So, Spring has officially sprung! As another month of 2016 draws to a close I usually like to reflect on the month, the main ‘wins' achieved, the struggles that have been overcome and then look ahead to April with relish. I'm still trying to figure out how I can put together a more regular blogging schedule, for now though I am happy with once a month given my work, training and education schedule.
Today has been a nice, quiet Sunday but at the same time, an almost crazily Productive one. A magazine article has been completed for Racing Ahead magazine on behalf of FormBet. I've planned out my calendar for the month ahead, written a post for the next Live Your Legend meetup on April 3rd, read a book and just changed the design around for this blog a little bit and am finishing this blog post!
The main ‘wins' achieved this month have been -:
- Negotiated a 4-day workweek with my current employer (Tuesday-Friday) so no more Monday morning feeling (yeah baby!) and an extra whole day to work on side-projects
- I have an Entrepreneurial Spark interview on behalf of Yogability charity to help them find studio space, help with fundraising, social media and website promotions – really excited about this!
- Hosted our first Live Your Legend Glasgow Introduction meetup with 7 Legends in attendance
- Attended the first of many Empowering Mastermind meetup groups with inspiring individuals
- Attended a Startup Grind Entrepreneur event
- Completed my business accounting for last year for FormBet and budgeting
- Completed the Live Your Legend Live Off Your Passion course with 2 months to spare
- Started 3 Hypnotherapy Case Studies
- Finished reading 4 books with a goal to read a book a week
So, a busy but very productive month and there is more of the same ahead for April unsurprisingly. I struggled with a bit of flu during the month and although it's part and parcel of going to yoga classes and being in an office environment (sick Yogi's and office workers please stay home!) I also think it's to do with a bit of tiredness and not just burning the candle at both ends, but throwing the whole damn thing in the fire!
The topic for April's Live Your Legend Glasgow Meetup group (Sunday 3rd April – come along!) is “Building Momentum and Finding Clarity” and this is something I have certainly discovered this year that by just getting on with various projects, you become clearer on your passions and what direction you want to head in with life rather than trying to figure out the perfect scenario or where you want to be. Things then tend to just open up for you and happen, momentum drives everything.
“Finding clarity is not an end point, it’s a connection piece to the next momentum phase.” – Leah Hynes (LiveYourLegend.net)
TIME + ATTENTION + ENERGY = MOMENTUM
There are many ways to manage your own time. My own personal approach is to plan out my month in advance with Google Calendar with as many tasks as I can on the last Sunday (or Saturday) of the month, taking about an hour focusing on what I want this month to be filled with towards hitting long-term goals. Generally, these relate to mini-experiments, fitness, meetings, courses, writing and anything else with regular or scheduled times.
So from April’s calendar below, my fitness ‘experiments’ in green are based around taking up swimming Tuesday – Friday mornings. I already take yoga 6 days a week at lunchtime but wanted to see the impact that having a regular morning exercise routine would have on me, as something to potentially introduce into my life.
It’s also a good way to make me get to bed early, knowing that the cardio is waiting for me first thing!
So as you can see, pretty full on schedule in April and apart from the fitness side of things, it's mainly about 2 topics to educate and continue my learning that I really believe can transform anyones life – a Holistic Lifestyle and a Mindfulness Practice. I am taking 2 home-based courses in Lifestyle Coaching & Mindfulness Cognitive Based Therapy with the Centre of Excellence institute but I am also going to Chorley for a 3-day Holistic Lifestyle Coaching course with the C.H.E.K institute.
As soon as I get back from Chorley I will be learning how to teach the Mindfulness for Youth training course over 5 days in Glasgow straight afterwards. I am also taking a Mindfulness Based Stress Relief course on Monday's at the Glasgow Mindfulness Centre. Even just after 4 weeks the MBSR course has really been quite transformation and the group is really a cool and chilled bunch of people learning to how to be even more chilled and practice mindfulness in their daily lives.
I usually have a couple of ‘pinks’ which are basically courses, training, self-development although they are not usually as crammed as they are this month so my focus needs to be spot on!
I then take a bit of a shorter time each Sunday to plan out the tasks and goals for the week ahead, so this month because of my morning experiment I will just be planning out some evening studying for this month’s courses. Finally, I take 15 minutes towards the end of each day to review how I did and to plan out my 3 ‘must do’ tasks for the following day whether work, health or leisure related. I fire the weekly tasks into Trello and work on the next day tasks using the Productivity Challenge Timer, working in 20 minute bursts with 10-minute rest breaks which is loosely based around the Pomodoro technique. If it’s a day where I am feeling particularly full of energy or I have more time, then I will work on some other Trello tasks once the 3 ‘must do’ tasks are completed. You can make these 3 things as small as you want…ideally they should be seen as ‘baby steps’ to longer term goals but you can also take on a big ‘to do’ with 2 other smaller ones. You also don’t have to use any of these apps but just use a plain old notebook, I sometimes use both. The main thing is to build momentum.
TIP: If you view your calendar as starting on a Sunday, starting with this planning phase, it makes the rest of the week a bit easier once you have that structure in place.
Beware constant multi-tasking, it’s seriously inefficient to try to focus on more than one thing at a time, you need to manage your attention. Shut off distractions, disconnect from Social Media and Email. Turn off push notifications and shutdown your browser windows. Practice Mindfulness and meditation regularly to improve your focus – continually bring your attention back to the present moment and the task in hand. To reach a desired goal or destination requires a combination of tenacity, focus, refusal to give up hope and making good decisions through the day. As I said, I view my work in 30 minute blocks – 20 minutes is actual work then 10 minutes are usually either stretching, getting a drink of water or/and meditating. So if I do 3 Productivity sessions I know that I have done 1 hour of solid work in an hour and a half but kept my mind and body fresh and relaxed in between each session which helps both with focus and energy.
I read a great tip from the inspiring and brave Chelsea Dinsmore last week about Ommwriter and of course it resonated with my inner Yogi and I'm absolutely loving it. If you are into writing or are a novelist then you should definitely have a look at this app as it enables you to JUST focus on the writing experiencing with calmness.
You should also check out the Live Your Legend blog as Chelsea has put together two outstanding posts over the last few weeks on Productivity and getting s**t done, and it was nice to know I am not the only one who is addicted to scheduling in Google Calendar!
TIP: The App called Stop, Breathe & Think is excellent for a quick 5-10 minute meditation pause during your working time.
It’s important to get plenty of good quality sleep and to be well rested. Insomnia is something I have struggled with a bit in the past. I found that a lot of the time it was mainly due to late night phones, computers and television which can all lead to disruptive sleep. I make sure I turn all technology off by 9pm at the very latest each night, get to bed and read instead with a notebook to work on my ‘to do’ list planning for the following day. If I can get to sleep by 11pm and get up at 7am then I can ensure I get a good 7.5-8 hours’ sleep a night which I feel I need to function at my best on all cylinders. When I awake I usually resist the urge to turn on technology for at least 30 minutes so I can do some meditation, get washed, dressed, have breakfast then I’m ready to start ‘work’ at 7.30am for an hour before heading into the ‘office’.
Magnesium deficiency can also lead to low energy levels.
“This mineral is needed for more than 300 biochemical reactions in the body, including breaking down glucose into energy,” Heller says. “So when levels are even a little low, energy can drop.” – WebMD.com
TIP: Increase your Magnesium intake either through supplements or with almonds, cashews or fish like Halibut. Also increase your water intake.
“Motivation is knowing you are learning, growing, and succeeding toward your desired outcome while sustaining positive momentum” – Jaren L. Davis
It may seem like a lot of planning and quite regimented to some, but in truth, if you are driving yourself forward with momentum in all the areas of life that are important to you then it really helps keep you on track. For me, health, fitness and well-being all come first because without those then you can't really function at an optimum level to deliver the best value to help others, spend time with friends, learn new things and for your own spiritual and personal development.
There are other things that go on the back-burner. My Hypnotherapy case studies still have to be done this month and finding the time, and energy, might be tricky but I am looking to my new Monday free time to get those all done and dusted. Once my Hypnotherapy studies have finished in May there will be another major project on the horizon to try to achieve Hill & Mountain Skills training with a view to get qualified to lead groups next year – in order to do that I must have 20 hills behind me, I only have two, albeit one of them is Ben Nevis(!), but it does mean that I have to try to get 10 hills in during the second half of the year and 10 in the early part of next year before taking the exams.
The swimming and yoga increasing is in order for me to become a lot more flexible. I am targeting Yoga Teacher training in Costa Rica in November and although that is ambitious considering I am carrying a persistent herniated disc injury and have hamstrings like rods of iron I do intend to take that up and have given myself to June to make a final decision on whether to go ahead and book that. If anything it will at least be an immersive experience to be away for 1 whole month practicing meditation, yoga, healthy living and learning new techniques but I will have to have a fairly radical change in diet and some of my other ‘bad' habits involving alcohol at the weekends!
I hope the above has at least helped and given you some idea of how you can look to gain momentum and achieve clarity in your life purpose. So many people settle for what they have in life, or waste their time getting drunk instead of experiencing life, posting selfies and not really experiencing anything new or engaging with people and giving them your FULL attention. Get out there, test yourself, turn off the mobile for periods of time, experiment and try to help other people with their struggles in life.
Blog: Live Your Legend: Productivity Part 1
Blog: Live Your Legend: Productivity Part 2
Book: The Momentum Effect Book
Book: The 7 Day Startup: You don’t learn until you launch
Book: The Productivity Project: Proven ways to become more awesome
Book: The One Thing: The surprisingly simple truth behind extraordinary results
Blog: Live Your Legend Momentum & Clarity
Blog: The Art of Momentum – Why your ideas Need Speed
Blog: The Daily Grind: A Master of Momentum
Tools: Pomodoro Technique
App: Productivity Challenge Timer
App: Stop, Breathe & Think
Podcast: Bridging the gaps in our Productivity
Course: Mindfulness Courses – Glasgow Mindfulness Centre
Meditation: Glasgow Buddhist Centre
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