Nov 142019
 

Greetings!

As human beings we are designed and driven to preserve our relationships. And, one of the ways we do that is by saying yes – often at the expence of our own time, choices, and sanity.  But here’s the thing; if you want to live a life of engagement, purpose and passion, you need to be able to say NO more often, so that you can focus on what’s important to you.

Listen to my thoughts on my own relationship with NO in this week’s video:

What's Your Relationship to No?

And, if you’d like more ideas to increase your confidence, download my free publication 27 Ways to Say No.

Enjoy!

With gratitude,

Erin

Oct 232019
 

Greetings!

I work with clients every week to help them maximize their time.  We talk about strategies and practices they can use to to get their work and obligations done easily and quickly.  And even then, they often come back and ask, how do I make it workhow do I preserve my timehow do I make sure other people respect the time boundaries I’ve set?

If you are chalk-full of time management strategies and still feel overworked and overwhelmed, here are three ideas that may help you gain more control. They include: philosophypolicies and party line.

ONE

Let’s talk about your time philosophy.   How do you view your time? What do you want from your time?  How do you want to spend your time?  These questions help you form your time philosophy.   My time philosophy is, “I’m better when I’m rested, focused and clear”.

Here are others I’ve heard:

  • I make the most of my time,
  • My work time and home time don’t overlap,
  • I make time for me every day,
  • I have the freedom to choose how I spend my time,
  • The perfect is the enemy of the good,
  • To waste time is to waste life.

Without a time philosophy, my calendar can quickly grow gangly and out of control, and I can find myself facing busier days, working longer hours, and quickly feeling tired and burned-out.  As you can imagine, that way of working doesn’t support my coaching client work, where I’m at my best when I’m fresh, focused and completely present.

What is your time philosophy?

TWO

Once you have a philosophy, you can craft your time policies. Your time policies are the decisions you make about how you’ll use your time, what boundaries you’ll set, and what you will and will not agree to.

One policy I’ve had for over 15 years, is that I don’t work on Fridays. When my kids were little, I took Fridays to volunteer in their classrooms. Today, I use it to attend my favorite weekly writing group.  By honoring this policy I’m able to focus on, and attend to, the important task that doesn’t always get my attention during the week– writing.  On Friday, no work, just writing.  If someone wants to schedule a meeting on Friday, I offer other days that I’m available to meet.  When you take control and honor your policies, you’ll find you have enough time to focus on what’s important.

More policy examples my clients have set:

  • I don’t schedule meetings before 9 or after 4pm,
  • I turn my computer off until the kids are in bed,
  • Never open my email before planning the day.

What policies could you set around your time?

THREE

So now that you have a philosophy and policies around your time, let’s focus on the party line.  The party line is a sentence you repeat so often it rolls off your tongue easily and effortlessly.

My party line is, if it’s not on the calendar it’s not going to happen. Here are some other examples of party lines that I have heard from clients:

  • Every agenda needs to have an objective,
  • Before we meet we need to know the outcome,
  • We only meet if everyone is present,
  • We never double book our meetings.

What is your party line?

Maximizing your time with a time philosophy, policies and a party line gives you back control of your time and how you use it.

If you’d like more strategies to help maximize your time, download my special publication The Myths of Time Management HERE.  And, if you enter Coupon Code MYTHBONUS you’ll get it for free for a limited time!  😉

Enjoy!

Apr 192016
 

 

Picture this. Your boss asks you to work late but you promised your son you’d be at his soccer game that evening.  You say yes to your boss and walk away with a pit in your stomach.   As you walk back to your office thoughts like ”why didn’t I just say no…what’s my son going to think…why is it so hard for me to honor my boundaries?” stream through your head.

This is never an easy situation.

Saying NO to someone (no matter who it is) is never easy.  But it is “easier” when you have clear, healthy boundaries.

Boundaries are like an invisible fence.  This invisible fence keeps in what you do want in your life — things like hard work, family, health, trust, happiness, commitment.   At the same time, this special fence keeps outthose things you don’t want in your life – things like stress, disappointment, overwhelm, struggle, heaviness.

The problem is that most of us don’t have this fence because we haven’t established strong, clear, healthy boundaries.

In my experience clients start out in one of three boundary categories: No Boundaries, Squishy Boundaries or Rigid Boundaries.

No Boundaries.  This category somewhat speaks for itself.  But it’s safe to say that people who fall into this category suffer greatly because they don’t know how to say NO and their focus is typically on pleasing other people at the expense of their own peace of mind.  People with no boundaries often feel and appear like the victim.

Squishy Boundaries. People with Squishy boundaries are inconsistent with maintaining their boundaries.  Whether or not they enforce a particular boundary depends on their mood, the situation, or the person challenging their boundary. People with Squishy boundaries often merge with other people’s boundaries and because of this they are easily manipulated.

Common statements from clients with squishy boundaries sound like:

** I feel like people take advantage of me,

** I feel guilty for saying “NO”,

** My time is often highjacked by other people,

** My choices are often dictated by what others want,

** I often feel like the victim,

** I often feel anxious or afraid.

Rigid Boundaries.  With rigid boundaries there is no grey area.  There is only black and white.  I like to think of rigid boundaries as barriers because they don’t allow for connection — they keep people out, and prevent closeness and developing relationships.  Rigid boundaries are created from a place of fear and/or control.

Comments from clients with rigid boundaries sound like:

** I feel confined,

** I am unclear about why they are setting a boundary in the first place,

** I feel in “control” but not in a healthy way,

** I feel isolated,

** I feel angry (again, because they’re not sure why they are sticking to a particular rigid boundary).

The goal when I’m working with clients one on one or presenting a workshop on boundaries is to move clients away from boundaries that keep them stuck to more flexible boundaries that allow them freedom and choice.

Flexible Boundaries When a person has flexible boundaries it doesn’t mean that they change with the wind.  It simply means they are set with love, intention and self awareness, and that they get to choose what to let in or what to block out.  They are at choice.   These are the strongest healthiest boundaries.

Now, listen to what clients with clear, well-thought-out, flexible boundaries often say:

**I live with intention,

**People respect me more (ironically),

**I know what’s important to me and I honor that,

**People know they can count on me,

**I feel at peace,

**I feel comfortable with myself and my choices.

What a difference!

So what do you choose?  Do you choose the struggle of living without boundaries?  Or do you choose the power of taking control of your choices and of yourself?

And, remember, the strongest and healthiest boundaries are set from love not fear.

Stay tuned for my next newsletter where we’ll explore boundary types and areas to look at when setting your boundaries.

And, check out this free download of questions to help you determine where you might need stronger, healthier boundaries in your life.   You can access it here:  http://www.encompass-coaching.com/OrderCreatingBoundaries

Good luck & have fun playing with these concepts.

Erin

Hey, don’t keep this information to yourself! If you like what you read here, pass it along! Just share this article using the links below!

Apr 152016
 

 

We all mess up.

It’s part and parcel of being a human being.

You miss a deadline;

You flub a speech;

You hurt feelings;

You fail a test;

You forget important dates or events;

You blow an important job interview;

You send a nasty email out of anger;

It happens.

How you handle mistakes or failures makes a big difference.

When you beat yourself up, rehashing the situation, over and over, like a movie reel playing the same old scene in your head, you tend to stay stuck.  And although it’s healthy to acknowledge mistakes, when you stay in that space, it can quickly become toxic.

Choosing to find the opportunity in the failure, on the other hand, empowers you, enhances your resilience and creativity, and allows you to learn, grow and make better or different choices in the future.

Here are a few tips to help you process failures and move forward:

ONE

Ask, what’s the learning for me here?   What can I take away from this and do differently next time?

There is always learning in every failure, every mistake.  Isn’t that magnificent?!

Take time to discover the learning, and then use that learning as you continue to move forward.  Maybe you need to tighten your schedule, or say NO more often, or maybe you need to hire an assistant (or delegate) to relieve some of your workload.  The learning is yours, and it’s there for you if only you take the time to seek it.

TWO

Own it.  Some failure is due to others’ actions and some is due to our own.  Acknowledge your role in the failure. No one likes an excuse-maker, or a blamer, so own your role, make amends, if necessary.

Then, give yourself the space and time to pick apart what went wrong; take an honest account of the situation.  This isn’t a license to dwell and brood.  This is time to really, honestly, authentically reflect on what went wrong so that you can keep from making the same mistake next time.

THREE

Shift your perspective. Most of us look at failure as the worst thing that can possibly happen.  Not so (from my perspective).  Failure is evidence that you are moving forward, taking risks, and stretching yourself.  Growing.

Everyone makes mistakes.  Lighten up on yourself (and others!).  The key is the learning you take away and then moving forward and using that learning to take better action.

FOUR

Acknowledge your progress.  Too often we are so focused on our lack of progress that we fail to acknowledge how far we’ve come, all that we’ve accomplished.  Take the opportunity to write down all of your accomplishments, all of your strengths, all of your learning’s and discoveries.  You might just be amazed at all the great stuff you’ve learned and accomplished, despite a failure or two!

FIVE

Be easy on yourself.  I’m going to say it again (in case you didn’t hear me the first time); we all make mistakes.  Are you going to continue to grow, try, learn and expand by being hard on yourself?  Probably not.  Well at least not with ease and grace.  So go easy on yourself; pat yourself on the back for trying something new, stretching beyond your comfort zone, being honest.

And remember, “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”  Henry Ford

Good luck & have fun playing with these concepts.

Erin

And, hey, don’t keep this information to yourself! If you like what you read here, pass it along! Just share this article using the links below!

Apr 142016
 

 

Anyone who has a dog (or has witnessed a dog), knows that chasing its tail is great fun for the dog. They could run in circles fruitlessly chasing that illusive furry thing all day long, and love it.

For humans chasing their tail. Not so much.

Chasing your tail is frustrating. Energy draining. Nerve wracking. Time wasting. Success limiting.

It looks like this. You work and work, harder and hard, faster and faster, and yet you feel like you’re not getting any closer to achieving your goals.

You spend your time bouncing from one task to another. You’re not clear on your focus. You waste the best hours of your day – the time you have the most energy – on menial tasks. You buy into what your inner critic tells you. You’re rarely still.

Chasing your tail is exhausting.

So what do you do instead?

ONE

Unitask. Focus on one project, task or activity at a time. Use a timer and give yourself a set time to work and then get to it. Turn off your alerts (on your computer, smartphone, tablet), turn off the phone, close your door, and work. When the timer goes off, pick another project and set the timer again. You will be amazed at just how much you can get done when you focus on ONE thing at a time. And I think you’ll find that you accomplish your tasks not only faster but also easier and better.

TWO

Get clear. The more clear you are on your goals the more likely you’ll achieve them. Spend some time with your goals, write them down, ask yourself, “why is this goal important to me?” Or “How will this goal change me/my life?” and “How will I feel when I achieve this goal?” Asking yourself these kinds of questions not only gives you clarity around the goal, it also gets you in touch with your feelings around the goal and that is a powerful motivator.

THREE

Don’t start your day with menial tasks. Many people start their day opening their email, checking their voicemail, and any other number of menial tasks. That’s a waste of time and energy. You’ve had a good nights’ rest (well, hopefully), a healthy breakfast (you did, didn’t you?!) and your ready to begin the day with energy and focus – Start by tackling biggest task/project you have on your agenda. Knock that out and then you can sit down and check your email, voicemail. The key is to do this efficiently so set your timer for 30 minutes for both tasks and then move on to your next biggest project/task.

FOUR

Don’t believe everything you think. Studies suggest we have about 60,000 thoughts a day. That’s one thought per second during every waking hour. And, for the average person, 80 percent of those habitual thoughts are negative (Marci Shimoff from Happy for No Reason). Here’s the thing, though. Just because you have a thought, doesn’t make it true. (Repeat that last sentence to yourself!). Just because you think you’re not “enough” (smart enough, pretty enough, qualified enough, educated enough, blah blah blah!) doesn’t make it true. The two best ways to overcome negative thinking (or Gremlin thoughts) is to simply notice them and then challenge the thought with “Is this really true?” When you shine a spotlight on your thoughts they tend to shrink, so be sure to carry a big flashlight with you!

If you’d like to learn more about overcoming limiting thinking download 10 Ways to Manage Your Gremlin @ http://www.encompass-coaching.com/products/

FIVE

Be still. Our culture celebrates busy-ness. In fact, it rewards it. But the thing is, YOU need a break. Your mind needs a break. So, be still. When you’re still – whether through meditation, listening to classical music, taking a quiet walk – you give your mind a well needed rest. But, ironically, guess what happens? You often receive your most creative ideas when you’re still! So give yourself the gift of stillness daily. You’ll be amazed at the rewards you reap.

Don’t try tackling all of these strategies at once (that would be continuing to chase your tail!). Break them down. What strategy will have the biggest impact on you? Try that one for a week, and pay attention to what you notice. Then try another and then another.

Chasing your tail is a choice. You can choose to run in circles or you can choose to be mindful. If you continue to run in circles, you’ll continue to get the same old results. You can also choose to be mindful. Being more mindful of how you spend your time will give you more energy, focus and ultimately allow you to make better decisions.

Enjoy your learnings.

Erin

Hey, don’t keep this information to yourself! If you like what you read here, pass it along! Just share this article using the links below!