Figuring out how to be more productive

Today I am writing about productivity 🙂  How can I be more productive with my time and be able to stay focused and achieve the things I want to do as well as all of the other items I manage as a mom.

Over the last number of weeks, I have been asking myself this question and working on finding a solution that suits me.  I find that procrastination can set in for me when I think there is too much to do; this can be immobilising and then the overwhelm starts to creep in and before you know it I’m not getting anywhere fast?!!

As a mom there is always a tonne of stuff to do, not to mention the stuff that just turns up unexpectedly and oftentimes I feel I don’t get enough quality time to dedicate to working on my projects and my Reiki practice so I’ve set myself a goal to try and be more productive and ease up on the overwhelm.

So for the past number of weeks, I have been doing the following:

1) Breaking it all down: On Sunday nights I’ve started preparing for the week ahead by writing down all the things I have to do and putting them into the following categories this avoids things becoming too much, for example, I ask myself the following:

  • What’s important and urgent this week? These are the items that I need to focus on first, note this can range across the board from household chores, food shopping, meal prep, work items, courses I am taking, holiday planning and family stuff etc.
  • What’s important but not so urgent yet? Whatever ends up here becomes the next set of items that I will work on?
  • What’s not really important and not that urgent and can probably wait?
  • What stuff on my list can be delegated? This mainly goes to my husband lol!

The idea of separating my massive to-do list into these categories (entitled the magic matrix) came from a book I was reading called ‘Project Me’ the author Kelly even has worksheets which you can download from her site (link below)

This new process has really helped me as now I’ve got my plan prioritised and I know what to focus on first. I’ve found that sometimes I need to break the overall task down even further into smaller chunks. Overall this has been a positive change and working well for me 🙂

2) Extending my workout: I’ve added in a 7-minute-high intensity workout (or minimum effective dose – after watching an interview with Vishen Lakhiani) to my morning routine to help me keep focused and also keep my energy high throughout the day. So now after I finish my yoga (with Adriene on YouTube) I follow it with my short workout.

3) Avoiding distractions: I’m trying to not look at my emails or any social media until later in the morning or sometimes well into lunchtime. This keeps me focused on ensuring I give myself time to exercise, eat right (make my green juice/smoothie) and have quality time with Issey before I tackle anything.

4) Staying mindful and enjoying what I am doing: I stay mindful of the task that I am working on giving it my full attention and also remembering to be kind to myself by ensuring I take regular breaks, sometimes I try and stretch myself and that is where the categories above come in. I review what is a priority. Also, I remember it’s important to enjoy what I am doing– remembering the Maya Angelou quote, ‘determine to live life with flair and laughter’ ;0

5) Sleep: I’ve set myself a bedtime goal of 10pm (all going well) note this doesn’t always happen but I generally make this happen at least 3 nights out of 7 which is good for me, as I used to be a night owl! I find on the nights where I do get to bed early the next day I really do feel the difference.

So, watch this space, I’ll let you know how my productivity is going and if this new system is working out for me.

Moms, I’m interested in hearing from you… do you find it hard to stay productive every day or have you found a system that works for you – I’d love you share with me.

Best wishes & love L X

Links:

Project Me

Vishen Lakhiani – Minimum Effective Dose

 

 

Quick and Easy Red Lentil Soup

Hello lovely moms, this week I wanted to share my favourite fast making lentil soup recipe with you. This recipe is really healthy and loved by my family. It takes about 30 mins (inc. prep) to table.

Last year we became vegetarians and I found different variations of this recipe online and in my cookbooks. (recipe credits below :0)

Even if you are not vegetarian/vegan you will find this recipe full of flavour and a change from the norm.

It contains amazing red lentils which are packed with lots of iron, protein, and fibre, lots of yummy vegetables, onions, garlic, ginger, and herbs.

This dish will leave you feeling full and satisfied and there should be enough for leftovers the next day (depending on your household – serves about 4 large portions) however, in our house, this rarely happens as my husband always finishes it off 😉

So here is the recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon of organic coconut oil (we like to use coconut oil to cook)
  • 2 medium onions or 1 large onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (whatever your preference we like garlic ;)) diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 thumb size of ginger root, crushed or diced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of mixed herbs/french herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large cup of red lentils, well rinsed
  • 3-4 large cups of vegetable stock (sometimes I only use 3 cups to make it more of a stew, whatever your preference)
  • Salt/Pepper to season, I also recommend Herbamare (see link below), it’s a tasty seasoner my sister got me using (thanks sis!)

Get cooking:

  • Over a medium heat, fry off the onions and garlic for 5 mins until fragrant
  • Then add the herbs, ginger, and vegetables. Put a lid on the pot and leave for 8-10 mins on medium heat to cook the vegetables
  • Next, add in your lentils (make sure they have been fully rinsed) then add your stock, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low/medium heat for 15 mins until lentils are tender.
  • Garnish the soup with chopped parsley, a squeeze of lemon and serve with fresh crusty rye bread. I promise you it’s delish!

Please let me know if you make it and what you think of the flavours?!!

Best wishes and Love L X

PS: need to work on my food photography 😉

Red lentil soup image for blog

 

Links

Herbamare 

Recipe credits:

Delish knowledge 

theKitchn.com

East by West

 

 

 

 

 

My sign for when I need a break

I was chatting with a friend recently about the importance of us moms taking breaks (it was the Easter holidays – 2 weeks of no school!) and making self care a priority. After our conversation I thought about the signs that show up for me when I am needing to have some time on my own and it reminded me of a funny saying that I often declare loudly for both Issey and Rok to hear ‘Mommy is going to do a Shirley Valentine soon’ to which I used to get puzzled stares until one day (actually recently enough) my husband asked ‘okay what is that…. and should I be worried?!’ Having had no clue what or who ‘Shirley Valentine’ is… (he’s from Slovenia and has never seen the movie).

For those who don’t know of Shirley Valentine it’s is a late 1980’s movie about a women who decides to leave England and head off to an Greek island (just leaving her husband a sticky note) and there she finds her joy again.

Realisation that I need some alone time

Although this saying to my husband is done in jest it’s also a realisation for me that when I am thinking about doing a ‘Shirley Valentine’ then it’s my cue that I need to spend some time alone.

For example, last October I overdid it a bit and really needed a break so I planned a 2 night trip on my own and took myself off to Galway (not as fancy as Greece!) where I had the most relaxing time and felt very proud of myself for going through with this (I’ve always wanted to go off for a weekend on my own but never had the courage to go through with it).

To be fair my husband literally pushed me out the door so I had his support 100%.

Was this an easy thing to do even with my husband’s support, heck no! I was racked with guilt especially the days leading up to it and kept trying to think of reasons why it wasn’t a good idea and that Issey and Rok wouldn’t survive without me to presenting the ‘bad mother’ card frequently ‘how could I leave my child for two nights and have some time on my own…’

However, when I got there I felt so good and the feelings dissipated.  You see, I used to be at the other end of the continuum where I would never really do anything for myself, always putting everyone else’s needs before my own and I learnt ‘self care’ the hard way, so I’m always aware of the signs now.  I don’t always get a night on my own,  but I’m getting better at making sure I take frequent time out and less ‘Shirley Valentine’ declarations ha!

My Self Care routine:

Daily it’s my meditation and/or my 10 minute yoga practice (love yoga with Adriene on YouTube) and on the weekends I will go for an early walk/run in the park by myself  whilst listening to music or a podcast. In the evening after Issey is in bed I read my book for an hour as I love reading and this is my time to enjoy with a cup of tea. Once a week I have an Epsom salt bath and relax for an hour and once a month I will try and either do a massage, a Reiki session, a facial or whatever  I feel  like doing that month.

I also take regular time out to catch up with others and will often go out for dinner with my girlfriends. Recently both Rok and I started having an afternoon lunch on our own  whilst Issey is happily hanging out with her older cousins (thanks cousins!).

All of the above help me feel myself, and also help me think more clearly. Ultimately I’m  a better human, mom, wife etc. I don’t always get it right however I try and follow through as much as possible.

So Moms, do you find yourselves like me ever wanting to do a ‘Shirley Valentine’… 😉 Do you know your signs that a break is warranted and do you ever feel guilty about doing this and stopping yourself from booking in that well needed time out? Or, have you got a great self care routine that works for you?

What’s your story… Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes and love Lisa X

PS: I think I need to watch ‘Shirley Valentine’ again for old times sake ha!

For those days…

Moms we all have ‘those days’ it’s important to be kind to ourselves when they show up!!

Hello Moms,

So on my last blog post, I talked about how I was feeling more mindful lately whilst going about my daily tasks. However, I wanted to highlight that while this is the case I still have some days that are challenging for me and I thought it’s important to share my thoughts and my approach when this happens.

Moms, even though I employ mindfulness and have a regular meditation practice I still have those days where things don’t flow the way I wish they would – and you know this is perfectly normal as we are human after all, trying to raise little humans 😉

My research and readings about the practice of mindfulness, meditation and following certain mentors that I resonate with often don’t talk about difficult times and sometimes just say you have to keep doing the work. Whilst I agree with this and it’s important to keep your meditation practice going I also think it’s important to talk about the days that are challenging and what to do when these days arise.

Challenging days for me include emotions just cropping up from nowhere, or my little one is calling me for the 100th time and I’m feeling quite drained. To wondering what time it is… as all I want to do is go to bed (however its just 1 pm in the afternoon). And/or, I know it’s time to cook the dinner and all I want to do is eat toast, not prepare a nutritious beautiful meal. When I have one of those days then I remember a few things that help me to get through it, let me share this with you:

  1. This will pass:  I remind myself as often as I can that these feelings will pass and if I need to I will have a little cry to release my emotions.
  2. Thoughts are just thoughts: I say to myself ‘my thoughts do not mean anything’  I  learned this from A Course in Miracles Workbook (ACIM), which is one of my favourite lessons from the course, it just means that your thoughts are not ‘real’ thoughts and sometimes our mind makes things out to be worse then it really is. I also use the following affirmation: ‘All is well’ and will say this as often as I need to.
  3. Have compassion: I remember to be kinder and more compassionate to myself. Oftentimes we don’t extend the same compassion to ourselves as we would to our friends/family members. So I will ask myself – if a friend was having a difficult day what would I say to him/her? And I extend the same kindness to myself and take the pressure off.
  4. Remove judgment:  I also stop judging myself for thinking I’m a bad mother, especially when I need time to myself, I will take a break, breathe deeply and make a cup of tea, and often times will write down how I am feeling. It’s surprising how writing down my thoughts will help change my energy.  However, it’s always challenging for me to do this at first, but I always feel better afterward.
  5. Move my body: I will often put on Spotify and dance around my living room (energy permitting) which always makes me feel more uplifted and helps toshift my energy.
  6. Reach out to someone I trust: Sometimes I will give someone I trust a call/text… this is a person who I know will hold space for me (i.e. just listen) and not judge me.
  7. Grateful for my awareness: And, importantly I remember how grateful I am for my awareness that I’m just having one of ‘those days’ and I’ll feel better soon because I always do 🙂

Moms, do you have ‘those days’ and if so what helps you? Love you to share this with me.

Best wishes and Love L X