The Impact of True Listening

My daughter said to me this evening ‘Thank you for being lovely and listening to me earlier’ and I thought about how my coaching training must be paying off. I’ve always thought that I was a good listener, but in the last few months I’ve been consciously trying to hear every word without thinking of my response; to truly hear the message without trying to offer the solution.

Why is listening without offering a solution so important?

If we offer our solution to someone else’s problem and they go with it, that might not be the conclusion they were going to get to. We have no guarantee that our idea would be better. We could have stopped their thinking part way through the best idea they would ever have.

Being listened to

The flip side of listening to others is having someone listen to you in order to come up with solutions yourself. In my session with my coach today, we eventually got to my new goal of ‘To be able to sit with my feet up in the future’. In my mind there are many steps and barriers that I need to get through to make this happen. He then asked what timeframe I imagined this goal happening.

I think we were both shocked when my immediate response was 1-2 years. What was I thinking? Can’t I just put my feet up right now? What’s stopping me? The answer I came up with was that I’m not seeing it as time to fully relax.

When my coach listened to me more and asked me lots of effective questions, it became obvious to me that because I allow the interruptions to happen, and react to them, I’m always on edge so don’t feel like I’m relaxing.

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A Morning Walk To Refresh the Mind

This was the first day in a long time that I’ve woken up and not thought about clearing my office. It felt good to walk in there and see everything tidy. I went outside for a 20 minute walk to clear my mind and took this photo. Don’t you think it symbolises a new beginning?

New Year… New Beginning

Clearing update

Today I spent half an hour clearing the stuff by the back door; all the rubbish, boxes and other packaging from Christmas. It felt good making a start on tackling the mound and leaving it all outside to be recycled in a couple of days. I had to keep a few boxes back as we have some items to return but have made a note to get rid of them if I don’t use all of them. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to live a life of having less stuff.

Reflecting back

Quite by chance I just stumbled upon one of my posts from Mar 2021 called Looking Forward to Meeting My True Self. I really don’t remember writing it but there are some nuggets of wisdom in there such as not focusing on the clutter but something else.

“By changing my mindset I can start living as if I already have a clear house, and then have something else as the focus of the day”

I am going to take note of this, and the following affirmation as I move forward into my next chapter.

“I am excited to sit, breathe and relax in my clear and organised space”

It feels good to be blogging again.

Until next time…

Sandra

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Starting the Year With a Clear, Calm and Comfortable Office Space

My favourite books

Today I achieved one of my end of year goals of clearing and organising my office space. The new bookshelf proudly displays the majority of my personal development (self-help) books in one place next to a clear bed, meaning that I finally have somewhere comfortable to sit and read.

Just in front of that is my work desk which is now also tidy and organised (both the surface and underneath the desk). I achieved this by tackling things one by one and only putting back what I needed. One of the issues I had was the work keyboard being in the way when I want to write or do personal admin in the evenings. I’ve resolved this by adding a suspended shelf underneath so that my keyboard is out of the way from my personal laptop.

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Let’s Write Again

I haven’t sat at my laptop and written a blog for a while. Firstly because the desk I use is set up for work and so once I’ve finished work I don’t tend to go back and sit there, and secondly I have been doing a lot of journaling on an app called GrowthDay which is helping me a lot with my personal development (more about that another time).

Home projects I’ve been working on this year

My daughter’s new bedroom: The study I used to have is now completely transformed into my daughter’s new bedroom. So, that’s one more room completed that is no longer subject to ‘my’ clutter and she’s keeping it beautifully tidy.

We worked together on the project and got everything done before her 16th birthday. In one of my previous blogs Finding the Joy in Everyday Moments, I wrote “I am going to enjoy every step of getting my daughter’s new room the way she wants it. If I focus too much on the target goal and try and rush it, I’ll miss the moments that we worked on it together”. I’m pleased to say that it turned out just as we’d planned.

My new office: Once my daughter had moved into her new bedroom, I moved my work laptop into her old room which is now called my office. This is the third room I’ve been working from home in since the very first lockdown, and whenever I shift rooms and organise other ones, the clutter tends to follow me into my work space and I feel like I’m starting again. The built in desk in the room was ok, but it was feeling a bit small for the work set up I needed.

A couple of months ago, I realised that I missed my bigger glass desk which was dismantled in the corner of the conservatory (my first working from home space). So, I got my husband to carry it upstairs and I set it up on the other side of my office just to see if it helped me feel a bit more like writing. I started writing a blog post…

A Clear Space for Writing

… that was the end of August (and I just found this post in draft). As soon as I moved my work computer onto the clear desk, I was distracted from writing. I was also busy at the time doing a coaching apprenticeship course alongside my day job (I’m really enjoying it but it’s taking up a lot of my time). I have been working hard on that, and my job, as well as putting time aside to declutter this room. Then there’s ‘life’ and ‘family’ on top of that. A couple of friends mentioned that I hadn’t blogged for a while so here it is 😀.

Hopefully you’ll see more posts from me over the coming weeks. I really must clear some more space in the room and in my mind to get into the flow of writing blogs again.

It’s lovely to be back though.

Until next time…

Sandra

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When I’m 90

My dad turned 90 yesterday and he’s a picture of health, has a great sense of humour and is one of the kindest people I know.

Me and my dad x

I’m 53 years old and healthy enough, but how do I ensure that I get to 90 with the same stamina and enthusiasm as he has? My dad as well as my mum are true role models to me.

When I’m 90, I want to be happy, healthy, fit and still smiling like my lovely dad. One thing I’m certain about is that I’ll still be writing. My dad encouraged me to start journalling at the age of 4 and I never stopped. I love having so many memories to look back on.

Happy birthday dad! Here’s a big hug 🥰 and I look forward to celebrating 🥂 many more birthdays 🥳 with you.

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Finding the Joy in Everyday Moments

I felt a bit overwhelmed this morning with what I needed to get done around the house, and so I stopped to listen to the Daily Calm meditation for 10 minutes as I knew that it would help. It was entitled ‘Redefine the Path to Success’ and today’s message resonated with me (and I hope if you are reading this today, it helps you too).

The message was about looking at the path we take to goals and successes and consciously choosing to staying in the moment. Tamara Levitt, who narrates and authors the Daily Calm, says that we should always look at enjoying the journey rather than focusing on the specific outcome. She goes on to say that we mustn’t rush through life, but instead “find meaning and joy in everyday moments”.

“Joy isn’t found in the destination but in the journey”

Tamara Levitt, Daily Calm App

I sat there quietly after listening and thought about the home project that I wanted to work on today and decided to enjoyed the small steps that I was taking rather than stress that it was going to take so long to get there. By doing that, it allowed me to forget about the outcome and enjoy the process. Putting some music on helped!

So, what’s my project?

The project I am working on at the moment is getting the current spare room/study ready for my youngest teen to move into. Her new bedroom will have slightly more floor space and will be more versatile, once we’ve taken the fitted furniture out.

Now, taking furniture out comes with a lot of work and mess including the task of emptying the contents of drawers and cupboards. This is a massive task particularly when things need swapping round between rooms. I know that I want to keep most of it, as it’s already been decluttered, but we can’t swap out all of the furniture straight away because the new room needs work done to it (decorating, moving radiator/sockets, plastering, carpet etc).

Taking out the fitted furniture was a big decision and it’s taken me months to feel comfortable about doing it. The main reason is because there’s nothing wrong with it; however, it’s not to my daughter’s taste and also she wants to be able to enjoy the space as a blank canvas. She’s come up with a few different design layouts and we’ve been working on a project plan together. We’re having the ceiling plastered in 2 week’s time and the decorator is booked for 4 weeks’ time.

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A Facial, A Walk and An Hour in the Garage

I was very grateful that SAKS, my local beauty salon, could fit me in for a facial this morning. It was totally relaxing and not having had one for nearly a year, I thoroughly enjoyed the pampering experience which included an neck, shoulder, arms and scalp massage as well. I’m booked in again in 7 weeks’ time – cannot wait!

Out for a motivational walk

Walking in Winter

The sun was shining this afternoon so I decided to wrap myself up warm and go out for a brisk walk to motivate me to get some things done around the house. I have a few days off and didn’t want to waste them sitting around doing nothing (not that I ever tend to do that 😀). I wasn’t planning on going out for nearly an hour because it was so cold, but I just walked on the sunny sides of the streets and kept going. I did 5,000 steps and was propelled into motivation when I got home.

In the garage again…

Even though it was much too cold for sorting boxes and containers in a cold garage, I felt like doing it because things were getting on top of me in the house. I still can’t believe how easy it is for me to find enough stuff to fill a large charity bag just by spending an hour in there. I donated a lot last year, and took a couple of small bags last month, but this will be the first bag for February.

Taking my own advice

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A New Year and a New Outlook on Clearing

A Year For You

“Clearing is an inside job that begins and ends with you” says Stephanie Bennett Vogt in her book A Year for You. It’s one of three books that she’s written and I’ve read the other two. I got this one for Christmas and can’t wait to work through it.

So, a couple of days ago, I cleared the corner of my bedroom and placed an old chair there covered in a blanket. I put my feet up and read the intro where she explains how to use the book. The idea is that you focus on one week at a time and adopt the mantra of ‘practice makes spacious’ (I do love that phrase!)

I’m so looking forward to sharing my insights as I progress through the weeks.

“Practice every day, even for just one minute and your life will change”

Stephanie Bennett Vogt, A Year for You

I’ve now read all the pages related to week one and it’s all about slowing down which I sometimes find difficult so this will be challenging for me. She also suggests writing a letter to yourself by following some question prompts, then seal it and not open it until week 50… very interesting!

I have a new journal at my side ready to make lots of notes.

Until next time…

Sandra

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Allow Yourself Extra Time to Get Things Done in 2022

So often we get disappointed when we start a project and then don’t get time to finish it, or it takes longer than we think. We’re busy people, possibly juggling many projects both at home and at work, so…

… do yourself a favour from now on and allow yourself way more time than you need to achieve your goals and to make lasting change.

What’s the rush? Take your time. If you finish ahead of your deadline, that’s a bonus.

Bite-Size Steps

Taking regular bite-sized steps in an intentional way, moves you closer and closer towards your goals. If you still feel that change isn’t happening fast enough, at least you will have some achieved some quick wins along the way.

So, my tip is to allow that extra time to get things done properly without stressing yourself out, particularly if you have a lot of other stuff going on in your life.

Update on my decluttering journey

As some of my readers know, I’m at the end of my second year of trying to get decluttering and other projects finished around the house. I thought was going to take me one year!

It’s taking longer than I thought and I’m ok with that. I have a very busy job, a demanding family and have recognised along the way that I need daily recharge time. I have also spent many hours writing about my journey so that I can look back and see how far I have come.

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The Mice are Helping Me Decide What to Get Rid of

I’m starting to feel a bit like Cinderella. Every time I feel fed up about something (in my case it’s usually relating to mess and clutter, not because I have to sleep in the attic 😀), I find that the mice have intervened which bizarrely motivates me to move forward.

A couple of weeks ago, I had an afternoon off and decided to spend 30 minutes minimum in the garage going through the boxes and vacuum bags that had previously been in the loft. I knew that most of it was going to be going to charity, but I wasn’t looking forward to facing the girls’ baby clothes that I’d kept up there all these years, all neatly organised in separately labelled bags according to size. They’d been in the garage for a couple of months, still sealed apart from one bag that I peeped into a few weeks before.

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