Spontaneity can have enormous payoffs for mental health and wellbeing. It can make you feel happier and more creative – it can even rewire our brains.
When was the last time you ditched your plans and did something completely spontaneous?
With our overfilled diaries and online planners, our lives are often packed to the brim, leaving little or no time for a sudden whim. But, although routines can help us get through everyday tasks, like cleaning our teeth, filling every single moment with planned activity can badly affect us.
We often pack our schedules so full that we leave little room for unplanned actions, but doing so means you may be missing out on moments of joy.
Spontaneous people are always up to try something new. They’ll spice up the day any way they can. It could be as simple as ordering something new from a local restaurant for lunch. Because they’re always trying something new, spontaneous people never get bored and stay fresh.
Be More Flexible
Be ready to try and do something new. And if plans change, adapt to them. Spontaneous people don’t feel tied down to one goal and will be more than happy to accommodate a contingency, as long as it leads to an exciting adventure.
This “go with the flow” attitude helps them avoid conflict and confrontation. Instead, they can ride the wave of excitement that continuously exists within their life.
Be More Creative
Spontaneous people aren’t constantly thinking about their next move – they do whatever comes to mind. This mindset means that they don’t set boundaries for what they can accomplish, and they can be more creative.
People that are spontaneous tend to not stress out over much. They understand that life goes on, whether it goes as planned or not. And, of course, when life gets stressful, as it does every so often, spontaneous people know how to shake things up to relieve the stress and get over the hurdle they’re currently facing.
Spontaneous people have a mindset that allows them always to see the bright side of things which optimises their ability to maintain a positive outlook on life, making them happier.
How To Be More Spontaneous
Becoming a more spontaneous person is certainly not easy, so here are simple things that you can do to live a more spontaneous life. Hopefully, these steps will encourage you to do something more when you’re finally ready to.
Shake Up Your Routine
It doesn’t have to be something drastic. You could start with something simple, like going somewhere else for your morning coffee or taking a new route home from work.
When you do something different, you open your eyes and mind up to new possibilities. You’ll then feel more inclined and less afraid to try new things.
Do Something New Everyday
Whether placing a different order when you’re out at your favourite café, or putting on that shirt that you never had any confidence to wear, you need to break out of your comfort zone. There’s no need to plan for it; go with the flow. When the opportunity presents itself, don’t hesitate and do it.
Do What You Want
Forget the rules, and do whatever makes you happy. Life is for living, so live it loud and proud. Focus on what makes you happy, and incorporate it into your life as much as possible. don’t get stuck doing things that don’t work for you just because it’s become your routine. Just be sure you don’t hurt yourself or anyone else.
Start Saying Yes
Whether it’s an invite to a party where you don’t know many people, an invitation to have drinks with co-workers you’re not very close with, take a risk and say yes. Something as simple as this can make a big difference to your day-to-day lifestyle. Once you start saying yes, you will notice more great opportunities arising that you otherwise might have rejected.
Stop Doubting Yourself
The more you feel like you can’t do things, the more likely you won’t. When you psych yourself out to try something new that you’re uncomfortable with, you’ll likely break out of your monotonous routine. Spice up your life by telling yourself that you can do it, and you will.
When you don’t have any distractions in the way, you will be more willing to get up and get something done. Taking a break from your phone or computer can force you into new situations that are likely to be more rewarding.
Speak To a Stranger
More often than not, we tend to retreat into our comfort zone when we’re in unfamiliar territory and faced with unfamiliar faces. Don’t hesitate to speak to a stranger. You’ll be surprised at what you may gain.
Your life is meant to be lived and not wasted doing things that bring you no joy. Despite your responsibilities, there’s no reason why you can’t inject some spontaneity into your life to make it that much more worthwhile.
For further advice from our professional lifestyle coaches, contact us at Ceed today!
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Failure is something that everybody goes through at some point in their life, whether it impacts them a little bit or a lot. The feeling of failure that flows through you after making a mistake can have a huge effect on you in the long term if you dwell on it.
Whether you accidentally dropped a glass you were carrying for someone, or you got some negative feedback on a project that you spent a long time on, it isn’t wrong to feel this emotion. It isn’t the end of the world, either, failure can build you up stronger mentally and physically.
Here is some advice to help you overcome that fear and help you to see the better side of these negative feelings:
Failure is the Key to Success
Failure happens to the best of us. It’s better to have failed than not tried at all. You have to fail to understand how to improve your situation – it builds you up stronger mentally, and pushes you to be the best you can.
Keep this thought in your mind:
Failure is necessary for success to happen.
It’s normal to experience failure at some point in your life, but it is understandable how people develop a fear of failure. What follows failure is a embarrassment and sense of shame – sometimes so intense that it envelops your mind – but it is never the end of the world. The more you experience these emotions, the more used to them and stronger you will get.
You can learn from your failures to better yourself for next time around. You have not really failed but are just finding alternative solutions until you get it right.
Reflect on your failure; how did you fail, and what can you do to prevent it for next time?
Confront your own mistakes and figure out a way to improve upon it. Don’t just distract yourself from the mistake, or even “cut corners” to get around the problem. You won’t learn anything if you don’t admit to it.
There are many ways to reflect on yourself; one of the easiest ways is to just ask for feedback on what you did wrong. People are always willing to give feedback.
Some feedback can be brutally honest, some might not be as honest. However, all in all this reflection on yourself will give you motivation to do better.
Focus on Your End Goal
When you fail, you might start to punish yourself by dwelling on the failure. This can cloud your mind from anything that you are currently doing. Dwelling on your failure can occupy your mind for a day, a month or even longer depending on your idea of its severity.
This can cause various issues within yourself, but the main one is that your passion for the situation will decrease in fear of failing again. Is putting the work in worth it? You end up giving up and losing your motivation and passion.
Push yourself to your limits every time you can. As long as you can stand back up then nothing can knock you down. You’ll thank yourself in the future when you finally achieve something that means a lot to you.
Focus on what you want and know that you won’t get it right the first time without practice. If you keep trying over and over again, fixing mistakes each time, one day you will get it right.
You must come to realise that failure is just a rite of passage for everything you accomplish.
Overcoming fear of failure is great for productivity and a healthy workflow, as well as improving everyday functioning. Don’t allow yourself to be brought down by mistakes. Everybody in the world fails at something at some point. A world without failure would be boring and success would mean nothing. Learning to motivate yourself on the journey to success is a much better feeling than being successful every time.
Keep pushing yourself and keep getting back up, for failure is just a small obstacle in the grand scheme of your success.
Everyone procrastinates from time to time – sometimes it’s more appealing to watch another episode of your new favourite TV show than it is to get started on a daunting piece of work.
But for some, procrastination goes far past avoiding tasks you’re worried about. Instead, it can make it difficult to do anything, even things you want to do. To be able to combat procrastination, it’s important to distinguish it from its more severe counterpart: executive dysfunction. But how can we tell the difference between the two?
What are Executive Functions?
To understand executive dysfunction, we first need to understand what executive functioning is itself. Executive functioning is the process of the mental abilities that help people to achieve actions.
Executive functions control your working memory, your self-control, and your cognitive abilities. They are vital for everyday life, helping with processes such as:
Executive dysfunction is essentially the opposite of executive function: it is the inability to control such mental processes. It is often caused by a mental disorder such as depression or ADHD, stress, a traumatic brain injury, or a form of addiction. These are not the only causes, but it is more likely that someone with an underlying condition would also struggle with executive functioning.
So, is it Procrastination or Executive Dysfunction?
The main difference between procrastination and executive dysfunction is intent. Procrastination is a form of avoidance through delaying or putting off a task for as long as possible, usually because it can be daunting, or can induce anxiety.
Executive dysfunction often occurs as a symptom of another disorder. In this case, it stops you from completing tasks that you have no reason to avoid, as it becomes difficult to transition between activities.
In this case, you aren’t ignoring it in the way you might when procrastinating. Instead, you just can’t make yourself do it.
Whilst it is normal to be a bit forgetful, or to lose focus on a boring task, this does not mean you necessarily struggle with executive dysfunction. It becomes an issue when it impacts your life on a day-to-day basis.
So how do you know if you are just procrastinating, or if it is something more? Whilst there are overlaps, there are some signs that suggest you may be experiencing executive dysfunction instead:
Regularly losing concentration
Difficulty with time management
Inability to stay on one task
Trouble regaining focus after being distracted
Problems with organisation
Struggling to set and stick to schedules.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can combat both procrastination and executive dysfunction, many of which overlap.
Everyone procrastinates at some point, so there is no reason to beat yourself up over it. By removing the guilt associated with procrastination it removes the negative feelings that arise, making it easier to move on from a period of procrastination.
Divide your workload into manageable chunks. Sometimes a task can feel too daunting to begin, so by breaking it up into chunks it becomes more manageable. Focus on completing one chunk at a time, and you will feel more motivated as your goals are more achievable. Five to ten smaller tasks can often feel easier than one large task.
Giving yourself rewards when you complete a task helps to keep you motivated. It gives you something to work towards, and creates a positive association with completing work, which in turn makes it easier to focus.
Anti-procrastination apps and websites like Cold Turkey or Forest help to create a focused environment. If you are the kind of person that likes having your phone with you, but constantly gets distracted or side-tracked, these can help you stay on task by blocking leisure websites for a specified time. This allows you to focus on the task at hand.
How to Combat Executive Dysfunction
Create a workspace
Have a clear area that is separate from relaxation areas like your sofa or bed. It will put you in the right headspace to complete a task when you separate work from comfort.
It is all too easy to work from your sofa and end up watching tv, or work from bed and fall asleep. By separating these areas, your mind will begin to associate your workspace with productivity, and it might even help you sleep better when your bed is only associated with resting.
Starting a task is often the hardest part. By committing to doing it for just 5 minutes, it makes it less daunting. By the time 5 minutes are up, it’s likely that you will be able to keep going as you will have found a flow.
Even if you do not feel motivated after 5 minutes, you still will have made a start, and that’s already progress!
Reframe your thinking about deadlines
The phrase ‘deadline’ can be quite scary, and it can lead to a lot of anxiety about finishing a piece of work. It is hard to find motivation when there is so much pressure surrounding the date it is due.
Try referring to deadlines as ‘finish lines’ instead – it is a goal you want to achieve but not the be all and end all, and it can create motivation. Deadlines are terrifying, but finish lines can be exciting and rewarding.
Try Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
CBT can help to treat executive dysfunction by finding out what triggers it. A therapist can create personalised methods of coping by addressing and changing thought patterns. It can target executive functions, and help you adjust your behaviour, which can lead to an increase in focus and motivation.
To Sum Up…
Whether you struggle with procrastination, or find yourself dealing with executive function, these tips and tricks can help to give you some control over your workload. Remember, the sooner you start that dreaded piece of work, the sooner it is over!
It may come as a surprise to some that simply writing down your thoughts can be beneficial to your wellbeing. It seems strange that something as simple as keeping a journal can have a significant impact on your health, but the past thirty years of scientific research suggests just that.
There are a variety of ways to journal, from daily entries in a diary or keeping a log of writing on your computer. Journaling usually explores the thoughts and feelings you have towards life events. Its best when engaged as a daily practice but even sporadic journaling can be beneficial if you focus on emotional processing.
Below are five of the main benefits of journaling to encourage you to get started today.
It Reduces Stress
Journaling is a very accessible stress management tool. Its free and you don’t need to book a class or be taught by someone. All you need is a pen and paper.
Journaling doesn’t release tension from your body like yoga or meditation, but it’s a good practice for overall stress relief.
There are three main methods for journaling to relieve stress which are:
This a practice of making daily entries of what you’re grateful for. This can make you more aware of the good in your life and encourage you to appreciate the little things even when times are tough.
This is a journaling practice that helps you stay organised. Most use a bullet journal to keep track of what they have to do each day and any goals they want to work towards. Being more organised is a great way to feel more in control of your life and relieve stress.
Emotional Release Journaling
This is a form of expressive writing about your thoughts and feelings toward any troubling life event. This can relieve stress due to its physical and mental benefits which we’ll discuss further below.
Journaling is an opportunity for emotional catharsis. By transferring thought to paper you allow your brain to process the emotions you feel instead of supressing them. By writing down your emotions, you can alleviate their intensity.
Journaling can also help you be mindful and bring a better perspective to any situation. This can be helpful for regulating emotions, as it can be difficult to see past your how you’re feeling in the moment. By bringing a better perspective to the situation, you can better understand what triggered you and ease the strong emotions you feel.
Regular journaling also has the benefit of greater self-identity and confidence. This is important for managing strong emotions and helping you to feel more equipped to overcome any challenge you face.
It Boosts Your Mood
One of the benefits of regulating your emotions is that you’ll be more able to boost your mood. By recording the details of your day-to-day life your brain is more able to process the emotions that come with life events. This increases your overall sense of wellbeing as you’ll feel happier, calmer and more in control.
By keeping track of your emotions and what triggers them, you’ll become more self-aware. This well help boost your mood as you become more aware of what results in positive feelings and what doesn’t. You’ll be better at seeking out what makes you feel good and more able to avoid anything that doesn’t.
Keeping a journal improves your memory, comprehension and working memory capacity.
A 2012 study on college students explored how expressive writing about emotional events can significantly improve autobiographical memory. This is beneficial as having more specific memories about your own life can help you to navigate future goals and problems.
Studies in improving working memory, also known as short term memory, have also found that writing expressively about thoughts and feelings is beneficial over other forms of journaling.
Although it isn’t entirely clear why the research shows that expressive writing is better than trivial topics when journaling, you can certainly reap the health benefits.
Believe it or not but regular journaling actually decreases your risk of illness. Studies by psychologists in the healing effects of writing suggest that journaling about emotions and stress can boost immune functioning in patients with HIV, asthma and arthritis. Expressive writing has also been reported to improve liver and lung function.
Journaling can even make physical wounds heal faster. A study from 2013 found that 76% of adults who spent 20 minutes writing regularly about their feelings two weeks before a medically necessary biopsy had fully recovered eleven days later. Contrastingly, 58% of the control group had not recovered.
To Sum Up…
The benefits of journaling are undeniable, and it doesn’t take a big commitment to start experiencing the effect. Begin with just fifteen minutes a couple times a week and increase from there when you feel ready.
Parenting can be hard work. It’s not always going to be easy. Watching your children grow is extremely rewarding but there will be challenges along the way and if you’re reading this now, you might be facing a tough time. But not to worry – we are here to help.
Parents’ wellbeing is a challenging task alongside childcare and often overlooked. We emphasise the importance of caring for our children but not caring for ourselves.
Therefore, we have come up with a parent’s guide to managing your health and wellbeing that we think will help.
Here are some things to remember:
It’s ok to make mistakes – You don’t have to be perfect. We are all fallible beings. We naturally make mistakes – we get things wrong and shout sometimes. You are not a bad person. If you find yourself losing your control, make sure to apologise to your child and explain why it happened. They will learn from you that it’s okay to make mistakes and it doesn’t make you a bad person.
Talk to your child – Even young children can understand about feelings and behaviour if you give them a chance to talk about it. With open and honest communication, you can understand one another more and hopefully alleviate some stress.
Look after yourself – it is important to take some time for yourself. Looking after yourself involves looking after your relationships, your health and your wellbeing. If you don’t look after yourself – how are you going to properly look after your children? Have a nice relaxing bath, see a friend, take your mind off things with a captivating book. Whatever it is, allow time to enjoy yourself. Everyone needs to be a little selfish sometimes.
It’s okay to ask for help – if you’re struggling, it’s okay to reach out for support from friends, families and organisations that are there to help.
How To Better Manage Your Wellbeing as a Parent
Looking after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally will help your child grow and thrive.
Manage stress by making time for yourself and seeking help.
If you have a partner, you can look after your relationship with open communication.
1. Recognise when you feel overwhelmed
Being overwhelmed can lead to:
Feeling tired all the time
Being irritable and impatient
Stress and anxiety
Lack of motivation
Poor eating habits
General negative thinking.
The stress caused by these symptoms can also impact our physical health. Therefore, it is important to find ways to help combat that overwhelmed feeling. Our next tips focus on a few simple ways that can help you achieve this.
Take a few minutes to write down all the things that are causing you stress and anxiety. And once you have your list, identify what things you can tackle immediately and those that might take a bit longer.
For example, say you:
Have difficulty getting off to sleep
Have money worries
Worry about you or your partner’s job security
Find it difficult to manage your child’s behaviour.
You can now separate these into two sections, something you can tackle immediately:
Thinking about all of these will no doubt cause a sense of anxiety and a feeling of being overwhelmed, however, if we separate them out, we can clearly see what’s easy to tackle and what might take longer to resolve.
By reordering the list to prioritise what we can tackle effectively first we can reduce some stress and that feeling of being overwhelmed. Recognising what is causing that stress and anxiety and creating a sense of order means you can think clearly and plan action, tackling one worry at a time.
Saying yes is a lot easier than saying no and we often agree to things that can negatively impact our health and wellbeing. Don’t overload yourself trying to fit additional tasks into an already busy schedule.
Our mind needs fuel from a healthy diet to function well. Following a balanced regular diet will help prevent irritability and enabled us to concentrate better. Research has shown that if you eat a diet high in processed meats, fried foods and high fat dairy products, you’re more likely to be anxious and depressed.
Fruits and vegetables have great healing, restorative powers. So here are a few foods that can boost and maintain your mental wellness:
Yoghurt has probiotics that assist in lowering levels of stress, anxiety and depression.
DHA, an Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish such as salmon can help improve short-term and long-term memory and reduce anxiety.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries contain antioxidants that improve symptoms associate with anxiety and depression.
Going through a breakup is painful, but one you didn’t see coming can be particularly hard to wrap your head around. It comes with the anger at your partner for jumping ship without warning, or at yourself for not noticing the signs.
How you heal from a breakup is a personal experience, as everyone recovers differently. So, although there’s no ‘right’ way to heal after a break up, below are some steps you can take to care for yourself during this difficult time.
Don’t look for closure
When your breakup seems to come out of the nowhere it can be incredibly destabilising. It reveals that your partner wasn’t communicating and being honest like you thought and it can feel as if the breakup up just doesn’t make sense.
It’s common to want answers, but often with unexpected breakups you’ll receive vague unsatisfying explanations and a sudden no contact policy. This sudden one-eighty of your relationship can leave you reeling and in shock.
When someone ends a relationship with you abruptly and without warning, it’s not a reflection of you or your worthiness to be loved. They do this because of their own issues and their inability to communicate. Focusing on this can help you to move on when you feel you need answers.
You didn’t deserve to be broken up with this way, your ex simply didn’t have the tools or emotional maturity to handle the breakup properly. You’re unlikely to get closure from any explanation they could provide, so instead seek closure by healing and allowing yourself to move on.
Let yourself be sad
When you’re in pain it’s natural to seek a remedy, to try to find the answer to “how long will I feel this way?” but it’s important not to rush anything. Let yourself heal and be kind to yourself. It’s okay to wrap up in your duvet, put on a movie and eat a whole tub of Ben & Jerry’s. After all, the clichés exist for a reason, and ice cream is the ultimate comfort food.
If you’re not ready to let yourself be sad, that’s also okay. Leaning into your friends and filling up your social calendar is a good way to distract yourself from thinking about your ex and the whirlwind of emotions they bring.
It’s good to reach out to your support network and remind yourself you’re not alone, but you also can’t distract yourself forever. Eventually you’ll need to let yourself feel and to sit with the pain of your breakup, but it’s okay to only do so once you feel ready.
Going through a breakup is a form of grief and as frustrating as it can be to hear, there isn’t an easy fix – you simply need to give yourself time. Allow yourself time to heal and try not to compare yourself to the healing journey of others. Every breakup is different and everyone’s recovery will look different. It could take you weeks, months or years and that’s okay.
While allowing yourself to be sad is important, make sure not to let yourself wallow. If a period of sadness comes, ride the wave and let yourself feel your emotions, but don’t go looking for things that may trigger you.
As tempting as it might be, don’t look through old photos or stalk them on Instagram. If there’s a TV series you were in the middle of watching together or a café that was your go to spot, it’s best to avoid these while the breakup is fresh. By triggering yourself in this way you’ll only prolong the healing process.
The best way to start moving on from your ex is by removing their presence from your life. Mute them on socials, put all their things away in a memory box and most importantly don’t reach out to them.
Trust in love again
Unexpected breakups are particularly hard because they demolish your sense of trust. Romantic relationships are deep vulnerable connections and it takes trust to be physically and emotionally intimate with someone.
So when your partner blindsides you with a breakup it’s easy to lose trust in the belief that romantic bonds can be safe. It’s also very easy to lose trust in yourself when you question if you ever really knew your partner like you thought you did.
This breakdown of trust can cause you to approach new relationships with caution and wariness. Chelsea Lee Trescott, Relationship coach and host of Thank You Heartbreak, recommends writing down a list of all the ways your ex-partner blindsided you.
Just the act of putting thought to paper can help release your emotions and start the healing process. Write under each point what you fear this means for your future relationships.
For example, if your ex was behaving normally and lovingly up until the day they broke up with you, you could write that you worry you won’t be able to trust that someone means what they say. Write next to each of these points that you won’t blindside someone in the same way. So, you promise not to spare someone how you truly feel about them because being honest avoids confusion and breaking their trust.
This is an important exercise that can help you to recover from the impact of your unexpected breakup and to move on once you’re ready.
Everyone has days where they feel insecure in their own skin, battling with their flaws and imperfections. There will always be days where you battle with your self-esteem, no matter how confident you are – and that’s okay. Everyone deserves to feel good in the skin they’re in.
A lot of people will give advice and say…
“Just love yourself and love your body.”
But if it was REALLY that easy, then we’d all be fully embracing our bodies at any size and not spending BILLIONS on diet and beauty products.
Maybe it’s time to just try to be okay with yourself. The society we live in makes us all feel pressure to succeed and be the best of the best. But in reality, just being okay is OKAY. In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself is…
FIRST, focus on accepting yourself
THEN, jump into being more confident and loving yourself.
Taking charge of your own thoughts, especially your feelings about yourself, is one of the hardest things to do when you don’t feel confident.
Even though it can be hard to truly embrace yourself and feel comfortable in your own skin, there’s a way to overcome your negative thoughts and learn to accept yourself for who you truly are.
“The moment will arrive when you are comfortable with who you are, and what you are – bald or old or fat or poor, successful or struggling – when you don’t feel the need to apologise for anything or to deny anything. To be comfortable in your own skin is the beginning of strength.”
–Charles B. Handy
Here are some helpful tips you can use to help you feel more comfortable in your own skin:
Seeking validation from others can give quick boost of confidence. However, this feeling isn’t lasting. It’s totally fine to look for other’s approval on occasion. But there comes a point where it become a habit.
To obtain truly lasting self-worth, you need to take an important step back and recognise that you do not need someone else’s approval to feel good about yourself.
2. Accept Your Weaknesses
Let’s be honest with ourselves, there are many things in life that we aren’t good at doing…
…And that’s okay!
One of the beauties of life is that nobody is perfect. To truly be comfortable in your own skin, you need to be self-aware. You can’t turn a weakness into a strength if you’re too busy denying the weakness exists. Here’s an exercise for you:
“I am terrible at…. (State your weakness) …and I’m okay with that.”
3. Prioritise Yourself
Taking care of yourself is vital when it comes to feeling more comfortable in your body. When you prioritise yourself and your own needs, you become more in-tune with them and who you are.
You can prioritise yourself in a number of ways including:
Those who don’t take the proper time for themselves are often harder on themselves in all regards.
4. Practice Healthy Social Media Habits
This involves trying not to compare yourself to everyone else. This can be difficult but there is a way to help: ensure your feed is filled with diverse individuals. There are many influencers out there showing the “real” side of social media. Including lumps, bumps, body hair etc.
There’s nothing wrong with following fitness models, but if you find yourself comparing your body to theirs, maybe it’s time to focus on other things. The accounts you follow should inspire you, not make you feel any less about yourself.
Every year we have spent living with our friends and family is truly a gift. We deserve to celebrate every birthday, every anniversary, every job promotion.
When you celebrate a milestone, it is a genuine reason to provide yourself with appreciation and recognition – two things that will motivate people at every point in their life.
Learn to celebrate your story. Every person’s story is unique. Some stories have more highlights, others more lowlights. And that’s okay. Anything you have achieved, big or small, should be celebrated.
6. Live Unapologetically
There’s a weird sense of freedom you feel from living unapologetically. Don’t apologise for who you are and how you feel. Don’t hold back your authentic self and don’t be afraid to tell others how you truly feel. Hiding your emotions won’t benefit anyone.
It’s an unfortunate truth that many of us don’t feel like we’re living a life we love. However, to make the most of your life, you have to create a life YOU love.
Creating a life you love is really about aligning your life with your own core values. Those are the things that are most important to you personally. To do so you must defeat those self-imposed limits you have on yourself.
Nothing worthwhile is ever really easy. But good things are worth the effort. We owe it to ourselves to step past our self-limiting beliefs and take those steps to build the lives we love and be comfortable in our own skin.
An effective planning strategy is fundamental to good organisation and time management. You might think that planning is only useful to the uber-professional with lots of meetings and a heavy workload, but that is absolutely not the case!
Planning can be helpful to anyone and everyone because it is so adaptable. Students can utilise planning to stay on top of exams, tutorials, and essay deadlines. You can use planning in your every day to keep on track with completing small tasks and motivating yourself. You can even use planning to keep on track with recreation, such as meals, exercise and reading.
In the digital age, we are afforded many new and varied technologies for productivity and time management at our fingertips. So, we are provided with a new question. Which is better? Physical or digital planning?
Any organisational purists out there will laud the benefits of physical planning. There is a great deal of support for the benefits that come from physical writing things out. They also argue the cause of the customisability of physical planning, something that some digital planning platforms lack.
On the other hand, new age planning enthusiasts may love the accessibility digital planning affords. It gives support to the modern ‘always on’ work ethic and provides an ease and universality of use that comes with the online space.
Whether you fall into the purist or new age camp, it is undeniable that there are benefits and drawbacks to both options. This article will delineate each type of planning with their pros and cons, and let you come to your own decision. Maybe you’ll even decide you want to utilise both styles!
Why is Planning So Important Anyway?
Planning has a range of benefits one may not originally consider. Planning can help you concentrate and focus better on the task at hand. It helps you get all of your thoughts and tasks for the day down and out of your head. This means that they’re less likely to be forgotten, and you can complete the things you need to do without worry.
It also helps with targeted efficiency. If, for example, you’re someone who thrives on being organised, you can pair a timetable with a task list to keep on track. This can help you be more productive because you know exactly what you need to do at any given time.
For example, if you have anxiety, and university essays and deadlines are exacerbating that anxiety, planning may help manage it. Writing task lists can help to identify what is making you anxious, then can help you break things down into manageable chunks. When the task you’re facing doesn’t seem like one huge monolith, it can feel easier to tackle and work through. Some planners also can work like information dumps. You can use them to deposit any tasks or thoughts you may have to tackle at a later date. Depending on the person and their preference, this action can sometimes be helpful for people with ADHD. This is because it helps to get out any thoughts or tasks that may be presently distracting. You can then potentially come back to these ideas later, to give yourself a better opportunity to focus on anything that might be more time sensitive.
If you’re using planning to help manage your mental health, create achievable goals for yourself. Start with listing little things. This can be things like brushing your teeth or going on a 15-minute walk. It can be so beneficial to set yourself up for little successes. Then, even if those are the only things you manage to do all day, ticking it off still feels like an achievement.
However, it is important to be realistic with your plans. By writing tasks that you can feasibly complete, it stops you from getting overwhelmed too quickly. It also stops you from being hard on yourself if you don’t meet those tasks – you want a planner to work for you, not against you.
It is important to note that planning is not an end-all method to ‘fix’ a mental illness or improve your mental health. However, it can sometimes serve to help mitigate some issues in certain ways for people. It may also be helpful to speak with a licensed therapist, who can help identify strategies for succeeding. Planning or timetabling can be included in this discussion too to help retain a sense of structure or routine.
The Pros and Cons of Physical Planning
The act of physically planning in a journal can have many benefits. Some of them include:
Digital Separation. Physical planning can provide a level of separation between your real and online life. Our phones and devices feel like an extension of us, so it can be doubly hard to turn off if your organisation is on there too! Studies have shown that too much screen time damages the brain. By planning in a physical planner or journal, you are decreasing that screen time and giving yourself time to shut off.
This also limits your ability to become distracted by all the other applications or the internet on your phone. It’s all too easy to have the best intentions and be focused, but we all know the liability of scrolling on Instagram for two hours instead. Physical planning removes this temptation and keeps you on task.
Personalisation. A big pro of physical planning is that you can make it as customisable and personalised as you want. There are different methods to do this, but a particularly popular one is the Bullet Journal method. With this method you can customise everything from the layouts of each monthly spread to the notation systems you use to keep yourself on track.
You can best suit your own needs with a physical planner. You can customise the colour coding, fonts, highlighting, and even add fun things like pictures, stickers, and washi tape. The customisation can make it more fun to use, and therefore make it more likely for you to get into a rhythm when planning. If you like it, you’re more likely to stick to it!
Visual. A physical planner is a very visual reminder of the things you need to do. Whether you keep it on your desk or your bedside table, it is an in-your-face reminder to be organised. You can use the visual nature to the advantage of collective planning. For example, you can use methods like whiteboards in communal spaces to organise a bigger group, like families or housemates.
Physical Act of Writing. Writing things down is very good for your memory. It can also help improve the chances of you being able to call your tasks to mind easier. Writing is also a great stress reliever, as studies show writing shuts down the thoughts that cause you to be stressed. Ticking off completed tasks can also be great for boosting your mood!
There are also a few drawbacks to physical planning. These include:
Space and Accessibility. Physical planners can often be bulky and take up space. Because you have to always carry the planner with you to have access to it, it can also be an extra hassle. This can be a drawback for some, especially those on the go a lot or with limited space.
Cost. The customisation of your planner can be one of the most fun things about it! But there is a drawback. Stationary can get expensive! Stickers, markers, highlighters, and decorative tape can all add up! Not to mention the cost of ink and paper of printing any pictures you want to add, or even the cost of the planner itself! If cost is an issue, physical planning may not be for you.
The Pros and Cons of Digital Planning
While physical planning is undeniably fantastic, digital planning also has a lot of positive factors. Some of these include:
You can stay up to date at all times, and it becomes easier to rearrange and repeat tasks from anywhere. There is less bulk and headache because you don’t need to carry around a full journal – everything you need is already on a device you carry around every day!
Minimalist Planning. Some people don’t need the ‘full’ experience that physical planning provides. They might only need to remember important meetings or appointments – like a future dentist appointment or meeting. Digital planning offers you that minimalism!
If this sounds like you, an app like Google calendar would be enough of a planner. There’s no need for the minutiae of something more in depth! You get the dual benefit of receiving reminders at a set time to keep you on schedule. This ensures you won’t forget your plans no matter where you are!
Easier to Navigate. Digital planning makes it easier to retroactively find specific notes. You don’t have to worry about losing something, as most digital planners also comes with hyperlinks so you don’t have to endlessly scroll through to get to the page you need. Digital planning can be far less time consuming than its physical counterparts through little elements like this.
Collective Planning. The digital aspect of this form of planning means that not only can you access your plans from anywhere, but other people also have the potential to as well. Services such as Notion allow for team planning – anyone can add tasks and people can see what you’re working on, but there are also options to keep your plans private!
There are some cons to digital planning that may turn some people away from it. These can include:
Less Customisable. Digital planning apps or websites can be less customisable. A few apps like Notion are becoming more customisable, but this is usually more in an aesthetic way rather than a functional way. For some apps, the organisation they offer is usually set by the developer and can’t be changed.
Some apps may limit you to list planning; whereas some, like Google Calendar, are just for scheduling (quite rigid scheduling at that!). So, you may not be able to do all your planning in one place. You may need to use more than one app to meet your needs.
Cost. Some planning apps can be a paid for service. Keep this in mind before you take out an account. A good idea would be to look for apps with free trial periods. Therefore, you aren’t putting yourself out of pocket on apps that might not work for you!
The battle between physical and digital planning fundamentally comes down to a matter of personal preference. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to plan! Planning is highly personal, and it can take some trial and error to find the right method for you. You may even want to use a combination of both physical and digital planning to really maximise your productivity!
Whatever you choose, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Ceed for any help with planning your life. We have professional life coaches ready and willing to help you become your best self!
Let’s say you’re finding yourself having to do a large task; or maybe, you’ve got several large things that need to be accomplished or carried out all at once. This feels overwhelming, doesn’t it? To make things easier for yourself, you decide to just go about what you need to do without any forethought. In other words, you’re “winging it”. However, this is a big mistake.
If you don’t have a plan for what you’re doing, you’re potentially not just placing yourself in danger, but others as well. Planning ahead is absolutely vital, no matter what it is you’re planning ahead for. If anything, it’s essential and demonstrates professionalism, something you’ll need with your career no matter what field it may be. Here are five reasons why planning ahead is unquestionably important in both your professional and daily life, and how it can help relieve stress in the long-run.
1) It reduces stress
Knowing that you need to achieve multiple goals is undoubtedly stress inducing. With a distinct rise in stress and anxiety levels during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, stressful situations can quickly snowball into feelings of panic or unease. You’re most likely to be stressed over an event that is going to take place, a deadline that is drawing near, or maybe you feel as though you could do something wrong.
Planning ahead will reduce stress, as you’ll know how to approach the issues you might be facing instead of going headlong into it without knowing what to expect or how to adapt. Careful planning will allow you to analyse the situation and determine the right path for success. It does not matter whether you’re planning in advance for something days or even months away, you’ll feel satisfied knowing that everything will be under control and you won’t be worrying about that day when it comes, allowing you to live in the moment once all the planning is done.
2) It enables better risk versus reward situational analysis
As mentioned in the previous reason, planning allows us to analyse the situation so we can then decide what to do next. If we rush into the problem without any precognition, then things may go awry and escalate even further than before. The principal thing here is to take a step back and look at what is present.
Whenever we find ourselves confronted with an event that may be daunting or stressful, it can trigger a physiological response in us. This is referred to as the fight-or-flight response which, despite its name, actually has three different possible manners of reacting to an occurrence. These three reactions are fight (you’ll immediately respond to the situation without thinking of a course of action), fright (you’ll freeze up and not be able to do anything because you don’t know how to handle the situation), and flight (you avoid the situation entirely and, in some cases, get as far away from it as you can).
Such behaviour is an example of being reactive, but what you need to learn is how to be proactive. Tying in to the two previous reasons, this means you’ll carefully figure out what to do before you execute your idea. Once you learn how to do this, you’ll eventually pick it up as a habit and use it as a replacement for your old reactive one, making it second nature.
4) You’ll leave room for changes and updates
While it’s certainly good to have a meticulous and detailed plan of action, not everything can always be maintained. Nine times out of ten, you’ll be finding that your course of action is going to change, whether that’s in the leadup to the execution of the plan or as it commences. By formulating a plan during the beginning stage of a task, you can think of alternate paths to take if your primary idea has started to go askew. It doesn’t matter if these changes are only little ones; as long as you know how to bounce back, then everything will be fine. Remember – expect the unexpected!
However, you might find that you’re changing the plan even though nothing has gone wrong. This is also perfectly acceptable, especially since you know what your alternate route (or routes) will be.
5) You’ll know exactly how to reach your goals
Of course, you know what your goal is. It’s only a case of how you’re going to get to it, and this isn’t something you can easily do by rushing into things. By incorporating and understanding the previous four reasons, you’ll know precisely how to achieve what you set out to do.
Nobody should act without a proper plan. The thought of having to carry out a large task, if not several of them at once, can be a great cause of stress, which can be heavily reduced if you know exactly what you’re doing. With a plan implemented, it gives you a chance to analyse the various paths you could eventually take and consider the possibilities of where things could go wrong. Even if the likelihood is high that things do go wrong, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go ahead with what you had mapped out as things might turn out better than you expect them to.
Planning also gives the benefit of learning how to be proactive instead of reactive and running into the tasks without any forethought. You’ll additionally contemplate any possible changes or updates to what you have decided whether or not it has disrupted your original plans, allowing you to calculate how you’ll reach the goal set out for yourself.
This article covered just five reasons why planning ahead is an important practice that must be used. If you would like to know how Ceed can help you live a more proactive and productive lifestyle, contact us today!
“A man who refuses to admit his mistakes can never be successful” – Proverbs 28:13
“Everyone’s a critic.” There’s no doubt that we have heard these words being uttered at some point. When the word ‘critic’ springs to mind, we immediately assume people have a problem with someone or something and just want to complain. Believe it or not, this isn’t (always) the case.
The overall concept of criticism is to provide feedback. It doesn’t matter where you are – a place of education, work, or even at home – you’re going to hear criticism of some sort from another person. You may feel taken back by the criticism you’ve received, especially if it’s sudden or you’ve been concentrating on a particular task or activity for so long that you are fully dedicated to. The important thing is how you respond to it, and some people don’t take it well.
If you have difficulty handling any criticism that you’ve been given, then this article is for you. This guide, consisting of five tips, will provide you with advice to help you improve your habits and your mindset when faced with adversity.
After you’re informed of the criticism, take a deep breath and pause. Nine times out of ten, the criticism that’s carried out is constructive, not destructive. The person who issued it wants you to improve and they certainly do not view you as a terrible individual. They know that you can achieve greater things and had no intention of upsetting you. If the criticism genuinely was unanticipated, you may need some time to think about it (see the next point for more on this).
It must also be noted that, even if you don’t verbally respond to what you’ve been told, your body language and facial expressions may unconsciously exhibit your reaction. By taking that deep breath and pausing, it can prevent those from happening, but there is a conscious response you can do to show that you are in control: smile. Even if it’s a false one, it shows that you’re motivated and can diffuse any tension that may have arisen between yourself and the critic.
You may take some time to process what you’ve been told, so the best thing to do is to utilise deconstruction. This is a method of analysis that’s going to be very useful for you, especially when you have been provided with feedback. As the word implies, instead of constructing (I.e., creating) something, you are taking it apart to look at the finer details more closely. To help deconstruct what you’ve been told, you should be open-minded and ask specific questions relating to the criticism to improve yourself by understanding where you went wrong.
As you do this, listen closely to your peer’s intentions – they may appear confrontational, but it could be them dealing with their own personal issues. Thus, this means they obviously don’t have anything against you personally. The key here is to evaluate it in a positive manner. You should also determine whether the criticism is constructive or destructive; if their tone implies the latter, you should tell them how their words are making you feel. If the person is of a higher authority, they may be trying to demean you. However, you mustn’t make any excuses or be defensive regardless of the way they’ve communicated with you. Keep it calm and be civilised.
Don’t Take It Personally
It can be very easy to take things personally. This stems from how some people see the work they do, professionally or not, as a part of who they are. The criticism is being directed at the work you’re doing, not yourself, so it’s important to separate yourself from your work. The errors that you might’ve created don’t reflect who you are as a human being. The critic sees you as their equal and only wants to help you improve, and you should use this opportunity to do so.
Another thing you should also do when receiving criticism is showing that you appreciate your peer’s words. By being grateful to hear what they have to say, it will help you calm yourself in contrast to your prior reactions to previous criticisms so you can adapt to this new behaviour. Remember, it’s not just you who might be the uncomfortable one in this situation, as your peer might feel the same way having to issue it. You should be thankful for their honesty if they’re wishing to be constructive, while also making it clear that you’re going to use this opportunity to improve yourself not just in this instance, but for the future.
Talking is a very good way to relieve yourself of any worries or stresses you might have. You might be wondering if the criticism you’ve received is fully deserved or not, and if you’re normally rather sensitive, the best thing to do is to relay the words to another person for a second opinion. They could be another colleague, an advisor, or some form of mentor you have. Whether they agree with the criticism or not, it will provide you with closure and a sound mind, allowing you to determine where to go next.
It’s essential that you are careful with your reaction when you receive criticism, as a less than calm and civilised response shows a lack of professionalism that could affect your credibility. You need to listen closely to what you’ve been told and observe where you went wrong. You mustn’t take it on a personal level, as the work you do does not reflect who you are as a person.
When responding to any critical feedback, you should apologise if it’s caused harm and be thankful that the person speaking to you was honest. Make it clear you’re going to use it to help you improve yourself for the future. If need be, share any criticism with someone you know to see if they agree with it, then decide where to go from there.
Criticism exists. There’s no way to escape it. The only thing you can do is accept that it’ll always be there as a way to teach you on how to be better than before. We all want to improve.
This article was thoroughly researched with the intent of helping those who wish to handle criticism better. These were only five tips, so if you wish to have more advice relating to this topic, contact us at Ceed today.