I WROTE A BOOK + Productivity Tips for Empaths
This weekend I wrote a book.
(update! that book can be found here.)
There were a number of people reaching out for support who couldn't afford to work with me one-on-one but were still so deserving of my attention and skill set so I locked myself in a spooky closet and typed for hours.
And now I have a 40 page first draft sitting here beside me! I was actually just looking through it in awe knowing that just a few days ago the thing I am holding in my hand was simply an idea.
Creation is amazing - what's more amazing, though, is how this free spirit was so productive this past weekend!
I'm a procrastinator and when I'm not procrastinating I'm really good at starting things with enthusiasm and letting them trail off when I don't feel like working on them anymore. Not a great habit and definitely something I'm working on. I also have a tendency to put others first and can sometimes find an entire day (week, month) eaten up by other people's needs. Helping others is important, and something I'll always do, but over these past few months I've realized I need to get real about my boundaries if I am to be real about reaching my goals.
Instead of wishing I was different, I've found some ways to work productivity into my natural tendencies as an empathic person, and today I'm going to share those ways with you. If you're like me and have big dreams and lots of ideas, but find yourself feeling like you're spinning your wheels or wondering where your day went when you go to close your eyes, I want you to:
Sit down with your journal - and take an in-depth assessment of your day.
We can't change anything until we first know what we are wanting to change.
It sounds simple but so often we let the idea of wanting to improve or be better sit in the back of our minds without ever getting specific about what it is we need to shift! Take out your journal and write out - half hour by half hour - what you did with the last twenty-four hours you were gifted.
When I first did this I realized I spent almost sixteen hours (16 HOURS!) holding space for other people, be it through driving them, listening to their concerns, answering e-mails, running errands, editing their work, etc. I had no idea I had spent that much time for other people because I genuinely love it so much that time flies when it happens. But no wonder I wasn't making any progress on my plans... when you add in sleep, eating and other basic needs there were no hours left.
Though it might make you cringe - create a bit of structure around your day.
Since I first took a Myers-Briggs test I've known myself to be an INFJ, the advocate with a humanitarian heart. I've taken the test multiple times and as I grow older I'm becoming more and more INFP - this resonates because "J's make lists and use them and P's make lists and lose them" and I've gotten really good at making a list and forgetting I wrote it a few minutes later.
Though I need things to be in their place, too much organization can make me feel like I can't breathe. I need to be able to go with my gut. I need to have freedom to move in whatever direction my heart desires. I need to be free. It's no surprise then, that the hardest part about taking this site from hobby to business (and setting a plan to write a book) was realizing how organized I needed to be!
I put out a request and in came Alyssa Coleman, my new productivity coach! Her work taught me how to add structure MY way, a shift that has changed my game completely. Alyssa works specifically with creatives so her approach to organization is unique to strong right brains. Because of Alyssa I now have a task calendar and know exactly where I need to be each day - in a way that doesn't feel restrictive - to make my dreams reality. This weekend I scheduled myself to the closet and instead of allowing myself to get caught up in the flow of other people's plans, I got right to work because my task calendar said it so.
>>> No affiliation links here, Alyssa is just amazing. I hired her for a reason. Sign up for her free To Do List Detox and get access to her free Productivity Workshop. >>>
Know your norms - your needs - know how YOU need to live this life.
I'm convinced most mental health challenges would cease to exist if us intuitive folk stopped comparing ourselves to a society that was set up to reflect the needs of most sensors. >>> Sensors are those who live in the "here and now" who are factual and see things as they are as opposed to what they might be.
For example, naps.
One of the greatest things I ever did was allow myself to be okay with being a night owl and getting my deep sleep through naps. < Here's a big post on Why My Lows Aren't As Low Anymore that talks in-depth about this. > Not only do naps help immensely with my mental health, I've also learned I am most productive when I sleep 2 am - 6 am and then again in the afternoon or evening. I do my best work from 7am - 10 am and from 8pm on and though I've known this for a while, I tried to be a 9-5er because I felt lazy being who I am because it wasn't the way I was supposed to be.
I was only able to start checking big things off my to-do list when I learned my productivity depends on acknowledging I have unique needs and shifting my schedule to respect them.
What we've been taught as 'right' is only right for some people. When we are trying to be productive we can't forget we live in a capitalist world that capitalizes on people being productive during "merchant" hours, the hours when the sun is up and people can see things to buy. These times aren't a best fit for everyone and unfortunately our systems and structures make us believe we are flawed if they don't. The majority of my book was written in the dark (which made the spooky closet spooky-er) and it worked because that's when I 'work'.
Be okay if your needs don't fit in with what is expected. Be it sleeping, eating, the time of day for your best work. Not all people are hardwired for 9 - 5 life. Own this.
Struggle with self-care?
I send a weekly self-care reminder every Wednesday with real-life tips for putting you (and your energy) first.
Nurture your solar plexus chakra - so you can feel okay saying NO.
"I have such a hard time saying no" is something that comes up in most of my Empath Support calls. Until empaths take control of their energy, they have really weak solar plexus chakras, the chakra that makes us feel worthy and confident in saying no.
The solar plexus is the third of the seven chakras in the seven-chakra system, located right above the belly button and associated with the colour yellow. < So much more on the solar plexus and the other chakras and their relation to our lives as highly sensitive people in my E-BOOK being released in mid August. Learn more. > Our solar plexus oversees all things self-worth and when it's weak we find ourselves doing things for other people in an attempt to find worth within ourselves.
Energy is subtle but (so, so) powerful, and spending time on the solar plexus gives you the energetic foundation to be good at boundaries. Realizing I spent 16 hours holding space for other people had me thinking all things solar plexus and how I could bring some solar plexus balancing activities into my life.
I did this by:
- putting an essential oil blend directly on the area of my solar plexus
- treating myself to a gorgeous new citrine crystal (and even taped it to my stomach for an entire day, ha!)
- getting conscious of my breathing; breathe in "I am worthy" and breathe out "Making time to work on my goals matters"
- making small decisions (i.e., I'm having a beet salad for dinner, I'm going to the gym at 9 pm) and sticking to them no matter what
Not only did strengthening my solar plexus make it easier for me to turn down people and invites this past weekend so I could work on my book, it also created space for me to consider the book to be a good idea in the first place! It's not uncommon for me to get an e-mail from someone saying, "I know you have a mentorship program but..." with their life story and a request for my time and tips at the end. People are looking for someone who gets them and people are in need of relevant support, and for a while I felt guilty if I didn't reply to everyone in-depth.
But that negates my entire mentorship process. I am a professional who is trained to support people and even though I put up boundaries around my supportive work < If you're struggling with boundaries as a Therapist or Healer, my post on Why I Started A Mentorship Program might interest you! > I still felt like a horrible person for feeling like my time and profession wasn't being respected when I received e-mails asking for my time and expertise for free.
Working on my solar plexus has made it easier for me to refer those e-mails to my Mentorship packages, which has opened space for me to consider creative options for supporting those who can't afford one-on-one support and more time to answer the e-mails that intuitively feel urgent.
"If you have more than three priorities, you have none."
I stumbled across this quote on Pinterest (it's by the lovely Paula Gosney of Belief School) and it shot right through my heart because it's SO true. I remember being in elementary school and having a conversation with my friend about friends. She told me she had a hundred best friends and I said, you can't have a hundred best friends, you can only have one or maybe two. Younger Robin was onto something... and sometimes way too wise for her little body.
We want to be everything to everyone, especially us empaths. We know this world is a mess and there are people in pain. We also like to be liked so we do everything we can to accommodate every one and every thing. We very rarely think about the values we personally hold because we just want everyone outside of us to be happy.
Jenna Kutcher sent an e-mail the other day that said something about there being 7 "needs" in every person's life; work, relationships, sleep, health, and a few more I can't think of, but that a person can only keep 3 of those balls in the air at any given point.
Spend time thinking about your three priorities. For me, right now, it's my business, my family and my physical health. All else has been put on the back burner and when I get overwhelmed that I'm not sleeping enough or not spending enough time with friends I redirect myself to this season I'm in and remember that trying to focus on everything is to focus on nothing at all.
THE TAKE AWAY:
1. How are you spending your days? Get paper and a pen and write hour-by-hour how you spent your last 24.
2. Structure doesn't have to be suffocating. It does have to be a thing, though. Google Alyssa Coleman, pour yourself a tea and take an hour to take part in her free Productivity Workshop. There is a calendar exercise in there that will have you rethink all sorts of things.
3. Not everyone fits into the 9-5. Take note of your norms and productivity needs. Own them and find ways to build your schedule around them.
4. Nurture the solar plexus. And then watch how saying no becomes a bit easier each and every day.
5. Remember that focusing on everything means focusing on nothing. Ask yourself 'what are the three priorities in my life?' and remind yourself that it's not possible to do everything when guilt for not tending to other needs sneaks up.
Hope this helps a little!
And I can't wait to show you the book that inspired this post when it's up for sale on Friday! It will be $5 because it is really important to have this information be accessible. You can find a sneak peak of the Intro below, and don't mind the typos. I'm spending all night editing and wanted to show the work in progress, cause, well, this is real life.
P.S., Something I didn't add that has been so beneficial was realizing that any type of growth comes from small consistent steps. When you're a big picture person it can be hard to understand how the small things you do every day have anything to do with that larger-than-life vision you have for yourself and this world. They do though. An example of this can be found < here >, I wrote about drinking water and how that leads to world peace.
Know someone who might benefit from this post? Would love for you to share!
Ready to take back your power and energetically align with the life you'd rather be living? Looking for someone who 'gets it' (it being the fact that energy is real) who is also grounded in the realities of day-to-day life and what it takes to kickstart someone into making meaningful change? I'd love to work with you.
LEARN MORE HERE