“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”

-Albert Einstein

We are truly in the heart of summer and while I always envision things slowing down and leisurely going about life in the summer-the first two weeks have been anything but slow and relaxing for me.

It can be difficult to observe in ourselves when we are feeling really stressed until it’s too late and we are already exhibiting the signs of stress. Things like irritability, overeating, body aches, tension in your back or shoulders, or vegging out are all signs of stress that we can pay attention to.

Over time I have observed that when I’m reaching the point of feeling really stressed I feel like there isn’t enough time to get things done and I start to make scheduling mistakes-feeling as if I just can’t get enough done. When I see that meetings start overlapping in my calendar, I start canceling plans or miss an important appointment-I know that’s a sign that I’m really stressed and need to pull back and reevaluate how I’m spending my time.

A key area of my work with clients and as a leader in planning for the future. My clients look at what they want in their lives and what their lives currently look like, and examine what’s holding them back. The work we do is focused on the future and currently what we are doing to create this future and what we are doing that inhibits us from creating that future. Oftentimes, how we spend our time (hello Netflix binges and mindlessly scrolling through our phones) doesn’t move us towards the goals we are trying to meet and then we get into a cycle of continuing to do what we’ve always done, even when it doesn’t work.

In order to plan for our futures, we need time. Time to think, process, daydream, read about different ideas, and simply be creative. Most of our best ideas come from the times when we are relaxing and unplugged from work.

Knowing I needed a change, I came across this new way of organizing my calendar based on Designing Your Time as a Leader: Aligning How You Spend Your Time with Your Intentions. This calendar would be beneficial for anybody, not just leaders!

This weekend I’m going to spend some time reviewing my current calendar and adjusting it to see if I can create more time in my day so that I can truly get all of the things I want to get done and feel less stress. No more overbooking myself or feeling exhausted at the end of the day. And I’m going to try the tips in the above article.

In addition, one of the most important parts of my time is time for myself to read, reflect, journal, be creative through cooking, and plan for the future. Another important area of my life that brings me happiness is spending quality time with family and friends. When I’m stressed, the time to myself and time with family and friends often gets pushed to the side or I don’t enjoy the time because we’re focused on what still needs to be done for work.

If you were to choose the most important areas of your life and look at how much time you devote to each-would what you’re doing be aligned with what you value? Are you spending the time at work on things that truly matter to you and your future? Are you spending time on yourself, family, and friends in amounts that feel good to you? If not, what can you change to bring balance to your life?

One way I love to spend time being creative is cooking. This week, I’m going to share a recipe that I have made several times and has been a hit with family and friends. If you’re like me and you love anything pickled-you’ll love this refreshing Giardiniera recipe. It’s refreshing, healthy, and can hold up to the hottest of summer bbq’s. Also, this recipe makes ten cups so you’ll have plenty to give to friends as gifts.

Have a fabulous week!