This weekend I experienced a game changing moment...
I was sitting on my sofa, taking a momentary brain break scanning my instastory feed (can anyone relate?) I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and if I am honest, I had some Mom Guilt around the quality time I spent with my kids, or lack there of, that day. I was feeling like I was out of balance - time was passing but I wasn't taking full advantage of it. I didn't know how to turn the rest of the day around.
The game changer? As I took my brain break, @busytoddler was answering questions with the new instastory function. She referenced the 'Big 3' as the things that she focuses on with her three kids daily. The Big 3 are the key things that our children need most from us each day; conversation, play and reading.
When I saw those three I thought, "I can do that, that is simply... I can turn today around." I jumped up from the sofa and went to play with my kids. I explored conversations with them to learn about their perspective of the weekend and what they were looking forward to this coming week. I finished the night with some snuggles, stories and more conversation. I put them both to bed and returned to the sofa. I began reflecting and realized I felt amazing about the day. Less than an hour before, that was not my perspective on the day - amazing how something so simple made such an impact.
When I am overwhelmed, I need to break it down, to a meaningful list of achievable goals. I saw that Instastory on the 'Big 3' at the moment I needed it most. Three achievable things I could do, that (research told me) would make an impact.
Today, I challenge you to break it down, so that when life gets busy or overwhelming, you can return to that simplified list and feel accomplished, productive and like you are making the impact you intended to in that moment.
Sending love and simplicity out today, Mamma.
Image Source: Pinterest
A few years ago a coaching colleague of mind brought my attention to a Robin Sharma video highlighting successful tips for the new year. One of those I integrated into my Sunday routine and it has made a world of difference for me in feeling ready to take on the week.
The tip is simple. Block out an hour on Sunday to plan out your week.
How do I do it?
1. I look at my calendar and preparing anything I can in advance for what is coming up (planning out what I am taking to the potluck I am attending Friday night, wrapping the birthday gift for Wednesday dinner, pre-ordering flowers to be delivered to a family member for their anniversary). I get all those jobs done in advance so I know that in the moment I can grab what I need (which will already be organized and ready to go) and hit the road.
2. Block in the important stuff. In this step I build in time to spend with each of my kids, me time, time to workout, etc. Whatever is important to you, build those priorities into your plan (the key here is then to protect the time like it was an urgent meeting).
3. Block in the other stuff. Now block in your to-do items (in priority order, as only so much will fit). Be specific as to what you are going to do with the time, so that when the calendar reminder pops up you can transition directly into that to-do (instead of spinning your wheels or wondering what you were talking about).
4. Live the plan. I find having everything chunked out in my calendar allows me to be completely present in the moment and stops me from wasting time wondering which of my to-do's to tackle.
5. Tweak the plan. I take 15 minutes at the start of each day to review my plan for the day and make any tweaks that are needed (for all that stuff that comes up last minute).
Happy Planning Mamma!
Those who know me, know that I like to be busy. Over the years I have realized it is because I find it hard to be organized (and not "waste time") when I am not busy. The busier I get, the more I enjoy scheduling and time management; which in turn makes me feel like I am using my time in a positive, productive way.
A few weeks ago I did a time audit - simply put I took note of how I was using my time. I then took my findings and compared it to my priorities. I was looking for the basics - was my top priority receiving the largest chunk of my time and so on down the line. I came across some really interesting misalignments, which I have now been consciously working to correct.
If you are interested in seeing the comparison of how your actual time spent lines up with your priorities give these four simple steps a try:
Step 1: Create your list of priorities - Need to do this? Check out this blog post for an idea of how.
Step 2: For one week of relatively "normal" days make note, in detail, of how you are spending your time (you can use your priorities as categories or create other buckets i.e. family, work, errands, me-time etc.) You can get as detailed as you like with your buckets and description of activities.
Step 3: Compare the actual time spent on your priorities. How do these align?
Step 4: Make a plan to make shifts in how you spend your time, if needed, and celebrate where you are successful!
I seem to be learning from my toddler on a daily basis lately. Late last week we were working on finishing up some painting for Father's Day. My daughter recently got a paint palate and has been loving experimenting with mixing colours on it. She was sitting there mixing some really neat colours while I was busy tidying our kitchen. She looked up at me and said, "Paint with me Mamma". The immediate reaction in my head was, 'You don't have time to paint Megan'. Anyone else ever felt that way? I already felt overwhelmed with the amount of juggling I was doing in that moment...day... if I am honest, week. I had so much to do... I was about to say no when I thought for a minute...
If there was a fly sitting on my wall right now watching my day play out how would it describe my priorities?
Quite honestly, that day...
3. Supporting others
4. My family
What do I want my priorities to be?
1. My family
In that moment I was able to release the long list of things I "should-do" and live my priorities. I sat down and had an incredible time being creative, connecting with my daughter, and filling both of our 'love tanks'. Taking that moment to think through how I was living my priorities vs. how I wanted to be living my priorities enabled me to show up completely in that moment and enjoy it with my daughter.
How would that fly on the wall describe your priorities today?
We have less than a week to go until Spring officially arrives and I can't tell you how excited I am! I will never say the snow is over for us in Southern Ontario (I am not that brave), but this is the time of year I get restless for nature to show me signs of new life. My garden has bulbs peaking up and I admit it puts a smile on my face and helps invigorate me to drive forward.
It is the time of year for spring cleaning, opening the windows and saying goodbye to hibernating ways. The park across from our house is busy after dinner again and families are out walking, biking, and enjoying the arriving season.
It is a great time of year to take a quick check-in to see how you are doing at living your priorities...
Imagine a fly on the wall of your life, how would it describe your priorities having watched your day-to-day life? How does this align with what you want your priorities to be? What shifts do you need to make this spring to align your desired priorities with how you are actually living?
Earlier this week I explored 'Prioritizing Self-Care' and shared that there are two reasons it often gets pushed to the back burner of our daily lives...
1. Our Must-Do List
2. Activities that Feel More Important than self-care
My challenge earlier this week was to first look at your Must-Do List, using the suggestions from earlier this week, to cut some time out of those activities (which you immediately earmark and assign to self-care). How did it go? I used my shaved off time to paint my nails this week and every time I look at them it makes me very happy I took the time out!
Today, let's look at those activities that feel more important than self-care. This one is a little trickier as for many of us who have this mentality (me included!) we needed to shift our mindset, not just implement some timesavers, which takes more work and commitment.
What this ultimately comes down to is...
Where do you fall on your priority list?
If we think about our cars for a moment; without fuel they cannot go anywhere. We need to fill them up and get them checked-up so they continue to serve our needs. From my perspective, we are the same. We need to add gas to our tanks in order to be able to show up present in our lives, give back, help others, parent etc.
If you wanted to take a road trip this weekend, what is more important than filling the car up with gas?
How can you squash the thought that so many other things are more important than taking the time out for self-care?
Feeling a little friction around living your priorities? Eliminate your priority conflict by building boundaries. Learn how on our blog over at momcafé Network! Click here to read it!
Returning to work soon? Feeling that need to "nest" just like you were nearing the end of your pregnancy?
Nesting is a primal instinct that hits Mammas all over the animal kingdom as they prepare to welcome their new little one to their home. Many returning Mammas that I have spoken to find the final month before their return to work feels similar to nesting:
Perhaps it is a desire to...
To smooth the transition we naturally want to get everything we can control organized, so that it creates less to worry or think about as we take on this new chapter of baby + work.
Before that nesting desire emerges perhaps consider...
How do you build time into your nesting period for getting yourself ready for your return?
What things matter the most in that final month? How do you keep your focus on those activities while managing your desire to "nest"?
Image Source: www.freedigitalphotos.net
As this fresh new calendar year arrives, many of us take stock of our lives. We reflect on the highs and lows of 2014, and we begin to look forward to how we want 2015 to unfold.
A key step, from my perspective, is understanding your priorities. Here is a simple exercise to help evaluate priorities, ultimately creating what I like to call a Priority Snake. All you need is a pad of sticky notes (or some paper scraps) and a pen / marker / pencil.
Creating your Priority Snake...
Now, how are you going to live those priorities in 2015?
Want more activities like this one? Join us for our January program 2015: The Best Year Yet!
How do I make you the best year yet??
First, I need to set my intentions, understand my priorities, create a plan, look for roadblocks...
Join us in making 2015: The Best Year Yet! Click below to learn more and register today!
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The Mamma Returns
The Mamma Returns is a boutique coaching firm for Mammas. We offer executive, life and transition coaching services. In addition, we offer programs for Mammas returning to the workforce post-parental leave, and self-guided programs to explore priorities, boundaries, goal setting to name a few.
Megan is an optimistic, enthusiastic Mamma who strives for a balanced, intentional life. Megan believes in planning for the best case and preparing for the worst.
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