Time To Stop This Craziness

Sometimes, when its all getting too much, you just have to STOP!Are you enjoying the summer? Its school holidays now and for many an excuse to rest a bit more and work a bit less.

Not for everyone though, to some the nice weather just makes them feel guilty because they want to be out in it but feel under pressure to get on with other things.

 

Time for me
At this time of year the first thing I do once I’m up is take the dog to the beach, and we stay there for between one and two hours. I don’t check the time, we come back when we’re ready. That’s me time. I mostly don’t book appointments too early in the morning, and I only ever check the time on the rare occasion I do have a commitment.

Yet among the entrepreneurs I know, not many do things like this.

Too many folks are too “busy”

All too often I see people running around way too much, if you talk to them they keep on about how busy they are and don’t have time for things. Yet they are still keep adding more to the diary. And at the same time they are constantly making excuses for not doing things.

Typically these people are not hermits, 9 times out of 10 they’re at all the social events you can imagine as well, and all the business events and conferences.

Take a break

You don’t have to go to every social event, catch up with every friend and acquaintance every time. You don’t have to do it all

You do need to take a break, give yourself day off, quietly, on your own, or an evening off. On your own, not with the pressure of social and fitting in with others

Or you might be forced into it
If you don’t rest your body is eventually going to make you, and you very likely won’t like the way it does it!
Here’s the thing, if you’re feeling stressed, for whatever reason, you need time out. You’re already making excuses for the things you don’t deem to be a priority, yet what is left is still too much.

And its not just you
Plus the people you are turning down are seeing you doing the other things and out and about all the time, and they are noticing, if they are switched on they are noticing that you’re not making them priority. Particularly if you post your every move on social media!
Your clients can see it, your friends can see it

So not only are you slowly making yourself ill, you are also unconsciously upsetting people around you or undermining their faith in you.

Too much inspiration?
And then there’s the other side, the entrepreneurs blessing and nightmare. You just keep getting more ideas. You do, don’t you? It’s normal.

What’s not normal is trying to implement every idea as soon as it comes to you. Where did you suddenly get time and energy? Either you put off something else, because this is exciting and in the now, or you’re trying to do it all, which means you’ve added even more to the “to do” pile!


Actions you can take

If you already promised to do something, don’t just say you can’t do it now, or you don’t have time, ask someone else to take over. Or delegate if you have someone you can hand over to.

If you get all these ideas and you want to do them all, write them down, keep an ideas book with you, and then do one at a time

If your feeling stressed, stop. Take time out. Really the world won’t end if you have a breather, nobody will die if it’s not all done today, honestly.

Be responsible
At the end of the day you have to take responsibility for what’s going on in your life. You can change things and you can make choices. Step back, breathe, and ask yourself what is the right next step for you. And do that.

If you feel that your life is a bit crazy and you’re looking for more balance why not check out my new workshop? How to Get Back to Balance: Know What You Want, Create More Time, And Get Back in Control of Your Life and Your Business read more here

First published by Authentic Edge, August 2015 © Julia Mcdaid

Who Says Weekdays Are Good?

Don't waste your life wishing it awayAre you on Facebook? Most people I know are, even if they don’t use it much. In fact where I live it is necessary to know what is going on as locally they don’t seem to use real websites much, just Facebook pages.

Anyway, I digress. I am on Facebook, and on the whole I quite like it, its nice to dip in for a few minutes and see what is happening.

What I wanted to write about though is the frequency of those picture posts with things like “Hurrah, its the weekend!”, “Thank God Its Friday”, ” Happy Hump Day” and “Boo, its Monday” and similar phrases.

What is the obsession with days of the week, and the weekend being good and the weekdays being bad?

Isn’t this just a classic example of perception?

Who says Saturday or Sunday is better than Tuesday or Thursday?

Do you really want to wish your life away hoping for it to be a different day of the week?

I know this stems from employees and the work week but even so. If things are that bad, isn’t it time to look for a new job?

Seriously, this obsession with the weekend and wishing your life away amazes and saddens me.

Every day is what you make it, if you decide Monday is a good day I bet you it will be better.

A day is a day, no different to any other day. In this century more so than any, it is not even as though shopping hours vary much, you can access everything you want virtually every day and many things 24/7.

And if you are self employed where does one day end and the next begin? Really? If you work for yourself you have already created more choice, and you choose when you work.

Who says you have to work 9-5, Monday – Friday? And do you anyway? I suspect not.

In many ways this is conditioning. Yet who wants to live their life based on someone else’s thinking from years ago? Not me that’s for sure!

In my view every day is a day, filled with as much or as little possibility and opportunity as you want to attach to it. A work day isn’t “bad” and a non work day isn’t “good”.

Instead of worrying about where in the week you are, why not focus on choosing what you would love to create and enjoy it for what it is.

Overwhelming Being A Female Entrepreneur

Overwhelm and female Entrepreneurs - Julia McdaidI wondered “can I write a whole blog about overwhelm? Really?”.
Truth be told I think I can, and then some. It is widespread in the entrepreneur world. And I particularly see it as I work mainly with female entrepreneurs, and for some reason overwhelm seems to plague them more than most.

It is usually the biggest cause of not getting things done. Do you find that? You have so many things to do you don’t know where to start. You are almost certainly in overwhelm, all the tasks become too much, and you can’t see the wood for the trees. So you fiddle about, do a bit here and a bit there, but not really with any focus.

Why does it happen?

Usually the reason you fall into overwhelm is that you are trying to do everything yourself. Sometimes there is just too much to do and other times it just feels that way because you are doing it all. As a woman it is typical that you are trying to do everything and look after everyone and everything.

And that I think is where we fall over. The focus goes, no focus, no planning, just a busy head and a busy desk and not a whole lot of productivity. Or of course you may spend all your time planning, and none actually doing, it can be an avoidance tactic!

And being an entrepreneur its likely you are also an ideas person too, so you are always having new ideas and thinking if new ways to do things or new things to try or people to call or connect with, the list is endless.

Is confidence a factor?

I think sometimes another cause of overwhelm , or at least a contributor is lack of confidence, or lack of belief. Sometimes we know what needs doing but we are scared to do it, or scared of what might happen if we do, so we put it off. And the more we put it off the scarier it becomes, and the more our to do list accumulates, until we get really caught up in the “must do”,” have to”, “need to do” etc.

So what is the answer?

How do you step out of it and move forward more effectively?

Well, I am a great believer in lists, and notebooks. Often the problem is that you have too much going round in your head, so if you can get it all out that lets you think more clearly.

Use “to do” lists for all the things you think of that need doing, and use a notebook to capture all those ideas. Once its written down you know you have a record so you can let it go until you have time to develop it further.
The same with lists, write it all down so it’s out of your head. Then each day sort out the list and the priorities to create a “to do” list for that day with all the most important things.

You can still keep the main list with all the other things as a reminder, and to create lists for the following days.

Look after yourself

And it is important to ensure you are fit and healthy too, make sure you look after number one. If you don’t you will end up exhausted and possibly ill, I have seen it happen and its not fun, so please take this seriously. It’s common for female entrepreneurs especially to leave their health on the back burner, I think it’s our caring instinct.

Little things like taking regular breaks, eating properly – and regularly, and taking daily exercise can all help you to feel calmer and more focused, as well as making you stronger to deal with everything else.

Don’t go it alone

Another way to make your life easier is to identify the things you can outsource and get help. I know this can be hard to do, especially when you are used to doing everything. And also budget is often a constraint here. Its so easy to believe its all cost and so you might as well just do it. But the real cost is to your time, and not having that time to do the more important things. Your role in your business really is one of managing, creating and maybe customer facing. Things that are not your strengths or not fun for you can and should be delegated to someone who can do it for you. This frees up so much time and brain space, which really helps you to do the important stuff.

So in summary, to get out of the overwhelm trap, look after yourself, tighten up your time management and prioritising, learn to say no, delegate things other people can do.

And if you are finding tough and would like some support, or some ideas and guidance, do get in touch with me and lets chat about it.
Schedule a call with Julia

Live your life for you

Live your life for you - Julia McdaidI have been reminded several times over the last month or so of the importance of living life to the full. Several people in my circles have either lost someone or discovered illness unexpectedly.

Unfortunately it is at times like this that most of us feel reminded to get on with life and do the things we always wanted to do, be with the people we want to be with and get out and make the most of things
Yet really they should always be our priority, why would you not make the most of your life? Why waste time with people you don’t like being around or who don’t inspire you, or doing things that you don’t enjoy?

And even worse if you find yourself in circumstances not of your choosing why keep the pain and hurt inside?
Yet it happens so often.

The natural response when circumstances around us become painful or uncomfortable is to shut down, often we are either conditioned not to show feelings and emotions or we are scared to or we feel uncomfortable letting it all out.

So what happens? It gets bottled up inside. We take refuge in keeping busy, using other activities to distract us. Some people become health freaks, always exercising, others become workaholics, all in an attempt to keep busy to keep the pain and hurt at bay.

And to what result? Usually this bottled up pain, hurt or resentment finds a way out somehow. And all too often it is through illness.

So then you have to stop, your body has forced you to. Those who are wise, or aware, listen and rest and look at how they came to be here.

Those who are not, or don’t want to face it may still carry on, trying to push through.

I have known people who always bottle up feelings and emotions and who always put a brave face on things, never showing how they really feel. And usually they are angry, there is bitterness underneath. And it is fake too, I have noticed how it feels fake when someone is always pretending, and I’m sure you have too.

I know it can require vulnerability to share pain or hurt, and many find this too hard. Yet being vulnerable is such an amazing strength. Sometimes we just need to change our perception to feel more comfortable.

So I guess my call to you today is to focus on what is important to you. And if necessary take steps to move things you don’t like out of your life, or at least away from you on a day to day basis. Whatever you can do to take your attention away from the things that get you down, annoy you, worry you etc has to be a good thing.

And also look at being more open, ask for help if you need it. Share how you feel, especially when something is getting to you. Be honest with yourself even if you don’t feel up to telling others.

I know I was brought up in a family that kept feelings and emotions hidden. I didn’t have role models who talked things out, it was all British “stiff upper lip” way of coping!

I have learned myself as life has gone by and I have grown as a person. And I feel very lucky to have been exposed to the people and situations that helped me become more aware and change into a much more open person. I know who I am now is a million miles away from who I was 30 years ago.

And one of the main things that has changed is that I do choose to do things for me, I generally don’t care what other people think, and I don’t let stuff get to me. It doesn’t mean nothing ever annoys me, or gets to me, of course it does. I just decide not to hang out there for too long.

Life is too short, and the most important person in your life is YOU.

When Asking For Help Is Hard…..

asking for help can be hard in business. Julia McdaidIt’s one of the things about being a solopreneur, and even more so if you are single as well, you are on your own. Not only are you running your business you are also entirely responsible for keeping a roof over your head, food on the table and all of your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing.

Now I know you may argue that we all are, and I do agree, it’s just that when there is nobody else there at all it can feel very hard sometimes. It’s something I have seen and heard a lot with women entrepreneurs.

As women we are used to helping others, its instinctive, but what about those times when you feel overwhelmed, or down and you don’t know which way to turn?

What do you do when you know you want to reach out and you don’t know who to call? And what do you do when it seems the only way to get help is to pay for it and you don’t have any budget for that, especially of you are in the early days of your business?

Because asking for help, showing vulnerability can be a very scary thing.

At the same time I’d say we all know the value of working with others and the benefits it can have for a business owner, and at least in theory we know we work better with support.

Help may be support in moving forward and growing your business, maybe with a coach or mentor, or a buddy you work with, or it may be of a more practical nature where you are delegating out some of your tasks. It may be appropriate for you to do both, in the long term it almost certainly will.

For some its easy, they have a support network in place and know exactly where to go. For others its harder, they recognise the need to reach out and don’t feel anyone in their circle is the right person to reach to. They may not be confident in who to ask. It’s hard, you are used to working alone, and as I said earlier if you are single it’s even harder, yet that’s most likely when you most need the support.

Having the awareness to know it’s time to reach out is a great place to be, its a big thing to get that level of self knowledge.

To then take that last step and ask for help often feels very hard though. We fear sharing our vulnerable side yet actually it’s an attractive quality and a strength. How often have you found yourself drawn to someone who is totally open and honest.

I know friends who have reached out on Social media and have received an amazing response, they were publicly vulnerable and support came. And if you have a private social media profile where you know all your contacts then maybe its a way you could go to reach out, I know some people prefer to just put it put there and let serendipity take care of finding the right person.

And if that not for you, and it won’t be for all I know, ask your inner guidance for help, for pointers about where to turn. Or ask a friend for a recommendation for the kind of help you need.

Its not uncommon to feel stuck and nervous when it comes to asking for help. In reality you know that if you don’t get help you are likely to end up in a bit of a rut and may even become anxious and stressed, or overwhelm kicks in and overtakes you. When you have reached the point where you know help would be good, you know that if you reach out you will move forward more quickly.

And it’s worth building up a support network so that you have people you know and trust around you. Then when you need to call in help it will become obvious who to turn to.

Time Out Ladies, please… !

Take a break from work to rechargeAs I sit down to write this I am thinking about the ladies I have spoken with recently and what is going on in their lives and business.

I am finding that the ladies I am working with are invariably going through some kind of change in their business, and usually that means growth. It may be re-launching, restructuring, setting up a second business or taking the plunge and leaving employment to take a part time business full time. All different circumstances yet with similar patterns running through them.

And away from the business focus and the growth one of the keys things I find I am flagging up is the need for some “me” time.

It’s all too easy isn’t it when you have lots to do and get all excited about the new project, and have ideas buzzing around your head. You get caught up in the flow, which is great, you get productive, you make things happen.

Unfortunately you often forget about yourself. As a woman you are great at looking after others, and you typically put them first. And I find this can extend to the business too, its your baby after all.

Is this you? Are you really busy doing stuff, having fun yet slowly wearing yourself down?

Or are you taking regular time out, down time away from the business? Because we all need it for many reasons. Not just for a change of scene, it’s great to recharge your batteries, step back and look at things from a different perspective. Often when you are doing something else a fantastic idea will pop into your head, because you have allowed some space for it by switching off for a bit.

And it’s good to physically be in a different space too, whether you prefer to walk in the park or work out at the gym, exercise helps to keep your energy up and keep on top of things, And getting some fresh air helps clear your head and allows for clearer thinking as you will be more alert.

On a practical level giving yourself a break can help with your concentration, and if you are office based and looking at a computer a lot you will be doing your body a favour by taking some exercise, changing position and giving your eyes a rest!

There are all sorts of things you can do to shift your energy and focus on you for a bit, and what you choose will depend on you. You may exercise or meditate, go for a walk, or have a massage or get your hair done. There are no hard and fast rules, and there is no right way.

All I would say is remember you, look after number one so that you have the energy and focus to build and run your business without too much stress or exhaustion. And you will ultimately feel better and think more clearly too.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and would like some support in keeping you on track why not schedule a call with Julia?

Power Down Procrastination

Procrastination and New Year resolutionsMy guess is that this week not so many of you are suffering with procrastination (if suffering is the right word!), we are still in the hype and novelty of New Year and resolutions and intentions.

So how long until the procrastination kicks in? When does the excitement wear off and you start getting distracted? I suspect not that long……

Are you a procrastinator? Or are you always productive and get everything done quickly and easily?

If I am honest I have sides of both, I can procrastinate for England if I am in that space! so believe me I know what I’m talking about here. Yet I can also be very organised and very productive when I’m in the zone. My challenge these days is often getting into the zone, getting going, once I’m there there’s no stopping me.

I think when I was younger, especially in the early days of my business, I had so much to do I really didn’t have time to be distracted or to not do it. I was definitely that busy person to go to if you wanted something done.
Over the years I think I have relaxed more and also changed focus in terms of what I actually do in my business, as well as what I deem to be important.

For more years than not since I have been self employed I have worked at home, so I have always had the potential for distraction.

And I think its all about how you manage it. I would always go to the gym during off peak hours because it was quieter, then at the same time I wasn’t working a straight 9-5 so I would still get everything done, just at a time to suit me.

Over the years I have definitely become more conscious of having a balanced life and sometimes it is taking this too far that leads me into procrastination. I lose focus on what I want to create and get caught up in minutiae. Or I take a break in the sun, which is fine, but then don’t limit it so I lose track of time and then don’t feel like picking up again.

And balance is definitely a big part of it, not only balancing work with the other parts of life, also balancing the things you want to do with the things you “have” to do, as its usually these we procrastinate over in reality.

And I know its all about focus because I prove it with my own actions, I know for me when I am focused and make a decision to do something I do it, whether it is moving country or doing my accounts at the end of the month!

So are you focused enough or can you drift into procrastination? In the next blog I will follow up with some tips to beat it…..

Why As Women Do We Have Trouble Receiving?

Women often struggle to receive in modern timesWhat is it about society today that has meant so many women have so much trouble just receiving?

Being able to receive is something we all have to accept as a part of life, yet it is so often very hard to do. In these days of independence and fending for yourself what stops us being open to offers of help, being able to accept and receive what is being offered/given to us?

All too often women are caught between being the giver, the one who does the looking after, and being independent, whether through need or cultural pressure. To the extent that they actually put up a good fight if help or gifts are offered, even driving away the person making the offer.

It sounds crazy yet many are only happy when they are doing the giving, whether it be time, expertise, favours, good deeds… even money for some

And all the time they take it for granted that what they have to offer will be received and accepted willingly. Why be happy to give and not receive?

I think there is a fear of vulnerability, or being seen as not good enough, not capable of doing everything for yourself, and a kind of need to prove that you are a survivor.

Yet naturally it is a part of our feminine role to be receptive, as well as nurturing and caring. wholeness and balance are in there too…. I think it is often something women have to relearn in this modern age, where culture has taken them off track.

Barbara Marx Hubbard has talked about building the feminine aspect of receptivity within us in order to join with the masculine aspect of genius that is also within each of us. As like everything it is all ultimately about balance.

And sadly I think too many of us are not living in balance

What are your experiences or thoughts?

Biggest Learning Curves From My Early Days In Business

Tips from my learning to help your businessWith all the talk about what I have learned over the years, I have to say there is plenty to share with you at the moment!

Today I am going to take a quick look at some of the things that were MY biggest learning curves, way back when I set up in business, and in the early years.

One of the first and something that is ongoing, however long you have been in business, is the need for Boundaries if you work from home. I’ve worked from home for probably the majority of my 17+ years self employed. When I started we didn’t have ipads and smartphones, email was on one computer, the one in the office. I remember going to check on personal email and ending up spending 2 hours on work stuff in the evening…. not good.

Now its much harder because everything is mobile and with us all the time, yet I still think we need boundaries, we need to draw a line around business and have some down time. One easy way to help is have two phones, one for personal and one for business, then leave the business one at home when you are on social time (YES at home, leave it behind, its OK)

Something else I had to learn was Marketing. When I started out all I knew was what I had learned on a one day course designed for new business owners! And I know I’m not alone, its absolutely essential yet most of us start our business with zero knowledge. I had to learn it all, and one key thing I found out is if you’re doing it, it works, even though don’t necessarily get the clients from where you are active or where you think. If you stop taking action you stop getting results. So even if you don’t know about all the ways you can market your business, do what you can and do it consistently and well. Its all about relationships at the end of the day, focus on building relationships and watch what unfolds.

And on the subject of taking action and things coming to you, that works in many ways, we do attract our clients, co-workers and even suppliers. I wasn’t as aware back then as I am now, and when I started I didn’t appreciate that my biggest client came to me, I didn’t go looking. I had this client before I had actually given up the job to start my business!

If you do work with others, always have agreements in writing. Doesn’t matter if they are friends and you think you both want the same thing, there may be things you didn’t think of, or changes may happen you couldn’t have foreseen.

And if you decide to go into business with someone else, make sure you know what you are getting into, and be careful not to put all your eggs into one basket until you are really sure. I’d definitley recommend having a trial period.

And find out why they really want to work with you, discuss and write down what each person is bringing to the arrangement, think of clients, time, money, and ask what do you each expect out of it. Make sure you want the same thing and are happy that your ideas and plans are compatible.

And as your business moves forward take care to balance growth and affordability, you need some of the profits for you, and for expenses and taxes, you can’t invest them all up front. One example might be when taking on staff, yes you need to take staff on to expand, and yes you will certainly earn more as you have more resources, I won’t dispute that, just make sure to manage it and manage the timing. And again be careful who you take advice from.

So there you have it, what I consider to be my biggest learnings, outside my personal growth. I hope it saves you some time and effort along the way.