How to fit fun into your busy life

I have a tendency to turn everything into work. Even the things I love to do. Just like posting on this blog. I love to sit and write to you the great and wider world. I love to spill out my thoughts and have people comment and be inspired by my words. Yet if I don’t write it on my to do list I forget to do it and make it important. The catch 22 is that as soon it’s on my list it becomes work. A chore. Now I know this is partly due to my own attitude to the to-do list but I think it is also that in a day where there are many things to do and have to be done life tends to feel like a chore. There is a distinct lack of fun in a busy every day.

I am not alone in feeling like this. There are many of us out there that have busy lives that without considered thought and a little focus can just feel like funless constant work. That is er…. No fun. (Apologies for lack of vocabulary. It is Monday). So what to do about it? Because at the end of the day the reason your days are busy is that there are so many things that have to be done and you want to do. How to find the balance between that and having fun?

Prioritise

Firstly in order to have more fun, we need to decide that fun is equally as important as work, housework and all the other things we have to do/want to do. If we don’t prioritize fun then we won’t get it.

Attitude change

Now as I said my challenge is that I tend to think of everything as work. And to be fair I have a lot of work. However, it’s as  Thomas Edison said “I never did a day’s work in my life. It was all fun.”  Now that doesn’t mean Mr Edison never worked. He just thought of it as fun. I find the art of thinking something is fun without analysing it difficult. So I have looked at my daily weekly and monthly activities and identified which of these I find fun. Even though its a purely theoretical exercise, it has helped me to see that I do actually have more fun than I thought in my life.

Leave work at work

One of the greatest tricks I have found as an entrepreneur is to leave work at work. I have a signpost on my office door that I turn around for when I am working and when I am done. I have strict office hours and when it is 5 o’clock the day is done. I also do the same thing with household chores if it is not done by 19:00 then it is not getting done that day. The last 3 hours of the day are for fun, however, I need it at that time. Some evenings include no chores (apart from clearing the table). Mentally or even physically leaving your jobs in the jobs time means that you get to fee and experience having more time.

Find ways of making chores fun

Now there are not many people in the world who enjoy household chores (my mother in law is the exception). So a great way to have more fun is to find ways to make boring things fun. A friend once told me that when she scrubs the toilet she scrubs it with love. It always makes me laugh as I do this now. I have an upbeat cleaning music playlist I use to dance around in the house as I clean. Singing whilst driving to work is another great one. Or simply using your commuting time for the game you love on your phone or reading.

Give yourself time for daily fun

Set aside at least 10 minutes to have fun. I like to try and include something fun or silly on my to-do list every day. It helps me keep the fun in my life a priority.

Start your day happy

Starting the day badly can affect every moment of that day.  Make a conscious effort to start the day in a way that makes you feel happy. I use the time to do my gratitude practice and read one chapter of whichever personal development book I am reading at that particular time. It combines two of my favourite activities of writing and reading. Mr T the health nut starts his day with training.

Schedule pleasure

In a 14 day period schedule some pleasure time to do a fun activity that fills at least an hour. You can schedule a free evening if you want just to do something spontaneously fun or you can decide beforehand what would be fun to do.

Create a play box

I love this idea. As a child we have toy boxes so why not have an adult play box. Put in things that are fun activities you like to do. A play box is a go-to resource for those days where you need a fun boost. Another way is making playlists of things you want to watch on youtube or on Netflix.

On a bad day vitto a chore and do something fun

Having a bad day? Then look at your todo list and vitto something not fun for a mood-lifting fun activity. It doesn’t have to take long. 20 mins fun can turn your motivation and mood around so that a rubbish day becomes fantabulous!

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If you feel like you are not having enough fun in your busy life. Choose one of the above and make it important to do in the next 3 days. Actively seeking and having fun will make life more enjoyable not just for you but for the people around. No matter how demotivated you feel, have a go. I promise you that by making yourself have fun, life will start to feel fun once more!

Have fun this week 🙂

 

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#lifelessons101 – Frustrated? Try the healing power of whimsy

Under a fair amount of stress at the moment I am finding many things frustrate me. This week I had one particular incident with a company who has provided me with bad products and bad service. Now normally that would annoy me but in my current frame of mind, I exploded with frustration. It was like some hidden cave troll boiled up from the deep recesses of my soul and even with using anger management techniques,I could not let it go.) Until that is I stumbled upon James Veitch’s video “The agony of trying to unsubscribe” and got a great reminder of the perfect tool to stop feeling frustrated.

Whimsy

Seriously whimsy. Jame’s video advocates instead of being frustrated and annoyed with the bane, pointless, or boring points in life, that you find the game. Find the fun and whimsy and focus on that. So I tried. And instead of being p*ssed off I took the Veitchian approach and found the fun. Which actually resulted in me making myself laugh as I delighted in wasting the time of the people at the printer company who had frankly been mucking me about. (I mean who sends a printable return label to a customer you sent dysfunctional ink cartridges)  It felt great. So I thought this whimsy thing. Maybe I can apply it to other annoyances in my life. That led to an exploration of whimsy that is turning both my life and my stress around.

You want to try it? Of course, you do! I mean who wants to be annoyed when you could be smiling and light-hearted right? I adopted what I call the Vetchian Principle which is

Annoyed? Frustrated? Look for the game and bring whimsy back into your life!

Ergo whenever something really annoyed me, I would look for a fun way to turn it around. (Similar to the way the Riddikulus spell works in Harry Potter where you have to turn a fear into something funny.)  It Is BRILLIANT and IT WORKS. Here are a few of the whimsical ways I have been turning around my frustrations this week I hope they inspire you to your own ways of using the healing power of whimsy and basically having a happier existence.

Handling the illogical and frankly stupid bad customer service by turning into the stupid naive and illogical customer wasting their time and giving me a great laugh. (This one is pure Veitch!)

Making a pyramid of finished cardboard toilet rolls that Mr T leaves consistently in the bathroom to remind him of the need to take them out.

Incorporating stupid insults and gestures into arguments. So instead of yelling at each other, an argument became a Monty Python-esque battle of stupid insults and much blowing of raspberries.

Equally starting a pillow fight mid row to break the tension.

When my patience is tried by other people I have been responding to their pure idiocy with nonsensical sentences (Fry and Laurie are great for inspiration here).

Finding random and bizarre gifs to respond to annoying facebook comments.

Working in a pillow fort rather than at my desk to prove I can be both childish and a proper grown up

The ultimate thing with this principle is that it makes you laugh and diffuses tension.And we all know that one of the best stress relievers in the world is laughter. Try a 7-day whimsy challenge. Look for the game in the irritation and you will find that you, your life and your stress load is lighter. In the comments please, please inspire me by telling me how you turned your frustrations around this week by introducing whimsy into the situation.

Have a wonderful whimsical weekend <3

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#Lifelessons101 –  Changing to a positive attitude (inspired by Gretchen Rubin)

Recently I got a wake-up call. And it wasn’t a nice one and kinda scary to admit in public. Ok here goes. I am in reality a pretty negative person. Not in my professional life, where I inspire others to see the bright side of life. Not even my public life, with friends or on social media. But at home behind closed doors, I can be, and regularly am a pessimistic, grumpy stress head. Not a great realisation. However, it is a constructive one as it’s a starting point for change.

I realised this at a recent Lammas workshop where we were talking about sacrifice and the concept that if you want to make something new in your life you have to let something go. (Or sacrifice it, just as the wheat gets cut down to become our bread and brandy) One of this year’s goals for me it to have a healthier, happier relationship with Mr T. Our communication has taken a downwards turn of late so I wanted to improve this. But as the year has gone and stress has been rising if anything my negativity and negative communication with the man I love has got worse. Definitely a glowing neon universal sign that something needs to change.

And of course, that change starts with me. In that workshop, I identified that one of the reasons I was being a snappy cow was because I had too much control and responsibility in our lives and that made me unconsciously resent Mr T (who bless him is sublimely oblivious to this fact). Secondly, I was having trouble letting go of frustrations, little niggling things, like the fact he can’t put the cardboard from a used toilet paper in the bin (WHY??), blind me to all the good and sweet things he does. So letting go was a big key to changing my negativity to positivity. But how? That’s the magic question.

Luckily one of my favourite author’s Gretchen Rubin came to my rescue in her wonderful book “The Happiness Project”. It seems Gretchen had exactly the same issue as me. Always jumping to the negative rather than the positive. In fact, it’s a common issue for many of us. To combat this Gretchen took a whole month to consciously work on her attitude, focusing on the positive rather than the negative. I love this idea, it really spoke to my structured loving mindset. So for the next four weeks, I am going to focus on my attitude.

And this is how I am going to do it:

Identify how you want to change

To not make this a sweeping declaration (a la Marshell Eriksen) I have made a plan. Firstly I have identified how I want to change :

  • I want to understand my negative reactions and use that to help me turn them into positivity.
  • I want to use positive language
  • I want to feel less angry and frustrated
  • I want to think positively even under stress

Make resolutions

Following the Gretchen recipe, the first step is to make resolutions. The idea is to find specific areas to focus on to reach your goal. So my 4 resolutions for this month are:

  • React positively
  • Use good manners
  • Let go of things that don’t serve me
  • Find my joy

The surreal thing is that as always the universe is listening. And lo and behold the moment I set these resolutions I began to find ways to keep them.

Catch the negativity, analyze it and find a positive way to react

If you find that like me you often react negatively, the first step to change is catching yourself at it. Ask yourself why you re reacting this way and then find a way you can react positively.

As I have been writing I could hear the annoying piercing scream of the hoover my Mr T is using. Immediately my first reaction was one of frustration. The noise is too loud. I can’t concentrate. Why the heck does he have to do this now! Normally I would let this spiral on until my next interaction with Mr T and then this frustration would be thrown at the poor unsuspecting man. However, in the spirit of reacting positively, I didn’t. Instead, I took myself outside away from the noise, caught my breath. And therein remembered that we have some neon green noise cancelling headphones. So now I am sitting here comfortable in the lack of wailing noise and appreciative that my lovely man has cleaned the house and I don’t have to do it. (Note to self: Be grateful and say thank you.)

Use good manners

Now this one is lifted straight from the book. As I read I could really relate to the fact that I don’t always use good manners in the way I speak to people. Well, correction, in the way I speak to Mr T. One of the curses of a coach is that you use a lot of energy helping others to feel good and grow, which can mean you don’t have much energy left. And often I find that manifests in me being rude to  Mr T. Well they do say “We hurt those we love the most” which is stupidity if ever I heard it. I didn’t want to hurt Mr T. I wanted to treat him best of all persons. So I have started to find ways I can use good manners towards him. Assuming less and asking more. Using please and thank you. Not rolling my eyes when he is annoying (one of his pet hates). Doing actions of love. Basically being nice.

If you want the world to feel nicer you can’t expect it to hand it to you on a plate if you aren’t willing to be nice too. Good manners are something we can all work on in every aspect of life. Ultimately it’s about being kind and the world is always better for a little kindness.

Let go of things that don’t serve me

Mr T is frustratingly good at this. In a situation, I recently found hella frustrating and a bad experience, Mr T simply focused on the positive things and found the same situation as a great experience. He let go of the bits that didn’t serve him and kept the bits that did. Oh to be able to do that in the blink of an eye! I seriously struggle with letting things go. Partly because I have an expectation of how things should be. And partly because it niggles inside me. So my work here is two-fold.

Firstly I need to use the five-minute rule. Give myself 5 minutes alone to be cross, frustrated, sad, whatever I feel. Then ask myself “can I do anything now?” If I can then do something. If I can’t I have to let it go. However in order to do that I have to find the positives from the challenge.

Secondly, I have to let go of my expectation of how something should play out and enjoy the moment. So what if a date night ended up being a discussion about our finances. At least we got that sorted. Simply looking for the positive here is going to help. Also letting Mr T know I have an expectation is a great way to make sure disappointment is avoided.

There are many different ways you can work on letting go of that which does not serve you. Ask Google for inspiration. As always Google knows!

Find my joy

When you are stressed it is easy to lash out at our nearest and dearest. It’s normal. But I hate it. I always feel like I am the worst version of myself when I do this. So to release the pressure I want to focus on finding my joy in the stressful times. Whether I need some time alone, to draw, to write, to have a walk, to dance, to laugh. Basically, instead of lashing out I want to find ways to make me feel good.

pollyannaGretchen had a great suggestion for this the Pollyanna week. If you haven’t seen the film or read the book, Pollyanna plays the glad game. Basically, whatever happens to her she finds a reason to be glad. Gretchen took a whole week of being glad. I used to play this game a lot as a child. As an adult, it has transpired into my golden rule, if you can learn from a situation it was a good situation. But to just be glad seems like a much simpler and joyful way.

Instead of expecting others to give us joy in the down times find ways you can lift your own spirits and connect with your joy. In times of stress connect with yourself and ask you what do I need right now? How can I feel my joy?

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In essence, the recipe to turn your negative attitude into a positive one is quite simple:

  • Identify how you want to change
  • Make resolutions
  • Find ways you can make those resolutions a reality
  • Follow your plan

I hope you find this as helpful as I did writing it. How do you guys turn your negativity into a positive attitude? Let me know in the comments below.

Have an amazing weekend <3

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Getting your life back on track after Summer

There probably isn’t anyone in the world who doesn’t love the summer holidays. However, if you are like me the end of summer might find you as the late lie in queen, binge-watching Netflix, eating junk and going to bed way later than usual.  It’s no wonder that the thought of the return to normal life and the humdrum rhythm makes me want to hide under the duvet and click the next episode button.

However, all good parties have to come to an end and after a busy summer, I can hear those hum drums calling me back. If you are a regular reader you will know that I LOVE routine.  But for me, those first few weeks back at work after the holidays are always challenging. The rhythm of the every day, so normal and flowing before the break is suddenly exhaustingly hard. It’s tough to focus. And if you, like me, have had such a busy summer that you need a break to get over your holiday, at the end of August I can end up an emotional, unproductive mess. It’s a rhythm I have been stuck in for years.

However, forewarned is forearmed. This year I decided that I am changing the pattern and I have found a way to get my life back on track after Summer. If you need a refocus after the holidays here is a surefire recipe for success that will bring you to the end of August as a productive and perky person!

Don’t beat yourself up:

So you ate 3 tons of ice cream/pizza/carb and drank half the cocktail bar alone on your hols? So what! In the holidays we all have binges be it food, laziness, lie-ins or overspending. I don’t think I have ever met anyone who doesn’t need to play catch up with something after the holidays. And that’s OK. The important thing is to not beat yourself up about it. It was part of summer you – YeY for summer you!  Summer you has nothing to do with after summer you, so don’t beat yourself up for what you did. It’s time to think about what you are going to do.

Reconnect with yourself:

In the summer we have more interactions with other people, family and friends. We have all been having fun, just as we should. However all these experiences and socialising can take you away from yourself. To get back on track you need to reconnect with yourself. You need some time alone to become aware of what you want and need. So as soon as you can schedule in some Ḿe time. Not the Netflix duvet ‘me time’. Productive me time. Both journaling and meditation are a great way to connect with yourself and your energy.  Even a 1-minute meditation will give your body the opportunity to give you feedback on what it needs. Allow yourself to listen to your body.

Prioritise:

You will have less energy for the normal rhythm after summer. It takes a few weeks to get back into it. So you need to prioritise your energy. Chose 3 areas to focus on in the first week.  I came to a big pile of unforeseen financial poop. So that was my immediate priority. The second priority was the big pile of washing, (it is apparently necessary for Mr T to have clean underpants and he does not speak washing machine!) And the last was to get back into using to do lists after 18 days off. Having a limited number of things to focus on in your first weeks back to normality will slowly retrain you into your normal rhythm. Remember this applies to both home and work life. And keep in mind the mantra. ” It’s ok to put things on hold. It is better to focus and do one thing well”

Keep your battery charged up:

Cut out unnecessary social engagements. Plan your Me time. Take care of your personal energy and keeping it charged up. Back to work normally means the alarm clock comes back on. If you keep summer bedtimes and work getting up times you are going to get sick, quickly. Getting back into a reasonable bedtime, eating good food, drinking water are all the small things you can do to take care of you. Remember you are the most important thing in your life if your body doesn’t work nothing else does.

Planning and structure:

The quicker you can get back into normal routines the better. Personally, I love to have schedules and routines  I like to start the day with my me time, training time and eating healthy. I like to have a shower after dinner and prep clothes and work bag the day before. But this is a lot to throw me back into at once. So I have started back by using my weekly schedule. Now I am focusing on rebuilding my morning routine and have given myself 3 simple health goals. That’s enough for me. When it comes to getting back into the routine after summer I recommend going at a snail’s pace and taking baby steps.

Keep on at it:

Getting back on track is actually harder than starting a completely new habit. You will fail and forget. In my first week back I suddenly got ill and had to have 3 days in bed. All I really wanted to do was my morning routine and be productive at work and I couldn’t. When you don’t do the things you set yourself to do it can be easy to give up altogether. Don’t. So you didn’t do your journaling, meditation or the washing. Accept it. And do it as soon as possible.

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The most important part of getting life back on track is the decision to do it. Only you can say I need to do this and only you can do it. I personally find it an empowering (if albeit tiring to start with) process. I wish you luck with getting back on track. And if you feel so inspired write about your journey in the comments below. I love getting inspired by my readers 🙂

Have an amazing week <3
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