Welcome to Your Best Week

Day 2


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Good morning and welcome to Searching for Serenity's seven day video tutorial series, Your Best Week.

Today we are on day two. Now throughout this week I'm going to be delivering you more time and stress management techniques and tools that will build on each other, but what we're going to do first of all is just re-examine our day one and how we got on. If you happen to have them nearby, grab your notebook and time sheets from yesterday because we're going to look through them.

How did you get on building in that time of self care yesterday? I bet it was a concept that you found difficult. So many of the women who come to me really struggle with this because my theory of burn out is you're not simply doing too much for too long, you're doing too much for other people. You're putting your energy in to others rather than maintaining any of it for yourself. The idea of putting yourself first even though you know it's going to improve things is tricky. Keep at it this week. Whether I mention it explicitly or not, your self care is a non negotiable.

Now I've asked you to set aside at least five to ten minutes. Sometimes just a long hot shower is all you need, but if you can extend it out so that you take in a Pilates class or have a long hot bath and read a good book, so much the better. This week is about building in the longevity for your life and your career. It's about rebalancing the scales. You've got to be more strategic about that. It's all well and good being a reaction, right? It's well and good being everything to everyone, but if there's nothing left for you at the end of it what was the point?

So keep doing that this week. As we start unlocking more time and energy with the tools that I'll be introducing to you, you may even find that you can extend this out and spend more time with it, but at least five to ten minutes each day.

The first thing I want you to look at is to have a look at your notebook and your time log from yesterday. Now I use time sheets because I think it's a really helpful task. I have been practising lawyer for more than a decade now and the way that lawyers work, is we record our time in six minute units. Every time you do a task, whether it takes a minute or six minutes, it gets recorded as six minutes. I have found a really common complaint with a lot of my colleagues was they felt they'd worked hard, they felt like they'd done a lot during the day, but when they looked at the time they'd recorded, so the tasks they'd actually completed, it didn't add up to nine hours. Sometimes it barely added up to five. In fact I've seen some people record less than two hours a day.

How is it that you can feel like you've done so much and yet when you look back actually you've achieved so little. Part of if it is energy expension and that's what we're going to be talking about, but it's also about making sure that you use your time effectively. Strategies, right? The first thing we're going to do is have a look at your time sheet yesterday. How do you feel when you look at it, and actually how do you feel today? Are you tired? You full of energy? You raring to go? Do you need another little nap before you go to work?

Think about when you went to bed and when you got up. How does that work for you? Did you have any control over it? Maybe you have children keeping you up. But you do have control over when you go to bed and when you get up within those parameters. Think about what you can start doing to recalibrate this. I've given you the download. I would recommend that you print out a dozen copies or more to this. Because what I'm going to ask you to do throughout this week, this is a 30 second task at the beginning of each day. It is your strategy session and we'll be using that phrase throughout this week, no matter how difficult it is for me to say.

Thirty seconds at the beginning of each day. You look back at your previous day and your timerecord, and you think ahead of the coming day, what do I need to do? What do I need to achieve? How is that going to work? Because it's all well and good having a to do list, but if you don't know how it's going to fit into your day, what you have to do that day, how many hours you have available to you, it's all pie in the sky.

Start using these sheets, not only for recording time, but use a separate sheet to set out how you want to use your time. At this stage you look back at your description of your best week or your best day as we went through yesterday. How far removed is what you did yesterday from what your best week would look like? Start putting the two together. It is that simple. You've got your best week over here. You've got what you did yesterday over here. This is the space that we need to gap in between, so we're just going to start bridging it. Start doing more of the things that will make you happy. That will bring you closer to what you consider an ideal situation.

This week is all about not only managing your energy. Not only getting on top of your to do list, making your feel happier and more enthusiastic, it's also abour regaining control. Because whilst we are all human beings that are subject to the uncertainties of life, we can control certain things around us in certain things that we do. We can at least show to ourselves that we are trying. That's the first step.

I want you to consider your time sheet from yesterday. Consider what you need to do today and start planning out your day with one of those time sheets. At the end of today note down what you did hour by hour throughout the day for consideration at your next strategy session. 

You can do this either first in the morning or last thing at night. Whichever suits you, but it's about looking back at the previous day, what worked and what didn't and planning the next day moving forward.

I also want to talk to you briefly about sleep hygiene. Now I'm bringing this in at the very beginning of the week because if I know you, you're exhausted. You're probably struggling with this, and there's not enough time in the day to get everything you need to do done and sleep is the first thing to fall off that.

Priority list one, because you're trying to do everything running around and then two, when you do get to relax, you're still thinking about your to do list and everything you have to do and then you can't sleep. I'm not going to spend very long with this because there are thousands, millions of articles out there about sleep hygiene, and if you want to look into this in more depth you can actually look at my seven day course on Eliminating Exhaustion where we focus on your sleep in more depth.

Sleep hygiene is about giving you the optimal conditions for sleep, so keeping electronics out of the bedroom. Maintaining a regular sleep routine. Going to bed at the same time each night. Getting up each morning at the same time. Light pollution is a huge issue for those of us who live in cities. I live in a house with a lamp right out of the back of my house. Straight into my bedroom, so I pull out my thickest curtains, and you can even get black out curtain liners from places like Dunelm Mill and things like that.

You want your bedroom to be peaceful, dark, free of electronics because blue light activates a part of our brain that thinks it's daylight. It therefore inhibits cortisone ... Sorry, produces cortisone, inhibits our melatonin production and melatonin is what we need for sleep. You're also going to keep your electronics out of the bedroom and even place an electronics ban for an hour before bed if you can. I will hold my hands up, I'm the worst at this.

Keep implementing these strategies and spend a little bit of time today if you can ... Spend five to ten minutes reading about sleep hygiene and start implementing those rules. Keeping your bedroom at a coolish temperature. Making sure that it is free of work, never work in the bedroom. Never, ever take your laptop into the bedroom and work from there, again, I'm the worst for this. And implementing a routine that builds you towards sleep.   Why not combine sleep hygiene and five to ten minutes of self care, by having a long hot bath, putting on body lotion and perhaps the sleep.

Sleep hygiene is so important because it really will support you throughout this process and we're going to be learning so much this week but you need every ounce of available energy. As you can tell we are picking up the pace, but as we start going through this you will find you have more time. You have more energy released. You have more availability for those things so stick with it.

Review your time sheet from yesterday. Think about what worked and what didn't work and plan your day for today in advance so it doesn't matter whether you stick to it. The idea, the concept, the important bit behind it is planning, is taking back that control and saying, "I have the ability to control my day." It might be that at 9 a.m. that goes straight out the window, but at least you have tried and at least you can see what's going right and what's going wrong.

What resources do you need as a result of looking at your time sheet? What additional help do you need? This is something that we will keep revisiting throughout this week. I also want you to consider your sleep hygiene and spend a few minutes this evening establishing a routine before you go to bed and trying to make your bedroom as sleep conducive as possible. Plus no electronics, keeping it in the dark, keeping it cooler than the rest of the house. Keeping it free of stress and just giving yourself the absolute best opportunity for sleep.

That's it for today. These are concepts that will really underpin what we do for the rest of this week, but we're getting them in there early. The thirty second assessment of your time sheet first thing in the morning, the minute computing at the end of the day, a minute to two minutes thinking about what went right or wrong and five minutes for your sleep hygiene routine. Making it end with your self care.

That's it for today. It might seem like a lot, but don't worry, you have got this and we are just establishing habits that you need in order to give you the best opportunity, that's all.

As ever, if you are struggling with this or if you want further support or you have questions, you can tag me on a comment in the Facebook group or you can reach out to me directly by email at hello@searchingforserenity.co.uk. I really want to see how you get along with this, so do feel free to tag me in those comments in the meantime. Otherwise I will catch up with your tomorrow.

Have an amazing day and take care of yourself. Bye for now.