A Head Start on Holiday Time-Management

Today was a perfect family day. The weather was amazing and I was out at Toronto’s Woofstock (our dog festival) with ‘the fam’. We were also together to celebrate my mom’s, grandma’s and brother’s birthdays.

I love getting together every year and doing something in the city at the end of the summer. But it’s also a gentle reminder of what’s coming – the holiday season. As I write this (September 27tth) there are only 88 days left until Christmas. I haven’t decided if that sounds like a lot or a little, but I do know that the holiday season comes faster than you think.

My mom’s birthday usually falls around Canadian Thanksgiving so it’s really the first signpost of autumn busyness. Next is Halloween, and then American Thanksgiving is soon after. Here in Canada that just means that Black Friday sales are everywhere and retail stores are eagerly reminding you that you’re running out of time. Then, for many of us, it’s time to buy gifts and food, plus achieve all those goals you set out this year on New Year’s Day, ten or eleven months ago.

Right now, luckily, we’re not quite in the thick of it yet. We have some time to sit back still and maybe do a little planning and time-management strategizing, which is exactly what I intend to do.

Every year I say I’m going to buy gifts early. I’m pretty good at sticking to this but I really want to be done done. Not, ‘I have one more little thing and then I have stuff to wrap’ – NO. I want to be done, ready, relaxed and set to enjoy the autumn and the beginning of winter from outside of the mall.

So, what’s my plan?

I’m not totally sure yet – it is still quite early.  But I think it involves some sort of shopping trip in October to buy EVERYTHING and then in November I wrap it all up and focus my energy on goals and end of the year lose ends. I think it also may take the form of starting my Christmas cards now too and having them ready to send by early December.

The point is, I’m sick of feeling rushed and pulled in so many directions at this time of year. And I know I’m not the only one who loves the fall season and the change to winter.

So, if you don’t have any family member birthdays to remind you, let me be the first – Winter is Coming! So have a plan to manage your time so you can enjoy it, rather than dread it.  Even if it’s not a fully formed plan (as mine clearly is not either), the fact that we’re at least thinking about it is a good start.  This helps us to keep it on the brain and when we’re out shopping from now on, we may pick up some gift ideas early on.

Time-management Tips for The Holidays:

  • Buy gifts early (and somehow label who they’re for…I’ve forgotten why I bought something for someone in the summer by the time Christmas came.)
  • Fill out Holiday cards early
  • Create your Holiday E-card and save it for later
  • Do away with Holiday cards altogether
  • Buy gifts in multiples for younger family members
  • Keep your receipts all in one place
  • Set a date, long before Hannukah and Christmas, for when you want to have your shopping finished by
  • Relax. Give yourself some time off from the craziness between Thanksgiving and New Year’s to have a day off. Go do something to enjoy the season like going outdoor ice skating by yourself or seeing a holiday movie on your own. You can also use this time to reflect on 2015 and what you’ve accomplished this year and start dreaming about next year.

For more time-management tips, get in touch for private coaching sessions



Did You Know That Fun Stops At 30?

As a society, I think we’re getting a lot better at accepting various versions of success at any age, yet it seems we are still hardwired to see 30 as a deadline for the bulk of our exploration to finish. In my coaching practice I see how this kind of thinking can negatively affect our decision-making process – by slowing it down, stalling it completely, or causing us to settle for good enough.

I used to believe that adulthood would really kick in when I turned thirty. I thought I could run wild in my twenties, exploring and trying on different hats. Then, at the exact moment I turned thirty, it would all stop and I would transform into a well-adjusted, perfectly content adult. Yes, the Cinderella and fairy tale motifs run deep, don’t they?

And it’s not just me. My clients and friends all agree that 30 is a cut off for the fun we have in our twenties and it’s time to get serious about life. We have to make our decisions more carefully because they tend to have lasting effects and can affect a lot more people.

A while ago I conduced a survey. I asked 158 people various questions and one of them was, “Did you have a ‘by 30’ bucket list?”

Sixty-five percent said they did have a list. For some it wasn’t a physical list, but they had an idea about several things they wanted to accomplish before they turned thirty. When probing a little deeper I found that for many this wasn’t a goal, it was a cut off. In other words, more than a few people in the world believe that after thirty, there are just some things that are no longer possible to achieve. Interestingly, it’s exactly this type of thinking that inspires my work.

Who says 30 is a cut off?

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to probe further into what was on the lists, but I can take a stab since my clients tell me similar things almost every day. It seems like travelling is a big one that people think will cease after thirty. Sure, I’ve seen families grow and vacations become more family-oriented and closer to home, but mom and dad can also let go of some control and guilt too and leave the kids with someone for a couple of weeks while they see Brazil, can’t they? What are friends and grandparents for?

Also, career decisions are often made carefully and end up being a safer option that seems good for the family at the time. But, in the long-run, if mom or dad are unhappy and unfulfilled, where does that leave everyone else?

And who says that 30 is a deadline? Who says you have to have a house, kids and a certain amount of money in the bank to be a successful thirtysomething? Don’t let the ’30 under 30′ lists scare you. There are so many examples of people finding their stride after 30.

I’ve published it before, but let me do it again…

  1. Julia child was 36 before she even tasted decadent food!
  2. J.K. Rowling was 32 when Harry Potter was published.
  3. Danny Glover’s first role was at 33.
  4. Rodney Dangerfield didn’t catch a big break until 46.
  5. Harrison Ford was a carpenter until his mid-thirties when he starred in Star Wars.

…and the list goes on!

Success can come at any age and it can be whatever you make it. What we have to grasp is that it’s all a process and wherever you are in the process is great. You’re exactly where you are supposed to be. So when it comes to making decisions for you, your future and family’s future, remember that there is always time to go after passion and not settle for what you think you’re supposed to want or have. You will be better for it and be setting a better example for everyone around you if you believe in yourself.

So, the moral of the Cinderella story is:

Decide with the mindset that age is nothing and nothing is impossible.

NOT The End 🙂

Having trouble making the right decisions for you and your family?

Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com for private success coaching or go to

ashewoodward.com for more information.

feature photo from karapearson.com

Blast Through Blocks With a Simple Shift

Strangely enough, the post I had ready to go last week related to something Wayne Dyer said about resistance and blocks. He said, that the first problem is that we call them ‘blocks’   … I will truly miss his wisdom.

As usual, his simple answer blew me away. I was all ready to be on board with this, agreeing that our perspective is a big factor when we’re facing challenges. And of course, negatively naming our struggles just creates more resistance. But I also started to wonder if it’s ever possible to talk about challenges in a positive way. I mean, we still need to acknowledge that we’re working against something, don’t we? Isn’t it better that we uncover our weaknesses or sabotaging patterns and habits before we can create new, positive ones?

Well, since I don’t think the word ‘blocks’ is going anywhere, we might have to get used to it. It’s quite a buzzword in the spiritual and self-development world right now, but I think I’ve found a way that a simple shift in perspective can shield us from the negativity the word conjures up.

Traditionally, we’ve been using the word ‘block’ to describe a hindrance or resistance in our energy or on our path to success. It’s more often used to describe something under the surface – a self-sabotaging wall we can’t break through. For example, when we talk about ‘money blocks’, we’re talking about old beliefs about money that might come from as far back as our grandparents or parents who said things like, “Money doesn’t grow on trees,” or “What are we, the Rockefellars?”, This may have led us to believe, on a subconscious level, that money is scarce and difficult to come by and being rich is only reserved for certain people.

And so we are blocked from making a lot of money.

But a block is also a brick…

…Bricks are strong…

So let’s imagine our block now is a brick of strength and resilience. In other words, those things your grandparents said are actually something that make you stronger.

And this strength is what is going to get you to your goal. So whenever you feel ‘blocked’ it’s actually an opportunity for strength. When you overcome something, think of it as a brick on a bridge to your goal.


It takes a little mindfulness and focus but it goes something like this:

Let’s say that you have a goal of getting a new job. You first have to job search. It’s been a while so you hit up some websites and find that there are even more websites to use than when you got your current job. You search them and expand your knowledge of what you thought was out there – BRICK! You learned something new and gained some strength on your journey. Now each time you have a small win, like asked to come in for an interview – BRICK! Do an interview – BRICK! Don’t get the job – BRICK! It’s all just laying the groundwork for your true path.brick

And thinking in this way can even help us with the impatience that creeps in as we long for our end game.

As I said, it takes a little bit more mindfulness to recognize these small wins, but basically any time you feel a little nervous about something and you do it anyway, you get a brick to add to the bridge that connects this not so fun part of your journey to the end goal. You can also see it as a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end as I sometimes do, if that helps.rainbowalk

The point is, you will have challenges along the way to your goal – some obvious, and some not so obvious. But acknowledging the fact that every curve ball the universe throws at you is a chance to learn something new about yourself and life can shift your mindset just enough to make suckie situations appear like fun challenges.

So it you think you have a ‘block’ right now, imagine it as a future BRICK. Eventually it will reveal itself to you, give you some anxiety, but also an opportunity to build some strength and inevitably build the bridge that connects you to everything that you’ve been dreaming of.


If you’d like some advice on how to build your bridge to success, don’t hesitate to take action!  Find more information about private coaching from me, Ashe, at my website ashewoodward.com or you can email me directly with questions at support@ashewoodward.com.  Have a great week, thirtysomeones!


brick girlBRICK HOUSE!…

The Loss of a Master – Tribute to Wayne Dyer

I had another blog post planned for today but I’m so stuck on the passing of Wayne Dyer that I can’t publish.  I think this is what musicians feel like when they lose a Master.  For us in the self-development field, Wayne Dyer was a great rock star, a guru, a master.  In his meditations and The Shift, his calm and reassuring voice soothed me to sleep many a night.

As a small tribute to an amazingly inspirational man that has had a big influence on my personal growth and now on what I often pass on to others in my coaching, I’d like to mention just a few of my favorite Wayne Dyer quotes.

“Circumstances do no make the man, they reveal him.”

– A great one for hard times and remaining strong.  Acting out or blaming others is cowardly and shows no respect for yourself and what you’re capable of.

“You’re not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”

– Change is always possible.  No one except you can define your circumstances.  Even for those under attack or enslaved, there is power in how you decide to view the moment.

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.”

– I think this one is my favorite and maybe one of his most famous quotes.  It’s about perspective as well as the law of attraction and bringing positive change into your reality.

“A mind at peace and centered and not focused on harming others is stronger than any physical force in the universe.”



These are just my top 5 but there are so many others and a great big amazingly influential body of work from Wayne Dyer.  If you’ve never read or watched anything by him I recommend starting with The Shift – a full-length feature that is easily found on YouTube.  Here’s just one link.  THE SHIFT

Though I’m sad we’ll have no more work from him, he has left us with such a legacy and a lot to live up to.

Rest in Eternal Peace.