Improve your Focus & Performance Using these 3 Simple Tricks

improved focus and performanceBeing self-employed often means that I have the power to design my day and set out the tasks that I have to finish by the end of the day. However, my work also includes deadlines that I have to meet, otherwise I risk unwarranted fines and losses.

With this in mind, I have to remain focused throughout the day or risk going home with half-finished work and disappointed clients. Working online does not make it easy to stay focused. With social media buzzing with interesting stories, pictures of cue babies and puppies popping up in my news feeds, and funny memes at every corner, it is not easy to stay focused  on the numerous tasks I have to accomplish each day.

If you know me at all, you know that I am a performance junkie. I have to-do lists everywhere and I live for that moment when I get to cross something off my list. It is extremely rewarding and makes working on tasks a little bit more fun.

In order to build my focus and complete more tasks everyday, I have come up with simple ways that help me stay focused throughout the day. These are tools based on articles I have read online and teachings from people who have succeeded in different areas. I believe that these measures are applicable to you, no matter what industry you are in or whatever type of work you do. Even if you are a stay at home mom, having a way to remain focused on the millions of tasks you have to accomplish everyday is super helpful.

  1. Tackle one thing at a time. I recently discovered one super successful business person named Todd Herman and he mentioned that multitasking is only an illusion that helps us waste more time and resources. This really resonated with me because I was addicted to multitasking and I would often go home having started working on four or five tasks, but none of them was complete. I am sure you have experienced this too. To counter this, I started working on one task at a time. I would work on it until I finished, and by evening, I would have 3 finished tasks, which is way better than the alternative.
  2. Set blocks of working time and break time. I found this tool while browsing a variety of entrepreneurial websites, and it has been super helpful. It is also called the block and tackle method. I usually schedule 45 minutes of work, followed by a 15 minute break. During the 45 minute block, I focus on one task, work on it continuously until I hear my timer, then stop. During my break, am allowed to reward myself by Facebooking a little, reading a nice blog post or even taking a walk for a breath of fresh air. I repeat this cycle until day’s end. This has worked wonders for improving my focus and performance.
  3. Write down everything you want to achieve everyday. This is one of the simplest, yet extremely effective accountability measures. Most of us fail to complete tasks because we have no one to be accountable to, except ourselves. However, in most cases there is no way to measure accountability to ourselves. When you have a to-do list that is staring at you all day, you will feel at least some pressure to accomplish the items on the list. Write the list and have it in a strategic place where you see it every time you look up. I have lists on my desktop, on my phone and on paper just next to me. This makes it easy for me to see where am falling behind or how well am doing. Imagine going to the supermarket with a shopping list that you keep on checking while you walk down the aisles, what is the likelihood that you will forget something on that list??? Zero to none. This applies to your personal, business and work goals. Write them down and keep referring to that list throughout the day, week or month.

These are simple, yet powerful ways that you can use to improve your focus and performance at work, at home or even at school. I especially love the block and tackle method.

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What tricks do you use to improve your performance?? Share in the comment sections below.

Nothing like a Mother’s Love

Nothing like a mother's loveLast Friday, on my way to work, I called my mama. I wanted to check up on her, as well as inform her were going to visit during the weekend.

So, as soon as she picked up and we exchanged niceties, I asked, “What are you doing tomorrow mum?” “I have no plans for tomorrow. Why do you ask?” She responded

“We just want to come visit you. We’ve missed you so much!”

And there she went off, a crackling, heartfelt, soul-reaching laughter. I heard it and couldn’t help smiling. My husband heard it through the phone too. It was not funny-joke laughter, it was happy, really happy laughter. It was heartfelt and I could feel her heart through the phone.

“Why are you laughing mama? We have missed you. It’s been almost 2 months since the last time we saw each other” I responded. “I am just so happy”, she said after a long pause. “You kids are very welcome and I will be waiting for you tomorrow. Make sure you bring my grandson”, she continued.

“We sure will. Love you and see you tomorrow”, I responded.

We then hung up.

This left me thinking so hard. Why did she sound so so happy, yet we hadn’t done anything unusual or special for her. In fact, we only planned to stay for one night and then get back to the normal grind of life.

It then hit me.

I may not get it right now. However, the day that my Lowell is married and living far away in the city and I don’t get to see him as often as I’d like: that is the day I will understand mamas happiness on knowing that we were going to visit her. Some of these things we don’t actually get them until we’ve gone through them. Like how I got to understand why mothers love their kids so much, only after I had my own son.

There is nothing deeper than a mother’s love. Nothing warmer than a mother’s embrace. Nothing more comforting than a mother’s bosom. (You can tweet that.)

This reminded me how much I love my mum and how much I miss my mother in law, but I believe she is happy, resting with the angels.

How often do you visit your parents? Are you lost in the city, as some would put it, and never go back home until December? This is a new month, make a point of calling your parents today and arrange a visit one of these weekends. It will be time well spent. And bring me some ndumas and bananas while you are in shagz.

How I am saving 25,500/= this year. Update 4 & 5

Current Savings: KSH: 3,000/=2016 Savings Plan update 4 and 5First of all, let me apologize for not posting the third update last week. I have been a little under the weather but am alright now.

For those not saving, 3,000 in 6 weeks might seem like a small amount, but for those of us wanting to have something kept aside by the end of the year, this is a HUGE goal.

This is the 6th Friday and we are doing pretty well. I have already made my deposit to M-Shwari and am so proud of myself and all of you who are following this challenge.

You know, saving is not about depositing a huge amount in your account, it is about the small changes you make, putting away some money and watching it grow week after week. It is truly a wonderful feeling, seeing that in two weeks’ time, we will be at Ksh 4,000/=

I know it is not easy sometimes. At times I pass by the market and see some gorgeous tops that I could easily convince myself I need. However, I choose to walk away reminding myself that the 200 bob can go to my savings plan. Instead of eating chicken and chips for lunch, I choose to eat rice and French beans or something healthier like vegetables. That extra 100 bob goes to my savings plan while also staying healthier.

It’s truly about the small adjustments you make in everyday life.

Before you know it, your savings will have grown to 10 or 20 thousand and you can reinvest it for some more growth.

Wishing you a great weekend and hoping that you are still on track with your savings.

For those who are yet to join the challenge, it is never too late.

Read this post on the 2016 savings plan for more info.

Follow Millie’s Little Palace Facebook Page for frequent updates.

Ideas for Women to Celebrate Themselves this Valentines Day

Celebrate yourself this Valentines dayOnly two days to go to one of the most anticipated days of the year. It is a crazy time for most of us, whether single or married. Expectations are running quite high, and disappointments often follow quite fast!

When our partners don’t give us exactly what we expected or wanted, we are bound to be disappointed. One thing that I have come to discover is that you can never expect one person to give you what you need, all the time. You are the only person who knows what you want and at times, it is perfectly ok to go and get it.

As a working mother of one very active boy, the duties of motherhood, marriage and work can be too overwhelming. I remember last night getting home so tired and thinking how I just want to lie down. Then here comes Lowell, full of energy wanting me to carry him and dance at the same time. I eventually gave in and lifted him high and danced to some African pop music. The smile on his face when I twirled him and swayed from side to side completed my heart, but by the end of it I was super tired.

We might try to be super mamas or super women, but we all need some time to celebrate ourselves and find joy in ourselves.

Here are a few ideas on how you can celebrate yourself this Valentines and remove the burden of making you happy from your spouse’s, partner’s or boyfriend’s shoulders.

  1. Massage– Who wouldn’t want to lie down on a bench and have an expert straighten all those tired and overworked muscles. I wouldn’t mid at all. Most massage sessions start at only a thousand bob. I know you usually spend so much more on other people, so this is quite a small price to pay for a good relaxing session.
  2. Spa and Salon. I would give anything right now to spend hours getting my hair, nails and face done. You come out of the salon feeling crisp and fresh, and the compliments from complete strangers don’t hurt either. So, invest a little in your beauty and just enjoy the newness of a new hairstyle.
  3. Shopping.I have heard of women who hate shopping, but they are very very few. For the rest of us, shopping is therapeutic and can serve as a nice way of saying thank you to yourself. Do some online shopping from the comfort of your home HERE or Go get that white blouse you have been eyeing for 5 months now, or that dress that outlines your curves but costs just a little more than the dresses you usually go for.Thank me later.
  4. Do some charity work. This is what I will be doing this Saturday. You might ask how this is a way of celebrating myself??But, the feeling you get when you visit a children’s home and give your time and money to those very needy children is enough celebration. I usually come home feeling more satisfied than most other days. It is a beautiful feeling. And those kids are usually so appreciative of those small deeds. You can check out our event on Facebook here and join us.

There goes my list!!

Like my Facebook Page.

Don’t forget to check out our 25,500/=savings plan for 2016.

What will you be doing this Valentines?? Are you celebrating yourself?? You are definitely worth celebrating!

 

Hiking Mt.Kilimambogo: A Visit to Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park

Last weekend was awesome! #tembeaKenya

In line with my word for the year, you can read all about that HERE, I am trying to find things that give me joy in everyday life. Honestly, sometimes it is a bit difficult to be joyful when you’ve been down with a load of infections and a bad cold. However, being the positive person I am, I decided to take on something new.

I decided to take on a mountain!!!Whooooa!!What a freaking crazy way to find joy!!

When the opportunity to visit Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, while hiking the scenic Mt.Kilimambogo came along, I hopped on it without even thinking twice. Add hubby into the mix, and awesome company of people I have never met before, it was the perfect thing to do on a sunny Saturday.

When we first got to the Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park, I was super surprised at how tall the mountain looked. I was instantly scared, but I am not one to give up. So, up we went, trekking the trails of the mountain of buffaloes (That’s Mt.Kilimambogo’s nickname).

Honestly, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. The first footpath up the mountain was the hardest for me. I was sweating and my heart was beating out of my chest. But soon my body started adjusting and I started moving faster and it felt so good.

Reaching the summit was the best part of the day. Little did I know that the trek downhill would be so very difficult.

I am still sore from that hike, but it was such a beautiful and peaceful time. You should definitely try hiking as a way of finding joy and just calming down, while taking a look at beautiful views.

For now..Enjoy the pictures.

At the gate

Ol Donyo Sabuk National ParkThe Buffalo Heads

Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park   Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park Louise MacMillan gravesite. Can you imagine she was buried here in 1938? The words are so touching.Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park Ol Donyo Sabuk National Park   Mt. Kilimambogo  With Bae: Team Blue

mt.kilimambogo hike 1Me

mt.kilimambogo activities 2 Mt.KilimambogoThe Summit

Ol Donyo Sabuk

Mt.Kilimambogo SummitGoing downhill…I love this sign!!

mt.kilimambogo going downMore Fun Ideas!

2016 Savings Plan for 25,500/- Update 3

Total savings so far Ksh 2,000/=

Happy FridayLet’s start off this post by acknowledging how beautiful this Friday is.. I took this picture this morning, on my way to the matatu stage. The sun was already up, but it is the crispness of the air that awed me. I could feel the chill on my neck, yet the sun was already warming me up. What a great way to start the day. Loved it.

Onto more serious matters now. We are already 4 weeks into our 2016 savings plan and I couldn’t be more overjoyed. Many times we make resolutions and they don’t even see the end of the first week of the yea, yet we are already in February and still keeping up with this saving challenge. Woop!!Woop!!

I looked into my calendar this week, imagined seeing my saving balance growing to 2,000/= and thought, “Shit, we are actually doing this!! It is truly happening and I am committed to it!”

Anyway, I just deposited my 500 to my M-shwari lock savings account and I hope you are doing the same RIGHT NOW. remember, Kama sio saa hii, ni sasa hivi!

It’s the end month and most of us have received our salaries. So, if you want to put aside 1,000 or 2,000 just to get ahead , you can totally do it. This will give you cover for the ‘dry’ weeks of the month.

You are awesome for taking the right steps towards building your savings, and am proud of you, and myself too!

If you are yet to join the challenge, there is still time. Just go to THIS post and you will find all the details there.

You can find all the other updates HERE and HERE!

Enjoy the weekend lovely people!

2016 Savings Plan for 25,500/= Update 2

Total Savings so far: Ksh 1,500/=

Did that week fly or what??? Am still stuck at Wednesday, but knowing that the weekend is here has pulled me to Friday.

Oh, Hi people!How have you been? Has the week treated you well?

I am down with a cold, tonsillitis, sore throat and I am just feeling a major case of drowsiness. Anyway, I have managed to pull myself together since I have client reports that need to be sent in by tomorrow. I am trying my best while chewing on sore throat lozenges. By the way, please advice on the fastest remedy for sore throats and colds. I will appreciate it.

Let’s get back on topic. Are you saving?? Are you on track with the 2016 savings plan to save 25,500/=. I am and I am so happy I made this commitment. If it were not for this blog and the commitment I have made to you readers, I know I would have already forgotten about this savings plan.

2016 Savings Plan word-3rd weekBut, I have been saving a hundred bob here and there and I just deposited my Ksh 500/= for today, Friday the 29th. (Can you see the small ticks on my plan on the picture above? Those are my motivation ticks. They show my progress!) You can print the plan and tick whenever you deposit money, which should be every Friday.

Have you deposited your savings for today? Go ahead, DO IT. RIGHT NOW!!

If you have no idea what the 2016 savings plan is all about, check details HERE.

The first update is HERE.

Kama sio saa hii, ni sasa hivi!

Let’s say bye bye to Njaanuary and welcome to the month of love in style.

Follow us On Facebook HERE for more progress details.

NB: Some Life Inspiration and Finding Joy in Everyday Life.

 

Monday Inspiration from a Journal Entry from 2013

Hi people!Happy new week.

monday inspirationI was looking through my old things last week, and I found a few of the diaries I have kept in the past. If you know me, you know that I love to write a lot. I write about the simplest things and my diaries are filled with little notes, to God, to myself, to my family and to my friends. I even found one where I wrote to my future baby (the one I already have now). It was a weird conerstaion I tell you.

As I went throuh the diaries, I found one from 2013 and started going through it. I usually do this from time to time, and am always surpised to see how my life and way of thinking has changed over the years. Anyway, in this 2013 diary, I found only a few entries, but the major one was in January. It was a similar period to what we are going through now, but the contents were completely different. It was a letter to God, dated January 2013. In this letter, I delved into some of the things I was going through in my life. I had just discovered I was pregnant, but things were not looking so good.

I wrote:january 2013“Hi, its Monday and am still in the house. It’s almost 11 a.m. and I’ve not even taken a shower…..I don’t have a job….Am scared that I will turn into a resentful, dependent housewife who brings nothing to the table. Am scared that my life is going down the drain. I am currently not seeing any solution that I can put in motion. I feel helpless.”

That was the first part of the diary entry. After spewing all my problems on paper, I continued to the next part:

“I want to feel good. I want to feel motivated and driven. I want to feel excited. I want something to do. I want a job. Something am good at. I want something that will earn me good money. I want my bills paid on time. I want to come home happy, satisfied and that I did a great job.”

After this part, I went ahead to finish off the entry by saying:

“There are so many things am thankful for. Am alive and well and pregnant. Am so grateful.”

As I read through this journal entry a few days ago, tears started welling up in my eyes. I went through all those things I said I wanted so badly and discovered that God had given me everythng I asked for and more.

Now in January 2016, almost 3 years after writing this prayer, things are so much more different. Actually, I got a job that March, after writing my prayer in January. Though I left that job after I had my baby boy, I found even something better to do.I actually go home feeling happy and satisfied, just like I prayed for.

Of course, there are so many more things I want, but this journal entry written way back in 2013 is an indication that my life has changed, my prayers have been answered and that even my bigger dreams can be accomplished.

I am challenging you today, and myself too.

Write out a letter to God today and outline all the issues you are going through. Go ahead and write out the things that you want, how you want your life to shape up. Then, say a prayer of gratitude, because your prayers are already answered.

Am living testimony.

Now I go off to write a new journal entry and ask for the things I want…(that list might include a few things you want too, such as a house and more peace of mind and heart), then I will stand and watch as God answers my prayers.

Have a lovely week good people!

2016 Savings Plan: Update 1

Hi lovely people!

I hope your week has been awesome!Mine has been good, filled with long work days and potty training evenings!Yea..that is what motherhood entails. In-between everything, I have found little moments of joy especially when laughing with my husband or playing with my toddler. Life is good.

Anyway, onto the serious matter at hand. My post on how we can all save 25,500/= bob by the end of the year was the most popular post ever. I was amazed at how many people were willing to join in the challenge. If you are yet to join us, check out this post for all the details.

Just a reminder, it is not too late to join in. This is only the second Friday of the saving challenge and I know you can do it. If am doing it, anyone can. So print out the saving plan and start saving NOW NOW!!Kama sio saa hii, ni sasa hivi!!

For the update: I have already made my deposit for today, which means there is Ksh: 1,000/= bob in my savings account. It feels so good to say it and just know that am making little but positive steps towards increasing my savings!!

Have you deposied your 500 yet?? Go ahead, DO IT!

2016 Savings Plan largeAnd those who are still waiting on the sidelines, yea I can see you and you and you, c’mon people, join us and lets play together!

Have a beautiful weekend.

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