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How any superwoman can create life balance

After my last blog post about me getting real with myself, I thought I’d dig a little deeper and share my personal top tips to help any superwoman create life balance. (And yes, this is definitely applicable to all you awesome supermen)

1. Get real with your expectations of self.

What pressures are you putting on yourself? Are they really necessary? Or can you cut yourself some slack.

After all, you’re only human.

I highly recommend doing a brain dump of all your expectations of self and try to fit it into a weekly calendar. If you find yourself coming up against the limitations of time, then get real with yourself.  It’s best to make a conscious decision of what needs to give, rather than letting something important slide or ending up burnt out.

Be careful that you don’t fall in the trap of giving up the essential (and I mean critically important) time for self, exercise or time with friends. Yes, work at times can be a priority but a life of all work and no play is a life of struggle.  I believe that when we get our life balance right, spending time having fun with your loved ones can make your time doing work so much more productive and engaging.

2. Set a benchmark for your achievements each day.

Rather than having huge to-do lists, and becoming overwhelmed with it (which usually results in procrastination or lack of balance as you throw every single minute into ticking it all off), set a benchmark of what you need to do each day to feel successful, happy or productive.

Yes, it’s tricky for us over-achieving types, but once you get the hang of it I promise it can seem almost miraculous. You let go of pressure, life flows easier and you start to cultivate a feeling of satisfaction and success.

Since I’m balancing a newborn and running a business, my benchmark is just one thing related to my work each day. One thing only. When I manage this, then I allow myself to sit in the satisfaction of a productive and successful day.

3. Learn to prioritise and learn when to let things go.

This supports the previous two tips. It’s critical to push through your beliefs around the need to get through your to-do list or else.

Or perhaps the need to prove to everyone just how capable you are?

If you don’t get your entire to-do list done, the world won’t stop turning and chances are your life will only benefit from it. You won’t lose value and your peeps will still continue to love you.

Give yourself permission to prioritise time for self or creativity over doing the dishes or cleaning the house (unless of course these tasks really light you up). If you are a writer, then prioritise time to create in the morning, rather than leaving it until you’ve cleaned up after the kids, gone shopping, paid those bills… you get the picture. After all what’s most important to you?

4. Don’t get so busy working in your life that you forget to work on your life.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading “The E-myth” by Michael Gerber, an extraordinary book for business owners or people considering becoming a business owner. He makes the wonderful point that too often we get engrossed in our lives with the doingness and day to day busyness that we forget who’s driving it.

Allocate time for you to contemplate, reflect, learn and grow.

Be the driver of your own life.

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5. Learn to delegate and do it the right way.

What is it that you absolutely need to be doing?  I bet that for most, it would translate to only 5% of what we are doing.

In his book “The Big Leap”, Gay Hendrix describes four zones of being. The incompetent, competent, excellent and genius zones. For tasks that fall in our incompetent (we have no skill in doing the task) and competent (we can do the task, but we don’t enjoy it and we don’t do a very good job) zones, it may be helpful to delegate these to someone else. Let them go, as they don’t fill your cup and well, truth is, someone else could probably do a better job.

And whilst it makes sense for us busy superwomen to delegate tasks like house-cleaning or car maintenance, be careful to not abdicate the more important tasks that fall in your incompetent or competent zone.

It’s definitely worth getting clear on what outcome you want (and how to get there in some cases) then to leave it up to Frank or Mary, who with the best intentions may only create even more problems for you. Yes, it’s easy to think that it’s too hard to understand or too far out of your comfort zone, but be careful of letting go of all control in that area of your life. You may just be giving your power away.

I’ve done this plenty of times myself including early on with marketing the first event of The Healing Forum, a day focused on sharing healing stories and healing wisdom. I hired a marketing student to “take on” the whole marketing side of things. I was so excited initially as I believed I was delegating tasks correctly. Something that I’ve really struggled with. But in this instance, rather than delegating I was abdicating my responsibility to this very important aspect. I gave very little direction and didn’t take the time to research what I wanted or felt was best for our brand. I actually convinced myself that handing this over to a complete stranger was a show of respect…. Well, it resulted in a nightmare and ended up taking a lot longer and a lot more month. The attitude of “you just deal with it” doesn’t always work out well in the end.

When delegating be clear what outcome you want, give direction about the process and be sure that you don’t give your power away to someone else.

6. Finally, recognise there is much to be gained by being. So stop doing, and start being.

I can’t say I’ve mastered this one, but I’ve certainly glimpsed the truth of this statement. Solutions, ideas, and some of my biggest ah-ha moments have happened when I’m away from my desk having a walk in nature or a cuddle with my boys.

The most productive countries in the world are also those that promote shorter work days. But better than this, they also happen to be some of the happiest countries. Rather than getting caught in a spiral of hard work and struggle, these statistics are showing us that containing our working hours and prioritizing activities that make us happy, will actually be of benefit to our work and career.

With that, I can now tick off my one thing to do today and can go finish a jigsaw puzzle my son got for his birthday (thanks Abi!)…

 

Kapow! Bam! Zap!

Om Namo Narayani,

Superwoman Dr Fi

Getting real with myself

It’s been amazing. I’ve had the most wonderful time on maternity leave. Yes, there have been many sleepless nights and even some challenging moments with both kids having meltdowns simultaneously as I’m trying to get out the door or cook lunch or take a breather!

But generally I’ve loved it. Cherished it. And been very grateful for it all.

So with a little sadness and trepidation, mixed with excitement and curiosity, I am preparing myself to return to clinical work in December. Rather than the headstrong sink or swim type of gal I usually am, I’m easing my way into it in an attempt to embody more self-love and gentleness.

One of the rewards of breastfeeding is having moments throughout the day where you have to sit and just be. It is at these times that I deeply connect with my little one, but also get to reflect on my life.

As I sit there, feeling connected and loved, I find myself easily entering a state of enquiry. So many questions flowing through my mind challenging my state of reality and assumptions, urging me to change and grow - How do I want to live my life? Why am I a doctor? Why am I running my own business? How can I help others more, and be available for my family? How, what, why?

What if?

As the end of the year comes closer I want to share with you something I recently did, which was so simple yet profound. I created a weekly calendar and allocated times for everything I wanted to do. All of my expectations about how much work I will be doing, how much time to work on my business, how much time for study, family, yoga, exercise, daily meditation practice, cooking, friends etc etc etc… I basically did a big brain dump and tried to organise it in some way into my weekly planner.

And what I found was life changing.

I couldn’t fit everything in.

Not even remotely….

And then it dawned on me.

No wonder I forever feel like I’m not doing enough.

That I’m not enough.

It explains the pressure I constantly carry, created from the feeling that I’m not studying enough. Nor working enough.  Or doing enough exercise or spending enough time with my kids.

But in truth, if I continue with this, I can never meet my expectations of what is enough. It’s just not humanly possible. I’m setting myself up to fail in a big way and to condemn myself in the process.

But not this time round!

Next year, I’m challenging my expectations and getting real.

I’m setting myself up to win. I’m scheduling in me-time, time to be in the moment, in the state of enquiry and in that state of love and connectedness.

I’m setting myself up for a marathon, not a sprint. I do believe I can have it all, just not all at once. So to make my inner child feel like she’s not missing out, I’m drawing up a big plan to show her how even if it takes an additional 6 months, 12 months or even 18 months longer, we still get there.

And we get to enjoy the journey too!

So as the end of 2016 comes around, I wish you all luck in getting real with your plans for 2017.  And may you too push through the murkiness of misaligned expectations of self and come out the other side shining too.

With love,  

Fiona

P.S Thanks for reminding me of this during 2017. I’m always open for a bit of gentle nudging in the right direction….

Stress and anxiety free