tendency to be endlessly on a thousand subjects at once, to flit from this to that and to the next thing to no particular purpose–indeed, he called it his “butterfly mind.”
― Eric Metaxas

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What do you focus on? One of a thousand things running around in your mind all screaming for attention or something else?

More than ever before distractions are taking a toll on productivity, getting results that matter.   People are trying to keep all the things they want to do in their mind and their mind is the worst place to keep a list of things.   The mind wants to give attention to every item and in an effort not to forget it latches on to one thing for a brief period of time and then lets it go to grab on to something else.   It is trying to remember what you want to remember and cycling through that list and on occasion you’ll grab one of those items and start working on it only to let it go to grab onto something else.   It’s not a very good use of your time and it doesn’t allow you to finish what you started.

You might be able to hold onto a few things in your mind, perhaps seven items before things start careening out of control.   Be on time to the meeting, make a phone call, write the report, make sure you prepared for the meeting, fix the problem that suddenly came up and …, everything wants your attention.

To get the best results requires focus and limiting (setting boundaries) that work for you.  So, let’s look at 5 ways to increase focus and get better results.

1. Prepare and Plan

2. Prioritize

3. Stick to the schedule

4. Energize

5. Reflect

Prepare and Plan – At the beginning of the day sort out what really needs to be done.  Write them down.   If the list is really long then figure out what can be done today.   What are the top six things that need to be addressed?   Figure out how long each item will take to complete.  Be realistic, most people tend to be very optimistic on what they can accomplish.

Prioritize – Figure out what is most important to do.  Do the hardest thing when you have the most energy.  For some people the morning is their best time and for others it might be the afternoon.  Figure out when you will have the most energy and do the hardest work then.   Do the easy things when your willpower and drive is lower.

Stick to the schedule – you created the plan and now distractions are coming in from others and they want your attention and time.  In order to be highly productive focus on the results you need for today.  What can you say “No” to?  What can you defer?   How can you manage distractions so they don’t reduce your effectiveness?  Create the discipline to focus on what you need to do and set fixed boundaries around your time.   At the end of the day getting the right results matter.

Energize – take time to restore your energy.  90 minutes of full-out effort is about the maximum one can focus and concentrate on one thing for most people.   In that time the brain will consume a lot of energy and you’ll need to recharge.   To recharge get up and move – take in some deep breaths and do something to get the blood flowing.  Take a walk for 10 minutes, run up a flight of stairs, do something that will get your blood moving.    Then refuel with water and the right kinds of foods (nuts, fruits, vegetables).

Reflect – At the end of the day take a few minutes to evaluate what you accomplished.  Write down the things you did complete and check to see if those things were estimated well and if the task was easy or hard to complete.   Note the number of distractions and where they came from (customers, managers, co-workers, others).   What was draining your time?   What things were taking you away from being productive?  How many of those things kept you from getting the right results?   Use these lessons to plan better for the next day.

High achievers build into their lives the habits that generate the best results.  With practice you can become a high achiever.

 

do live your dream

“Be thankful for a breath of fresh air to be alive and well. Allow love and happiness to penetrate throughout your mind and soul. Take time to relax and live in the moment, the now, the present. Enjoy today.”
― Amaka Imani Nkosazana

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Did you know that most people don’t live their dreams?   Some people live the dreams that others have for them and live a life of regret.  Others don’t have a dream to push towards and live each day as it comes and live a life of regret.    Whose dreams are you living for?

Someone asked, “Write a story.”

“A story about what?”

“A story about your life”

“A story about my life – what is there to tell.”

If someone asked you to write your story or to tell your story what would you say?   What do you want to say?   What do you want to write?

Wouldn’t it be nice to write, “I lived my dreams.”

“What were your dreams … tell me more.”

“Umm, I didn’t live my dreams … I ….”

Now, do you want that to be your story?   Do you want your story to end with, “I didn’t ….?”   Most people don’t want their story to end at a dead end street.  I am thinking that you don’t want your story to end their either.

So, why not build a story by living out your dream.   If you don’t have a compelling vision of your future then it’s time to create one.   It’s time to start writing your story that doesn’t end with “I didn’t”.

Start writing your story today.

in 10 minutes I can

“The world’s greatest achievers have been those who have always stayed focused on their goals and have been consistent in their efforts.”
― Roopleen

rat race

What can you do in 10 minutes?

- Plan the day
– Put the dishes away
– Clean the bathroom
– Fold clothes
– Encourage someone
– Walk the dog
– Exercise
– Breathe
– Drink a glass of water
– Write down your thoughts
– Stretch
– Make a commitment
– Learn something new
– Help someone else
– Call a friend
– Thank someone
– Take a moment to appreciate something
– Journal
– Reflect on a lesson

There is a lot that can be done in 10 minutes to improve your life, your day or  your week.  In the busyness of everyday life it is easy to neglect the idea that 10 minutes can make a huge difference in personal or professional productivity.

Planning is perhaps the most important activity to complete as it helps you determine what is important and what isn’t important to work on.   The plans would allow you to create blocks of time in the day to complete important work, focused work, or a single activity where you put your best attention.

What things can you do in 10 minutes?    If you have things you haven’t started on use the 10 minute test and just do 10 minutes of an activity and see how far you get.

Do what you  can in a 10 minute sprint – you’ll be surprised.

 

better results through better planning

“The majority of people don’t want to plan. They want to be free of the responsibility of planning. What they ask for is merely some assurance that they will be decently provided for. The rest is a day-to-day enjoyment of life.”

B.F. Skinner

Idea, plan, action

One thing that I find that is pretty consistent is that people with plans experience better results and enjoy greater happiness.

A simple plan written down will create space to achieve results.  Set your day up for success.  Write down the goals you want to achieve and then schedule those goals.  Block out time for those specific important activities.

When the time comes to start the task, turn off the phone, turn off the email, turn off the distractions and focus on achieving the goal.   What happens if you don’t turn off the distractions, those distractions will interrupt your ability to get the results you want.  Focus on the goal.

Having a plan and following the plan will help you realize uncommon success. Confidence increases when goals are achieved.    Plan your day so you can get better results.

Write down your plan for today now.

 

New rules, new behavior

“I have a subconscious list of rules for how reality should work. I did not develop these rules on purpose, and most of them don’t make sense – which is disturbing when you consider that they are an attempt to govern the behavior of reality – but they exist, and they play a large role in determining how I react to the things that happen to me. Large enough that a majority of the feelings I feel are simply a reaction to reality not complying with my arbitrary set of rules. ”
― Allie Brosh

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Think about the rules you have in your life.  You have rules for everything.  Your life is about rules, like stopping at a train crossing or stopping at a stop sign.

If you are thinking I don’t live by rules then just look at your habits.  You do have habits, things you do, things you say,  the way you approach a problem or the way you tackle each day.  You do have habits and some work for you and some don’t.

Habits are rules that we use to reduce the amount of thinking we have to do.  Habits are programs that run in the background of your consciousness and some work well and some don’t.  If you find yourself doing things that don’t produce great results for you then you might want to change some of the rules you operate by.

Sometimes the issue is trying to find the rules that you want to change so that you can change them.  Some habits/rules are so embedded in our daily life that we aren’t even aware of them.   Becoming aware of those “hidden” rules is the first step to creating positive change.    What rules are running your life the way you don’t want them to?   What would you like to change?