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With December here, work, family and friend get togethers are back on.
We’re eating out again, attending parties, and even going shopping in real stores.
December is always a busy time of year, and 2021 perhaps more so given that many of us spent weeks in lockdowns and can’t wait to see people in real life (not that we didn’t love those zoom meetings…).
But between year-end festivities and summer holidays, we’re also finalising presents, tying up loose ends, finishing projects, and probably planning for 2022 as well.
And the worst part? All this busyness and hustle and go-go-go is (dare I say it), “normal” and often even glorified.
So, if you’re like most women I know and coach, the busyness and hustle you normally feel is likely really, really ramping up this year.
Now to be honest, “hustle” is not one of my favourite words, but (unfortunately) it describes what most women can relate to.
One definition of hustle is to “proceed or work rapidly or energetically”. This almost sounds like a good thing doesn’t it? And perhaps that’s why many have come to see it that way, but is it?
Never before has any other generation lived as fast a paced lifestyle where being “busy” and “hustling” are actually promoted, accepted, and rewarded.
I see part of the issue is that we can get almost anything we want on demand through our phones, tablets, and laptops.
Whatever we want to know, learn, plan, or look up is at our fingertips 24/7. Podcasts, YouTube, social media, news outlets, magazines, and almost every book ever written is all there with us. And let’s not forget the text messages, phone calls, voice messages, and emails.
When does it stop?
When do we turn off, unplug, or tap out from the noise and give ourselves a break?
In fact, you’ve probably been going so hard that you hardly take the time to move, nourish, enjoy, and rest the entire day.
Why? Because there’s SO MUCH TO DO!
And we’re being validated for this by society, our colleagues, our bosses, and even sometimes our friends and family.
This busyness and hustle have almost become badges of honour.
Where productivity, busyness, and hustle equal feeling and being valued.
There’s a quote I love by author Michael Gunger that says, “Burnout is literally what happens when you avoid being human for too long.”, and if we’re busy, hustling, pushing, striving, and going ALL THE TIME, then it’s almost inevitable that burnout will come.
Now don’t get me wrong, part of this drive is because we want to be the BEST version of ourselves.
We want to improve, challenge ourselves, and keep learning and growing.
And I love that and get it. I’m a personal development junkie!
We want to achieve success and have an incredible career where we feel fulfilled, create impact, are valued, and feel motivated to reach our goals and dreams.
We want to have an abundance of time for ourselves and our families.
For the projects, sports and hobbies we enjoy.
We also want loving relationships and deep soulful friendships, which is amazing.
And while I’m a firm believer that you can do absolutely ANYTHING, and that you CAN achieve it ALL, the reality is that you just can’t do EVERYTHING all at once. The more you hustle for these things the further away they’re likely to get.
So this year, let’s stop.
Stop being so “busy”.
Stop the relentless “hustle”.
Let’s take the time to stop, pause, and say no, or maybe, or not now, or some other time.
Prioritise your time, energy, health and wellbeing.
Slow down and take stock.
Fill your own cup first.
Plan for breaks, holidays, good times, and summer vibes.
Stop carrying your phone everywhere, and most importantly, stop constantly checking it.
Put auto-respond on your emails.
Set you calendar, availability, and voicemail to away.
Shut down the tabs, the browsers, the documents, and the spreadsheets.
And if you do have to do work, slow it down.
Take advantage of most people being on holidays.
Cancel your regularly scheduled meetings and avoid making new ones.
Keep your calendar clear so you can focus on “big picture” work of reflecting on the year and planning for the next.
While hustle might be the “norm” for most, it doesn’t have to be.
We can change it.
I want you to thrive, not merely survive.
I want you to feel confident and comfortable, stress and anxiety free (or at least reduced!).
I want you to feel in control of your mindset, goals, and what’s coming up next.
To help you with this, be sure to subscribe to my blog above, and check out my 1:1 coaching programs, 2022 intake begins in early January.
I’m here to help and here to remind you that perhaps the holidays are the perfect time to stop the hustle and truly enjoy the season.
Wishing you a happy and hustle-free holidays!
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At any given day, I bet you’re juggling 10 or more things at once. You’re thinking about work, home life, pets, children, friendships, family, and more.
Then December comes along and BANG, now you’re juggling all of the above PLUS present buying, holiday planning, catch ups, work celebrations, year end reflections, new year planning, etc…
With all of this added pressure (from ourselves and society), we may feel like multi-tasking is not just the best way to handle things, it’s also the only way.
Well, I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but it’s not.
While a small percentage of the population (2% according to Forbes magazine in 2017) are good at multi-tasking, for the rest of us, constantly switching between tasks and attempting to multi-task actually decreases our productivity by up to 40%.
See when we’re multi-tasking, while it may feel like we’re working faster and efficiently, we’re actually more likely just spinning our wheels, never really moving forward. We’re producing less than stellar decisions, outputs, and work. We forget what we were doing, where we’re at, and sometimes if we’ve even finished the tasks we’re trying to work through!
We’ve got tabs open on our laptops.
Links saved in our browsers.
Lists all over the place.
Scraps of paper with random notes on them.
We’re also less able to filter out irrelevant information and decrease distractions, meaning we often make mistakes which means going back and redoing the work we thought we’d completed.
In addition to this, multi-tasking also leads to:
Are you getting a clearer picture of why multi-tasking really isn’t ideal?
Now I know it might sound like the complete opposite of what you want to do, but introducing even a few of the suggestions below will go a long way in decreasing your multi-tasking habits and increase your productivity and the quality of everything you do.
1. Focus on one thing at a time.
If you’re finishing up a report, focus on the report. Don’t click on browsers to figure out what time the shopping centres close so you can stop in after work.
2. Be present with whatever task you’re doing…
How can you possibly write a heartfelt Christmas card when your mind is thinking about the email you need to send to your supervisor? Write the card.
3. …. and THEN move on to the next one
With the card written and tucked in its envelope, now you can write up that email and give it your full attention.
4. Commit to “Do Not Disturb” time
It’s hard to ignore all the notifications popping up all day, so let your device do it for you. Either pause, turn off, or set your “Do Not Disturb” so you can really concentrate.
5. Create time blocks
Whether these are in 20minute windows or more or less, set your alarm or timer so you can stick to the task at hand (rather than bouncing from task to task) knowing that your next time block will be focussed on that task.
6. Shift your “big projects” to earlier in the day.
Most people work best in the mornings before decision fatigue and interruptions have kicked in, so carve out this time (by using Do Not Disturb and time blocks) to work on those bigger projects.
Here are three more important ways to reduce multi-tasking are to simplify our decision making so we don’t end up with decision fatigue.
For myself and my clients, I find the tips and tricks above go a long way in decreasing our multi-tasking and decision fatigue.
I want to enjoy this time of year, and want you to do the same, so let’s choose even one of the suggestions above and really commit to it.
Let’s stop multi-tasking and focus on the task at hand.
As always, I’m here to help with these and other ways to get you thriving, so be sure to subscribe to my blog above, and if you’re really keen, book in a here so we can see which of my coaching for programs might be best serve you.
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Prior to 2020 and 2021, whether we worked from home or from the office, we had natural buffers and boundaries built around our pre and post workday.
Pre-pandemic, your day might have looked like this:
Wake up, go to the gym, shower, dress. Eat breakfast, maybe grabbed a cup of coffee, then out the door for your commute to work.
On the way home you had alone time in the car, train, or tram. Got petrol, picked up the kids, grabbed a couple of things from the shops, maybe even had an appointment of some kind (remember those?!).
Can you see how these natural buffers in our schedules helped create boundaries in our days?
Yes, you may have had a quick check of your calendar, scanned some emails, and thought about work before it actually starting, but you also had a set time to leave so you could get there on time.
Your quick checks and scans had a time limit.
They couldn’t go from “quick” and “scan” to “schedule” and “read”.
And once you got to the office, you likely didn’t start working as soon as you walked through the door. Instead, you probably put your jacket away, had a chat and check in with your co-workers, went to the break room to fill up your water bottle, and THEN were ready to open your laptop for work.
Again, see those natural buffers coming into play?
Even once you were work, you STILL had some breathing space before actually getting into it.
But then 2020 and 2021 happened, and most organisations moved to online/at-home workplaces.
Your bed was your desk.
Your home was your office.
Your kitchen was your breakroom.
Your lounge was your meeting room.
It was nothing to roll over, reach for your phone and start reading and responding to emails. To walk into the lounge room, jump on the laptop and start working.
No workout, shower, or breakfast.
No coffee run, commute, or co-worker chat.
And then there was the lack of real tea or lunch breaks.
We started packing in Zoom meetings every minute of the day.
There was no more “travel time” between meetings, so why not schedule back to backs?
We may have even started working on weekends.
We couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone, so why not keep plugging away at our projects and to do lists?
Before 2020 and 2021, we had buffers where we allowed our brains time and space to wake up, start slow, and ease into the day. Then to wrap up, slow down, and ease back into home life.
What I’m seeing more and more of in my work with clients, is that they no longer have set on/off office hours. They have no real boundaries or buffers before, during, or after work. And the reality of this is a huge negative effect on their mental and physical health, relationships, energy levels, and overall wellbeing.
Can you relate?
If so, and you want more energy and a clearer mindset, it’s time to get pro-active with how you structure time before and after your “working” day.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
The key is to create space between work and home, so you no longer feel like you’re pulled from one thing straight to the next. You no longer feel like you’re rolling from one to do into the other, with no buffer or down-time in between.
The habits, patterns, and routines you find yourself in today don’t have to be the ones that define you. They CAN be changed. They don’t have to be the ones you stick with.
Start today or start tomorrow.
Choose one boundary or buffer and (re)schedule and incorporate it into your day.
After a few days of creating these buffers and boundaries you’ll feel more relaxed and in flow. Less stressed and rushed. More thriving than surviving.
If any of this resonated with you and you’d like more tips on how to thrive, be sure to subscribe to my blog above, or take a look at my website www.janelbriggs.com where you can learn about my journal, coaching, and online programs.
While some of these changes might feel a bit forced at first, the amazing thing is that we’re able to create new habits, patterns, and routines. We’re able to (re)create boundaries and buffers around our work and home life.