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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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it’s the little things

When embarking on changing a part of your life, it can feel like you’ve got a huge mountain to climb, through hail and shine. You don’t see ladybirds on the leaves, feel the sunshine on your face or know the fun you’ll have picnicking halfway up…….yet. But these little things add up to the big panorama at the top.

Let’s look more closely at the little things that can make the big difference in your change.

Career Changers might want to shift their role into a new firm or geography – that’s one giant leap for mankind. The little steps could be building a new LinkedIn summary, reading up on a new technology or approach in their field and starting to follow a mover or shaker in their desired firm or location.

Health Changers looking to create their summer body in the winter months can’t drop the muffin top or build tone in the blink of an eye. Nope, small changes to their diets (dropping the sweets for carrots or switching puddings for fruit) and fitting in small workouts to their schedule all add up to greater body confidence and health when the sun (finally!) comes out.

Life Changers might be looking for more balance in their lives. Identifying what are their important and valuable people or things to do can help find the small additions or deletions from their schedule and creating the life they want to live.

Not sure where to start on your little things? Try these to kick start your big difference!

  • Get up 5 minutes early to wake-up your body: For the first minute, draw your arms backwards in large circle to open your chest and improve your breathing capacity. For the second minute from standing, slow bend forward towards your toes and slow come back up to standing, repeat. For the third minute, again from standing tall, rotate at your waist to look over your left shoulder, then round to look over your right, repeat. Next minute, standing with your legs about 0.5m apart, side bend over to the left, back to standing and over to the right. These three moves mobilise your spine. Finish with one minute of jumping jacks to get your heart going. Now, hit the shower!
  • Practice a spot of mindfulness: sit or lie comfortably. Close your eyes and focus on your toes, moving up your legs, hips, torso, fingertips, arms, shoulders, neck and face. Repeat, noticing how heavy or light they feel. Try to soften and relax your muscles as you go.
  • Have a mini-declutter: Work your way through your desk drawers, your wardrobe, your bag, the bathroom cabinet and so on. Not used or worn something in ages? Bin it, eBay it or give it away to a friend or charity shop. Clean out the fluff and move on.
  • Drink more water: instead of reaching for a coffee or a fizzy drink, take a glass of water or better still carry a reusable bottle for “on the move” rehydration.
  • Script your new response to “hello, who are you?”: I like Alexandra Franzen’s fill in the blanks script on saying who you are and what you do or stand for.
  • Save your loose change: check your purse or wallet for 20ps, 10p, 5p, 2s and 1s. Collect them in a jar, tin or box until full and then it’s treat time! Use your savings to buy extra popcorn at the cinema or subscribe to your favourite magazine. (I do this as our holiday mojito fund – it makes them taste so goooooood!)

What little things can you do to move you towards the bigger change you want? In the next week, pick one little thing and stick with it. Let us know what difference it makes to your stretch in the comments.

Really stuck? Get in touch and I’ll do my best to help you find your next little thing.

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