Having been to a recent women’s forum for personal development, efficient time management and positive motivation, I took away a few ideas. They may be simple and in some cases seem obvious, but these three concepts are certainly worth sharing.
As women, we often have the tendency to worry more than men and sometimes have more intense worries. It could be a number of things: starting from how your bum looks in those new jeans to what your kids had for breakfast and whether they took all their vitamins; day-to-day anxieties like being on time for work, remembering to collect the dry cleaning, organising that holiday or the next food shop; not to mention the long-term worries and anxieties to do with your biological clock, societal expectations and self image. There are of course modern added pressures that come with technology and social media, such as the “compare and despair” syndrome, or the now infamous “FOMO” (Fear of Missing Out) – terms that didn’t even exist till’ late.
Yellow coat and pant suit by Amanda Wakeley
So with that being said, here are some of the self-help methods that actually make sense and need to be practiced more often. First off is writing your thoughts down – things you’re planning to do or even small reminders. I know it may sound cliché, but I find this little trick really frees up your brain space and saves you from the stress of remembering too many things. It can help you control your emotions and also set a rhythm and time schedule to your day and even weeks ahead. It sets order to the otherwise bundle of chaos that clogs up your brain. You can even take the next step and practice a technique called “morning pages” which is pioneered by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way. The technique involves completing three pages of stream-of-consciousness writing every morning. It is supposed to have a therapeutic effect for mind healing and getting ready for the day ahead.
This brings me to my second life hack: set the right morning mantra! There is a theory that how you start your morning determines how productive and efficient the rest of your day will be. Take half an hour each morning just to connect with yourself: whether it means going for a run, enjoying a full sit-down breakfast, listening to your favourite album and so on. You can choose anything, as long as it’s purely “me-time.” Eventually it should become a ritualistic habit, setting the right energy for the day ahead. If it means waking up earlier, then start waking up earlier! I used to practice this religiously but since having two kids the whole concept got ditched somewhere en route, and dare I say it needs reviving!
Total look by Amanda Wakeley
Another idea that’s existed for thousands of years and takes various names is what I like to call the “Wheel of Life”. You may be familiar with it if you have been exposed to life coaching or personal development for greater effectiveness in your business life. The circle represents your life, the whole of you. The pieces of the pie, or spokes, are the parts of your life: the areas, roles and all the other individual aspects of the whole. You assess each of those aspects and create a graphic that shows how balanced your life is – your partner, your health and fitness, your recreational side, your professional side and self advancement, as well as your kids, family, friends and community.
The overruling idea here is to weigh up these parts of yourself and your life to see if there are important things you have been neglecting. The idea is the wheel will only turn if this chart is perfectly round with all elements being ticked off to the max on the pie chart. The wheel has even said to have been used by the Buddha as a tool to teach his students enlightenment. It can also be used as a goal setting exercise.
I meet lots of women who are ambitious and have planned their life out, so when something goes wrong it sends their anxiety through the roof. These exercises help us understand what we are missing and bring with them the opportunity to create balance. It might not sound like much but having tried and tested the above I can assure you it’s a step in the right direction.