Thursday 21 April 2016

How to be a productive parent (Guest post by Matt Richards)

Change your outlook, change your world.

My name is Matt Richards. I work with people who want their lives to change. I show high-achievers, how to dream bigger than they ever thought possible - and then show them how to take small, strategic steps to achieve these ‘impossible’ goals.

Since becoming a professional coach 7 years ago I have worked with clients from all over the world, taking on a maximum of just 10 clients each year, to ensure I give every one my full, unwavering commitment.

It’s been a long journey for me to get to where I am but I’m in a great place right now because I’ve designed it that way. And if I can do it so can you.

 How To Be A Productive Parent

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that as a busy parent in the modern world it’s very easy to become demotivated and burnt out at times.

Not only do you have a million different people informing you of the ‘correct’ way to raise your child, but there’s the sleepless nights, the juggling of your own dreams and needs, not to mention the relatively uncertain future we all find ourselves in presently.

As an expert at helping people become more productive and happier I know that with just a little change in mindset and a commitment to self-investment, self-belief and taking strategic action, anything is possible.

I also understand that as a busy parent there are countless times when you might feel jaded and unproductive. But while this is true, there is no reason why you can’t combat these feelings and become not just a great parent but a powerful individual – someone who is productive and focused even when life threatens to drag them down.

To help with this then, I have highlighted below a few techniques to help you always aim for greatness - even when you’re running on empty.

1. Don’t blame yourself

The first point we need to set in stone here is that what you feel is normal. You are not different to any other parent. The same fears, moods, confusion and overwhelm you are experiencing are being felt all over the world.

That’s what being a parent is.

So please don’t blame yourself. Ever. There is so much pressure on you already; from society, from the media, from family members. Don’t be another voice adding to that pressure.

You don’t have to be Super Parent to raise your children as good, happy individuals. Indeed, trying too hard to be perfect is one sure-fire way you can actually become burnt out.

You can read every book on parenting out there - but with so much contradiction and methodologies it’s very easy to become overwhelmed. Instead go with your guts, they’re usually right. And more so, cut yourself some slack. Remind yourself that you are a good, loving parent who always does right by their children. And that is most of the battle won right there.

Achieving a relative balance between meeting the needs of your family as well as caring for yourself is extremely important if you are to be a productive and happy parent.

2. Recharge yourself strategically

This technique is really useful if you find yourself in unproductive slumps during the day.

The trick is to set 2 or 3 check-up points throughout the day where you’ll actively stop what you’re doing, recharge yourself a little and remind yourself that you are a happy, productive person.

So next time you’re feeling a little fogged and tired after being up since 4am simply stand up, shake yourself down and realign with yourself.

Do whatever works best for you: fist pump the air, shout at the top of your voice, loop self-belief thoughts, do some deep breathing exercises, power pose, dance…

It only needs to be for a few minutes. Just get up and move, become alive again and then you’ll be so fired up to take on the rest of your day.

Motion creates emotion.

Alongside this it’s also really useful to listen to crank up some of your favourite tunes now and again. Doing this will trigger the release of neurotransmitters in your brain, which boost alertness and attention.

3. Go for Re-Calibration Walks

I realised a few years ago that I always got all my best ideas when I was outside walking, with no distractions at all.

So I began taking myself away from things for just 20 mins a few times each week. I strip myself of all technology and just walk in nature for a while.

Try this yourself, go for recalibration walks, get your peripatetic system working and I’ll guarantee you’ll have an epiphany a week.

It’s an amazing way of just recalibrating and getting clear on things.

Plus, fresh air and exercise always works wonders.

Your body is designed to work on a circadian pattern. When that pattern is disrupted, your blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and heart rate all suffer.

Exercise helps develop adrenaline release, which makes us more alert so strap the baby in a buggy, splash your face with cold water and go for a walk around the block.

4. Create conscious intent for the day ahead.

Nothing focuses our reptilian brains more than intent. In essence, energy follows attention. But if you’ve ever felt flustered or overwhelmed its only because you’re unclear as to what you want.

We all know nature abhors a vacuum. So what that means is if you’re unfocused, your subconscious mind is going to start to look for things to focus on.

And in doing so it splurges all its energy on looking for focus and because of all this expended energy flying around, you end up feeling stressed and tired out.

So, how do we combat this?

By creating conscious intent - by having intentions planned out for your day.

So decide each morning that you are going to be happy and productive that day. It sounds simplistic and obvious but you’d be surprised. It’s something most people don’t ever really think about. But if you stop right now. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that today is going to go well. That today you will be happy and in control. Then you’ll feel be amazed at how confident and super powerful it leaves you feeling.

Wake up and thank the day then: ‘Today I will feel happy and in control’

And if that sounds a little trite then let me put this another way for you:

The only way to true happiness and be a productive parent is to create good energy and emotions from within. Never from external forces

If you take full responsibility for how you feel you’ll realise you can start to take control of it. And make it so.

Always create the state you want from within. Whether you use visualisations, affirmations, meditation, yoga or whatever you need to help with this.

The state you are in the most often becomes your default state.

So if you take responsibility for your happiness, keep a smile on and commit to having a good day it’s going to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The more happy and productive you act the more this will become who you are all the time. And very quickly will become your state without even thinking about it.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask

Finally if you need help ever, ask for help. Nobody gets successful without a little help. A big issue new parent’s face is that they’re focusing their attention so much harder than most people that they can begin to neglect themselves without even realising it.

So don’t be afraid to ask for a little time out. If you have people there to take youngster off your hands for an hour or so let them.

Allow yourself to just be you for a few hours.

To be a strong productive parent you need strong foundations. So there’s nothing wrong with letting others take control and getting to know you again from time to time.

It will make the rest of the time you are in parent-mode so much more rewarding, exciting and productive.

Matt Richards

High-Performance Coach

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