As the seasons begin to change, my energy and mind start to shift to a place of renewal. Without getting too hippie dippy on you, I always breathe a sigh of relief when we hit the first of the month and think, “Ahhh, new month, new opportunities.” I’m sure there’s a cosmic explanation for this, and perhaps down the road we’ll have an astrologist help explain it, but for the sake of this piece, I’m going to chalk it up to simply appreciating fresh starts.
Speaking of fresh starts, October is both my personal favorite month and most intense professional month.
I love the lower temps (a necessity in this Texas heat), which lends itself to more outdoor activities, and of course, fresh seasonal produce is high on my list. But it also means lots of travel, meetings galore, offsite retreats, and for whatever reason, a rise in fun side projects. Zero complaints over here, but I always find I need to schedule more R&R on my calendar in the fall and truly make sure I’m taking care of myself both mentally and physically. I’m a huge believer in paying it forward and sharing my knowledge as much as possible, so here are the three things that are currently helping to refresh my mindset and carry me through a very busy fall.
The Five Minute Journal
I have to admit, when I first heard about The Five Minute Journal, I was a bit skeptical. Not only did I not understand the value in journaling, but I already had an established routine of writing down my goals every morning, and this just felt like an added layer. But after learning Tim Ferriss is a fan and receiving a Five Minute Journal from my Mom, I put my skepticism aside and started to use it. All I can say is: what took me so long? With the exception of two weeks when I was in Europe, I’ve been using this journal consistently for two months, and it has — without question — changed my mindset. And the best part? It’s simple. You start and end each day with gratitude, which has helped me become more mindful and live with intention. It helps you focus on the good and lead a more optimistic life. 10 out of 10, would recommend this to everyone.
You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
Did anyone else open Instagram one day and randomly see 95% of their feed posting about this book? No? Just me? My sister has waxed poetic about author Jen Sincero, and recently shared this quote with me from You Are A Badass:
“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”
Hearing this really made me evaluate my emotions. In early September, I started to get very anxious about how busy my fall was going to be and worried about juggling it all. Realizing that this fear was warranted, but not necessary, put me in control of my emotions, and reminded me that we are always in control of right now. Because I like to consider myself someone that lives in the present, I truly strive for being at peace thanks to this quote. (Note: the internet is torn on the origin of this quote, though most agree it came from Lao Tzu).
I took back my mornings.
I used to run a completely filled calendar, scheduling morning coffees and breakfast meetings every single day (no joke). That then led to me rushing out the door, cutting corners on my morning routine, and leaving me tired by 4 PM. I thought that morning meetings were the best option because I wouldn’t be forced to cancel on anyone due to a last-minute meeting. Plus, I get such a high when meeting with friends, industry cohorts, or new-to-me members of the community, that it was always hard for me to turn down a meeting. I hit my breaking point when I looked at my calendar and saw I didn’t have any free time to hit my favorite 8 AM yoga class for the next three weeks. I immediately put a block on my calendar and decided to take my mornings back and put some parameters around breakfast, lunch, and dinner meetings. In the process I realized most of these meetings could be accomplished over email or on a phone call. For inquiring minds, here are my parameters:
- Two days a week I decidedly don’t schedule morning meetings so that I can sleep in a little later, go to yoga, and ease into my work day.
- I always schedule my workouts for the week before meetings, leaving room for flexibility (ie: if a client is in town and I need to swap my spin class with a morning meeting).
- I ask what the purpose of the meeting is upfront. While some meetings require being in-person and some people do better in a face-to-face relaxed setting, many things can easily be accomplished over a 15 minute phone call.
Who knew a journal, quote from a book, and blocking out time in my calendar could lead to feeling more grateful, at peace, and in control of my schedule and emotions? While these are all personal examples, I hope they are useful and perhaps prompt ideas of ways that you can enter each month and season — busy or not — with a fresh new perspective.