My Blog

Posts Tagged routine

Work-life balance reduces stress

Are you rushing from commitment to commitment? Are you searching for more hours in the day? Well, you are not alone.  Health Direct suggest that Australia is behind the rest of the developed world in creating work-life balance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A lack of work-life balance will lead to stress because there is an imbalance between your daily demands, responsibilities and commitments and the time, capabilities and energy you have to complete the workload and obligations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you do to manage the stress and create a more balanced life? I concur with D J Lee’s article, 6 Tips For Better Work-Life Balance, and have found my success in being aware of the suggested areas for many years. The six tips are:

  1. Let go of perfectionism – strive for excellence instead. Ask yourself, “have I done my best today with the resources I have available to me right now.”
  2. Unplug – Work screen free time into your day, every day.
  3. Exercise and meditate – There are so many recorded benefits to these activities. Move your body and practise deep breathing exercises every day, your muscles and mind will thank you for it.
  4. Limit time-wasting activities and people – Practise the 3 D’s: Do, Delegate, Dump. Stress will reduce, and results will increase.
  5. Change the structure of your life – Revisit your weekly timetable or planner and change a few things around and delegate some tasks to others. You may find that doing things the way you have always done it isn’t working anymore.
  6. Start small. Build from there – Change something every day, not everything all at once.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What work-life balance means and looks like is different for each person and family. Sit down and define it for you first. Once you know that, decide what you want to stop, minimise, keep doing and do more of, then consistently implement new ways of doing and being in your day.

Please share your work-life balance suggestions.

Images: Pixabay

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

FIFO Families – Get Organised In The Overwhelm

I recently did a short talk at a FIFO family event in Perth, (hence why there are so many children running across the stage!)

In the video below I will share with you the systems and processes that have worked for my clients and our family over the years.

Keeping to a set routine when Separated by Work is challenging. Every family has different needs and every working away roster has unique demands. Yet having a plan and being organised will decrease the overwhelm, and you will be better able to cope with the day to day tasks and responsibilities.

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Over being overwhelmed in January?

As you enter the shops and see the isles filled with exercise books, pens and pencils; pass the shoe stores and notice that black and white shoes have taken over much of the floor space – you realise that back to school is fast approaching.

Apart from the cost of purchasing school supplies, there is a sudden realisation that madness is fast approaching – before, during and after school activities, homework expectations, uniforms to be constantly cleaned and pressed, and making sure there is enough food to prepare and pack!

My eldest is 21 years old and my youngest is 9.  I have had many years of getting it wrong, getting it right, and most years it is a bit of both!  Here I share my top 18 tips to support you being better prepared and be more productive this upcoming year.

  1. Plan and prepare to avoid chaos. This includes weekly schedules, lists and weekly meal and shopping plan. Create a flexible routine that works for your family – from waking to bedtime.
  2. Have a central calendar in the house that all family members have access to with events written on it that are coming up.
  3. At least a couple of times a week make double the evening meal and freeze half for those nights when you run out of the time or enthusiasm to cook.
  4. Make time to bake each week.
  5. Make lunches and get uniforms ready the night before. We all think we will get it done in the morning, but sometimes it is just such a rush and adds so much pressure when trying to get you and your children ready and out the door!
  6. Have bags packed and checked ready to go the night before (including the hat).
  7. I think it’s never too early to give children some responsibility –tasks that you know they can complete for their age and abilities.
  8. Give children checklists – good for parents too!
  9. It is the perfect time to have conversations with your children when driving around with your kids in the car. They can’t get out or walk away!
  10. Take weekly time out for you to de-stress and reward yourself.
  11. Get proper sleep so you have the energy each day needs and avoid getting run down and common illnesses.
  12. Eat well to feel good and keep up. Feed your kids well to keep them healthy and calm.
  13. Remember to breathe – sometimes we just need to stop, take a couple of deep breathes and then proceed.
  14. Keep at least one day free on a weekend to relax and have fun with your family.
  15. Be kind to yourself.
  16. Ask for help when you need it!
  17. 30, 30, 30 and 30 every day! 30 minutes for quiet time for you, 30 minutes listening to your children with enthusiastic interest, 30 minutes for your partner and 30 minutes making sure you have cleared your day and are prepared for tomorrow.
  18. Get up each morning with a grateful affirmative attitude and a desire to meet all challenges with a smile.

As parents, we are constantly creating, re-inventing and re-shaping whilst keeping up with all the demands and challenges of each day. Creating routines and being organised will keep everyone on the same page and help you make sure you go to bed each night feeling a sense of peace and achievement – well most days!

What can you do differently this year to make your school and work weeks run smoothly?

Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting, Resilience, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

Become a Master Blender

blending

I would like to introduce one of my favourite parenting strategies – blending.

I have become a master blender—I can blend activities to make sure that everyone’s needs and wants are met. I can blend to create a learning or fun space for my kids while I am getting a job done or relaxing. I find blending offers many opportunities to connect with my children, hear them, and be present with them completely. As my children grow I make changes to fit in with their needs and values at their current age.

blender-576331_1280Most activities can be blended. Just be aware of the ones that require your 100 per cent focus and place those in your calendar at a time when there are no interruptions. Once you identify the blend-able ones you can work them into your weekly scheduling. I have grouped activities by age to get you started. There are many more depending on your area, family situation, and family interests. Get together with your family to create more ideas.

Six activities for five and under-

  1. Baking and cooking together. Children enjoy watching, stirring, and touching. There is something about food that brings a family together. Give them their own bowl and let them go for it. You get your kitchen tasks done and have a chat and bond along the way.
  2. Walking (either pram-ing it or on their little bikes). Great way to get out, exercise, and talk about bugs, butterflies, birds, and trees.
  3. Meet friends at the park. Big people and little people combination time.
  4. Reading a book. Don’t forget the all important tickle time.
  5. From about three years old, let them help you clean. Give them their own cloth and/or bucket of plain water and guide them through the task.
  6. Sing and dance together.

Ten activities for primary school ages-

  1. Baking and cooking. Both my older children can bake and make a couple of main meals. Very helpful on make your own dinner night.
  2. Get out and kick a ball or play catch. Good for developing their skills and revisiting yours, and lots of laughing.
  3. When at sporting practise, catch up with new and old friends, take a book you have been meaning to read or listen to your music. Remember to watch them too.
  4. Brush your daughter’s hair and style it, play make up, paint each others’ finger nails and swap foot massages— Dads can do this too.
  5. They can read to you or practise their dance rehearsal while you do the dishes.
  6. Plan holidays, meals, and weekly activities together.
  7. For boys, lots of hugs, draw monsters and aliens, and build an indoor car tunnel and ramp out of toilet paper rolls.
  8. Play cards and board games. Join in on their video/ computer games. It can be a quick or long game—the point is to learn, laugh, and connect.
  9. Read with them. Have a time each week where you all lay out on your bed or carpet and read. Each one of you has your own book, it is just quiet time spent together, no talking; just learning to be in a room silently with someone you care about.
  10. Watch movies with them. Bring out the popcorn, blankets and turn the lights out. We have movie night every Friday and the kids love it.

Eight activities for high school ages-

  1. Afternoon snacks around the bench. Great time to chat about their day. They don’t tend to move while food is there.
  2. Go out to dinner and movies date. Go to a big people’s restaurant, rather than McDonalds.
  3. Play cards and board games.
  4. Plan holidays together.
  5. Just be there. The most important thing is to be there for your pre-teen and teen. Be present and withhold adult Talk to them about you and your day often. Don’t expect lots of conversation—yet be open for it.
  6. Shopping—especially for the girls.
  7. Extreme days out. Try rock-climbing, abseiling, swimming at a waterhole, or something in your area that is different. Their curiosity will get them wanting to join you and join in.
  8. Offer to do pick up and drop off to their destinations, sporting events, parties, and friends houses. Allow it to fit into your schedule as much as possible. It is a perfect time to be in touch with what they are up to, meet the friends, chat in the car (they can’t get out) and show you support them.

I make time each day for all my children to have one-on-one contact time. They know that in that moment I am just with them, for them, and not distracted by anything else. I am all ears, eyes, and heart. I ask questions to get them talking. This is the time I enjoy the most, even if it is just a few minutes.

What I like is that for that few minutes I get to look through a window into their rapidly changing world, and understand a little bit more about how it is for them.

How can you become a master blender, or how are you already juggling it all?

Kirsty 🙂

 

Posted in: Mindfulness, Parenting

Leave a Comment (0) →

Get Organised – Plans to be on Purpose

office-620817_1920

Everyone needs times dedicated to pausing and updating their life and family plan. There is truth in the saying, “For every minute spent organising, an hour is earned.” Instead of being on fast-forward, rewind, or even continuous play—stop, plan, and get organised.

At this point, I have seen many run to the hills of disorganisation, the land of the known and familiar. Instead of planning and implementing, they procrastinate. I challenge you to eat the elephant beetle—which means conquering the hardest and least desirable task first—so you can forever overcome disharmony and overwhelm.

There are countless time management and organisational resources out there—books, blogs, experts, and online forms. Some will work and some won’t. To get you started here are some of my suggested organisation and routine activities. My biggest piece of advice though—as time never changes, yet what can change are the choices made in the time available, always practise choice management, rather than time management.

Have a weekly plan, which creates a flexible routine.

A routine provides the freedom to focus on what is being done in the moment, knowing that all the activities to be accomplished will be done efficiently and effectively—the right things, in the right order. Many stumble whilst doing the right things in the wrong order. Meaningful routines create a happier, calmer, and less stressful environment.

Without a plan or routine days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months it all becomes a blur – the purpose of it all can be drowned out by the constant demands. Many times, I have viewed my days as a stream of things to do and busy-ness.

Activity

Take a moment now and reflect on your past week. Each week should contain all or some of the following activities and tasks. Did yours?

  • You time—reading, relaxing, entertainment, rest, hobby, fun, gardening, meditating, journaling, and time to generate new ideas.
  • Body time—Exercise, Yoga, massage, sport.
  • Connecting with others—Family, friends, sport, volunteer or community involvement.
  • Parenting duties—School drop offs and pick-ups, sporting events, tutoring, general running around, homework, fun time together, connecting and being present with your child/ren.
  • Home duties—cleaning, maintaining, general upkeep of house, groceries, finances, ironing, cooking.
  • Study—Assignments, credentialing, recognition from a regulatory body, seminars, researching, continual learning.
  • Work—Employed position.
  • Work—Own business. Delivering the product/ service that is core to your role, admin, course/product development, finances, networking, and professional collaboration.

I would like to point out that you time is at the top of this list. You time is commonly the first thing to go or be down graded to an activity of least importance. If this is happening for you or a member of your family, take time to re-prioritise. Without looking after you first, any routine is difficult to maintain and run-down people get sick.

An example of my weekly planner (which is pictured below) is printed on a sheet of paper I have on my pin-board. I like choosing a different colour for each area, as indicated in the picture, as this has more impact visually for me. In each coloured section I also have written what particular activity it is that I plan to do in that time.

Time Choice Management Schedule

This is a valuable tool for me and has been used by many of my clients. You may like to make your own, change colours, times, or activities. What matters is that this gives you a chance to view your whole week, what you do and how you can do it better.

Have a list.

I love a good list. I have an overall to-do list, a daily to-do list, a grocery list, a work list, a home list, list for gifts, and the list goes on! From watching me make lists over the years my children now have the list-making bug. My youngest son has lists of movies he wants to see, a list for Santa (usually started in April), and a list of jobs to do. My daughter makes lists for presents (she is a gift- giver by nature), a shopping list, which she calls a budget, and a dream list.

A question that I ask myself at numerous times during the day is, “What is the best use of my time right now?” This question is an opportunity to look at my list and see what I could be doing in the time I have right now and the energy I have available to me. Without my lists, I can very easily be distracted and taken off task.

Lists and weekly planning are the most effective way to improve overall performance, both personally and professionally. Wasted time is irreplaceable.

Stick with it to create a habit.

Daily disciplines create the changes in our lives. It takes about 28 days to create new habits. At about week two resistance, distraction, and lack of focus raise their unhelpful heads. This is the testing time. This is the time to push that bit harder, knowing why it is important to be organised and on purpose. Seek and gain support and take one day at a time. You can do it!

K x

 

Posted in: Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →

Family meals – your sanctuary or struggle-street?

We are delighted to introduce Deb Blakley – a Brisbane Dietitian, Nutritionist, owner of Kids Dig Food, and mum who is passionate about kids learning to love good food from birth and beyond.  She is going to be regularly contributing to our blog and is featured on our resources page for FIFO families.

Deb-Business Portrait sm_018 THUMBNAIL AVATARDeb is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Accredited Nutritionist, recognised by the Dietitians Association of Australia and is an accredited practitioner of the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) Approach to Feeding for fussy eaters and problem feeders.

Over to Deb –

I know first-hand how hard it is to get a meal on the table when you’re doing it alone – how it feels for most “sometimes solo” parents.  Some days I simply don’t have the energy to cook a meal when my husband is away.

I do all of the cooking whether he’s home or away. Lucky he’s a great washer-upper! He is always more appreciative of a tasty dinner than our daughter is – so when he is not there, my heart isn’t quite in it as my efforts seem to go unnoticed. Then there’s the inevitable frustration of cooking for kids who are fussy eaters or as we say at Kids Dig Food, “kids who are still learning to like new foods.”

I’m a foodie and I love cooking, yet I know it can be hard some days. I know that for many of my clients who don’t particularly like preparing food, it’s 100 times harder.

What I want you to know is this: Meal times don’t have to be tough. They can actually be your sanctuary. They can be a space where you can connect with your kids when your partner is away, and re-connect as a family when everyone is under the same roof.

When I reflect on my own family meal time experiences I notice this:

  • Meal times can be a great source of comfort and connection for my child and I.
  • Meal times only become a struggle when we focus on the wrong things.
  • Serving “easy” dinners doesn’t mean I’m a bad mum.
  • When my husband is home, meal times are the glue that brings us all back together.

But how do you turn meal times from disorganised chaos to your happy place?

My top tips for making meal times your sanctuary when you’re solo parenting are:

Have a set of meal time rules that everyone needs to learn to follow. Try these ones out.

Eat with your kids whenever you can, at any meal or snack time. Show your kids that you can enough about you to make meals a priority. Shift the evening meal earlier if your kids “hit the wall” early and then enjoy a calming cup of tea or glass of wine later after the kids have gone to bed.

Use a pre-meal time routine to help prepare kids to come to the table. This is especially helpful for kids who find it difficult to settle down enough to sit & eat. An example routine could be: (1) Turn the TV off/pack away game, (2) Wash and dry hands, (3) Stomp to the table like a dinosaur/flitter like a butterfly, (4) Put the placemats out or cups on the table (5) We sit and eat.Do something to make the space feel calm and inviting, even if you’re feeling the opposite- put some calming music on, light a candle or pick flowers from the garden.

Have some easy go-to dinners for nights when things get a little crazy. Frozen leftovers, scrambled eggs or baked beans on toast or my 15 minute pasta smash are all fabulous nutritious choices that will help fill everyone up in the minimum time possible. Have a cook-up when your partner is home to make it easier on you when you’re solo. Try out these great recipes you can freeze for later:

Salmon & Caper patties – Defrost and pan fry each side for 2-3 minutes. Serve these with a salad or veggies and crusty bread.

Aunty Em’s Yummy Beef Casserole – serve with steamed greens and potato or bread to mop up the gravy.

Cheat’s Spinach & Ricotta Cannelloni – simply make up a double batch of the cannelloni, freeze and add your sauce when you’re ready to cook it. This is lovely served with a garden salad too.

Chicken & Veggie Nuggets – pop then in the oven straight from your freezer and serve them with whatever you like. Home made so you know exactly what’s in them. Excellent!

Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup – the simplest and tastiest soup ever. Make a double batch and freeze half for later. Don’t forget some gorgeous crusty bread for this one. If your little ones aren’t a fan of the “green” bits, give them the option to add it or not right at the end. Read more about getting your kids to enjoy soup in my blog post.

Never back a fussy eater into a corner with food. Always serve at least one food that your children usually enjoy at every meal or snack time. Try where possible to make this a food that fits with the meal you’re serving. Pick from your child’s usually eaten/safe food list.

Deconstruct meals to suit your children’s sensory preferences. It’s OK to serve veggies raw if Madeline prefers them that way; or to separate the pasta from the meat sauce for Jake. If we’re all eating the same food, we’re still sharing the same meal.

And when your partner comes home: Stick to the same meal time rules. Stick to the same routine. Both be “on the same page” with your meal time strategy. Help each other.

Enjoy the wonderful space you’ve created to get fed, chat about your day, explore food and most importantly enjoy and nourish each other.

If you’re struggling with a fussy eater or not sure what to do about introducing first solid foods to baby, check out Kids Dig Food workshops and online video courses for support. The next workshop is in North Lakes, 27th February 2016 at 9.30-11.30.

Eat happy! Deb

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Parenting, Separated by Work

Leave a Comment (0) →

THE 6 P’s TO OVERCOME PROCRASTINATION

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_mFuZncR734

If you’ve found yourself putting off important tasks over and over again, you’re not alone. Most people procrastinate to some degree.  Is procrastination stopping you fulfilling your potential and unsettling your life?

You procrastinate when you put off things that you could be, or know you should be, focusing on right now, usually in favour of doing something that is more enjoyable or that you’re more comfortable doing.

Putting off an unimportant task isn’t necessarily procrastination; it may just be good prioritization! If you have a good reason for rescheduling something important, then you’re not necessarily procrastinating. However, if you’re just “making an excuse” because you really just don’t want to do it, then you are.

The key to taking back control is to recognize when you start procrastinating, understand why it happens and take active steps to manage your time and outcomes better. To have a good chance of conquering procrastination, you need to be aware straight away that you’re doing it. Then you can identify why you’re procrastinating and take appropriate steps to overcome the block.

Here are my 6 P’s for creating a new habit of action rather than non-action or avoidance:-

  1. PAY OFF – Establish and brainstorm what are the great things      that you will get once this is done.       WHY is it important to you?
  2. PEOPLE TO TELL AND PROMISE – Name your task and put a deadline      on it, then tell someone or a group of people and promise to have it      finished and ask for their support.       This creates an atmosphere of accountability and is a psychological      incentive for you to complete what you have been putting off.
  3. PREPARE AND HAVE A PROCESS – Prepare all that you need to get      this task done and have a list, diary and a process.  Are you going to do it all, in what      order, or are you going to break it down into smaller tasks?
  4. PAY ATTENTION – Be completely present with this task, no      breaks, no interruptions, and no distractions.
  5. PRACTISE – just keep following this guide on all tasks you      feel overwhelmed by or struggle to complete.  You don’t have to get it perfect,      practise will allow you to just do it and create a new habit of work/task      completion.
  6. PRAISE & CELEBRATE – Give yourself a big pat on the back      and reward each time you achieve your goal.  This will encourage you to keep going      forward.

One of my most favourite action steps is to aim to “eat an elephant beetle” first thing, every day; which means conquering your hardest, least desirable task first thing in the morning so you don’t have to carry the load in your mind around with you all day.

Get started today and kick procrastination to the kerb! Kirsty 🙂

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →

Picking your state and intention for the day – YOU GET TO CHOOSE!

Do you just get up every morning, head hung low, would rather be back in bed? Do you just get up and start going through your morning routine, putting one foot in front of the other? Do you wonder where your motivation,let alone inspiration have gone?

I have realised that beginning the day with no clear direction, no high expectations and on automatic pilot does not get me the results I want or need. I am going to share with you a couple of tricks to get you feeling more energetic andinspired each day.

Know your overall picture/goals for the next couple of years. It always brings more meaning to your life when you know where you are headed. Where do you see yourself in 2 years’ time? What is happening? Who is with you? How are you feeling? What are you doing? Remember, it’s not what you don’t want, it is what you would like to work towards and where you want to be.

Once you know where it is and what you want, pick a state that suits this part of your life. Is it happy, healthy, open, engaging, pumped, peaceful, in control,respecting and respected, grateful, confident, valued, or the like? Once you know the state that feels right, get in that state from right now. Remind yourself constantly I am……. today.

Set your intention for each day. What do you intend to do, to be, to achieve,to overcome, to create? Know this, write it down and begin.

Try this for the next month. I will guarantee you will see your life become more enjoyable, you will get more meaningful things done and you will move away from what you don’t want because you are too busy getting what you do want and enjoying yourself!

Posted in: Business, Mindfulness, Resilience

Leave a Comment (0) →