E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 3

ELIMINATE…REDUCE…AUTOMATE…SCHEDULE…EXTERNALISE ©

Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here.

AUTOMATE

Automate is actually the easy one.

It is exactly what is sounds like. Anything that can be automated, ought to be. Anything that you spend money or have to pay regularly you want to automate. You can eliminate unnecessary trips, late fees because you forgot to pay the bill or just stop doing and paying the same thing every 2 weeks, monthly etc. When you are able to set it up or organise just once to last till eternity if you wish.

This is especially useful for financial targets. Starting here consider some of the following in relation to your own home and life as examples and build from there….

  • Increasing your savings.
  • Making credit card and loan payments.
  • Paying bills. Rates. Water. Electricity. Insurance etc
  • School Fees. Day Care. Sport / Gym fees
  •  A regular grocery, bread, meat or fuit and vegetable order.
  • Vitamins.
  • Magazines. Papers or Industry journals you buy

The perfect partner to this for when Automation isn’t an option is Scheduling.

SCHEDULING

Now I have an absolute, undeniable and ongoing adoration for Scheduling. This one thing one in my opinion is the one that enables you put your life as close as is possible to set and forget. With the aid of a Calender. Planner or Word document, whatever your personal preference is where you write down everything that needs doing and give it a place in your year or life. Out of your head onto paper and then filed in your home manual. You can schedule basically any part of your life and have multiple schedules for different aspects of your life, although for the sake of simplicity and ease I’d keep them to a minimum. It may sound regimented and it is but the effect of that is actually increased ease, productivity, brain space and decreased stress, forgotten or not gotten to jobs, appointments or projects.

There are lots of jobs that may only need to be done a few times a year and scheduling is just as perfect for those as it is for the things we need to do regularly. The schedules or events and jobs I usually have in my home manual include the following

  • Home Maintenance Schedule
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Menu. Groceries. Shopping
  • Personal / Family
  • Weekly. Fortnightly. Monthly
  • Financial
  • Business
  • Goals
  • Birthdays
  • Christmas Cards and Shopping.
  • Clean Gutters
  • Service Car
  • Service Airconditioner
  • Financials
  • Menus  [3 months worth]
  • Dental / Doctor visits
  • Windows.  Dooners. Skirting boards. Curtains/ Blinds [Cleaning of]
  • Washing. Clean the Washing Machine. Dryer. Drains
  • Lawns. Garden. Weeding ~Yard/Farm maintenance
  • Shopping ~Food. Clothes. Back to School. Christmas
  • Goals ~ Personal. Business. Financial. Home. Family/ Friends.

These actually boil down into only a few pages it’s not as unwieldy as it sounds

Screenshot (3)   Screenshot (4)

Screenshot (5)

These are just a couple of examples of very basic documents which is what mine are most of the time. You can make them prettier and more detailed but it is just about useability and getting it done. I always had 2 months of menus planned out and on rotation and was about to implement a third which allows you to just keep rotating without worrying you’ll become bored with the meals. You could also do it seasonally if you wanted to incorporate the heavier or lighter meals of summer and winter. You’ll notice not all the week is filled. This is because we always left at least one day but usually 2 free per week where we were using up left overs or had been invited out. There was always at least 1 super easy meal as well .. eg cheese toasties that we might put a salad with or not. Once you get this in place meal time and shopping becomes easy. What’s on the menu ?? … then put whatever you don’t have on hand on the shopping list. Done. Always make extra if you can for lunches or leftovers.

The above yearly calendar again is just an example of some of the things that can be put on it and how it can be used. The yearly calendar is one of my favourites. I never have to remember a thing. If something new comes up onto the calendar it goes and it makes sure you, your family including all pets get scheduled dental and medical visits and that machines (cars / aircon/ mowers etc) are also maintained which in the long run saves you time and money as well as getting better performance and helping to eliminate any problems or catch them before they get too big. Check it regularly, book in anything you need to and those appointment times go into your planner. The jobs you fit into your month either at a set time or when you can. Car cleaning and pet washing / clipping was always the first Saturday of the month for me. Financials the first of the month.. you get the idea. I programmed everything. My cleaning schedule I had on a weekly list that included family commitments etc. Sports. Meetings etc. The cleaning list was tacked on the end. I had a birthday list so I knew whose was coming up and planned ahead. Your life can pretty much be on remote control. Nothing forgotten. Everything planned for, done or checks in place, maintained. This in turns gives you the time and head space to start improving any areas you want to improve and / or giving you more free time and importantly working towards any goals you have.

We’ll finish off with the nice quick one Externalise in a couple of weeks.

Ever x

 

 

February Wrap Up

February came and I wrapped up my time in Budapest and headed off to Ireland with a few life goals in hand I was hoping to accomplish while there. One was pretty much a given.. so I had firstly….

Life goal: Visit Ireland

Next was something I had made enquiries and tentative arrangements for before getting to Ireland.

Life goal: Work / Volunteer on an Organic farm.

I could have done this anywhere but was really hoping to experience this in a country with a climate completely unlike my own. Mine obviously being hot, humid and dry. Mission very much accomplished to say the least. The rainfall here  – the extent and frequency was a surprise. Yes I know.. Ireland and the rain. shocker… but again let me say, the difference in knowing and understanding is in the experiencing.

 

DSCN3246
Tier 1. Rock walls. Stairs and existing beds lie underneath this

 

The farm I chose is in the process of being turned into a retreat and alternative treatment and education centre. Something I’m thrilled to see more of in the world and happy to help with in any small way  I can. It had been a family home allowing the family near total self sufficiency for many years and organic for nearly 30 years. It had become overrun in the last few when the family moved out and other people had been looking after it. We would be starting the process of bringing it back into order and hopefully in the not too distant future …. garden productivity.

 

DSCN3249
Tier 2. The vegetable gardens. 8 of them clustered around a circular centre.

 

I completely lucked out with this project let me say. The owner and 2 of her best friends I met and got to know, the 2  Croatian cousins starting a new life that I would actually be working with and a couple of French guys who came and helped for a bit… I say again some of the best parts of this adventure in the last 12 months have been the amazing people I have met. I was thrilled to be working on this farm and so happy to have met these people. There was a tonne of work to be done and nothing I could hope to see finished in my time there. Three tiers plus what remained of an old orchard area and all a complete mess. All the structures of this magnificent garden and much of what she had been just lay in slumber though, hidden under the brambles and nettles that it was my first experience of and the many other weeds and grasses we encountered and so I knick named it  “The Secret Garden” after one of my favourite books. The name caught on and so “The Secret Garden” it was.

 

DSCN3254
Third Tier. Polytunnel skeleton…. the old orchard lies beyond that.

 

 

There was a lot of work besides the gardens but that’s mainly where my time was spent. Of a night we drank, we ate very well (my first experience of venison), we laughed and slept. We tried not to go stir crazy when all of us got stuck inside the smallish cabin due to rain for loooong stretches of time. The others laughed at my zero knowledge of building a fire and my amazement of the use of coal in it .I live in Australia normally and I use reverse cycle airconditioning in winter when needed … just saying! It was also the first time I’ve actually seen coal. We compared customs and countries, met new people. Lots of fun.

 

20170302_171953

 

Next..

Life goal: Kiss the Blarney Stone.

 

DSCN3292

 

Let me say straight up I have a fear of small spaces and heights. It’s a mental game. I know it. Most of the situations I find terrifying … there is nothing probably even remotely scary in for most folks. Things that another human would think nothing of  and pose no real danger of any kind in real life … stop me in my tracks. If I want to something badly enough sometimes though I’ll attempt these things anyway. Sometimes but I don’t realise till I’m in the middle of it or it’s too late. For those reasons Blarney Castle and achieving this goal got real interesting there for a bit.

 

heights

 

In Budapest I nearly stranded myself on a mountain at night in the middle of winter (we’re talking minus double digit temperatures) because I got up there and then realised seeing over the side I was going to have a problem getting back down. Blarney Castle,  with it’s tiny high staircases and the actual Blarney Stone itself where you lay on your back hanging onto poles while a fabulous gentleman holds onto you so you don’t plunge to your death down the hole while suspended from the top level of the castle (exaggerated ! but that’s how it feels to someone with a fear of heights) posed some challenges. Let me say a big thank you to the photographer and the gentlemen who guides you to the Blarney Stone for their patience and kindness. It took me 15 minutes .. probably more … to work up the courage to do this as others came and kissed and went… all the while they chatted with me, encouraging me while I  watched others have a go.. or not.

 

Blarney stone

 

In the end I did achieve my goal spurred on by how many I saw who wouldn’t even attempt it, these 2 kind individuals and the fact that it was such a long way to go and then not accomplish what I had set out to do…. for bonus points I even got a hug from guiding gentleman afterwards. Bless! I’m sorry I didn’t ask your name. I was a little stressed and overwhelmed, this is my only defence. Photographer man was an ex merchant seamen who’d been to a million countries and also completely awesome. You rock!… sorry I didn’t ask your name either. Thank you to both of you for helping me achieve one of my life goals.

 

DSCN3416

 

Having achieved this, I went and explored the rest of the Blarney Castle grounds. Wishing Stairs. Druids circles. Waterfalls. Fields of Daffodils. It’s well worth a few hours to visit and explore. I loved it. If it interests you head to Cork. Blarney Castle is only about 8km’s from there and you can catch a bus. After a great day exploring I headed back to the Secret Garden and a few more weeks of digging, uncovering, mulching etc in between the frequent work stopping rainfall. Generally it was grotty, hard, very wet work but a couple of weeks in we could just start to see some of the possibilities coming to the surface. It was a good incentive to keep everyone going as there was still many weeks of work ahead.

 

It was a huge month for getting to tick off life goals. I met some great people and got my hands back in the soil again after more than 12 months out of any gardens I could work in. My hands, gloves and nails were shredded. My too long stagnant gardening muscles let me know how displeased they were with such a mammoth re-entry into gardening and I sailed into March happy that the last parts of this adventure involved retreats in the making, secret gardens and good company.

 

Big love. 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

.

January Wrap Up

January’s travel events from a spectators perspective couldn’t have been more boring. As I reported last month, January in Budapest was all about dental work which thankfully is mostly complete. From my personal point of view though January was actually quite big in the realisation and decision making categories if less so in the tourist and travel area.

20170214_145909

One of my 2017 goals from News Years was “BUILD”. Not literally as in bricks and mortar but the base of my life going forward. So financially, career, family and friends, health, home. All the aspects that make up your life. I want to take them to a new level. Changing directions where I needed to. Implementing or learning whatever that meant in various areas to make that happen. When I left home nearly 12months ago the plan was to travel for 12 months (if I didn’t hate it and everything went ok with the option to add a few more months up to 12 if money allowed and the desire to keep going was still there.) Then I would decide next moves. January was when I realised that my goals for 2017 would mean finishing up this travel episode at the 12+ month mark and ticking off that life goal as finalised in the not too distant future.

For me BUILDING needs to come from a stable base and I don’t have that while travelling. You’re on the move often. You can’t rent in a traditional sense – making a home, you never really unpack 20170214_154634and unless your job, business, income is online you’re not building your career obviously. Your long term friendships are back home and new ones often with fellow travellers and usually from different countries can be fleeting, apart from on social media. I ran some options in my head for not heading back, visa’s to stay in a different country longer term etc. What country. What options would that give me. To and fro with the for and against. What life goals did I have left that needed for me  to be overseas to  accomplish them, was I ready to head back – did I want to? What were some of the more tangible things I knew I wanted to do or aim at achieving this year and what would that involve. Not the easiest decision to make but within a week or so I decided that ultimately for me, at this point…. the best chance and most options I would have to achieve my aim for 2017 would be in my own Country.

dscn3217

With the decision made it was actually a weight of my shoulders having a more solid plan than “continueing to travel” in place. I have had an absolute blast travelling and challenging myself in the last 12 months. Met so many great people. Mind blowingly interesting people, doing amazing, intriguing, outstanding, wonderful and or creative things. I have seen the most amazing sites and places and things. I have gotten to have experiences I could only have dreamed about previous to going abroad and challenged myself to do new things. It wasn’t all sunshine and roses and there was a couple of challenges but it was definitely the right decision for my life. It’s been a great break away from everything and absolutely the way to reset your life if you ever have that option. Now I’m excited for the next adventure. To have a purpose again. To see what I can create from here on in and although I haven’t booked the ticket yet I know that within a few months at most I’ll be heading back. There are a couple more things I’d like to do and then … a new start in a different city because it’s also time to move and that decision has also been made.

20170113_120430

My time in Budapest in between dental visits and decision making was spent doing some of my favourite things there. Walking the streets photographing the gorgeous buildings and various statues around the city, eating Isla, street markets and musicians, and visiting or revisiting some of the tourist sites. It also marked the closest I got to actually being out while it snowed. It wasn’t huge but I was thrilled non the less. It got cold enough for the Danube to start freezing which was a big deal and pictures of that went up around the world. The Russian  president Vladimir Putin visited the capital increasing security everywhere for a time. It warmed up just a bit and the snow and ice that had laid on the ground for weeks melted away so quickly you could hardly believe it had been there to start with. There one day almost gone the next. February I head into a new country and also will likely start to wrap up the last of this amazing adventure.

20170111_160500

Lastly..I had some inner turmoil moments over the Opera in Budapest. I dearly wanted to go to the Opera walked past it many days, but it’s one of the few things in life where I feel like it’s something you should do with someone else. Half the joy would be lost doing it by myself. So I passed on that *sigh* I think I’ll have to add dressing up and going to the Opera with someone to my life goals list. Or better yet someone taking me to the Opera… very Pretty Woman / Moonstruck. I know there’s other movie examples but my brains not  giving them to me at the moment. If you can think of them put them in the comments. Ahh such simple dreams and pleasures I have …

20170214_142741

Till next time. Big love 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.

And, that’s a Wrap. December 2016

December I reluctantly finished up my time in Vienna and journeyed forth to Budapest for a week before heading to Paris to celebrate Christmas.  Each city seems to have it’s own charm and endearment…something I fall in love with and for me in Budapest that was their buildings. Lions and faces, statue’s, swirls and twirls, arches, windows and decorations of every imaginable kind. Old and discoloured, fading, crumbling and still you can see all of their magnificence while they wait patiently to be scrubbed clean or restored to their original glory. These beauties definitely warrant the time and energy and likely lots of money that would be involved in restoring them.

20161217_125346

I walked much of the city as usual and when it got too cold, worked out how to use the transport system which was not too difficult. Their old trains are delightful and along with above ground rail etc from my experience efficient. My two main wants while I was in Budapest was simply to try out the thermal baths (delightful, I actually fell asleep for a while) and to check out the ruins pubs. These are literally pubs that have been set up in the ruins of old buildings. Initially popular with the student crowds they have become a big draw with the tourists. I went to one of the more popular ones with a fellow traveller I met at the hostel. The combination of derelict building, odd and assorted decoration and staging, open air or tarped roofs, music and general atmosphere made for a fun night.

20161220_225832

Heroes Square with its kings and Archangel Gabriel up on the Column, Parliament, The Great Market hall, The Opera. Budapest like most cities has a couple of noteworthy churches of great beauty. With it being nearly Christmas the choir was practicing in one of them and for me that is the equivalent of snake charming. I would have been one of those kids that followed the Pied Piper and his beautiful music and so I whiled away much enjoyable time there just listening to the music and song. Definitely go and see what’s left of the old Royal Palace. Chain Bridge and the Lion Statues who guard it. Budapest has no lack of gorgeous sites. Gellert Hill with it’s Liberty Statue and the Citadel and fabulous views of the city also noteworthy.

20161220_154540

Hiccups along the way:

The night before I was due to fly to Paris. One of my teeth starting playing up in a big way. The hostel helped me find an English speaking Dentist and luckily they could fit me straight in. Problem solved and averted right. Wrong ! A couple of days later in Paris I realised …. we hadn’t found the problem and so the hunt was on again for not only an English speaking Dentist but one that could fit me in 2 days before Christmas. There was zero chance this could or would wait so long story short… December I added to my list of firsts along with my first set of stitches last month..my first root canal on Christmas eve. Can’t say I’m a fan of those either really.  After spending the better park of a week in Budapest and Paris messing around fixing my teeth and finding out what work was needed to completely fix the issue I was completely thrilled as December 25th rolled around thankfully mostly pain free now and I ticked off another life goal.

Life Goal tick off:

Christmas in Paris. Christmas Day in Paris dawned and I was beyond excited to be in Paris and getting to tick this off. I had a slow breakfast and then after lunch walked Paris into the evening checking out the decorations and lights I hadn’t had the chance to do up till then and…. it was divine. The animated Christmas windows of Galleries Lafayette. The Champs Elyse. The Christmas Markets. The River and the Eiffel Tower. The Arc de Triomphe. King George the fifth,  one of my favourite streets in Paris.. home to amongst other places the Crazy Horse and some of the most outstanding hotels of excellence. I had discovered this Street back in March when I had gone to see Dita Von Teese’s Burlesque show as my late birthday present to myself and fallen in love with it immediately.

20161225_204934

The Louvre was back on the agenda again this trip to see a bit more of that wondrous place. It’s been estimated that if you spent 100 days and looked at each piece of art for just 30 seconds you could see all of the Louvre. Sounds about right if not veering towards the slightly optimistic. It really is a wonderland of awe and joy. The Catacombs on what used to be the outskirts of Paris was another treasure I got to in Paris this time. With over 6 million bones it’s sheer size is mind boggling. The catacombs started with the relocation of the Cemetery of the Innocents which had after hundreds of years in use become a serious health risk and cause of infection to the people of the area directly surrounding it. Food and beverages went off within hours, disease etc and to avoid the living joining the the party at the Cemetery of the Innocents earlier than they’d like the cemetery was closed. Relocation began a little later very respectfully always at night preceded by priests in surplices singing the service for the dead along the route taken by the carts loaded with bones, which were covered by a black veil.  When the Cemetery of the Innocents had been cleared the Ossuary as it is more correctly called continued to take the bones of other central Paris cemeteries’  for nearly 30 years. Housed in acres of disused lime quarries under the city that had to be reinforced and mapped due to their occasional collapse and consequent caving in of streets above it solved a couple of issues at once.  The Catacombs has seen visits from Kings, Emperors..Napolean and his son took a look. It has played host to an orchestral concert which fittingly played to an audience of over a hundred people such tunes as  Chopin’s Funeral March and the Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens. Centuries of fascinating history well worth a look.

20161228_191249

January will be slow .. with no sight seeing planned but plenty of dental work to look forward to as it turns out (absolutely read that in the most sarcastic voice you have) Economics dictated that instead of heading where I had planned next –  it was back to Budapest which it turns out has a roaring trade in foreigners dental work. Who knew. I was told that in passing conversation last time I was there never for a second thinking the information was gold I would soon be mining. It’s winter in Europe and while friends and family sweat it out back home in ridiculous temperatures I am thrilled beyond telling with these cooler climate places. Having been born and lived in Australia all my life and never having much of a tolerance for cold, I couldn’t be more surprised if someone punched me in the face at loving being in these cold places. To be fair though about as cold as it’s gotten is -7 quite mild compared to some places and everywhere is heated so it’s only when your outside that you’re really subjected to it. Rug up and don’t walk around outside for hours on end and you’re good really.

So that was it for December. New Years came and went… some plans were  made., goals were thought about and then it was time to jump a flight back to beautiful Budapest.

20161230_173905

Blogging Old School Egyptian style. (aka: “The Scribe” Louvre Paris)

Roll on January…

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

 

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.

tag

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.

home-manual-2

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

20160325_153600

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.

20160506_100036

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.

20160327_122625 - Copy (2)

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.

20160503_150427

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.

20160406_201302

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.

20160518_200425 - Copy (2)

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.