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Increased workload? Here’s the simple secret to managing it all.

Increased Workload?
Here’s the simple secret to managing it all.

As we head into a new phase of Covid-19, I’m wondering how you are managing your workload.   

A few weeks ago, I asked the 1500 or so women of the Leading Ladies Facebook Group (a free group that I run for mid-career professional women) whether they were less busy, about the same or more busy as a result of Covid 

I had expected a bit of a mixed bag of responses – but to my surprise the response was a resounding “WAY more busy!!”  

Give a busy woman something to do… and she will find a way to make it work!   

And hasn’t this been the truth over recent weeks.  

During the last couple of months I’ve seen so many professional women very effectively juggling home schooling and keeping the family fed along with adjusting to working from home, supporting their team to maintain productivity while managing to churn out a massive volume of their own work. 

Ladies – you are amazing. But there comes a time when it’s time to take a breath and take care of you.    

I’m curious – have you been putting everything and everyone elses needs ahead of our own? 

Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game... not stressed out and tired! 

My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?” 

What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little crazy? 

We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it? 

These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months.  

Too often, when we get busy, the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self-care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self-care rituals and routines are most important. 

Here are my personal rules for taking care of me even when things get busy.

1. Keep moving.

Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is critical for your health and brain function to maximise productivity, creativity and general mood. My early morning walks at the beginning of the day is a must for me – to get you fired up and focused for the day 

2. Quality refuelling. 

If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel.  Have you been treating your body respectfully the high quality refuelling?  (And ladies – quality vino does not count!)  

3. Still the mind.

The research around the benefits of meditation and the powerful state of mindfulness are irrefutable.   

But who needs proof?  

Intuitively we know that when we make time for even 10 minutes for a little meditation or mindfulness, we feel calmer and our thinking expands, allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort. 

If you are looking to add a regular meditation practise into your daily routine, there are lots of great apps.  My personal favourite is Insight Timer.

4. Say NO. 

How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or, worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? If this resonates with you – it’s time to learn the art of saying no!  

Take your time. Think it through and only commit to those things that will serve you well. 

5. Schedule ‘you’ time.

Ladies… I know many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when that happens, we end up with nothing left to give anyone. 

Self care is not a luxury.  It’s the foundation to doing your best work.   

To manage the increased workload that many of us find ourselves in right now, working harder, longer hours is not the answer. We need to double down on those activities that allow us to be our most productive, clear thinking and keep stress and fatigue at bay.  

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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Do you hold yourself accountable?

Do you hold yourself accountable?

Why is staying accountable to what we say we want, so jolly hard? If it were easy we would all be a dress size or two smaller, super healthy, spending quality time with the kids, leaving the office on time, applying for the job we really want, doing great work for a charity…. or some variation or combination of the above.

Clearly desire is not enough.

Over the past 12 months I have been trying to meditate each day. I know I feel better when I do, my decision-making is clearer and my productivity soars. Just 5 or 10 minutes every day is all I am aiming for… yet I am falling short of creating a daily practice.

I’m clearly struggling to stay accountable to my goal… even a pretty small goal at that. For just a moment this week I found I was beating myself up.

Then I asked myself a better, more empowering question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

I know one thing for sure… relying on old habits and pure will power is not the answer.

As I pondered this answer, I thought about the women who have attended Career by Design (1 day workshop for mid career women) and wondered why it is that so many of them stay accountable to the commitments they make to themselves about stepping into the next phase of their career.

I think the answer lies in the work we do in setting them up for success. They walk away with so much more than a plan.

We have worked on their mindset, acknowledged the fear that may show up and identified their next steps to create momentum. And most importantly, during the day they connect with other amazing women who want nothing but success for them.

Think about the goals or personal commitments you have struggled to see through. Have you truly given yourself the best opportunity for success?

Here are 4 keys to staying committed and accountable.

1.  It starts with why. You have to know your why… why is accomplishing this goal important to you? How will it ultimately improve your life or help you to grow your career?

If you don’t have a compelling enough answer for yourself, then you probably won’t stick to it since it’s not that important to you.

2.  Create momentum for change. For many people, taking the first step is the hardest. Creating change can feel scaring or overwhelming or hard.

Start by breaking down your goal into smaller chunks. Identify the very first step. And then take that first step. You don’t need to know every step… just the first one. The next step will reveal itself once you take the first step.

It’s that simple. Let’s not over complicate things!

3.  Recognise fear. Fear can be an annoying hand break that stops us in our tracks. It’s that nagging voice in our head that reminds us of all the things that could go wrong. It can be relied on to provide us with the reasons why we are not good enough or why we should wait until we know more or have more experience or our home situation is different.

Very rarely is this fear based dialogue based in fact. Almost always the dialogue going on inside your head is… well quite frankly… it’s bollocks!

You are good enough. You are experienced enough. You do deserve it. You are worthy.

So next time you commit to stepping up or to play a bigger game at work notice the fear, but don’t let it rule your actions.

Ask yourself: if the worst was to happen, could I handle it. And 99 times out of 100 I know that you could!

So let’s agree to take action towards your goals … in spite of the fear. No more waiting for courage. It’s time to be bold. Be brave. Be fearless. 

4.  Enlist a support team. You may be proud of your independent nature and what you have achieved without much help, but it’s time to change that habit.

Let’s make this easy.

Surround yourself with people who have your back. Seek out people who will lift you higher and support you to stay accountable and succeed.

If the people who you hang out with now are not going to support your mission to create a new habit to enhance your health or lifestyle or champion you to step up and stand out as the exception leader that you are, then it’s time to enlist a new support team.

Reach out to people who have achieved what you want to achieve. You will find people are much more willing to support your growth than you may at first think.

Finally …go public with your goal and ask for help to stay the course. Just saying out loud what it is that you are striving for will raise your chances for success.

Accountability for your goals starts with you.

 If you have struggled to stay accountable to some of your goals and personal commitments ask yourself a better question.

“How can I truly succeed at this goal?”

 Following old strategies and hoping for a different result … well that’s just crazy. Commit to giving 1 or all 4 of these strategies a go and see how much easier staying accountable to you really can be.

Share below what you commit to and we will help you keep accountable.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

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4 Ways Meditation Will Improve Your Leadership

4 Ways Meditation Will Improve Your Leadership

Is meditation the key to personal and professional success? Is it the gateway to our inner stability and true peace, love and happiness? Can learning to settle the mind bring you clarity, wisdom and give you what it takes to be an exceptional leader of people and business?

There is a growing body of evidence and high profile supporters to suggest that it is. It is no longer the realm of hippies, Buddhist monks and the enlightened few.

Everyone from Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Hugh Jackman to Rupert Murdoch and Oprah are doing it and attributing their health, happiness and business success to the ancient art.

I am no expert and I am relevantly new to the magical world of meditation but I am however a convert.

The benefits to me are obvious. On the days I manage to calve out out some time (even as little as 10 minutes) to meditate I feel calmer, my mind is quieter and I feel more positive and alive.

The evolution of brain science particularly over the last 10 to 15 years has produced clear and exciting scientific evidence that demonstrates the plasticity of the brain. We now have proof, thanks to modern technology, that shows that meditation and the powerful state of “mindfulness” can reduce anxiety and worry, decrease negative thoughts and expand our thinking and productivity.

Here are 4 ways that meditation can have a positive impact on your effectiveness as a leader.  

Improved Focus and concentration

Focus and concentration is the foundation for productivity and getting great work done. With the increasing volume of work expected of us all, developing an ability to stay focused on a task while surrounded by the ever present interruptions from our smart phones, laptops and people generally wanting a piece of you, is key.

We can not increase the number of hours we have in the day to get stuff done but we can increase our ability to get more done in the time we have. As little as just 11 hours of meditation has shown to create structural changes in the part of the brain that is involved in maintaining our focus and concentration.

Creativity and Problem Solving

Have you ever tried to solve a problem when you feel stressed and overwhelmed? Most of us have! The noise and clutter that takes over our brain prevents clear thinking, snuffs out all creativity and often renders us incapable of any action, let alone the type of action that will have you seen as the exceptional leader that you truly are when you are at your best.

We make our most intelligent decisions when we are in some state of internal peace and calm. Research has found that meditation not only quietens the mind but also promotes the type of thinking that allows new and creative ideas to be generated.

Less Stress and Anxiety

In today’s fast paced, ever changing, always on corporate environment, chronic low grade stress and anxiety just seem part of the deal. But we never perform at our best when we are stressed and anxious.

Repeated studies have demonstrated that meditation can rewire how the brain responds to stress. It helps us to pay attention to the present moment, stay connected to our feelings and emotions and remain calm when faced with highly stressful situations.

Boost Social Connection and Empathy

Research has shown that social connection, empathy and compassion, all critical elements of communication and relationship building, are higher in those who practice meditation regularly. Mindfulness not only increases our self awareness, it also raises our awareness of the impact we have on other people feelings and emotions.

With the latest Gallop poll research revealing that less than a quarter of all Australians are actually fully engaged in their work, any leader who can be more present with their team and build high team engagement and effectiveness will be in high demand.

Thinking it might be worth giving meditation a go?

Now before you think that you need to head to India to an ashram to learn to meditate then think again. Even just committing to a few minutes of quiet time where you get present to your breath is a worthwhile start.

For me, I find following a recorded guided meditation works best. One free app I have found to be good is by Headspace or you might like to try the 21 day free course – Manifesting True Success with Oprah and Deepak.

Regardless what type of meditation you choose, committing to regular practise of mindfulness will help you to clear your mind of the noise, clutter and needless worries, nurture passion for your work and compassion for others, and develop the ability to empower the people in your organisation.

LET'S CONNECT

Click below to…

Join “Leading Ladies” – a private FREE Facebook group of over 1600 other mid-career professional women to inspire and support
Join the newsletter list for weekly tips and strategies showing you how to ignite your career, lead your way and accelerate your success. 
Watch The Next Level Training to breakthrough to the next level of leadership, impact and recognition.  
Get my best tips on working smarter not harder 
Read my latest blog post.
Can’t find what you’re looking for? Contact my team.

Similar Blog Posts

Businessman having stress in the office

Leading through and beyond burnout

Imagine this….

You’re sitting in the car park at work with a splitting headache and with that sinking feeling of here we go again. The 3 coffees you’ve downed already to give you a bit of an energetic lift haven’t helped; in fact, you feel more than a little shaky. Your phone has lit up like a Christmas tree with fires you’re expected to put out, yet all you want to do is book a room at the nearest hotel, close the blinds and sleep for days.

Jane Benston

Time’s Change But Not Fast Enough

Yesterday we farewelled my partner’s Mum… at the ripe old age of 101!

Sadly, I never got to know her before dementia stole her memory and much of her spark, but Betty clearly was a special woman. As I sat in the chapel listening to her life story, I reflected on how different her life would have been if she had lived in a different era.

Jane Benston

Why we must talk about menopause…

Let’s talk menopause

Yes! I’m going there.

Why? Because your ability to lead effectively and confidently relies on you being at your best – both physically and mentally.

Jane Benston