5 Must-Do Habits That Will Set Your Day Up For Success

Procrastination is the WORST! After years of working from home, what I’ve found that it’s not about how your day unfolds, but about the habits you begin the day with and how you end your night the day before.

I can confidently say that if you’ve had a shambles of a morning, you’re probably going to unfold that way as the day unfolds. You’re probably going to spend the day fighting to get a hold of what you’re doing during the day. Self medicating with caffeine or snoozing on the job!

To really set your day up for success, even if you’re a stay at home mother, corporate queen or work at home woman, you need to be kinder towards yourself. You’re probably asking, “Why? What does this have to do with my habits and being successful”? Hear me out…

Self love is the beginning of taking control of your life. The moment you can give yourself permission to flow, you’re going to begin to set some boundaries around how you treat your whole life.

Yes, your WHOLE life.

So, it’s time to get our habits in shape to make your days productive!

1) Plan Your Task List The Night Before

This brain dump of tasks you have to do is highly important to ensure your day is kept busy with the projects that matter. Have you tried to create a to-do list when you get to your table in the morning? You may end up forgetting half of the stuff you had on your mind yesterday! My list ends up smaller than what it’s supposed to be, when I get towards the end of the day, I remember I had a missed deadline.

Queue…panic work!

When you close of for the day, make sure you write down the outstanding tasks while they are fresh in your mind.

2) Sleep At A Reasonable Hour And Wake Early

I’m not your parent, so I can’t tell you to go to sleep at 8pm, but I’m sure most parents would love to pull their blankets up by 8pm!

Get a good solid sleep of at least 7-8 hours so you can rest your body, mind and soul. Our lives are so busy that we forget to give our bodies the time to recover from a full day of activities. Thank your body with rest.

When waking up in the morning, have a specific time you wake up everyday, set an alarm if you need to and don’t hit the snooze button! Eventually, after time, your body will know when to wake up without the alarm sounding. Our bodies can be trained to do this, but you need to be consistent and keep to it, even on weekends!

3) Have A Meaningful Morning Routine

Those who are successful, have a very different morning routine to those who are in struggle town. The mornings look like the following:

1) Wake up early
2) Meditate and write in gratitude journal
3) Exercise
4) Read/Learn
5) Eat a healthy filling breakfast

This routine can be done in less than an hour and a great way to kick start your day into the positive productivity Space!

4) Start Your Day With Your Biggest And Hardest Task First

As Brian Tracy says, “Eat That Frog” which means, do the thing you dislike the most. This really points to the idea that we will not procrastinate throughout the day to complete that massive project. We get it rocking and rolling at the beginning so it can be put aside and you can focus on all of the other smaller tasks. Having a mammoth deadline hovering over your head can cause anxiety and ultimately, procrastination.

Make sure you “Eat That Frog” first!

5) Cut The Tech In The Mornings And Before Bed Time

We’re so addicted to technology that it follows us to bed and sometimes to the bathroom too! Reducing your screen time before bed will allow you to have a more restful sleep because your eyes and brain have not been working hard to look at a bright screen in a dark room. Put it down at least an hour before bed time so you can slowly ease into sleep.

It’s not hard to reach down to your phone for the first part of the morning. It’s usually something we do automatically! Wake up and focus on your morning routine. Don’t watch a screen in that time, you will have all the hours in the day to look at screens.

 

How does your morning routine look like?

How Saying No Helped Me Reclaim My Life and How You Can Do It Too!

Not many people know this, but I’m a recovering people pleaser and saying no was my biggest fear!

I know, hard to believe!

I suffered from high functioning anxiety and depression issues several years ago and a lot of it was caused by not being able to say no, especially at work. I was accepting projects without considering my own time or knowledge limitations. Once committed, I would stress out because I couldn’t complete the projects on time.

I was excellent at working in groups, I would go above and beyond my own work scope to ensure the others were satisfied. This trait became very common in all aspects of my life. Not just taking projects I couldn’t handle, but taking part in activities or meeting people I wasn’t comfortable with.

Childhood Conditioning

In my head, I had an equation that has been present most of my life and that was:

Please other people = Love, acknowledgement and attention

And so, armed with this conditioning, I realized that making others happy would give me the attention I craved to make me feel whole. If I didn’t make others happy, it would send cause anxiety and dips in my mood.

My Own State of Mind Was Entirely Dependent on Other People

It was when I really started to dig into some deep internal work that I realized how little I loved myself. I was completely broken on the inside and all I wanted was love, acknowledgement and attention to help me feel whole again.

Then, just like that, the universe heard my loud, obnoxious and anxious thoughts, an Oprah video appeared on my Facebook feed about how to say no to others.

Oprah Helped Me See That My Self Worth Was Close to ZERO

Then it dawned on me…I wasn’t valuing myself enough to say no to another person. On some level, I felt like I had to defend the fact that I wanted the time to myself and not share it with them. I would  feel guilty and make up excuses for not being able to commit to a task.

My heart just opened up and knew what I needed to do.

Saying “No” For The First Time

Once I realized this, I began to say no to people.

I knew it would be uncomfortable, but it was to be expected. I felt the fear of someone disliking me or questioning my loyalty to them. Then, I would go into overthinking mode and send myself into a flurry of anxiety, just because I had to say no to someone.

Who knew a two letter word would cause so much fear?

So, what did I do to counteract those overwhelming anxious emotions?

I spoke to myself gently. I told my ego to calm down. I had a suitcase full of positive affirmations to say to myself when I felt like my anxious emotions would take over…

– People say no all the time, you’re not the first person to say it.
– I value myself and I value my time.
– This uncomfortable feeling is only temporary.
-Fear helps us grow into a new comfort zone.
-I will feel a lot better after I say no, I always do.

I used these words when my mind kept questioning my decisions. With every negative questioning, I had a kind rebuttal waiting for it. This process took time, I had to really face the fears and keep walking through them.

Deep Breathes

When my body took over with a physical reaction like trembling, shaking, fast heart beat and sweaty palms, I would take a short moment to compose myself. Take a deep breath in for 8 seconds and out for 8 seconds. This was usually done in private (i.e. the ladies bathrooms when I was at work!) so I could bring myself to the present moment, calm my racing heart beat and begin the process of saying no.

The Results Of Saying No?

I have a lot more time for myself now, I’m a lot more confident and I will say no in a heart beat without faltering! It’s amazing how far I have come. I’m in control of my own time and give myself enough self love to be a good human towards myself and others.

Do you have issues with saying no to others?

What Happens When Anxiety Turns To Anger And How To Understand Your Unexplained Mood Swings

Several years ago, I had to make a difficult decision.

My husband and I were working corporate jobs, my 3 year old son was in childcare and we had just signed our life savings over to purchase a new home. Life was looking peachy for our little family, I had secured a job Human Resources and we could finally settle down in our new home after moving 4 times in 3 years.

Work was going well, but I was carrying a deep dark secret. One that no one knew about. My life appeared fine on the outside, I was the happy-go-lucky quirky girl at work, but on the inside, I had crippling anxiety and people pleasing tendencies.

Anxiety Made Me Feel Like I Was Going To Die

Everyday I would send my son to childcare and then begin my 20 minute drive to work.

20 minutes felt like an eternity, my heart would beat so fast and hard while I was driving that it felt like I was going to have a heart attack.

My palms began to get sweaty, then they would tremble and shake. My mouth became dry and my mind raced a million miles an hour. “What if I don’t complete the HR Statistics Report today?” “What would Rachel say if my work wasn’t up to scratch?” “What if Markus spoke to me, how would I respond? After all, all of us in HR knew of his mean ways. Will he yell at me?” “What if I drop dead at work, what would happen to my family?”

The self doubting questions would arise and every rebuttal I had just didn’t cut it!

That Overwhelming Feeling

Every morning I felt completely overwhelmed.

It was the anticipation of getting to work that sent me off the rails. The moment I reached the parking lot, I would pull myself together just enough to look “normal”, just in time to walk past security. I wasn’t sure if it was my past conditioning of racism in Australia that made me nervous around security, especially when I worked with a contractor for the Department of Defence. I always felt like eyes were constantly watching me, especially when we constantly had defense personnel around. It wasn’t like I did something wrong, but it felt like I needed to prove that I wasn’t a bad person(it made me a little paranoid!).

The Magically Disappearing Anxiety Bug

It was really odd, the moment I reached my desk, all of my anxious emotions and intense bodily reactions disappeared.

I shifted gears, I was on my A-Game! I smashed out the day and get most of my tasks done and I would always go the extra mile with my work. That was my unnoticed people pleasing tendencies I didn’t realize I was projecting out into the world. The day at work would entail me saying “yes” to just about anything! Saying, “no” wasn’t really in my vocabulary. I took on so many tiny projects that I got a little overwhelmed with my list of tasks to do. I even had a book of tasks to do that I was constantly crossing off. As I kept taking on the projects from different people, I became complacent with my work. I made simple mistakes and every time someone picked it out, it would send me into a deep anxious and embarrassed state, but I would hold it together, enough to get through the day.

The HUGE Emotional Burden When I Was Finally Alone

The moment I walked out of those gates, it was just me and my thoughts. My overwhelming mind chatter gave me so much anxiety that I had no idea how to release all of the extra energy. I had so many questions running through my head, the kind that no answer could satisfy.

“What if I died?”

“What if I failed?

“What if they don’t like me?”

“What if they’re racist towards me?”

By the time I collected my little one from childcare, I was exhausted from all the unanswered questions which prompted more questions about my own self worth. By the time I got home, I was annoyed at myself for not having all of the answers! My self esteem would take a plunge and that’s when anger took over.

Understanding Why My Anxiety Turned To Anger

I had no idea what to do with all of my anxious thoughts and questions that constantly came up. As a child, I didn’t learn how to express my emotions in a positive way. I kept all of my emotions on the inside until I exploded with rage. I became agitated, tired, snappy and angry every day. I just wanted my quiet time and space so I could recuperate from the loud mind chatter.

My family were constantly held hostage by my unpredictable mood swings.

My Mid-Rage Wake Up Call

It was a moment, mid-rage, that got me thinking about what the cause of all of this negative emotions and anger was. My massive amount of self judgement and perfectionism caused anxiety because I was so afraid of failing and displeasing another person that it sent me off the edge. I was more upset at myself than with others. It was the small actions around me that triggered me. It really had nothing to do with my family, it was my own unhealthy way of managing emotions that caused my intense mood swings.

Anxiety Took Over My Life – It Was Time To Seek Help

Here I was, thinking I had my life in order. How wrong I was!

I wasn’t sure what I needed to do to fix myself, but I needed to get help. Watching the people I love try not to upset this anxious monster, killed me on the inside. They were trying to avoid me because I had lost the plot over something trivial.

When I turned 30, I decided to gift myself a trip to the doctor to discuss my mental health. It was, by far, the most precious gift I gave myself. When I sat in the Doctor’s office, completing the mental health assessment, I felt unsure and lost. I had never done this before (spoken to another person, let alone a professional about my anxiety and anger before), but I knew I had to do it.

The Doctor calculated my assessment results and said, “It looks like you have Adjustment Disorder,” and I’m thinking, “What in the world is that?” and, “FINALLY, I’m not crazy. There’s a name for what’s going on in my head!”

Just in case you didn’t know…

Adjustment disorder is a group of symptoms, such as stress, feeling sad or hopeless, and physical symptoms that can occur after you go through a stressful life event. The symptoms occur because you are having a hard time coping. Your reaction is stronger than expected for the type of event that occurred. – Medline Plus

He promptly referred me to the psychologist and that was the beginning of my long and beautiful healing journey. I ended up quitting work that year, having a surprise pregnancy and moving house. It was just the beginning of a new life for me and there was so much more in store for me in the following years to come.

How Am I Now, 5 Years From My Turning Point?

I spent almost a year with the psychologist, seeing her about 6 times. I began to heal myself from the inside out, I discovered meditation and mindfulness along the way. I’ve learnt to be more compassionate with myself and with others too. My mood swings can sometimes pop up, but they are just a moment of unconscious self talk. Seeing a professional helped me kick start my self healing journey. I found ways to release my past traumas so I could begin to love myself all over again. The moment I began to love myself unconditionally, was the moment I dropped the need to please others.

 

How To Respond To Praise Without Sounding Arrogant

It’s a beautiful feeling when someone admires the work that you do. In fact, it’s it’s a great boost to the self-esteem (and ego too if you’re not careful!). Responding to praise is a delicate dance that requires you to be thankful, humble and also accepting of the praise.

How much do we cringe when it comes to replying to a praise?

Society tells us to be humble.

To be kind.

To fit in.

I’m going to take you through my journey from Praise Deflector to Praise Acceptor!

The Praise Deflector

I remember when someone praised me, I would get embarrassed, felt like I wasn’t worthy enough and reply back with a praise for them instead. Completely dismissing their compliment. I became a praise deflector!  It was like I would put up a shield and wouldn’t allow the goodness into my life.

Why do we do this to ourselves?

Is it because the world tells us that it’s arrogant of us to accept praise?

Or that you will come across as an ego filled ass?

The Unsure Questioner

Then there were times when someone would tell me what a great job I did and then I would reply with, “Really? Do you think so? I don’t think I did that great. Jenny did waaaaaaay better than me!”

Pfft, not only did I deflect the compliment, I even put myself down at the same time.

Where’s the love?

I’ve just insulted myself and the person complimenting me. What a combo.

People Pleasing

As a people pleaser, I wasn’t used to getting emotional attention. Any attention directed towards me was instantly pushed away. I felt unworthy of any praise because I was so used to putting other people’s emotions ahead of mine. I craved attention, but I also wanted to be left alone. It was a catch 22 that left me confused.

How was I supposed to react if someone gave me attention or praised me?

I wasn’t used to it.

I cringed.

Got embarrassed.

Died a little on the inside.

Hated myself for being the center of attention.

It’s not like you stole any ideas. you did the hard yards, achieved something but you just can’t accept the praise, what’s the deal?

Praise Acceptance

It’s only been a few years that I have been practicing this concept of praise acceptance. I learned it from Oprah (I mean, who doesn’t learn stuff from the Queen of aha moments?!).On one of her shows, Oprah began to just say, “thank you,” to a praise without responding with another compliment. It wasn’t about arrogance, but more about self-love. To accept that you achieved something that wasn’t the usual ordinary vanilla cupcake that other people served. You made a 3 layer decadent chocolate mousse cake that showed off your skills and it tasted Ah-May-Zing. 

It’s hard at first. Uncomfortable. Weird. And…err…almost off-putting. But stay with me here.I took my self-esteem back, basked in the glory and proudly say, “thank you.”

It was about taking my self-esteem back. I took my self-esteem back and being unapologetic of my achievements. basked in the glory and proudly say, “thank you.”

I started to bask in the glory and proudly say, “thank you.”

Accept the compliments with the love that they were given to me with.

Without hesitation.

Without deflecting the glory.

But still giving praise to others who contributed to the end product. It was really about being self-aware. Living in the moment, enjoying what was gifted to me (in this case, a praise) and taking it in. I had deflected praise for 20 years and it was time to love myself enough to accept it and know that someone recognized the hard work I had put in.

But then my confidence brought on another challenge…how do I handle criticism?!

Alas, I shall leave that to my next post!

So, my challenge to you is to start to accept those compliments, don’t be afraid to bask in that glory for a little why, but please, don’t get a huge ego over it! Accept the compliment, be humble and share the spotlight with others who were part of your glory.