Friday, 31 December 2010

What were your 10 Best Things of 2010?

Anyone who reads my bulletin, forgive the repetition. For those of you who don't read my bulletin, this is a taster. If you'd like to sign up, click this link

Thanks so much for your loyal support in 2010.
As you’ve shown an interest in Life Clubs I thought you might like to know the 10 best things that happened to us/me in 2010. I’ve written them (more or less) in the order in which they occurred.

Life Clubs 10 Best Things of 2010
1. Our website: David Eldridge of Two Associates designed our gorgeous website for us and it was launched in the first few weeks of January. I was fond of our last website too, but we love this one as it’s so simple and easy to use.
2. The Life Book: Also in January we held a launch party for the publication of my first book of the year, The Life Book, which all the Hosts and a lot of our friends attended. It was also my birthday, so a double treat for me. Plus Florence (without the Machine) arrived late and danced with us.
3. NHS: We met Judith Mohring, a consultant psychiatrist working at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, who instantly saw how Life Clubs could help those with mild to moderate mental health problems. Together we won a bid and next summer we will be working together in the Central & North West London Mental Health Foundation Trust offering early intervention for those with depression, anxiety and other problems.
4. Macmillan Cancer Support: Our Life Clubs Intensives (one-day workshops) raised money for Macmillan Cancer Support and helped sponsor Lynne Irwin, who ran the workshops with me, to walk along the Great Wall of China. The days were great fun and we’re going to do more in 2011.
5. Corporates: We started our corporate breakfast-seminars this year and they’ve been great fun. Already those who went to earlier breakfasts are returning with colleagues and showering us with work. If you’re interested in Life Clubs for your company, look here and invite yourself. We are happy to organise these breakfasts in other parts of the country too if you can provide the venue.
6. My Best Thing Today: Everyone always loves the way we begin each Life Club (What’s the best thing that happened to you today?), so we decided to start a website for you. We’re getting about 500 hits a day already and have had lots of publicity. Do send us a postcard too.
7. The Work Programme: We were approached a few weeks ago to help with bidding for The Work Programme. Having worked with many unemployed people, we know Life Clubs works and can’t wait to see the results.
8. How To Get What You Want: My second book, How To Get What You Want, was published in the Autumn. It’s my first book for young people and I really enjoyed working with families at The Cheltenham Literary Festival and then in Feltham Community College with the Year 10 children.
9. Twins: Many years ago, Bill, a financial whiz, came to Life Clubs. A few years later, on his recommendation, Claire, his banker wife, started coming to my Westminster Club. This year, everyone at the club has watched Claire grow larger and larger. Her final club was the week before she delivered the first Life Clubs twins. Max and Mimi are gorgeous and we’re looking forward to them coming to Life Clubs too.
10. Me: Getting personal, my best thing of 2011 has been, as usual, my family. This time, my youngest son, Tommy, who I spent five weeks in the South of France with when he was appearing in a film, Mother’s Milk. It was a treat being able to get to know him so well and to spend so much time alone with him. If I have a regret it’s that I never did it with my other three. Oh, oh… I feel a goal for 2011 coming on!

We’ve also been so lucky this year in all the people we’ve met. We’ve met new Hosts, new Clubbers, new corporates and have had a variety of wonderful people in our Base Camp in London. Of course, the ‘old’ friends are brilliant too and I also want to thank everyone who has been involved in Life Clubs for longer. It couldn’t happen without all of you.

I hope you all have had a wonderful break and I wish you the very, very best for the next year. Check our website to find out when your nearest club is starting up.

Do let me know all the good things that have happened to you. I’d be so grateful.
With best wishes,
Nina x

Saturday, 18 December 2010

How to relax at Christmas

Yes, it's only a few days away from Christmas and so this week's workshop was all about relaxing.

Relaxing is something we do too little of at Christmas. We become perfectionists and feel under pressure to do everything perfectly.

We make lists of who we have to send Christmas cards to and then see the job as a 'chore' rather than, as one of my corporate clubbers so beautifully put it, connecting with others. We worry about when we'll have time to make the mince pies rather than just relax eating bought ones. We feel overwhelmed by everything we have to do instead of enjoying the moment.

There's just too much pressure!!!

What we do in my family is to each choose what we want Christmas to be about. We get two hours each to have just as we want to spend it.

My husband likes going for walks - that's a lovely long one whilst the sun is still out after lunch.
My eldest son likes watching a DVD he's got for Christmas. That's his two hours.
My eldest daughter likes dancing. That's two hours of mini disco for her and anyone who wants to join in.
My younger daughter likes acting. That's two hours of reading a play with all the family.
My younger son likes playing games. That's Monopoly for him.
And I like it when we all sit quietly around the Christmas tree watching the candles on the tree light up the room and listening to carols.

Our Christmas treats can take three days to fit in. I do mine on the 24th to set me up for Christmas, my husband his on the 26th and so on...

What's important is that Christmas is exhausting if you don't take it easy. So choose what you want from your two hours, now!

Happy Christmas to all of you and I hope you all have a wonderful 2011.

Love Nina x

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Work/Life Balance (or is it Life Balance?)

This week at Life Clubs we were contemplating the balance in our lives. A good way of doing this is to see what takes up your time and whether or not it's what you like doing.

At the moment I'm not having much of a life balance. One thing I love doing is seeing my husband and yet we're both working too hard. He hasn't worked this hard for years and it's making me work much harder as I can't see him.

I realised this Life Club that what I want to have is a theme for my week which will stop me working - even if I can't see him. It's totally obvious that my theme for the week will be Christmas and so this week my balance is going to be Christmas (rather than work) focused.

I'm buying presents, sending cards, planning meals. Now, how efficient is that? And, it's so much fun that I don't miss my husband quite as much!!!

Five ways to achieve your ideal life balance

1. Having goals (once you know what you want you will automatically prioritise your time accordingly)
2. Focusing will stop you getting distracted and procrastinating (no need to multi-task, just focus)
3. Book in time for everything you want to do – put it in your diary
(from an evening with your partner to time for you to be spontaneous)
4. Getting support (so you don’t have to do everything but can delegate – even if it’s to the children)
5. Make use of time saving devices (keeping favourite recipes together and directions of other’s homes)

Check what's taking up your time. If it's something that really you could do without, see if you can't do less of it.

Think of your life as made up of these stunning colours. Which would you like more of in your life? And how will that be possible?

All best wishes,

Two bits of exciting news:
1. Do your Christmas present shopping on our website - we have partnered with magazines (Psychologies, Elle and Red) and my favourite, totally natural soaps - fantastic presents at knock-down prices
2. Life Clubs has it's first cover story - January Easy Living magazine!!! It's called Life's Simplest Joys: we defy you not to smile when reading this. Yeah!

and what takes up our time. In my case it's definitely my computer

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The three types of problems

Dear All,

I don't know about you, but there are some things I find incredibly difficult to write about.

One of them is procrastination. Just thinking about procrastination makes me procrastinate. Writing the Life Clubs workshop on procrastination took ages and ages and preparing to run it is something I always leave to the last minute.

Another subject I find difficult to write about is problems and knowing that I had to write about them for this post has just added to my problems.

This week's workshop was all about stress and the problems we have.

In the workshop we divided up our problems into three groups:

1. Those problems which will eventually go away anyway so there's no point in worrying about them
2. Those problems which you can't do anything about - other people's
3. Those problems which you can solve

Once you've found that you can solve your problem, there's then nothing but (you guessed) procrastination stopping you.

Please forgive me, that's a gross simplification of problems, but you get the idea. We often worry about things there is no need to worry about.

I've been spending the last few days thinking about some of my domestic problems and decided that even though they're so bourgeois I'm going to tell you about them. I worry about what I'm going to cook for supper this week when friends come round. I worry about what I'm going to buy everyone for Christmas (and when). I worry about how I'm going to stay calm when all our visitors arrive over Christmas... and on and on.

I don't know if any of you have noticed, but as I was writing them down my Lightbulb Moment was that all my problems will all have gone away by January 1st (see 1. above), so I'm going to stop worrying about them now.

Phew. I can breathe again...

What do you worry about..?

This week's workshop (week of 6th December) is a wonderful workshop about the choices we have in our lives. If you're working too hard, not working hard enough, not sure if your life is in balance, come along. I look forward to seeing you.

And, if you haven't already, do check out our new website, mybestthingtoday. It's getting 800 hits a day which is absolutely amazing.

Hope you have a great week,
Founder Life Clubs
Author The Big Book of Me, The Life Book and How To Get What You Want