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Happy Advent! Download your free printable Chic Balance Christmas Planner

By December 3, 2016 Festivity and celebrations, Organsation and Planning
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December has come around so quickly again!

I have created a new Christmas Planner for 2016 including a December calendar, card and present list page, advent/festive activity page, Christmas budget page and Christmas meal page to help you smoothly organise your dream Christmas.

Just subscribe to the Chic Balance email list (go to chicbalance.com and enter your name and email in the pop-up box) and the planner will arrive in your inbox…

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How to Stay Balanced When You Have A Million Things to Do!

By October 30, 2016 Balance, Career, Organsation and Planning
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Sometimes it seems like life just gets busier and busier.  Are you constantly rushing around day long? Have even hobbies started to feel like a drain on your time? Or are you thinking “hobbies, who has time for hobbies?”?  It might be time to pause and restore some balance to your life.  Limiting time spent on certain things and taking the time to look after yourself doesn’t necessarily mean you will get less done.  To the contrary, if you have a defined time to get tasks done in, and start out refreshed and enthusiastic rather than exhausted and deflated you may be much more productive!

Here are 13 tips for finding balance in a busy lifestyle.

 

  1. Set boundaries and goals to stay focussed on what matters

Is work or some other aspect of your life taking over a lot more time than you think it should?  Assess what you want to achieve in this area, what is needed to achieve that goal and what is extra.  Create a timetable to allow you limits the time spent but that will allow you to reach your goals.

  1. Do a little each day; something is better than nothing

Having just been through one of the busiest periods in my life, I found exercise really, really hard to fit in/be motivated enough to do.  I am now fitting in just 10-15 minutes of exercise per day.  But it has actually made a huge difference in how I feel and is something that I can commit to as there is no excuse for not finding 10 minutes in the day!

  1. Actually…aim to juggle rather than balance

I’m a firm believer that if you really want to do something, then you can find a way to fit it into your life…at some point.  But no one can do everything every day.  There may be some things you can only spend time on a couple of times a week.  There may be some things that you want to try for a certain period at some point in your life (eg. run a marathon) but may or may not want to continue indefinitely.

  1. Take refreshing breaks, for example

-getting up for a few minutes after every hour at your desk

-having a mid-week evening out

-taking holidays; A great piece of advice I was given when I started working was that the best time to start planning a holiday is as soon as you get back from a holiday.  That way you always have something to look forward to.

  1. Indulge in a few little treats each day such as:

listening to an uplifting podcast on your commute, having a bubble bath, a hot cup of tea while reading a good book, a luxurious piece of dark chocolate…whatever helps you feel relaxed, positive or energised

  1. Take care of your body:

-have a generally healthy diet with some occasional treats

-get enough sleep, and ideally have a regular sleep pattern

-get some exercise, a little regularly is better than none at all

  1. Take care of your mind and spirit

-regularly stimulate your mind with new skills and information, thought-provoking books movies and  conversation, travel and generally get out of your comfort zone from time to time

-regularly relax your mind: read or watch something relaxing, consider trying a new stress-release technique (meditation, prayer, mindfulness, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation etc.)

-indulge your creative side: cook, bake, draw, paint, write, make music, dance, whatever you like

  1. Take the time to look fabulous

Ever noticed how the way you dress and groom can affect the way you feel and behave? Wear something that makes you feel confident and together.

  1. Invest in quality time with those you care about

-talk, have fun with and relax with family and friends

  1. Consider regularly doing something to help someone else

It might just help you feel better/more balanced/in perspective too.

  1. It’s OK to go “all-out” for short, defined periods of time

We all go through periods in life where there is some sort of major deadline (such as an exam) and one thing can take over almost every waking minute.  That’s OK, just try to make sure there is a defined end to this crazily busy time and maybe plan something to look forward to when it’s over.

  1. Remember…things change

Life is dynamic, circumstances change, we change… Roll with the punches and regularly reassess how things are working.  Consider if your schedule needs to be tweaked or if something doesn’t fit your life anymore and needs to be let go to create room for new things.

Have a wonderful week!

 

*this article first appeared as a guest post on www.nzgirl.co.nz

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Tips For Relocating to Another Country

By October 17, 2016 Organsation and Planning, Travel
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Its been awhile since my last post, because I have been busy moving all the way across the world from Auckland, New Zealand, to London!  For a number of reasons it was a particularly crazy time leading up to the move, but we made it!  Here is how I got organized…

 

Arranging Work

In the interest of keeping a stable income going,  you may want to organise a job before moving.  It is becoming more and more common to interview by skype or phone these days, which is exactly what I did in order to secure a job prior to booking a flight.  So consider updating your Linkedin profile, joining up with a recruitment agency, looking at job advertisements and following up any potential contacts you may have well in advance.

Work permits/visas can take months to arrange, so look into what is required and apply well in advance.  Also, if applicable, check if there are any particular professional qualification/registration requirements you need to fulfil to work in the country you are moving to.

Once you have accepted a job, liaise with the HR department to see what paperwork they need to get you all signed up, put on the payroll and set up with computer access etc to avoid delays in starting work and getting paid once you arrive.

 

Booking flights

Check the baggage allowance and cost of adding additional bags before booking…(we unwittingly booked with an airline that only allowed 23kg per person, whereas some other airlines allow 43kg).

When selecting travel dates, allow enough time after arrival to pick up your work visa, get a phone simcard/plan, set up a bank account, find somewhere to live, set up utilities, set up house etc before you have to start work.

Remember to arrange any other special requirements to make your flight as comfortable as possible (dietary requirements, bassinet seat etc).  The flight from Auckland to London long! About 36 hours to travel what is pretty much halfway around the world and we were lucky to be able to book front-row seats with extra leg room.

What to take

If you are not moving permanently, it may not be cost-effective to take everything you own over and then bring it back again.  Most friends and colleagues we spoke to who had moved to another country for a couple of years suggested taking only personal items and then renting a furnished place or buying new household items after arriving.

 

Lists, lists, lists…

Depending on what else is going on in your life, there may be a LOT to organise!  Avoid the stress of having to remember what needs doing by keeping “To-Do” lists and adding to them whenever you think of something.  I had 7 different to-do lists (two have been adapted below) all written on a giant piece of paper so I could cross things off as they got done!

 

A Checklist of Things to do to Pack-Up House may include…

-finding a storage unit (Doing a little shopping around pays off; storage can be really expensive.  We did the maths and figured out that at quite a few of places, the price over 2 years would be higher than the value of our belongings)

-sell or donate unwanted items (this will help to keep storage costs down by allowing you to hire a smaller unit)

-finish any renovations/fix-ups to get your house ready for rent/sale if applicable

-organise the rental/sale of your house if applicable

-buy boxes and packing tape

-pack things up for storage and for the move (Label the boxes to make things easier to find later on)

-hire a trailer to transport boxes to storage

 

A Checklist of  Contacts to Notify may include…

-utilities providers; gas, electricity, water, internet

-bank

-family and friends

-healthcare providers

-any TV or magazine subscriptions

 

The flight over –relax, indulge and enjoy!

You did it! Everything is packed you and you have made it to the airport and checked in your bulging bags!   It’s going to be a bit busy getting set up again on the other end, so, after check-in it’s time to “check-out” for a bit and enjoy!  Have a much-deserved cup of coffee and sweet treat in the airport, do some duty-free shopping, buy a book… Then enjoy the in-flight service and the chance to sit back, watch movies and relax.

I love Lisa Eldriges’s “Long Haul Beauty Regime”  video for inspiration on how to make your flight a relaxing spa-like experience (you can find the link here).  (Though truth be told I have never managed to actually do anything like it, and more often than not end up scrambling onto the plane exhausted, sleep-deprived and capable of little more than watching movies like a zombie/sleeping like a mummy…but it is a lovely idea.)

 

Bon Voyage and safe travels!

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5. Turning Dreams into Reality –the Game Plan…

By July 30, 2016 Career, Making Dreams Come True, Organsation and Planning
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This is the fifth and for now the final installment in the Make-Your-Dreams-Come-True series of posts.  Once you are clear on your goals, it’s time to make things happen!  Planning, organisation and regular reflection on how things are going can turn a lofty dream into an achievable goal.

Tips for turning a goal into reality:

  1. Use  the SMART approach (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound), to further define your goals.
  2. Make a Master Plan/Timeline

I like to make the master-plan/timeline pretty and pleasant/motivating to look at, including tick-boxes to check-off as I complete things.  I also place it somewhere I can see it and refer to it each day. There is something very satisfying about crossing or ticking things off as you go!

  1. Each day look the timeline and think about what you want to achieve for that day or week and make a list of things to do in the immediate future
  2. Each week , briefly reflect on how things are going and if anything needs to change
  3. Customise the timeline to the goal and the way you like to do things.

For example,   if there is not a definite deadline eg. the goal is to run a blog… the plan could be structured as follows…

 

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If there is a definite deadline, eg the goal is to pass an exam, then the master plan might be organized as below. It’s a good idea to build in contingency time.  Things often take longer than expected.  I always include a plan to “celebrate” after the deadline has passed.  It seems to help me maintain a positive mindset and remember what I am working towards!

 

flowertableGood luck with your dream-making, planning and achieving.  If you decide to try any of these tips, do let me know you go in the comments below!

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1. How to Make New Year (or Any-Time-Of-Year) Dreams and Resolutions that Really Happen

By January 3, 2016 Festivity and celebrations, Making Dreams Come True, Organsation and Planning
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I like to categorise my dreams and resolutions/goals into different aspects of life such as those listed here. You will probably want to modify this list based on what you want to work on this year.

Categories for Dreams and Resolutions

  1. Family/relationships
  2. Work/career
  3. Home
  4. Fitness and health
  5. Helping others
  6. Hobbies/interests/other pursuits
  7. Self development/improvement
  8. Enjoying life
  9. Style/image

Try this!

  1. Review last years accomplishments                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            If you wrote down resolutions or goals last year, get them out and check off what you have accomplished. Even if you didn’t formally write down anything down last year, you can still think of all the things you accomplished. Congratulate yourself on the goals you have seen through. For the ones you haven’t, don’t beat yourself up –instead reassess whether you still want to achieve them. If so, put them back on the list for this year and make up your mind to refine or adapt your plan to achieving them.
  2. Dream big, for the long term                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Go ahead and write down for each category, anything you would ideally like to achieve in your lifetime. Don’t be afraid to DREAM REALLY BIG, and write down your heart’s desire. You don’t need to share this with anyone else, but be honest with yourself. Write down as many dreams as you like for each category.
  3. Refine your list to goals really worth fighting for                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Success in anything generally requires hard work and often a certain degree of risk.   The risk of efforts and other resources and sacrifices not paying off. Some dreams are merely whimsical, for example in a fantasy alternate universe I might like to be a foreign diplomat, opera singer or Hollywood actress. However when it comes down to it I just don’t have the passion to seriously pursue any of these things. So dig deep and decide which dreams you are really passionate about. The ones you don’t mind working long and hard for and really committing to.

This is my first post in the Make-Your-Dreams-Come-True series.   I like to sleep on a list like this, and let thoughts and ideas randomly run through my mind for a few days before writing a more specific plan of how to achieve these goals.

So, see you here tomorrow for something different, a special post to kick off the New Year about how to inject magic, sparkle and wonderment into everyday life.  We’ll come back to our lists of dreams and resolutions to make a game plan to make them happen in a later post!

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