Do you just feel like you’re going around and round and round in circles and find that you don’t have time to do what you want? Maybe you’re doing lots of things for other people; hours and hours at work and missing going out with friends, or you’re doing everything for your friends and not finding time for yourself.
When it comes to doing the things that you know you should do, have you found yourself scheduling things that are important to you, like a moments peace just by yourself or a date or a night with your intimate partner, and then cancelling at the last minute because you’re just too exhausted and tired?
Or even worse… you work yourself so hard that you get to that feeling where, you just can’t be bothered. Not because you don’t want to do the important things, but just because you’re too tired to do it. Maybe you put off exercise even though it’s important?
I work really hard (sometimes in excess of 80 hours per week) and then on top of that I schedule time to work on myself, and then I also schedule time to work on my own business and investments and go out dating and meeting people, and then on top of that I don’t even have kids, so I feel for you if you’re reading this article. I remember being so tired that I didn’t stop and find time to do the things that were most important to me.
So whilst all of us these days have an unbelievable amount of things we need to do just to stay moving, I’d love to give you some of the keys I’ve used over the years to stop myself from getting overwhelmed and too tired. Now we all get tired, but sometimes some of it is unnecessary.
It all starts with a decision!
You’ve cancelled the last 3 dates with people. What if you made a different decision that today you were going to keep that appointment (the one that’s important to you); hanging out with friends, watching your kids basketball game or going to the movies to see that movie you’ve wanted to see for the last few months with a glass of champagne. Wouldn’t that be a step in the right direction?
So what is it, what is exhaustion?
And for that matter what is tiredness?
Have you ever felt really, really tired or really, really exhausted and then all of a sudden someone calls or some external event happens or something changes in your thinking and you have a thought about something you really want to do, and before you know it you’ve been talking to your best friend for 2 hours and have all the energy in the world.
We can change how we feel rapidly, but most of the time we do it by accident. It’s like a hidden switch that eludes us sometimes. But what causes it? All day, every day we have little stressors; little things that use up a lot of our energy slowly. It’s not only the big things that we notice that make us tired, it’s all the little things that we do all the time. When was the last time you looked at your phone (don’t look at it now, unless you’re reading this on your phone!). When you are looking at your phone, how many apps do you have, how many alerts that pop up throughout the day? Somebody just posted something on facebook and you’ve just received an email, or you’ve just received a like on RSVP, or Tinder, or Plenty of Fish or one of those dating apps, maybe you’ve just received an sms or a phone call from somebody or you’ve missed a phone call from somebody… you’ve got all of this stuff!
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All of these notifications and distractions are happening just on your phone, not to mention the things that are happening around us in real life, such as when you’re unconsciously seeing advertising, billboards as you drive down the freeway or maybe the radio is chipping away at us (Probably not the good music, but what about the ads in between), let alone when we let ourselves multitask on top of all that, and do 12 different jobs trying to lead an insurmountable number of tasks all at once!
There are distractions everywhere, and a large amount of the time we add to tiredness and exhaustion by trying to do too many things at once, instead of focusing on the one thing that’s in front of us. Completing it and then moving to the next thing.
Have you noticed that quite often we are just responding or reacting to life? Someone comes to our desk and asks us for something, an email comes in, or a notification on another app and we respond, we end up following the train track that other people, or the technology has put in front of us.
I want you to imagine you’re a train on a train track. Right now you’re on train track that has been put in front of you with all your commitments and other people messaging you. You’re constantly responding and following the train tracks wherever these distractions lead. I wonder what would happen if we took control of the train tracks back?
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When we get distracted, we are following along with someone else dictating where the train tracks go, and constantly trying to keep up with other people moving our direction “all” the time is tough. Sometimes we can’t avoid it, but a lot of the time we can take responsibility for choosing our direction for that particular moment and start to direct the train in the direction of life we want to go.
How many of you love multi-tasking and even have a little smile when you think to yourself how much you can do at once and almost feel proud of it ☺? I’m proud of you and what if it was contributing to you being more tired than what you need to be? Whether you can achieve more or not in a limited time I’m not going to argue (everyone’s different) however multitasking and doing lots of things at once can take its toll.
When people are running out of time, they try to do more, faster, and that makes us tired or even exhausted. Sometimes we just need to make a decision to do what’s most important first. It doesn’t mean you can’t do all the other things. Just do what’s most important to you and the train tracks of your future first.
What if for a few moments every day you had what I call a “Single Focus”?
No phone, no distractions (sometimes I sit at my desk with earphones in my ears, and I’m not even listening to anything ☺ cheeky)
Let’s have some fun! What I want you to do is set a timer on your phone or your clock and time yourself doing these two tasks.
(Actually do this; you’ll love it! Don’t read this section ‘till your prepared to do the tasks. Stop what you’re doing, hehe ☺ and have a single focus for a moment!).
Our goal is to write the sentence “I am a multitasker” and the numbers from 1 to 15 (a number for each letter in the sentence).
But you have to do it a special way!
We are going to do this twice, two different ways.
I want you to write:
“I” and then the number “1”, “a” and then the number “2”.
So it should look like this…
I 1 a 2 m 3 a 4 etc….
Writing 1 letter and then alternating and writing the number of the letter in the sentence next to it.
Awesome, make sure to time yourself. How long did it take? Write that down!
This time I want you to write on one line “I am a multitasker” and then on the next line the numbers from 1 to 15
I am a mu….
1 2 3 4 5 6
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So which one was easier, what did you notice? What should have happened is that it should have taken you a few seconds to do TASK 2, and TASK 1 would have taken significantly more brain power, energy and sometimes significantly more time.
That’s what happens when we multitask. It can be great but can also cause us problems. When we single focus we focus on one thing (in this case writing the words, “I am a multitasker”) and then the numbers.
When we multitask we have to change our focus all the time which takes a lot more energy. If you do this for 8 – 10 hours a day no wonder you’re getting exhausted. Doing just one thing at a time can be refreshing.
I’m not against multitasking, I do it all the time too. Sometimes it’s needed, but sometimes for fun I like to have a single focus and I feel so much better after it. Sometimes when you’re doing something like making dinner, just make dinner. If you’re talking to your partner, sometimes it’s just nice to talk to your partner. If you’re sending an sms, just send an sms. Don’t send an sms and in the middle of that change focus and send an email. Complete the sms first and you’ll probably feel so much better!
Now that’s only half of it. This next bit is the biggest key to reducing some of our tiredness and certainly stops us from getting exhausted too easily!
Inside of you, you have this thing called an unconscious mind. It’s like a supercomputer that controls a lot of your automatic functions, like breathing, walking or even solving problems, even when you’re not thinking consciously about them. Have you ever lost the salt and pepper shaker and the second you forgot about trying to find it, your unconscious mind reminded you that you put it in the fridge?
The coolest thing about our unconscious minds is that it’s highly efficient and will do lots of things for you without using too much energy, even motivate us sometimes (☺ yay!) if we use it correctly.
This part of ourselves responds to praise! Yeah the good side! The bit where we reward our self. The more we reward ourselves for the behaviours we want to do, the more we teach our unconscious minds to do those things more often.
And….. it’s the thing most people forget to do:
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Melisa was stuck in sadness for 15 years, hated her job, was overweight and her relationship had just ended. Melisa inspires people with her story and now teaches how she sorted her life out. She worked out how to be happy and how to lose over 30kg of body weight. In simple steps she teaches how you can stop procrastinating, find confidence, stop being so sad and finally start to find true meaning and purpose in your life.
In our busy lives we often need a significant reason to celebrate. We celebrate big things like our 21st birthday or our 30th, or 40th, or 50th, or 60th. We celebrate weddings, anniversaries, birthdays, moving house, buying a house; we celebrate all this big stuff, but often we miss the little things. The day to day things that we do every day, we can give ourselves a little bit of praise for, even celebrate, yay!
I’ll give you a great example!
I have hated running for most of my life! Well, actually exercising in general… Every time I’d set foot in a gym or tried to do exercise it just wasn’t for me. I went to see a Personal Trainer and our first session was really challenging. It was hard!
So I gave up! Eventually I really needed to do something about my health so I went to a good friend of mine (a world class athlete) and asked him where I was going wrong. He’s a bit like Mr Miyagi in the Karate Kid movie, so when I told him of my experiences of disliking exercise, instead of answering my question, he took me for a run!
I put on all my running gear (it was brand new hadn’t been used ☺ ) and he took me out for a run. I had matching coloured shorts, matching shirt and socks, even shoes and hat. I was so excited. At the very least I looked the part!
So we stepped outside and he asked “Are you ready?”
I said “Yes!”. He’s like “Okay, go!” and I was off!
You know when you leave the starting line and you’re off on a sprint? Well that was me, I ran and gave it everything I had, but he was nowhere to be seen…
I turned around he was way back shouting, “Slow Down! Slow Down!”
I was confused. Here was this professional athlete telling me to slow down. So I did and he said “Slow Down even more”. At this stage I was running at a snail’s pace and he said one more time “Slow Down”. I slowed to the point where I could walk faster than I was running, so I started walking and he said “No, no, you still have to run, but really slowly”.
So here I was, running and feeling absolutely mortified. I was looking at the cars driving passed, feeling like everyone was looking at me. There were even some people walking faster than me. I thought to myself “I can run this fast in heels” but my friend explained to me that I needed to make running fun and super easy to start with, so I could retrain my unconscious to enjoy exercise before I started going faster.
I kept going and after about 5 minutes he said to turn around and run back. “How long do you think you can do this for?” he asked. It felt like I could do this for hours.
Just before I got up the driveway he told me the most important thing!
“I want you to celebrate as you come home like you’re finishing a marathon! What would you be like if you were celebrating like that? This is a huge thing for you!”
I put my hands in the air, I ran up to the door, smiled and jumped up and down like there was no tomorrow. We were celebrating and laughing and giving each other high fives. It was awesome.
Celebrating and starting slowly was the key! It trained my unconscious to enjoy running. I started at 5 minutes a day and now I do 10km runs, sometimes for an hour and a half, and every time I celebrate. I don’t have to go so slowly any more but it still feels easy, which is amazing!
Now when I get out of bed in the morning, it’s not the running I’m looking forward to, but the celebration at the end.
You may even see me, the locals do. At the end of my run, now I run into this café and the locals cheer me on like I’m a super star. They see me celebrate and join in! Hehe! It’s awesome!
It’s celebrating the little things that makes the biggest difference!
I have a special celebration song I listen to now and I dance around the room to it when I want to reward myself for training myself to do the things I know I should do.
Now I celebrate everything! When I go out on a date, at the end I celebrate even if he wasn’t my type. I celebrate finishing pieces of work. I celebrate going to the gym or just picking up the phone and calling someone I’ve been meaning to speak to for ages. I celebrate! I don’t always dance around the room, but I at least take a moment to acknowledge that, you know what; “I’m awesome!” And “well done!”
Do whatever you need to do to celebrate the little wins. Play a song, dance around the room, or whatever way matches you. You don’t have to do my way but you do need to make sure you actually feel the pleasure of celebrating or it won’t work. You can’t just think it.
Smile, laugh, put your hands up in the air, jump up and down, whatever makes sense to you and if you’re in a public area and are a bit embarrassed, then find a quiet spot and give yourself a high 5 at least ☺
I’ve enjoyed spending this time with you. I think we need to celebrate completing this article together. I know when I was writing this, I was so close to the finish line that I was already thinking about dancing to my special song! Ooh there it goes! Woohoo! You’ve just completed this article and I just finished writing it!
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