procrastination

Time Tracking For Success.

08 07 2016

So, you might remember, I learned a little lesson a few weeks back.  I had a lightbulb moment and set new intentions.  (You can read the post here)

Yep, well, old habits die hard it would seem.

know my priorities.  Being the avid goal-setter I am, I know what tasks I should be doing to ‘move the needle’ and get me closer to them.  But knowing them and doing them are totally different.  I know to achieve the toned tummy I’m going to need to build the muscle, almost daily.  Do I do it?  Nope.

I’d like to say my new intentions slipped because of some worthy cause but, the truth is, I know it was a few bad habits to blame.  The biggest of all is procrastination. 

John C Maxwell, known as one of the greatest thought leaders in management, said “the secret of success comes down to your daily agenda.”  He believed if he were to spend 24 hours with someone, following them through their typical day, he’d be able to predict where their life was headed.    He says:

“You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily.”

(Abs, we’re on.)

So, with that in mind, it’s time for a bit of a reality check.  If, like me, you get to the end of a day and wonder exactly what you did with your time, then this is for you.  If you’re making little (or no) progress in achieving something that’s been on your goal list forever, this is for you.  Or, if you know things are just out of balance and you’re ready to make a change, this is for you.

It’s so simple to do, but so powerful.

Record and Review.

To see where your time is going, you’re going to have to get it down on paper (or digitally, if that’s your thing).  Don’t rely on your memory.  Track it.

I’ve created a tracking tool you can download here.  The magic is in ‘coding’ your tasks into priorities.  It will give you a great picture over 24 hours (just like Sir Maxwell suggested).  My suggestion is to do it for a week to get a great record of ‘normal life’.

But… that’s ‘normal life’.  In your normal life are you achieving what your heart desires?  Are you living the life you want to?  What kind of future are your daily habits creating?

I find this is a powerful first step in making a change.  You need to know where you are, what your starting point is.  Then you’re so much clearer on what needs to change to start shifting you towards a new direction.

Download the Time Tracker For Success cheat sheet here.  And I’d love to see your results – what did you learn after day one?

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Well THAT was embarrassing. Did you see it?

06 19 2016

Let me just acknowledge the elephant in the room.  I disappeared for a while.

Maybe I owe you a little explanation.  I’ll come to that in a moment…

The reason for sharing with you is I believe I can shed some light on what NOT to do if this story is something you can relate to.

I’ll also share what happened when I took the leap – and it totally back-fired!  

So, back to the point, I disappeared.  I checked out for a bit.

If truth be told… I was hiding away from you guys.  You see, my passion is helping people to be their best selves, helping them to live their sparkle and yet, rewind a year, and I felt so far from that myself.

I felt a fraud.  I felt I needed to be the finished product to be able to help you.  I thought I needed to go away and fix parts of my life first.  It’s the perfectionist in me – I wanted to do this thing right.  If I was to help you then surely I’d need to be an expert in, and perfect in, all areas.

Writing this to you now I realise how ridiculous it sounds.  Yet still a part of me whispers “who am I to be able to help anyone else when there’s still things I’m working on?”  Old habits die hard, as they say.

But striving for utopia is perfectionism on over-drive.  It’s me procrastinating on the one thing I feel really called to do – to help, to write, to show up in ways that help you create your best life.

So, what not to do?

Don’t wait for the perfect time. There never is one.

Don’t wait for the perfect opportunity to show up.  It won’t.

Don’t wait to feel like you’re ready/perfect. You won’t – nothing changes unless YOU change.

What’s standing between you and what you want?

I’ve spent the best part of my lifetime hiding and actively avoiding attention.  But deep down I know that standing between me and what I want (helping people on a bigger scale), I need to come out of hiding and push my comfort zone

So this week I decided to be brave.  I love to write to you but I know sometimes I hide behind the written word. Speaking up is my challenge.  I made a commitment to my awesome coach to “show my face”.  I gave my word that I’d share on Facebook Live.

This was majorly uncomfortable.  By showing up on Facebook Live I had to do the opposite of my default attention-avoidance, as if I was saying “look at me, I’m here and I have something to say.”  That is hugely out of my comfort zone.  It’s LIVE people – there’s zero room for perfectionism.

My insecurities were laid bare – insecure in the value of what I had to say, how I was saying it, how I was looking while saying it.  To me, I was raising my head over the parapet and opening myself up to being judged.  (That’s not to say that’s what I expected of the gorgeous peeps who might see it but they were the warning bells clanging by that ‘chimp brain’ of mine that’s trying to protect me.)

And I can’t tell you how (embarrassingly) long my finger hovered over the scary “Go Live” button.

BUT THEN… The utopia came to mind.  The life I imagine and the ‘me’ in it tapped me on the shoulder and, instead, I asked: “What would that Emma do?”  So, I pressed the button and I did it.

(Did you see?  It was a disaster.  The sound did not work!!!  I  chatted to myself for 8 minutes! EMBARRASSING. But I did it and I left it up there as proof, imperfect as it is!)

And here’s the lesson I’ve learned that I want to share.

I’ve come to learn that success is in the little victories.  I’d been focusing on the end game – striving for that finish line of success before I can help.

What’s courage anyway?  To me it’s letting your want/need for something be just a fraction bigger than your fear.  It’s a succession of moments like that, each moment getting you that little bit closer to your desired you and desired destination.

So, I ask again.  What stands between you and what you want? And what can you do to have courage (that’s just a tiny bit bigger than your fear) for one bold moment this week?

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Spend a Fiver, Change Your Life

03 24 2016

Have you ever been wandering around a clothes shop and spotted something for someone else, thinking “that is so her“?  Something about a simple item of clothing represents somebody’s style or character and what you believe about them.  

The same process happens on a deeper level in your head and about you.  What you believe about yourself will impact your choices – ultimately sending your life in one direction or another, often at 180° angle to each other.  

In my first Livestream (so please excuse the novice techie issues at start and end!), I share why this happens and how a £5 investment can be the first step towards a life-changer.

And then I’d love to hear from you.  What will you stick on YOUR mirror?  (Share a selfie on my Facebook page if you’re feeling brave!!)

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Featured on The Boss Mag: Stop wasting time on social media

04 15 2014

If you’ve ever caught yourself looking at the clock and wondering how you managed to spend quite so long checking your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter feeds, my post on The Boss Mag may be of interest.

In the post, I share:

  • How to use your intuition to guide your social media ‘play time’
  • The strategic filter you must apply before you check your social media feed
  • Why you should indulge the green-eyed monster a little
  • Time-savers you should be using.

Read the full post: 5 Steps to Know When to Stop Looking and Start Doing

I’d love to know what your biggest ‘time-suck’ is on social media and what one step you can take to break the habit.  Please share in the Comments below…

Image: Andy Bradshaw, Behance.net/One Eighty

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My one big learning from running a business… so far

02 16 2014

I worked in the corporate world for eleven years.  It was all I’d known of my professional life, except for a short spell of freelancing.  I was part of a team, I was managed, I was a manager.  My working life was shared with people.

Fast-forward to this evening.  I’m sat at my desk in my home office, just me and my laptop and a cup of tea.  Were it not for the company of Jake Bugg playing in the background, you could hear a pin drop.

I like to work this way.  Actually, I LOVE it.  I can spend hours happily ‘in the zone’, as my hubby calls it.  I do my best work this way.  But, it has its pitfalls and there was one biggie holding me back.

This past week I ran my first live webinar, The 4 Secrets of Successful Working Mummies.  I’d had this on my plan since last October – four months ago!! – but I kept putting it off.  It was new and daunting and well out of my comfort zone so it got shunted down the priority list, week after week.  As I mentioned recently, I’ve been working with a business coach and, during my coaching session on the 14th January, I committed to hosting the webinar less than a month later.  And guess what?  I made it happen.  And guess what else?  It wasn’t close to being as nerve-wracking as I thought.  I actually enjoyed it. 

As I treated myself to a bubble bath later that evening, I reflected on how the webinar had gone and asked myself what had stopped me doing it sooner.  The simple answer was fear.  I was worried about what people would think.  I knew my content inside and out.  I was confident that I was sharing great value with people BUT I had no-one to reassure me.  I realised that I missed the input that I would have had if I’d been part of a team.  A senior manager to make suggestions and revisions.  Peers to encourage and motivate.  And the simple truth is I was putting off facing into these fears because I could.

It’s not the first time in my career I’ve done something that pushed my limits.  In fact, it doesn’t compare to some of the fear-inducing situations I’ve faced BUT I couldn’t shy away before.  It was my job, my responsibility and I was accountable.  Bingo!  The light went off: I hadn’t been holding myself accountable.

I looked at the other non-movers on my to-do list and recognised the same pattern.  If something was new territory or a little bit scary, I was avoiding it.  With no senior bod to report to, I was letting myself avoid things.  

Decision time.  I realised I had a choice.  I could scratch the ‘scary’ things from my plans completely OR I could face them head on and see where they lead me, personally and professionally.  If you know me at all, there was no decision to be made… I’m all about overcoming the mental blocks and hurdles to design a life and business that sparkles.  So, watch this space.  In the words of the song, from now on every day I’m hustlin’

Now it’s your turn.  What are you putting off?  I’d love for you to share in the comments below what one thing you’ve been avoiding and why… AND what action you can take to make it happen. 

P.S. Don’t you just LOVE this mug by Ashley Brooke Designs in the picture?  I think I need to treat myself to this little beaut as a daily reminder…

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I feel so guilty… And how to get over it

01 26 2014

A little pre-warning: this isn’t the most upbeat post you’ll have read for a while.  It is somewhat lacking sparkle, so I apologise.  It is, however, me sharing a truthful, from-the-heart account of this week’s mummy juggle…

I write this a little frayed around the edges.  Remember last week I talked about the importance of planning my week?  Well, as they say, ‘the best laid plans oft got astray’.  Louis has been poorly again – I’ve now logged a 3/4-weekly pattern of ‘off weeks’ (which I’ve shared with the GP!) which start a chain of events which go as follows: the sick days themselves, the week-plus of unsettled sleep that follows, a week of ‘normal’ routine and then round we go again.  All three of us are sleep-deprived, short-tempered and fed up.  For me, it comes with another tummy-punch: GUILT.

I feel so guilty…

I feel guilty because I feel I’m missing a trick or doing something wrong which is causing Louis’ immunity to be taking a bit of a battering.

I feel guilty because I am FED UP of surviving on 5-6 hours of broken sleep each night.

I feel guilty because I’m not giving my best during the daylight hours: I’m in survival mode and taking the easy options where I can.  Baby group?  Yes, that’s ready-made entertainment!  TV?  OK, just one more episode of Thomas and Friends while mummy takes a breather!

I feel guilty because this not-so-little pregnant belly is getting nowhere near the TLC it did the first time round.  Rest, relaxation and ideal baby-growing conditions are a pipe dream.

I feel guilty because I’ve done little more with my time this week than “getting through” the routine and then slump in a heap with a book and bed.

I feel guilty because I’ve not much left to be a good wife or friend….

I feel guilty because time is ticking ahead of Baby Two’s arrival and I’ve made very little progress this week.

The irony is, as a friend or a coach, my instinct on hearing this tirade from someone else would be to go into nurturer mode.  I’d listen, I’d ask questions, I’d shed a new light.  But, when it comes to being a friend or coach to myself I’m rrrrr-rubbish!  So, during nap-time today, I decided to get up close and personal with my guilty feelings and wanted to share the steps with you in case you’ve got a dose of the guilts too:

  • Let it all out: Don’t stew on the feelings, it’s a complete waste of energy.  Instead, let them out by writing them down or getting an understanding friend to listen.  Vent and then breathe.  Take a few deep breaths, breathing out the guilty feeling and let the emotion drift away.
  • Look for the clues: What is the guilty feeling really about?  Feeling guilty is usually a distress call from another emotion, such as sadness or anger or frustration.  You might wish you’d done something differently, done more.  For me, when I’ve looked back on the week, the guilt really was showing me that I wish I’d made other choices.  While I can’t change what’s been and gone, I can see that maybe I might do things a little differently next time.
  • Give yourself a break:  So, I wish I’d acted differently BUT I have to remind myself, I’m human.  I’m not a robot.  Putting yourself (at best) second starts to wear a little thin after a while.  Remember to be forgiving of yourself – you’re doing the best you can.
  • Do you want a hug?: What would make you feel better?  How can you give yourself a hug?  Is it a hot bath?  Is it a bar of chocolate?  Is it as simple as an early night?  Or, a night out with a friend?  Find a little thing that makes you feel loved and cared for … and make sure it happens.

Have you had the mummy guilts?  How do you deal with them?  I’d love to hear from you in the Comments below – as would all the other mummies out there!

Image: {1}

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Could a fear of success be holding you back?

02 05 2013

Fear of failure.  We’ve all been there and done that.  It’s as common as the cold.  We love our comfort zones just so.  Why venture out into the dark unknown when you feel safe as you are?

But this fear’s lesser-known sibling is the fear of success.  Is it possible that it’s actually success you’re afraid of?  You may well be shaking a firm “no, not me”, maybe even thinking it sounds crazy to fear success BUT, if you’re feeling ‘stuck’ in any way, there’s likely to be a few weeds in your thinking that need uprooting. 

Bring to mind a goal you’ve had for some time but have made little or no headway in achieving.  Ask yourself: “why haven’t I made progress?”  Move beyond the excuses and justifications.  Keep asking ‘why’ with childlike curiosity and see what comes up.  What does your picture of success look like?  What DON’T you want that this success will bring?

I’ll share an example: my own fear of success.

I was a non-believer.  Of course I wanted success.  I am a hard worker and my blood, sweat and tears have all been directed in the firm direction of success.  But I was stuck.  My nemesis, procrastination, had taken a grip.  I asked myself the same questions: why hadn’t I made progress?  What was in my picture of success that I DIDN’T want?

The answer surprised me!  I truly value freedom and authenticity … and, somewhere in the back of my mind, these two values would be threatened by success.  If I achieved my vision for my business, professionally and financially, I pictured having to work long hours and having little time for the people I love.  Earning money might change people’s perception of me to the proverbial ‘poser’.  Neither are great motivators!

In getting clear on what I don’t want, it also shone a light on what I did.  Freedom to flex my time around work and family is priority.  Being successful AND being authentic and generous was my ideal.

What I needed were examples, role models to follow – and I urge you to do the same.  Who did I know (in person or famous) who had achieved success which brought them greater freedom, financial wealth AND a reputation for being genuine and giving?  By finding examples of people I could model my version of success on, the symptoms (procrastination) of my stuck-ness begin to shift.

Now, it’s your turn. 

What is it that’s stopping you making progress towards the success you desire?  Who could be your role model for your new version of success? 

I’d love to hear your comments.

Source: Melanie on Pinterest

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