E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 4

ELIMINATE…REDUCE…AUTOMATE…SCHEDULE…EXTERNALISE ©

If you missed the earlier posts you can click on the links for Part 1. Part 2 and Part 3

 

EXTERNALISE

Depending on your skills, abilities and finances externalising jobs, tasks and projects that need doing can save you and/or your family hours and days of time. The things you don’t need to do personally, that you don’t want to do, have the skills needed to do, have the time to do or even if your time is better spent on others things are all perfect for externalising.

As an example most of us hand off the maintenance of our cars besides the very basic oil, petrol, air in the tyres, washing type functions. We bring in plumbers and electricians for maintenance or repairs involving water and electrical. Mostly we don’t have the skills needed and it’s just smarter (not to mention in some cases illegal) for us tackle those things ourselves.

What I’m asking you to consider where finances allow is to hand off more. By all means keep doing the things you and your family don’t mind doing or find enjoyable. Don’t create an expense for no quantifiable reason or benefit. If it causes stress, arguments or is costing you time as a family or personally that you’d like back to do other things though .. externalise … pay someone else to do those things for you.

Let your neighbourhood teenager or mowing/landscaping business take care of the yards. Bring in a cleaner for the whole house or just the parts you hate. I had a relative who had a burning hatred for doing windows, so periodically they hired someone to do it for them. Problem solved. They had beautiful clean windows and never again wasted a moment of time or negative emotion on it. Hire an ironing lady. Some even pick up and deliver. Hire a broker to ring around and check you’re getting the best insurance deal or mortgage. Do your grocery order on-line and have it dropped straight to your door. Hire a handyman to clean out your gutters. Hire a contractor to handle the renovation project. Find an odd jobs person to pick up dry cleaning or post office box mail or handle drop offs etc. Have  your dog washed and clipped by a groomer and walked by others if you choose to.

You and /or your family are completely capable of pulling together and doing a lot these things of course. Kids can earn pocket money doing odd jobs, learn the teamwork of  family and contributing and valuable life skills. They are all valuable things and can be taught regardless without it eating personal or family time on a permanent basis though. This is about time. If you’d rather have the time back or a bit more of it back – pick and choose what you’re happy to hand off and do that immediately.

I would add also for those who feel this is a cop out or lazy that you are creating jobs (preferably) within your community.. but work and jobs none the less. An income or part of for another person. Thereby making this a win/win situation. You get more time. Someone else get more money. As always spend your dollars with thought. Who and where you choose to spend your money can make an enormous contribution to your community or not. I always encourage trying to keep it local where possible and then individually owned over corporates if you can which for most of our home based jobs is absolutely doable.

Spend a half hour or so brain storming yourself or with your family and see what can be externalised to free up your precious time. Literally, that is all the time it will take. Then find a provider and start planning what you’re going to do with those extra minutes and hours .. that might even just be going for that long walk, or having that bath… maybe a family movie night.

That brings to a conclusion this little series folks. I’d love to hear about the things you chose and the amount of time that freed up for you or any of the other things you were able to accomplish with E.R.A.S.E in the comments.

 

E x

E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 2.

 

ELIMINATE … REDUCE … AUTOMATE … SCHEDULE … EXTERNALISE. ©

If you haven’t read part 1. Start there and come back.. we’ll wait. x

REDUCE

If we can’t get rid of something altogether the next step is to reduce. How much we have, how long it takes, how often we do it, how much it costs.  The aim is always to save time, space, money, effort. You do a big grocery shop every week. Do it fortnightly. Fortnightly.. do it every 3 or 4 weeks. YES. You can. Better yet do it online and have it delivered your time is likely worth more than the delivery cost and you won’t buy things you don’t need or get side tracked in other shops along the way. You have clothes and shoes, kids toys in more than one place… time to cull. 27 photo albums .. can you scan most of those and reduce that number. If you think you need more storage space – it’s time for things to go.  If you or your children are in so many extra curricular activities that your spending hours in cars and outside the home with reduced family time and increased take out meals. Time to reassess. If what you want to do isn’t happening if your not getting the time you want with the people you want it with but you’re spending time in gyms, meetings, committees, unpaid work hours, activities. Your just prioritising wrong. Stuff has to go….. what’s it gonna be.

There is more than one way of reducing so pick what works for you. For instance. If you have a small family or just you. Batch your washing into days.. say…  Thursday nights or even twice a week. One night clothes, one night sheets, towels etc. I’m a fan of always trying to keep your weekends free if you’re in paid employment. But if the weekend suits you – do that. Here you are reducing the amount of times you wash. If you have a large family. You may want to do a load most nights of the week so that you wash more often but you can wash, dry and get it away quickly rather than try and batch it like above and lose your whole Saturday because of the amount you have.

Before even doing this though. You also will want to seriously look at how much clothing you and your family has ( go back to elimination) and how often it gets washed. Unless your kids got in the mud, or you husband is in construction or it was a hot and sweaty kind of day most clothes can be worn more than once. Besides washing it will save wear and tear on your clothes from unnecessary washing and money when they need to be replaced less often and while you’re at it only use half to 3/4 of the washing powder/liquid they tell you… it will be more than enough. Try it for yourself and see. Again this will save money.

Social media and emails etc. Where do we even start. Maybe we save that for another post.

This is just a couple of area’s. If there’s something specific you want me to address. Let me know. Automate. Schedule. Externalise. We’ll look at next time.

 

E x

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E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 1.

E.R.A.S.E  –  ELIMINATE … REDUCE … AUTOMATE … SCHEDULE … EXTERNALISE ©

In the previous post we talked about getting your dream life and that some of the key components of achieving that were simplicity, focus and time. To get more of your life for what you want to do, you need to simplify it. I said we’d talk about simplifying further and so I thought the easiest way to do that would be to just show you the system I use.

E.R.A.S.E  is what I use in my life to free up time and streamline my life. To simplify as much as possible.  It’s how I was able to take off 2 months to go and walk the Camino (a cross country pilgrimage trail starting in France and finishing in Santiago De Compostela Spain) It is how I have now been traveling for nearly 12months months and all going well plan on doing that for just a little bit longer. It’s how I run my home when I have one and the system I used within my own family. It is how I continue to redesign and explore my own life. I have used it with friends and their houses. This is the system I developed and used as part of Managing a team and projects in the finance sector. Especially around the improvement and change management processes I became known for. It can be both incredibly in depth or simple depending on how you put it to use and how deep you’d like to take it. lets start with the simple stuff.

The truth is I’m not going to show you how to organise every single thing in your life. Only the stuff you need or want to keep. Everything else we are going to Eliminate. Reduce. Automate. Schedule or Externalise. We want to simplify our lives and get our time back NOT find a place and time for everything that’s already there. Because frankly what you usually find is much of it shouldn’t be there to start with or is taking up waaaayyyy more time than it justifies. If you want to multitask yourself into the middle of the next century. This is not the system for you. Nor is it if you want to keep everything you have and do currently.

Now  I’m more of a “teach a man to fish” person i.e. I want to show you how to do it for yourself “the system” so you can go off and use it whenever and on whatever you decide you want to or that needs it. We’ll focus mainly on home, family and life in an overall helicopter type view but if you have any questions feel free to ask. Pretty much anything I will ever talk about is just a part of this basic system tweaked and applied to whatever conditions, system or problem at hand. Once you’ve learnt it / understand it. You have it forever to use or not as your choice dictates.Lets start.

 

ELIMINATE

In relation to “things” Do I need this? Do you have multiples of the same thing. Do you have it just in case you might need it. Have you kept it because it was a gift or heirloom but you don’t really have any attachment to it. Are you holding onto it because it cost you a lot of money. ALL of these reasons are WRONG answers. Everything you own – actually owns you. It has to be looked after, maintained, stored, cleaned, whatever. It takes up the hours and space of your life, your house, sometimes money. sometimes more. You have a finite amount of hours in your life…. you should be VERY discriminating as to what warrants your time. I’m not a minimalist but I would be closer to that definition than any other. You want to be living your life, exploring your passions, building your career, having relationships and fun, having quiet time, family/friends time or adventures, trying new hobbies. Whatever it is you want to do and focus your time on. Not doing chores and looking after stuff. They are base necessities of life we’re talking about. Get in, get it done and move on to the better, more fun stuff.

Too many clothes, knick knaks, tools, committee obligations, after work activities. Donate. Sell. Get the electronic version. Give it to friends or relatives that want it. Take a photo of it and let the actual item go – if it’s there simply as a reminder of a time, place or person. Scan it and get rid of the paperwork / photo.This can be done in layers over time with most things. Start with clothes, move onto video’s, DVD’s etc I wouldn’t drag it out forever though. Aim to get it done within 6 months tops. Keep the stuff you love or is useful and get rid of everything else including any time commitments ..committees etc that you aren’t 110% wanting to be part of.

In relation to jobs, tasks, the day to day of life it gets even more exciting. Does it need to be done at all. Does it need to be done as often as you do it. Does it need to be done by you. You NEVER organise or simplify anything that can be eliminated altogether. It is also here that I would like to suggest to you that if you do not live alone you are actually part of a team who, fantastically, you get to or already should be involved in the successful running of your home. Whether that is you and your partner plus or minus children, any other family members or you and your child. Anyone who is living in the home is contributing to it’s need to be cleaned and maintained….therefor should be contributing to it’s cleaning and upkeep. If you are doing the line share of the work. Stop being a hero, martyr, victim or idiot. There is not really any lesson of value I can see in teaching your children or partner this level of expectation or failing to prepare them for or let them be fully functioning human beings in their own right.  You are creating a rod for your own back and frankly your childrens  future partners are unlikely to thank you either.

Adjust for age and ability and start but realise that ability is often just a lack of teaching. Most children by the time they start High School are fully capable of washing their own clothes especially in the age of push button programming. Show them how. This is not rocket science. Let alone other even easier tasks. Let alone if we are talking about another adult in the house. There are few things that feel as good as being part of a tight, well functioning team. Knowing there is a bunch of humans who you love and support and that love and support you. Team environment. Team participation. If you have a partner and you’re not splitting the workload of running your home and relationship 50/50. That is entirely up to you. You do not need to explain or justify that to anyone else if you are happy with that arrangement. Truly. No-one else needs to hear why, in the comments here or anywhere else. The only person you need to justify it to is yourself. If you are looking for suggestions or solutions though by all means comment away someone may have a work around or idea. Realise though – that your choice to take on more than your fair share will of course have obvious flow on effects to how much time you will have for other people, places or things in your life, including your own self.

So start with elimination… things you don’t need or want, commitments you don’t need or want… tasks you don’t need to do at all or don’t need to do yourself. Next will be reducing. Let me know if you get stuck or you have questions.

 

E x

 

How to achieve your Dream life

Simplicity. Focus. Time.

Even if you’re just trying to achieve some goals it requires the same things. Sounds easy right. The reality is more complicated as we all know. But here’s what I’ve found in nearly every aspect of life. These 3 steps work. The simpler your life is, the easier it gets to achieve the meaningful stuff. Every. Single. Time. Simplify your life, add focus and time and you’re on your way.

Years ago I had a dream to get away, leave everything behind for a time and travel. Extended travel…. months at least. There was zero possibility of it being a reality anywhere on the horizon. I knew though if there was ever a chance there were things that needed to change and so I worked on those. Using those exact 3 steps. I worked towards the dream and when the opportunity presented, it was sudden and I was as surprised as everyone else. I grabbed that opportunity and was living that one particular dream within 6 weeks. This was only possible though because of the work I’d done previously using those steps.

More importantly….. Use these steps to go and achieve your dreams

Simplicity:

The more time, money, energy you can free up. The greater the chance you have of achieving the life you REALLY want. If you are bogged down in details and time consuming tasks in every area of your life you won’t find the time to learn, do, be or have the goals you’d like to reach. We all know this. I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, even if we are not admitting it to ourselves. The often trotted out line ..”Once I finish this. Go on Holidays. Summer finishes. If I could just” .. variations of those themes. Is a lie and we know it. There will always be something. The minutiae of life will consume your whole life if you let it. Multiple trips to the grocery store. 17 after school activities for your kids. Endless bill paying. Too many loads of washing. Time wasted looking for the lost thingamajig…. There isn’t a thing in your personal, family or home universe too small to look at simplifying or better still eliminating if it’s not needed or necessary. Address it all! We’ll look at this in more detail on the site.

Focus:

When I say focus this also means DOING the work it will take to achieve what it is you want. It won’t just turn up on its own.  More ease. More time for yourself, friends, family. A holiday. Time for volunteer work. Learning a new language or skill. Improved health, finances, job. A completely new life. What is the ultimate aim? Your target? Once you know it – you can work backwards. Envision what your future dream life looks like for you. What would you need to do to achieve that. New skills? Reduced debts? Training? Would you need to save money or enlist professional help? Don’t pick a whole bunch. If it is truly something that will change or improve the quality of your life it requires your attention. You can change it all but focus on one thing at a time then move on to the next if it will take multiple changes. Trying to change 17 different things at once is a recipe for failure, exhaustion and despair.

Time:

Now. Just start. It may take time but the decision to change your life or go after a goal is made in an instant. It really, really is that simple. The commitment to that goal – the focus, is what comes next. Whether you want it enough to keep working towards it, even if you fall off the  wagon now and again, just climb back on. Then … time. Patience. Enjoying, refining and improving where you are while working towards where you want to be. I know life is now geared as .. How to get the perfect body in two weeks. 3 simple life hacks for corporate success etc etc ad nauseum. It’s all instant gratification and ease and it’s disheartening if you feel your failing. Here’s the thing though… you have time. Decide what you want. Simplify. Focus. Time. Get moving. Keep going. Don’t give up. Here is one of the quotes I love in relation to this concept.

organic-market

So as long as you’re here. You may as well keep working towards what you want. Don’t fritter away your time, get moving on your dream. Make the commitment. Do the work but release any fear or anxiety around the outcome. As clichéd as it sounds – “enjoying the process or the journey” really will make it easier. My dream was never a win/lose proposition though and neither is yours. If I hadn’t achieved it. The things I addressed and improved in my life incrementally over the years, every change had a positive pay off in some way and would have led to other opportunities if not this one.

Give it a shot. No effort is wasted and think of what you might achieve. I’m cheering for you. Let me know how it turns out.

Ever x

Featured picture: Croatia… one of the countries visited during my extended travel trip.

Why I Blog

Honestly…

Multiple reasons. It’s like an on-line journal of some of the things I’m doing, done, thinking or thoughts I have for both myself and friends. The things I’m finding and discovering. The things I’m loving. It’s an efficient way to be a little more in depth with multiple people without spending hours on emails, social media, texting etc …. and a lovely way to remind myself what I was up to at various points of the trip/the project/ the  year. The things I was seeing and experiencing. I’m mapping and discovering or rediscovering the things I love. Learning personal limits.. both the ones I know and the ones I didn’t and trying to break the ones that are unhelpful. Pushing personal boundaries. Meeting interesting people. Thinking out loud. Learning new things and it’s a record of some of those things.

It also attempts to answer the question of how I’m doing this that I sometimes get from others. The thought processes that led to the decision to go travelling for such an extended period of time and the practicalities of organising that and making it happen. I can tell you the tools and processes I used and how to use them so you can put them to work for yourself.  I am also a bit too much type A and need to have a “thing” to do or accomplish sometimes and the blog allows me to do that also when I can’t just travel and chill.

I hope that the blog provides some enjoyment and fun for others and for the people who wanted to know how and why, some ideas in finding the time and resources  (whatever they might be) to design and live a life that feels good to them.  We all have different skill sets. Fun ways our squiggly little brains work. Things that come more naturally to us than others. Mine have been change management. Teaching and Training. People, Place and Process improvements. Simplifying and Organising. I have some pretty certificates I can hang on a wall around those qualifications but really I just find it fun and enjoy the challenge. I enjoy the process and I enjoy finding ways to teach and train people in a way they can absorb, learn, understand so they can put those things into practice for themselves. It’s my default mode and I love it. I also love learning new and better ways of doing things that I didn’t know about and incorporating and sharing those.

My daughter said to me once that I was a “Life Broker” i.e .. That I wanted everyone to have the life they wanted. Helping them wrangle how to get that. I laughed – but it is accurate. I’ve lost count of the times people have  shared their wishes, dreams, wants, desires and we’ve then sat down and worked out some steps they might consider to get there. Out come my cheer leader pom poms and I’m like “Sweet! So doable – Lets work this out” We are all both different and the same. Different things work for different people but no-one I’ve ever met has ever voiced a desire for a mediocre life filled with responsibility with just a little joy squeezed in there somewhere.  Every society, culture, family, community has set ideas about how you should be living your life. I think it’s important that we work that out for ourselves  and I talk about the tools, processes, the areas of life and home and thoughts I worked on or changed to do that for myself, for friends and in business scenario’s. Because you know  your life, is a business. You want it running at optimum levels giving you great returns.  When people do the work of creating the life they want for themselves… great things happen! For them, the people around the and others they come into contact with.

Zadie Smith said “Writing is my way of expressing – and thereby eliminating – all the various ways we can be wrong-headed.” There are various versions also of “I don’t know what I think till I think / see / write it .. I would add to that – sometimes I don’t realise what I know till I write or share it and so I write and share.

So blogging for me is a shared journal and conversation with both friends and people I may not ever meet face to face. A discussion of how to get what we want, dreams and desires we may have and the interesting things we are doing or want to do and how we are currently doing in life. It is a map of where I’ve been, where I want to go, things I’ve done. What I’m enjoying. What I’m not.  It allows me to feel like just maybe I’m contributing in some way to helping someone else achieve what they want. A little community I am setting up for myself and that I’d like to add value to. It’s where I hope some of what’s in my squiggly little brain can help others get or be able to reach what they want as well.

Come along for the ride and tell me all about you.

Always. E x

New Year. New You.

Here we are. Welcome to 2017!

Let me say here straight up, it’s ok to be fine with where and who you are. Actually that is the goal isn’t it.  If you’d like a year of just going with the flow, seeing what happens, no big plans or goals. Good for you! It seems there very few people out there saying.. “You want to chill – that’s fine. Good even. Go do that.Come back if you change your mind” If however you’d like to make a few improvements or set a few goals and intentions. This is a great time to do it.

As many of us are  preparing to or already have done. Goal setting is usually high on the agenda for this time of year. Although any time is good really but flipping over the calendar to the new year in January is symbolically a time of fresh starts and new beginnings.  I’m not one of the nay sayers of this area and so I both do it myself and would encourage it for others. Goals. Ideals. Plans. Intentions. Write it down. Laminate it. Frame it. Put it in a binder. Tape it to your wall. Whichever, just put it somewhere where you’ll see your goals regularly. You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for and the studies all show that writing goals down increases our chances of achieving them. I have mine in my home manual and refer to it often. The kinds of things I usually have goals for tend to fall under these categories. Health. Financial. Home. Personal. But the list is endless obviously of what it could entail.

My only recommendations would be make sure it’s a real goal. Not just something you think you should or would like. I’d like my house to be clean, fix it up a bit, reduce my debts …. I want to be fitter, healthier.. spend more time with my family, have some me time blah, blah. But something specific and that you’re really committed to. The ones I listed are too wishy washy and vague. Make them meaningful but I’d also suggest make them few. You can always add if you’ve achieved them early but picking a dozen or more especially if they are chunky, meaningful and worthwhile will overwhelm you and increase the risk of failure or abandonment. Write all your goals down by all means in a list but then just pick a few at a time to focus on for this year. You have next year as well etc So a better option goal wise so that it’s more specific would be something along these lines .

  1.  Design a weekly cleaning schedule to start Jan 9th.
  2. Renovate laundry this year
  3. Eliminate credit card debt. Reduce by $–, cut up all but one emergency card
  4. Monthly family date for movies, park, road trip first weekend of the month.
  5. Eliminate soda from my diet. Half hour daily walk
  6. Schedule Dr and Dental visits. May and November
  7. Yoga class weekly.
  8. Half hour reading before bed etc
  9. Learn Spanish

You get the idea.Of course your goals can be much grander than this, much more personal or smaller. Maybe you want to address a personal matter that is effecting you negatively. Maybe you want to build a business. Start charity work. It doesn’t matter. If your goals are more personal and less tangible say. When you’re looking for a feeling rather than an event or thing…. “I want to feel more joy in my life or adventure” say. A good place to look for help with that scenario is Danielle Laporte she is all over the desires of the heart and literally calls it.. “Desire Mapping” Other desires and wants are often a bit more straight forward to find help with. Behavioural change you can look for help with life coach’s. Things like Hypnotherapy, meditation, NLP. Phsyc K. All look towards helping you change unhelpful habits and thought processes or aid in discovering new ones. Some of the bigger names you might check out in this are people like Tony Robbins.Brendon Burchard. Tim Ferris. Jonathon Fields. There are dozens though. Other things like health, business, money there are some very targeted specific sites out there that are just great. I won’t list the options here simply because there are so many but if you’d like some hints or pointers let me know in the comments and I can throw some resources together for you all.

Scheduling these things is also hugely important. Get out your calendar. Mark out exactly when you want these things by. Ideally you want everything organised up and running by mid January. So break it down into chunks. If you have multiple things I will often break them up into 2 monthly periods of time. Not too long or you never get around to them. For eg you may have payments of $200 a week automated to go to your credit card debt. Doctors and Dental visits scheduled for May and November. Research for the new Laundry will be done March and April then  booked and Scheduled for May/June. Spanish classes you will start in July. Spread them further apart during the year or bring them forward earlier if opportunities present. It’s not set in stone but does give you a strong workable, not overwhelming calendar to achieve your aims. Simple but efficient systems are always the best and most productive. The more complicated, the more working parts, the more things that can break down, get lost, forgotten, go awry. Always aim for simple first.

diary-684750_1280

There are so many resources out there and bloggers, youtubers, life coaches, inspirational speakers, good old fashioned books and magazines. It is merely a case of finding one that resonates with you if you’re not sure how to go about it, need some ideas or inspiration. You can look for people in the area you are most interested in eg money, health, minimisalism, sports or life in general and look to their guidance or suggestions. Or it really is as simple as writing it down yourself. Some use smart targeted goals, some focus on desired feelings, manifesting, NLP, practicality and action steps, a word for the year a mixture of a few different things. It really is just finding one that aligns with your beliefs, goals and personality and that you connect with. Look up hash tags, ask friends for recommendations or google it. Have a look, see if it fits what you want. If it speaks to you in a way that motivates and helps you and then just go for it.

Alternatively look up areas that interest you and meander around the web following links until you find the good stuff you’re after. Bakers. Mountain Bikers. Homesteading. Runners. Gardeners. Woodworkers. Ancient battle craft. Vikings. Book clubs. Whatever it is you will find it. Just don’t waste to much time doing that. Start and upgrade later if you find a better way or site or person. But start. Don’t waste weeks or months in research and planning. If what you pick isn’t working for you just choose a different path – don’t give up on the goal. Just find a different way or person to guide you to reaching it. This is one reason meaningful goals are important. Goals aren’t always easy to hit or achieve or most likely we’d already have done it. You need to want it enough to find your way there … if at first you don’t succeed and all that.

I wish you all the very best in 2017. I’d love to hear in the comments what you are all aiming for this year.

E x

 

You are Here

Wandering around different countries as I have been and gifted with the life skill of being able to get lost absolutely anywhere, I have a tendency to love those signs that show you not only where you are but usually what is around you and if you’re lucky, how to get to where you want to go. Which got me thinking how handy that would be to have in life.

I think all of us have times where we would have loved one of those maps. When we’ve just have no clue where the hell we’re going or we know where we’d like to go but have no idea how to get there. Sometimes when the changes are big enough we have no idea who we will be or even where we’ll be at the end of it and that can be terrifying. The potential in that though is enormous and that is a great thing to realise and to remember. It’s not all just wandering around looking up, back and sideways trying to work out where you are.

It is during these times that we have the opportunity wanted or not to redesign our lives. Small or large. Sometimes it will be through choice sometimes through necessity.  For me it has never been more constant than the last few years as I’ve redesigned one part of my life after another.  It turns out there can be long periods of change too. Sometimes change comes whether we want it to or not. Often we’re not ready. Regardless of how it comes though, even when wanted  .. It can be deeply uncomfortable and scary but it is a natural part of life. If we never change we become stagnant. We’d be the same people at 60 that we were at 16.. and although we all probably know someone or even a few people like that I think we can all agree it’s not the ideal we  are aiming for.

Change is going to come anyway and how we choose to think about and deal with it is often the only control we will have.  Try thinking of it like the it’s the next paragraph or a new chapter in the book that is your life. We design what we can, accept what we can’t and  fit it all into the larger story. Navigating towards the outcome we’d like – because you’re not a passenger but realise there are other factors and or people involved and we don’t have control of those. That Is where all the challenge and change, fun and joy lies. Because it can also be great and joyous and full of growth.. always there is growth if nothing else but you must be open to it. Try breathing and relaxing into it instead. I promise it’s easier.

Words can be incredibly powerful in this. Your brain is susceptible  and if you keep telling it this is stressful and hard – it’ll believe you, it has not reason not to. So stressful and hard it is. How you frame the experiences, the words you use can make a big difference. You will often hear me talk about “adventures” Some of them are exactly that.. fantastic adventures I planned. Some of them not so much .. but they are all “adventures” just the same. I try never to have “Oh, shit” moments so much as “Well, this will be interesting/exciting” moments. Lets be honest things don’t always go how we’d like. But reframing it often helps. If they’re changes you’d hoped for or were working towards breathing into it is easier there can be some fear of change but also excitement to offset that. In those cases just hang on for one minute more you’ll be out the other side before you know it.

So “You Are Here” but you’d really like to be “there”. There is no map unfortunately. The directions to the place you want to be are not always clear. Definitely not lineal and sometimes you’re going to get lost. I can almost guarantee you of that.  There is more than one way from point A to point B and that is the greatest news ever! The only prerequisite then is that you keep moving, keep learning. That’s it. Easy peasy. If you end up in the wrong place, or a dead end. If you’re not where you want to be just take your bearings and start again in another direction. Some ways will be easy, some harder. Short, long, challenging, fun or joyous. As the end of the year approaches there is no better time to look around and think about if you’re headed in the right direction for where you want to go? So.

YOU ARE HERE… Where to next?

Always E x

Lets start at the very beginning

“A very good place to start”

Lists are one of your best friends. If they’re not, they should be and we’re going to get onto that right away.

Keeping your council, making your life easier and freeing up brain space. Lists are awesome. When done well they can help streamline and run your life. If something needs doing or remembering, seriously… Get it down on paper – or electronically. Whatever suits your personality and preferences best. What we´re talking about today though is a little bit more in depth than your standard To Do, Shopping or School Needs list. If you’re not already using these regularly … stick around, I’m a big fan and you will hear, learn and be encouraged to use them in many situations. Lists when collated into a system can become a whole lot more. Designed. Analysed. Structured. Streamlined. It’s so exciting, but if you can’t see how just now… trust .. just for a bit.

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As I’ve said previously the whole point of doing any of these things, and the main purpose behind the blog, is to free up your time and energy and resources so you/we can spend more time doing what we WANT to do or to have the time to EXPLORE, research and FIND what we’d like to do… where passion, joy, fun or relaxation and contentment may lie for us. To streamline, remove or make quicker and simpler the dreary, boring or monotonous. To get organised. To get a life. If you’re just after an extra hour a week so you can read a book   or you want to completely redesign your life. I’m in for both. Good on you – lets get started.

I have been thinking how best to get the ball rolling for you. Where did I start? What was the most beneficial to me? How do I make this as simple and stress free as possible for you because no-one needs an extra job or less time or complicated systems. How did I put together the systems at work, at home that achieved these things. What am I continuing to learn and improve myself. I’m excited to bring it all together here and when I thought about one of the major things that made a difference and kept everything on track and simpler over the years it was the manual I used to run my life and home. A manual .. when broken down to its basics .. of lists. Lists of contacts. Lists of jobs. Schedules. Finances. Personal. Home. Events. All of it. There was very little I ever needed to remember. It was all in the manual. I had a lot of fun building it and tweaking it and in turn life was so much simpler and easier and like a company manual, I could have walked out of that house, someone new walk in and take up running my life and home without missing a beat.

Things get planned, improved, taken care of… and for bonus points … all with EASE. I want you to take a deep breath and now as you slowly exhale say.. EEEEEEASE. Like Omm but replaced with the word ease. This is what I want more of in your life. This word. This feeling and time. So I thought we’d start with the home and go from there. If there is something you’d like some ideas on.. by all means use the comments. I can look at addressing it on the blog or perhaps some other readers will have some handy tips. For now, I just want you to grab a binder. 2 ring. 4 ring it doesn’t matter, don’t get wrapped up in perfection – it’s the enemy here. Making it perfect will waste your time and energy which is EXACTLY what we are trying to avoid. There is plenty of time for redesign and pretty etc when we’ve saved some of that precious time we’re talking about. So, one you have lying around the house that can be enlisted for the project is fantastic or just pick up something cheap for now. Get some dividers for sections or just some post-it notes you can put at different intervals to  denote the different sections and some paper. We are just going to start from scratch for those in total overwhelm with life or who are not just not sure how to begin.

Going back to the beginning of this post I use both paper and electronic organisation and management systems. Electronics only minimally though… I am a paper girl… all the way. I may design it electronically but then it is printed more often than not. That being said, the system I will show you is paper. This also has the added benefit of others (partners, children etc) having access to this information and being able to use it. They don’t have to have access to your electronic files.  Use whatever system suits you though and that you will actually use. Don’t overthink it.

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See here the absolutely ad-hock binder I started to help keep all the balls in the air while I’ve been on the road .. a few months into my travels and I couldn’t cope with all the stuff I was trying to keep track of without a system in place and I couldn’t find a planner I found useful for what I needed. They were beautiful, gorgeous even .. but mostly impractical for what I was wanting to achieve. This folder is quite literally the least pretty thing you’ll ever see… but you know what … it’s working like a dream and that is the point I want you to remember. Just start . Do pretty later if getting it “right” or “perfect” is going to hold you up or take more time than absolutely necessary.

Go get the stuff. Next post.. we start. Big love. E

Featured picture from the absolute classic… “The Sound of Music” – Twentieth Century Fox 1965

Redesign It..

What?…. Well your life of course.

We’re all looking to have a life we love. I haven’t met a person yet aiming  to create the most tedious, boring or overwhelming life possible. I know people who have ended up with that – including me, but it was never our intention.

The whole point of getting organised, streamlining etc is to free up the time, energy and resources you need to redesign your life. To  “Get a Life”  One that you’re in love with and that fills you up rather than drains you. Why else would we bother. Firstly though you need to decide where you want to start and for that the easiest way to start is to categorise. Define what you feel make up the important parts of your life. There will be sub categories of course but lets not make it more difficult than it needs to be and overwhelm ourselves before we even start.

Here are mine: Copy them or choose your own. You know what you want to focus on and if you’re not sure. Just pick one and the rest tend to reveal themselves when you’re ready. Without further ado , here is my list and why

  • Home

We all have one in some form. Permanent. Temporary. Shifting. It includes all the people (family/friends/lodgers/you) and pets in it and anything associated with keeping all that running as smoothly, efficiently and effectively as possible. This can have a little bit of crossover with the personal section in regards to your people – but you’ll quickly work out which category you want different things under. Don’t overthink it, trust yourself and go with your decision. There is no right or wrong.

  • Business and Finances

This is a no brainer and includes all aspects related to your work or job. Money makes the world go around.. and pays the bills. Apart from outstanding individuals like Mark Boyle and Daniel Suelo most of us will need to work this out. The more successfully we do this the more freedom and choice we have in our lives – freedom and choice is the whole reason I do this.

  • Personal & Lifestyle

Under this you will find things like. Wellbeing. Health. Relationships. Joy. The parts of our lives that are personal to us that make it enjoyable… or not. Other things may include travelling. Adventuring. Exploring. Hobbies. Goals and challenges you have or want to build into your life . This would also include commitments or events such as: Birthdays. Weddings. Christenings. Holidays. Christmas. Stuff that’s not everyday. A bit larger and therefor usually needs more planning and organisation.

  • Community

I feel this one is so important and increasingly rare. People coming together in groups to achieve, attain, fix, overcome, change, enjoy, socialise, support. What can’t be achieved by a group of dedicated, committed people. Whether that commitment is to having fun. Relaxing. Learning. Making sure a group in your area doesn’t fall through the cracks. Feeding the homeless. Local Farmers markets. Sports clubs. Environmental or social. I’m not talking large groups even … there is no end to the importance of local community based groups. Your contribution is important.

These are mine as I said. I am by no means an expert in these.  I have systems that work and systems I’m learning or searching for how to make more successful or efficient. I’ll pass it all along. Including what I have done so far that has allowed me to take this little life pause to travel for an extended period of time. Or as Tim Ferris would call it a Mini Retirement. Follow along here and lets have some fun.

Put your categories below to give us all more food for thought and ideas. What do you want to look at? Our .. Get Organised. Get a Life. Community.. lets build and use it.

E x

 

That one time i did the Camino

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The adventure/life pause/search/ throwing all cards in the air officially began in Paris early March and moved down to St Jean Pied de Port at the end for the start of the Camino. The ancient Pilgrimage I’d first heard about 2 years before and which had begun its relentless call 18 months before.

I’m going away to be alone. I’m coming back with answers.

Don’t try to call my telephone. It’s disconnected.

Words off one of the tracks on my mp3 day 2 of the camino. Never really payed attention before that so much hearty laughing ensued followed by this prayer of gratitude in the cold of the morning climbing a hill, pristine views …

Thank you.

Thank you.

For a body and spirit that can do this.

and this is how it all began. Over the course of the Camino .. that belief sometimes wavered. About the heart, mind and spirit…never. About the body. Absolutely. On two occasions I was given a way out and on a third had to make a decision. Keep going.. on pure faith that I could make it because it wasn’t looking good or stop with a valid reason to back up that choice. That is where I saw part of my character shine through and give me a wink and a smile and I so kept going.. faith in hand.

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I thought I would go for long walk. Think big thoughts. Finish expanded and enlightened. I had no concept even with research of what I would be putting my body through. You can read about it .. experiencing it is something else. Clueless would be an appropriate description. The difference between knowing and understanding. Weather according to the locals not common or usual, I would spend much of my Camino wading through mud and water and on occasions snow and ice. Negotiating flooded paths and fields. Up and down more hills and mountains than I could count in all kinds of terrain.  In wind and rain and snow and hail a couple of times just to round things out.  But when the sun shone…. it was glorious! My body was kind of a distant thought in the planning and in life .. entirely too common I realised. Until I’m forcibly reminded. I did train but there’s a lot more to looking after your body than that. Mind and spirit, needs and wants…. check. My body is like “Yo Dude! Down here carrying those 2 around remember! Can I get some love and attention!” I have been taught this lesson many times but am obviously a slow learner.

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The Trinity of the Camino is rumoured to be. The first part is for the body. 2nd part the mind and 3rdly the spirit and that it continues OR starts to teach its lessons after you finish. Did I think big thoughts? Sometimes, sure. I know I spent a lot more time thinking about my feet though. Expanding .. Enlightenment? Not like I expected but yes and I’m interested to see what comes. What did I find or learn.. grief I hadn’t processed or realised was there. Thankfulness for things ended, started, gone, arrived that I would never have expected to be thankful for. A releasing. Clarifiication or understanding. Rubbing up against my own intolerances or limitations and finding them uncomfortable. A quiet still peace. Some stuff for the future. Joy. Some realisations of what was important to me – that I really knew already but was reminded of.

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But mostly I learnt more about myself.  Ultimately I think the Camino is always a personal journey more than anything .. you just happen to do it in Spain while walking a really, really long way. You will be stretched much further than you ever considered. Its not all deep and meaningful days and thoughts and in fact most of it isn’t. Much of it is new ways, new food, new places, new people. Divinely beautiful scenery. Shrines. Pilgrims masses. Beautiful town after beautiful town. Moments of pure joy, of peace, of heart bursting happiness… just because … for no reason. All the beauty and life of nature. Many, many great people, conversations and experiences. Eating, sleeping and finding places and ways to do those things.

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Lots of laughing, some crying, raging and resignation. Personal challenges. A deep love/hate affair with your feet .. you can take that as a universal fact for about 98% of the pilgrims. You will spend many many hours taking care of or preparing your feet. You’ll pay attention to weather forecasts like never before. It’s walking for hours and hours and hours, week after week.. even when you just want to stop and sit and rest. By the end you can usually spot the pilgrims amongst others … the signs … and tell if they’re walking in pain. Supporting others.. often strangers… and having them support you. Days of company and times of isolation, nobody but you and the road .. for hours or days. Instant connections with others, fast friendships, life stories. For those a spiritual nature there is often also a confirmation of sorts that there is more at work in this world than what we can feel and touch and show. The Camino provides. And you will meet some of the most incredible people. Some of whom you’ll keep in contact with even when you’re done.

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Now I’m done. For me nearly 1,000 km. Walking, exploring, learning, meeting. There are new adventures/challenges to plan. That last day though in front of that church in Santiago .. my thoughts and prayer sent heavenward…

Thank you.

Thank you.

For a body and spirit that could do this.

Forever grateful. Ever x

PS: You can see the fun, photos and stories as I walked the Camino over on my Instagram. Some of the people I met, things I saw, towns I stopped at along the way. Which is where I posted sans laptop. Find me under Ever Belsant.