Thought of the Day

Over the last few days, I’ve been powering through some tasks which I’ve had on my to-do-list for months. I was determined that before school mania started again, I would complete them. 

As I got through each task with glee, I was struck by one thing, it actually did not take me that long to finish them; particularly when I broke them down to smaller chunks. We aren’t talking about life saving stuff here just simple things like defrosting the fridge, choosing a business name, decluttering, budgeting, expenses; things that make my world go round. When properly planned, most of them took less than an hour and usually on an evening after work. So why did I procrastinate for so long? 

That got me thinking about reasons why we procrastinate and so I came up with a list based on my own experience and observation of others.

  1. We overestimate how long it’ll take to get things done
  2. A fear of failure
  3. Laziness
  4. Indecisiveness
  5. Lack of self control or discipline 
  6. Thinking tomorrow will create extra time
  7. We lack skills or knowledge
  8. Boredom
  9. Demotivation or lack of focus
  10. Feeling overwhelmed

Do any resonate with you? The antidote to procrastination is simply to start doing. I might unpick how I was able to overcome procrastination in my next post.

  

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We Think We Have Time

So we hold that grudge one more day.

We think we have time;

And don’t take the time to invest in our relationships.

We think we have time;

So we procrastinate one day longer.

We think we have time;

So we don’t say I love you anymore.

We think we have time;

We don’t take the time to pray.

We think we have time;

So we let regret spend another day.

We think we have time;

We waste it longing instead of doing.

We think we have time;

So we remain too scared to make the first move.

We think we have time;

We stay angry instead of making up.

We think we have time;

So fear takes the reigns and dreams remain bottled up.

We think we have time;

But then he died;

We think we have time;

Until time is simply no more.

Then we will know we had all the time life allocated to us.

-RWW

A Little Change At a TIme

So this year to motivate me, I adopted a Vision board as a visual aid of all the things I want in my life this year and probably the next five or so, God willing.

  

If you know me, my bug bear is preachers, life coaches and anyone else who propagates a message of you-can-attain-your-dreams-without-any-action-required on your part. Maybe that’s why I hate the term New Year’s Resolution.

We are almost half way through the year. Now is a good time to take a step back, assess, plan, re-jig and re-boot.

There’s no point in beating yourself up if you haven’t accomplished all you wanted. There are still six months left to make the right changes. In fact if we start today, we have six months and eight days.

Let’s do this!

-RWW

The Limitations of Having a Vision

Last weekend I spent some time with a friend who talked about a dream of hers and how she was at the place where she was ready to go for it. It’s a very expensive dream to have so I can understand why it’s taken her a while to wrap her head around giving it a go. It’s also a dream that goes against the norm – not always easy to put your head above the parapet.

Having a vision means that you are boxed in. And as you get older, the more you junk stuff you are not interested in and so that vision continues to glare at you more and more.  And if like me you have a vision board on your wall, it stares at you before you go to bed and first thing when you wake up.

You can’t run away from who you are any more than you can can run away from the dreams gestating within you. You can put them on hold or dance around them, but they will always be alive within you waiting for an opportunity to flourish.

When we use the word dream, the tendency is for the mind to always go to some major adventure, project or accomplishment.  The tendency is to let other people’s accomplishments determine what we think a dream is.

A dream is whatsoever your heart desires. A better relationship with your spouse or a loved one, a peaceful home, a healthy diet, time for yourself in a busy world- a dream is whatever you imagine that is not yet a reality.

At some point you’ve got to admit to yourself that you are either not brave enough; hardworking enough; tough enough; committed enough; caring enough; whatever ……….. enough.  At some point you have to admit that just maybe, all along, you are the only one in the way of achieving your dream.

Vision Boards

I like to think about the New Year way before it starts. Usually by mid-September, I’m scouring my mind and making way for thoughts of the New Year.

I’d heard of vision boards some years ago but never did one. I’m a visual person so I thought to try something different whilst I was feeling excited about the New Year.

I wanted to make sure I got it done last year so I emailed half a dozen friends to see if they were interested in a group activity. I got positive responses but in the end only three could make the date I had available. 50% is not bad eh?

I went onto google, as you do, to find out some information about creating Vision Boards and facilitating a group activity on them. Nothing major, I just skimmed through some articles and was ready to go.

Don’t be fooled by the terminology though. They are nothing more than mood boards for goals/ambitions. Interior and graphic designers have been employing them for years. I always marvel at how life coaches turn age-old wisdom into freshly developed pearls of wisdom but I digress. It is simply a pictorial view of something you want to achieve. Works particularly well for people who are quite visual.

I’m the sort a person that you would take to a dilapidated building site and would see nothing but rubble. I need to see designs, swatches, colours, walls and all for it to excite me. If you are that kind of person, this would work really well for you. However, at the end of the day, it’s just a tool.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if it would work, especially as I had other people with me on the journey but I’m always up for learning new things and pushing my boundaries. It’s not like we were going to the North Pole right? Just in case though I was ready with food, drink and good company.
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If you thinking of trying this out here’s what you need:

  1. Card: I went for A2 but I suppose you could stick together a few A4 cards to get the size you want.
  2. Scissors
  3. Glue
  4. Magazines: loads of different kinds. You can ask your GP or hair salon for copies they are throwing out as well.
  5. A quiet space to do it with some relaxing music helps

Step 1: Think about what you want to achieve. Could be what you want 2015 to bring, what you want the next ten years of your life to look like, a home renovation project – whatever. It’s whatever you want.

Step 2: Go through the magazines and without really thinking, pull out images or words that jump out at you. This could take about half an hour. Just keep pulling them out. Having a variety of different magazines helps as in our case I found out that having only two types was a bit limiting and it took more time to search through. So ensure you have a wide breadth of magazine choices
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Step 3: This is the fun part. Start cutting out images and sticking them on your card or board. You might find that you have some sort of theme running through your pictures and could arrange them according to that. Or there might be no common thread at all so just stick them wherever and however you want. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a board that people want to see. It’s your life, your board.

Step 4: Once you are done sticking, take a step back and look at your board and see if anything resonates with you. The key is to be open to whatever it may bring your way. One of my friends, discovered that whilst she was doing a lot of things and was mega busy, she had been spending time doing things that didn’t please her. The board helped her to realise this and I’ve already seen her make changes to her life.

Step 5: If the board worked for you i.e. it inspires, tells you something new about yourself, validates, etc. then stick it up on a wall where you can see it regularly as a reminder of what you want to achieve.

I’ll have to admit that one evening wasn’t enough for me. I ended up sticking my images and words by theme but I didn’t have enough pictures. However, once my themes were in place and I realised these were the things I wanted to accomplish in the next phase of my life, I went back to the magazines looking for images that matched my vision.

I’ve also gone a step further and done a vision board with my children which I’ll blog about soon. That was quite enlightening.

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After the vision board comes action without which this is just a pretty picture on your wall. However, I do get a boost each morning by looking at it so in that sense it brought clarity to me as well as motivation.

Enough of the 2015 Drivel – Less Talk, More Action

Someone tweeted this the other day and I had to laugh because I totally understood where she was coming from. As the end of one year draws nigh and the dawn of the new year rises, there is an inordinate amount of ‘motivational’ spiel all over cyberspace.

During the first couple of months of the year, I tend to avoid social media because undoubtedly, every friend, follower and his aunty will be posting motivational quotes,quips, sentences, memes – whatever you want to call them. And If I am honest, even humble-improve-yourself-me finds it a bit annoying.

Don’t get me wrong. I usually love such quotes and I believe 100% in personal development but at this time of the year you just want to yell SHUT UP and do something instead of talking about it or in this case, writing about it.

Lest we epitomise that old adage, ’empty vessels make the most noise’, lets make some clear and realistic choices and steadily get on with it. No one ever achieved anything by talking, wishing or dreaming – you knuckle down and get it done. (is that a quote???? 🙂 I might just get away with that one)

And so like the true, and smug, worshippers in the temple of the gym, we await the demise of fledgling resolutionaires and look forward to getting on with it in 2015.

I’m also looking forward to seeing what those in my life achieve this year and hope to feature some in the Redefining Wonder Woman series for 2015.  Can’t wait!

Turn Off the Emails

I generally get lots of emails a day at work. My daily agenda usually incorporates going though my emails first thing in the morning and then working through priorities and any actions that come out of them. This usually works for me but my line manager is on holiday (lucky lucky her – no I’m not jealous. Why would you think that?) and I am getting my usual emails plus emails that would have gone to her. And my my my, it’s like someone opened up a vortex of emails that just will not calm down.

Naturally I want to go through them immediately also because there is the added pressure that I’m standing in for her in that regard. However, it’s just impossible. They don’t stop and there’s always a need that requires replying and action. Meanwhile, I’m not getting my work done.

So after spending four days in this email whirlwind, I had a efficiency tip moment. I decided I wouldn’t let my emails dictate my daily agenda. I was going to get my work done first – irrespective of the number of pings I heard. And I closed down Outlook to make sure that happened. Then I put my instant messaging on DND (Do Not Disturb) that way all messages went straight to email which was presently on lock down.  Lastly, I set myself of a deadline of 12:30 to get my work done and then respond to the emails. And it’s been amazing. It worked.

I read something yesterday on working from home. It recommended leaving your phone in another room whilst working. I will have to try that another time.

Until next time,

Efficiently yours.

Find Your Why

Do you know the why of your existence? Why do you live and breathe? Why has your life been preserved for one more day? Why do you love the things you do? Why does a certain thing make you happy? Why does it make you feel alive?

We must always get to the why. This is the one thing science cannot give us. It’s in the soul; can’t be proven or tested – it just is. It’s in your gut and you just feel it. It scares you sometimes when express yourself with it. You feel when you are doing it – you just feel a sense of this is why I was born; this is why I am alive.

A couple of months ago a blogger called An Opinionated Man, offered an internship to five bloggers who were interested in getting more serious about blogging. He has over a million views on his blog; I was curious, so I applied. His introductory email explained what he was bringing to the process and he asked one question in his usual cut to the chase kind of way, “what exactly are you looking for in this?”

I’m really happy I wrote to him because that question got me asking myself a lot of other questions and helped me to trim down the activities I want to be involved in from now on and cut out some of the fluff – not leading anywhere stuff – in my life. It propelled me to make some decisions about what I want to be involved in next year. It also helped me to have a clearer picture of what next for me. Just one question – why?

I love writing, there’s no question about it but I am quite aware that I not a literary sensation – well not yet. I don’t write because I feel I’m the next Zadie Smith, I write because I have a lot to say. Writing is my way of expressing myself. I have kept a journal since I was in primary school and I continue to do so. Even if I do not blog, I will continue to write for myself. My why I write, will continue to motivate me to keep blogging.

Of course there are things we do that will simply be hobbies, their why is simply pleasure. However there is something that is unique to you, that no one else can do quite the way you do it. If that something doesn’t get done, there will be a vacuum. It’s that something that’s your why. It’s that something you must preserve and keep alive because without it, the world loses something special.

Find your why!

Even if there is only one possible unified theory, it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe? The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the questions of why there should be a universe for the model to describe. Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?
― Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Wisdom According to Rocky Balboa

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth but you’ve got to be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him or her or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that. ………. but until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.

– line from the movie Rocky Balboa

Happy Sunday!

What Kills a Dream?

1. Growing up – the mindset that it’s a foolish dream and was OK when you were younger but has no place at the ‘table’ of adults.

2. Doubt – thinking you have neither the skills nor the abilities to execute the dream.

3. Unbelief – who in their right mind would entrust such a dream into your care?

4. Procrastination – taking time to verify and question the dream when the reality is you are afraid to start the journey.

5. Lack of Vision – you may start but without direction, you easily veer off course.

6. Lack of a Plan – the devil is in the detail. You need a plan, call it a roadmap, that charts your course to the dream.

7. Perfectionism- waiting for everything to perfect or perfectly executed before you start – really a fear of failure.

8. Fear- the what-if-it-doesn’t-work-out thought which often succeeds in paralysing you.

9. Lack of delegation – thinking you have to accomplish every part of the dream yourself and then not doing anything because you are unable to do it yourself.

10. The size of the dream – focusing on the vision can be overwhelming and can lead you to abandon the dream entirely.