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How To Be Productive In The Evenings During The Work Week: A More Relaxed Approach

Before we get into our evening routine & how we stay productive, let’s start from the beginning.

Each year we create our annual goals just before New Year’s Day. We record our goals under categories; Personal, Health & Wellness, Fitness, Financial, Future Business, Work, Home & Travel. All goals are written in our journals so we can review them daily/weekly/monthly. An important step which we love to do is to review the goals from the previous year and mark off what was achieved & what we have to work on, if it’s still a goal for the New Year.

Once all our goals are listed, we work towards them every day.

Creating the bigger picture of how & where you want your life to go over the next year will determine what you want to achieve in your day.

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For example, under the heading of Health & Wellness, we have a goal to have less stress in our life. How do we work towards less stress in our life, every morning we meditate, we wake up early to sit together to have our breakfast, we give ourselves lots of time in the mornings to get ready before work. All of this creates a calmer more chill morning for us so we can arrive at work rested & energised for a new day. We plan time into each part of our day to relax, chill & enjoy life.

Under the heading of Fitness, we have the goal to exercise daily. Our goal each day is to move for a minimum of 60 min. This can come in the form of 2 half hour walks on our breaks, or workouts in the evenings.

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We have figured out through trial & error the activities & goals we like to work towards in the morning and what we like to tackle in the evenings. The evenings are a mixture of relaxation & energy. We like to plan a week in advance for our evening activities. In our journals we list 3 tasks that we would like to achieve each night. Each task should be no longer than an hour. Therefore, we spend about 3 hours each evening working on specific goals.

These goals can range from:

1. Prepare dinner for next 3 nights

2. Read 25 pages of book

3. Go for 40 min walk

1. Iron clothes

2. Write Blog

3. Read 25 pages of book

1. Eco night

2. Go for walk /Yoga class

3. Write Letter to niece

We only assign 3 goals per evening. This more relaxed approach to the evenings takes the pressure off having to get a whole pile of stuff done & feeling really bad when we don’t achieve all 10 items we had on our list.

Usually we get home between 5pm & 6pm, we eat dinner, read, write or do jobs and exercise. All of these things align with our bigger picture goals.

TV is avoided in the evenings from Monday to Thursday in our home so we can use our time wisely during the week.

By the time we finish our evening tasks it usually about 8:30-9:00pm. We use this last hour to really wind down, take a bath, read more, play a board game, read some of our favourite blogs, listen to podcasts or audiobooks or just have a chat.

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Bedtime for us is between 9:30pm and 10:00pm. Lights are out at either 9:45pm or 10:00pm (George likes to read a little later…..I usually fall asleep with book in hand or mid-sentence!…No issues with sleep here..lol)

That’s essentially our evenings and how we make use of our time to work on goals that are important to us one hour at a time. Goals can be daunting but broken down into hours they really are achievable. We aim for slow & steady change overtime. We are definitely the turtle in the race. We joke about my Father that he is the man who is walking while all the others are running……. that’s how we want to approach life too. Slow & steady wins the race, apply it to your goals.

We hope this was helpful.

As always, we would love to hear your comments & feedback.

Have a great week,

Chat soon,

Theresa

What Do You Do And Should It Define You?

How many times have you been asked “what do you do?”

What has you answer been? Do we really stop to think about the meaning of this question? There are in fact no limits to the answer, but what do we really mean when we ask this? Why are we asking?

Are we genuinely interested in what other people do for a living? Maybe we are and maybe we are not, but from my own perspective, my day job is the last thing I want to talk about when I am in a social situation.

Some people are genuinely interested in a discussion about your profession and finding common ground but it is more commonly a conversation starter to break the ice. In my opinion there are more effective ways to find common ground like asking “what do you do in your spare time.”

I recently watched a video on Youtube titled Never tell people what you do. The speaker encourages us to talk about what we want to do rather than what we do. I am far more interested in talking about my interests and hearing about other peoples interests rather than their profession.

What we do for a living does not define us. Many of us work our day jobs to finance what we truly love. It is only the luckiest people on Earth who can claim that they work in their dream job.

What defines us? That is subjective. It is also a matter of perspective. I think a more accurate question is what defines us in the eyes of those who matter.

Our achievements define us to a certain extent but I think it is more accurate to say that our actions define us. I have been lucky enough to meet many high achievers who are well educated and professionally successful but this achievement was arrived at through their actions.

One can only be judged on their actions. Who is to say the homeless man on the street is not a higher achiever than the suit, with fine clothes rushing about taking meetings on the fly?

How is success measured? By what we do to earn a living? By how much we earn? By the clothes we wear? By the fact that one person smells of cologne and another smells of the street?

Do we judge these people on their actions or their achievements? We judge how we judge, but we can only see what is on the surface. To dig deeper we need to look deeper. We need to really see.

I gave some cans to a homeless man and he told me this would help him reach his quota for donations to the children’s hospital. The cynical side of me doubts him but who am I to judge? I can only see the surface. Who is to say that man is not working tirelessly to save money for others.

“There are no perfect people in the world, only perfect intentions.”

(Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

My point is that what we do on a daily basis to earn money does not scratch the surface of who we are. We should look deeper. Ask deeper. Dig deeper. Find the real people.

Thanks for reading,

Peace,

George

P. S. If you like the blog could you share it? It helps a lot and huge thanks to those of you who have shared.

Top 5 Tips: Yoga As Public Speaking

I have been teaching my regular Yoga class at YMCA for three weeks now and I have subbed a few classes also. I wanted to share some of my (limited) experience in teaching with respect to speaking. Teaching a Yoga class, no matter how many students you have is a form of public speaking.

Speaking in front of a group of people doesn’t bother me too much, but if I do feel nerves I try to trick my brain into thinking that it is excitement that I feel, not nerves. My top 5 tips for speaking as a yoga teacher are as follows:

  1. Be yourself
  2. Speak from the belly
  3. Maintain good posture
  4. Slow the breath and breathe deep
  5. PRACTISE PRACTISE PRACTISE

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken,” (Oscar Wilde). Stay true to tour values, otherwise it will be transparent and that will show through your class.

Why do you teach? In all likelihood it’s because you love Yoga. If you get to the why, then you will find the passion and it will shine through in your class. Confidence will flow from that passion. I see this with my own teachers, I see their love for Yoga and their love for teaching and I see it flowing from them in confidence and power. Keep your teachings and offerings true to you.

Speak from the belly. As Max Strom advocates, take your voice from low down in the gut rather than high up in the chest. Not that this is a problem for Max as he has probably the deepest voice I have ever heard. Is it coincidence that he was one of the most impactful teachers I have ever practiced with?

Research has shown that politicians with deeper voices will receive more votes as a deep voice conveys greater physical strength, competence, and integrity. This perception may stem from our more basic minds, coming from a time when physical strength was important in a leader. You are the leader in the class situation, taking the students through the routines and postures.

As Yoga teachers we must be heard. The act of projecting our voices will affect our confidence and mood. Tony Robbins makes a point that people who are slumped and speaking in a low voice will neither project nor hold confidence. Robbins encourages people to speak quickly and energetically. I don’t agree with speaking quickly in a yoga environment, at least not for me, but an energetic voice does not have to be a quick voice.

Carry presence in your voice. Carry presence in your posture. Most of us as yoga teachers will practice what we preach and maintain good posture. Not me though. I find myself slacking on posture all the time. Stand tall with your core engaged. Keep your chest proud and shoulders back. Just like smiling effects your mood (click here for my blog on smiling), posture will affect your mood and confidence. Fake it till you make it (with regard to confidence). If you don’t feel the confidence then pretend that you do. Act like you are confident and the confidence will follow. As yoga teachers we are leading a group of people that look to us for instruction and guidance so we should carry ourselves as such a person. You are awesome, so act accordingly.

If you have the time and space to do it, try a power pose before the class. Stand tall, feet slightly apart with your chest proud and your arms outstretched and look up. This is a classic power position and whether you believe it or not, you will feel more confident after spending two minutes standing like this.

Stay connected with your breath and body and get out of your head. We must Endeavour to remain present both as we practice and teach yoga. A daily meditation practice will help, but also before you teach, get grounded and let your bare feet touch the ground if you can. Slow the breath down and breathe deep in to the belly. Become present. This will also help with your delivery.

Practice your class before you teach it. Practice with a mirror, a camera, teach your friends. If they are not willing then teach yourself, but practice. For my wedding speech, I knew the speech but I didn’t practice saying it out loud. I wanted it to seem spontaneous rather than rehearsed but that was a mistake. I am not an experienced Yoga teacher so maybe you will reach a point that you don’t need to practice and it will just flow, but for me, I need to PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE. It also takes away the stress.

Be aware of your tone of voice and body language. Keep your chest open and inviting. Students may unknowingly mirror you. If you come to class with a bad attitude it will almost certainly carry through to your class and to your students.

Don’t over think what you have to say. Keep your words and your class simple. Over complicating anything is a recipe for confusion.

Try to catch the filler words (“uh”, “erm”, “um”, “well”, “so”, “like”, “hmm“, etc.). If you don’t think you do this then you may want to record yourself.

I bought a Bluetooth voice recorder for $50. It clips to my shirt collar and connects wirelessly to my phone. I don’t use this in any of the public classes I offer, but my friends don’t mind me recording my voice during the private classes. Also when I put a new routine together, I work through it myself first, and record my instructions, then I take my own practice a few times. It really helps me see where I need to improve with my delivery. I also bought a Tripod for my Iphone for $20 so I can record a video of my practice.

I also intend to write out my instructions and practice saying it over and over and over (like we have been thought in Yoga Teacher Training). Repetition. Say it again and again until it rolls off the tongue.

Try not to take things personally. If a student leaves the class for example, it could be for a hundred different reasons and in all likelihood has nothing to do with you. You don’t know their story. Try not to read anything from student’s faces. If they look angry or unsettled, they may just be having a hard work out. That doesn’t meant that they are not getting what they want from it.

The fear will be there. It will only go away with experience and practice. There is no such thing as the perfect class. Perfection is a state of mind. Forgive yourself when you stumble or if your class wasn’t what you wanted. It doesn’t matter. The great thing about the present moment is that it starts afresh all the time. The past doesn’t matter. Learn from it, use it and move on. It’s ok to mess up and fumble.

Peace,

George