The First Quarter

Dana Warren, DMW Coaching

It’s mid-way through the month. You’re likely just settling into the getting up early routine. You’re probably still staying up late though. The kid’s drop offs and pickups have been reconfigured, lunches re-established but you haven’t had a proper sleep now in two weeks. There’s a list as long as your arm to complete on the work front, perhaps a pile of things that have been pushed aside as a result of being too busy.

Parent or not, our routines at this time of the year are affected by the change in season and this time of the year’s shift usually brings more demand.  September brings a ‘back to school’ attitude and suddenly the ‘to do’ list becomes mountainous.

But you can handle it right?

You’ve probably held it together because that’s what women tend to do. We are the ultimate multi-taskers, it’s in our makeup to be able to juggle all the pieces at the same time and society seems to demand that of us as well. Women also tend to suffer under their own expectations when it comes to getting it all done. Sadly the thing that is most affected is our general health and well-being. Sleep is usually number one to go. If something has a deadline, it slips into the evening slot when all of the other demanding things in the day have gone quiet and everyone’s in bed.

I’m not the New Year’s resolution type; I believe every quarter is an opportunity to recalibrate and September is the first quarter of my New Year.  It’s way too much pressure to have to make it all about once a year, so for me, every three months or so works. As you move through the next few days, make an appointment with yourself to consider some of the things that are important to you. Call it your quarterly check in. Put it in the calendar, heck, put it in for January too. And don’t let some other meeting get in the way of it. Hold your time sacred, it’ll do you, your family and your business good in the long run.

At that ‘appointment’ I want you to stop and take a little time to reflect on your priorities and how you can take care of yourself amongst it all. I want you to consider the all magical work/life balance that we hear about. Really consider it. Try picturing yourself as the first priority on that list.

Let me give you an analogy. You’re on a plane, you hit turbulence, and the captain switches on the seatbelt sign, sends the flight attendants to their seats and drops the masks. Sitting next to you is a person that needs help. You’re first priority needs to be you slipping on your mask before reaching out to help the person beside you. You’re no good to anyone if you can’t breathe. Walk that concept into your own life. There are some basics when it comes to well-being and I suggest you stop and think through how you’re taking care of yourself early in this quarter so that you and the rest of your world can benefit.

Get enough zzzz’s. Our bodies need time to rest, heal, store memory and recover from the other 18 plus hours of demands we put on it. People who don’t sleep well tend to become more easily stressed, gain weight, suffer from mood swings, have poor memories, and increase their risk of getting sick. A recent study showed that women who slept less than five hours a night were less likely to live as long as women who got more.

Fuel your tank. Fuel for me refers to food, water, exercise and oxygen. All of these elements positively contribute to your mental agility, your ability to manage stress and fight disease, to sleep well at night, and your general attitude. Food is fuel. The air we breathe gives us life. Need I mention the endorphins? We need to treat our bodies well to be effective problem solvers, as well as healthy, contributing human beings. Taking care of the ‘tank’ leads to longer, happier more productive lives at work and at play. End of.

Keep technology at a dull roar. I never get tired of reminding people that they make choices when it comes to technology in their lives. I own a blackberry. I used to cradle that baby from dawn til dusk. My partner used to jokingly bleep bleep to get my attention. I never turned anything off because I thought it was important to always be available, but that’s just not the case. It’s important to exist in all of the facets of your life fully. Gives the machines an end of day deadline and let them go. You’ll sleep better, eat better and love better.

Sit down and have a chat with yourself about your goals for this quarter. Part of our makeup is also the drive to be successful. Having productive habits in our work environment means more free time and more free time brings the elusive balance we hear so much about. Take time to sort your day, you know how. One of my golden rules is “It Takes Two.” If it takes less than a couple of minutes to complete. DO IT. These little tasks quickly become a collection of distractions that keep you away from the bigger thinking work that contributes to your professional success. I like to clear the deck of the menial bits and pieces because, like the rest of the world, I tend to avoid the bigger stuff. Why? Its fear of failure or fear of success, but whatever it may be, it’s the same result. Give yourself time to look at where you are and what you want. Make a plan. Then start in, one bite at a time. You can always make adjustments at your next review.

Bring at least one thing into your day that gives you joy. Maybe it’s a meal at the table, Coronation Street (one of mine), alone time, that first coffee, or tucking your children into bed. The things that bring us joy are the most subjective. As hokey as this sounds coming out of my ‘mouth’, life is only day in and day out. So everyday has to give you something you love. Or let me rephrase that; you have to generate the things that put a smile on your face. You have to carve out time every day to grab hold. It’s about being wholly and fully where you are. It brings with it gratitude, admiration and the feeling that all is right with the world.

At the end of the day, who could ask for more?

Dana Warren is a life coach who applies the methodologies of neuroscience, psychology, mindfulness and everyday experiences to the coaching process. Her direct, honest style stirs people and supports her reputation as a motivating force with a passion for helping clients, be it personal or professional. Follow her blog at or find her on Facebook and Twitter. 



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3 responses to “The First Quarter

  1. Paula

    Lots of good advise! I need to put my BB on a deadline for sure….

  2. alisonstoodley

    Excellent points for staying on track Dana. I tend to nag myself about most of these but thanks so much for the reminder to bring joy into my life on a daily basis – a very good idea, especially for those of us who are building our businesses and can easily get caught up in the minutia.

  3. Excellent suggestions, Dana! I agree with the strategies that you have outlined. I loved the concept of ‘dividing into quarters’. I also liked the idea of finding something in your day that you enjoy – and enjoying it! Thank you for your blog. Well done.

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