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spring clean for a simpler life

This week is the first official week of spring. There are tulips, daffodils and crocuses galore out in the gardens, bobbing their heads towards that warm, bright sunshine. They’ve spent winter quietly gathering their strength, waiting for the temperature to rise and then…. BAM. A burst of energy and they shoot out of the soil, rising up to their full potential.

What I love about these flowers is they keep it simple. No fancy ruffles, heavy perfumes, or complex leaves. Just simple green leaves and a splash of eye catching, smile inducing colour.

With that in mind, I want to look at how you can keep life simple by ditching the clutter and adding bold accents.  First I’m going to chunk up your 24/7s and then I want you to prioritise where you need to spring clean for max impact.

1. Clean and prepare your Body and Mind

Over-busy, buzzing brain keeping you awake or stressing you out? Externalise your thinking, to-dos, appointments, emotions and so on to clear our your brain. Spring weather is here (ish!) and that means less clothing, so add in some toning exercises into your activities and start pampering your skin.

Top tip: Use your smart phone or tablet: I’m a big fan of Evernote for lists, things to remember, reminders and bookmarks and my voice memo dictation app for downloading the moans, groans hmms and aaahs – stopping my mind whirring all night and saving my partner’s ears.

Top tip: Buy two water bottles (one for each hand), fill up and work out. Drink half of each and keep going. Drink the rest to clear your skin and rehydrate your muscles. Then get your toes pampered and remove that winter hair – yes, you know what I mean 😉

2. Do more purposeful work and business

Sometimes, work gets you bogged down with meaningless tasks, desks covered in post-it notes with messages, chewed pens and piles of papers. Lift yourself up. Decide what adds value and balance your time across the have-tos and the want-tos.

Top tip: Use Stephen Covey’s Urgent/Important four box grid, explained here by Brian Johnson of Entheos Academy

Top tip:  Unusual strategies to balance the must-do with the want-to tasks with Michael Bungay Stainers’ Great Work Manifesto.

Top tip: Feel stuck in a rut? Seek out new opportunities within your role or organisation AND outside. Can you learn something new, volunteer at a school or charity and why not work with a coach to design your career or business expansion.

3. Re-energise in your free time

When life seems to be running away with you, it’s easy to push all your fun time stuff out of your diary to catch-up on work, chores or all that other stuff you can’t leave alone.

Top tip: Put a price on what you love to do. How much is the rest, relaxation or stress reduction worth to you in the midst of your spring? £10? £100? £1,000?  Imagine if you had bought a train/concert/flight ticket for that value, would you give it up so easily?

Top tip: Try something different and outside your norm. Go to a roller disco, visit an exhibition, cook and eat something new, try stand-up comedy or karaoke. Or booking into a retreat or pampering session.

4. Declutter your home and surroundings

Whether your abode is shabby chic vintage or minimalistic white, it needs to be somewhere you are comfortable and relaxed. That’s pretty hard when it’s messy, laundry hanging from the curtain rails, bills and statements stacked up on the dinner table, old clothes stuffed in the back of your wardrobe and drawers.

Top tip: Arrange a swapping party – invite your friends and colleagues to a themed swapping evening or afternoon. Everyone has to bring at least 5 items (clothes, shoes, bags, candlesticks, cookbooks, ornaments and knickknacks, whatever) and lay on some refreshments.

Top tip: Empty a clutter cupboard out one item at a time. Add them to one of 5 piles: gift (ie suitable for a specific friend), charity (donate to your favourite charity’s shop), recycle (fabric, cds, paper, shoes, etc.), trash (stuff beyond repair or passing on) and lastly, keep. Once done, go through the keep pile again and ask yourself “do I need this and do I want this?” Get a single “no” and the item needs to go on a different pile.

Your spring clean needs to be accompanied with a desire to change. To create space, time and the right mindset, you gotta keep the rest simple to avoid distraction and excuses. So roll up your sleeves, don your marigolds (or roller boots!) and get dirty to simplify your life for spring!

Which area do you need to focus on to create a simple, yet bold life this spring? How’re you going to tackle it? Share your plans in the comments.

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such a perfect day – design yours here

An interactive b-mail today to help you create your perfect day – download this little doc and get creative to fill in the blanks.

But why? I hear you ask. Well, it’s a fun, playful thing to do – who doesn’t want to dream up a perfect day? More seriously, it’s a visioning exercise to help you identify what life would be like if you shaped it around all the most important, valued people, activities, exercise and nourishments.

Got 10 minutes now? Great. Download, print, grab your coloured pens, settle into a comfy place with a drink at hand and get filling in.

Download your visioning sheet here

Wow! What a perfect day indeed. Go you!

My challenge to you is how are you going to achieve some or all of that day in reality? Can you bring a little of that joy into your “normal” day or can you take time out and schedule the whole day? Let us know in the comments:

  • how you design your day – you could inspire others
  • how you are going to achieve it

Or do you need to make a bigger shift, change or stretch to live your perfect day? You’re talking to the right girl – this is exactly what I coach on: enabling you to lead a purposeful, joyful and enriching life. Drop me a line and we can get started 🙂

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make more of your time – 7 ways to get things done

One of the challenges I often hear is how to get everything done in the day. Wouldn’t it be great if there was one juicy thing you could do to make it all fit? Sadly, I don’t have one to offer you in this b-mail. Instead, I’ve got 7 ways to get more done in your week.

1. Manage your priorities

Know the story of the rocks, pebbles, gravel and water in a jar? (quick video here) Recognise your biggest priorities (rocks) and schedule them into your day or week, followed by the next most important (pebbles), next most (gravel) and finally the least important (water).

Are you clear on your priorities and do you stick to them? Or do you flex around others’ priorities? Do you skip the gym to meet a work deadline or go to bed late to fit in baking a cake for tomorrow’s outing? Flexing makes you a great person to be around, but you’ll end up with a jar full of water and no pebbles, rocks or gravel in it!

2.  Create your combo deal

Some things go well together – strawberries and cream, gin and tonic and more. Where does this apply in your life?

I encourage my physical rehab clients to double up on daily tasks and exercises, like doing their stretches or strength exercises whilst the kettle boils, the shower heats up or the adverts are on. I also combine time with my partner and getting out of the city – we ride our tandem past the lavender farm, up to a hilly lookout with a café and stop off for a chat over coffee (and cake 🙂 ).

3. Value your “me time”

Whether that’s a night out with friends or reading a good book – to be the best you possible, you need to recharge your batteries. It’s easy to skip these re-energising times to do other things. Try time-boxing them (set and diarise a specific time slot). I’d also encourage a spot of focussed breathing or meditation into your day to refresh your mind.

4. Eat your frogs first

Mark Twain once said:

“Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse

will happen to you the rest of the day.”

If you have something unpleasant, boring or complex to do, get it out the way first. Bookkeeping is my frog – if I don’t tackle it first, I find my motivation drops, I’m easily distracted and it seems to haunt my every move. Identify your frogs and gobble them up first. Yum. (Read Brian Tracy’s book / blog  or get the Eat that Frog app to learn more about this one.)

5. Go off-line

You all know I love my tech and gadgets, but from time to time, I have to admit that I do get more done if I turn off the wifi and phone. True, checking my social media feeds or my emails is necessary to running my business (and my social life too at times!). It is false to think that I “must” do it the instant that “ping” goes off.

Switch off notifications or sounds, download a distraction tool or find a signal deadzone.

6. Rack up some cheats

Ever watched Jamie’s 15-minute meals? Follow his lead and keep your cupboards or freezer stocked with your quick, healthy meal essentials. Create a basic shopping list on your online supermarket to quickly order the basics in one click.

You can also do this with work or exercise tasks. Create reusable templates (fill in the blanks ones work well) to help with repeated tasks and mix in online mini workouts to meet your fitness goals (check out HIIT Daily or Pilates On Demand).

Alternatively, split bigger tasks up into little short ones to spread across the week. Need to prepare your guest room for Friday night? Either spend a crazy hour on Friday running around before greeting your guests or split it into 10-15 minute tasks. (e.g. Monday: launder the bed linen, Tuesday: dust, Wednesday: hoover, Thursday: make the bed and put out towels, Friday: add fresh flowers and relax.)

7. Say no nicely

By saying “yes”, we’re often served a big portion of “feel good” – a positive affirmation of how wonderful we are – with a side serving of time hijack – the time we lose to do what we really want or need to do. Combine your “no” with “thank you”, explain the consequences or personal challenge of the request or invite and whenever possible offer an alternative (new time or date, different event or approach). This one definitely takes practice, but do perist. It’s golden.

Right that’s the lot. My final thought: All that said, sometimes we need to be able to breathe and accept that day has gotten away from us. The unexpected twists and turns some days take can bring you new learning, new opportunities and a heap of fun!

7 ways to get more done and 7 days to try them before the next b-mail is out. Shout out your success with them in the comments or tell us how you get more done than the average Joe.

If nothing is working and you are in overwhelm, needing help to identify your priorities, frogs or best you – drop me a line and I’d be delighted to help as these are common coaching issues, which I’ve helped clients to resolve.

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