Tick Tock Thursday #1

Recently I shared with you how I have learnt to create time in my day to do the things I want to do. If you missed it, you read it here . I have also been participating in Oprah and Deepak’s 21 day meditation challenge. The theme of challenge has been “Making every moment matter”. You can still access the last 5 days meditations hereif you interested. Firstly let me say that I am blown away that they can talk about time in 21 different ways! It got me thinking though. I have decided to challenge myself and make my Thursday blogs about different ways to use time efficiently, hence the “Tick Tock Thursday” title (get it, get it😜).

Productivity tip #1: Stop Multitasking< img src=”https://groundedafrican.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/img_9585.jpg?w=300&#8243; class=”size-medium wp-image-2033″ height=”300″ alt=”#quotescreator #timemanagement #singletasking #groundedafrican #african #time” width=”300″><<
d you know that, thanks to technology, we are now said to have the concentration span of a goldfish.  How scary is that!

Multitasking was the buzz word of the 90's and noughties.  Thankfully that tuned has changed.   I will be the first to admit it…I suck at multitasking so this one piece of advice works for me.  There is definitely a place for multitasking especially if doing two tasks at once will not put your safety at risk like talking on the phone while painting your nails.  Hell, even I can do that :-).   The problem comes in when you have important work to get done.  That's when multitasking can actually slow you down. It can also impact the quality of the work that you do.  Think back…how many times have you been on the verge of making a breakthrough on a piece of work when someone disturbs you with an urgent request and you lose your train of thought.  How much longer does it take you to get back that train of thought, if ever, and complete the work you were doing?

Another problem with multitasking is that you are more likely to make mistakes.  Think about it, if you are multitasking or constantly switching tasks, you are less likely to be giving each task your full focus.  Your attention to detail starts to slip and mistakes can start to creep in.  Ask me, I know…once while doing my banking and listening to my son's chatter I accidentally added an extra zero to a payment and gave them every last blue penny I had and some of the banks money too(my overdraft)!  I noticed too late and had to wait a month to get my money back.  The impact of that one slip was enormous.  Needless to say I now do all my banking in absolute silence.  Anyway the point being, if you want to do something properly, pay full attention to what you are doing.  You will also complete it faster.

There are a few great books and articles on the topic.  Each has helpful methods for you to implement the change to single tasking if you would like to read about it more:

Hope you  found this post useful.  I would love to hear any tips you have on how to focus on single tasking.

Until next time…

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5 tips and tricks that keep me sane

Life has this tendency to throw us curve balls from time to time (duh!).  How you react to them makes all the difference.  I truly believe that those curve balls are God’s way of helping us evolve into the person we need to be so that we can truly fulfill our purpose in this life.  Of course along the way, we learn a few tip and tricks that help keep us sane and are definitely made for sharing.  These are just a few of mine.

  1. Do not forget your sunscreen! Ever!

…and your hat and sunglasses.  Being  in the sun does serious damage to our skins.  It ages us and it puts us at risk of skin cancer.  I remember visiting a pair of twins once.  One was a sun worshipper while the other was more of an indoors kinda gal who also applied her sunscreen religiously.  The difference in thier skins was amazing.  You guessed it, the sun worshipper looked older and had more lines on her face. Her skin also looked a little more leathery.  Not a good look on anyone.  Don’t believe me?  Have a look at your face in the mirror.  If you are a driver (and live in the southern hemisphere),  look closely at your skin on the right hand side of your face and then on the left hand side.  Do you see the difference in your skin texture and marks?  Believe me now?  Good.  Now don’t forget your sunscreen.

2. People do what works for them

This is one of Dr Phil’s original 10 life lessons.  Every time I have watched someone make the same mistake over and over again, I now know that there is a reward in it for them so they will not break the circle of their behaviour until they can acknowledge that they are deriving some sort of reward for behaving in that manner.    I used to work myself up into knots out of sheer frustration watching friends constantly bang their heads against a brick wall.  Once I realised that there was a reward in it for them that may or may not be harmful to them, I was able to view their situation differently and, where possible,  help them break the cycle

3. Routines Rock!

I used to pride myself on living a spontaneous life…and then I became a mother.  One quickly learns that no routine = chaos! This then leads to insanity!!!  I kid you not.  Turns out that not only do routines just help the day run smoothly, they also apparently help free up space in your brain so that you can concentrate on more complex tasks.  I’m still not kidding.  Not too long ago we put a new alarm system in at home.  This meant a change in the morning routine because now we had to add an extra step to the leaving routine.  Chaos ensued the first few days.  The keypad is outside of my normal “path” so on somedays I had go back to the house 2-3 times to fetch stuff I had forgotten because of the one break in routine. So there you have it…guard your routines jealously.

4. You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge

Another one of Dr Phil’s 10 life lessons and linked to no. 2 above. Pretty self explanatory but difficult to do.   A handy life lesson that can help you let go in so many different situations. Even more difficult is accepting that they will only change when they are ready.  Ever wasted your breath telling a drug addict or alcoholic that they have a problem and asking them to go to rehab?  Yip, that’s what I’m talking about.  Only they can and will make the change when they are ready.

5. Coffee is the answer no matter the question

I have always enjoyed a cup of coffee.  I have no idea how I acquired the taste as a kid but i did.  Coffee is there for me when I am down, when I am tired, when I am excited and when i just need a moment of peace.  Since giving up smoking…coffee has become my drug of choice and there is no way I will give this one up.  Besides, a proper cup of coffee is supposed to be laden with anti-oxidants which are good for me so there…it is no more the baddie it used to be.

These are just a few of the little lessons/truths that help keep me sane in this life.  What are yours?  Drop me a line in the comments section.  I woud love to hear from you.

Bye for now

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is a failure a failure?

How often have you looked around you, at your friends, at your family, your colleagues and felt like a failure or felt less successful? I have done it so many times. I felt so down because I didn’t have a fancy car and I didn’t own a home let alone a home in the “right” area. I didn’t have a fast tracked career. I was “average”. Shock and horror😱.

Mark Twain once said that comparison is the thief of joy.  I think it takes most of us a while to come to this realisation.  Some of us never do.  We spend our entire lives chasing someone else’s definition of success without even understanding if that definition even brings that person joy and inner peace or are they just enslaved by their material trappings, their “symbols of success”.    I found that by comparing myself to others, I was constantly focused on their material gains…the car, the house and even the career.  I did not question if they had sold their souls to gain these material goods and live in the lap of luxury.

Not all comparison is bad though.  A lesson that I teach my son is that his growth as a person and in everything he does is determined by the benchmarks he sets himself.  This he should base on his comparison of his “today”self to his “yesterday” self.  In this way he will continously improve and, perhaps without trying to, he will be the champion of his chosen sport or the head of a company one day.  I try and apply the principle in my own life although it does take reflection and I am not that good at it.  What’s also cool about doing this is that suddenly, your so called failures become your learning curves.  Yip, you can’t help but start looking at failure in a positive light.  Who knew????  In addition, when you look at it in a positive light you tend to be less hard on yourself because it puts the failure in perspective.

Here’s the thing though.  Materially I am not much better off than i was before my “epiphany” on failure.  Mentally though I am deinitely stronger. Emotionally I am definitely happier.  How did I get to this place though?  Well, it is actually pretty simple.  After reading “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne, I sat down and listed all the things i had achieved.  I was definitely not modest about it too.  No filters were used.   I was so blown away when I was done. I had actually accomplished so much already.  Turns out I am a success in my own right.  This realisation gave me the desire to want to go out and  want to do more.  I set myself new goals and have achieved some already.  Some I can almost taste while I may need to adjust my sails in order to achieve others.

“Failures are fingerposts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis

I have many fingerposts that have pointed me in the direction of  my achievements and I love it.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.  What does your journey look like?

If you enjoyed this post then you know what to do…please like and share.

Bye for now!

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Perfection is overrated!

Yip. I don’t know about you but I have spent virtually my entire life trying to be perfect. I have wanted the perfect body, the perfect social skills, the perfect walk, the perfect hair, the perfect skin and the list goes on and on! Why you ask? I thought it was what I was supposed to strive for. Strangely enough, I believed that I would never be accepted by society if I wasn’t perfect.  Aah the pressure we place ourselves under.

So here’s the thing…it turns out that I am enough as I am 🙂 Yip you read that right.  I am enough as I am.  The funny thing is that I am more than 30kg’s heavier than I was at 20 (when I was at the height of my perfection angst),  my skin is still as oily as it was then.  I now have all these dark marks on my face from adult-onset acne.  My skin colour has gone from a beautiful olive colour to a darker shade from years of sun exposure.  Despite all of these so called imperfections, I am at peace with myself.  Ok ok, the weight still has to drop as it’s just uncomfortable and unhealthy  but other than that I am at peace with myself.

Yes I was probably pretty close to being as perfect as one can hope to be without photoshop back then but I had no idea.  I chased an ideal that I saw in magazines and read about in books.  Let’s face it, heroines were generally beautiful and had it all together.  I wanted to be like them.  I wanted to wear the smart clothes and have a cool little flat.  I wanted to be on the arm of a great looking guy who had it all together.  Here’s what I have come to realise though…

Good looking guys who have their shit together are made not found

The good-looking guy who has it all together…a rarity.  He exists but they are generally taken.  Turns out that that guy generaly hooks up with a woman from a youngish age and she helps him evolve into the guy who has it all together.  It’s either his girlfriend or his mom who helped him reach his potential.  So single ladies out there, that guy that you know in your heart is a good guy and is your best friend but he may not have it all together yet but you know he has the potential to.  Give him a try and grow with him.  You will make lots of memories together in the process to share with your grandchildren one day 🙂

FOMO sucks

Time spent fearing that you are missing out on stuff because you don’t have a social life like the people on facebook is time wasted.  Your social life doesn’t define you.  Pursuing your passions and the impact that you have on the world is what defines you.  You define you.

#quotecreator #life #lifeskills #Iamenough #groundedafrican

Physical perfection is overated

Just like we all have our personality quirks, we have our physical quirks as well.  I have skinny ankles.  I was so conscious of them.  I hardly ever wore three-quarter length pants or midi skirts.  Then one day I got overmyself and embraced them.  I asked myself what the worst thing that could happen would be if I put them on show and decided that people would always find something to point a finger at and snigger.  That’s their problem and not mine.  I love my skinny ankles so much now that I even had them tattooed!  I live in three-quarter length jeans now too.

So there you have it.  I am by no means perfect but I am definitely enough.  For this I am grateful. It’s ok to have quirks.  It’s ok to be you. Relax and enjoy it.

Thanks for reading my blog.  Please leave a like or a comment.  I would love to hear from you on this topic.

Until the next time,

Bye

 

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Creating Time…3 changes I have made to create time and get closer to achieving my goals

Sjoe, how time is flying! I don’t know about you, but I find that I am so busy at work these days that I have almost no energy to do things I want to do when I get home. Work is not going to ease up anytime soon so I have been reading up on ways to work around it and make the time to do the things I want to do. Everyone wants a “work-life balance” but what does it really mean to you and how do you work it so that you not only find the balance but you enjoy your time in both worlds? I haven’t found the answer to this yet,  but I think I am heading in the right direction for me.  These are just a few tips that I started implementing that may help you too if you have a similar dilemma.

Wake up earlier

Anyone who knows me knows that waking up early is definitely not my thing. Here’s the thing though, when I wake up earlier and write, I find my thoughts are crisper and clearer. I can actually get a whole blog post done. The house is silent,  so there arebno distractions. The sounds of Mother Nature doing her thing outside are soothing to my soul. I still don’t like waking up early in the morning, but (I never thought i would ever say this) it has its advantages.  It’s an important part of my “me time” (more about that later)  and it’s where I get some of my “work” thinking done.

#quotescreator #benjaminfranklinquotes #groundedafrican #african #timemanagement #productivity

Restrict Social media use

I am guilty of having my phone in my hand most of the time that I am awake. If I think about it, my phone habit has replaced my smoking habit. (Aaaah the joys of an addictive personality😜.) I have had to train myself to turn this habit into a positive one. My phone has become an educational and productivity tool rather than just a time thief. How you ask? I spend more time reading books via my kindle app and google books, writing blogs and learning from reading other’s blogs on WordPress and Medium, than I do on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I am also able to check and answer emails and messages, do research on the net and source inspirational and motivational material to keep me going.

Of course, social media always beckons if you let it so I switch off my notifications. This just takes away the reason to open the apps regularly. When I find that this is not working for me then I delete them for a few months. Out of sight = out of mind. Another reason that I don’t visit social media often anymore is that I find it draining, especially Facebook. Far too many people bring their personal baggage to the app. Scrolling through all the sadness and the complaining steals my joy and my energy. Of course, who and what you follow on social media also determines your experience of it so I guess I need to relook at who I follow on Facebook especially. IG is a much happier environment for me probably because I follow a lot more inspirational and motivational sites and fewer people as such. Twitter gives me a snapshot of world events at a moment in time,  which can get depressing if you let it.

Switch off to the world and on to the relationships that matter
I only get to see my son for approximately 5 hours every day. An hour or so in the morning before school and about 4 hours at the end of the day before bedtime. During those times, I try and keep my phone out of my hands and focus as much on him as possible. We go over homework, catch up on his day. Watch a little tv together and, of course, have our bedtime reading session. It’s scary to think that I blink and he is another day older.

Now my boyfriend, on the other hand, is a screen addict. If he is not on his phone, then he is glued to the TV or his computer. It’s not only for entertainment though, sometimes it’s work-related. If I didn’t know better, I would think that I bored the crap out of him. Fortunately, he does have other things away from “the screen” that he is interested in and that we have in common. We use that to form our own little bubble and enjoy each other’s company as often as we can. Being able to connect with my son and boyfriend fulfils and sustains me.

Me time
This is where I find my peace. Since I started waking up earlier, I find that this is about the best time for me to spend time reflecting, praying and just connecting with God and myself. That stillness in the morning naturally lends itself to this practice. I write in my journal. I set goals. I pray. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of meditating as such yet, but I will get there.

I still need to find the time in my day for exercise as I really need to get into that habit.  It would definitely help me create more energy for the things I want to do. Making time to reach out to friends is also a priority for me, however I haven’t worked it in it.   Lastly, creating a study schedule that I will stick to is also a challenge.  I will figure something out though.

Do you have any tips and tricks to create time in your day that you could share?  Please do add them in the comments section.  I would love to hear from you.

Ultimately, I have had to look ahead and decide what I would like to accomplish 1, 5 and 10 years from now and prioritise my life so that it is possible to achieve those goals. There are things that I still need to let go of because that sap my energy and are holding me back.  It’s going to take courage though and, to be honest, I am still a little paralysed by fear. I will get there though.

Here’s a link to a great talk on how to gain control of your time  by Laura Vandakram which I found after writing this blog and has given me additional food for thought.  There might be something you find useful too.

 

After all…

#quotescreator #haveitall #oprahwinfreyquote #groundedafrican #african #creatingtime #productivity

 

 

 

 

5 of my favourite roles as a mother

It’s been a while but I here I am.  After all, winners never quit and I ain’t no quitter 🙂 I wrote exams this week on Child and Adolescent Development.  I  had to smile as I went through the text book.  It brought back so many memories of when my son was a baby.  It was actually pretty cool to see how far we had come together.

Motherhood is a challenge like no other but, for me,  it is the most fulfilling role I get to play every day.  The day I found out I was pregnant was a surprise of note but the best surprise ever.  I was fortunate enough to have a wonderful pregnancy.  None of the usual aches and pains I had heard about and no morning sickness.    I loved speaking to my son throughout the day and, in my last trimester, I would read Winnie the Pooh to him.  We actually still read that book from time to time and it has become one of his favourites.

Then he arrived.  I was scared, hormonal but very thrilled to finally meet him.  He was a beautiful baby.  He didn’t sleep much which drove me nuts but I was glad he had finally arrived.

The Observer

Watching him become the person that he is today has been an inspiring and, sometimes nerve-wracking, pleasure.  At 2.5 months or so, it’s like a light suddenly switched on and he really came alive.  He had discovered his 3-year-old cousin who was clearly way better at entertaining and stimulating him than I was.  He just lit up whenever he saw him.  The bond that they formed during that time is still as strong as ever.  We only get to see him about 2-3 times a year and the two still enjoy each others company.  It was so cute to hear them last  Christmas when it was time to say goodbye.  His cousin told him how much he missed him because nobody “got him” the way my son did.

#cousins #groundedafrican #affrican #pigglywiggly #adobe motherhood #parenting #parenthood
Cousins having fun making candles

At 6 months the munchkin was crawling and started surfing the furniture.  I would come home from work and just watch him explore.  Of course, once he started surfing the furniture, standing was easy but getting back to a sitting position was a bit of a challenge.  No problem for my kid, he spent about half an hour one night just practising how to lower himself without getting hurt.  I was blown away when I realised what he was doing.  At 14 months he decided he wanted to jump with 2 feet off the floor.  He could do it on the bed but not on a hard floor.  He practised every day.  Then one day we went down to the farm and there was a trampoline.  Well…he was such a comical site jumping and keeping his legs up mid-jump.  He looked like a little frog.  The look of sheer delight on his face though…priceless! He still sets himself goals and manages to achieve them.   They are more challenging now like coming first in class but I am just glad to see that the behaviour has stuck.  There have been many more moments like these along the way and I look forward to the many moments to come.

The Caregiver

There is nothing more fulfilling as a mother than being able to look after your child/children.  I have never enjoyed cooking but it has become a labour of love for my child.  The best times are when we cook or bake together.  I don’t know which was more shocking to my own mother, the day I called to say I was pregnant or the day I called to ask for her bacon and egg tart recipe.  My mother is the best baker ever by the way and I think I may have inherited that gene (yay!).   He has a great sense of style and is just really starting to discover himself so taking him shopping is quite fun.  He also has a good eye for what will look good on me so he makes a great shopping companion.  When he is sick, which thankfully is very rare, I get to nurse him back to health.  At night we get to cuddle and read a story before I kiss him goodnight.  He looks forward to our bedtime ritual every night. I probably only have another 2 or so years of it before he tells me he is too old for it so I cherish every opportunity that we have.

#motherhood #african #groundedafrican #juniorchef #minichef #parenthood
My mini chef at work

The Teacher

Every day is an opportunity to teach him something new even if it’s a new word.  Fortunately, he is a curious soul like his mom so he enjoys learning and being challenged.  Experience is also part of learning so I have tried to incorporate new experiences in whenever I can and when money allows.  I remember reading in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, that one the differences between children from wealthier families compared to poorer kids is the way in which they spent their holidays.  He had noted that the average test scores of children regardless of background at the end of a school term were about the same.  However, when testing them again at the beginning of the next term, children from wealthier backgrounds tended to score higher.  He surmised that one of the reasons for this is that wealthier kids tended to have experiences that cemented the knowledge they gained in class over the holidays while poorer kids tended not too as they were more likely to spend their time playing with friends at home. I can’t afford to give him a whole horde of different experiences every holiday but I can take him to museums,  the aquarium, little road trips and the like to continuously bring to life what he learns and try and add to his knowledge and life experience.  It’s also a great way to spend sometime together outside of our normal day to day setting.

#groundedafrican #african #funinthe sun #funwithmum #horseriding #fancydress #motherhood #parenthood #parenting
Entertainment time

The Supporter

I am fortunate in that my son enjoys participating in various sporting activities.  Of course, it means my weekends get interrupted regularly but I don’t mind.  He is having the time of his life and not sitting on a couch all day mindlessly watching cartoons or something.

#parenting #parenthood #soccerfun #proudlysouthafrican #african #groundedafrican #motherhood
Soccer fanatic

 

The Psychologist/Confidante/Life Coach

For the first seven years of his life, it largely was just the two of us.  We did everything together and, because we didn’t live near any other kids for most of that time, I was his best friend.  Trust has been a very very important part of our relationship and I have had to work hard to ensure that he always feels safe enough to tell me about the things that bother him and the things that make him happy.  When he was younger and still battling to process and articulate his feelings, at the end of story time, we would share what made us happy/mad/sad/scared that day.  Through this and other exercises, I eventually figured out the sources of his tantrums and brought them to a halt. He has shared most of his little secrets with me although I think there are some that I think he has held back on.  As long as they didn’t appear to have anything to do with his safety or peace of mind, I have respected his need to hold onto them. Lastly, there’s the role of life coach. Guiding his choices on who to hang out with, what sports to play and how to handle conflicts with other children or his teachers (as is prone to happen as he is very outspoken), has been a learning experience for me too.
There so many other hats I have to wear disciplinarian, spiritual coach, mentor and more. Each one of these roles is no more important than the next and all are tied together beneath a cloak of endless unconditional love. All parents even if their children are of the animal variety rather than human can attest to this being the most fulfilling love one can give and receive in return.

We are officially half way to legal adulthood. I am sure that the road will still have lots of twists and turns. God-willing, I will get to watch him grow into a man. I am looking forward to the journey.

If you enjoyed this blog please like and share.

Until next time…

The search for enlightenment

Hey there,

It’s been a while since I last wrote.   Apologies. I have been doing more reading than writing of late.  I think my curiosity just needed some feeding 🙂  It was feeling a bit starved and out of sorts.  Anyway, the other day I came across the following line in “A year of miracles” by Marianne Williamson…

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I was fascinated.  So much so that this statement has been rolling around in my head for days now.    I have also been engaged in an argument with a friend about what education really is.  It’s like the universe really wants me to give this some thought.  Who am I to say no.  So here goes…

According to the Oxford dictionary, “enlighten” means to “Give (someone) greater knowledge and understanding about a subject or situation”  and to “educate” means to  “Give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone), typically at a school or university.”   Enlightenment is clearly a deeper state of learning than education.  Okay…

I guess for many, education is costly and feels unattainable.  It largely teaches you skills and to think critically.  Einstein said that “Education is not the learning of facts, but training the mind to think.”  Society places a high value on those qualifications that you attain through education so they are very aspirational for many.  The reality is though that you can walk out of university with tons of knowledge but very little wisdom.  I should know.  That definitely describes me on the day I walked out of tech with my food tech diploma in hand.  Once I got to start using some of my skills (I say some because I have never worked a day in my life as a Food Technologist) , and after many conversations with a few older and wiser people, I came to understand that there was more to life and I didn’t really have a clue.  I also realised that the successful and wise people knew things that I could only learn from talking to them or, reading books that they have written or,  watching interviews with them on YouTube or TV.  They don’t know it all but they definitely know more than me and they never stop learning.  Thankfully, they are also more than happy to share their knowledge and pearls of wisdom.

So wisdom clearly has that extra layer.  Wisdom is having the knowledge and knowing where, when and how to use your knowledge effectively to create a win-win situation for all involved.   You don’t need a university education to have wisdom.  In fact, you don’t need a university education to be successful. I’m not saying don’t get one, but there are many examples of true entrepreneurs who never bothered and are worth billions today.  The late Steve Jobs and Richard Branson come to mind.  It’s still not enlightenment though.  Enlightenment is on another level.

IMG_8763

Yesterday I happened upon a video of Oprah Winfrey being interviewed by Stanford students.  You can watch it here.  Light bulbs started flashing in my head…I felt like I had a better grasp of  what enlightenment is.  The video is long (aprox. an hour) but worth the watch.  Oprah, the late Maya Angelou and the Deepack Chopra are examples of people, who I believe, seek enlightenment.  They all have several traits in common:

  • They are authentic.
  • They practice gratitude.
  • They have used their life experiences to gain wisdom.  (They have definitely not walked through life with their blinkers on)
  • They believe in a Higher Power.  They listen to – and surrender to It.  They are fearless because of their faith.
  • They have learnt to let go of that which is not working for them and have learned to embrace what does,  even if it flies in the face of convention.
  • They are not attached to their filters of the world.
  • They often self-reflect in order to keep growing and learning.
  • Most importantly (to me at least), they have found their purpose and are constantly finding new ways to help others achieve the same.

I could go on and on but I am sure you get the point.  I suspect that ultimately, we are all working towards achieving a level of enlightenment in our own way.   The path does appear to be relatively linear i.e knowledge to wisdom to enlightenment, well at least for adults.  Children appear to be pretty enlightened already and then we cloak them with knowledge and filters that dims their little lights for a few years. 😦

All best of on your search for enlightenment.  I will leave you with one last quote that really resonated with me while researching this topic.

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If you are reading this is, it probably means you have made it to the end. 🙂  If you enjoyed it, please like and share. Oh and don’t forget to follow me if you would like to see more in the future. 

Thanks!

 

 

 

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