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Morning routine Time management

find time for morning meditation

To tell you the truth, mornings can be quiet hectic. It’s so difficult to find time for morning meditation. If you have a young family and children to get dressed and out the door, you know this first hand. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. No matter how busy you think you are first thing in the day. Earlier, I shared with you how the first few hours in the morning set the tone for the entire rest of the day. Do you want that to pull out you hair out of frustration? Do you want to be frantic? Or do you want to be in control? It’s up to you to make the change by embracing two simple concepts to form a habit.

Form a Habit

To form a habit, you form a three-part psychological pattern called a “habit loop.” First, there’s a trigger, that tells your brain to go into automatic pilot. Neuroscientists have traced our habit-forming behaviors to the basal ganglia, a part of the brain. The basal ganglia deals with pattern recognition. Second, there is the routine that forms from practicing this new behavior. Thirdly, your brain receives the benefits of the reward, which is the peace found in meditation.

1. Get up Earlier by 30 Minutes.

It’s tempting to hit the snooze button first thing in the morning to catch a few more minutes of sleep. It’s even harder to set the alarm early enough that you have plenty of time for everything you need to get done. If you’re as lazy as I am, moving up the alarm by 30 minutes to carve out a little extra time can be rough. Think about your goal. You want to wake up to meditate. Be clear about what you want to accomplish. After those first few mornings, it won’t be so difficult and challenging; it’s something you’ll get used to.

Getting up early enough and avoiding the snooze button at all costs is the key to an unrushed morning. Here’s the problem with cutting time too short or hitting the snooze button too many times. It gets you behind even before you get a fresh start. You have to rush to make it out the door in time and any little challenge along the way turns into a huge problem. Like me, not being able to find the car keys is suddenly a major life crisis.

Remember, your morning sets the tone for the rest of your day. If you start chasing down time and running around in circles, that’s likely how you’ll spend the rest of your time.

Make a new habit by getting up early and move on to a new morning routine. You are able to control what needs to get done. By taking one small step, getting up early enough, you set yourself up for a sunny disposition and an amazing productive day.

2. Restructure Your Routine

Spend a little time thinking about your current morning routine and where you’re spending time. Look for things you can change to find more time for the things you really want to do. For example, if you want an extra 20 minutes in the morning to meditate, look at what you could take care ahead of time. Plan, eliminate or delegate to make that extra time.

If you spend a lot of time running to Starbucks like me, get in the habit of calling ahead. Or get your spouse to get coffee ready, so all you have to do in the morning is push a button. Teach the kids to make their own breakfast. They should take the dirty dishes to the sink, rinse them, and put them in the dish washer. Make sure clothes are set out the night before and that book bags, purses, briefcases, and car keys have a designated spot. I keep my car keys in a hanger in the mud room. I’m ready to go each morning. Small changes like this to your morning routine can make a positive difference.

Think of yourself as a time saver! I challenge you to come up with a few small changes that will save you at least 30 minutes each morning.

Determine That Meditation Is Crucial to Your Well-being

Your morning is not about cramming a to-do list. Your morning is focusing on what is important. Sometimes when you read about time management, you star thinking that “doing” is the important step to become productive. Although, “doing” can create momentum, as a short term strategy but not long-term. The more you do without determining your outcome, the more likely you will burn-out and blame yourself.

To set out to meditate for 15 minutes, evaluate your current morning routine. Ask yourself what is the best use of your time in the morning. Compare your perfect morning with your existing morning routine. What aren’t you doing on your ideal morning? If you start by cutting things out, finding time to focus on what’ important to you becomes so much easier. 

When you start setting time for mediation in your morning routine, consider that the practice of meditation is important for your general health. The key word here is practice since it requires commitment, consistency and perseverance. By making time, for meditation your well-being will improve. 

Meditation is a mind and body practice that focuses on the interactions among the brain, mind, body, and behavior. It may reduce blood pressure and irritable bowel symptoms (IBS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Meditation may help those who suffer symptoms of anxiety and depression. There are also studies that have shown that people with insomnia have improved their sleep through meditation practice. In short, meditation is beneficial for your health and should be part of your morning routine. It’s all about finding time for morning meditation. 

1. Eliminate Busy Work

Remember, the autopilot mode. Busy work is something you do out of habit that doesn’t have to be done every day. Even Elon Musk, sets up a system to check crucial emails pertaining to Tesla or Space-X in the morning. If you are doing it out of habit, then it’s time to rethink.

2. Earn Back Precious Time

The second way to quickly earn back time is to see if you’re doing things for others that they can do themselves. Kids are the perfect example. We start by fixing their breakfast, making their lunch, cleaning up after them, and making sure their backpack is packed and ready to go. When they are little. We focus on these things, but all too often we continue to do them long after they’re capable of doing things on their own. The same applies for our spouse. Maybe there was a time when you had less to do in the morning. It made sense to take on the majority of morning chores. It’s time to get help from your partner. A few small changes may be all it takes to make time in your busy morning for what’s important to you.

How To Find Time for Morning Meditation

The best way to plan for a morning meditation is to set aside double the time you will need. Let’s say that the meditation is for 15 minutes, then set up for 30 minutes in your calendar. The point is that you have enough time to complete the meditation and self reflect without feeling rushed. This extra time gives you the desired space to create a moment of self-compassion in your meditation. It shows that you are taking the first step to care about yourself. 

To meditate on the go, you can resort to YouTube videos such as this one on Mindful Poetry. This will the subject of a whole new blog post soon. You’ve already taken the first step to find time for morning meditation.

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grit mindfulness mindset

finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness

Finding you growth mindset with grit and mindfulness blog post cover graphic with pink background.  A woman with a business suit on top of a cliff.

Scrolling down my Instagram feed this morning, I noticed that there is so much speculation over mindset, especially on social media. Influencers and business coaches on Instagram sell online courses on achieving a positive growth mindset and overcoming negative thoughts. On Facebook, there are dedicated groups on the subject to grow your business presence. The posts in these groups are all about manifesting through unlimited positivity. The exact definition of a growth mindset becomes lost in a sea of posts. After my morning tea, I thought about the possibilities of finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness.

What is mindset?

Carol Dweck
Photo: Carol Dweck Credit: Satheesh Gopalan / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

According to Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, mindset is the view you adopt, which determines how you live your life. It determines how you see the world and make decisions. In other words, it is your perspective or your view of the world. It’s your beliefs about your abilities and qualities that form how you do things or see things. It’s your usual attitude or mental state.

Think about your many strengths and talents. Are you artistic? Are you creative? How you answer these questions defines your mindset and provides clues as to how you view the world and yourself. Your mindset shapes your reality and your perception of what you can do beyond your limits.

growth mindset is created by believing that your talents can be reached through effort, hard work, and strategies. It is not innate like a fixed mindset, which depends on your gifts. The growth mindset strives to achieve through learning, while the fixed mindset can stagnate.

Let’s be mindful of the matter.

Most influencers have a distorted view of a growth mindset. One of the pitfalls is thinking that our mindset is always in a state of growth. As you encounter new experiences, your mindset develops and evolves. To do so, we need to become aware of our mindset, including failure. Take, for example, the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs. He successfully pioneered telecommunications with the iPhone and grew his company, but he lacked growth in relationships, especially with his daughter.

What is mindfulness?

Almost all mindsets are mixed. Hence, this is where the concept of mindfulness fits in. Mindfulness is a state of awareness in the present moment, when your mind is conscious of your experience. It includes thoughts and feelings, sensations, and breathing. In mindfulness, you accept everything with an attitude of non-resistance and balance. Thus, you can experience everything fully without self-judgment.

With this mindful awareness, you will notice that there are moments in which we fail to reach our goals or compare ourselves to others. Once we recognize our vulnerability, our fixed mindset, then we can nurture it. If we become mindful of our unresolved issues while acknowledging the unsung moments of joy, then we can handle our mixed mindset.

Your mindset is the force behind whether you thrive or avoid challenges, view failures, setbacks, or persevere. It is more about the process than the destination.

Grit

You will also need grit, which refers to a passionate perseverance toward a goal even when overwhelmed with challenges. Mindfulness will make you aware that grit is needed to reach your goal.

These two concepts, grit and mindfulness, are compatible but not exclusive. A new study showed that being aware is correlated with grit in students in individualistic societies, such as ours. Collective societies might not depend on mindfulness. Definitely, more research is needed in this area.

Grit is the tendency to maintain effort and interest towards long-term goals.

6 top tips to finding your growth mindset with grit and mindfulness to deal with the following belief system:

  1. Poor self-image. If you constantly see yourself as a failure, sending self-defeating messages to your mind that you will fail at whatever you try to accomplish. Solution: Turn failures into challenges. Keep a journal describing your thoughts. It will help with problem solving no matter the challenge. 
  2. Self-victimization. If you’ve been a victim of bad experiences or been hurt by others, then you might still be holding onto those moments. Solution: Use mindfulness to let go of the past and live the present. 
  3. Social media envy. If you see the unnatural glamorous lifestyles of other people online then, it might make you feel worse about yourself. You might devalue what you have. You focus on what you don’t have or aren’t doing. Solution: Think about what you do have and show gratitude. Own it up!
  4. Feel work is a burden. If you dread going to work or complain about doing the work, then change your outlook. Solution: Think about your job as a means of providing value to others and as having an impact on you and others around you. Being able to work gives you the opportunity to contribute to society.
  5. Obsess about things you can’t control or change. If you complain about what you can’t control then your mind will fill up with everything you don’t like. Solution: Identify how you can change and control your own actions and thoughts to make the experience more positive. Stop complaining and start taking actions that will bring you a greater sense of accomplishment and abundance. 
  6. Lack gratitude for what you have. If you focus on what is wrong with things or the world then it is difficult to learn to let go of the negative. Solution: Focus on identifying the positive things you are grateful for every day.
Infographic on mindset vs. mindfulness.

Failure

If you want to learn more, listen to the top six ways that failure is as important as success in this 2 minute audio podcast:


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Book cover:  Growth Mindset.
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Morning routine

daydream: what is your ideal morning?

As I drink my morning cup of tea, I ask myself what is most important now.  What is the one major goal that I want to accomplish in order to make a difference, but I just can’t seem to find the time for?  What good habits would you want to nurture to impact your life? Visualize this for a moment. It could be any area of your life from exercise, healthy eating to time management.  It could be working on your relationship with your significant other, finding time for creative pursuits, or getting in the habit of reading every morning. 

Once you have thought out what you want to work on, what needs to improve, and what’s most important to you, think about how you can make it part of your daily morning routine. Sit back with a cup of tea and daydream about your ideal morning.

It isn’t stressed or rushed. Most importantly it’s a day when you have time for everything on your list. Maybe it means having time for a long warm shower. Maybe it’s going for a brisk walk or practicing meditation before breakfast. Maybe it’s having a few minutes to connect on Instagram with your friends or maybe it’s carving out a twenty minute YouTube work out. Perhaps it’s time to work on yourself by reading self-improvement blogs, such as this one. 

Tip: Write it down in a journal or so like me you can refer back to as needed.

The key to a successful morning routine plan is to start with what’s most important to you and think about the different possibilities.  Become an options person like we discussed in the previous post. How could you fit it into your morning routine? Remember, this is the creative motivating step where we think about our choices.  We’ll work on the procedure of figuring out where to find the time to fit it in and how to make it all work out. For now, I simply want you to paint a vivid picture of what your new morning could be– I want you to become very clear on the visualization aspect so you can concentrate on your goals.  Imagine it in as much detail as you possibly can.

Why is this so important? Because you can’t start to make any meaningful changes until you know what your goals are. You need to know your destination before you can start the GPS and figure out the stops and turns on how to get there. Today’s task is about figuring out where you want to go.

Don’t stop until you have figured out your destination firmly pictured in your mind. 

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Meditation for Complete Beginners
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Motivation

how to find motivation and your way on the Yellow Brick Road

“There were several roads nearby, but it did not take Dorothy long to find the one paved with yellow bricks. Within a short time, she was walking briskly toward the Emerald City; her Silver Shoes tinkling merrily on the hard, yellow road-bed “.

The Wizard Of Oz

It’s difficult to become motivated when you can’t find your way on the yellow brick road. Perhaps you don’t have the job you want or the relationship, or maybe you’re not in the best financial situation. Deep inside, you probably know what you don’t want, but you haven’t figure out your goals.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, a close friend of mine died of breast cancer. She was always motivated and so lively. She reminded me that in life, you need to dream and reach your goals. She studied social psychology and worked as a business coach in New York. My friend struggled with dyslexia and a learning disability. She inspired me to write this blog post since she had the habit of writing her goals in a journal. I know that she was fully committed to living life to the fullest. She always worked hard and methodically. She always had a strategy for everything.

The sky is the limit, so ask yourself– How do you envision your life? What would you need in life for it to be more fulfilling and meaningful? How will you find the yellow brick road?

Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz

If suddenly, you’re a multimillionaire, what will you do with the rest of your life? Will you continue working at your job? Will you spend more time with your family or travel to Africa? Will you start your own business or spend more time with your hobbies?

1. Dream and balance.

All of these are dreams—dreams about possibilities. There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but it’s what you do with it that matters.

According to Shelle Rose Charvet’s Words That Change Minds: The 14 Patterns for Mastering the Language of Influence, metaprograms in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) determine how we communicate with each other. A dreamer without a method is an options person. Those persons who view possibilities use modal operators such as “could” or “can.” They give you a long list of alternatives.

Many of these options persons are usually creatives, designers, and business entrepreneurs. Somehow these persons seem to gather on Instagram and sell you the dream. I’ve witnessed this “dream selling” quite often on my feed. Some Instagram influencers promise that you will attain their lifestyle easily– travel to Egypt, frolic with ponies in Iceland, ride elephants in Vietnam, and tango in Buenos Aires. These promises sell you a Hollywood ending, a dream come true. They work well for click and bait since you feel as if you know the person you follow as a friend. You watched them grow into someone special. Like them, you believe in the dream, but carrying it out is another story. You buy the webinar and find out that there are too many steps and that it requires money and connections. Before trying, you give up, which is fine because this dream is a possibility for those who run on the options metaprogram; it is not a reality. There are too many possibilities, so you move on to Tik-Tok, Youtube, or Twitch. The cycle continues over and over again.

Charvet explains that those who operate on procedures tend to be great salespeople. Take a look at Kim Kardashian’s post:

Kim K: I wake up, workout and change into fresh pajamas every day LOL, so I had to make the best, most comfy pajamas and loungewear w/@skims

Clearly, she is describing her morning routine in steps and in which she sells the pajamas. Her language is about sequential order. Hence, her success in salesmanship.

Once you balance the why (options) with the how (procedures), you can strive to evaluate your dream. The time you take to dream is time for your creativity to grow. Don’t undermine this moment; be mindful of it, accept it, and write down your dream in vivid detail.

List the things that get you out of bed in the morning. These are all the things you are willing to devote time and energy to each day.

I wrote the following list in my journal:

Faith
Family
Friends
Finances
Romantic relationships
Personal growth
Being healthy
Being organized and using time wisely
Being happy at work.
Contributing to the world.

2. Prioritize.

Ask yourself what is most important, and when you are finished writing your list, take a few moments to prioritize the items. Figuring out your priorities is crucial because we often have so much “stuff” going on in our lives that we lose track of who we are and what we want out of our life. We end up moving from one crisis to another. We run around in circles with paying bills, fixing the car, or rushing to work to value the moment. It’s easy to neglect ourselves, friends, and family. Find your purpose by asking yourself a series of exploration questions.

  • What would inspire me to get out of bed at 5 AM on a Saturday?
  • What haven’t I experienced yet that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What haven’t I given yet that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What haven’t I learned that I’ve always wanted to?
  • What part of me haven’t I healed yet that I still need to?
  • What are my passions?
  • Am I doing now what I really want to do?
  • If not, do I even know what I would like to do?
  • What can I do to serve others?

Write down the answers to these questions and journal. These should be your honest answers–not what you should do out of obligation or what others expect you to do.

3. Combine all your answers into a life’s purpose or mission statement.

Your purpose statement will answer the question, “Why am I here? What is my true calling in life?” You get to define your mission, so what do you genuinely want to do with your life? In your journal, write, “My purpose in life is…” Then, expand on your objective, reflecting on your dreams, priorities, and the questions listed above.

My journal reads like this:

My purpose in life is to be caring, mindful, and passionate about my relationship with God, my family, and friends. I want to be motivated to help others every day to the best of my ability. I wish for those surrounding me to feel special and loved. I want to learn how to let go instead of becoming defensive when met with demands and stress.

4. Think of how you can use your passions and dreams to serve the world.

I will make the world a better place by standing for what I believe. It is essential that in times of crisis, you can stay strong in your values but, at the same time, take a non-judgmental stance.

Write down the following prompt. “I will make the world a better place by…” and elaborate. Get all of your ideas down on paper. This journaling exercise will probably take you at least 10 minutes – though it could take hours if you overthink the task. Then, go back and read the content.

Is it a wake-up call? If not then, keep writing until you find clarity.

When you do define your life’s purpose, it will feel and be an emotional awakening.

If your purpose is clear, then you can concentrate on steps to set up your main goals and become motivated. Daily motivation enables us to strive to work towards future goals and lead us to fulfill our life’s purpose.

5. Set your goals.

It worked for Dorothy when she went to see the Wizard (another options metaprogram person at best). With the help of her friends, the Tin-Man, Lion and Scarecrow, Dorothy paved her way down the Yellow Brick Road. She accomplished the goals she set out once she figured out the procedure.

The mere act of setting a goal motivates us to work to achieve success. Goals drive an individual’s daily motivation. It is best not to get overwhelmed with attaining a huge goal too quickly; instead, you should take small steps to accomplish it. Divide them up into phases to achieve your goals. Make sure that they are measurable for you to take accountability. Don’t be afraid of failure without trying. And if you do fail, then accepting defeat drives persistent motivation and problem-solving.

6. Define your attitude.

A positive attitude is a source of daily motivation. Believing that one of your goals is too difficult to achieve will eventually prevent you from achieving these goals. A negative attitude will set you back and lead you off the Yellow Brick Road towards being attacked by flying monkeys. To complete your goals, you must be able to tell yourself that every goal can be attained with effort. If you tell yourself that you can do it, most likely you will. Never underestimate the power of the mind and of creating daily motivation.

7. Focus on faith.

Spirituality and religion can also improve daily motivation. Religion – no matter what kind – encourages mindfulness and internal motivation. People often depend on their faith when life challenges them. Prayer and meditation inspire those who might otherwise turn to alcoholic beverages, doughnuts, or heroin to nurture their spirits. Religion may help some people to be more mentally and physically healthy. Even taking pleasure in nature’s beauty by hiking on a trail can trigger a sense of peace.

We all feel a little off-balance, but by focusing on routines, our balance can be restored.

Quick tips:

  • Limit your online time (emails, forums, instant messaging) to two hours a day.
  • Leave the house every day in the morning, even if you don’t need to be somewhere. You can go to a coffee shop and read the paper, visit a library or a museum, or go for a long walk or bicycle ride.
  • Keep regular sleeping hours. If you are having difficulty sleeping, at least assign certain hours for sleeping, resting, reading, or quiet television (if that makes you drowsy).
  • Save the last hour of the day for quiet and reading books or television – no phone, no computer, no work.
  • Step away from people who are pulling you off balance with drama or their own negativity. Usually, you only need to do this until you feel balanced again.
  • Occupy your thoughts and time, mostly with positive ideas and activities.
  • Have an assortment of healthy friends in different areas of life. You will obtain emotional support from positive friends.
  • If you have been watching a lot of television, limit your time to no more than 3 hours a day.
  • Balance the time in your day between different activities and efforts, even at work. When too much energy is placed on one task, it can make you feel more stressed or dissatisfied. Pace yourself with deadlines so that you won’t have to carry out marathon sessions to catch up.
  • Laugh and love yourself!

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Time management

get over yourself: set a goal

Getting over yourself takes action. Of course, this is easier said than done. Today, I’m going to share a simple three-step process that will help you get more done than you ever thought possible.

  1. Define the goal 

Every person’s life depends on the process of choosing goals to pursue; if you remain passive, you are not going to thrive as a human being.”  (Locke, 2019)

It all starts with a goal. You have to know what it is that you want to accomplish. If you don’t know what your goal is, then it’s hard to prioritize on what you should be doing now to move towards action. So, what do we do instead? Basically, we procrastinate.

It’s important to remember that goal setting is based on commitment.  Your goal is merely to place what needs to get done into written words.  By goal setting, you increase your motivation since you establish a mindset of desiring an attainable goal.  The goal moves from dream to reality. It becomes tangible.

By reaching this goal, you achieve a level of success. To write your goal, answer this question first– How committed are you to make a change?  If your goal lacks clarity, will you be able to carry it out?  Not likely.

Research shows that an achievable goal leads to greater work satisfaction and motivation. Firstly, a goal is attainable based on your own skillset.  For example, if I am good at organizing, I can use this strength to carry out my goal.  Secondly, a goal can also challenge you to improve your skills because you are motivated to achieve it.  This type of achievable goal is measurable and has a set deadline. 

Goals don’t have to be overly complicated. Here’s a simple goal we all strive to accomplish. We have to file our taxes this year by July 15th. The deadline was moved because of the COVID-19 national emergency. You certainly have a good idea of what forms will be needed, paperwork, and receipts. So, you gather them up as a step to achieve this goal and you download the software needed.  In other words, when you have a well-defined goal like filing your income taxes on time then you create action.

2. Write it down. 

It doesn’t matter if you write it down on a stickie, a bullet journal, or type a note on your phone. The important part putting your goal in writing. Firstly, it helps you clarify what your goal is. You need to be specific when you try to put what you truly want into writing. Secondly, writing it down serves as a reminder and as a tool that you can use to stop you from procrastination.

Complex goals that lie out of your skill level may overwhelm you.  Making simple goals that rely on what you are good at and challenge you just slightly will drive you towards success.  Sometimes, “I will try to do my best” won’t be good enough; it is too ambiguous and shows lack of motivation. However, complex goals that are achievable because of their clarity and your improved skillset can help you reach success. 

3. Get started

Last but not least, it’s time to get started. That’s often the hardest part, isn’t it? You’re tempted to skip your workout until you lace up your shoes and get started. Once you’re off and running, it’s much easier to keep going. Once you have your goal written down, think about something you can do right now to move you in the right direction. 

I happened to do just that.

The goal-setting plan

I planned to set up a morning routine so I can get out the door and to work by 7:30 am.  I can measure the time it takes for me to fulfill this routine.  (Right now, it is taking me forever, but this is the subject of another blog post). I wrote down that I wanted to achieve it by next week. I’ve already taken action by reading the routines of other bloggers, mainly those involving celebrities, famous CEOs, and bloggers in quarantine.  Each morning, I will start looking at my goal and challenge myself to carry through the steps required to achieve it.   Before you know it, I will have made some serious progress. 

What are your goals for today?   

Categories
Morning routine

why you should makeover your morning instead of snoozing

Quick video on how to makeover your morning.

I love sunny mornings and rainy ones too.  Each new day brings fresh possibilities and a chance to wake-up to life’s challenges.  How you spend the first morning causes a huge impact on the rest of your day. It sets the tone for your entire day.

I’m sure you’ve experienced this yourself.

You set an early alarm to wake up and get out of bed. You plan to make time for a Yoga class or grab a cup of coffee. You have every intention of living your day to the fullest, but you never take the first step.

It happened to me before.  I planned to get up at 6:00 am and suddenly an hour had passed on snooze. Some mornings – hopefully, most mornings unlike me- you get up when the alarm sounds. It bolts you out of bed and you go for a walk outside. Then there are those days when you just can’t seem to get out of bed. You hit the snooze button multiple times, or turn the alarm off altogether, pull the covers up and go back to sleep.

Think of how the rest of those days went.

I noticed the difference in how I felt when I snoozed my cell phone alarm. I know that I yelled at Siri, but that’s another story.  I felt tired and sluggish.  I figured out that maybe my sleeping habits should change too.  Going to bed at 2 am isn’t exactly energizing the next day.  Maybe I should drink less caffeine.  I began analyzing my morning routine.  

Maybe that small change would be helpful to get more accomplished.  I set off to wake up on the first alarm.  I was able to carry through the morning without getting flustered.  Even the barista at Starbucks smiled kindly back when I thanked her.

This time around I was able to get to work without any setbacks arriving 5 minutes before my expected start. My routine was definitely smoother, but I certainly had a lot to work on since my to-do list hadn’t vanished into thin air either.

But face it, you might have a similar rushed routine too that might improve from a morning makeover.

In the next series of posts, I want to guide you through the process of a morning makeover. For the next day, observe how you feel carrying out your existing morning routine starting at the time the alarm goes off.   Write it down in a journal. Not only will you enjoy your mornings more, but it will also make the entire rest of your day go much smoother. 

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Time management

procrastinating? use self compassion

where to start when you need help

Are you a procrastinator?

I am.  I put things off no matter how often I beat myself up over waiting to the last minute to pack for a vacation, book a flight, get to work or file taxes.  I struggled with deadlines.  I kept repeating the same pattern over again.

If you’re ready to finally beat procrastination and get ahead of the game, you’re in the right place.

Throughout a series of blog posts, I’m going to share my best tips and strategies for overcoming procrastination and setting up an inspiring morning routine. I will show you how I learned to look up at the sky and find my true North star.

Photo by Suleyman Seykan on Pexels.com

I will share with you my suggestions, and we start today with learning about self-compassion. I know it seems like an odd place to start, but it’s an important first step because self-compassion can overcome procrastination.

Self-compassion is noticing that you are suffering and showing warmth and kindness to yourself.  Instead of ignoring your pain, you comfort yourself right at that moment.  You stop criticizing yourself, and you start understanding yourself better.  It is about forgiveness and being able to let go.

There’s nothing you can do about the past except to learn from it. Beating yourself up about not following a plan you made or reaching an unmet deadline does not improve the situation.  Needless to say, it aggravates it even more since it can cause undue stress. Yes, not all stress is bad. Stress can motivate you if you think about is as a challenge. But for some of us stress leads to excessive negative self-talk and feelings of judgement which reinforce your habit to procrastinate even more.

Next time you find yourself procrastinating, tell yourself that it’s okay. It’s not the end of the world. Say it out loud and then give yourself the opportunity to try again. It is okay to sometimes fail.

Even famous entrepreneurs learn how to fail.

In a recent Masterclass, Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, told the story of how her father asked her about her failures when she was a child and how they celebrated each one of them. It made her a stronger person and built character for her to reach her goals.

Trying is the most important part here. You’re working on mastering a new set of skills and changing an existing habit, which takes practice, time, and of course, failure. It’s part of the learning process.

You may feel frustrated at times about your lack of improvement. It’s normal; tap into that frustration and use it to motivate you going forward.

Vow to try again. Look at your mistakes.

What caused you to procrastinate this time? Learn from it, and you will start to realize that you are able to accept who you are regardless of the outcome.

There’s always something new to learn whenever we fail at something or slip back into an unhealthy habit. At the very least, we figure out that something isn’t completely working out for us.

Show a little self-compassion!  Forgive yourself for procrastinating so you can move on and practice some more.

Congratulations, you completed the first step in beating procrastination. Join our email list below to learn more.

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Categories
Morning routine

why I started a blog and a morning routine

My morning routine started the night before. It consisted of late-night social media posts, watching YouTube videos, and setting my alarm to 6:00 am but snoozing until 7:00 am. Hurriedly, I brushed my teeth and dressed for work.

But I needed to make a short stop before at Starbucks.

Why did the barista take so long to make me a flat tall white? Why were there so many people in line? Why didn’t I order from the iPhone app instead?

Does this sound familiar?

My mind was full of questions without any real answers. I stared at my watch as time ticked away. Clearly, I procrastinated by making excuses for myself.

This pattern repeated itself over time and what was supposed to be a joyous morning routine became painstaking when I arrived at the office. It became my new normal. I became accepting of this status quo of arriving rushed, flustered, and late.

And one day, my boss called me into his office. I thought that I was on the verge of losing my job.

It was like a scene of the Devil Wears Prada and I had to make a change right then and there. #befree #beyou

I took a centering breath remembering what I had once learned from Dr. Tara Brach that breathing will help me regain my balance. I inhaled, relaxed my body, and allowed my breath to connect to my inner wisdom and strength.

As I sat across my boss, I recognized the problem– I was a procrastinator. This was the hardest and most uncomfortable part of it all. But the recognition of the problem led me to a sense of acceptance. It wasn’t that I was accepting the status quo of becoming a procrastinator, but that I acknowledged that I was a procrastinator. I recognized the moment just as a moment without my mind adding more to it. It was the beginning of an act of mindfulness. I allowed the moment to happen and I offered my boss a cup of Starbucks coffee.

Then I probed the situation. Instead of asking the question of why I asked how.

How would I feel if I were the boss?

It was this act of investigating his feelings that led me away from my self-centered thinking. What was I believing? I started searching for truth without judgment.

But inside, I listened to those self-limiting beliefs that overpowered me. Yes, those beliefs that tell you that you are not good enough and that you are not worthy. I breathed and let them pass and concentrated on the moment.

I began by nurturing and showing self-compassion. I treated myself with child-like kindness. I imagined being bathed by a warm feeling that everything will be alright.

And it was. . .

In short, I started a morning routine because I wanted to be mindful of myself, others, and the time I spend with them. With this blog, I hope to inspire you to be kind to yourself. It’s never too late to start.

In my next post, I will show you how I developed a morning routine.

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Categories
Time management

be free: time management strategies

Girl with hands up in the air.  Below a cloud with the title: be free time management strategies,  A palomino horse running in a field.

Time management is all about staying focused on the end goal. Many writers like Tim Ferris from The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9–5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich use the Pareto Principle, also known as the ’80:20 Rule’. At first, it sounds like a complex subject, but it’s one that works and is highly recommended for success.

the 80:20 rule

Simply, 80% of efforts that are not time managed or unfocused generates only 20% of the desired output. However, 80% of the desired output can be generated using only 20% of a well time managed effort. Although the ratio ’80:20′ is only arbitrary, it is used to put emphasis on how much is lost or how much can be gained with time management.

Some people view time management as a list of rules that involves scheduling appointments, goal settings, thorough planning, creating things-to-do lists, and prioritizing. These are the core basics of time management that should be understood to develop efficient personal time management skills. These basic skills can be fine-tuned further to include the finer points of each skill that can give you that extra reserve to make the results you desire.

There are more skills involved in time management than the core basics. Skills such as decision making, inherent abilities such as emotional intelligence and critical thinking are also essential to your personal growth.

Personal time management involves everything you do. No matter how big and no matter how small, everything counts. Each new knowledge you acquire, each new advice you consider, each new skill you develop should be taken into consideration.

personal time management

Having a balanced life-style should be the key result in having personal time management. This is the main aspect that many practitioners of personal time management fail to grasp.

Time management is about getting results, not about being busy.

The six areas that personal time management seeks to improve in anyone’s life are physical, intellectual, social, career, emotional, and spiritual.

  1. The physical aspect involves having a healthy body, less stress, and fatigue.
  2. The intellectual aspect involves learning and other mental growth activities.
  3. The social aspect involves developing personal or intimate relations and being an active contributor to society.
  4. The career aspect involves school and work.
  5. The emotional aspect involves handling your feelings under undue stress.
  6. The spiritual aspect involves a personal quest for meaning.

Thoroughly planning and having a set of things-to-do for each of the key areas may not be very practical, but determining which area in your life must receive more attention is part of time management.

Each area creates a better version of you. If you are ignoring one area, then you are ignoring an important part of yourself.


Personal time management should not be a daunting task. It is a very sensible and reasonable approach to solving problems big or small.

A great way of learning time management and improving your personal life is to follow several basic activities:

  • Review your goals, whether it be immediate or long-term goals, often by keeping a list in a place that is accessible like an iPad, notepad, or computer.
  • Determine which task is necessary or not necessary in achieving your goals and which activities are helping you maintain a balanced lifestyle. Monitoring your peak time and slow times, you should be able to tell when to do the difficult tasks when we are the sharpest.
  • Learn to say “No”. You actually see this advice often. Heed it even if it involves saying the word to family or friends.
  • Pat yourself at the back or just reward yourself in any manner for an effective time management result.
  • Obtain cooperation from people around you who actually benefit from your efforts in time management.
  • Attend to necessary things immediately. Don’t procrastinate.
  • Maintain a positive attitude and set yourself up for success. Be realistic in your approach to achieving your goals.
  • Record or journal of all your activities. This will help you get things in their proper perspective.

These are the few steps you initially take in becoming a well-rounded individual.

Personal time management is the art and science of building a better life.

From the moment you integrate management skills, you have opened several options that can provide a broad spectrum of solutions to your personal growth. It also creates more doors for opportunities to knock on.

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.co

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