Catriona Futter – Equip For Life Coaching Becoming your best self and living life to the full – 07713 974138

Category Archives: Time Management/balance

Work/life balance, and balancing our time can be tricky. But there are answers to achieving a better balance, and improving your time management, as you will read here.

What causes your energy to drain away down the plughole?

When is your energy trapped?

What drains your energy?

When you find yourself mentally worn-out….tired….frazzled…..can you identify what has caused that? Sometimes we can, and sometimes the culprits are the most likely – being too busy, not taking care of ourselves, juggling multiple commitments – life in our current age I guess.

But sometimes, when we take a step back and think about the subject more closely, we can identify key themes that consistently crop up and sap us of energy, prompt us to feel burnt out or world-weary, engender feelings of frustration at our seeming lack of fulfillment or accomplishment.

And that then becomes the key: identify what your key energy drainers are, and you can start to address them. Take proactive action to deal with, delegate, or desist.

For me, top energy drainers would include electronic noise (time on any kind of technology, responding to emails, social media), unfinished projects, mindless repetitive tasks that need to be repeated the following day. Now none of those are wrong or bad in and of themselves. But for me personally, I am aware that excess time spent on technology, lots of unfinished tasks about the house, lack of productive fulfillment…..all sap me and leave me feeling like a shriveled up prune.

And therein lies part of the key – energy drainers are unique and personal to each of us, and what drains me might be energising for someone else. Knowing yourself is key.

And then taking action – limit the time spent on facebook. Delegate some of those repetitive tasks (sorting socks anyone?!). Tackle those projects in clearly defined chunks of time. You get the idea.

Not rocket science I know, but the key – always the starting point – is understanding and knowing yourself.

So what drains your energy, and what first step can you take this week to deal with that? Next week, top of my list…..


Reconnect with what matters most to us through our inner child.

what did your younger self love to doThese past few weeks have seen me talking about values, what matters most to us, a lot.

In fact, our values – how we identify them,

how we live accordingly,

and the cost of our values being neglected or in conflict

is of such crucial significance to how we live our lives that I cover this more than anything else in what I do.

The idea of work/life balance is not so much about time management, but about understanding our values and prioritising our time accordingly.

So how do we identify our values, our core operating systems if you like?

One way is to look back at things you loved to do as a child:

What could people not stop you doing when you were a kid? 

What did you spend your time and pocket money on? (maybe going beyond sweets in your remembering….)

What were some of the things that were true of you when you were between 6 and 12 years old?

And as you start to think back and reconnect with that inner child, how much of that is still true of you today? How much of how you live, what matters most to you, how you express yourself and what you understand of who you are at your best is still informed by that much younger you? Or has life, and being a grown-up, squashed some of that out of you?

If that raised questions for you about the gap between you as a child and you now, or you find yourself wanting to dig into this a bit more and live a more fulfilling life, get in touch! We can reconnect with that inner child, and give full expression to you at your best.




Your free gift to unlock your own happiness!

Your key to happiness               We have reached the end of our exploration of the 10 keys to happiness, and much food for thought has been consumed and digested. Perhaps for you more questions have been raised than have been answered – I do love to ask questions! – and what has been highlighted is that you are unsure how to proceed. You know you are a bit stuck and something has to change in your life, but you are at a loss as to how you approach it.

Well I am delighted to be able to give you an opportunity to become unstuck, and explore these issues in more detail.

Is it really possible to implement all we have been talking about in the keys to happiness?

Do we really have that kind of time – surely we are all super busy and running around crazy and this just something else to add to the never-ending-to-do-list?

And herein lies the rub –

the secret is not lack of time, it is how we see and use time.

Want to find out more?

Want to start to transform how you use time?

Excited about implementing some of the keys to happiness but not sure how to proceed?

Your free 8 page self-coaching guide will give you plenty more food for thought, as well as inspiration, encouragement, and lots of practical ideas that you can start putting into practice straight away. Simply fill in the form below, follow the links, and the guide is yours (do check your spam folder in case the initial welcome email ends up in there!).

It’s good stuff – I’m not in the business of wasting your time or filling your inbox with spam. I simply want you to become your best self and live your best life, inspired and inspiring.

Do you bounce, or do you fall?


How resilient are you when life gets to you?

How resilient are you when life gets to you?

On our voyage through the 10 steps to happiness, we reach an interesting one this week – Resilience. Look it up in the dictionary, and you get the following definitions:

resuming it’s original shape after bending, stretching, compression

readily recovering from shock, depression

It comes from the Latin word resilio, which means to jump back, and describes our ability as humans to deal with and bounce back from difficult circumstances or adversity. Two things  interest me most here.

Firstly, from my experience as a physiotherapist (physical therapist), when someone bends or is stretched in one direction, especially when stretched to their physical limit, several factors enable them to recover their original standing posture – to bounce back.

  • good strength, especially core strength (deep stomach and back muscles).

  • good balance

  • a stable base of support

The parallels are easy to see:

When hard times hit, where does our strength come from?

What has life taught us thus far that equips us for what is ahead, assuming we take the time to learn those lessons?

On what principles is our life based, our value system from which we derive strength?

Secondly, how balanced are we?

Do we take appropriate care of ourselves, and get the physical, mental, spiritual and relational input we need to resource us and prepare us for adversity?

And thirdly, how stable are our support networks – whom would we call on in crisis?

Who is there in our life that energises us, inspires us, nourishes and feeds our soul?

And to whom do we do that, as it works both ways.

Equally, with whom do we celebrate the little and big things in life?

The second thing that strikes me as important when considering resilience is it’s position within the 10 steps. Some of this I have alluded to already, but think about it with me – if you are already in the habit of giving, have a strong network of close, meaningful relationships, regularly care for your body through exercise, learn to enjoy the moment and appreciate the present, are being stretched and growing in self-confidence through trying new things, and have clear goals and direction for your life, then it follows that resilience will be, in part, fruit of those life choices. Resilience can be learned. We can not always choose what happens to us. But we can choose how we respond, what our behaviour and attitudes will be, and we can choose to learn from our circumstances and in so doing, grow in character.

Try this – stand up, reach as far as you can in one direction without falling over. Then return to your original position. How strong are you? How balanced? And what of your base of support? Take action now on one of the other steps to build your resilience and grow in happiness.

Want to know more about how to live life with more balance, especially when it comes to what really matters to you in life? My self coaching guide is full of inspiration, tips and practical ideas to enable you to live according to what really matters to you, and it can be yours for free! Simply fill in the form and submit, keeping an eye on your spam folder as the reply sometimes ends up in there.

Appreciating the Now.

Appreciating the moment      How aware of you of what is happening around you RIGHT NOW? Sights, sounds, taste, touch, scents. Emotions, thoughts, stillness. All this can be packaged up under the rapidly growing trend called Mindfulness, and represents the fourth step to happiness: Appreciating. This is a subject dear to my heart (see Do you have any regrets? and The Now Thing). We live such fast-paced-non-stop lives with 24-hour-instant-everything at our touch-screen-fingertips that we risk missing what is happening right under our nose.

We are sucked into the demotivating mindset of

“there must be more to life than this”

without any solutions or clarity as to what that might be.

But low and behold, there IS more to life than this, whatever “this” might be for you today in your current circumstances. There are two distinct steps to mindfulness that encourage heightened awareness, and lead to appreciation –

  • being intentional ie: making a conscious, deliberate choice to be aware of what our senses are telling us in any one moment
  • accepting that information and not standing in judgement or condemnation of whatever that is.

And for me, I would add a third step that takes this to a new level, and lifts us out of ourselves and encourages us to see that we are one part of a greater whole –


The key is in the name – Appreciating. For me, thankfulness is the door out of the gerbil-wheel of non-stop-living, the key to getting off the treadmill. Notice what is around you, appreciate it, and then express thankfulness – to someone, about something, to yourself, or to Someone depending on your perspective on life. It takes the eyes off yourself, no matter how difficult your circumstances. It serves to remind that we are part of a community. We are living on an amazing planet. Our bodies are astonishing in their complexity and inner workings.

So this week, as we continue our exploration of the 10 steps to happiness, take time each day to stop and notice what is around you. Appreciate it, and be thankful and enjoy the moment of peace that follows.



The Combating busyness Challenge Part 4

my sunny daffodils, on my list!

Stop a wee minute for me would you? What is in your head right at this moment?

Is your mind so full of the next thing that there is little awareness of or appreciation for the current thing you are doing, or for what is in your life right now?

Many things can stop us enjoying the moment – from the very common (and sometimes necessary) Thinking Ahead to What Needs To Be Done Next, and it’s subcategory, The Endless To-Do List, to worries or fears that preoccupy our thoughts. All valid, all part of life. But sometimes, all-consuming at the cost of missing what is good about the present.

The challenge this week is to list 10 things that are good about your life currently. Right now, today. Not things that you would like to have in your life, nor things that you wish were good. There is time for that, and this is neither about regrets and guilt, or dreams. It is simply a way to focus on the present, just for a few minutes, and perhaps regain perspective on the worth and value of what is right under your nose. The items on your list can be as teeny tiny or as monumentally huge as you wish – mine would include the cheery, sunny daffodils in my window box, my just-delivered new washing machine (which hopefully spins properly unlike our old one!) and the effervescent enthusiasm of my children. If there is a human on your list, perhaps the next step for this week could be to thank that person for what they mean to you, and that they make your life good. And for more ideas, or a bit of background, see previous weeks’ entries.

What would be on your list? What makes your life good just now?

And if you are looking for more food for thought, and how to have more of what makes your life good in your life, I can help! My self coaching guide is full of tips, inspiration and ideas to help you work out what the good things are in your life, what is most important, and how to put changes into place to live accordingly. The guide is FREE, simply fill in the form below and you will be directed to it (watch your spam folder as the reply sometimes ends up in there). Still not sure? Find out the benefits of signing up for your guide here.


The Combating busyness Challenge part 3

What does caring for yourself look like?

How much of your time do you spend loving yourself? I don’t mean in a self-indulgent, or narcissistic way or at the expense of others. But there is a role for considered, gentle self care that includes rest, refreshment and restoration of ourselves so that we can be our best selves to the rest of our world, large or small. I have had many conversations with women and men who give of themselves all day, in many and varied and important ways, and to many groups of people, be it family, colleagues, friends, volunteering, but who have little clue what it means to care for themselves. A very wise Man said that we are to love our neighbour and our self, as well as loving God if that is part of your life. The balance here is important – caring for others and ourselves, being outward looking but also inward looking and potentially upward looking. Sometimes in our crazy busy lives that balance gets skewed, and the time we give to ourselves gets eroded until we feel we are running on empty. So this week’s challenge is to list 10 ways you could care for yourself. Again, just take a few minutes to do this, and go with your gut, and instinctive reaction.  Small things, do-able things, immediate-benefit things. Or big, always-wanted-to dreams, creative ideas that have been squashed down inside of you somewhere for longer than you can remember. And then pick one, and choose to carve out a little bit of time this week, if possible every day, to do just that – care for yourself. See previous weeks for the background to this, and some other ideas. And let me know how you get on so we can all be inspired!

Combating busyness challenge Part 2

what is capturing and draining your time?

How much of your time is spent on seemingly urgent things that are really not that important? How often does your day seem to disappear down the sinkhole of time passed and you look down into that black hole and see your good intentions spinning rapidly round and round into that vortex and you wonder what on earth just happened? On our quest to combat busyness and re-frame how we see time, I want to challenge you this week to think about what the time-drainers are in your life. This is the germ of an idea I am exploring – looking in short, sharp bursts at specific issues that characterise your life currently, and allowing that to prompt change or reprioritising. Last week I encouraged you to list 10 things that really matter to you. These could be seen as time-enrichers: they add value, worth, fulfilment to life and allow us to do the same in the lives of others. This week, I challenge you to look at the opposite – write down 10 things that consume your time but are not important. This could include anything – things that drain your time and energy, mundane stuff that has to get done but somehow seems to take over, rabbit-holes down which you trot but which ultimately are pointless. The idea is not to spend long doing this – 10 minute at most – but to go with your gut, your instincts. You could then take it a little bit further, and pick one of the things off that list and either choose to eliminate it, or limit the time you take on it. As before, I’d love your feedback on this –I imagine that there would be similar things on some of our lists, and it is good to know we are not alone! And more next week.  

Combating busyness challenge part 1

How do you use time?      Do you always feel busy and rushed, with no sense of fulfilment or peace? Here is an idea to get you focused on what is really important in your life. Over the next few weeks, I am going to challenge you to think about things in several specific categories that might then allow you to identify where some changes could be made to enable you to live a more fulfilling life. I don’t have all the answers (sorry!) but over the last few weeks as I have been thinking about the whole concept of busyness and how we use our time, an idea is starting to emerge that might prompt you to find the solutions within yourself. It involves very little time, should be fun, and can be as significant for you as you choose to make it. It seems that everywhere I look at the moment, people are writing or talking about busyness and lack of time. In the recent entirely-non-scientific poll I did, this issue of lack of time and never getting anywhere was top of the list of challenges people are facing. We can never stop or slow down time, but we can change the way we see and use time, and potentially learn to steward it better. So to start you off, take a few minutes out of your busyness and write down 10 things that really matter to you in life. It can be anything – the question is deliberately huge, but that is the point. For you, right now, sitting at your computer, what is most important in your life? Could be anything, big or small, immediate or more long term, could be people or character traits, places or things. But boil it down to 10 things that, without which, your life would be much the poorer. Keep the list – there will be more to add over the next few weeks, and some more ideas of what to do with the information as you are collating it. But just for today, let this simply open your eyes to what really matters in your life and in a small way, start to shift the focus.

For my idea to work, I really need to know what you think, and how you find doing this – so once you have made your list, I’d love you to share one thing on it. And there is more to come next week! 

Do you have any regrets this week?


Give up busyness, enjoy the moment!

Don’t let time rush past – enjoy the little moments.

Looking back on this week, is there anything that you regret? Maybe not doing something that you wanted to do. Maybe saying something that you now wish had never made it out of your mouth. But maybe you look back on this week and wonder where it went, what you actually did with your time, and what you have to show for it. Now not all weeks are going to be characterised by life changing events or momentous occasions – much of life is mundane and, well, just plain ordinary. But in our quest to give up busyness for Lent, and reassess how we define ourselves, I wonder how many times this week we have simply stopped to enjoy the moment and not rushed headlong into the next thing on the list. Two events in the life of Elder daughter these past three weeks have highlighted the passage of time and the fact there is NOTHING we can do to slow time up – once it has gone, that is it, you can’t get the moment back. A residential outdoor education trip with the school, looked forward to and awaited with growing anticipation for months, is now passed, and prompted this wistful comment – “You know when you have been really looking forward to something …… and then it is over…….” (sigh). In contrast, yesterday was a music exam, for which she had been practising for weeks and working hard (and sometimes tearfully) towards. She was mind-and-finger-paralysingly nervous, but managed to overcome her nerves and progressed through the tasks well. And today at breakfast, yippee the relief of it having been yesterday and not today! But time is passing so fast (I must be getting old!) and often this epidemic of busyness robs us of the precious moments that enrich our lives so much and prompt us to refocus, to be thankful, to recognise what really matters. Allowing that hug to really sink into you and permeate warmly under your skin. Stopping and listening, really listening to someone just for a few minutes and in so doing, communicating to them that you believe in them. Noticing the astonishing miracle of the new season in new life everywhere, and maybe lifting the eyes in wonder to the Giver of life if that is appropriate for you. So going in to next week, something to chew on. How can you live for each day, enjoying the moment as you relinquish the hold busyness has on you? What helps you refocus on the present? Share your comments and thoughts and we can all learn from and encourage each other.