My most popular blog post ever was called How a Lady of Leisure Hustles. This concept swept across the internet with women from all over the world sending me messages of gratitude and expressing a deep desire to balance both ambition and ease.
Here’s a summary of the concept:
I still stand by the original principles I presented, such as dressing well and starting your day off with leisure.
However, since I wrote that piece, my business has grown exponentially. The French Kiss Life movement is spreading across the world. I’ve brought on an amazing team to guarantee top-level service to my clients. My daughter is approaching her senior year in high school. Oh, and I have divorced.
As you can imagine, my life is very different since the debut of the concept of Leisurely Hustling. But, there’s good news! I’m enjoying my life more than ever. This also has required more intention, structure and focus than ever.
Many people believe that success leads to happiness, but I believe the opposite is true: happiness leads to success. And, it’s up to us to create our lives to maximize our own joy.
So, I want to expand upon the original concepts and share additional tools and mindset shifts to aid you in your desire to Leisurely Hustle.
Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a CEO or an entrepreneur, you can greatly benefit from some or all of what I’m about to share.1. Focus on Today
A CEO told me once, “While you must have a vision, it all comes back to what you do today.” I’ve wasted a lot of energy regretting the past and fretting over the future. All this does is lead to overwhelm and paralysis analysis.
So, I like to think about what I can do today that would make my 90-year old self proud.
I keep that list small and tight. My max is three.
And, when my mind starts to blaze down the path of what ifs and panic, I’m like, “Un-uh, come back here,” and I escort her back to the present.
Today. That’s all we have. So, keep it simple and make yourself proud.2. Create Structure & Systems
When my business was a baby, I had documents stored everywhere. I also wanted to be really cool, so I carried a day planner, because that’s what I thought all the cool people did. And, I rebelled against structure because I thought that structure was the antithesis of creativity.
Well, come to find out, structure is the sexiest thing you can have in your life. It creates space, clarity and focus, while freeing up time for more play and fun.
The day I realized that I could no longer just wing it and switched my entire business and life over to Google and Dropbox was the day I saw the heavens part and the angels sing.
Now, every part of my business and life is neatly arranged within Google. I get automated reminders and I know where every document I’ve ever created resides. My phone is always with me, so I can easily schedule appointments, even if I’m on the dance floor.
The result? More productivity and focus and more time for leisure!
Here’s a snapshot of my calendar to give you an idea of how I manage this beautiful (and crazy) life:3. Batch to Relax
In the past, I loved approaching my day like a choose your own adventure book. Structure seemed like the last thing my lady of leisure wanted to do. Or so I thought!
As my life and business had increasing demands, I found that I was reacting to distractions versus creating my day. This looked like: checking email every 30 minutes, constantly perusing social media, chatting with friends on the phone, answering text messages as they came rolling in. I was so busy reacting to my life that there was little time to create it.
Then, I discovered The Art of Batching.
This is not a new concept. It’s how the most productive people structure their lives to allow for more creativity, focus and productivity. Like Google, this concept changed my entire life.
So, here’s what it looks like for me:
Scheduling routine examinations and maintenance for one day — the dentist, oil changes, gynecologist, facial, etc.
Set times to check email. I check email 2x/day in the morning and afternoon. The world will not fall apart if you’re not responding to email every hour. Please trust me on this one.
Scheduled writing days. Even though I write every day, I have specific days (Monday and Fridays) that are devoted to my blog, articles and program writing. I keep a whiteboard (in Google docs) full of ideas on things I want to write about, so I rarely sit down without something that’s ready to be born through words.
Having set times to check social media. I’ll admit that this one is the hardest. I absolutely love connecting with the French Kiss Life community on social media. I adore seeing pics of your celebrations, children and dogs. And, I also know that this behavior makes me feel extremely scattered and decreases my productivity. For this reason, weekends are do whatever I want when it comes to social media. But, during the week, I have set hours for checking in.4. Have clear work hours.
If you work for someone else, this has been established for you. However, if you’re an entrepreneur or a stay-at-home mom, it is up to you to create your own schedule. My official work days are Tuesday – Thursday. Yes, I have a 3-day work week, and everyone knows that I am unavailable during these days. I don’t have coffee with friends, go shopping or do much at all other than focus on my business. These are the days I have team meetings, work with clients, schedule interviews and work with partnerships.
I write on Mondays and Friday. Because I love writing so much, I don’t classify these as work days.
My work days start at 9AM and end at 6PM. And, I am committed to that hard stop.
At 6 o’clock, I transform into my lady of leisure, usually with a glass of wine in hand, a simple and delicious dinner and time with my family and friends. This is also my Game of Thrones time.5. Take Proper Breaks
The French have taught me the importance of taking time out for a beautiful lunch and other small breaks throughout my day. My inner lady of leisure would be extremely agitated if I treated her like a work horse without proper moments of rejuvenation.
I used to have a 30 minutes of hustle and 30 minutes of leisure approach. However, since the demands of my life has increased, this ratio has changed. Now, it’s more like 45 minutes of hustle with 15 minutes of leisure.6. Create a Beautiful Work Space
Cluttered and dull work spaces have got to go if you’re to be a Leisurely Hustler. Both parts of you desire to be inspired and surrounded by beauty. So, organize your space, buy fresh flowers for your desk, fill it with inspirational visuals and, if possible, fill your space with luxurious aromas and music.7. Find Your Happy Place
I believe that women need to escape to their happy place to be nourished and reminded to slow down and savor their lives. I have several of those places that I visit each week — my local coffee shop, the hot springs, the bookstore, a little cabin in the woods, my massage therapist’s office and my Friday lunch date with girlfriends.
Find yours and schedule at least a weekly visit. Your inner hustler needs a break.8. Stop Saying These Two Things
I don’t have time and I’m too busy must be deleted from your most often used phrases. Nothing worth having comes from these two statements. They simply create chaos and time scarcity. Plus, they aren’t that elegant.
Here’s the truth: you get to choose how you spend your time. It’s not about being too busy but a matter of priorities.
I like to remind myself, “If Richard Branson can run 400 companies and still have time to workout and have fun, what’s my excuse?”
When it comes to time, It’s always a choice as to how you use it.
So, stop saying those two things; it only makes you a victim of time.9. Design Your Day the Night Before
Many women complain to me that they feel scattered. They truly desire to be more productive, but they’ll say things like, “When I sit down to work, I don’t know what to work on,” or “I have all these things I want to do, but when the day rolls around, I don’t do any of them.”
This is why it’s helpful to think about your day the night before. For me, I review my next day’s to-do lists before I end my work day at 6PM. Doing this allows me to start day out efficiently. For example, if I know I’m recording this podcast, I get my equipment ready. If I need to pay bills, I have them ready on my desk for review. If I’m going to the gym, I lay out my clothes so that I’m ready.
When I wake up in the morning, I have already set in motion my day’s events because I didn’t wait to plan my day; I created it the night before.10. Get Your Beauty Sleep
How can you expect to be effective when you’re running off of fumes? I know that feeling of trying to run a business and household with a groggy mind and cranky attitude. At some point, you must claim back your life and time, and I think going to bed earlier is a great place to start.
I’m usually in bed by 10PM and read for about 30 minutes before I drift off to sleep.11. Make Your Health a Priority
This is no big news flash. Intuitively, we all know that we should take care of ourselves, but it’s often the first thing to be neglected when our inner hustler is running the show.
Here are some statistics that may get your hustler on board:
- One study showed that “eating unhealthily is linked with a 66 percent increased risk of loss of productivity, while rare exercise is linked with a 50 percent increased risk of low productivity.”
- Another study showed that “employees who enjoyed a workout before going to work – or exercised during lunch breaks – were better equipped to handle whatever the day threw at them. People’s general mood improved on days of exercise but they became less calm on non-exercise days.”
If you want to be the most effective and vivacious you possible, carve out time to nourish yourself physically. If you don’t, you’re not creating a sustainable lifestyle.12. Schedule Education Time
Part of the French Kiss Life-style is cultivating a beautiful mind — taking the time to indulge in art, language, culture or whatever inspires you.
Now, you may be thinking, “Well, that sounds nice, but when do I have the time?” Well, I believe that we make time for what’s truly important. And, what I know is that to elevate your life, business and career, there’s a huge need to keep your mind sharp.
The only thing that’s worked for me in making this a priority is to schedule it into my week.
If you want to learn a new language, schedule thirty minutes a day into your calendar and show up for yourself.
If you’re starting a business, schedule time to read books, learn about those areas where you are not proficient and make it part of your work week.
If you want to indulge in the arts, schedule a monthly visit to a museum or local lectures.
What I’ve learned is that if I don’t schedule it, it won’t happen.13. Have a Non-Work Passion
Your inner lady of leisure is bored if all you ever do is talk about work, business or your children. She desires to live an extraordinary life — passionate nights of dancing, poetry dancing through her mind, beautiful conversations and experiencing moments that leave her in awe.
Unfortunately, way too many women have bought into the ROI way of thinking about their life. What’s the ROI on learning to how to paint if I don’t want to be a paid artist?
Let me tell you what the ROI is: your joie de vivre, that je ne sais quoi that makes you interesting, the creativity and inspiration that occurs when your soul is being nourished.
When I don’t make space for these things in my life, my soul wilts a little.
And, trust me, the world will not fall apart if you’re spending an hour a week at tango. If anything, the world will be a better place, because we need more brave women who aren’t afraid to enjoy this precious life.14. Schedule a Vacation
A few years ago, a client admitted, “I haven’t been on a vacation in 8 years.”
Her assignment? Schedule one this week.
“Oh, I can’t.” And, then the excuses came pouring in: “My work schedule is too intense. I can’t afford it. I don’t have anyone to go with.”
To say your work schedule is too intense means you’ve given your power over to someone else.
To say you can’t afford it suggests that you’re not a creative being that can create the funds for whatever you want.
To say you don’t have anyone to go with suggests that your own company is not enough OR that you can’t find an exceptional group to experience the delight of travel with.
That week, she booked a trip to Napa Valley at a beautiful resort.
Here’s what she told me later:
Once I pressed the payment button on my airline tickets, I felt like I claimed back my life. The excitement that I felt looking forward to the trip was almost as great as the trip itself. But, I realized how we live with these false assumptions. What I discovered is that proper vacations are what I need to not only be a better employee but a better woman. I have committed to taking one grand vacation a year.
Since that trip, my client has been to Europe, South America and Hawaii.
Whether it’s a weekend camping trip or a week in Paris, take out your calendar and schedule a vacation TODAY! Your lady of leisure will be filled with excitement and your inner hustler will thank you for the break. (And, if you want to join a French Kiss Life Experience, let us know here.)
This list may seem like a lot, but each tip is designed to help you cultivate more space and fun in your life. Don’t use these recommendations as an excuse to go into overwhelm. Life is not a race, so neither is becoming a Leisurely Hustler.
So, go out there and leisurely hustle this week. It’s an on-going dance between ambition and ease. So put on some lipstick, relax and enjoy!
And, I’d love to know: which of these tips are you going to practice this week? Share in the comments below.
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