The Elements

By Andrea Schlapia   |   April 5, 2016

Breathing Room: 10 Steps to Make YOU Your Top Priority

Categories: Health & Wellness, Human Element

Life is chaotic, fast-paced, and overwhelming. You feel exhausted, busy yet not productive, and it’s causing you to disengage. Does any of this describe you or your team?  If so, keep reading! 

Today’s culture of work is no easy feat. With all the responsibilities, decisions to be made, people asking for direction and guidance, and the quality and quantity of work required; it can become so overwhelming you simply don’t want to do it anymore and disengage completely because you have lost control. 

Watch for Warning Signs

I’ve watched this happen to some of my peers and not all had a positive turnaround.

Well, little did I know, my turn for this experience was coming in late 2015. I’d grown my business to a tremendously successful level, yet the passion I once had was flagging. My level of engagement was dipping as I went through the motions of work, and it started adversely affecting my personal life, my health, and my team. 

In fact, I was disengaged to the point of considering going back into the corporate workforce versus running a business and giving up everything I worked so hard to achieve. That’s when I knew something had to give.

Putting myself first was not something that was top of mind, yet it was the exact prescription that was the solution to my challenge. I had to practice what I preached to so many business owners, advisors, and team members. That was my “A-ha!” moment, a positive turning point that’s paid major dividends ever since.

The Big Question:

When was the last time you gave yourself permission for breathing room to collect your thoughts and reenergize yourself?  Life is so much better now that I have given myself that breathing room!

Here is your roadmap of 10 steps to enhance your quality of life and take control:

1. Purposefully disengage

  • Be okay with saying NO without explaining yourself
  • You don’t have to attend every conference that is available
  • Unsubscribe frequently

2. One internally focused day per week

  • Your business can’t evolve if you don’t focus on how it is working or not working 
  • Be better for your clients by focusing on how you run your business 

3. Turn off your sound on your computer to avoid the dings and pings

  • These are unnecessary distractions and will break your focus
  • Email will always be waiting for you, so be strategic about when you check it
  • Turn off app notifications – do you really need to know who posted what on Facebook?

4. Wrapping up at 5pm

  • Working longer doesn’t mean you are more productive, it just means you are working longer

5. 10k a day minimum

  • Break it down – 1000 steps every hour – this will clear the fog throughout the day

6. Unplug

  • Take a 1-hour minimum break from all electronics during the day

Profile of a beautiful woman relaxing lying on a couch at home

7. Eat more frequently

  • Don’t go without breakfast as this is the kick start to your day
  • Smoothies are your friend and they’re quick and easy
  • 2 snacks between breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Protein at every meal

8. Exercise 5 minutes a day to create consistency

  • Create small targets you can’t possibly miss, you can always do more
  • The gym is not always the answer
  • Amazing how much your body starts to change and it is NOT a mental challenge to get it done

9. Take a nap – sleep your way to the top! 

  • The National Sleep Foundation recommends a short nap of 30 to 40 minutes for “improved alertness and performance”
  • Naps help avoid burnout and make you more productive without interrupting your nighttime sleep
  • When fatigue sets in, a nap allows you to manage your overall energy, mental, and physical stamina

10. No electronics 1 hour prior to bed

  • The blue light has been shown to keep you awake close to bedtime
  • Consider tinted safety glasses in the evening to block out blue light from devices (read the amazon reviews and see how helpful this is for insomniacs!)
  • Uvex UV Extreme is my preference and so attractive to wear ☺

Conclusion: Give Yourself the Space to Breathe…

Give yourself breathing room to think, create, develop, and plan out your strategy both personally and professionally. Do not wait until you are burnt out to change your path. Decide to take control of your life and make good choices today.

Every journey begins with a single step…and hopefully a good night’s sleep!

Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital

Andrea Schlapia, RCC™, HCS, sHRBP, is the Founder and CEO of Ironstone, which represents the culmination of her 20+ year career within the financial services industry. Her experience began as a financial advisor evolving into a consultant coach for advisors entering the field. This ignited her passion to support others through learning and development of best practices in order to achieve substantial results. To this end, she followed her desire into positions of senior-level practice management specialists for Dreyfus, Prudential, and DWS Investments prior to the realization of Ironstone.  Andrea’s focus is on practice management strategies to enhance and improve both business and personal life.

Andrea identifies 4 key performance areas known as the Fundamental 4™, which are required to design, develop, and sustain a successful business. Through coaching sessions and speaking engagements, she captivates her audience with interactive, high-energy presentations which are built with “how-to” strategies resulting in real-world implementation for significant impact. Andrea has been featured in multiple publications and audio broadcasts as a specialist and distinguished spokeswoman in the financial industry.

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Andrea Schlapia
Organizational Development and Human Capital
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