TO ALL ‘INVISIBLE’ MUMS OUT THERE!

Woman Carrying Baby at Beach during Sunset

Hi everyone!

Today is Mother’s Day in Poland and I’d like to share with you some thoughts on motherhood and maternity leave:

Being a mum isn’t a full-time job as some people say.

You can’t call in sick.

You can’t have breaks because you feel like eating a hot lunch.

You can’t quit because you don’t like the conditions.

You need to fulfil your responsibilities even if you are sick or tired or didn’t sleep for a few days. It’s taken for granted that being a mum is just a role like being a friend or a daughter. Of course, mums know that it’s a lot more than that. What is it then?

In my opinion it is a mission! If I had to describe motherhood with a movie title I would probably say Mission Impossible. ūüėČ Motherhood is POSSIBLE to do but it’s impossible to please everyone while you are in this role and to always keep on top of it.

All mothers have all sorts of moments when they feel down, depressed, fed up and exhausted. All mums make some mistakes. But, most mums surely do above and beyond to try to meet the expectations which are imposed on the mother’s role.

The health-care services, our close relatives and friends tend to emphasise that we shouldn’t stress out or try to be perfect parents. Yet, subconsciously we get all sorts of signs that perfection in this matter is very important. We get a lot of pieces of advice and everyone including our friends, and mum and auntie seem to know the best way to bring up our own children – how we should hold them when they are little, when we should feed them, what, why and when we should be doing well… everything.

What’s more, friends who we haven’t seen in a while will ask us what else we are doing in our life – what job we go to, what interests or business we have – because being a mum doesn’t sound like it’s enough. We should have a life, right? What if someone’s passions are activities with children and spending time with the family?

So many people are parents and yet so many keep forgetting how demanding and challenging a mum’s role is, especially if we want to make sure that our little one has a wonderful childhood and becomes a healthy happy person.

No wonder many women tend to defend themselves saying that motherhood actually is like a job and sometimes they even list tasks and responsibilities they have every day and complain that there is no time for anything else. Right. That’s understandable. Yet, why do we feel like we should explain ourselves in this matter? I know that it’s easy to forget how it is to take care of a newborn and how it is to sleep up to 2-3 hours a night if we are lucky, and how painful the labour is.

Whatever the reasons why people forget how motherhood can be a challenge, we should start to care way less what others say and think. If others are also parents they should understand us. Their amnesia and ignorance aren’t our problems, mamas!

The most frustrating are people who don’t have any children but try to judge us or give advice on how to look after our children, believing that their opinion is for some reason better and wiser than our own.

And yet, there are hundreds of forums and groups for mums where sometimes the biggest critics and I-know-it-all types of people are … other mums.

Well, time to care less about them too and hang out with and hold on to positive, warm, encouraging, good and supportive people around us.

Sometimes it may be impossible to cut off all negativity out there – there may be a cousin or even your good friend who would try to make your life harder even if they believe they are just trying to help. However, if we can’t change what others say, then we can surely at least change our reaction to it.

Care less.

Listen to negativity less.

When someone tries to destroy your inner peace, think of some nice dessert or flowers ūüėČ

Here’s to all mamas whose effort, huge love and sacrifice is invisible to others! 

How to cut out all meaningless stuff?

Yellow and White Ceramic Coffee Mug on Brown Wooden Surface With Black Eyeglasses

There are many tempting things in the world!

Every week try to cut off or limit something that doesn‚Äôt matter much to you but takes up your time‚ÄĒit may be complaining, Facebook, TV, gossiping or worrying about the future. Don‚Äôt feel bad though if you procrastinate a bit sometimes; according to research this is normal and everyone does it. It‚Äôs important not to feel guilty about it and make sure that it doesn‚Äôt take too much of your time and attention.

It’s easy to get into meaningless chats or meet with negative people not because we really want to but because for some reason we feel we should. When you start to say NO to some invitations you may lose some friends. But then, are they real friends if they don’t understand your need to work on something important to you so you can’t hang out with them as much as you used to?

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The average adult person who has children has for themselves only around 2 hours a day. Due to lack of energy these 2 hours are often spent in front of the TV in the evenings. Think how you can organise this time differently. Surely you need to rest a bit but, to tell the truth, TV isn’t a good method for gaining more energy. Maybe you could allow only half an hour a day for TV (and occasionally watch a film, say at weekends) and spend the remaining time on some exercises, such as yoga from a YouTube channel.

Exercise is a very effective cure for fatigue.

Way too often we spend our time also on… looking for different things. Try to be organised and dedicate a week or a whole month to de-cluttering your house. Plan what you will do each day to tidy your stuff up. A method by Marie Kondo is very popular and helpful nowadays. Have you heard of it yet?

  • Try to find a place for everything in your home and group things together. Don’t keep coins or hairpins in a lot of different places at home. One type of item = one place at your home.
  • Organising your clothes (including the ones in the laundry and in any other place at home), on the same day works wonders. Put into a bin everything you haven’t used for a few years but think that you “might use it one day’. If you didn’t need something for 4 years, do you really think you will need it now or in the near future?
  • Many of your documents, notes, and other similar things also could go in the bin. Don’t deceive yourself; some of these things you will never use or need again!

Try a meaningless stuff diet and see how well it tastes! ūüėČ

How to avoid distractions?

A simple distraction such as a notification (often not important at all!) on your mobile means that each time you lose your focus and, according to studies, need 4 to 15 minutes to concentrate and motivate yourself again to keep working effectively on your tasks!

It was found that office workers are distracted every 3 minutes on average!

Data from 2016 indicated that 3 out of 4 employers believe that every day an average employee loses 2 hours of work due to distractions. While you are doing your work, write down all the distractions that happen for a week or two and analyse them. Think what you could do to minimise or avoid them!

We get easily distracted when we are tired. Remember about taking regular breaks, going for a walk and catching some fresh air. Breathe, eat well, drink a lot of water and some green tea. These SIMPLE (but often neglected!) pieces of advice will help you to stay calmer, more focused and more patient.

If you can, and surely sometimes you can, turn your mobile off or change it to airplane mode.

Free stock photo of hands, coffee, iphone, smartphone

One of the greatest pieces of advice, although quite difficult to follow at first, is to get up earlier to avoid distractions: requests, phone calls, noise, notifications, and questions from others! You’d be amazed how much meaningful work can be done in the early morning hours. Don’t get up earlier to catch up with emails or to clean your home! Get up earlier to do something creative, something that’s meaningful for you, something that will give you exceptional results and will bring you closer to achieving your goals. Write, read, work on your business or project, for example. This is a precious time.

If you get up 1 hour earlier every day you will gain 7 extra hours for something that matters to you! How does that sound? Seven quiet precious hours. I had a long period of time when I was able to get up 2 hours earlier than usual. That’s 14 hours a week!¬†Now while in advanced pregnancy I have had to change my schedule because of the need for more sleep.¬†Remember, not every piece of advice will work the same for everyone but I can say that this tip which I read about in What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfastby Laura Vanderkam (available here) made a huge improvement in my life.

Experts advise that to change your habit and make this morning routine easier, ideally, you should get up at the same time every single day. If you allow yourself to sleep longer at weekends, then you’ll feel that it’s more difficult to get up early during weekdays.

If you feel it’s too difficult to do this, maybe try a shorter period of time; for example, 30 mins extra in the morning‚ÄĒthat will also make a difference.¬†Just remember to make sure that you still can sleep 7-8 hours a day.

Some people like to have their Power Hour in the morning so they can feel they’ve achieved something before everyone else gets up. Power Hour means that you dedicate one hour where you put 100% effort into a dedicated project, activity or task. Or it may mean for ¬†some people, for example: 20 mins spent on some creative work, 20 mins of reading and 20 mins of exercising. Check what will work best for you. Knowing that you achieve something early in the morning will make you more satisfied and put you in a more positive mood which will last for hours during the day.

Energy-draining forms of resting

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Yes, you read this correctly. Some activities seem to be helping us to relax but actually drain a lot of our energy because they need a great deal of attention and focus.

For example, using the Internet may seem like fun but as you know it’s a really huge time waster and energy and attention drainer! Funny videos on You Tube may feel like a great way to relax because they make you smile or laugh but it’s a bit like eating chocolate‚ÄĒit works only for a moment and after such a break you actually feel more tired.

The Apple company confirmed in 2016 that their device users unlock their phones 80 times a day on average. This means 6 to 8 times an hour! Sounds unbelievable, right? Make a simple experiment. You can check how much time you waste on your phone by using one of these apps: Checky, Menthal or the recently created AntiSocial. These apps will allow you to see a lot of different interesting information about your phone usage. For instance, AntiSocial will show you if you use your phone or social media more or less when compared with someone who has a similar demographic as you. Researchers advise the use of one of these apps for around 2 weeks to be able to see a more accurate reflection of your real habits.

It is important to be aware how much time we waste on the Internet or on our phone, especially when it’s associated with factors such as low self-esteem, depression, insomnia and, of course, contributes to our delaying or failing to achieve our personal goals.

Many of us say that we have NO TIME. Check the results of your phone, tablet and PC usage and think again – do you really lack time or can you use your time more effectively?

Spending time with SOME people is another activity which looks like a form of resting but may actually drain a lot of your energy. You perhaps don’t feel like meeting some people but at the same time you think you probably should see and speak to them (family friends; a colleague that you see once or twice a year because neither of you feel you should call each other more often; a work colleague that you don’t really like or can’t trust but you feel you should sit with them during lunch time). Meeting people just for the sake of it and having some meaningless conversations can be really energy draining. It is often more about being polite and pretending than being really interested in socialising or what another person wants to tell you.

Try a brisk walk, mindfulness, stretching, or reading a book instead! Did you know that only 6 minutes of reading can decrease your stress level by nearly 70%? 

If you think of different activities during your usual week you may find more things like that. Surely watching TV is one of the examples.

What activities actually make you feel better, more confident, stronger, more optimistic and creative? Think what things make you feel like you have more energy and do them WAY MORE OFTEN!

What about unimportant meaningless stuff‚ÄĒdon’t waste your precious time on it. Don’t let others decide what may be good for you. Don’t do things just to satisfy others and just because something may look good. Often no-one will remember and care. You have only one precious life and really, you should live it the way you want to.

 

 

7 Worst Email Mistakes Everyone Makes

  1. Replying¬†to emails,a well-known rule: “If it takes you 1-2 minutes, do it right away”.¬†

If you answer all¬†your¬†emails very quickly then before you manage to go through all of them¬†you may sometimes¬†start to get replies to your replies …which you’ve just managed to send…

Some¬†emails just create¬†more emails. It’s like a never-ending story. If something isn’t very clear or you think it may take a few emails being sent back and forth,¬†it’s probably better to make a¬†phone call (during the¬†time when you have a¬†block-phone-calls time planned of course!).

Use the batch processing technique. According to studies, you will be most productive if you check and reply to emails only 3x a day or if you can, even more rarely.

    2. Writing over-long emails.                 

It’s difficult to keep¬†some replies¬†short. It’s a bit like an art and we need to mindfully practise it, but once you decide that you want to write, say, a maximum of 4-5 sentences per email, it will work wonders.

3. Using shortcuts,short forms or abbreviations when they are not needed or not well known.

It may look like we don’t really have time to reply to the¬†email ‚ÄĒ e.g.¬†people in some companies write KR instead of Kind Regards. According to studies, many people feel that such emails look like the sender is lazy¬†or unprofessional.

     4. Bad grammar or spelling.

Research¬†carried out by psychologists from¬†North Carolina State University¬†showed that others, who don’t know us in person, judge us a great deal based on errors in emails. If we send emails with errors, others will perceive us as less intelligent and trustworthy!

¬† ¬† ¬†5. Using”Reply All”too often.

Most office¬†workers are quite busy. Emails are a biggie on¬†the¬†distractions list and yet we are often¬†unnecessarily¬†cc-ed in emails that we don’t need to read. Sometimes we just¬†need a one-word or one-line¬†outcome instead of the whole email trail. Sometimes it may be good to make someone aware of something but people are very BUSY nowadays and many wouldn’t like to receive ping-pong emails… Before you click on “reply to all’ think twice if it’s really needed.

     6. Use your subject line PROPERLY.

If you have a query, don’t put Hi or Just a Quick Question¬†in your subject line…¬† Sometimes it will delay a reply. Sometimes it causes real problems to find an old email quickly. Try to name things as specifically as possible in the email¬†title,¬†e.g. XQZ project – approval needed. Or maybe something like: Issue with payment for employee KR. Feb 2018.

    7. Marking not very important emails as urgent ones!

Oh, I know some people who overuse this so much. It’s not just annoying, it’s kind of painful for¬†the¬†eyes. A receptionist where I worked (I worked there only once every few weeks, by the way) added me to a circular list that was sent to all professionals in the building, in higher and lower positions, and then I started to get some emails from her… sometimes quite a lot of them, all marked as urgent:

  • “There is no milk in the fridge. It will be sorted out in an hour” – marked us urgent!
  • ‚ÄúThere¬†is a problem with the sink¬†in one of the toilets¬†on the first floor!‚Ä̬†– marked as urgent!
  • “Has anyone¬†seen a green pen somewhere¬†in reception? It’s Katie’s! Please let me know if you did”. – also marked as urgent…

I’m busy, I mean¬†BUSY, and I¬†get all these urgent messages. Sometimes there¬†are 10 or so¬†in a day. Oh, sweet Lord,¬†help me! It always interested me: How¬†on earth has no-one told the receptionist yet to stop marking¬†all her emails as urgent!

And a personal request to all bosses all over the world:

It‚Äôs great¬†that you are able and happy to work at¬†11pm¬†and then again at¬†2am and 4am.¬†Fantastic.¬†Congratulations on not needing any¬†sleep but …

  • if you have employees who use work mobiles and don’t switch the sound off just in case of an emergency… or
  • if you know that your employee may skim the emails before getting to the office and get stressed with issues at work before even starting their shift¬†‚Ķ

please have mercy!

Just skimming emails (to¬†see whether there is something super-urgent we should be aware of¬†before¬†entering the office!) can raise blood pressure and heart rate at the same time and it feels like we are working from 5am¬†rather than 8 or¬†9am.¬†It’s so difficult to forget about the distraction especially if we care about our jobs or want to be perceived as reliable workers. Please don’t… Why¬†not leave¬†the emails in¬†the¬†DRAFT folder and click SEND on them first thing in the morning when you start your shift? Surely, most of you don’t start your work with¬†a¬†meeting every single day and if you do you could send the pre-prepared emails minutes before the meeting from your mobile.

Have I missed anything? Please comment if you know of any other email-related sins people make?

What is HYGGE and how can it improve your life and well-being?

Living-Room-Inspirations-A-Pile-of-Pillows-Helps-The-Medicine-Go-Down6

Hygge (pronounced ‚ÄúHUE-gah‚ÄĚ) is a Danish word that describes a lifestyle where we consciously focus on creating¬†joy and cosiness¬†in everyday life, or, in other words,¬†it’s a ritual of enjoying and celebrating life’s simple pleasures such as family, good feelings, nature¬†and¬†friendships.

People who implement this in their lives respect others¬†and¬†try to be always warm, friendly and open. Surely, the world would be a much more beautiful place and our lives easier if¬†everyone decided¬†to implement this approach. ūüėČ

Snuggling up in a blanket in your most comfortable PJs, with a big cuppa of your favourite coffee, tea or hot chocolate, and working or relaxing in such a comfortable environment, is something we should aspire to once in a while if we want to maintain or boost our well-being, according to Danes. They believe that this is the best way to fight boredom and depression too.

Some people describe Hyggeias a Danish way of looking for beauty in everyday mundane life.

Hygge means that we allow more time for things that we enjoy. It means that we are okay to slow down not because some activities need to be done more carefully but because they simply give us pleasure and put us in a good mood: simple, small, everyday things like making a coffee or preparing or eating breakfast.

To some it may seem like a lovely but awfully unproductive¬†(yet nearly impossible)¬†way of living which active and busy people don’t have time for,¬†but actually…¬†¬†is Hygge perhaps¬†the answer¬†to¬†why¬†Denmark is¬†often in the top 10 happiest nations in the world?

Living a very active busy lifestyle is surely draining and not really a natural way of living for human beings. Hygge can help you to relax, slow down a bit, and make your life more enjoyable.

How can you implement Hygge in your busy everyday life? 

Everyone is different, so not every activity will feel ideal for you, but if you look at the ideas below, you may find something that you will actually really enjoy and may consider trying to¬†implement in¬†your busy schedule once in a while …

Why should you do it?

Better to ask: why not? Why not try it if it was found to be so beneficial for people?

    • For example, you could invite friends¬†round¬†for a chat (rather than a movie or playing games, or sitting together and texting) and¬†put out some simple drinks and perhaps¬†a¬†fruit or cheese platter¬†for you all to enjoy together.
    • You can consider what you¬†have always¬†wanted to try but had various excuses¬†for not doing, and take up a new hobby that would help you to relax (painting, swimming?).
    • You could light some¬†candles to¬†create a soft¬†glow during dinner time and switch off the¬†TV¬†and your mobile, so you can enjoy your¬†meal more.
    • Go out and play and enjoy spending¬†time with your dog or children outside.
    • Have a picnic in¬†the¬†park with a friend.
    • Go for a bike ride

The ideas are endless really.¬†You can find your hygge where you find your inner calm, where you feel good. It doesn’t need to be nature or snuggling in a warm blanket at home. It may be a coffee shop in the city centre where you enjoy observing others while drinking caramel¬†mocha. It’s an¬†individual¬†matter as to what¬†feels right and makes you happier.

Everyone can find hygge in a different place and situation. Try to find yours. Do more of what you love and be open to new ideas for spending your time¬†unwinding and relaxing, especially here and now – in this super busy world that we live in…

You have only one life. Live it well! Enjoy it!

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If you’d like to learn more about Hygge, I recommend this beautiful edition in hard cover (great as a gift!): Hygge: The Danish Art of Happiness by Marie Tourell S√łderberg. Have a look¬†here

This is a nice read too: Hygge Habits: 42 Habits for a Happy Life through Danish Hygge that take Five Minutes or Less by Helena Olsen (more details here).

‚Ķ and to end in true¬†Hygge style¬†here are¬†two quotes that perfectly summarise this post… ūüėČ

 

JUST DO IT? WAIT!

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JUST DO IT – the famous phrase from NIKE’s advert has become popular in motivational posts, videos and speeches. Why wait? Stop thinking about it for ages. Stop procrastinating. Just do it! Right? No. Not really. Not always.

Some people tend to dwell too much on prep and planning stages or postpone things too much but taking actions mindlessly just to do something related to their goals is not the smartest move either.

You need to have an action plan; a good, well-thought-out action plan where you write down your goals, particular actions, steps and tasks.

Only 3% of adults actually write their goals down.

This is one of the reasons why over 90% of people fail working on their New Year resolutions by 15th January each year!

There have been a number of studies which indicate that people who write their goals down are 50% more successful in achieving what they plan.

You should always keep the note with your goals with you; for example, in your wallet. Why is it so important? If you keep your goals and action steps in your mind (especially if you have an active lifestyle):

  • you may forget about some of the goals or actions sometimes; an average human being has around 1,500 thoughts per minute – you can’t always ensure that your goals are kept on top of all these thoughts; often there is no energy & time for it
  • you may often feel that there are other more important or urgent things that are written, for example, in your emails
  • you won’t treat your personal goals as seriously as work or college/university-related assignments and projects (a lot of these are given to you in a written form or you are expected to write these things down!)

You need to come up with deadlines so your personal goals matter and are treated as any other, for example work goals. Once you have these important aspects sorted out then yes, take action!

And remember to book some time for reviewing your goals and plans because you will notice quickly what mistakes could be avoided, what works and what doesn’t, and what you can do to improve your working style.

Don’t JUST mindlessly DO IT!