Recently I have been going through a big change within my body, which leaves me with very limited energy and it also triggers an avalanche of emotions. I feel so not-in control, physically, emotionally and mentally. If you are like me, who have been pretty healthy most of the time, we are somehow taking things for granted. What I expect myself to be able to accomplish in a day or how would I feel throughout the day will need to adapt to my new circumstances.
Change rarely comes easy, yet it can be eye-opening.
In my book Goddess with Many Faces, I talked about Women’s Cycle of Life, where we will inevitably go through different stages in life. We all go through changes physically, emotionally and spiritually as time goes by.
I compared the stages of Maiden, Mother, Matriarch and Wise Woman to the four seasons, where we experience different wonders, challenges and growth in each of the seasons.
For the last few years, I have been coaching women how to navigate and lean into their own changes, consider them as Soul Adventure, and take the call to experience their own transformation in the most positive way.
Now, as I am facing my own new change and the lack of energy, I discovered a few more really helpful elements to share with you.
You may be at a very different stage or season in life than me. Perhaps your challenge isn’t created by a physical change but rather an emotional or external one. No matter how it happened, I believe what I am going to share with you will bring you more clarity, energy and impact with what you do.
Focus on Impact not Items
Since I cannot work harder I have to find ways to work smarter and more effective, I need to focus on the actual impact and results, not just merely how many tasks I can tick off on my to-do list.
So, instead of a daily lengthy to-do list, I now look at my week of appointments and activities to see how am I placed throughout the week. I look at what absolutely needs to be done by me this week and cross out any nice-to-haves. From there I create a weekly to-do list.
Then, I pick 3 priorities, they can be about work or personal matter, but something I really need to focus on and hence spend most of my energy or mind-power on.
You see, I may sound really brutal in cutting things down, but at the end of the day, I know I am doing the most urgent and important things and that gives me the peace of mind as I know I didn’t fall into doing any not-urgent and/or unimportant things.
Pick the battles to win the war! ?
Moon Cycle and Your Energy
Since I have very limited energy, I was experimenting to make the best use of my energy aligning to the cycle of nature.
Right until this point, I have never paid much attention to the Moon Cycle or how it can affect our energy until now. I know the basics like moon phases or retrograde but I haven’t put much thoughts or practice to fully “capitalize” this Feminine Wisdom. Now I’ve learned how our energy shift and productivity changes, I start to plan my tasks or work project according to the Moon Cycle.
For a new moon, I will plant the seeds of new ideas or projects, set an intention and let my creativity flow. For waxing, I start to build momentum, share my initiatives, collaborate with others and basically getting my ideas out there. Then at a full moon, I launch my projects, host an event or simply step into the light of the work I created. At waning, I complete the projects and tie up loose ends. I also start to slow down and to reflect on what I have learned.
I find this “work planning” very nurturing and free, I am not chasing a linear timeline to get things done, as I am following a cycle where everything will get done in the right time and place. It is a never-ending cycle of doing and being. I find this very comforting.
Own Your Morning
The only thing I find that I have some degree of control is when I wake up in the morning before my family. You may not have little ones at home so you have more time for yourself, but for me, the only quiet time I have is the morning. Numerous research has shown the most successful people or high achievers have a morning routine. For me, beyond the research is my own experience, the days that I managed my morning vs. days I don’t. The difference is huge. It has a significant impact on my productivity, clarity, energy and mood.
First of all, when you hear your alarm clock goes off, don’t hit the buzz button, get up right the way. If you go back to sleep, you will hit the sleep inertia, and unless you have another 90 mins to complete a full sleep cycle, you are guaranteed a foggy start of your day.
I personally like to make a cup of tea and let my mind wander for a few minutes. Then I do a short meditation for 10-15 minutes with soft music.
Then I plan my day. I look at my weekly to-do list with appointments and the 3 top priorities. I then pick one thing I want to focus on as my top project for today and brain dump some other things on my day planner. As mentioned before, this is not a to-do list, often I write some notes or ideas or who to call. Then I officially start my day, I often start working on the top project if I can.
My morning routine is about 30 minutes, sometimes even less, but it really set me up in a really great way. You can customize your own routine, see what works for you. You may want it to be longer and add exercise or movement into it. I know some people love to write or read during this time. I love to do all these but realistically I can only manage a short one, and sometimes only 10 minutes to plan my day. But it still brings me heaps of benefits!
Now go and create your morning routine or shake it up if you already have an existing one!
Hope you enjoy this blog and podcast. Share with me in the comments below about your morning routine or tips to work smarter! I’d love to hear from you!