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We are biologically designed to be organised.  Yet despite this inherent propensity, every one of my clients requires assistance with being organised, because we just don’t seem to feel on top of things.

At certain stages in life, it can become a natural tendency to focus solely on getting things done, at the expense of the intrinsic requirements of our body, and our true, life priorities.

The feeling that you are constantly picking up after children, deciding on your evening meals at the last minute, rummaging through piles of paper on your desk top, searching for items of clothing in your pile of unfolded washing, watching the clock and hardly ever having time to relax and revitalise, demonstrates that you are operating in reverse of how you should be.  When you play this game of tidy up and catch up, you are attempting to create order on the outside, so that you feel organised and calm on the inside.  When this is the case, you will not discover the sense of order that you so desperately crave.  There may be temporary moments of time when all is in place, however this is not true order.  And this will not extend you the calm and serenity you seek.

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Consider these steps [in this order] to assist your quest for being calm and organised.

  1. Keep your priorities top of mind. Your priorities are the aspects of your life that are of true meaning and importance. They are not childcare arrangements, work deadlines, or household responsibilities – while these are pressing responsibilities, they are not usually life priorities. A true life priority may be more likely to be the happiness of your children, maintaining good health, or becoming debt free in order to enjoy freedom of choice. Knowing your life priorities’ does not replace the fact that you have deadlines and daycare pick ups, it simply lessens the weight that these stressors can have on your day.
  2. Establish a morning and evening ritual. One of our inherent organising systems is to operate in rhythms, such as sleep and wake times, meal times, and perhaps set times for exercise and work. When your days are filled with many responsibilities and rushing, it can be difficult for your body to experience a sense rhythm. A morning and evening ritual, even for just a short time will anchor your day. Ideas for your morning could be to stretch well, enjoy 10 deep, strong breaths, drink lemon water, prepare a list for your day, sitting with your children as you eat breakfast, and, in the evening perhaps writing in a gratitude journal, making a warm drink, reading before you sleep. Whatever you choose, make the moments yours and keep your mind in the present, rather than on any responsibilities.
  3. Experience joy, seriously. Can you name what brings you joy? Many, if not most of us, cannot. Yet when humans experience joy, our cellular structure changes and we ultimately become happier, more resilient, more positive and productive. A joy need not be time-consuming – it may be laughing with friends, reading in the sunshine, enjoying favourite music. Or it could be remnant from your childhood – perhaps playing the piano or horse riding. Ruminate on yours. Choose one or more for yourself and engage in it regularly. The more you experience joyful moments the more restored you become, and hence more inspired to get on with the responsibilities in your day.
  4. Create a plan. When you have become reminded of your true priorities, have established restorative rituals in your day, and can be sure of some daily joy and happiness, you will feel inclined to productively tackle being organised. Note down what your organisational challenges are – perhaps tired in the mornings, can’t find things, always late, too many emails, unrealistic deadlines, insufficient household help, procrastination. And now simply, for each of these challenges make a list of between 1-3 solutions to each of them.
    When we live in accordance with what is meaningful in our life, when we have moments that restore us, and when we experience daily joy, life seems to flow well – and that includes the tidying up!

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Do you procrastinate? Do you struggle to make decisions at times, or behave irritably, lack drive or experience frustration? This can be your values at play. And conversely, when you feel inspired, determined, when you feel in the flow and have momentum, this too is the result of your values – being aligned with them.

Your values are an intrinsic part of you. They represent what is truly important to your life and being. They are your unique, biological roadmap to calm, success, vitality and joy. Over 97% of us cannot name our values, yet as described above, you will find evidence of them in your life continually.

Values can be likened to a GPS – when you follow them you stay beautifully on track. When you deviate from them you experience frustration, uncertainty or challenges. Without question, if you wish to experience peace of mind, inspiration, determination and a life that flows, you need to know and live in accordance with your values.

Determining your values can be an interesting, and also challenging exercise. Values are neither right nor wrong. They are not morals, or manners or societal expectations or kindness. They are a set of your inherent, deep priorities that form the fabric of a fulfilled life.

A common situation I see in my practice is women who feel guilty that their wish is to return to work, when they have children, or vice versa. Instead, it is useful to consider the great attributes that come to the fore, when we are living in accordance with what is truly right for us. You operate at your very best when you align with your values, therefore children, partners, friends, colleagues are getting the very best of you. It is commonly discussed in our home that my husband’s number one value is health. He will put exercise, sleep and nutrition above all other aspects of his life. This is not to say that our children and myself are not his priority – simply that he needs to live his best, so that he can be the best husband and dad he can.

When you are certain of your values you are better equipped to make decisions. A decision made based on one of your values is rarely ever the wrong one, and it just feels ‘right’. And further, you will feel grounded, calm and strong in your decisions when they are in accordance with your values. Knowing your values also assists you to recognise and understand your daily challenges and frustrations. You will be able to distinguish between an ongoing daily niggle that can be tweaked with a few minor changes vs. a sector of your life that needs serious review. We have four children. When they were younger, my mornings were chaos initially, and challenging, as we rushed to get ready and out of the door for me to drive each of the four to three different schools.. There were days when I knew being at work would be so much simpler. Yet when you can recall [that in my case] a core value is nurturing and developing your children, you realise that returning to work is not the answer. Instead a review of my organising was required. It brings a fresh perspective when you can link what you do in your day, to your values. Your days have more meaning, when you remind yourself of this.

To begin with, write single words that describe what you either crave, love or resonate with – contribution, security, exhilaration, peace, challenge, nurturing, knowledge, enterprise, independence for example… Write as many words as you can. And then narrow them down to your six most important values in life.
Take a look at these words and ask yourself if your life enables these core values to be evident. This is your opportunity to make simple, yet significant changes…

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Beliefs can be likened to a filter on a lens – impacting how you see your world, and consequently how you behave. If you wish to change the way you live, then first you need to change how you view your life.

Your beliefs are patterns of experience or observation that have been committed to your subconscious brain over time. What is critically relevant is that a belief determines how you behave. The relationship between your beliefs and your behaviours’ is as closely connected as breathing in and breathing out. One absolutely determines the other.

Your beliefs can be as deep-seated as ‘I must work harder, in order to succeed’, ‘money is scarce’ or ‘I’m not good enough’ [I refer to these as pre-determined beliefs because you ‘learned’ them inadvertently in your formative years, perhaps from overhearing your parents, or observing the behaviours of others], or they can develop from a simple comment that you inadvertently repeat to yourself for example ‘I’m so tired’ or ‘I don’t have time for exercise’ or ‘I’m so disorganized’ [I refer to these as lifestyle beliefs because they arise from a particular situation and then continue to perpetuate]. The former, you are less aware of. The latter, are beliefs that if you listen carefully, are chattering as an inner dialogue daily, as you pull out of bed in the morning, or as you race from pillar to post during the day. These inner dialogues are essentially programming your brain to act accordingly; “I’m tired”, “I have so much to do today”, “I’ll begin at the gym next week”. When you successfully shift your limiting beliefs, you begin a shift in how you perceive and experience your life.

Your conscious and subconscious minds work together. The conscious mind is creative and has thoughts and ideas. The subconscious mind is strictly habitual and follows patterns. A consistent, continual thought is recognised as a pattern by your subconscious mind, therefore your thoughts need to be positive and constructive if you wish to live a happy positive life.
Take some time to review what your current beliefs are. Think over the various areas of your life, or areas that you are wishing to change, and ask yourself whether your thoughts are aligned with the results you desire. If you are continually telling yourself that your partner is irritating or that work is too busy, it will only continue to perpetuate.
Choose up to three, new beliefs that you will create. I.e. ‘I listen to the needs of my partner’, or ‘my career is full and challenging and I manage it well’. Decide what habits or patterns you need to establish so that your new beliefs are supported.

When you have knowledge of how your beliefs and behaviours work together you will be able to see many areas of your life where there is an opportunity for improvement. Essentially, anything that is not running smoothly can be adjusted with a new frame of mind, and a matching set of behaviours, over time. Promise yourself to think of this as an opportunity to enhance your life.

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It seems everyone loves those first untouched pages of a writing book, however it’s not necessarily a love of paper that attracts us, it’s science – humans are designed to write things down.

From a scientific perspective, writing:

  • Accelerates information processing
  • Increases memory and learning
  • Improves critical thinking
  • Has a unique relationship with brain that creates patterns

From a wellbeing perspective, writing:

  1. Provides clarity and purpose
  2. Simplifies and transforms ideas into workable actions
  3. Creates calm.

Brain scans show that the handwritten formation of letters and symbols activate massive brain regions, that are responsible for thinking, learning, memory and information management, which are not activated by the tapping of keys. Interestingly, research illustrates that this is further enhanced when we link our letters vs. print each one.

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Lifestyle Tips
While science demonstrates unequivocally the unique benefits that writing has on our memory and learning, more important to today’s busy woman will be how writing increases your productivity and wellbeing.

  1. Maintain a daily to do list. Preferably write it the evening before, so you can go to bed in the knowledge that your day is organised.
  2. Map your week in advance. Include work hours, exercise time, household activities time such as cleaning, shopping, tidying, a date night, time for a wine with friends, weekend brunch with family… if you need to bring work home, schedule it for a certain time in the evening, rather than having it having over you that you need to get it done.
  3. Choose your evening meals for the week, on the weekend. Write them down and ensure you have all the ingredients you require. This saves time and needless energy deciding what you will have each evening when you get home.
  4. Problem solve on paper. One of the key reasons we become overwhelmed and stressed is because we attempt to solve our problems in our head. You will bring logic and critical thinking to a situation that you write down.
  5. Write down your goals for the year, in bullet point form each day. Notice how committed to the goal you become by putting them on paper. Further, humans have an inherent ‘future orientation’ so you will become energised when you do this.
  6. Write evening gratitude. Thinking it is not enough. Writing engages your attention, it commits items to memory, it forges new brain circuits that form patterns – you will become a happier more positive person when you actively write your gratitude on paper.

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When you are faced with a major event, or shift in your life, it’s helpful to realise that change is simply a natural rhythm.

  1. Know that Change is a natural rhythm.
    Many of us are uncomfortable at the prospect of change. When faced with change, it can be assuring to realise that change is a natural rhythm. Nature is the perfect example of continual change. The seasons, the temperatures, the tides – all changing, without resistance, and without fear. If nature were not to go through change, our world would stagnate and suffer, and likewise if you do not go through change when necessary, your life can become challenging.
  2. Look forward.
    You will see in nature, that there is always a clear next step in the process. This idea can help us move forward in times of change. We are creatures of habit so it can be challenging to imagine something different if we have been in the same situation for a long period. However, human nature finds it more uplifting and inspiring to look forward to what’s ahead, than to have a focus on what is behind you. Take just a small amount of time to envisage the new you. Not necessarily the next steps just yet, more how you will become a stronger, happier, or more confident version of yourself.
  3. Journal your Ideas.
    I frequently refer to the advantage of writing our thoughts and ideas on paper over merely thinking about them, or tapping them on a keyboard. Writing engages a different region of your brain than thinking and keyboard tapping – a region that thinks critically, and that problem solves. Imagine an aspect of your new life playing out, for example where do you live, who are you with, what are you doing for work? Take your pen to paper with these thoughts and see where it goes… Notice how as you write, more thoughts come to mind and there is more cohesion of your ideas.
  4. Keep ‘clues’ of your new life in close proximity.
    It’s common for a person to set a goal and then promptly forget about it, simply because there is no system in place to keep it top of mind, or give it momentum. Nature has prepared wonderful clues, so that change can ensue. The sun rises, and the flowers are prompted to open, temperatures warm so the coats of our wildlife are prompted to become thinner – and in your case, when you make sure to create visual reminders of the life you would like to have in sight, you will be prompted to think about it, imagine it, and feel it so much more.
  5. Break it down.
    You will find that simply because you have taken these previous steps toward your new life, the next steps of breaking it down will come more naturally. Is there a phone call you need to make, a CV to collate, a new region to research? From there, what would be next? Make sure that you have charted a set of steps forward over a period of days or weeks and commit to them. Anytime you are unsure, revisit your journal, and remind yourself of what is drawing you forward.
  6. The Real You.
    Whatever the change, wherever you go there will be one constant that stays with you always, and that’s you. To rediscover the real you will give you a very strong yet gentle resolve, that almost anything ahead of you can be endured and enjoyed. Pause. Imagine the real you – laughing, smiling, doing what you love, who’s in your life, and who’s no longer? In those moments where you connect with the real you, you may find an illuminating realisation about the life you are intended to live. Where previously there were fears about letting go, or moving on, here you will find the answers. Embrace them…

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Have you had trouble being on top of your resolutions and goals this year? Did you even set any? I am pondering a theory that I have long considered – perhaps our annual planning should not align with a calendar year? Instead we should look to the seasons for mapping our success.

Nature operates like clockwork – rhythms of activity that prescribe the patterns of our globe. Trees shed their leaves in autumn, and new buds appear in the warmer temperatures of spring. Lambs are born in spring and birds migrate in winter. Tides come in at times estimated to the minute. The sun rises and sets with the same precision – all in accordance with natures inherent system for Growth. Our bodies too, operate in rhythms. There are the obvious rhythms such as sleep and wake times. And then more subtle rhythms such as when our bodies replenish, heal and grow. When we adhere to these rhythms and provide ourselves with enough sleep, nutritious food, sufficient exercise; we thrive. When we push against these rhythms and burn the midnight oil, eat too much of the wrong foods, keep our bodies idle; we suffer. There is a pattern for nurturing our bodies, and so too, there is a pattern for nurturing our life.

Biophilia refers to the inherent human connection we have with nature. Unlike phobias, which are aversions and fears, philias are attractions and positive feelings. Our hard-wired connection with nature explains why you feel more grounded, calm, even inspired when in the company of nature. Simple activities such as watching waves, walking barefoot on grass, listening to birds or the wind on your face are enough to elicit your sense of connection. On a more macro level, Biophilia explains the sense of energy and anticipation that spring evokes, our need for comforts and early nights in winter and now I realise, the reason I could not muster new ambitions in summer. Goal setting in summer pushes against the rhythms of nature.

When we consider the robust growth cycles of the earth, and then the inherent human connection with nature, it stands to reason that for us to thrive and grow we should align with the intrinsic patterns of our globe. Lifestyle activities such as changing jobs, reviewing results, planning holidays, spring cleaning your home; will gain the best result when charted to the most pertinent time of the year.

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Autumn is the time for planning, creating and considering new ideas.
Consider these suggestions for autumn to get you started…

Home

  • Change the layout of your furniture
  • Plan a renovation
  • Chat with your family about their focus, plans and ideas for the year
  • Create a chores chart

Health & Wellbeing

  • Arrange medical checks – smears, dental, skin
  • Write a health and happiness list – sleep, supplements, exercise, journaling, meditation, cuddles, daily rituals
  • Set inspiring goals
  • Create a weekly plan, that incorporates what is important to you

Career & Business

  • Review results – forecast changes
  • Gauge your requirements
  • Clear your desk – set up new systems
  • Manage staff development and changeovers
  • Plan your new business idea

Take comfort if you have not had momentum for your goals – now is the perfect time.

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There is a new energy crisis, and it has nothing to do with our power companies. It’s our own personal energy crisis. Do you wake tired after a nights sleep? Do you continue to feel dull, flat and uninspired, despite your attempts to reenergise? It may well be that your emotional energy is depleted. Thankfully, it’s a simple resource to replenish…

Women today are busier and more tired, than ever before. This energy crisis we are experiencing goes deep into the fabric of our living and affects our ability to cope with day-to-day responsibilities. Thankfully we have vast information at our fingertips – information that addresses our nutrition, sleep, and our health and fitness… However, while these are the ideal solutions to our physical energy needs, research now shows us that only 30% of our energy requirements are physical. The remaining 70% of our energy needs are emotional.

When we are emotionally exhausted we often look to reduce our commitments, rather than recharge our emotionally undercharged batteries. We let go of relationships, give up on goals, and invariably end up settling for a life whereby we’re not being our best. We need to identify what emotional factors are draining our energy – the aspects of our life that we worry about, feel guilty about, procrastinate over, over commit to; and make nurturing our emotional energy a lifestyle priority above all else. High Emotional Energy reserves will become evident in your life in the most beautiful ways – hope, passion, resilience, enthusiasm, inspiration – a zest for life that you thought had long gone.

The more we nurture our emotional energy requirements, the more energised we become.

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Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness – noting a thought, yet not acting on it – will reduce negative emotions by up to 50%

Meditate
10 minutes of awareness meditation is proven to reduce anxiety and increase calm.

Know your Values
If you are clear on what is truly meaningful in your life, and find just one way to align your life with those values, you will become energised.

Get Complete
Having incomplete tasks or situations in your life is draining. Whether it is the creaky wardrobe door that needs oiling, a linen cupboard that needs sorting, or a child that requires a new set of boundaries; when these are addressed you will feel refreshed.

Take Action on a Worry
If worry persists, a paralysis sets in that prevents you from addressing the concern constructively. Decide what you need to do.

Forgive Yourself
Guilt is a destructive emotion that directly depletes your emotional energy. Put the situation behind you and focus on what good can come into your life moving forward.

Face Grief
Grief in the short term is a very real emotion that we are equipped to deal with. However, if grief prevails we suffer physically and emotionally, and our thoughts become habitual. Seek professional advice to build resilience around your grief.

Say Yes to You
Simply, you will be a happier mum, loving partner and valuable colleague when you look after you.

Write Gratitude
When you take time to write 3-5 bullet points of what is great in your life, each day, you become happier and more productive.

Set Personal Goals
Humans have an inherent future orientation. A meaningful, personal goal will invigorate you.

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Further, there are aspects to your physiology; simple workings; tasked with optimising your health. Sadly though, most likely due to their simplicity, we are overlooking these, and this is contributing to the high levels of stress, ill health and extreme tiredness that our society is experiencing.

Consider these simple, yet robust resources that your body has made available to you, in order to cope, to refresh and to experience joy:

  1. Pause. How often do you just keep on going? Not taking a break has large health implications. Simply, a moment where you turn away from your screen at work between activities or a 5 minute break [yes that small] each 90 minutes during a work day to breathe, and you feel plugged back in.
    Every 90 minutes
  2. Develop a future orientation. Humans are inherent creatures of progress.
    So whether we take just a moment to review a personal goal, or have a 3-hour brainstorm on the direction of your business, we become energised and solutions oriented when we look forward.
    Weekly – or anytime you feel ‘on the treadmill’
  3. Meditate. Immunity, inflammation, brain function, memory, attention, anxiety, stress, depression are just a few factors that are positively impacted by meditation. If you cannot meditate initially, that is perfectly fine. Simply be still, and breathe slowly, deeply and rhythmically for as long as you can.
    Each morning
  4. Create Rhythms. Nature operates in rhythms. Tides, seasons, cycles of the sun and moon all operate with an exact precision. Similarly, our bodies operate, and respond to rhythms. Create patterns in your day and week where you can – morning rituals, set gym days, sleep and wake times
    Weekly
  5. Gratitude. New neural pathways are formed in your brain when you consistently focus on positive, uplifting, or special events however big or small. Consequently, this creates a shift in how your view challenges and life in general. I can’t put it more simply; gratitude is an essential health and wellbeing tool.
    Nightly
  6. Breathe. The simple act of one big beautiful breath has a huge impact on your health and vitality. Your breath is a vital vehicle that oxygenates, alkalizes and detoxifies your body, when you do it properly. This increases your energy, reduces stress, and prevents inflammation and disease. Practice breathing properly, and eventually it will become natural to you.
    Consistently
  7. Choose optimism. Worrying depletes us emotionally. The cells of our body experience worry as a negative stimuli, which causes them to reduce and separate from one another. This means that we are less likely to form constructive solutions, and of more concern, our health is compromised. What are you worried about? Be still, ask yourself what you need to do about it? You’ll know…
    Consistently
  8. Rekindle your Joy. Most of us are not sure what truly brings us joy. And even if we are, it is likely that we do not prioritise it in our schedule. When you are engaged in a joyous, meaningful encounter the brain responds and creates attachments to that experience. If we are continually engaged in rushing, worrying, and mindlessness, those neural circuits develop differently and form patterns accordingly. A special joy may be remnant from your childhood – perhaps playing the piano or riding horses or being outside in nature. Your joy’s need not be time-consuming activities; they may simply be moments in laughter with a best friend or reading by the fire at nighttime. Ruminate on them. Choose one or more for yourself. Engage in it regularly.
    Consistently.

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