I’m going to let you in on my #1 trick for managing stress during these highly stressful times…
Ready for it?
Turn off your phone. Get outside. Stop doing anything except for what you want to be doing.
I know, crazy right? I don’t just lock my phone and put it in another room or put it on “Do Not Disturb”, I literally turn it off for 1 hour. (Or more sometimes!)
Let me explain why.
Technology has advanced exponentially in such a short amount of time, which has been wonderful, and given us so many avenues of communication, 24/7. However, this can get distracting and even intrusive at times.
Turning off my phone even for just 1 hour per day allows me to have a true separation from notifications, social media, emails, etc. rather than trying to take a break, and seeing the notifications pile up.
Now, I know what you may be thinking: Are you crazy!?
You may think that by literally turning your phone off, people won’t be able to reach you, you may miss something important, etc.
But let me just remind you: it’s just for 1 hour.
Especially when you are feeling stressed, that 1 hour can make such a difference.
If there is a true emergency, there are still other ways of reaching me, but for the most part - most things can wait 1 hour. And I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I went to habitually check my phone, and it was a black screen.
I could even feel the relief as a physical experience in my body: my shoulders and stomach relaxed and I could breathe more easily.
The dilemma with our phones is that, especially if you work from home, even when you try to take a break by taking a walk, you may be using your phone to listen to music or a podcast.
But that means that your phone has to be on, and even if you have some notifications on “Do Not Disturb”, the little red number on the app still adds up.
This is soooooooo anxiety inducing, knowing that while you’re on your break, the work is still piling up.
Kinda undermines the whole intention of a break if you think about it.
Turning off your phone - completely off - for just 1 hour per day can help you get the relaxation that you truly need.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you. I just love experimenting like this!
Right now, self-compassion is more important than ever. The truth is, even if you don’t know anyone personally who has been affected by COVID-19 or many of the other global issues going on right now, you’ve had to adapt to a completely new lifestyle.
I really dislike the notion of, “Well, I don’t have it as bad as ____”.
Just because the worst possible thing is not happening to you doesn’t mean you aren’t experiencing a difficult time.
It might even be that your difficulty is completely unrelated to the pandemic, and that is okay.
If one of your closest friends was feeling down on themselves, and feeling guilty for not being as productive as they could have been, how would you react?
You’d probably say something like...
“It’s okay, we are all facing something completely unprecedented right now, no one is expecting you to be operating at 100%, that’s just unrealistic.”
Why wouldn’t you extend yourself the same kindness?
Self-care doesn’t always have to be bubble baths, music, and candles.
Sometimes self-care is as simple as treating yourself like you would a friend.
It can be very difficult to make this mindset shift, however, it is one of the most useful techniques in self-compassion.
Next time you’re feeling disappointed in yourself for not finishing something, or just feeling exhausted from everything, imagine a close friend is in the exact situation.
What would you say to them?
It’s really not fair to yourself if you treat everyone in your life - friends, family, strangers even - with kindness and compassion and don’t treat yourself the same way.
Even if it may seem obvious, sometimes you can get a little lost or stray from this habit, (I know I’ve been there!).
And sometimes all you need is a little reminder to be as kind to yourself as you are to everyone else.
These days, when every day seems to feel the same, it can be easy to yearn for something more.
It’s human, it’s natural, it’s 100% okay to need a change of scenery.
Whether you're “something more” is a fun day trip outside of the city, a picnic in the park, or just a movie night at home, it’s something to look forward to.
I don’t know about you, but I always find myself trying to “get ahead” in order to be more productive, so I don’t feel guilty about taking time for myself.
The reason why this can be so difficult is because, as an entrepreneur, business owner, and everything else alike, we don’t have a 9-5. We work when we want to, which can be an amazing benefit, but also be difficult to navigate with the work-life balance.
I wake up, I make a to-do list, cross things off, then what? I think, “Hmm...is there anything else I could do? Is there anything I could do to get ahead?”
I sometimes get in the mindset of, well, if I just work a little bit ahead, I can take Friday afternoon off, have a self-care night on Saturday, or whatever it may be.
This can actually be very damaging to our productivity, and I’ll tell you why.
Shhhh… here it is…
In case you didn’t realize this, you don’t need to feel guilty for taking half a day off of work.
You don’t need to spend 10 minutes every day wondering if you could’ve been more productive or done more.
You deserve to take time for yourself, family, friends, pets, etc. just because.
Resting so that you can be productive is the #1 way to ensure that you’ll have the energy, stamina and resources to knock out what you need to when it’s time.
When I try to “get ahead” by finishing those last 2 projects or tasks for the week, just so I don’t feel “guilty” taking a few hours for relaxation, it actually makes me more stressed out.
Because the list never ends. There is always more to do. Always.
You aren’t a constant wheel of productivity that just goes, and goes, and goes.
If you have ever been in this mindset (no judgement here, I’ve been there too), it can actually lead us to burnout faster, because we feel bombarded with tasks (even though we are giving ourselves the tasks to complete!!)
Instead of working yourself into the ground, so you “deserve” a day off, set real boundaries for yourself.
Don’t ever feel bad about putting away the laptop and just enjoying some time for yourself.
The work will be there when you get back.
There is no need to plow through it.
I hope this plants a seed inside around the idea that working ahead and trying to be more productive is not always the most beneficial thing for our mental or physical health.
Should I push through...or pause…?
This balancing act is one that many people are constantly attempting to manage in their lives, in all sorts of facets, whether they realize it or not.
For some people like yourself, it might even be a bit baffling that there would even be a choice here…
I mean, afterall, if you don’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, how will you ever be successful in life?
Well, recently, I finished up a year of intense business training, during which I was working day and night on special projects, audience building, content writing and so forth.
Every free moment was spent pushing to grow my business, return phone calls, manage special projects, lead my team...and all this took place after working full days in the office with clients in my private therapy practice.
And you know what…? At the end of all of this, I needed a break. I started feeling burnt out from the constant driving towards “more” as well as the ongoing pressure inside to produce and create.
Although I am one for challenging myself to grow, what I am also learning as I grow is that sometimes “less is more”.
I mean it folks...it really is.
You know what happens when you continue to push yourself past your internal supports…? You get sick, you get run-down, you lose motivation and sometimes you end up severely burnt out.
Especially if you’re an Intuitive personality type.
Intuitives are wired to work in bursts of energy, with down time in between, pursuing what “strikes your fancy” even if it doesn’t seem to connect with what you were doing previously.
Grinding it out, day after day, over and over might work ok for some tasks and projects, but ultimately what it will do is overstress your system, much like if you were to run a car engine at high speed for an extended amount of time.
There is great wisdom in learning how to discern between pushing through and pausing to rest.
And most of the time, true discernment is not a cognitive practice. It is not a brain activity.
True discernment happens when you learn to slow down, turn inward and reconnect with what you want and need, what will make you happy and satisfied.
And it is impossible to determine this when you’re moving so quickly you barely see anything speeding by.
Evolvement is a balancing act between growing and resting. Sometimes, choosing to step off the corporate ladder of success is actually the most productive thing you can do for yourself and your business.
No matter whether you’re a business leader, an entrepreneur, a parent or just someone who strives to live a balanced life, rest and play is an integral part of success as work.
You know what many people’s biggest regrets are at the end of their lives? It’s not that they didn’t make enough money or have enough “stuff”... it’s that they missed out on all the little moments that make up a life.
Don’t let that be you. If you struggle to find time to relax and rest, it might be time for you to explore that more deeply.
I promise you that that dilemma is the very thing that is getting in your way of getting where you want to be in your business or life.
Have you been experiencing what we call “Zoom Fatigue?”
Whether you have been working from home even before COVID-19, or you had to pivot due to COVID-19, you likely have to spend part of, if not ALL of your work day on Zoom, or another video meeting application.
I’m not sure about you, but I never expected the exhaustion and state of fatigue that comes directly after even ONE video call. So, it got me wondering...why does this happen?
Oftentimes, in a video conferencing program, you are prompted with videos of everyone, including yourself, which can be extremely draining.
Even if you are the most confident person in the world, it can be a little nerve-wracking to look at yourself all day long. This can also stir up self-consciousness about how others perceive you as well.
Think of it this way, if you were having that same exact meeting in person rather than on Zoom, would you be looking towards a projector screen, and be focused on that rather than your own appearance?
Or would your attention be turned towards a speaker, presenter, or manager, rather than everyone’s faces? When you are in a meeting in person, it’s likely that you (and everyone else) is focused on the front of the room, maybe your boss is running a meeting, or you are viewing a presentation.
Even in those types of in person meetings, everyone CAN see each other, however, their attention is focused on a central point in the front (like a projector or main speaker).
On Zoom, you can see yourself, your colleagues/other participants, AT ALL TIMES. Even if someone is sharing their screen, you can still see everyone on the side panel.
It takes a lot of emotional energy to manage the distress inside around this new dynamic. So, of course you’re exhausted by this!
Not to mention that on Zoom or any other video conferencing platform, you might feel like you have to make more of an overt effort to appear interested and to “prove” you’re paying attention.
Because you are online, you kind of have to replace in person non-verbal cues that would suggest that you are being attentive, with things such as intense listening and long sustained eye contact.
Another reason why you may be feeling a little anxious during a Zoom meeting is because of your surroundings. If you have children, what if the kids run in? Or if you have roommates, what if someone knocks on your door? What if the dogs start barking at a squirrel when your mic is on?
Because of the lack of separate work space, your home life and work life are more mixed up and intertwined than ever. You certainly never had to consider any of these things if you were taking meetings in an office or coffee shop. It takes a lot of energy to manage boundaries like this.
And then of course, there’s the whole technology thing.
If you haven’t already experienced some sort of delay on a Zoom meeting (in which case your internet speed must be crazy fast!!!), you probably will at some point.
Silence is a natural part of conversations in person, however, in a Zoom meeting, if it suddenly goes silent, I know my first thought is, “Am I frozen?” Having to constantly worry about this is definitely another stressor.
So what can you do to reduce this fatigue? The first suggestion I have is to reduce any unnecessary meetings (Hello, “could’ve been an email!”).
If you have the flexibility to do so, I would also recommend spacing your Zoom meetings out throughout the week, so you don’t have to sit in front of your computer for an entire day experiencing these frustrations or anxieties related to Zoom.
My last recommendation is to consider phone calls for certain meetings. Not everything has to be on video! This will at least take some of the pressure off of you, you don’t have to worry about looking a certain way or freezing on screen, and you can even take a call while you go on a walk and enjoy some fresh air.
Whether you have 5 Zoom meetings a day or 1 a week, I hope you have a little bit better understanding of why these meetings can be so draining, and walk away with some tips to help you reduce “Zoom Fatigue”.
But above all else, I hope that you can be gentle with yourself. You’re still adjusting to this new way of life. You’ve never been in this situation before, so you’re not supposed to know how to live it perfectly.
Stay safe, be well.
If you’ve been reading my email newsletters from the past couple of weeks, you can probably tell that I don’t support the idea that we have to be “on” 24/7, and that taking time for ourselves is absolutely crucial.
You don’t have to turn every single hobby into a side hustle, and you should absolutely be taking time for yourself outside of your work.
However, I do believe that we can do things that are work-adjacent to further improve our skills, network with similar businesses, and be the first to know about trends and updates our industry.
Not only will this learning benefit you, oftentimes, they can be FUN!
When you put so much pressure on yourself to be “on” all the time, it can be easy to lose interest in your business or job and lose the passion that led you to start it in the first place.
With all the global availability to learning via the internet, there are a variety of learning opportunities for you to explore!
One of my favorites is to attend virtual conferences/summits. These are typically multiple day virtual events with speakers who are subject matter experts in your industry, and they usually have other networking components like a Facebook group, to connect with other professionals.
A perfect example of this was our recent Building & Scaling Your Virtual Team summit, with 25+ experts speaking on different topics related to maximizing your virtual team and business. If you missed it, you can still watch the entire summit HERE!
No matter what type of conference or summit you choose, these events are a wonderful opportunity to connect with like minded individuals and learn from the experts.
Some may be live webinars and some may allow you to watch them on-demand, at your own pace. Also, since everything is virtual due to COVID-19, you can network like a pro from the comfort of your own home!
Another thing we can do during this time is work on our professional skills.
No matter what industry you are in, there is surely a variety of skills you can brush up on or begin learning to continue your personal development journey.
If you’re a great copywriter, maybe take a class on the basics of graphic design. If you build websites, maybe a class on learning more about marketing and branding your services would be useful.
Skillshare is a great resource to start with, and they have hundreds of classes that you can take using their Free tier.
I fully support life-long learning and these things can help you become a more well-rounded professional.
I encourage you to take part in some sort of continued learning during this time, even if it is just 30 minutes a week. Let’s start to redefine what “being productive” feels like.
No matter what you choose, I wish you the best in your journey and endeavors!
Here's To Your Growth,
These days, it can be much more difficult to focus when there is so much going on in the world. It can even be incredibly frustrating when you feel overwhelmed with information, news, and so many crises going on in the world at the same time.
When there are more distractions than ever, how can we really get “in the zone” when it comes to our work or other tasks we may be pursuing?
My first recommendation is to limit your screen time.
If you have an iPhone, it is super easy to set a time limit for yourself for how much screen time you want to be spending on certain apps, and you can even whitelist certain apps that you do need access to at all times.
So, if you want to be done with social media by 7pm every night but want to ensure you can always access your email, it’s incredibly easy to set those limits in your phone.
My second recommendation is to ensure you have a dedicated work space, if possible, in your home.
As tempting as it is to stay comfy in bed while working from home, this can be very confusing for your brain, and may cause your brain to associate work with your bed, and make it more difficult for you to actually fall asleep in your bed.
By having a separate work space (ideally not in your bedroom either), you are able to have a place where you can really focus and create more of a separation between work and personal life, at home.
My last recommendation is to schedule breaks.
Seriously, put “Break 1:30-2:00” or however long you feel is right, in your calendar.
Especially if you are an entrepreneur, it is so easy to start working at 8am in the morning and then look up and see an entire day has passed you by. This can cause us to become extremely burned out, feel resentment towards our jobs/businesses, and just feel unmotivated.
By scheduling breaks in your calendar, you will ensure that you have dedicated time to relax.
Whether your break includes watching videos, going for a walk, or spending time with your pets or working on a hobby, you will give your brain the time it needs to recharge and gain focus for when you do get back to work.
These things can heavily affect our focus and productivity, and during this time it is extremely important to remember to take care of ourselves, and do what is right for our bodies and minds.
Here's To Your Aliveness,
7 months into the global pandemic, the entire world, no matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, is facing a completely unprecedented situation every single day. This far into the pandemic, there is very little chance that you haven’t been affected in some way.
I’m sure you’ve seen the two sides to this coin. In fact, there seems to be two very conflicting mindsets that are being discussed a lot on many platforms, no matter what industry you are in.
On one side of the coin, there is the opinion that you should not hold yourself to the same standard as last year. Don’t compare your sales numbers from this year to last year; this year has had so many external factors that may have affected that number that you just can’t compare.
Why should we expect the same level of productivity when the circumstances are completely different?
On the other hand, there is the opinion that with the shift to work from home, with no commute, except the 5 minute walk from the bedroom to the office, we have more time.
Which for some people, leads them to believe we should be more productive overall.
So, what I am curious about is, why does it have to be one or the other?
Why can’t there be a happy middle between being realistic and flexible with your own expectations of productivity and utilizing some extra time you may have due to working from home.
I mean, if you think about it, everyone’s situation is vastly different.
As a parent, sure you don’t have a commute anymore, but now you might have to get the kids ready and set up for online school, possibly handle working from home while watching the kids, assisting them with their school work, etc.
Aside from unique situations like this, I think there is a happy middle we can discuss without playing into hustle culture.
With no commute, let’s say your commute is 1 hour one way, x 2 times per day, x 5 days per week. That is a whole 10 hours a week. Do you need to use that time to start a side hustle or a brand new venture? Absolutely not.
It is certainly an option, but you could also use that extra time to be productive on something that is work-adjacent. Which is another way to say self car or professional development!
Maybe you could use that time to get that wonderful home office finally completed.
Perhaps with these 10 extra hours a week, you finally get started exercising regularly or building in more stress-relieving activities.
Or you could use that time to learn a skill that could benefit you in your industry. You could also utilize that time to read blogs in your industry, listen to podcasts, or webinars to brush up on any skills in demand in your area.
The bottom line is, it is true that if you’re working from home when you previously had a long commute, you do have more hours in a week, give or take.
However, to be productive you don’t always have to start a giant project. Sometimes productivity increases by turning inward and investing in your own wellness, personally or professionally.
Bottom line is that you can still be productive without completely burning yourself out.
It’s time to start taking care of yourself. That’s how you’re going to come out on the other side of this stronger than ever.
Here's To Your Success,
A few weeks ago, we sent out an email about how to successfully motivate members on your team based on their MBTI.
We even did an entire two week summit jam packed with tips from 25+ speakers on growing and scaling your team. P. S. If you missed it, you can still watch the entire summit HERE!
But what are you doing to ensure your own personal development and growth?
Whether it be signing up for a webinar series, networking with other professionals, or just prioritizing your own success, it’s very important to not leave yourself out when it comes to growing and scaling your team.
Many of you are business owners and entrepreneurs, and if there is one thing I know to be true about you, it’s that you are BUSY.
You’re running the entire show, oftentimes doing the role of multiple people to start your dream business. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, and I commend you for your hard work and dedication to your business, sometimes it’s necessary to just step back for a moment.
Have you ever had a moment when you realized that you have put your own personal development and growth on the backburner? I sure have...
Here are some things to keep in mind and get back on track.
Remember that personal development looks different for everyone. There’s no specific steps you need to follow, it is quite literally your own personal journey.
It can be easy to look at a friend or colleague and think they are at the top of their game (and they may as well could be, which is amazing for them!) and then begin to compare yourself:
Why aren’t I at that stage in my business yet? Why is my audience not growing at the same rate? What is stopping me from growing and scaling like my colleague with a similar business?
Stop. Deep breath.
What works for them may not work for you, and it goes both ways. Personal development also takes time.
It’s so easy to see another person’s journey, take some action steps, and wonder why you aren’t seeing immediate success. Again, this is not a one size fits all type of thing.
Your own development will be your own journey. No matter what stage you are at in your own personal development, try to remember that comparing yourself to others does not move you forward in your journey.
I wish you success in your personal development path.
Here's To Your Success,
Whether you are a business owner or not, work life balance is one of the hardest things to achieve and maintain. As we have become more and more technologically advanced, it has become much more difficult to make that separation from work and personal lives.
What is true is that having more channels of communication is a great thing, and it makes certain things much easier to get done. However, it tends to set up this perception that if we have a phone in our hands, we are “on”.
Especially since the shift towards working from home, this distinction has become even more blurred.
It is incredibly convenient to have the luxury of taking your laptop and working from different places, and check notifications when it is convenient for us, but it is a fine line between doing those things for our convenience and having that become the standard.
Oh, look it’s 4:59pm, and I just got another email! I might as well answer it...then it’s 5:30pm and you’re still writing your reply. Have you ever had this experience?
It’s amazing that you want to go the extra mile, however, when we start going the extra mile every single time...we begin to set that extra mile as our normal routine, which means we are pressured to always achieve more and more.
To be clear, being highly motivated and ambitious is a bad thing - not at all! It’s just when it becomes the only option that it starts to become problematic.
You know, when it becomes nearly impossible to turn it off and put work down. Plus, to do that all the time is just not sustainable long-term not to mention that it takes a tremendous toll on our health and well-being.
There is always more to be done. Sometimes, bosses can get caught up in this idea that you have to work at 200% 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then, when you are successful, you can take it down a notch.
Don’t buy into this mentality.
If you are working yourself to death day in and day out, you will eventually get so burned out that you may just quit your job altogether, and find a less demanding position. However, if you prioritize your work-life balance, you will be happier, and even more productive because you won’t be so stressed out all the time!
I mean it folks, take some time to reflect on this. Your physical and mental health is so important, especially during stressful times. It can be easy to go into “go, go, go” mode, but it really is better for you in the long run to find a healthy balance.
Here's To Your Success,
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.