Category: Self care

How to travel for business and still be productive!

By , May 16, 2012 5:12 pm

“There’s nothing that can ruin a schedule, suck up more time, sap more energy, and otherwise cause more chaos and problems than travel, so you must take many proactive steps to protect yourself – and your time – as best you can.”

Dan Kennedy, Businessman, Author and Speaker


Travelling can be exhausting!

I’ve travelled extensively for business for the last 10 years. At my peak I averaged more than 250 days a year on the road. I decided to enjoy the experience, as it was such a huge part of my life.

For me, enjoying the journey is as important as enjoying the work when I get there. Once I’ve checked in at the airport or packed the car I’m excited to be embarking on the journey. Travelling is tiring and sometimes frustrating and it’s easy to get out of balance.

My approach to any business travel always focuses on two aspects:

  1. Travelling from A to B as effectively as possible
  2. To be as productive as possible while I’m there

Today I have created a business that has allowed me to reduce my travel schedule – It’s a lifestyle choice. I travel less but still use the following tips that helped me to survive during those intense travel years!

Here are some of them:

Get organised – Planning is key. My business trips are busy, but organised so I can be as productive as possible without burning out. (I learned this the hard way!) You have to be disciplined in your approach if you want to be effective.

Book in advance Book hotels, flights, car rental and accommodation in advance –Doing it last minute is stressful!

Know WHY you’re going Get clear on your intention for the trip. What are the outcomes you’d like to achieve? WHY are YOU going?

Maximise the time while you’re there I look for opportunities to be as productive as possible enroute and while I’m in town. I try to plug in meetings with clients or contacts. Joining the dots of a trip makes you feel more in control.

Pack two days before – So you’re not running around like an idiot and realising you forgot to buy stuff. Last minute packing is stressful. I’ve still been packing at 2 am before leaving home for a 5am start Duh!

Plan any work you intend to do If I’m flying or on a train I decide what work I’ll do as I travel and for how long. It’s amazing what you can get done if you think about it in advance!

Catch up – Planes and trains (especially on a long trip) are great places to catch up on reading and learning. I always download audios for flights.

Relax and snooze – Travel is tiring. Step away from working and allow yourself time to relax, watch a movie or snooze. It’s okay to do this! Plan time to rest on an evening and times in between the working day. It’s easy for boundaries to bleed away when you’re staying in a hotel… You just end up working ALL the time!

Thinking time – I love flying because you get alone time where you’re free from interruptions and distractions. Allow your mind to relax and wonder… I’ve had ideas for blog posts, workshops and even solved a pressing problem or two!

Get to the airport in good time – If you’re flying, that is! So you have time to check in and relax before the flight. I usually use the business lounge to relax.

Avoid travelling in the rush hour – Avoid arriving or leaving in the rush hour. This is a time sucker and I’ve sometimes missed my connections.

You don’t have to be first on board – Some people like pushing, elbowing and fighting their way to be the first on board a flight. Fly business class if possible  it’s less stressful.

Book a driver instead of a taxi – Pre-booking a pick up sedan service is only about £10 extra and you miss the queues at the taxi rank! The drivers are courteous and helpful. The cars are well looked after and clean too (it also stops you being ripped-off!)

Self-care all the way – I used to be the queen of timezone surfing, with little or no effect on me. As I’m getting older I’m finding that I need time to rest and recover, especially when it’s a long haul trip. Allow time for this, especially when you’re surfing timezones! Exercise and stretch during travelling. Use the hotel gym. I usually go there as soon as I arrive – just for 30 minutes to shake off the effects of travelling (unless it’s midnight!).

Drink plenty of water – Your metabolism changes at altitude so the effects of drinking alcohol is heightened when you’re flying. Avoid this if possible because it makes you feel sluggish and kills your productivity. I drink loads of water to keep hydrated as I travel.

Eat healthy – It’s easy to snack and eat junk food when travelling. Again, this can effect your well-being. Look for salads and healthier options. Make time for breakfast. I increase my intake of natural herbs and remedies to keep my immune system smiley and any travel bugs at bay.

Get some sleep – Set some boundaries so you get a chance to catch up on your sleep and go to bed early. It’s tempting to stay out late every night because you’re frightened of missing something this is exhausting! It’s okay to say ‘no’ and get some rest. You’ll be more effective… Trust me!

Power down smart devices – I frequently watch business people using their phones constantly as they travel. Endless phone meetings are exhausting especially as you’re trying to board a plane! Sometimes our ego takes over to make the call look important! Power down the phone, check it occasionally don’t let it control you.

Happy travels! :-)



5 Delusions of a Workaholic…

By , May 2, 2012 9:14 pm

“Our culture celebrates the idea of the workaholic. We hear about people burning the midnight oil. They pull all-nighters and sleep at the office. It’s considered a badge of honor to kill yourself for a project. No amount of work is too much work!”

~ Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Workaholism is TOTALLY UNNECESSARY and can destroy your physical and mental health.

It’s a nasty cultural disease – You don’t know it’s happening. Over time you’re consumed with an intoxicating addictive drug called work.

How do I know?

I used to be one until I crashed and burned out… That was my wake up call!

In the last seven days I’ve heard three real-life scenarios from coaching clients who have had their staff:

  1. Rushed into hospital with heart problems
  2. Signed off sick with a stress-related illness
  3. Sobbing at work not being able to cope with the long hours and extra demands on them.

Workaholics are alive and well and breeding at an alarming rate in the business world.

We can delude ourselves into believing that by working all hours we are the model worker and that promotion is just around the corner…

The reality is that you WILL ultimately crash and burn. That promotion or pay raise may not materialise. Even if you think you’re coping okay now and your body is resilient. You might be creating long-term damage that will manifest itself later and even shorten your life.

Some organisations rely on breeding workaholics to get the job done at whatever cost. They stand by and watch as their employees burn out, caring little about anything except for getting the job done.

Here are 5 delusions of a workaholic…

1. I’m keeping the boss happy – If your boss is allowing you to continue to work endless hours and expects you to respond to his/her emails at the weekend, evenings and while on holiday, then they care very little about you as a person. You’re just resource to get the job done. Did you teach your boss to expect this by allowing it to happen? You’ll ultimately drown in your own unrealistic expectations of yourself.

2. I’m a hero – Workaholics perceive that they are the heroes of the business. Super human beings who regularly save the day! You don’t look for ways to be more efficient because you feel like a hero: What would THEY do without you? (Seriously…They’ll find some other sucker!) You talk about how tired you are and how little sleep you get with pride. The number of hours you work becomes a game of comparison and competition instead of focusing on how productive you are!

3. I’m better than others – Your ego feels superior over others who only work regular hours. Those people who don’t stay late feel inadequate because they work reasonable hours. They feel guilty because they get to go home on time and have a life. You are unknowingly creating poor morale in those around you by your behaviour. If you’re the boss others may feel obliged to follow your role model. You grind everyone into exhaustion. This isn’t clever – it’s stupid!

4. I accomplish more – The truth is that workaholics don’t accomplish more than anyone else. They just work more – usually to the detriment of their personal life. Research has proven that constantly working longer hours and less than six hours sleep per night makes you ineffective – FACT!

  • The longer you work the more chance you’ll make mistakes because you’re tired.
  • It’s okay as a one off but it’s not sustainable. When the burnout comes (and it will) it hits you much harder, possibly with serious side effects.
  • Fixing a problem by throwing more hours at it isn’t the solution. You lose concentration the longer you work.
  • Your decision-making ability is impaired and you lose focus of what’s important.
  • Your emotions are evoked and you may say or do things out of character.
  • Things take more time to achieve

5. Successful people work long hours – Most people work longer hours occasionally. Successful people live to their values and have balance between their working and personal time. They set and maintain boundaries so these don’t blur into each other. Workaholics don’t know when to stop – They are driven by perfectionism and attention to detail.

The real hero is the person who has learned how to be productive during the day and get things done. They are the ones who are at home on an evening relaxing, living their life and not being all consumed by WORK.

Don’t let WORK be your life…





How to STOP…When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

By , January 19, 2012 10:49 pm

“My life has a superb cast but I can’t figure out the plot.”

~ Ashleigh Brilliant

There’s so much to do. It’s easy to get swept up in the tide of doing that you never take some time out to be still.

Stillness feels like you’re not being productive, that you’re being lazy. So you avoid it at all costs and carry on doing instead.

Sometimes STOPPING and STEPPING BACK is exactly the right thing to do.

Recently, I had some big decisions to make about the direction of my business. I knew that in order to continue to expand I needed to make changes to the WHAT and the HOW. To do this I firstly needed to reconnect to my WHY by re-aligning to my original vision and intention and really get clear.

The thought of this scared me and every time I took a step towards it, resistance would come up and I’d avoid it completely. I’d lose myself back in my business: getting on with the doing to keep my mind busy instead.

I learned that avoidance is not the solution to any challenge or uncomfortable situation. You have to work through it. Sometimes working through it involves preparing yourself mentality and physically beforehand.  If you’re tired and overwhelmed then it’s impossible to think clearly or believe that your goals are actually achievable.

Sometimes you have to STOP!

Take a break and step back from the immediate situation recharge your battery and re-connect to your clarity and motivation.

Here’s how…

Just STOP! – Even though my instincts told me to keep working and get on with the job. I decided to take a full weekend off. No email, no working in my business. The theme of this weekend was REST and RESTORE. The laptop and IPhone were powered down. It was tough fighting those old habits but I kept away for two whole days!

Do something you enjoy – I enjoy hiking. Getting outdoors and bathing myself in the beauty and awe of Nature restores my soul and energy. I literally feel my cells refueling themselves. Nature also has a way of grounding and reconnecting you to who you really are. Being outside makes me happy and fills me with joy. Have some fun!

Sleep it off – Go to bed early! I went to bed at 7.15pm that evening and woke up at 7am the next morning! I felt a totally different person. You body talks to you constantly. When you’re tired – go and rest. Seriously! This is one of the best things you can do. Everything looks different when you’re not tired. You can make decisions with clarity and focus.

Stillness speaks – I ALWAYS find the solution when I allow myself some space and time to be quiet and still. The negative voice in my head eventually gives up and is replaced by space. In the silence the shoots of wisdom burst through. Allow your sub-conscious to work on things while you’re relaxing or resting. Give your mind a time-out!

Get some help – I checked in with my mentor who was able to listen and guide me though the resistance I was having. She helped me to re-focus and build the fire within. Challenges are the raw materials for solutions. Talking them through creates a portal for options to be generated and explored.

Take one step towards it – You can only get things done one step at a time. Create the next logical step and take it. If you want to transform something you can’t do it all at once. Step by step. Taking small action starts to build momentum.

Give yourself the gift of stopping and taking a break. It doesn’t have to be a weekend. It might be an hour or two. It can make ALL the difference!

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat 11-13 November 2011

By , September 28, 2011 1:46 pm

LiveBrilliant Women’s Retreat – Coming Soon!

By , August 14, 2011 6:22 pm

Recommit to Your Goal

By , February 5, 2011 7:31 pm

“Commitment gets you started and propels you through the early stages of any game, but it’s recommitment that ignites your reserves when you feel like giving up.”

Gay Hendrick, Author, The Big Leap

I love this quote especially because it is so true!

I was coaching a client recently who came up against the challenge of low energy and distraction.

He was100% committed to his goal of Self Investment and growth. He ‘got’ how important this was for his personal success. However, in the busy-ness of his working life he would get lost in the do-do of doing and forget about the value he’d placed on his own personal development.

He allowed other bright shiny objects and distractions to pull his attention away and steer him off course. The scheduled time for his high valued personal investment was sacrificed in those moments of low energy and reactivity.

He became frustrated for allowing this to happen. Over time he started to believe that he wasn’t cut out to be successful as his ego took over to look for external evidence to support his belief.

Sure enough, his ego provided evidence!

My client spiralled into self-doubt and wavered off course because he was too busy being distracted and reacting to other people’s demands on him. He’d forget about the commitment he had made to himself and it slipped down his priority list.

Here’s how I’ve learnt to recommit…

We all need to be reminded of the things that are important to us because there’s so much going on it’s easy to forget what we have committed to. We all hit wobbly moments where our attention wanders and our energy is focused off course.

1. Breathe – Take a step back from the situation and your ego. Create some space to get clear again. Remember WHY the thing you have committed to is important and of high value. Re-ignite your commitment.

2. Adopt a No Excuses Policy – This requires a full decision on your part to be 100% present. This includes 100% engagement of your energy. It’s a done deal when it comes to your daily discipline to making it happen. There are no exceptions, it’s just what you do (Like brushing your teeth every day!).

3. Write it down – To remind you. Create a success mantra on small cards or sticky posts and put them in places where you’ll see them throughout the day. I use sticky notes in my car, on my computer, by my bed and posted on my office wall. All of these are prompts to remind me daily of my key commitments in my life. A written reminder helps me to stay on track.

4. Notice when you feel off centre – Learn to pay attention to your body. You’ll notice when things feel out of alignment or something doesn’t feel right. Don’t just ignore it and carry on. Take action to step back in and re-align yourself to your goal.

5. Watch Your Language – Look out for shoulds, musts and oughts creeping into your language. These indicate a sense of duty rather than a sense of freedom. Look out for getting stuck in a rut and using these as excuses to pull you away from your goal.

Recommitting to your goal is a continuous process if you want to be successful.

Travel Notes – Create and Renew – Time for ME

By , January 17, 2011 12:50 am

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