When You Just “Can’t Even”

I need to be totally honest today – I don’t feel like writing this right now. It’s a brisk, beautiful fall day here in Toronto and I want nothing more than to have a glass of wine, my quinoa surprise, and curl up to watch something romantic and indulgent on Netflix.

But I’ve been in this habit for over three years now so it’s become hard to ignore even the smallest of urges to write something about life in my thirties every Sunday night.

So I set a timer today and here I am – showing up for just 25 minutes of writing, I told myself.

And look! I’m writing!

And to no one’s surprise (my own) I’m enjoying it by only the seventh line. I’m off and running and already imagining that these words are falling into the your world and inspiring you to forward your success and happiness. 

As I said, I’ve trained myself to do this, but I also learned this habit from somewhere else, sort of unexpected – the gym.

As many of you I’m sure would agree, we’d very often be doing anything else than going to the gym. But I also know, I’d rather look fit than unfit, so I just tell myself I will go – even for a short workout. Lowest effort possible.

But by the time I’m in my adorable gym outfit, I’m happy that I’m there. I usually end up feeling completely energized and I do a full workout. And the kicker is that it is always when I think I’m too tired that I end up having an amazing workout and breaking my personal records – just to prove my lazy self even more wrong.

So, tonight, as I write here, I do have Netflix and Quinoa on my mind (maybe the next big hashtag?) but I let the habit take me over and, in the end, that’s what I want.

I know that repeated effort will yield results – so I continue to write, go to the gym and do my daily meditations. It’s not easy, but neither is a life of only wishing and dreaming.

So get to doing this week and let me know how it goes by emailing me directly (see below) or sharing on Facebook.

For more on this idea and effect, I recommend reading The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. It’s not my favourite self-development book, but the main idea is one of the most important if you want to be successful at anything. Period.

And if you’d simply like a synopsis from yours truly and a little bit more about how I’ve turned small daily habits into 2 successful home businesses, I’d love to have a chat. Get in touch at support@ashewoodward.com.

And remember to grab your FREE guide to adulting in The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goalmaking HERE

#NetflixandQuinoa

Time is on Your Side (or at least it can be…)

The phrase, ‘time management’ can really make my skin crawl. Partly because it’s such a buzzkill of a thing to learn but it’s also a confusing topic that has so many tips, tricks and hacks, that the information out there has become difficult to navigate, watered down, sometimes boring and at others, just plain ineffective in motivating me or anyone to improve.

But I do love the concept of time. I’m fascinated by it, actually. Focusing on a certain age group for my life coaching has forced me to really analyze time in so many new ways.

Thirtysomeones especially are quite prone to bringing up the topic in coaching sessions, whether it’s about not having enough hours in the day to do the things we have to do, let alone the things we’d love to do – or having enough youth to try all the things life can offer. Honestly, I think thirtysomeones are obsessed with time. Yours truly included.

In case you haven’t noticed, a lot of productive adulting requires superb time management. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion out there about what goes into managing your time effectively. And, most of the advice is pretty dry and is filled with setting alarms on our phones and concentrating on getting in, “Just 10 Minutes A Day” for our dream projects.

Some of these tools are great and I do believe that some of us need to set those alarms and some of us really do need to see things as just taking 10 minutes a day consistently. BUT – I also see a much bigger underlying issue plaguing all of us in the adult world.

Our relationship to and with Time, capital ’T’, is broken and until we heal it, there’s no use in trying to make it work for us.

Think of your relationship with anything or anyone. If you abused that person or the fundamentals in that relationship over and over again, do you think they’d want to do you a favour? Do you think they’d even stick around?

Ummm, NO!

And our relationship with Time is no different.

So how are we abusing Time? Take a look at a few tell tale signs your relationship with Time needs attention. If you’re known for doing any of these consistently, there’s, let’s say, room for growth.

Constantly complaining about not having enough time.

We all do it sometimes, but some of us more than others. When your partner or friend asks you what your day will look like or how it was, do you stand there and create an aggravated list on all ten fingers and toes? Do you sigh with exhaustion at the question?

Furthermore, let me ask you: When someone asks how you are, is your answer always something like, “Busy, busy!” or “Hangin’ in there.”? Or do you take it as an opportunity to let this person acknowledge you in the present moment and realize that the only acceptable answer is, “Great, thank you. How are you?”

I know that you may not be “Great” or “Fine,” but that’t not the point. In that moment, someone has bothered to acknowledge you. And if you’re alive and kickin’ to experience that, then, yes, you are “Fine.”

And as far as not having enough time, I get it. We’re all busy. But we all have the same amount of hours in our day and the choices we make are our own. If you feel like you can’t get it all in or done, you’ve got to sacrifice some busy time for some real introspection and some things just may not make the true priorities list and they’ll have to be cut or at least benched for a while.

But you do have to make some choices. Complaining about it doesn’t do anything except reassure yourself that there’s never enough. If you believe it, you’ll attract more proof of what you believe.

So why not..

Believe that everything has its moment and some things can be left for another day.

Believe that you are doing your best.

Believe that you are supported by the perfection of the Universe and that means that everything happens in perfect timing when it’s meant to be.

Being consistently late.

You know who you are. You know it’s a problem but you just can’t seem to fix it. You try to leave early and something always happens. The advice out there says to leave 15 minutes earlier than you thought you should, respect other people’s time, set your watch ahead. Sure these are all great tools, but what’s the real issue?

Are you spending more time on getting ready to go out than you should? Are you procrastinating because you have social anxiety? Do you genuinely loose track of time? How does this happen? What are the triggers? (HINT: Social media is often a huge distractor nowadays).

Figuring out what distracts you from keeping your commitments is one of the first steps in practicing avoiding these triggers and eventually being able to focus on the task at hand which is to get out the door!

Plus, recognizing that you’re late and trying to remedy it shows that you know that time is valuable. Show Time that you acknowledge this by respecting the Time of the person or people you’re meeting with.

This also got for answering texts and phone calls. Respond promptly (doesn’t have to be immediately). This is all practice and repetition that will train you to be more punctual and you’ll begin to get a reputation as a professional and a great person to work with and be friends with.

Only focusing on the past or future. We go through good times and bad – that’s life. That’s how we grow over time. So to say to Time, “Oh, I’m only looking forward to the good stuff, can we skip over this hard part?” or, “I’m so focused on when that happened that I’m not going to move forward,” is a slap right in Time’s face.

Time wants to be a great teacher for you. But you have to be open to listening to the teachings of the present. But as I’ve mentioned before, it’s not so easy to live in the moment or ‘be present’.

Here are my top tricks

  1. A few times a day, when you’re bored or drifting off into a daydream maybe, notice how your tongue is on the roof of your mouth. And then let it fall and relax. It will eventually make its way back, but for that one moment, you’re only focused on what your tongue is doing in the now.
  2. Take a moment to love. Kiss your partner, your kids, your dog. Hug a friend. Ask someone about their day. You may do all of these things anyway, but notice these things a little more for how beautiful they are and how they have nothing to do with the past or future – just the present moment.

These small steps can eventually lead you to see how Time wants to be there for you, not against you; how Time wants you to revere each moment you share together.

And above all, remember that Time heals.

It frickin’ heals us! Think about that for a minute. Time is one of the greatest healers of our pain. It gives us distance, perspective potentially the space to forgive. Time gives us a new day, a second chance – and sometimes third and fourth and fifth chances. If that’s not enough for you to give your full attention to creating a positive relationship then I don’t know what is.

So, yes, mark up your calendar, set your alarms, read a good book for 10 minutes. In other words, manage your time. But remember that it’s not just hours in a day. This is your life and the time you spend here is precious. Spend your time, like money, wisely. Respect yours and others’ time and you’ll see more of it come to you. You’ll start to see gaps for silence and rest open up to you.

And remember, Time is on your side…or, at least, it can be.

I truly love this topic and I could go on and on but I won’t. Not here.

But if you’d like to continue the conversation with me, leave a comment on the Facebook page or get in touch to work together on healing your relationship with Time. Contact me at support@ashewoodward.com and check out more of what I do at ashewoodward.com.

And remember to grab your FREE guide to adulting in The Thirtysomething’s Guide to Successful Goalmaking HERE

What Are Your Daydreams Trying to Tell You?

For the longest time I actively worked against daydreaming because I saw it as the opposite of productivity.  Every time my eyes started to cloud over with fluffy fantasies I would snap myself out of it and get back to “real” work.

Well, as they say, “Be careful what you wish for.”

It was at the beginning of this year that I noticed my self-discipline really taking hold because once I stopped the daydreaming, I got really focused on practical work. So much so that I never took breaks and sometimes went two or three hours without getting up from my computer or taking even a sip of water!

Surprise, surprise, it all caught up with me. 

Sure I’ve been productive as all hell but I’ve learned that it’s nothing without some reflection.  Not only do we really need to reflect in order to improve oneself and check in but also to acknowledge the work and achievements that have been going on.

And, duh – reflection and self-checks all happen in the daydreaming realm.

By shutting out daydreaming I haven’t been shutting out pointless thought webs, I’ve been stifling my brain’s way of sorting and healing.  Not only that but I’ve stopped it from refreshing itself by adventuring and exploring.

And the worst part is that as a Creative (capital C) I can’t believe that I ever thought that was a good idea. How dare I try and stifle my Creative brain!  It’s literally my money maker and how I make my living – writing the blog, creative marketing, and, most importantly, working through people’s questions doubts and helping find creative solutions.

Daydreams are where the imagination goes searching for the next idea and the answer to current questions. At times these derailments may look like innocuous jaunts down Ryan Reynolds Lane but eventually, if we let them run a little longer, they just might take us to Breakthrough Avenue.

And since cutting off this free flow of ideas I feel as though I have an injured muscle.  Even though I’m letting the daydreams take me away again, I’m rehabilitating slowly.

In other words, I’ve been off my game. You may have noticed that I didn’t post last week. Don’t be fooled. This has been going on a lot longer than that, it’s just that it hadn’t affected my post writing yet because I had a stockpile of ideas from months ago.

And now, since I’ve figured out my problem, I’m back in business – literally! Mercury is flying forward and so am I. Ideas are flowing and solutions are no longer floating somewhere beyond my reach and I vow to my Creative Spirit to never shut out daydreams again.

—-well, not never; a girl’s gotta work sometimes too!

The point is, daydreams are rich with ideas and to stifle them is to block your full creative power and potential.  Never fool yourself into thinking that they are the enemy, as I did.  You’ll only block yourself further and perhaps miss out on your big aha.

So, how are you letting your creativity flow these days? Have you ever had an epiphany through a daydream?  What was it? I’d love to hear i the comments.

Or, if you really want to talk about how daydreaming and exploring your creativity can solve some of your adulating problems, get in touch for coaching at

support@ashewoodward.com.

Being Thirties – Podcast with Natalie Edwards

No new posts, just as promised!  I’m working away at my own goals at the moment to bring you more great content for 2016.  But here is one of those projects already- an interview done by Natalie Edwards of natedwards.co.uk.  

Natalie asked me some great questions on creative thirtysomethings and entrpreneurs as well as my thoughts on family pressures and standing in your own decisions and power.

This was a fun chat for me so I hope you enjoy it and get something from it.

http://www.natedwards.co.uk/2015/11/26/success-coach-ashe-woodward/

If you’d like to experience the power of coaching first-hand, get in touch for a FREE 30-minute consultation/exploration.

support@ashewoodward.com or get more info at ashewoodward.com

Amazing Time-Management Tips for Your Thirties

I can’t create more time for you – not literally. But as a coach for thirtysomethings, my job is all about showing you that there is more time around than you think.  There really are better ways to spend your time each day and plenty of time in your thirties to follow, catch, and live your dream. So, here are my top time-managing and   time-creating tips for the busy thirtysomething [I tried to make it quick;) ]

Don’t Panic

The most important thing is your outlook. When we freak out and scream that there aren’t enough hours in a day, our brain is in a very basic, instinctual place. You’ve probably heard of the reptile brain, the amygdala. This is where our sense of fight or flight comes from and it’s a big culprit of unnecessary stress-creation. It’s a response that keeps us in confusion and freak out mode and causes that feeling that we just want to bail. We’ve all felt those times when it feels like so much we just want to give up – that’s the amygdala! So how do we soothe our senses and keep a cool head? See tip #2

Be Grateful

Taking a few moments for gratitude is a proven way of calming the nerves and bringing our consciousness back into the clear-thinking cerebral cortex. That’s just a lot of mumbo-jumbo to say, ‘It helps you calm down and start thinking clearly again’. And if you are looking at a never-ending to-do list, you need to be sharp. A clear and focused mind is your best defence against time-craziness because you’ll be able to prioritize and strategically create a better plan for getting things done. Plus, when we feel calmer overall, we make less mistakes so it’s really time well spent. So take a deep breath and be thankful for what you’ve accomplished that day or week and get your head on straight to get the rest done all in good time.

Procrastinate

Yes, procrastinate.  Start to notice how you can often leave a few things off your list for tomorrow. Who said everything has to be done today? Sure there are things with deadlines, but there are also some things without. Sometimes we forget that some of our deadlines were self-imposed and could maybe be pushed back a smidge to make way for some breathing room.

Take a Break

Sometimes I really hate this advice because obviously if you could take a break you would, right? But scheduling a break between activities is more necessary than you think and can really up your productivity. Think about scheduling buffer zones around your activities so that you can carry out your duties faster and more efficiently. Think about it: When you plan something out doesn’t it usually turn out better than if it’s rushed?Throw in a couple minutes of gratitude before you get going and you’re set to be a person of productivity rather than a ball of stress and poor time-management skills.

Bonus Tip: Time Journal

Sometimes we may not be aware of how much time there actually is in our day. What’s more is sthat we are often totally oblivious to the time sitting right in front of our faces – literally. Screen time is a HUGE time sucker. We all know it but we indulge on the sly. ‘I’ll just check my Facebook really quick –’…… half and hour later…

So for one or two days, see if you can monitor how much time you spend doing one thing (especially screen time) for a chunk of time. It’s not easy but I promise you you’ll raise some eyebrows afterwards. Think of how a personal trainer has you keep a food journal to point out where you’ve indulged or where you can do better. This is the same thing.

And if you’re not sure where you can make improvements or how – get in touch! I’d love to show you where you can create more time out of thin air!

Make your appointment at ashewoodward.com

photo:patrickschreiner.com