Category Archives for "Time Management"

The Best Gift for Women Who Are Trying to Get Things Done

By amandaalexander | Guilt

Have you seen any of those provocative memes on social media that warn people not to mention Christmas until 1st December?

I don’t comment that I covertly started buying my first Christmas presents in October, when I happened to see an advert in a paper for toys that I thought my nieces would enjoy.

When my youngest son mentioned an author he likes, I checked Amazon one evening and pre-ordered his latest book for Christmas from shhh.. you know who. Also in October.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those incredibly organised people who finishes all their Christmas shopping by 1st November and who has written, addressed and stamped all their cards ready to be sent on 30th November.

But I AM a woman who is mum to two boys and aunt to three girls.

And I am also a woman who thinks about what we’re going to eat every evening and who plans, shops, cooks.

I am a woman who suddenly remembers, smack bang in the middle of my working day, that my youngest son mentioned his friend’s birthday party next Saturday. Who emails the boy’s mum to ask for details, because the party invitation has gone astray.

I am a woman who makes packed lunches every day and constantly reminds them to pick up their towels, make their beds and clean their teeth. I am a woman who drives her eldest son to football practice, with 15 minute notice, because he’d really like to go.

And as well as all that, I am a woman who runs a business full time.

In short, I’m a woman who is constantly trying to get things done.

So when I see those social media memes that tease people who start thinking about Christmas in November, I quietly wonder if their life might be a little less jam-packed than mine!

I suspect you will get this completely! Whether you start thinking about Christmas in November or not!

Because for so many women who are always trying to get things done, particularly at this time of year, the dial is turned up high on freneticism.

The danger is that you constantly feel as if you are falling behind or that you have not done enough.

You might feel that you are somehow not efficient, fast, smart, disciplined, organised enough. You may have a running commentary in your head at the end of the day chiding yourself for what you DIDN’T get round to.

The multitude of amazing mini achievements that you DID clock up are mentally ticked off without a second thought. You probably rarely stop to acknowledge yourself.

The cumulative impact of feeling like you’ve never quite come up to scratch is insidious. Mental self-flagellation becomes a painful habit. It’s as if you are fighting the same battle day in day out, that always ends in defeat and despondency. How can you ever catch up? Get it all done? When will you ever be enough?

So I wanted to give you, as another woman who is always trying to get things done, a little gift in this week’s post. It’s actually a very precious gift.

It’s called “enoughness”

I’m giving you explicit permission to tell yourself that, whatever you did, or did not achieve this week, it was absolutely enough. And that most importantly, YOU are enough.

Let me repeat that:

You have DONE enough.
You ARE enough.

Here is one of the most comforting, reassuring and empowering quotes I have ever read for busy women like you, who achieve so much each day. It’s from Brene Brown. I’ve printed this out and stuck it on my office wall. I read it at the end of every day. I am sharing it to remind you of the gift of “enoughness”:

“Wholehearted living is about engaging with our lives from a place of worthiness. it’s about cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think no matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough”

Enjoy your gift of enoughness at the end of today. Give yourself a pat on the back and ​tell yourself: “I have done enough today. And I AM enough”

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please use the social media share buttons to pass on the gift of enoughness to all those other busy women!

How to get everything done?

By amandaalexander | Time Management

“How do I get everything done?”

Last week, following the publication of her brand new book “How to be Really Productive: Achieving clarity and getting results in a world where work never ends”, I interviewed Grace Marshall for Psychologies Magazine’s Life Labs blog. I wanted to drill Grace for her BEST tips on how to feel more in control and how to avoid overwhelm in the run up to Christmas.

Grace is brilliant at helping people how to feel more productive and more in control, teaching them ways on how to get everything done without expecting them to become super-humans.

Here are the 5 top tips key points from my interview with Grace to stop you from ’going under’ with stress and feeling overwhelmed at this very busy time of the year!

1. The myth of getting everything done

When we talk about productivity, people think the question is, “How do I get everything done?” That’s the wrong question.

The everything myth is that we have to do everything. We have to be all things to all people. We have to get everything done. We can’t let anything slip. It’s a myth because we can’t do that. As human beings we can’t get everything done. The problem with the everything myth is, actually, when we try and do everything, all we end up doing is spreading ourselves thin and diluting our impact and missing out on the things that matter to us.

2. Distinguish between concern and influence.

Not everything that we worry about is within our control. If you made a list right now of all the things that are worrying you and that you think you need to sort out, stop and reflect: How much of that can you actually do something about? How much of it is a genuine action that you can actual complete now and how much of it is just a vague nagging worry?

Taking Christmas for example. Christmas is not an action. Christmas is a worry! We worry about things like who’s coming to Christmas dinner, about family tensions or how we’re going to do all the present buying and card writing. So start to distil that worry: Ask yourself “What’s the thing that I could do something about here? There’s a difference between the concern, the stuff that worries us, and where we can actually do something about it, our influence.

3. Distinguish between fake work and real work.

Being busy is not hard. We live in a world where work and “stuff” never ends. There is always more work and stuff we can do. There are always more presents we can buy, more trimmings we can add to the turkey. But we need to remember they are just ideas. Sometimes we take those ideas and we think, “Oh, I’ve got to do something about that.” Last year’s meal plan wasn’t good enough.

The problem with that is sometimes we can set ourselves up with such high standards that we just forget to enjoy it along the way and all we feel is exhausted. Fake work is the work that keeps you busy and gives you very little in return. Real work is the stuff that actually gives you meaning and purpose and joy. It takes you forward. It gives you a sense of progress, a sense of achievement, a sense of satisfaction.

If you apply that kind of thinking to your work, your projects that you’re trying to get done before Christmas at work, the question there is, “Okay, what here is fake work? What’s actually not going to give us much return? What’s the real work here that’s going to give us the most return in terms of what we’re trying to achieve?”If you apply that to Christmas, home life and stuff, you need to think in terms of shat’s the stuff that actually doesn’t matter? What can you let go of and what will you focus on? Productivity is as much about saying no to things so that you can truly commit to what you really want.

4. Harness the power of the pause

Sometimes when things are really busy, the default position is to just get on and do it. JFDI is a good motto to have, but sometimes we can get so caught up with doing that we forget to think. However, when there’s a lot going on, actually what we need to do is give ourselves space to think, because thinking can make the difference between a really productive, satisfying day and a day when you just feel like you’ve been so busy but you’ve no idea what you’ve actually achieved. Giving ourselves the power of the pause, but actually permission to stop and think as well. It’s almost like a guilty pleasure.

Often, the most productive thing you can do to take a break, go for a walk, or stop what you’re doing, turn your emails off, your phone off, and get some clear thinking – “what is it that I need to do here?” On a bigger scale as well, that power of the pause in terms of our recharge time, our recovery, is really important. Our ability to make good decisions and do good thinking is a depleting resource. It’s like a muscle. The more decisions we make throughout the day, the more that muscle will get tired. Yes, we can train our muscles to handle more, but at the end of the day, it’s still going to get fatigued.

The same thing happens with our minds. We get decision fatigue. That’s why at the end of the day, you can go home and think, and get to the point where somebody asking you, “What’s for tea,” is like the question that breaks the camel’s back. It’s like, “I can’t deal with that anymore.”Ask yourself: “How can I give myself a break? or “How can I give myself one less thing to think about?”

5. Reframe it

One of the chapters in Grace’s book is about our mind monkeys and our lizard brain. It’s about what goes on in our head that causes overwhelm, procrastination and exhaustion. Overwhelm often comes from that conversation that’s going on inside your head. Quite often it’s our mind monkeys saying, “Who do you think you are? How are you going to get this done?”

More often than not, we play the conflict or the situation or the problem up to be bigger than it is, or maybe playing ourselves to be smaller than we are. If you find yourself thinking, “I HAVE to do this. I HAVE to do that.”, start playing with those words and maybe change them to, “I get to.”

So instead of, “I have all these things I HAVE to do.” it’s actually, “I GET to do this.” So, from “I have to organise Christmas presents for my family” to “I get to organise Christmas presents for my family” orfrom “I have to finish this report before next week” to “I get to finish this report before next week”If nothing else, it will make you smile!

If these 5 tips are freeing you up to think more constructively about “having to get everything done” in the run up to Christmas, then you’ll love Grace Marshall’s book. It’s a goldmine of strategies and common sense.

You can get the first chapter of How to be Really Productive FREE here:

How to Feel Fabulously Confident at Work even in the Toughest Situations

Next week in The Academy, I’ll be welcoming Sherry Bevan, author of “The Confident Mother”.

Sherry will be teaching you “How to Feel Fabulously Confident at Work even in the Toughest Situations”.

In November’s masterclass, you wil learn:

· How to project confidence in the way you walk and talk
· How striving for perfection is a killer for your confidence
· Why it’s so important to give yourself permission for self-love
· How to boost your confidence by understanding your strengths and limitations
· Why it’s essential to journal your achievements at work to reinforce your identity

Our masterclasses are delivered by webinar an you can join wherever you are in the world, by your computer or by phone (we even have freephone numbers for most countries). Or you can wait until the recording is uploaded to the members’ area, watch it on demand or download the mp3 audio version and the slides and listen to it whilst you’re driving, cooking, walking or on taxi duty!

The Academy is a blended learning platform with support, self-development, masterminding and coaching for women, beautifully packaged within an online membership area that you can access 24/7, from anywhere in the World on any of your devices.

I’ve designed it to be flexible to different learning needs and varying time commitments (which for most of us that means not much time!). My big driver is to support middle to senior management women who are busy “doing it all” with very little support. I feel that these are the women who really need more support – and blossom when they get it!

Sometimes you just need a boost, sometimes you need a bit of coaching, other times you realise there’s a gap in your personal skill set that will help you achieve your personal and professional goals. This is where the Academy’s masterclasses come in. Each month, we have a guest expert who delivers a content rich webinar. But there is so much more to The Academy than the masterclasses. Take a look and discover all the benefits

There are 2 special offers for new members until 14th November, so now is definitely the best time to join! Click here to get the details