• 4 Steps To Take If There’s Never Enough Time/Money

    never enough
     

    There are people who always rush around. “Lots going on!” is there every other sentence. They’re involved in a million different activities, and while every one of these activities sounds great, they seem to be piling up to an overwhelming workload.
     

    Others are always strapped for cash. I used to be one of those. In fact, I’ve currently taken on a big financial commitment which strains my finances and will continue to do so until June. Sometimes it takes me back to the way I used to feel, all the time. Then I remind myself that I’ve indeed learned my lessons and am doing this willingly! It was different years ago, when I had no control over my finances at all and there was never enough.
     

    You probably know at least one person who never has enough time or money. Maybe you’re like that yourself? When you look around yourself, do you perhaps wonder how others manage to make big purchases, or take time to create art or get a lot done? And at the same time, you seem to be permanently behind schedule, disorganised, and a little out of breath? Or alternatively, there seems to be “a lot of month left at the end of the money” every time?
     

    It might be time to find the root causes of this phenomenon. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can take measures to turn things around.
     
     

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    Never enough: Don’t play the blame game

     

    Obviously, everyone has had busy times in their lives, and unless you were born with the proverbial silver spoon in your mouth, you’ve likely been short of cash at least once, too. Neither is a reason for worry! It’s just when this becomes a chronic state of things that you should get suspicious.
     

    If there’s never enough time or money in your life, it’s an indication of an underlying issue. It’s usually to do with beliefs we hold, either consciously or unconsciously.
     

    Before I continue, it’s important for you to understand that you’re not “to blame” for what’s going on. Beliefs are usually formed in childhood and become second nature to us. Most of the time, we assume that what we believe is simply “reality”.
     

    There’s a big difference between taking the responsibility to own your beliefs, and blaming yourself for them. Taking ownership means you’re in control. You’re empowered to change things. Blaming yourself is counterproductive and simply not fair. In other words, you couldn’t help creating those beliefs of yours, but you can refuse to continue giving them power over you.
     
     

    Taking back control

     

    The most effective way to get rid of self-sabotaging beliefs is to replace them with functional ones. You can do this by following the steps below.
     

    1. Identify your belief by watching your thought and speech patterns. Do you always say you can’t afford something? Are you always “in a hurry”? The phrases you most often use around the subjects of time or money, are likely expressions of your belief.
    2.  

    3. Challenge the belief. Ask yourself: “Is this really always true?” Find examples of when the belief clearly wasn’t true. For example, if you believe money is hard to come by, remember the time when you were given money for your birthday or got an unexpected pay raise or tax return. Undermine your dysfunctional belief as best you can.
    4.  

    5. For a space of about three weeks, challenge yourself every time you think or express your belief. Stop yourself immediately. Then speak (out loud, if at all possible) the belief you’d like to replace the dysfunctional one with. Example: “There’s never enough ti… -stop! I mean, I choose not to make the time for this right now.”
       

    6. To speed up the process, you can also use your new belief as an affirmation. At least twice a day, say your new belief out loud. Be sure it’s in the present tense and contains only positive words, as your subconscious can’t distinguish between “will” and “won’t”. For example, make it: “I have plenty of money” rather than “I’m not broke”.

     

    Remember, it takes a minimum of 21 days to create a new habit, and the same goes for establishing a new belief. In the beginning, you’ll feel like you’re lying when you speak your new belief. Stick with it, and you’ll notice that it starts to feel like the truth after a while.
     

    In order for the changes to stick, you need to follow up your inner work with action in the real work. Learn time management and money management and commit to putting them into practice. Life is too short to deal with a constant state of lack.
     

  • Where’s Your Time Gone?

    Time management, creative time
     

    Do you realise how much of our language in day-to-day conversation revolves around time? Frankly, I only noticed it when my Coach pointed it out to me one day. And once I became aware, I was stunned at how often I talked about time – or specifically, my alleged lack of it. “I’m so busy”, “I don’t have time for this!”, and of course, particularly at this time of the year: “Where has the time gone?”
     

    I can tell you from first-hand experience that it’s quite a journey to get control of one’s time. Which is funny, because we really are in control. But we live in a world which constantly whispers distractions to us, constantly tells us that we should do more, that we should be faster.
     

    Basically, the message – from media and social media – is that we need “time management”. We’re expected to fill every minute of every day with productivity. The people around us, victims of the universal brainwashing just like ourselves, echo this sentiment.
     

    Is it any wonder that when we finally dare to hone in on what lights us up, we find ourselves struggling to make time? We have built so much negativity and so much resistance around the subject, that it’s hard to break through this even for the purpose of doing something we love.
     

    I’m going to share with you some lessons I learned about the path back to sanity.
     
     

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    Mind or Emotions?

     

    The issue with a subject as fraught as time is that we develop deep-seated resentment and resistance. Of course, we can’t admit to ourselves that we feel like a stubborn toddler or a rebellious teenager when it comes to managing our time. We’re supposed to be rational adults, right?
     

    So we go and buy the next time management seminar, calendar, or scheduling system. We read books on efficiency and prioritising. Vowing that this time, we’ll really change our lives, we start putting the brand-new system into practice, only to fall off the waggon two weeks later. Then we declare that “it just doesn’t work” or that we’re simply “too lazy”.
     
    Sound familiar? I’m here to tell you that there’s no need to throw in the towel. The trick is to stop ignoring that tantrum-throwing toddler (try saying that five times fast!). Work with him – or her – instead, and you’ll be surprised how easy it gets.
     
     

    What’s wrong with time management?

     

    This is where I invite you to listen to those toddler emotions, irrational as they may seem. The truth is, that there is an excellent reason behind your resistance to time management.
     

    If you’re like most of us, your life is pretty much regulated by the clock. You get up at a certain time, go to work or college at a certain time, have your lunch, pick up your kids, go to choir practice, you name it, all at a certain time. These times are regulated for you by your employer, your school, your children’s school, etc.
     

    Now if you add a time management system in order to get to do what lights you up, part of you feels incredibly fed up with being chained to so many time constraints already. And this is the part which will rebel against yet another scheduled activity – the only one you have any hope rebelling against (without severe consequences like losing your job or livelihood, or neglecting your children). Guess which one this is? Your passion.
     
     

    True mastery

     

    You’ve heard me talk about Gay Hendricks’s concept of “Einstein Time”. It describes the phenomenon that time expands or contracts depending on how much we enjoy what we’re doing at any point.
     

    The easiest way to make use of this concept is to focus on what lights you up. The problem is, if you simply make some room in your busy schedule for your passion, if you schedule it in once or twice a week, you likely won’t stick to it because your resistance will be too great. If, however, you dare to truly prioritise your passion, the chains will fall away and time will become your friend.
     

    Time will expand to accommodate your needs. You’ll find that you truly have enough to get everything else done as well. On top of that, you’ll be so fired up that you’ll breeze through chores. Stress just melts away.
     

    The best path to mastering your time is through joy. I’ve seen it time and time again with clients, and as I mentioned above, I’m on the same path myself. The relief and ease which follows is astounding. I much recommend it!
     

  • One Question To Ask If You’re Always Short Of Money/Time

    Short of Money and Time
     

    One thing I love about Coaching is that it’s a gentle discipline. It’s the most powerful tool I know of to completely revolutionise and transform a life, but it doesn’t usually need to use harsh methods to accomplish this. Very occasionally, though, my Coach can be a little in-your-face about things.
     

    There was one time when I hit a wall with my beliefs about money, beliefs I’d carried since childhood, which were seriously limiting my financial abundance back then. I had worked on them before but like a boomerang, the beliefs came back around and hit me in the face. Then my Coach asked something monumental:
     

    “How does being broke serve you? What about it makes you so reluctant to let it go?”
     

    My first reaction was protest. This was ludicrous: Being broke is awful, I don’t choose to be short of money! As I sat and thought about it, though, I realised that parts of me were ashamed to rise above so many of my equally skint friends, and worried I’d lose them if I became wealthy. I also felt like I was trying to be more than my family have ever been.
     

    Ouch!
     

    Of course, you may not have these beliefs at all. However, if you’ve been struggling with your finances for more than a year or so, chances are you’re getting something out of it. The same goes if you’re constantly pressed for time, always stressed, always busy.
     
     

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    The hidden benefit

     

    A heads-up before I say any more: You’re likely to feel a lot of resistance about this, just like I did that time with my Coach. I invite you to bear with me for a moment and just remain open to the possibility. Can you do that?
     

    With this openness, look at your life. Is there anything that you know doesn’t serve you? Any external circumstance that just seems inevitable, that you’ve been unable to shift? There might be “really good reasons” for it, but don’t dismiss it, please. If you know it doesn’t serve you and it’s still there, it’s a candidate for what I call hidden benefits.
     
     

    Which one is you?

     

    Ask yourself how this annoyance serves you. Here are some examples of what you might come up with, but in truth, your reasons might look completely different, so simply take these as inspiration:

    • Always being stressed and having too much on your plate makes you feel accomplished and in charge. It gives you the good feeling that you’re doing something in your life, that you’re going places.
    • Having no time keeps you in that comfortable place where you can say you’ll pursue your passion just as soon as the “busy period” is over (though in reality, it never seems to be over at all), without having to face the scary aspects of actually going for your dreams.
    • Being short of money can have the same effect: You’ll pursue your passion and live your dreams once you can afford it. By staying broke, you won’t have to actually step up and do it, risking failure, disappointment, and change.
    • You may have grown up in an environment that looks down on people with money, so you’re subconsciously making sure not to become one of the “filthy rich”.
    • You may have grown up with values that include hard work, and internalised the belief that you’re only a successful human being if you always keep busy.
    • You’re afraid your friends will think you’re greedy and not really passionate about what lights you up, if you start making money from your passion.

    Discomfort is your friend

     

    How do you move past these ingrained beliefs? I have to admit that I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without my Coach, so if you’re having a hard time with it, I warmly recommend getting some support! In any case, finally leaving behind what doesn’t serve you will require you to leave your comfort zone behind.
     

    Find actions which make you uneasy around the area where you’re stuck. If you’re downright afraid to do something, or simply “don’t feel like it” for no obvious reason, although it might advance what you really want, you need to buckle down and do it. Warning, this is really, really uncomfortable! It’s also the No. 1 reason why so many people get stuck in situations they hate.
     

    It requires discipline, a lot of self-love, and persistence, but you can change your finances and how much free time you have. Stick with it, and you’ll surprise yourself with how much easier it gets after only a short time.
     

  • Get Organised Once And For All

    get organised
     

    I have a friend who does so many things it makes me dizzy just thinking of it. He’s the organiser of a major project whose aim it is to establish the first true eco community in Ireland, tirelessly lobbying and putting together proposals. He’s always attending meetings and conferences and wooing sponsors, as well as scouting out potential sites and keeping interested parties informed. On top of all that, he’s a musician, a teacher, and generally a multi-passionate with a million things going on at any one time.
     

    How he manages to stay sane through all this, is anyone’s guess! I develop a slight inferiority complex every time I think about my own need for copious free time to myself. I’m challenged just by trying to work a job and a business, and keeping the focus on my passions at the same time.
     

    If you’re among those people who keep resolving to get organised and make room for the right things in life, and never quite seem to manage, this article is for you. I have tried to implement many systems before I found what worked for me, and maybe I can help shorten that journey for you.
     
     

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    To get organised, know thyself!

     

    The first step is to know your own needs and to organise accordingly. Many of my failures came from aspiring to systems that simply didn’t suit my way of thinking and my need for space. Most of us wish sometimes that we could be like my friend I mentioned above. However, we also know by now that comparison is not the way to go. Your life is about you and nobody else.
     

    I invite you to sit down and really come clean. How much time are you willing to spend on the “necessities” of life? It’s no use resolving to go to the gym five times a week and have the house spotless every night if you need creative space for yourself after work and also have a family to look after (and this is just an example).
     

    I’ve long realised that I’ll never be a 1950s domestic goddess but I like a clear space, and so I do a minimum of housework regularly. I also spend a lot of time doing virtually nothing, and I’ve stopped feeling bad about it. This is gestation time for ideas and projects, as well as processing time for my emotions and experiences. It keeps me sane and happy.
     
     

    Ask the right questions

     

    A lot of being a Coach is about asking good questions. When it comes to sorting out your schedule in the long run, there are a few particularly interesting ones you should ask yourself, and then answer honestly:

    1. Does this give me joy/light me up? If it’s passions related, it should take priority.
    2. Is this task inevitable (such as tax returns; you won’t ever want to do them, but you can’t get around it)?
    3. Will doing this matter a year from now (exercise is just one example of an activity that’ll pay dividends in the long run)?

    If you answer “yes” to any of the above, then the task or activity should go into your schedule. If it isn’t, you need to think hard about whether you should really spend time on it.
     
     

    To save time, do more

     

    Some weeks ago, I mentioned Gay Hendricks’s idea of “Einstein Time” (you can read the article here). Part of this idea is the observation how time seems to expand when you do what you love.
     

    Therefore, paradoxically, I suggest you do more in order to have more time. More of the right things, that is! This is why my Coaching focuses on prioritising passions. It quite literally expands time and helps people get all their chores done along the way. I don’t know exactly how it works, I just know it does, every time, without fail.
     

    If you feel permanently stressed and pressured, it’s a sure sign that you’re not doing enough of what lights you up. The problem is that most people dismiss the idea of prioritising their passion, thinking they don’t have enough time. In reality, this is the one step that would stop them being stressed in the first place! Try it, and if you need any help, let me know. This is exactly what I specialise in.
     

    If you keep these priorities in mind and keep asking yourself the three questions above, you should end up with a schedule you can actually stick to for once. Do this weekly – I suggest either Sunday evening or Monday morning, but any day that suits you is fine – and feel yourself relax into a schedule that makes sense and fits your unique life and needs.
     

  • About Time!

    About Time

     

    When I was a kid, I was chronically late. My friend, who’d pick me up for school (in those days, we walked to school), unfailingly arrived on time and stood in our hallway, waiting patiently while I dashed around looking for stray books to stuff into my bag, and my mum tried to get me to hold still long enough so she could run a brush through my always-messy and untameable hair.
     

    Looking back, it’s funny, but there was a lot of unnecessary stress in my life when I was growing up! It’s even funnier when I, after learning punctuality and time management in my 20s, get told by people how “German” I am because of this (I live in Ireland these days). If only they knew how very “un-German” I am by nature! It was a big effort for me to come to terms with that elusive thing called time.
     

    Over the years, I’ve studied and tried out different time management systems, with varying success. It’s probably no accident that my Coaching specialisation – prioritising passions – has a lot to do with time management.
     

    Are you ready for some pointers on how to deal with the, quite literally, ‘time of your life’? Read on.
     
     

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    Systems failure

     

    I adore the work of the late Stephen Covey. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is my all-time favourite non-fictional book. It all makes so much sense, and I’m applying so much of it in my own life, and yet, the time management system attached to it is something I’ve never quite been able to implement.
     

    The same goes for all the other systems I’ve learned about over the years. There are always highly valuable elements I put into practice, but an entire system? Nah. Isn’t that strange?
     

    I believe it’s because time is a construct which doesn’t actually exist. Gay Hendricks acknowledges this fact in his book The Big Leap and introduces a principle called “Einstein Time”. He points out how relative time really is, how time can drag or fly depending on what we do, and draws the conclusion that it’s under our command. Humans created it and so we can decide how much of it we have. It sounds a little crazy – you’d really have to read it in the book to fully understand – but as long as you understand that time is whatever you make it, you’re getting the gist of it.
     

    When it comes to learning, I’m very eclectic: I take whatever suits me from the different ideas and approaches I study, and put them into practice. In the following, I’ll tell you some “time hacks” you can use to take control over the time in your life.
     
     

    Prioritise like a pro

     

    If you are one of those people who always have a million things on their plate, Stephen Covey’s quadrants could be a lifesaver. The idea is to focus on the things that are important, but not urgent, things like looking after your health (eating well, going to the gym), your relationship (it’s not urgent to spent quality time with your spouse; you won’t get divorced tomorrow if you don’t do it today, but in the long run, you will run into problems), and self care.
     

    The important, but not urgent quadrant II contains all the most important parts of our lives. In reality, it often gets pushed aside by things that are urgent, like the phone ringing, everyday chores like the grocery shopping or picking up the kids from school, etc. The idea is to schedule your quadrant II activities first, before everything else, and make them a priority.
     
     

    Master of time

     

    • What activities makes you feel like time stops existing? I mean the kind of feeling you get when you’ve just fallen in love, the way the hours spent with your lover somehow don’t exist, as if the two of you together were outside of time. Anything which makes you feel even remotely like that, is likely a passion and should take a central role in your life.
    • Watch out for your Einstein-Time clues. Audit your life: Are there obligations, clubs, meetings, even hobbies, that you are no longer passionate about? Don’t feel bad about cancelling something. It may have fulfilled you once, but you have outgrown it. Time to let go!
    • Remember that you don’t have to fill every minute of every day with activity. Downtime, simply being instead of doing, is good for the soul and slows down the overall pace of your life. You’ll suddenly find you’re much less busy and frantic, and find time for those things you actually want to do.