The Ultimate Lifestyle Edit – 3 tips

Will I ever tire of reading stuff to do with decluttering and simplifying your life? Probably not.

A few years back when I was feeling pretty lost in my career, I spent a whole Christmas holiday on my parent’s sofa, obsessively reading the Becoming Minimalist blog. Reading about paring down, simplifying, and getting rid of clutter, made me feel better. It was soothing. It did something to my mind, relaxed me, maybe released some of the mental tension I’d been holding.

The thought of shedding things I didn’t really want or need, things that were weighing me down, and paring down to the things I truly loved, felt like I’d be freeing myself somehow.

When you’re feeling a little out of control – with me it was in regards to my career – decluttering can be a sort of antidote. It’s one area of your life you can control. You can declutter and then limit what physical items come into your life. It’s the ultimate lifestyle edit. It helps calm the mind.

Since then whenever I feel a little bit out of control, overwhelmed, with too much going on in my head, I turn to thoughts of simplifying and decluttering.

1. Physical decluttering

Physically decluttering, having a good old sort out, then keeping things organised, makes your day-to-day life better. You know where to find things, and it’s pleasing to the eye.

I’m calmer if my home is clean and tidy and not a disorganised mess, with things to catch my eye and annoy me, and take my concentration.

2. Digital decluttering

It’s not only physical items. Now digital decluttering is more important than ever. There’s so much being thrown at us all the time, not only what’s going on in our own monkey minds but also the relentless influx of digital content; different platforms on which to view content, interesting articles, things to look into, to follow up on, to download, to read, to try out, to buy, to consider…

It’s amazing because there’s so much inspiration out there and there’s so much to do. But there’s no stop button.

So the only way is to streamline. Strip back to the basics and focus. Decluttering and reassessing processes is one way to do that.

I try to be aware of getting lost in the jumble of information overload.

There’s something really liberating about going through your phone and deleting unused apps and contacts. Closing down open webpages and deleting bookmarked items. All those things that take up space and time and attention, and really don’t need to be there. Maybe they’re out of date, or you just don’t use them.

Unfollowing people that add nothing to your life. Unsubscribing.

Just today a friend looked at my laptop for me as it wasn’t working properly. When he handed it back he’d tidied all the out of control shortcuts and screenshots into a neat little file for me to review and (ideally) delete. My homepage looks so appealing now – and I feel a little wash of calm when I look at it. Simple.

3. Mental decluttering

I constantly remind myself to keep things simple. My home, packing for a trip, social plans, a work project, my desktop – everything.  It helps me to manage the barrage of things to do and think about.

I love writing lists and also splurging whatever’s going on in my head onto paper. Mentally decluttering, getting it out there rather than letting things whirl around in my head, or trying to remember too much.

What can you simplify in your life? What can you get rid of?

If you need help with making a change in your life, contact me for a coaching session. Send me an email at: joaopoku@gmail.com and I’ll get in touch.

 

Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

Confidence in what you really want

I remember walking to a sales meeting with a work friend of mine. This friend – I love. She was a dream to work with, really supportive, really smart and competent. A total love.

I was at a stage where I was really struggling with work – not feeling like I belonged or that I was any good at my job. And by the way, I wasn’t at the start of my career, I was probably a good 8 or 9 years into the role… Read more here.

Anyway, I was saying something about my dream being that I could work from home – to run my own schedule, to not have to go to meetings I didn’t want to go to, to do my own thing. And this friend was like, “why would you want to work on your own at home? I’d find that so isolating. Don’t you want to be around people? I’d hate it!”

And I remember feeling so depleted. Because I really valued her opinion. I’d shared my dream and she’d shot it down – not in a mean or aggressive way, she just clearly didn’t share that particular dream with me, and didn’t really understand it.

The thing is, she was just stating a preference. In the same way that perhaps she’d prefer white wine with dinner and I’d choose red, or for her next holiday she’d fancy a festival whereas I’d fancy a road trip in Italy; she didn’t like the idea of working from home, and I was pretty obsessed with it.

And I think for a time I pushed the dream out of my head, thinking, it’s not realistic, maybe it’s not a good idea, maybe it’s not all its cut out to be.

But just because I think something’s a good idea and someone else doesn’t, why would I value their opinion more? Why would I value their preferences over and above my own?

Lack of confidence.

Lack of confidence in my decisions, my choices, my dreams, my plans. What a fundamental, critical thing to lack confidence in. To have confidence in knowing what I want.

It’s so important to hold onto your dreams, to stay strong and not be swayed by others. To practise a little stubbornness, nurture a more rebellious side. Because no one knows what you want more than you.

Find other people who share your dream, read about people already doing it, living it. Seek inspiration.

Luckily, I did value that dream, and held onto it. I discovered that a different way of working was indeed possible.

These days I work from coworking space, and from home when it suits me. I love it. It suits my way of working perfectly. My friend still works in an office. It suits her.

Imagine if I hadn’t followed my dream. I’d still be feeling frustrated and trapped in an office environment I didn’t like. Change can be good.

Work with me

If you’d like to  have some coaching sessions with me, send me an email at joaopoku@gmail.com. I can help you focus, take action, and achieve your dreams.

Photo by William Bayreuther on Unsplash

The Revelation

 

I was listening to a podcast this morning on the way to work; there was a beautiful bright blue sky and I was feeling inspired. As sometimes happens when I listen to podcasts, I lost focus and my mind started drifting…

I’m not sure why, but started thinking about a coaching session I had a few years ago, when my life coach asked me something which changed everything.

I felt my life unravelling

It was a hectic, chilly December evening right before Christmas – I remember a frantic dash to a department store after the session, probably for a Secret Santa present. I rushed through the after-work crowd to the session after a tiring, busy day at work.

It was at a time when I felt my life was somewhat unravelling. I was frustrated, worried, scared. I wanted to leave my job, but I didn’t know what I wanted to move into. I’d started seeing a life coach, desperate for guidance.

We were brainstorming potential new roles, and I still had a mindset  of – what could there be out there for me? I don’t want to continue in sales. Therefore there’s nothing for me! I have no skills – what can I do? Everything’s boring! Nothing appeals!

We’d talked about the kinds of areas that interested me, which pretty much came down to: reading, film, languages, communicating, helping people in some way… I thought that working for a charity or NGO might be up my street.

Based on what we’d discussed my coach then she asked me if, for example, I could you see myself in a role where I’d travel to other countries, working for a charity whose aim was to help children with their literacy; my job would be to visit and report on how it’s going.

Revelation

Wow. It was the first kind of role I’d considered in a long time that lit me up. It sounded brilliant! Exactly the kind of thing I’d like to move on to do. And, with that mindset, it was something I never would have  imagined might exist as a role.

Suddenly I was inspired, I could see that there was life beyond my current role and current situation. Life might get exciting again! Maybe I could actually find a job where I felt that I was doing good, having impact, helping people. Using my skills and knowledge to help people. Amazing.

It planted a seed

Seven months later in the summer, I left my job. The following February, over a year since that breakthrough coaching session, I started my new job. I was now working for a company who help children who are struggling with their reading.

It’s not a charity, and I don’t travel the world (at the moment it’s between the UK and Spain, which is pretty good going). I visit schools, training teachers and helping them implement a reading programme. I check on progress.

But it’s amazing to realise that I’m doing a role which is very similar to the one suggested by my coach.

That conversation really helped me on my way; it planted a seed.

Visualisation and focus

Visualisation is so important. If you can imagine and see what you want, if you can imagine yourself doing that thing you want to do, you can then work towards it. You can focus. Opportunities (almost magically) start to present themselves. You see them because you’re now open to them – they’re on your radar. I don’t know the science but your brain is looking out for connections.

But with no goal or visual – where do you go? Nowhere, you stay put, stuck, wallowing.

Here’s something that might help you if you’re feeling stuck and not moving forward on something you want to change. Download my guide to creating vision boards as a PDF here: How to Create a Vision board ebook

Start visualising, start taking action.

If you’d like to book a coaching session with me, contact me at: joaopoku@gmail.com

 

Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash

Burnout and turning it around

I read something in Emma Gannon’s the Multi-Hyphen Method yesterday (which I’m loving) about ‘How to Spot Burnout’. Five main points were:

  • Noticing that you’re being cynical about everyone and everything
  • Becoming apathetic, not caring that much about the outcome of a project
  • Tasks that were once easy become difficult or overwhelming
  • Physical symptoms such as illness, aches and pains, immune issues
  • Isolating yourself and feeling a huge loss of energy

It hit a nerve. I’d always considered that I might have suffered burnout at one stage in my life but it sounded quite a grand way of describing what I’d seen as ‘a bit of a murky period’.

But the truth is, those five points describe how I was feeling. The thought of calling a potentially intimidating client bought me to tears – and I actually felt I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t pick up the phone to him.

I had no interest in work.

I’d go straight home and cry every day.

I developed a tick in my left eye that stayed with me for MONTHS.

And I didn’t want to socialise. I lost all sense of reality in terms of confidence and how good I was at my job. Everything felt too much, work, social life, everything.

So I left my job. Which I’d previously thought was something you just don’t do. But it reached the point where it felt like my only option.

I’m glad I did it. I turned things around. I took myself out of an environment that wasn’t doing me any good and I gave myself breathing space. It took time but I’m now in a much, much happier situation.

Sometimes you have to be brave, sometimes you have to take a risk. Sometimes you have to listen to your gut and do what you know deep down will be best for you.

Even if it seems crazy and risky and a massive mistake. Who knows? No one can predict the future.

But the worst is not taking action, and settling. Letting yourself get dragged deeper and deeper into despair or worse – indifference. Losing any zest you once had for your wonderful beautiful life.

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I’ve you’d like to try a life coaching session with me, contact me here.

 

Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash