How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3 Easy Steps

How to Simplify Your To-Do List in 3  Easy Steps

Efficiency is my love language. 

There I said it :P 

I am the lady who thinks 99.9% of meetings could have been emails, and who is always looking for a smarter way to get things done. 

And I have zero chill about it :D 

THAT is why I was delighted (yes, actually delighted) when a friend called, handed me her to-do list and said HELP ME! 

It. was. LONG. 

And overwhelming.

And it was giving her stage fright. 

So here is the thing about a to-do list, they're just ok. They're a great tool, but if the tasks on them aren't connected to a greater purpose that gives them and their accomplishment real-life-meaning then as you may know from personal experience - will have ZERO appeal when you need to actually get things done.

Additionally, when they're too long - it becomes a "can't see the wood for the trees situation".

Where do you start? How do you start?

Some people like to just start at the top and work their way down - thats a great strategy if you just want to do SOMETHING but, its not an efficient strategy and it does not guarantee that you will get to the end of your day feeling any less stressed or satisfied about how you spent your time if all you have done is distract or exhaust yourself doing things that aren't really important.

So when I find myself faced with a monster of a to-do list, and only 24 hours in a day (as well as what may feel like competing priorities), here is how I take a second and tackle it in a way that transforms my day and leaves me falling asleep feeling at peace and accomplished. 

1. Identify Boulders
The first step in coming up with an effective strategy for tackling your list is taking a look at your day or week and getting clear on how much time you ACTUALLY have at your disposal. 

For some of us that may mean that we need to get real about the fact that we have a 9-5 with little wiggle room OR 3 littles at home with us with lots of wiggles, but still - very little margin for much else other than homeschooling or snack prep. 

Boulders are responsibilities or commitments that are immovable. 

Disclaimer: a lot of the "immovability" of your boulders is perceived. This step if often as much about recommitting to these immovable priorities or re-evaluating your commitment to them. Either way - the goal here is to get clear on how much room you have in your day or week to play with. 


2. Create Time Blocks 
Once you have figured out your non-negotiables, clear the deck - everything else is officially up for grabs. 

This is where you may you need to commit to taking a look at your daily or weekly schedule with a fresh perspective. 

Sometimes you need to remind yourself that you DO have enough time for what matters most - you are just not using it that way.

For me this has looked like realizing that if I need a block of silence - that the two hours before the kids wake up, or after they go to sleep could be put to better use. 

It has helped me be more creative with my hour long lunch break. 

And it has helped me realize that there are some things that I like to control myself (like grocery shopping) that I can delegate to curbside or amazon. 

By the end of this process you should have identified and set aside time blocks (even if they are only an hour each) throughout your day or week that you can use in a different way that you've been using them before. 


3. Name Your Big Rocks 
This is where you get creative with and give meaning to that to-do list. 

Big Rocks are the big, overarching goals or the VALUE that fulfilling certain tasks on your to-do list will bring to your life. 

IF you can't do everything on your life, what is the ONE THING or cluster of things that you can't not do?

or asked differently:

- What thing/s will move the needle on helping you get to where you want to be in your life/marriage/parenting/career most? 
- What task/s if done, would be total game changers for your life? 
- What do you need to do to go to bed feeling deeply satisfied/proud/accomplished? 

These are your big rocks. And you should only have 1 or 2 - for sure no more than 3. Everything else may be or feel important but be honest with yourself - it will be ok if they end up undone.  

Pro-tip: I have found that for ME - my big rocks are usually the things I am avoiding doing, even if its just subconsciously.  

Now... remember those blocks of time you've created in step 2? This is what you're going to do with it. Forget everything else on your list - put your head down and get your biggest rock knocked out. 

If you get through it and you still have time blocked out - hit big rock #2, then #3 and so on. 

You might get to the end of the day having not done the grocery shopping or having gone to the library - but you have paid the bills, handled that thing you've been putting off for weeks and even spent meaningful time with your best friend or your kids, then paying that library fine or eating cheerios for dinner seem like a great compromise. 

At the end of the day, our time has been given to us to use and care for as a precious gift. It is our responsibility to steward carefully because once its spent its spent - we don't get it back ever again.

Additionally, wasting it on priorities that aren't really ours or spending energy dealing with bitterness and resentment because we have allowed other people to dictate to us how we use it isn't worth it.

While I would probably never advocate for anyone spending more time on social media -If you are feeling a little out of control of your calendar - and you can feel the stress, bitterness or burnout bubbling up as a result - you would probably benefit from all the resources in my FB community for women who are using boundaries and self-stewardship to stay out of both bitterness and burnout - why don't you head on over there now - we can't wait to have you! 


Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

Why I Had to Break Up with My Hustle

There was a time when I probably would have been extremely proud at my propensity to hustle. 

I am by nature pretty driven and hardworking and when the goal is worthy, I can be extremely disciplined and focused. Basically, I am full-on Type A, and hustle was me in my element. 


My hustle does have a darkside though. Discipline and focus becomes ruthless elimination of any distraction - even if that distraction happens to be another human who I love and who loves me back. Hard work turns into self-harm as I feel my body groan under the weight of its workload. Early mornings, late nights, all work, no play or rest -  all in the name of strong work ethic and whatever it is I start to believe is worth the cost of my health and my peace.


I think the worst part about all of this is that it actually works (at least for a while) - goals are accomplished, a system flooded with adrenaline feels amazing and even better is the value that an achievement, no matter how arbitrary, can bestow upon a small self-esteem pretending to be confident and secure in who she is, and not what she does. 

It works… until it doesn’t. It works until bodies start to give in after years of abuse. It works until marriages and friendships are eroded until there’s nothing left, and it works until your appetite for achievement or value becomes so insatiable that nothing satisfies for long or how it used to. 

Here is the real problem with hustle though. The issue undergirding all of that self-destruction is that the energy driving most of our hustle is scarcity and shame. 

Hustle is not about hard work or productivity. 

Hustle is a posture and an energy. 

It’s an expression of scarcity and an experience of danger or threat to who we are. 


It’s fight or flight in action. 


If you know anything about fight or flight you know that it is a physiological and emotional state that is only supposed to be short term and for extreme, dangerous situations. 


Rest doesn't happen there. 

Peace doesn’t happen there. 
Reproduction and fruitfulness doesn’t happen there. 

Real growth gets stunted there. 

Healthy energy can’t be sustained there. 

Creativity & imagination is non-existent there. 

I am learning that when I find myself in hustle-mode, that I am also in fight or flight mode, I am avoiding pain or threat of some kind. The only way through or beyond that is to turn towards it, to remember and to know that I am worthy, that I can live shining my light and pouring love out onto my world. 

Hustle is fear of loss or losing, it is shame and fear responding on your behalf, its self-protection - and it’s also isolation when you need connection more. 


If we are honest with ourselves, we can acknowledge that a lot of us structure our lives around avoiding pain. 


What if we chose to structure it around pursuing love? 


What if the energy we need to succeed in life isnt hustle, what if it is courage infused with love and it's rooted in deep peace and a confidence that we are safe, that we are valuable and that life is good? 


What if there is always more than enough time? 


What if it were fun and easy? 


The commitment I am making to myself, and the one I am inviting you to make for yourself is to consistently examine my foundation and the energy propelling me. Am I prepared to work hard? YES! Do I want to live my life having left nothing on the table? HECK YES! Do I believe it's worth sacrificing my health, love and peace for? Never again. 

I can choose to do all of that from a place of already, right-now, in-the-present deep satisfaction and peace. 

What about you? Are you ready to let go of the fear and the shame and shine in your love? 

If you are reading this and are concerned that your hustle might be starting to take its toll on your health and wellbeing, you might be interested in a free quiz I put together for you. Click here to access the “what is your survival mode score?” quiz!





Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.

Angie: Resetting to healthier ways & empowered to keep going.
Angie is a mother of two, living in New York. 

She decided to participate in The Stress & Self-Care Reset because... well... pandemic. And in her words... "the whole thing was just extra... working from home, homeschooling the children, the stress and anxiety of the times... it was more load than I have the capacity to bear and I knew I needed some help to get me across the finish line.

Here is what she says about her experience of the Stress & Self Care Reset:I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.

I just wanted to touch base since I wasn't able to speak with you last week.  Even with all the chaos last week threw at us unexpectedly, I was able to continue participating in almost all aspects of the reset.  In the few days that we've been home this week and settling back into our usual pandemic work/life routine I've finally had a chance to reflect on impacts I've seen from the reset.  

Two places in particular where I saw changes were in using the Superfood supplement and identifying and using a daily mantra/affirmation. I have a deep and abiding love of Coke, and while I have mostly eliminated it from my diet in times of great stress and overworking, I find excuses to let it back into my life and while it's not the couple a day habit i used to have, even a few during a single week is not something I really want. It just has a noticeable impact on my physical and mental health. Anyhow, that's where I was when we started and without even making a conscious effort, I found that a few days into using the Ningxia Red that I no longer had that mid afternoon craving for a coke. In fact my afternoon fatigue seemed to be gone in general.

The idea of using a mantra or daily affirmations isn't new to me. I do them with my kids regularly, but it's not something I've actually focused on for myself. When we first started the reset, our family was reading through Romans in the mornings together. And there were some parts of Romans 8 that just jumped out at me. So I began with the daily affirmation of I am free. (Romans 8:2) I am fearless. (Romans 8:15) and I am never alone. (Romans 8:38-39)  Coming up with the daily affirmation forced me to really think about what it is I needed to hear and tell myself each day to remind me of who I am and who I want to be. Not knowing when we started what the second week would bring into my life, I relied on those affirmations often throughout the day on our trip to my hometown to say good-bye to my grandmother and spend some time with family. I won't go into detail, but leaving that town was my greatest goal from the age I first realized it was an option. My parents have always been a stress trigger for me starting with a diagnosis of a stress-induced autoimmune disease when I was a teen. I've spent a long time learning to deal with the impact of stress to my body and mind and how to manage and prevent it and how to stay healthy while having a relationship with my family of origin. I didn't realize how much I was relying on those affirmations until I sat down to reflect.

I have also been using the other protocol tools regularly. I very much enjoy integrating them while I spend a few minutes meditating in the morning or when I was traveling I used it on the short 10 min drive from our cottage to visit my grandmother. I haven't usually used something like that during my morning meditation time, but I plan to continue the entire RESET protocol through the summer.

All in all, I'm very grateful to have participated in the reset...it did just that for me, helped me reset to healthier ways that I feel empowered to build on. I plan to keep up all the things through the summer and hopefully catch up on the journaling too.  Thanks so much for offering it!
Angie Took the time to chat with me about her experience... I hope you enjoy hearing from her as much as I did :)


I am not sure there is a single human who has made it  through 2020 so far and who won't benefit from the protocol in the Stress & Self-Care Reset. Let alone the amazing women and mothers who have had to suddenly become teachers, while working and managing their own fears and anxieties.

If you would like more information about the Stress & Self-Care Reset: Visit the webpage here.  

Aoife: Nursing in a pandemic AND managing the stress like a boss

Aoife: Nursing in a pandemic AND managing the stress like a boss
You guys!!!! Listen to Aoife's success story while participating in the Stress & Self-Care Reset!

Aoife has been a client of mine for a while now and as a nurse we knew we had to figure out how to help her manage her stress better... Can you imagine nursing during a pandemic!!??

"As a nurse I can experience high levels of stress depending on the day, so I made up a roller and would use it every now and then and it helped but I didn’t see massive improvements. Then I read about how consistency is key. So I started applying the roller before each shift and also as a stressful situation would arise. After about 2 weeks I really began to notice a difference in my stress levels. Now, just smelling it helps me feel instantly calm and its become my go-to for stress. 🩋"

And after about 9 days into the Stress & Self-Care reset:

"I have noticed my sleep pattern has changed/improved. I'm tired at the right time now (at night not at random points of the day/night). And the work we have been doing with our mindset has been good, been doing it daily and beginning to see a positive shift in my thought patterns 😊

You guys, if a nurse during a pandemic can start experiencing some reprieve from the chaos we're experiencing... I think you can too!!!!

Hands up: who wants to be sleeping better and feeling calmer under stress???? Who's ready to actually make those changes and get those zzzzzzz's 😮I

If you would like more information about how the Stress & Self-Care Reset can possibly help you smash out of Survival-Mode - click HERE.

Three natural ways you can relieve stress and restore balance to an anxious body, mind and life.

Three natural ways you can relieve stress and restore balance to an anxious body, mind and life.

Stress may seem like an unavoidable fact of life, but did you know that simply by understanding how it works, how it affects your body and your emotional wellbeing, you can become more intentional about how you care for yourself when you’re stressed out.  You can work WITH your body, rather than against it. You can remain nourished, and even flourish in the midst of stressful seasons and circumstances. 


Stress starts as an event or experience outside of ourselves, our brains then consciously or  subconsciously interpret and attach meaning to those events and if it experiences them as stressful, issues a state of alarm. This leads to a chain reaction in our bodies designed to help us survive and overcome the challenges we are facing before restoring balance once again. 


You can support your body at every stage in this process in natural and even surprising ways. Read on for a free recipe for my simple, natural calming roller bottle - an absolute must-have for anyone who needs some peace and calm during life’s stressful times. 


  1. Dealing With The Circumstances Themselves: Saying NO to Stressful Situations You Can Avoid. 

One of the simplest (but not easy) stress management strategies you can adopt is to live curious, self-aware and on the lookout for situations or demands on your life that you don’t actually have to deal with. 


This includes learning more about and creating boundaries with other people, organizations, and perhaps even yourself. To filter out commitments that are unnecessary, overcrowding your life, or are inconsistent with your goals and values. 


This also includes learning to “put down” mental loads that aren’t yours to carry. Learning to tell the difference between concerns that are within your control, and thus your responsibility and those that are not is a valuable and life saving life skill that very few of us ever learn, or master - yet it is one of the most stress-relieving, life-changing and empowering life-skills there is!


 

  1. Emotional Regulation: Helping Your Brain Choose & Stay Calm

If how your brain interprets a situation is the source of all those pesky physical stress symptoms and all of that emotional unrest, then helping it to choose and stay calm is the next best thing you can do if you are dealing with a stressful situation you just cannot escape. This is called supporting your brain’s emotional regulation systems. 


One of the most powerful ways to do this is with different scents. Your sense of smell is the only of your five senses that bypasses all of your brain’s processing functions and quickly, and directly affects the parts of your brain that generates different emotions (ie: stress or calm) which go on to cause other ripple reactions in your body and mind. 


Some scents are especially soothing. Lavender, for example, has been shown in numerous studies to calm participants and reduce their stress levels. Other calming scents include ylang-ylang, bergamot, orange blossom, roman chamomile and frankincense. 


Using scents to treat your mood is called aromatherapy, and is very easy to do at home. Several studies have shown how aromatherapy decreases anxiety and improves sleep. 


Warning: Please be mindful of the quality of essential oils or candles you use in your home. Fake fragrances are harmful and so detrimental to your health that they may actually place more stress on your body. Only use quality tested and pure essential oils. 


  1. Supporting a body during a stress response: Nourishing can lead to flourishing. 


Once your brain triggers your body's stress response, the organs responsible for regulating it (your adrenal glands) release cortisol, a hormone that diverts resources from some processes and towards others. This is why digestive issues, reduced sex-drive and sleeplessness are common reactions to stress. Usually, a stress response ends in a time of rest and restoration, but our busy and overextended lives often cause stress cycles to overlap, nearly eliminating opportunities for our bodies and mind to heal. 


By intentionally nourishing your adrenal glands, the systems affected by stress and becoming intentional with rhythms of rest and renewal you can support your body as it does its thing. 


Foods that are rich in vitamin C and nutmeg for example are very nourishing to your adrenal glands. Herbs like ashwagandha help regulate your adrenal glands and can over time, reduce the severity of your body's stress responses because of its adaptogenic properties. 


Nourishing your digestive system with digestive enzymes and probiotics are ways you can support it when stress causes digestive upsets. 


Avoiding caffeine, sugar and other stimulants will improve and regulate your blood sugar levels and make you feel less anxious and jittery.


Oxidative stress has recently been implicated in depression, anxiety disorders and high anxiety levels, and so antioxidant rich superfoods (like ningxia or goji berries) may improve nervous system function, protect heart function, digestive health, stabilize blood sugar levels and protect overall health during times of stress. 


  1. Peace & Calming Roller Bottle Recipe 


Combine: 

10 drops of lavender essential oil

10 drops of frankincense essential oil 

10 drops of bergamot essential oil 

10 drops of orange blossom essential oil.


In a 10ml glass roller bottle. Top up with fractionated Coconut Oil or V6 Carrier Oil.


Roll over wrists, heart when you’re feeling stressed out or are struggling to stay calm. You can even roll some onto the palms of your hands, cup them over your nose and mouth and breath deeply as you count to 10 slowly.


Remember how I said not all smells are created equal? Often times, you cannot trust that your favorite retailer has done their homework and is selling you products that are truly pure, and unadulterated. If they are willing to  compromise the health of their workers or the planet to make their product, why would they care about yours?  Knowing who to trust is everything - and lucky for you, I have done my homework. I have a source that I trust, has it all under one roof, has helped find me products that are safe and truly nourishing, and have enabled me to flourish in spite of having years of chronic stress to play catch up on. Want to know more? Let’s get in touch!