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

 

 

 

 

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.

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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!

 

 

 

How I quit smoking

It’s February 23rd, 2013.  It’s about 1 pm.  I am standing outside and smoking what will prove to be my last cigarette.  I remember feeling a spot of fear in the pit of my stomach.  I had just finished reading “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking” by, you guessed it, Allen Carr.😁 I thought back to a month before when I stood in Exclusive Books at the airport and contemplated whether I should give up or not. There were so many very good reasons why I should stop and yet I hesitated.  I loved smoking!  I bought the book anyway.

Nonetheless, here I stood, savouring my last cigarette as instructed by Allen Carr.  I would love to tell you that it was the book itself that made me quit, but, I realise now, that it was me. The book, however, did give me many reasons to really think about why I smoked, what would happen psychologically if I stopped and, how I survived life’s joys and stresses before I lit my first cigarette.

Not long after I got home on the Friday evening, I started reading it with the intention of quitting when I was done. By 1 pm that Saturday, I made the decision to stop for good. I smoked that last cigarette and have never looked back.  Let me not lie to you, the first 3 days were hard! In fact, on day 3 I felt like a junkie in a rehab centre for about an hour or two. I just lay on the couch and rocked back and forth.  It felt like I was going to die. My little munchkin was a trooper and just let me be. At the end of the day, nicotine is addictive and like all other addictions, there is a physical and psychological component to it. You must overcome both. The good news is that it is perfectly doable. It’s been 4 years, 6 months and 1 week since that day and I haven’t looked back. I will not lie, I miss the habit but not enough to light another cigarette.  I am done.

There are several reasons why I believe I was successful.

“Acceptance is the first step to commitment” Benjamin P. Hardy

1. I had accepted that smoking was bad for me and that I wanted to stop when I started reading the book.  Like other smokers, I had previously scoffed at the warnings of impending death and told myself that I would die anyway.  Watching my son grow though made me realise that I wanted to live to watch him become a man and hopefully enjoy a grandkid or two as well. I was also tired of smelling like an ashtray.

2. I approached the book and the process with an open mind. It helped me work through the how’s and why’s of my smoking habit and nicotine addiction. For me it was important that I separate out the two in my mind as they needed to each be acknowledged, understood and dealt with differently.

3. Once I understood the difference between the habit and the addiction and accepted it,  I was able to internalise what I call “mental hooks” to hold onto when my resolve wavered.

“Commitment is a prerequisite to making proactive and purposeful change” Benjamin P. Hardy

4. I was then ready to commit to quitting smoking which I did. Fully. The thing about addiction though is that you have to wake up every day and commit to not starting the habit again. Fortunately, just like learning to drive or riding a bicycle, you become “unconsciously competent” at it after a few weeks. Ultimately,  I was fully committed to the decision to change my behaviour and that made all the difference.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what method you use to effect change in a particular area in your life. What does matter is your level of commitment to it?  There’s a great article on Medium about this. You can read it here.

My next challenge is losing 30kg. I will keep you posted on my journey. This is going to be a much longer road but I am finally ready for it and I am committed to it.

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