2022 Reduce Stress Simplicity and Time Management Time Management

We are talking about TIME and the IMPACT on your mental health

What are we talking about today? TIME…we are talking about time and the impact on our mental health: 

As humans, we habitually
a) OVERestimate what we can do in a DAY ?
b) UNDERestimate what we can accomplish in a YEAR ?

For a QUICK SNAPSHOT of where you will be a YEAR from now, look at your habits TODAY:

?‍♀️ Do you have a habit of being busy all the time just racing from one thing to the next?

?Do you have a habit of people pleasing and putting your own needs to the back of the queue?

?Do you have a habit of starting a healthy habit but very quickly falling off the wagon?

Do you think you’ll sort these things “when there is time”?
That time pretty much never comes ?

Genuine change is building tiny habits IN THE NOW:

? A daily mental health practice that keeps you up and moving forwards.

?‍♀️ Purposefully your body daily in some way daily, no matter what.

?‍♀️ Being aware of your true priorities for the YEAR and allocation your time, energy and attention in line with that in the moment.

These are all things that are built into my Coaching Academy Wellbeing Warriors – all you need to do it show up and be amazed at what you can accomplish in a year. ?‍♀️

If you don’t have a structure and a system for making good choices easier and supported for yourself then either join one or create one for yourself. If you want to know how your life will
look a year from now…you can find the answer in your tiny choices today ?

2020 Energy Boosters Happiness Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Post Lockdown Reduce Stress Simplicity and Time Management

Tame That To Do List

Habits Of Happiness – Expectation Management

Here is an interesting phenomenon. In my experience, people tend to seriously OVER estimate what can be achieved in the short term, and UNDER estimate what can be achieved in the long term.

For example, if you are anything like me you start the day with a To-Do list thinking, yep, I can crack through at least 8 of those things today! Bring it on! I have a vision of crossing things off in a frenzy of activity, getting to the end of the day with a list satisfyingly scored with black lines detailing what has been accomplished. But yet, in reality, I will have a super busy day, and yet only 2 things get crossed off.  Some days not even that!

I was bemoaning this fact to my partner. He asked “How was your day”, and I responded “Good, but… I didn’t get done everything I wanted to get done”. “You ALWAYS say that!!!!” he said. “Always”. Irritatingly when I thought about it he was absolutely right. Almost every single day I would be beating myself up about the things I had NOT done. Rather than celebrating the progress on the things I HAD accomplished. I had fallen straight into the trap of overestimating what can be achieved in the short term, and it was sucking a bit of joy out of each (actually pretty damn productive!) day.

When we routinely overestimate what we can achieve in the short term it can create a whole heap of stress and overwhelm. By overestimating just how much can be done in a day we end up beating ourselves up for not being efficient enough. Organised enough. Quick enough. Good enough. It’s actually a pretty tiring pattern.

It’s a good observation, and I know I am not alone. My smart, high achieving, professional clients are usually in the same boat. It’s a good exercise to do a little expectation management on ourselves to reduce stress.

Interestingly this phenomenon seems to go hand in hand with underestimating what we can accomplish in the long term.

We can get so caught up in the frenzy of everyday life that we fail to put our head above the parapet long enough to set some real stretch goals for ourselves, big dreams that can be realised if we plan them properly with a 12-month time frame. Because we are so busy it’s easy to dismiss those dreams as just dreams, or too big to be reached so why bother. Whereas if we put our minds to it and break it down into the tiny steps we discussed last week, that big dream can become a big goal with a deadline that we can actually accomplish if we consciously choose it.

The secret to achieving more of the big stuff and reducing stress with the small stuff is to practice expectation management. Expect a little less of yourself daily, but a little more of yourself long term. It’s a subtle but effective shift in perception that can make a big difference.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What DID I accomplish today? (not what did I NOT do!)
  • What are the three things I will accomplish this week come hell or high water? What are my real priorities this week?
  • What are three small things I can do this week that will step me towards my long term goals?

Action Step:

Cut yourself a little slack today, know you won’t get everything done on your list that you want to get done, BUT commit to putting into place at least one big, energising blow-your-mind dream that you can steadily move towards over the next 12 months.

You will surprised how much you can reduce the stress today, and increase the accomplishment in tomorrow.

2020 Emotional Honesty Happiness Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Self Care and Self Love Simplicity and Time Management

5 Things I no longer have time for…

Bet you can’t guess #3!

You can call it a post-Lockdown burst of clarity, or just getting older and wiser…but here are 5 things I have decided I am done with.

Being Done With feels incredibly relieving and I have a real sense of lightness about it – like having a really nice internal spring clean. What is also incredibly pleasing about being Done With 5 things…is that it opens up SO much emotional capacity, physical space and T I M E to do things I really care about.

I hope it might inspire you to do your own list …what are you Done With?

Here are mine for your inspo!

So, good people,  I Am Done With:

  1. Hangovers

So yeah, this is a big one to start with. I’ve been an enthusiastic drinker of alcohol all my adult life. It’s been at the centre of every celebration, commiseration and Friday night since the year dot. It’s been part of the best of times and the worst of times.

My shy, underconfident teenage self used it to make herself feel interesting and to burst through the thick layer of excruciating self-consciousness at house parties. My older self used it to make other people feel interesting at boring dinner and industry parties.

It’s been my constant companion in my ever-changing social setting all my adult life. Not so much the last 10 years or so, but y’know, a few wines a few times a week. A very normal amount. Certainly not a problem amount, just a few wines, like you do.

Then – in October last year – after one too many – I decided to Break Up With Booze. That I was D.O.N.E. For 30 days. But then…here we are in June – and I am STILL DONE! I’ve done sober birthdays, Christmas, black-tie speaking events, weddings, you name it I have done it with nothing stiffer than a soda and twist of lime.

And do you know what’s been the MOST surprising thing about it? After DECADES of social and convivial drinking, the absolute SHOCKER to me as been HOW FREAKING EASY IT HAS BEEN TO JUST STOP.

Just like that. I’ve had a drink on 3 occasions, and that’s IT. Not been drunk at all. Not even tipsy. Essentially, I have raised a few glasses in toast and that’s it.  And it’s been AWESOME.

I LOVE not drinking. I had NO IDEA that would happen. I LOVE having more energy and sparkle. I LOVE how much longer the weekends feel.

It’s taken my breath away how EASY it’s been, and how I have ZERO desire to go back. I’ll have the odd glass a few times a year if I want, or not if I don’t, but that’s it.

I’ve learned a LOT about doing it the easy way, the psychology of embracing a hangover-free life – and I’m going to teach it in a Sober October course later in the year – you can check out my Academy here if you are curious.  It really is about doing it EASY, without force, and I’m excited to teach that in-depth later in the year.

  1. Being Over Busy All The Time

Okay – second thing I am just DONE WITH is Being Busy All The Time. Being that person who is racing from one thing to the next all the time. Feeling like I am never “finished” and that there is always one more post to write, one more of my voluntary commitments that needs attention, something I should be doing for someone, some chore I should be on top of.

I have taken the enforced state of No Obligation during Lockdown to really prune my obligations. It’s meant making some hard decisions about what to let go of and gracefully release. And – do you know what…it’s EXTRAORDINARY!

Getting to the end of the day and feeling a sense of accomplishment that I have created all that I promised myself this day – but – that I am done for the day, and that things are not hanging over me. That there is more time and space to enjoy what I am actually creating (writing this for y’all, for example) rather than just wanting to get it ticked off so I can get onto the next thing.

I teach a concept called Life Maths to my clients and Academy members – and, y’know what people: IT WORKS. Less truly is more. Less obligations, less To Do’s equals more space more depth, more connection, more learning, more enjoyment, more fun. Life is just BETTER.

Doing All The Things  (just because you are capable and you can) is totally overrated, and I am cheerfully Done With It.

Life Maths is included in my 30 Day course Goals With Souls course in the Academy – you can dive in today for just $39 if you want to create more space for what you want in life.

  1. Ironing

Just – nah. Life is too short to iron. I only buy stuff that doesn’t need ironing. And I’ve got rid of my ironing board. Hurrah for me.

  1. Not feeling “cool enough”

I think this has been another benefit of lockdown – because NO ONE has been doing anything, all the FOMO just disappeared for us all. Poof! SO NICE!

It’s made me realise that actually a lot of the things I enjoy – ARE NOT COOL – BUT I DON’T CARE! Yes, I superlove catching up with a friend with an expensive mocktail in a nice bar wearing cute shoes…but …also…I really like switching my brain off and doing a jigsaw. SO uncool – right?! But…I’m done with caring. I like what I like. And I’m all in with it.

Bring on the jigsaws. I’m all about it.

Yoga. Yes, love it. Completely reconnecting with it.

Binging on Personal Development books and courses.

Being coached. Yes yes yes.

  1. 10,000 Steps a Day.

Mmmmm I know, that’s the Gold Standard number of steps we should all be doing every day. And if you are not, you are some sort of sedentary sloth-like loser. Well, y’know what – I am not buying into that anymore. The right number – for me – is 5000.

If I do more than that – that’s a bonus (and most days I do) – but I am not going to let the Steps Police live in my head when they are not aware of all other good stuff I do each day for my body.

I don’t want to feel BAD about my steps – when I am so active in a variety of ways each day that don’t get counted (except by my BODY, which – DUH – is the only ACTUAL place that they DO count!) – and I REFUSE to be held captive to a baseline that was set by a Japanese marketing agency in the ’60s (google it).

10000 steps DOESN’T WORK FOR ME, I am – quite cheerfully – done with it.

We use a much more evolved system in the Wellbeing Warriors Academy which you are welcome to dive into the two 30 Day courses on it, on-demand here called Witness The Fitness, and NEAT Up.

So – that’s my hot 5 things I am done with:

  1. Hangovers
  2. Being Busy All The Time
  3. Ironing
  4. Not feeling “cool” enough
  5. 10000 Steps a Day

What are YOU done with? I’d love to know.

You can find me on Facebook and / Instagram right here:



And you can work with me daily here.

Simplicity and Time Management

6 Signs You Need A Break

6 Signs You Need A BreakIf you are thinking “I haven’t got time to read this article! I’m too busy!!!” then reading this article is EXACTLY the thing you need to do! Life is busy – I get it – but when is it too busy? Here are 6 signs you might need to redress the balance:

1. You find yourself saying “I don’t have time” multiple times a day. The more we reinforce that message to ourselves the less time we magically seem to have. “I don’t have time” is one of the most stress inducing sentences in the English language. I would personally like to ban us all from saying it – it’s a stressful lie (yes, lie, you heard me right!) we keep telling ourselves. It’s far more accurate, and much more calming, to tell ourselves (and others) the truth “I’m choosing to prioritise this thing/task/person right now – and I’m good with that”. Life is full of choices – let’s stop fighting time and own the fact we get to make empowered choices about what we put in it.

2. You are USING coffee to get through. That’s USING coffee, like using a drug, as opposed to having a coffee because it tastes nice. Be honest. If you are habitually USING coffee to create energy boosts, rather than just drinking it to enjoy it, you need to have a think about when you can take a break and recharge your mind and body properly. Feeling tired is a message of truth from your body that it needs rest, not an infomercial from Starbucks that you need a double shot latte!

3. Your phone is surgically attached to your body. Yeah. That. If you are checking your phone a zillion times a day you may be getting addicted to the dopamine response it creates. It’s a sign that you need to slow down and unplug – just for a bit. Try setting some digital boundaries and have at least an hour before bed with no screen to wind down and let your natural melatonin production recalibrate. Want to really scare yourself – download an app that tracks how many times a day you check your phone, and collates, to the minute, how many hours you spend a week on Facebook, email etc on your phone. It’s pretty illuminating!

4. If you are waking up feeling tired. If you are finding that sleep is not as restorative as it once was and you are actually waking up feeling tired you might be suffering from the early stages of Adrenal Fatigue. This can get serious but is very easy to remedy if you catch it early and listen to your body. Talk to your GP, or take the quick quiz here to see if this is an issue for you.

5. You wear “I’m sooooooo busy” like a badge of honour. If your answer to “How are you?” is a run down of your perpetual busyness rather than “I am excellent thank you – how are you?” it’s time to look at getting off the treadmill for a bit.

6. You can’t think of the last time you had fun. Life if supposed to be fun, yo! It’s not meant to be one long never ending To Do list. A sure sign of overwhelm and needing to desperately slow down is when you can’t remember when you last did something for fun, or had a heap of spontaneous fun. If you can’t recall the last time you laughed til you cried your balance is seriously out of whack.

Life is a marathon not a sprint, y’all. We are not designed to live at “flat out” all day, every day. We can do it temporarily, but then it’s important to regroup and recharge for the next campaign. If you have answered “yes” to two or more of the above take a moment to diarise some well deserve downtime for gorgeous yourself and plan some restorative relaxation, connection and fun time. You gotta look after this body of yours – it’s the only one you are ever going to get!

Louise Thompson, wellbeing coach

Self Care and Self Love Simplicity and Time Management

The Yogic Naughty Step … 3 steps to making time for you

The Yogic Naughty Step ... 3 steps to making time for youWhen I first got bitten by the yoga bug over a decade ago in London I had a very busy career at the Financial Times which I loved, but which (I can see now) I gave too much of my time and energy which left my life very out of balance. Something needed doing late or at the weekend? I’ll do it! No Problem. I’m your girl! I was super-committed, successful and ambitious. I also had the balance of my life waaaay out of whack and my personal life was crumbling.

When I found that first yoga class (a Beginners course very like the one I teach today) I felt such an overwhelming and unexpected sense of relief and peace. It scared me actually: I didn’t know that that feeling was it was so long since I had felt it.

I knew it was something I had to pursue. Pretty soon I was there 3 times a week, even when I moved across London I loved the teacher Simona so much I would schlep all the way from Shepherds Bush to Clapham and back for her classes and not mind one bit. It really was a revelation for me.

It was a revelation for my working hours too. I developed my own ‘naughty step’ technique for getting out of work on time no matter what. I realised that when you are running a newspaper everything is always urgent, there is always something that needs to be done. I also knew that there was now something I wanted more: to practice yoga, to learn more, to feel that feeling. So on Mondays and Thursdays I started leaving the office at 4.55pm which was unheard of for me. The stuff kept landing on my desk, people rocking round expecting me to handle things at that time just as I had for the previous 6 or 7 years. But, I still left. I chose the thing I wanted more, to get the feeling that I got at the end of class and to improve my new yoga practice.

Yes for those first four or five weeks I had some heated discussions, and yes I let some people down, and yes some other people grew their skills through some inspired delegation. But, the paper came out, the world continued to turn. And then, do you know what, the last minute requests stopped, on Monday and Thursday the Head of Production might rock over and say “now I know Thursday is your yoga night but can you look at this tomorrow morning?” or my staff would step up and say “ I’ll clear that last page boss, you get on to class”. And off I would go. And I never missed a class from then on despite having a senior job in a highly deadline oriented business. My career continued to go from strength to strength too. Probably because I was more relaxed and had more balance.

If my former workaholic self can do it: you can do it. You can be there and make that time for yourself each week. It’s a case of training the people you work with much the same way you would train a toddler what is and is not okay behavior a la Supernanny. The key is in being clear what you want, consistently voicing it and following through regardless of the reaction you get. In short it’s the Yogic Naughty Step.

1. Voice.  What is it you WANT? Be clear with yourself so you don’t get distracted in the moment by passing momentary tasks. eg. I want to feel flexible and relaxed by Easter. I want to give myself that hour and a quarter to myself each week in class. I want long term health and wellbeing. Diarise it. Commit to yourself.

2. Choice. Wait for the inevitable last minute thing that’s just so important that it has to be done RIGHT NOW to come up. Assess it calmly…be aware of the choice that you are making. Choose to be able to stand a moments discomfort as you say ‘That will have to wait until the morning, I have an appointment now’. No need to explain or apologise.

Choose a moments discomfort so you can have what you really WANT. If it’s really that important someone else will step up and do it. Really.

3. Follow Through. Go do your thing: guilt free! Do your yoga class, go for that run, have the weekly ball game with the kids. Whatever your thing is that you want.

Next week when it inevitably happens again repeat the same thing “That will have to wait until the morning, I have an appointment now”. Consistency is key.

Rinse and repeat. Before you know it you will have reclaimed that time, and the last minute requests will stop.

It’s a funny thing but once you consistently respect your time other people will too.

Louise Thompson


Reduce Stress Simplicity and Time Management

How to make peace with your To Do list

How to make peace with your To Do listPersonally I love a good list. Actually, if I am honest what I really love is crossing things off my list, rather than the list itself. Frankly the list itself is the devil on my shoulder constantly whispering ‘oh, you haven’t done that yet Louise, and you so totally should have done that already, and you promised that…’ whispering away at my inefficiencies. It’s a lovely way to punish myself for that which is left undone, and yet I persist with the lists because of the sweet high I get each time I cross something off (the angel on the other shoulder whispering sweet nothings about my legendary productivity!). It’s a double edged sword, and after a busy few weeks at the start of term where I feel I have been working really hard but do not seem to have crossed off anything (arrghh!) it got me thinking about the power of The List.

I have come to the conclusion that having a ruthless spring clean of the To Do list is a good idea. In fact I have gone a step further and made a To Don’t list. As  a result I am getting much more done and feeling a whole lot better about things. I have called a truce with my To Do list and realised that I cannot do everything, and there is no such state as finished. Whilst I am breathing there will always be things to be done, stuff that’s outstanding and that’s okay. My To Do list was draining me of both energy and time. It was always making me feel like ‘theres not enough time’ which is an uncomfortable place to be. I am clearer on my priorities and, weirdly, getting a lot more done! Plus…I am enjoying it more.

Ah, enjoyment: that was what I had lost sight of mesmerised by the awesome Power Of The List. When my focus was on just getting the damn thing done so I could cross it off the list and move on to the next thing the enjoyment of the task shrunk to almost nothing. Any enjoyment was deferred to the moment of the grand crossing off of the list. As I would say to my yoga students in class I was entirely ‘in the future’. My focus  was on the completion of the task itself not present with the actual doing of the thing at the time I was actually doing it. The only place that joy truly exists is in the present moment : so I was abdicating my joy to The List. Not cool. By spring cleaning my To Do list I’m enjoying the present so much more, whether that’s writing a blog post, or a new workshop, or clearing the admin or ordering the new mats. I am looking for what could be joyful or intruiging in each moment rather than looking for the short high at completion as I cross it off.

Want to do an audit of your To Do list, (including the secret mental list we all have!)? By cleaning it up you will feel much better about yourself and reduce that nagging feeling that you haven’t quite completed everything. The nagging ‘must do’ is one of our greatest energy drainers…it leaks away our energy and motivation whenever we think of it as well as robbing us of present moment joy.

Here’s a few simple steps to make peace with your To Do list:

1.     Review anything you have had on your To Do list for more than a month, write down the mental stuff thats also kicking around, like ‘Paint the House’; ‘Organise 50thBirthday party’ and ‘read that amazing Booker prize novel and impress all and sundry with cultural prowess’.

2.     Have a look at the list…realise you are but one person, with 24 hours in a day. Get real with the fact that, however marvellous you are, however a skilled multitasker, in this age of information overload YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL, AND THATS OKAY!

3.     Breakdown the list into three categories…I like to write all my To Do’s on individual Post It notes (I have a serious stationary addiction)…makes this part much more fun! Divide your post it notes or your list into three columns:

a. I want to do it and I am absolutely going to do it

b. I don’t want to do it but it needs to be done

c. When I really think about this I think the world will keep spinning if this maybe never happens

4.     Magic. What we want is to be spending most of our time on category ‘a’ stuff: stuff you love and feel excited about spending your time on. Life is never quite as easy as that though, and my To Do list certainly spans all three categories…here’s what to do with each:

a.     I want to do it and I am absolutely going to do it. Excellent! Pick up the phone (now), write that email (now) and make it happen (now). If you can’t do it right now then put a time in your diary and block out a time as if it was a meeting that you will dedicate to this. If it’s a big project then break it down into baby steps and commit to taking one baby step each day in 15 minutes or less. Eg. Organising the 50th birthday party. One day baby step: research venues on the web. Day 2 baby step: put together invite list. Day 3 baby step: call venue and get quote. Etc etc. By making your activities just 15 mins or less each day you will find you get to your goal WAY FASTER than just having it on your To Do list for 6 months and not starting it because it looks too big and overwhelming. That’s how people get to the top of Everest…one tiny baby step at a time. Before you know it you will be in your best frock at the party with your bubbles in hand!

b.     It needs to be done, but you don’t want to do it. Fair enough, there is much in life that that falls into this category. Two options here: either BRIBE YOURSELF…make the job more palatable by rewarding yourself heavily after you complete it (yes, yes bribery doesn’t just work on small children to reinforce good behaviour, this is your excuse to appeal to your inner child)…bribe yourself with a half day on the golf course or a massage or whatever flicks your switch enough to get your GST return returned. The other option here is to BARTER IT…can you swap this task or job with someone else for something else? ie. the kids clean the car in return for an afternoon at the beach. Or barter it for money…you have been putting off painting the house for the last 4 summers…honey, clearly it’s not going to happen. Face up to it and exchange the house painting for cold hard cash. As Gordon would say ‘done’. So onto the final category in the To Do list:

c.     Now I really think about it the world will not stop spinning if this thing does not happen. Good to know right? We can have stuff that’s been mentally cluttering our minds for years that we “should” do. And that’s your answer right there…if you haven’t done it in all that time then that says that other stuff has always been a higher priority and likely always will be…so stop torturing yourself, and let go of that To Do. The post it note tasks that are in that pile…well…you can go ahead and…..gaaahhhhhhhhhh…shock and horror….THROW THEM AWAY! Just delete them from your To Do list, not just physically but mentally too ( if this freaks you out you can put them in a pile and put them in a bottom drawer to review in a few months time and then discard). What seems to happen here is a magical thing…by changing the energy one of two things happen…either I forget all about the thing I had been beating myself up to do (sometimes for years), which means it wasn’t so vital anyway…or…somehow the thing will seem to happen all by itself by someone else taking care of it. By releasing my attachment to the To Do, that I was surrounding by all this static Not Doing energy the thing just seems to resolve itself as if by magic. To Don’t lists rock I have found; hand this third category over to The Universe to sort out.

So…Post It Notes at the ready? Give yourself half an hour to make peace with your To Do List and  see how much lighter and easier you feel.

Always love to hear your thoughts…do share below!

Louise Thompson

Reduce Stress Simplicity and Time Management

You have all the time you need, really!

You have all the time you need, really!“I don’t have enough time!”

This really is the mantra of modern living. How many times a day do you find yourself saying just that…I’d love to but I don’t have time. I really want to do that thing/go that place/ see that person but I don’t have time. Once a day, twice? If you are anything like me a dozen or more. I’ve had a bit of an epiphany about it which has really helped to notch down not only how many times a day I say I don’t have time, but to increase the amount of time I do have.

So, here’s the thing: I do have enough time. You do have time. We all have all the time we need. It’s not lack of time that’s the problem here. Accepting that is the first step. We are not lacking in time. And that’s a fact. What we are lacking in is clear priorities. It’s much more accurate and empowering to say I don’t have clear priorities, rather than I don’t have time. Clear priorities are something you can do something about, manufacturing more time is not (unless you are God) (which if You are You know that and will not be reading this).

So, here is how to have more than enough time. Firstly set some very clear priorities for yourself for the next 12 months. What do you want to achieve and how do you want your life to be this year? Personally I have 3 personal goals for year and 3 professional goals. I think this is the maximum, 3 of each. Firstly it means you get some balance between your work and personal life, and secondly it will force you to be ruthless. You can’t have 25 priorities, choose 6 tops. One of mine is to get fit, one is to write a coaching book. Ther others include  having fun with my gorgeous husband,  expanding Positive Balance classes, and to travel in South America. List yours now.  Think big picture and be ruthless and honest with yourself. 3 personal goals and 3 professional.

Done? Okay, so, next time the ‘I don’t have enough time’ mantra rears its ugly head take stock. Don’t have enough time for what? It then becomes a very simple choice. I now always choose the task or thing that is in alignment with and will move me towards my 6 life goals for the year. Choice between getting through all my email and going for a swim…I choose to make time for the swim, the email will have to wait. Choice between working late on the website or going to the movies with a friend? The movie every time, the website can wait.

By setting very clear priorities for myself and consistently choosing in favour of them I find that I do have more time. And I have less panic about the things that are not getting done because clearly they cannot be that important if they did not make it to my Top 6 priorities for the year. So I worry about them less because they are automatically the 7th or lower priority for me, so I can park them or flag them much more easily.

So, handy checklist for the Magic Elixir Of More Time:

1.       Accept you do have all the time you need if you have clear priorities.

2.       Define 3 personal and 3 professional priorities for the year.

3.       Choose consistently in favour of those priorities.

4.       Enjoy the time spent on priorities, relax about what gets parked or flagged as it’s obviously less important.

5.       Whenever the feeling arises of not having enough realise it’s not a time issue its a priority issue.

Right. Blog post done. Now, I’m off to the pool for a swim!


Louise Thompson

Live Happy Inspiration Reduce Stress Self Care and Self Love Sick & Tired of feeling Sick & Tired Simplicity and Time Management

Wasted Time or Play Time?

There is a common complaint that I notice with many of my coaching clients, especially those who are tired (or suffering from Adrenal Fatigue / Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or working through Life/Work Balance issues. They have a real thing about any kind of down time being ‘wasted time’. It’s a concept that comes up again and again. And I think it’s a new and growing phenomenon that’s leading to a whole heap of stress. I must confess to being susceptible to this Cult Of Productivity myself: I notice it when I am stuck in traffic, or when the computer isn’t working as perfectly as I would like it to, or ordering something is taking longer than I thought it would. This stressful thought keeps rearing its ugly head: ‘this is such a waste of time’, usually accompanied by its good friend ‘this should be quicker/easier/more efficient’.

These thoughts lead directly to a place of stress. Bad for the head, bad for the body.

It’s occurred to me that I didn’t use to feel this way. When I was younger I didn’t put this pressure on myself for every thing to have an outcome. Just enjoying or doing something for its own sake was enough. At school and university my friends and I elevated wasting time to an art form in its own right! And those are the bits I look back on with the most fondness. The endless games of cards and pissing about (car surfing anyone?!) And yet I, and so many of my clients, seem to now feel so uncomfortable with even the most limited moments of unproductivity.  What is that about?

As the world has become increasingly immediate and increasingly measureable I think it’s encouraged us to lead our lives in the same way. An expectation that all time and every effort invested should show some sort of meaningful outcome. But, should it?

I think the stress that the concept of ‘wasted time’ generates is due to a perception that time is inherently limited. That leads to a perception that all time needs to count with an outcome. Which generates stress. Is the point of time well spent to get things accomplished, or is it to have fun and experience the maximum amount of joy? As adults in this increasingly technologically enabled, measurable and immediate world I think we have lost the ability to play. Or to see play as an important part of what makes life fun and ourselves happy.

Look at how children play. When children play its as a means to an end in itself, because they see time as unlimited and therefore no outcome is required. So how can it possibly be wasted if it’s unlimited?

I think there is a lot we can learn from that attitude. This is what I have learned around the concept of ‘wasted time’:

  1. Just because it produces some sort of outcome doesn’t mean that it’s important.
  2. Just because its quantifiable doesn’t mean I should do it
  3. If the only joy in the doing is the crossing off on the list when it’s done then I should consider not doing it or getting someone else to do it for me
  4. Some of the best most fun and memorable time in my life had no definable outcome.
  5.  Unproductive time is a fact of life. We are not built to be ON all the time.
  6. Unproductive time is thinking and daydreaming and processing time. That is productive in itself.
  7. Play and fun are important.
  8. Resting and chilling ARE an activity in their own right. The outcome is being chilled. That’s something the body requires for health. It’s really important time.
  9. Enjoyment is just as valid a goal as achievement.
  10. I need to play more.

So I am challenging myself to reconnect with play for the sake of itself: I have joined a mosaic class one morning a week. I am really enjoying it; there is something very satisfying about fitting all the tiny chards of ceramic together for no reason at all other than the simple pleasure of doing it. It’s a bit fiddly and a bit messy. I like that, and the quiet companionship of the other women in the class. Sometimes I feel guilty about all the work I ‘should’ be doing and that it’s ‘wasted time’ then I remember, I’m a life coach, I teach people about life/work balance…this is me Living It to Give It and I relax and focus on the little fiddly tiles again and the couple of hours simply flies by! It’s been good for the mind and the soul.

If you find yourself running mental loops about wasting time it’s my bet that you could do with reintroducing a bit of play to your life too. Try using the time stuck at the grocery checkout and in traffic to daydream about your next holiday or the best one you ever had. It won’t wake the queue go faster but it will make it a more pleasant and positive experience. Think back to something you loved to do as a child to play (baking, playing footie, making things, etc) and try and introduce a related aspect of PLAY into your week with no aspect of outcome attached. Play for it’s own sake, and see that if we are in the moment and enjoying ourselves then no time is ever really wasted.

Louise Thompson | Life Coach, Writer, Speaker

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