Uncover Your Joy - A request :)Today’s post is not a typical one for me to write. My head has all sorts of ideas about what to write, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m repeating myself. I couldn’t figure out what’s up with that for a while – I always assumed there is an unlimited number of blog posts one can write about the topics I deal with. But the impression is not going away, no matter how many new texts I manage to create – there is this constant thought somewhere in my mind, that I already wrote about that :)

When I checked the list of posts here and on my Polish blog, it started to make more sense. This blog has over 100 posts already, the Polish one accumulated over 180 in the last (almost) 5 years, which means I’ve been writing at least one post every two weeks in the span of those years! Yes, there were times with nothing, there were times with posts every few days, there were times with blogging every day, the overall numbers are high, though – a lot of text, a lot of words, a lot of topics :) And even when you consider the more personal ones, the ranting ones and the “no text” ones, it still adds up to a surprising amount of content :)

It makes me happy, but also worries me a bit, because it’s getting harder and harder to find things to write about that feel fresh and already covered on the blog (well, blogs). So, I’m looking for ideas, inspiration and suggestions from you, Dear Reader!

Because it’s you who’s reading, sometimes commenting, sending emails and starting discussions. The blog is as much for you, as it is for me. Ok, well, actually, it’s more for you, because I want to share what I know, what I’ve experienced, what is helping me – perhaps it will help you as well :) That is why I’m asking you to share your thoughts, ideas and subjects you’d like to see more of on the blog.

What questions are keeping you awake at night or bugging you throughout the days?
What things related to self-development, success, joy and other related topics you’d like to see more of?
What do you want more of here?
What do you want less of?

Let me know, and I will do my best to deliver, write and share!
Leave a comment, send an email, reply to the newsletter :)
I’m grateful for every single feedback coming from this request! So, thank you in advance!

Have a fabulous, joyous day today! :)

Uncover Your Joy - I don't want to.Over four years ago I wrote a blog post (on my Polish blog) about a terrible day I had – though it was terrible not because something bad happened, but because I woke up exhausted, depleted of energy and having only one thought on my mind – “I don’t want to”. Back then I was using a few-step process to help me deal with days like that, so today I thought I would revisit and share modifications I made to it, so that it serves me better. Maybe you’ll find it helpful as well :)

Steps to dealing with such a day

In my life days like that don’t show up too often, but they do show their ugly face sometimes and if I can, I do take a day off, but that’s not always possible. Like today – many meetings and duties I need to take care of before I get to wind down. So, in times like these, I’ve got a short (but powerful) process set up. Here it goes:

1) Accept this day – on a day like this, when you feel resistance towards doing anything, even the most pleasurable items on your to-do list, moving past that is a challenge in itself. It might work for you to push the feeling out, to resist the resistance, but I found out that it’s easier to simply accept it. To acknowledge that “Ok, I feel like that now and well, that’s ok” – it can work miracles, like lessen the influence of your resistance on your ability to actually do something. And on some days, the acceptance is enough to get you past the inability to act. But, sometimes we might need more, so…

2) List the benefits – yes, put down somewhere (in my case – on a piece of paper, in yours it might be in a computer file or just in your head) all the good things you can think of that will come from you doing what you have to today.
It’s easy to focus on the negative and complain or worry, especially when you feel like moving your finger is too big of an effort, so doing the list will help you refocus, remind you about your goals and show you how the actions you’re supposed to do today are going to get you closer to them. Changing your attitude towards your responsibilities might help you get going with working on them.

3) Work on what you need to – the famous and probably overused “just do it!” works here as well. And it’s kinda obvious, right? Doing things can help you get the momentum going, even if you start with the smallest, the least important. You get one done, you probably feel better, so you keep going to get even a better emotional response πŸ˜‰ Don’t let yourself analyse, wonder, think, worry or stare at the wall (yeah, that’s my thing on days like today). Just kick your butt into gear and start working!

4) Accept your results – it is highly probable that whatever you do on a day like that will not be up to your highest standards. And that’s to be expected – but in most cases it’s better to do something, even if your overall productivity is around 50% and not your usual 110%, than to waste the day and do nothing at all. You can of course choose things from your list that are not highly influenced by your ability to focus or use language well (I always write in a much worse manner when tired) or whatever skill you need, but when it’s not an option… Make your perfectionist go to sleep today and do as much you can and as well as you can. It’s all good – it’s all progress after all. Just make sure that your productivity is higher than 0 – unless, of course, you can afford (or make happen) a day filled with doing nothing/relaxing/only fun/sleeping :) If that’s the case, well, the article is not really for you, now, is it? πŸ˜‰

5) Don’t make important decisions – I had to find out the hard way – decisions made on a day like that can have terrible consequences. Yes, they can also be great for you, but the risk of you making a wrong one is higher, because you are not really functioning on your optimal levels. So, if you can – wait with the last word and if not – give yourself more time than usually to analyse the situations before you commit to anything.

6) If you can, end your day earlier – if you’re ambitious or stubborn, you may feel the need to work, work, work – to balance your productivity with more hours. Don’t. That need usually doesn’t end well. Not only will you not get better results from working longer hours, but also you’ll add more fuel to the fire that burned you down and left in that state you’re dealing with at this time. And I don’t think you want that. Better go to bed earlier, and after a good night’s rest work on the things that are left than do a lot of things just to get them done and then spend a few days correcting and redoing them anyway. Plan a calmer evening, spend time relaxing, and then sleep well. Tomorrow should be better :)

Fingers crossed that tomorrow is better for me and that this weird feeling of being sucked out of energy ends, allowing me to work on my usual effectiveness levels and express myself with more sense. And I do apologise for all the possible language chaos – if you find something that isn’t really clear or is a giant mistake – I hope it at least makes you smile widely πŸ˜€

Have a day filled with energy!

Uncover Your Joy - 7 things to remember when you're swamped!Today’s post is being written while I test out a new application I found out about (thanks Justyna!). It’s called Noisli and well, looks fun.

I’m listening to sounds of rain and thunder and at the same time I’m trying to organise my thoughts, as the week turned out to be totally different than I planned, filled with things, duties and busyness I honestly didn’t anticipate. Most of the stuff going on is good, but my head is still not working the way I’d like it to! :) It gives me tons of ideas to write about, but it doesn’t cooperate, when I want to write something longer than five or six sentences. Hence the introduction – chaotic, weird and totally not the way I like them – but when your head is full of things to do, your usual effective action is not so effective πŸ˜‰

My to-do list is getting longer with every passing day, even though I am eliminating tasks one by one – new ones show up like crazy. So I started to wonder how to survive such a week. And I know, it’s Thursday already (I have no idea when that happened πŸ˜€ ), but there are still a few days left – considering that for me every day is equal, be it Wednesday or Saturday. So, I decided more or less right now to share a short list of things that help me survive times like these – when I feel overwhelmed, tired, swamped and I can’t see the end of the craziness :) Hopefully it will come in handy when you find yourself in such a situation, though I don’t wish it on anyone πŸ˜€

First – slow down!

I get it, it sounds irrational, especially when you are against the clock and the pile of tasks is growing. However, I’m pretty sure you don’t need to think hard to remember, that when you’re in a hurry mistakes, errors, slip-ups and other accidents happen, and they don’t help, when you’re already feeling like your head might explode. So, slow down, even if for just a moment. Sit comfortably. Take a deep breath. And think…

Second – plan!

The thinking part? Well, you might want to use it on figuring out how to do all the stuff that you’re facing right now in the most productive, efficient way possible – what to do in what order, at what times, on what days, so that you can actually use the time wisely, knowing that we all have the same amount of it in a day – even if it may seem that others have more πŸ˜‰ But, the day has only 24 hours, so how much you can squeeze out from that is totally up to you! Just remember to use your head when squeezing – for example group similar activities, because you might get into a rhythm and that will save you time and take interruptions and delays into account and block out some time for those – even if you’ll be ready for less, it’s better to have some time available, than none at all.

Third – break!

I mean, take a break πŸ˜‰ Yes, in this crazy, chaotic time, when you think there is no way in hell you’ll get out from under all the tasks that are waiting for you remember that you are human and you need time to regenerate – even short, irregular periods of respite may save you, when you eel like your brain is on fire, and your hands need someone else to push them into motion πŸ˜‰ I admit, this one is not my strongest habit, but I am trying to take a break, even for 5 minutes every hour or two (oh, how I love the alarm in my phone for that!) and if I can, I’ll make it to 15 minutes! After such a break I work better, more effectively and well, it’s a bit more pleasurable.

Fourth – drink up!

Water, I mean, drink water πŸ˜‰ Taking into consideration this commonly known fact that our bodies, and especially our brains contain loads of water (over 70%*), how much water we drink is directly connected to how well we perform. The more water you consume, the better your body functions not only on the hot days. And the better the body works, the better the brain works – well, the faster we deal with problems, situations and tasks at hand :)

Fifth – sleep!

Exactly. Get. Enough. Sleep. Because it help you regenerate not only your body, but also your mental resources, so the correct amount will again benefit your productivity. And yes, you might feel tempted to stay up all night (or five), because when the crazy period is gone, you’ll be able to sleep in and catch up on those night you lost, however if that frantic period lasts more than 48 hours, you might do more harm than good no sleeping enough. Instead of going to bed at 4 am and getting up one hour later, give yourself at least 6 hours of rest, though I do prefer 8-9 hours in such times, as I have much more energy and I can deal with stuff more effectively :) Try it for yourself, though!

Sixth – move!

I’m not saying you’ve got to run a marathon, but a short, brisk walk or a bike ride might benefit you, a lot. Especially outside, though an inside workout is good as well, because it will chase away the tiredness for a while, kicking in some endorphin and giving you time to stop thinking about what you need to do next. Getting outside has some additional bonuses – fresh air, sun and a chance to change your surroundings being the first that come to mind. Each of those is good and useful, helping you not go crazy in a time when you feel you will. So spend one of your breaks for a quick run around the block, go to the nearest part or do some squats or push-ups if it’s raining. Just move :)

Seventh – reward!

Sounds trivial, right? Besides, you are used to rewarding others, especially kids for good behaviour, but rewarding yourself? Naah, doesn’t sound right, or does it? If you can admit to yourself how much stuff you managed to accomplish, pat yourself on the back, give something to yourself – a small token, a favourite dish, a trip to the cinema or maybe a massage – in times like these that might save your sanity and be much more effective than doing another thing from your list :) Try it, give yourself time for positive reinforcing and realise that each and every thing you manage to finish in such a crazy period is a success on its own and deserves a reward :) And as you know yourself best, the reward will be the best πŸ˜‰ So have fun!

Now, those things seem to be the ones I use most often when facing a period of craziness, busyness, unexpected events, situations I thought would happen but not for a year or so and generally being swamped with duties… I do hope that if you find yourself in such a position, those little tips will help you survive! Though fingers crossed for you not having to go through such times anytime soon! :)

Have a great week!

*I wrote it like that because the sources I found give different numbers – some say 73%, other 78%, but they all seem to agree that it’s always above 70% πŸ˜‰

Uncover Your Joy - How do you deal with small obstacles?There is no person in the world that doesn’t experience any problems, challenges and setbacks, be it big or small. If there is such a human, I say right away -“me jealous!” :)
But for our typical folk many different obstacles are the norm – no matter how perfect a plan we manage to create, something unexpected is bound to happen one way or the other.

However, how we deal with them when they show up influences what we manage to accomplish. And here comes the question from the title.

How do you deal with the obstacles in your life?

I’m not referring to the big things we are bound to meet on our path, that can change the course of our lives. Nope, I’m asking about the little stuff – delivery running late by a day, a cold you can’t seem to shake no matter what you do, an annoying coworker who wants something from you every five minutes when you need to focus or a night that can’t be called slept through. And those are the things we face almost every day.

So, how do you handle them?

The way we deal with those “little things”, the ones that can send more than one person into a frenzy, is directly linked to what we manage to accomplish, create, make happen… Why?

It’s simple and painfully obvious for most of us (even though what we know and what we do are not always the same) – if even the smallest of the small drives you nuts, irritates you, leads you to an urge to drop it all or makes you work on your projects and dreams with reluctance and anxiety, your productivity and the quality of what you create is much lower, as you allow the anger, irritation, being annoyed and other negative emotions to transfer into what you’re working on. If you haven’t already watched yourself when working in an agitated, negative emotional state – I encourage you to see what and how you do :) It might open your eyes.

What other choice do we have?

If, however, we can distance ourselves from those things and situations, focus on what is most important, say ‘no’ when we need peace and quiet, modify our plan of action to minimise the delay in next phases of the project, smile to ourselves and remind ourselves why we do what we do, not loosing track of what matters to us even for a moment – we can see and approach those little, pesky things from a different angle, one with a much more positive outlook :)

Because… so what your colleague wants something from you all the time, if you can tell him that you need some quiet time right now, but you can chat after work (if you like him enough to meet after hours, that is πŸ˜‰ ).

So what that you have a runny nose and a sore throat, if you can focus on your health more for a few days, not only getting better, but also pampering yourself and getting back to work with renewed energy and passion.

So what that the materials came a little late, if you can spend that time finishing up or preparing other stages of your project and then focus on production, and at the same time learn to include one or two additional days for unexpected delays in your plan for the next one.

A lesson here, a lesson there…

In every situation there is something we can learn – in these examples better planning, setting up boundaries in our relations or paying closer attention to the signals our body sends before we get sick. When, instead of panicking and complaining, we approach the issues with calmness, we can gain not only a better understanding of the situation and our reactions, but also inner peace which is priceless in today’s crazy busy times :)

And I’m not saying we can do it all the time – each and every one of us can sometimes get sucked into the spiral of madness πŸ˜‰ reacting negatively, cursing, giving up, moaning or telling yourself and everyone that will listen “why it won’t/don’t/didn’t work out again”, but it’s worth looking at those small obstacles from a distance, remembering the reason behind all our actions :)
And our ‘why’ is the biggest and the best motivator, isn’t it? πŸ˜‰

And how do you deal with all the annoyances, obstacles, difficulties and challenges that show up on your way to making your dream come true? :) Share them in the comments or send me an email!

Wishing you a fabulous, fabulous day!

Uncover Your Joy - Summing up the month - worth the time?
If you are a person that follows her dreams persistently and keeps working on the goals, you probably sometimes create lists (or maybe all the time like me? πŸ˜‰ ) of things that you know you need to do to move from A to B, C and so on… Lists like that help you move forward, make it easier to focus on the next step, allow to keep distractions away (especially if the lists are constantly in front of you) and help you simply organise your days better. Plus, they are a great visual reminder, which shows you what you managed to do and what still needs to be dealt with.
Freakishly useful tool, right? :)
Well, that’s not all that there is to lists in my world…

So what else is there?

What can you use your list for, especially when you’re done with them?
In my case, on the last day of the month I collect them all, pile them up, because I have loads (did I mention that I am addicted to lists? πŸ˜‰ ) and look at them to see what I managed to accomplish, do, make happen.
I create a “month’s summary“, which is an awesome thing – it gives me a better perspective on what is left on my to-do lists, but also gives me additional motivation… Because either I did a lot and I’m proud of myself or, well, I was a bit too lazy and I know I have to get myself into gear. Both give me an effective kick in the behind, though in a different way.

What can you gain from that?

When you take the time to analyse your progress, you can see:

where your time went in terms of tasks – were you focusing on the important stuff or maybe on the little things;

which tasks and goals speak to you more and which you have resistance towards;

what works and what doesn’t;

what brings you joy when doing it and what seems like a road through hell (that can surprise you at times);

where the time is actually going, especially if you observe what you do on a daily basis – so that you know where you need to put in more hours.

All those things are of immense help when you intend to plan your next month the next day – on the first of the month (as I always do).

So is it worth your time?

I say – YES! The lists are a powerful tool in themselves, but if you can work through them, even when they are done and ready to be discarded, you can gain tons of insights, which is even better! We all want to get to our goals as fast as possible, and lists aid in that, but making the process even easier (when you adjust, modify and change your steps) is also amazingly helpful! and you can do that not every month like me, but every four weeks (if you like stricter patterns or prefer doing summaries and planning on specific days), quarterly or every 6 months – depending on how you prefer to plan and work :)

I encourage you to try this – if you aren’t doing it already – summarise your achievements and productivity in regular intervals of time, so that you can more clearly see what you did, what is left and remind yourself how awesome a person you are! :) Even if you are not using list – this little technique is available to you, but you might forget some of the little things you did :) Have fun doing it, though, reward yourself for the progress, smile and give yourself a pat on the back, no matter how small your accomplishments might seem in your eyes. The most important thing is that you are moving forward! Every step counts! :)

And please do share your successes in the comments! :)

Wishing you a great day today and the week ahead! :)