How to Achieve Work-Life-Balance as a Working Parent

How to Achieve Work-Life-Balance as a Working Parent

For a healthy and happy household, it’s essential for you to achieve work-life-balance. A lot of people ask me if it’s really possible to live a balanced life when you have kids and the answer is – yes! I’ve put together some tips for you to try out for yourself so that you can balance work, life, and parenting.

Focus on Work While You’re on the Clock

As a parent, I too am all too familiar with that constant feeling of guilt whenever I’m not with my children. However, it’s super important for you to realize and accept that it’s perfectly okay for you to not be solely focused on them during every waking moment of the day. If you’re on the clock for work, use this time to be focused on the tasks at hand.

The next time you’re at work, try not to think about any issues regarding your kids. It will be tough at first but practice makes perfect and those kids need a parent who is happy and fulfilled, both professionally and personally! If you have very young kids and can afford it, you might want to consider hiring someone (or speaking nice to an available family member) who can help handle all children-related tasks while you are at work.

 

No More Checking Email During Family Time

How to Achieve Work-Life-Balance as a Working Parent | Nadia La RussaThanks to the invention of smartphones, it has become increasingly easy to constantly be in the know of new work-related emails, regardless of what time of the day it is. While it might be tempting to check your email whenever you get a notification, try and remember that you’ll have plenty of time to look after it during working hours. The benefit of keeping all your thoughts and focus on work while you’re on the clock is that family time will truly become family time!

As soon as you start reading your work emails, your attention drifts away from your family and they will notice it even if they don’t say anything. Chances are, they probably also start doing their own thing and next thing you know everyone is sitting in the same room together but on their own mobile devices.

Be sure to remind yourself that family time is sacred and use it as a bonding time with your kids and spouse.

Transitioning from Working Mode to Family Time

After being at work all day, it can be difficult to leave all the unresolved issues from work at the door. A tip I like to suggest is using your commute home (whether it’s walking, driving or transit) to clear your head of all things related to work. Listen to music, take a quick nap on the train or give meditation a try!

If you have time, hit the gym for a quick workout or stop by a local coffee shop for an afternoon/evening tea or kombucha. This will invigorate your senses and remind your brain that it’s time to relax and spend quality time with the family.

Make Time for Yourself

Living a balanced life isn’t just about balancing work and family. As the head (or one of the heads) of the household, you need to do whatever is necessary for a healthy mind.

After meeting all the demands of work and family, you might find yourself feeling so tired that you want nothing more than to sleep when given any amount of free time alone. While naps are certainly great, doing other things that you enjoy will also help you feel just as balanced and happy!

What are your favourite things to do?

Need help taking control of your life? Contact me about 1-1 coaching where I can work with you to achieve that work-life-balance that you’ve always dreamed of.

4 Benefits of Working with a Personal Coach

4 Benefits of Working with a Personal Coach

In each of our lives, there are inflection points, moments in which we have key choices to make in our careers or personal lives.  Perhaps you’re trying to decide whether to remain in your current job or return to school to obtain new training or a degree or even to take those special skills of yours and strike out on your own as a business entrepreneur.  Whatever the challenge, you don’t have to make these critical choices on your own.  There are skilled professionals who have the training and experience to help—personal coaches.

A personal coach will help motivate you and clarify your goals so you can make informed decisions and improve the quality of your life.  Personal coaches are skilled communicators and motivators with powerful people and organizational skills.  Although there is no specific degree program that directly prepares people to become personal coaches, most have experience in counseling, consulting, social work, teaching, or human resource management—and many have obtained specialized post-graduate training to enhance their effectiveness.

If you’ve never worked with a personal coach but are considering hiring one to get you from where you are to where you want to go, you probably want to know the precise ways in which a personal coach can help you.  Specifically, your personal coach will help you:

  1. Clarify your goals:  success is at the intersection of what you love doing and what you do better than almost anyone else.  A personal coach will help you identify those activities which energize and motivate you, and then determine from among these the ones in which you excel.  For example, you might be the person to whom everyone comes when they have a problem because they know you’ll be compassionate and have the skills to find a solution—but it might never have occurred to you that those people and problem-solving skills would make you a successful counselor or psychologist.  Your coach will not only help you identify your skills and competencies, but also show you what steps you need to take to launch a new career which better meets your needs.
  2. Stick to your plan:  one of the reasons people’s plans fall off the rails is that they encounter obstacles and eventually lose interest.  A personal coach will help you understand that those obstacles are part of the process of making progress and help you keep your eyes on the prize.   In those moments when you’ve experienced failure and begin to lose heart, your coach will remind you of how much progress you’ve already made and help you understand how much closer you are to your goal today than you were yesterday.
  3. Give objective feedback:  if you’ve ever shared a problem with a friend or family member, only to hear them tell you what they think you want to hear, you know how valuable unbiased feedback can be.  Your coach is there to ensure that you make progress towards your goals—when your coach evaluates the actions you need to take, he or she will do so objectively, providing an honest and forthright assessment of what you’re doing right—and what you’re doing wrong.
  4. Focus on you:  as much as those close to you want to help, they have problems and concerns of their own.  Your coach has a single-minded purpose—to help you.  You will always have his or her complete attention, unimpeded by his or her own concerns and issues.

Conclusion

Anything worth doing requires both hard work and a commitment strong enough to carry you through the rough patches and obstacles in your way.  By working with a personal coach, you will have a determined and constant advocate who will help you move outside of your comfort zone to face whatever challenges are in your way.   Personal coaching will enhance your personal development, help you achieve your career goals, and ensure you take the actions necessary to get you where you need to be, and where you want to go.

Want to find out more about Nadia’s take control coaching program? Find out more here!

The Mind is a Powerful Motivator for Success

A powerful mindset is a valuable asset in your quest for success. The health of your mind and your body are directly connected and have influential power. Do you really believe you can succeed in your work life and relationships? The answer to this question will often be the deciding factor in whether you succeed or fail.

Affirmations

Reciting affirmations is a key method to keeping your mindset powerful. You will need to begin by focusing your goals and positive thoughts and writing them down on a sheet of paper.

Negative Example: “I am terrible at doing my job.”

Positive Example: “I make wise business decisions.”

Spend a short time revising these statements until you think they accurately describe your values and your goals. Reciting these affirmations daily will help you convince your mind they are true.

Perhaps you are thinking, “what is this trickery?” Affirmations are not magic, you are simply tapping into the power that your mind holds over your decisions and pursuits. Conversely, negative affirmations are the natural enemy of wise decisions. Often we speak negative affirmations about ourselves unintentionally. The purpose of creating focused, positive affirmations is to combat the temptation to think negative thoughts.

Positive Thinking

Similar to affirmations, positive thinking is a powerful yet simple tool to help you succeed. Positive thinkers are more adept at trudging through difficulties and failures. Imagine a time you failed at something and reacted with a negative mindset; most likely you didn’t try again. Reacting positively to failures will help you get back up and try again. Once you recognize a failure as a positive stepping stone to your next success, it will be easier to react in a positive manner.

Negative Example: “I failed my latest business presentation, so I must be terrible at public speaking.”

Positive Example: “This new product I created has a fatal flaw, but I know how to fix it and I will create a better product!”

Try to reframe how you approach failure. Combat negative feelings with positive thinking and you will begin to see an improved attitude.

Journaling

Many people benefit from the act of journaling. This could mean you write a log of your day before bed, or maybe you write your plan for the day in the morning. The act of physically writing these words helps release tension built-up during the day. In the morning, it will help get your powerful mindset ready for the day.

Journaling can also be used with positive affirmations. Try writing your positive affirmations in your journal in the morning and write your plan for the day. You will be pleased to find how well your mind will follow your direction.

Mindfulness and Meditation

It is important to create time to recharge and be calm, especially during a stressful week. Recharging can help you think more clearly to make the best decisions possible. Are mindfulness and meditation the same thing? Not really. Mindfulness is the act of “being present” wherever you are; it really is just a focused form of meditation. Practically, this could look like avoiding the temptation to “hurry.” Focus on one task at a time. Don’t worry about the past or future; pay attention to what you are doing at that moment. This can be accomplished anywhere.

As for meditation, this is a dedicated time intended to clear your mind and relax your body. Many people find that they cannot withstand silence for a couple of minutes; this improves with practice. If you give yourself even just one minute each day to meditate and be still you will quickly notice the benefits emerge. Perhaps you find yourself frustrated most days at work feeling frantic about project deadlines. With scheduled meditation, you will notice you become calmer during a stressful situation. Meditation is simple: try taking 1-5 minutes to yourself in the morning. Start by sitting comfortable and tall. Focus on your breath as you inhale and exhale. As you sit calmly and breathe, your thoughts will slow and you will become calm. Meditation takes practice so be gentle with yourself in the beginning stages. Additionally, one way to combine mindfulness and meditation is to focus on a specific affirmation. Speak this affirmation repeatedly during your meditation.

Used diligently, these tips will help you create a powerful mindset and set you up for success in your work life and relationships.

 

If you would like to learn more about creating a powerful mindset, then contact me to find out more about my Take Control Coaching program!

 

No Money November | Nadia La Russa

No Money November

What am I up to now??  In a bit of a hasty, last-minute attempt to take some control of my life, I decided not to spend any money in the month of November.  This may seem crazy, even impossible, but it’s not.  I think from time to time we can all fall victim to what I call “five bucking” ourselves to death.  A coffee here, a quick lunch there, run to the store, grab some chewing gum, oh look a cool magazine cover, and the next thing we know, we have an empty wallet and absolutely no clue where all the money went.

And then, comes December.  This is the month where our desire to spend money and bless others with gifts gets matched with the retail advertising craze.  It’s a dangerous combination.  I thought that if I could get into the habit of being incredibly mindful of literally every single cent that comes through my account in November it might help me make good decisions in December.

I also thought that I might not be alone in this struggle. So, I took to social media and sure enough, several others have joined me in this challenge.

I’ve done challenges before. You may remember that I did not walk into any establishment with a cash register back in 2014.  In 2013 I took my wardrobe down to 100 items.  I participated in “Dressember” last year and wore only dresses for the whole month of December.  Each time, it’s about the same process – I decide I’m going to do a challenge, and I jump in with both feet. After about a week I am second guessing everything, trying desperately not to quit, and by the end, I feel like it was so easy that I wonder why I didn’t do it earlier or for longer.

This challenge, I have to say, has been much more difficult.

No Money November | Nadia La RussaThe Rules

  • I start the month with a completely full gas tank, one 20-ride transit pass, and $200 cash. My fridge has a fresh supply of groceries in it.
  • The $200 cash can only be spent on fresh, perishable produce. No starch, meat, spices, condiments, packaged food, or anything processed. Fruits and veggies only.
  • If I completely run out of fresh produce AND money, I can sell 5 of my items to purchase ONE item
  • I can use any gift cards that I *currently own* as a form of currency, any gift cards that I receive during November may not be used
  • No interac transactions on my debit card and no charges on my Mastercard can be made.
  • Any and all preauthorized commitments (donations, bills, debt payments, insurance, etc) stand as they are, however, any non-essential subscriptions will be cancelled.
  • No purchases in the categories of skin care, hair care, restaurant food, entertainment or clothing can be made.
  • Any emergency medical requirements are exempt from this challenge and can be purchased as needed – prescription medications and first aid supplies.

The Purpose

  • To track how much I *don’t* spend in November, and use that money for Christmas gifts
  • To promote a habit of mindful spending
  • To inspire others to do the same
  • To utilize public transit, be mindful of my driving and carbon footprint, and to walk a minimum of 7,000 steps per day
  • To utilize my existing inventory of canned, dry and frozen foods and perhaps try new recipes based on the foods I already have in my home
  • To pare down my clothing inventory and sell or donate my gently used articles

The Journey So Far

Well, day 2 sucked. It really, really sucked and I wanted to quit.  I realize this isn’t the “oh wow this is SO easy and wonderful” message that you usually hear from me.  A client scheduled a 7:30 am meeting with me, clear across town.  I calculated that my gas tank while full, could only afford me 15km of driving for each day of the month, so I decided to take the bus as close as I could to their office, and power walk the rest of the way.

The day started out alright – I’m a naturally early riser so I got up at 4 am, did my morning routine and began to pack up what I need to take along with me.  I checked the bus schedule and made my way outside for 6:42 am.

The bus came as scheduled and google maps told me to transfer from the 3M bus to the #14 at City Hall.  So, once the bus pulled in to the terminal, I grabbed a transfer pass and hopped off. In the dark. And the rain.  As I was looking for the schedule, I noticed that the bus I had just gotten off had changed itself to the #14 bus and was pulling away.

Frustrated and wet, I found the Westfort bus and took it as close to the location as I could.  At 7:20am, I got off and prepared for the 1.2km walk ahead of me.  The rain was heavier, my nose was cold, and I was walking in the pitch black along the side of Walsh Street trying to jump over puddles and also not get killed by passing traffic. I cursed the lack of safe sidewalks, the weather and stomped into my client’s office looking like a drowned rat.

I felt discouraged, and I’m fairly certain my client thinks I’m completely insane.  I thought about deleting my post from the day before, cancelling the challenge and taking a taxi home.  But, then I remembered that I carpooled to a meeting with my friend Brenda the day before and we had the chance to have a great conversation on the way.  I recalled that I used my transit time to catch up on emails, people watch and reflect on things that I needed to think about.  And I especially thought about the fact that – at a minimum – I was saving almost two tanks of gas in my vehicle this month – nearly $170 just by doing this.

So, I washed my face, looked in the mirror and said: “we don’t quit without trying with everything we have.”

The rest of the day was absolutely amazing.  I got a ride back from a friend who was headed in the same direction as I was.  Rhonda picked me up that evening and we went to the hospital together, met up with two more friends and had the nicest two hours together laughing and chatting.  I crawled into bed last night with over 8,000 steps tracked and fell into a restful sleep.  My learning from yesterday is that this is about more than just money. It’s about health, freedom, choices, and possibilities.

So Now What?

I’m going to keep going! And you can join me anytime – even try it for a week! I promise you will see changes in your bank account and in your attitude and happiness.

#nomoneynovember

Waking Up at 4AM is AWESOME

Why waking up at 4am every day is AWESOME!

I set my alarm for 4am every day.

Over the last two years, I have developed the habit of preserving my quiet morning time to meditate, pray, do a bit of yoga, read, or even mindlessly scroll through social media.  Most of the time, when someone new figures this out, I get one of a few canned reactions:

  1. You’re crazy
  2. I could NEVER do that
  3. Wow, that’s amazing, I wish I could do that.

Here’s the great news – you CAN. Everyone can.  And, although it takes getting used to, I’d never go back to the days of waking up straight into the morning rush-around.

Mornings can be pure evil

Why waking up at 4am is AWESOME!For many of us, mornings are pure evil. The anxiety-inducing buzz of the alarm, bare feet on a floor that feels like the polar ice cap, bleary, crusty eyes that only open halfway, and the endless trudge to the coffee pot (seriously, why does the walk to the coffee pot feel like running a marathon?). Oh, and let’s not forget the fact that you look, smell, and sound like a monster that just crawled out of the world’s deepest, darkest trench. To top it all off, your roommate/partner/spouse is a (gasp!) morning person. He or she seems to literally jump out of her bed looking like someone who just spent five days at a spa. They’re beaming from ear to ear, grinning like some kind of maniacal clown, going on and on about their incredibly detailed plans for the day–all the while singing and laughing in an insanely bubbly voice. As you respond to the endless babbling with a few caveman grunts here and there, you wonder how in the world anyone could possibly be like this every single morning. Although it’s hard to believe, there are a lot of morning people in the world, and following just a few of these tips could help you wake up a lot earlier with a lot less struggle:

Ease into it

Turning into an early bird isn’t going to happen overnight. You have to ease into it. If you normally get up at 7:00 am (meaning physically getting out of bed, not the first of seven times that your alarm goes off), don’t think you’re just magically going to start getting up at 5:00 am. Instead, aim for small goals–baby steps. Try getting up at 6:45 for a while, until it feels comfortable (you don’t have to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed like your roommate, but a bit more than barely functional is helpful). Once you are comfortable with your new time, creep it up another 15 minutes. Repeat the process until you reach your final goal.

Imagine

Imagine what you would do with your morning if you could wake up and hop out of bed without needing a gallon of coffee just to open your left eye (the right one takes another gallon). Let your imagination run wild–you could finish that book you’ve been reading for roughly two years, start a yoga routine, enjoy some early morning gardening, or even go for a run (okay, okay, let’s not push it). Whatever you imagine you could do with that extra time, let it be your inspiration.

Why waking up at 4am is AWESOME!Wake up to something pleasant

I’m not sure who came up with the idea that alarms had to be, well, alarming. Maybe it wasn’t the brightest idea to have the first thing you hear every day be a sound akin to someone hammering nails into your eardrums. None of us like waking up wondering if the house is on fire or if that’s just the alarm clock. So find an alternative. Ditch that vexing old alarm clock and try something new. Waking up to music can be very pleasant, or check out some nature sounds apps–you could be waking up to the sounds of rolling waves on the beach rather than a five-alarm fire.

No more excuses

As we talked about earlier, this isn’t a change that is going to happen overnight. There are some days that are going to be much tougher than others–days when you’ll want to give in to temptation and start beating on that snooze button. You’ll justify it with excuses–it’s so cold, I was up late last night, I don’t feel like making coffee, there’s nothing to eat for breakfast, I have so much to do and it’s going to be a bad day… In order for this new morning schedule to work, you have to make it tougher to find an excuse. Put slippers near your bed to combat your icy floor, program your coffee pot the night before (not only will it be piping hot and ready when you wake up, the smell will make you hop right out of bed!), prep simple breakfast foods (cut up fruit and store it in the fridge, stock up on yogurt, pour single-servings of cereal in small Tupperware bowls), and get organized. It can be tough to get up when your day feels like a hot mess before you even open your eyes–even a simple list of the things you need to accomplish each day can help. Write it out the night before and stick it on the fridge to help you feel less frazzled in the morning.

Keep a log

Although the actual getting-out-of-bed part is going to be hard, you’re going to notice a lot of benefits once you start waking up earlier. You’ll feel less stressed, you’ll be able to take your time, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll eat a better breakfast. Keep a log of all the changes (even tiny ones!) that you notice as you start the process of waking up earlier. Keep track of how much you get done in the first few hours of your day as opposed to how productive you were when you slept later. You’ll be surprised at how much of a positive impact getting up a little early will have on your life.

It takes perseverance

Changing your sleep pattern to wake earlier isn’t an easy thing to do, but it can be done with a little perseverance. There are many benefits to being an early riser–according to Forbes magazine, early birds are more enthusiastic, better problem solvers, better planners, more productive, more optimistic, in better shape, and get this–they sleep better (research shows that people who go to bed earlier and wake up earlier get more restorative sleep). So while you are adjusting to your new wake-up time, just remember all these benefits and keep imagining what you’re going to do with all that extra quiet time.

See you in the morning!

How to Combat Sleep Deprivation

We all have friends who hit the gym at 6am, pull 10 hours at the office, pick up their teens from hockey, go for dinner and drinks, stay up till 2am, and be at the gym by sunrise to do it all over again. Sleep deprivation doesn’t even exist in their vocabulary. How do they do it?!

The answer is: It doesn’t matter.

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Coping With Family Stress Over Easter

Doesn’t it seem that while we can’t wait for long weekends to get here, once a holiday weekend arrives you can’t wait for it to be over?

Easter weekend (and any holiday, really) can often be wrought with anxiety, stress, and family blowouts for many of us.

If family gatherings have you reaching for yet another glass of wine, eating an entire cake and you need a week of solitary confinement to recover, this post is for you.

Try coping with family stress over Easter this year with a different approach:

Commit – Either Way

Despite the heavy slathering of guilt associated with attending family events, you do have a choice whether you go or not. If you choose to deal, then deal. You shouldn’t (for many reasons) choose to do something and resent it later. Commit to your decision and pack your best attitude. For many of us, it’s expensive to travel over the holidays, so try to make the most of it.

If you decide it’s simply not worth the stress, send a nice gift or card instead. Even organize a Skype/FaceTime chat with the family so you’re sort of there.

Then spend the weekend with people you actually like hanging out with, or do something that will benefit others, such as volunteering at a soup kitchen.

 Make a Game Plan

Ok, you’ve committed and you’re going to the family function. Don’t go in unprepared. Communicate ahead with your partner or family, and decide on a game plan for the day.

 What’s the worst that could happen? No really, what is the worst? Go over potential anxiety-inducing situations, and decide with your partner how you might deal with each. What’s your exit strategy when things start to go south? What’s the secret signal for “I’m trapped in this conversation, help me!”? Who is responsible for keeping an eye on the kids? By communicating ahead of time, everyone knows where they stand, and you may prevent arguments later.

Now, for a bit of tough love:

The most important part of this part is remembering that you have agreed to do this, so it is not the time to be irritable, passive aggressive, argumentative or lay on guilt to anyone else. This is when your shiniest, happiest, most pleasant self should be present. Nothing is worse than agreeing to do something, then ruining it for those that actually want to.

Alleviate Unnecessary Stress

What can you nip in the bud early on? If you know the family member hosting the party/dinner is a huge stress case, call them a week ahead and ask how you can help. Whether that means preparing some of the dishes so they don’t have to, or picking up drinks and platters on the way. Ease their load if you can.

If your in-laws are notorious for overindulging your kids with sugary bribes, speak to them well in advance about what is and isn’t an acceptable gift. Suggest other kinds of (non-edible) presents that you know your kids would appreciate. If your children are old enough, talk to them about the amount of treats they can have. Do it before you leave the house. It’s easier than having to take it away from them and explaining why later.

Pick Your Battles

There’s always some family member who gives you a hard time for your life choices – whatever they may be! Your relationship status, your job, your clothes, your hockey team, your car, where you live, what you have bought recently… they have a comment on everything.

Instead of reacting to a hurtful or insensitive comment, pause and think about whether or not it’s worth gettingIf family gatherings have you reaching for yet another glass of wine, try coping with family stress over Easter this year with these survival tips.

worked up about. It’s probably not. Taking the bait and getting into an argument may be your go-to response, but there’s more chance of the actual Easter Bunny joining you for dinner, than ever changing your agitator’s mind.

Change the subject, or walk away.

If the same scenario takes place every year with the same toxic person, keep away from them and hang out in another part of the house. Make a point of spending the most time with the relatives you do like instead.

Have a Wingman or Wingwoman

Coping with family stress over Easter is so much easier with a friend. A supportive person on your team is helpful when the smoke starts to stream out of your nostrils. If you’re simmering, signal your partner and get outside for a quick walk to reset. If you don’t have a partner, get someone on standby for SMS vent-therapy if needed.

Play Bingo

This is my favorite way of coping through difficult family gatherings, and seeing how silly things actually look from the outside.

bingo2If family get-togethers are predictably painful, see the humour in them with a game of bingo. Make a list of all the ridiculous things typical to your family gatherings (e.g. uncle gets drunk and passes out on the table, cousin starts on political rant, aunt asks you why you’re still single, the smoke detectors go off and dinner starts two hours late). Organize these items into your very own bingo card.

Check each event off your card when you get home, and if you get a line, YOU WIN! Treat yourself to a bottle of wine or a pedicure.

 

Nadia La Russa is a wife, wellness coach, mom, step-mom, and former stress case.  To book a coaching session, or find out more, contact her here.

Busy? Take Control of Your Time!

Tired of Being So Busy? Take Control of Your Time.

How often do you find yourself saying “I’m SO busy”? We have the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. So why can some people take control of their time better than others?

“To me, ‘busy’ implies that the person is out of control of their life.” – Derek Sivers, Entrepreneur.

It’s true. Life gets pretty overwhelming when your time is controlling you, instead of the other way around. If you’re tired of being forever busy, take control of your time with these tactics:

Understand Where Your Time Goes

Document where all your time actually goes. For one day, write down (or use a free timer like Toggl) to see how much time you spend: checking emails, travelling, sleeping, watching TV, going to the gym, chatting on the phone, checking Facebook, cleaning, eating etc. You might be surprised to learn how much time gets sucked up by “simple” tasks. For example popping out to grab a coffee every afternoon might take much longer than you think (i.e. 20 minutes x 5 days adds up to an hour and forty minutes each week). So making your coffee at work could save you a decent chunk of time. Or if you sit in peak hour traffic each morning, arrange to start earlier/later to spend less time in transit.

To-Do Lists

At the start of each week, jot down everything you need to accomplish. Each morning, write down each item that needs to be done that day (the Bullet Journal approach might work for you). Prioritize the order of importance, and if helpful, add the estimated time you think it will take to do each task so you can plan out your day. It’ll feel so good checking off those items! Or, reach out to me, and I will mail you one of mine!

Calendars

Whether on your wall calendar, planner, diary, or Google calendar; scheduling appointments increases your chances of getting them done. Your mind is also free to focus on the task at hand knowing you don’t have to remember when and where everything else is supposed to happen. (Set notifications to pop up if you need to.)

Schedule Regular Breaks

You know I’m a huge advocate for self care! When we get busy, self care activities are often the first to get axed. But it’s so important to take me-time to improve clarity and focus. When you’re working hard for long periods of time without breaks, your brain becomes less productive. Know that feeling of staring blankly at your computer screen? Or getting up to do something and completely forgetting what it was? It’s a sign to give your brain a break!

Checking Emails and Social Media

These beasts get out of hand FAST! Take control of emails and social media by allocating certain times for checking and responding. Turn off notifications and close browser tabs if you get distracted easily. You could set up a system to reward yourself with ten minutes of social media time each time you complete a major task on your to-do list.

Multitasking

It doesn’t work! Studies show multitasking reduces productivity by up to 40 percent! As NPR Science Correspondent, John Hamilton puts it: “The human brain is designed to do one thing at a time…sequentially. We can kind of fake doing several things at a time. But what we’re doing is putting one thing on hold while we shift our focus to the next thing and then we’re switching back. And every time you switch, there’s a little big of a lag. You lose a little something. It takes a little bit longer to get your brain back to where it was.” Though it may only be a 30 seconds wasted at a time, it adds up. So no more multitasking. Pick one project and focus on it.

Say No

Busy-I-Am-TooIf you’re always agreeing to do things for others and your own work isn’t getting done, say no. Or if you have a dozen things to do today, but two items that aren’t really a priority, cross them off the list. Figure out what’s really important and say no to the things that aren’t.

 

What helps you take control of your time? Add your good habits in the comments below!

 

If you need to take control of more than just your time, email me about my new 12-part Take Control coaching program. This powerful one-on-one program will help you take control of the three key aspects of your life: career, money and relationships. I’ll help you uncover and overcome the hidden obstacles holding you back from living the life you really want.