Everybody’s working for the weekend

sunglass FreddieAwake early Saturday morning and there was that delicious moment when my brain yelled in joy, “It’s the weekend!”…quickly followed by my brain singing “everybody’s working for the weekend” (It’s not easy having my brain).  Then of course, I couldn’t get back to sleep because I was trying to figure out who sang that song…still don’t know…brain still singing.

However, this weekend is decidedly a work-free weekend for me.  Have been choosing to work most weekends over the past few weeks with new projects, new website (! you’re here!), new everything, but I know my limit, and this weekend is definitely not going to be a working one.

Many of our clients, maybe you as well, are putting in longer and longer hours, skipping lunch breaks, coming in early, staying late, and working weekends.  What with cutbacks, staff layoffs and downsizing, what 3 people used to do now comes down to one poor sod trying to do it all.  And, because you are a burnout queen…trying to do it your absolute best.

So, can going in early, staying late, or working weekends ever be good for burnout?  About now you are wondering, are they crazy? How could putting more time in at work, cutting into relaxation time, ever be a good burnout strategy?  “It’s about control people, control!”  (I couldn’t resist going for the drama, it’s sooo not me!) Seriously, one of the great contributors to burnout is lack of control.  So think about it, if you are desperately behind on deadlines, drowning under piles of ToDo’s, your day is full of interruptions, and you have a line-up of people at your door waiting for your attention (whew, stressed just writing that) it makes sense to decide to work more!  Oh yes it does.

Making a choice to dig in and dig out, to hunker down and get ahead, choosing to find those extra, quiet, interruption-free, focus-filled hours is the same as making a conscious decision to recharge your batteries.  No longer will you be feeling the weight of every unfinished task resting on your shoulders.  You may actually be able to breathe instead of feeling squeezed!

So, feel free, you have our blessing, tilt the balance for a few hours this weekend or next week.  Face the extra work hours with a different mindset, see it as proactive.  A “queenly” decision as we like to see them, taking back your power, making it work for you.

ONE GREAT TIPIf you are heading into the office on the weekend, make a point of dressing like the weekend:  flip flops, sweats, baseball cap, shades.  If you are working at home, keep the bunny slippers on!


If you were born a little perfectionist, you would never have started walking

perfection word“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.”  (Salvador Dali)

Tired of striving for perfection?  But it’s just who you are, right?  Wrong!  You were not born to be a perfectionist.  No, you were raised and trained to be a perfectionist!  If you were born a little perfectionist you would have never started walking.  Can you imagine toddlers trying to stand up or take that first step and then quitting because they didn’t do it perfectly?  Ridiculous!

Before going any further, let’s just get this out of the way.  Being a perfectionist does not mean you do everything perfectly, but it does mean you could die trying!

So how do you get to be a perfectionist if you weren’t born that way?  It begins in childhood with ‘requests’ for perfection.  These may be as simple as wanting you to make your bed exactly right, set the table perfectly, achieve ‘perfect’ marks on homework, or have perfect manners.  The list of ‘perfection requests’ could go on and on, and unfortunately for some kids it does.

Then we have the ‘dangling carrot’ message.  Just when you think you have done enough or done something well, the goal post gets moved!

— Your piano playing is sounding good, it would be even better if you practiced one more hour a day!

Dinner was lovely, it would have just been that little bit better if you had used more spice.

Your essay reads really well.  It would look better if you printed it on better paper.

That dress looks lovely, but I think I prefer your blue one.

98% on your test!  Hey (laugh, laugh) where’s the other 2%?

No matter what you do or how much you do, it is never, ever good enough.

Requests for perfection go hand-in-hand with unreachable ideals.  You know, how you ‘should’ be, ‘should’ perform, how much time you ‘should’ put into homework or hobbies, or how much excellence you ‘should’ achieve.  As you grow the external pressure to be perfect morphs into constant self-demand, impossible inner standards, fear of not succeeding, and for many a paralyzing fear of failing.

You need to understand what perfectionism does to your life.  Then you need to take a deep breath and ease back on the throttle of your desire and need to be perfect.  Perfectionism drains your energy and your time.  It messes up your priorities, it keeps you hammering away at something trivial at the expense of something important.  Striving for perfect makes you unsure of the decisions you make and focused on getting it ‘right’ instead of focusing on what is ‘right’ for you.  Perfectionism drains your soul.

Given all of that, I refuse to see perfectionism as a ‘bad’ trait (as it is often portrayed).  It comes down to perfectionism vs realism:  when is ‘good enough’ simply good enough?  Perfectionism is only ‘bad’ when it gets in the way of living or causes anxiety or tension.  Not all of us will be able to banish perfectionism from our lives forever (maybe not want to) but we do need to give up the myth that we can actually achieve perfection and keep perfection.  If we can relinquish that belief, we can live a long and happy life with perfect…or not.

We can tame the beast!


Go ahead take an EGO trip

expensive luggageMore often than not we have to remind our clients, our fabulous and gorgeous clients, just how wonderful and special they are.  So, it is time…yes, it is time to take an Ego Trip!  So stand tall (with or without 4″ heels) and don the crown.  It is time to be your Queenly Self.

Oh, ok, having Ego has a bad rep, but why?  Ego gives us that foot-up to stand up and be counted.  Ego (lovely ego) says “Here I am world and I am wonderful”.  So here it is, 4 simple little steps to the perfect Ego Trip.

ONE:  Drop the modesty!  Write a list, a long list, of all things you love about yourself and all the things you do brilliantly.  Include all your fab qualities and we know you have many.  Can’t love others till you love yourself we say.

TWO: Write that acceptance speech!  Celebrate your success and invite more success into your life.  Keep your success quiet, and…well no one knows about you.  Invite your Ego to stand up and accept that gold.  Tip:  Hand your Ego a speech that includes a long list of your successes.

THREE:  Pamper your Queen!  Now that you know what a great person you are (You do know that by now don’t you?) do nice things for yourself.  Lots and lots of nice things, small or large, doesn’t matter.  Include things for your pleasure, your satisfaction and just a few to make life gentler and kinder.

FOUR:  Pledge allegiance to your Inner Queen!  Believe in her.  Accept all of your brilliance, creativity, sensitivity and success.  You are powerful, strong, and lovable.

Just one last thing left to do before you head off on your Ego Trip.  Add this mantra to your morning routine…

Everyday, in every way, I simply get better and better.

Own your time, it’s worth every minute

hourglasspDo you race through the day with your heartbeat outstripping your pace?  Do you end up being late, guilty, and frustrated, not to mention exhausted and slightly cranky?  Our clients’ creative time-telling certainly ups the pressure in their high-achieving lifestyles.

It’s just so easy to schedule work days under the delusion that we can move through space without having to actually drive from point A to B, always find a parking spot, or never miss the train.  We schedule back to back appointments and obligations but never think about contingency time for commuting, waiting, other people being late, last minute calls, needing to stop for petrol, or a multitude of spur of the moment hold-ups.  How self-defeating is that?

On weekends we pack so much into two itty-bitty days: errands, friend & family time, cleaning, exercise, appointments and, wait for it, relaxation!  Monday rolls around and we feel like we have been through the spin cycle.  It’s almost a relief to go back to work!

We’ve learned the hard way, that there is a difference between being creative about how you use your time, and being creative about how much time actually exists.  Then there’s that pesky little thing called being realistic about how much time something will actually take you to do.

Feeling out of control of time leads to feeling frazzled, always trying to catch up and always feeling frustrated.  That’s a burnout cycle.  Get realistic about time-telling and your sense of overwhelm and exhaustion will drop.  You’ll need some patience and you may not accomplish absolutely everything you want to each day (take a deep breath before you hyperventilate!), but it does mean that minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, week by week you will begin to own your time.  Now that’s worth every minute.

Here’s one great tip:  Automatically give yourself a 20-30 minute buffer zone around meetings and appointments.  No, this does not mean squeeze in something else.  If you get to a meeting early, bonus!  Take a quick walk around the block to stretch tired muscles or maybe just grab a quick cup of tea and daydream about how you are going to enjoy this weekend, not fry it!


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