Recently a friend pointed out to me that I've always been hard on myself, regardless of what chapter in life I'm facing. This to me was a wake-up call. I started to question where it rooted from.
Could it be my upbringing? Maybe. Growing up first-generation in an immigrant family had its way of pushing you. But this was more than just work. I started to realize that I was hard on myself in almost every aspect of life - including play. Perhaps being the eldest - I always forced responsibility on myself, even when no one asked. Maybe it was body image and being female that pushed me against societal norms. Or could it derive from growing up as a minority in a predominantly white neighbourhood?!
Whatever it may have been - I truly believe that these events and more have made me who I am today - but hard work doesn't justify being hard on myself!
So today I want to share ways in which I'm changing my routine and implementing new strategies to ensure I'm not being so hard on myself.
Step One: Making Time For Me
My yoga teacher mentioned that we have two types of mindsets; masculine and feminine. The masculine is driven and the feminine flows. The task is to combine these. Since the pandemic, I've been having a hard time rising at 5 am (somedays), but that's ok because my routine is always the same (shifting to a feminine mindset here).
I've promised myself every morning, I'll rise, say my mantra, shower, practice one hour of yoga asanas, meditate for ten minutes, and read for twenty minutes... prior to starting my day. I've realized how important this me-time is over the last few weeks and regardless of what time I wake up, I keep to it.
The results? I'm calmer throughout my day. I feel grounded and happy!
Step Two: Delegating More
From delegating to a person or automating with an app -this simple step allows me to focus on my priorities that only I can handle vs trying to manage it all. It's hard to let go of things. Especially when you're like me and want things done a certain way. I don’t want to drive myself crazy by spreading myself too thin, so I reviewed my days and projects to see what I could handoff - and it turns out it's a lot more than I initially thought. Now, remember this goes for both business and personal.
The result? I get to expand my horizons, and find myself enjoying my work and play even more! Recently I brought someone on my team and having her by my side has also allowed me to update my offering to include things like UX design! A win-win for us both.
Step Three: Setting High Priority Tasks
This is something I use to do and for some reason, it's fallen off the bandwagon recently. I'm back to setting 3 priority tasks every day. Yes, I have my long to-do list and my monthly/yearly goals, but by focusing on only 3 priority tasks every day I'm able to bring better results to everyone.
The results? I feel a little less overwhelmed and a little more accomplished every day. I know eventually everything will be done, it's just a matter of pacing myself. Some days I only get 3 tasks done, while others I get my 3 + more!
Step Four: Being Grateful For This Moment
Living in the moment has always been tough for me. I'm always thinking 3-5 steps ahead. Although this kind of mindset has brought me success, I'm realizing now more than ever I forget to be grateful for moments that has passed.
So now I'm taking time every day to be more grateful for this exact moment. Like who would have thought 10 years ago I would be writing this blog on my platform with 1000s of followers! It's pretty amazing and a dream come true!
The results? I enjoy every day to its fullest and appreciate what I have - making me feel a little happier!
Step Five: Taking Breaks
Ok, this is the hardest thing for me to do, but time and time again the universe has proven to me first hand that stepping away for an hour or a day can be so useful - especially as a creative!
You see, I'm a strange person, as much as part of me is super creative - I'm definitely not a free spirit. Which I think is a stereotype. I love my lists and structure and deadlines. Now don't get me wrong this isn't about missing deadlines, which I would never do, but rather the combination of structure with creativity. Which means if I'm not getting in the zone at 10:30 am on a workday, maybe go for a walk and come back to it. And it's OK if I don't get in the zone until later in the day, so long as things are meeting deadlines and clients are happy.
It’s hard to escape the 9-5 structure that has been imprinted on us, but one of the benefits of being your own boss is leveraging times when your creativity is flowing – even if one day that’s at 6 pm rather than 10 am.
The result? Simply more creativity and enhanced ideas!
There you have it the 5 steps I'm taking to make improvements every day and be less hard on myself. I don't expect to change overnight - I know I'm a work in progress. I'm just happy to be taking the steps in the right direction.