For author and leadership coach Puja Madan, one key to living a meaningully productive life is found by tuning in to the rhythms of life, time, & energy; that will help us balance the different aspects of who we are.
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When you Learn to Balance Time and Energy . . .
Puja shared how her background helped propel her to the work she's doing, and the life she's living, today.
How Puja Got Started
Puja grew up in India and worked for many tech start-up companies, managing teams and helping to launch products. She found herself challenged and excited by the external success of being involved in cutting edge technology.
At the same time, though, she was also on a spiritual journey, spending weekends at a meditation center and experimenting with different energy healing and meditation practices.
The “double life” she felt she was living left her with a deep sense of conflict. It felt inauthentic to leave her work self at the door and become someone different at the meditation center, or to crush her feminine energy at work because she couldn’t bring her softer energies from her spiritual practice to her work life. She knew these two worlds would collide at some point.
A health scare with uterine fibroids helped Puja realize she couldn’t continue living two such disparate lives and feeling that constant internal dissonance. She knew she needed to integrate her two worlds so she could live a healthy, balanced life.
She then decided to produce a system that would enable her to coach other women so they wouldn't feel this kind of conflict that could hurt their bodies, peace of mind, and relationships. Puja realized this was her higher calling.
A Typical Day
Puja has a strategic aspect to her life and an energetic spiritual aspect.She spends time in the morning preparing herself mentally and spiritually for the day. She sees the period from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. as the Spring and Summer of her day. During this time she employs active, young, masculine energies where she is busy working. After 4 p.m. she respects the energy of the day and slows down. At night her systems wind down.
In order to maintain balance, Puja organizes her week so she has certain days dedicated to certain tasks; she calls these spotlight, support, and spiritual days.
- Anything that constitutes her primary activities she does on spotlight days. These would be activities such as coaching, speaking, and online programs or anything that brings in revenue.
- Tasks like continuing education, marketing, and administrative work–those activities that support her primary activities–are concentrated on her support days.
- Puja also sets aside sacred days that are dedicated to her spiritual growth, herself, and time with family.
Puja points out that the idea that time is fixed is questioned in Eastern philosophy. We have to reframe our idea about what time really is, she says, and ask if it is as fixed as we believe it to be. Puja believes it's important to honor the fact that human beings function in rhythms and cycles, and that all of those rhythms require us to balance the tasks and activities in our lives. There are rhythms to the day and, as women, to our menstrual cycles. We need to balance activity with receptivity. Puja calls this “feminine productivity.” The trick is to get harmonized with the natural cycles of productivity that are provided to us. It's a question of tuning in, instead of looking to external sources for the answers. We can maximize our productivity by being in sync with our bodies' rhythms and with different cycles of the day. When we are aligned with our energies, our body naturally knows how they work. Puja recommends checking out her blog to learn more.
When asked about her greatest productivity challenges, Puja admits to being easily distracted by social media and emails. To deal with this challenge she oscillates between “having blinders on” and using apps to turn everything off for awhile.
Clearing what is in the back of her head is also a challenge for Puja. She knows these persistent thoughts are “gas guzzlers” with respect to her energy levels. If she doesn't address the nagging voice in the back of her mind, it saps her energy and keeps her from being fully productive.
Productivity Tools Puja Uses
During her work hours she is good about using these tools to limit her social media time, but she finds it is more difficult during her “off” hours in the evening. She feels she should be taking Spanish lessons instead of browsing social media.
Puja likes to use pen and paper to keep track of her tasks and to clear her head. At the beginning of each month she makes a list of the things that are annoying her so she can clear her head and get those off her mind.
Each week Puja uses her journal to keep track of her various commitments and projects, her blog posts, and who she needs to follow up with. She will move those tasks over to her Google Calendar and then she looks over each week and puts her projects in Trello. She loves the energy of paper, because it is made of wood and something about it grounds her. She feels connected with her list when it is on paper.
Puja says she would be completely handicapped without meditation each day. She shares an Indian saying that describes each one of us as a house with four different rooms; a physical, an emotional, a mental, and a spiritual room. Most of us tend to live in one room at a time. Unless we go into each room each day, she says, we are not a complete person. By visiting each of the rooms each day we can achieve a balanced energy. She needs meditation every day in order gain a peaceful, calm energy. This helps her deal with all the changes and unexpected things that happen each day.
There are many different meditation techniques. Puja does active meditations that help her relieve some stress before she sits in silence. She mostly does guided meditations and tries to create an environment so she can find a place to be quiet. It’s best to eliminate external stimulation and nature is a good option as it has its own way of creating quiet. At night, she will turn off electronics and find a place of silence. An effort is required to create the right kind of environment for meditating. Puja has a course called Meditation 101 she shares different types of meditation as well as links to some of her guided meditations.
Other tools Puja recommends:
- Boomerang for gmail
- News Feed Eradicator (an extension for the Chrome browser)
- Better than Before, by Gretchen Rubin
What happens on a day you feel gets away from you?
Puja recommends looking at the bigger picture and recognizing that if the day we had planned doesn’t work out, that it doesn’t impact your mission or your capacity to be productive in the long run.
Puja said in the past she felt she needed to do everything for herself, but she has realized that asking for help is essential. If she assumes the help isn’t there, then she will never know. She loves having that support with her business and her family and she is always surprised and honored that people will reach out and help her. Puja suggests that women struggle with receiving, but not with giving. It is important to keep those energies in balance and we should dance with both equally so we are not overwhelmed.
We need to receive with deep gratitude and grace.” ~ Puja Madan
What is on the horizon for Puja?
Puja plans to keep working on her book and is hoping to publish it next year. She is excited about some new offerings with her group coaching opportunities and an expansion of her business.
Last Words on Making a Life That Matters
For this time of year, Wintertime, Puja recommends asking what you can say no to. This is a time of deep introspection and a time to review and release what is not serving us well. Focus on that so you can see what is most important and the unnecessary can fall away. She suggests conserving energy for the seasons ahead.
What do you think?
Any questions for Puja (or me)? We'd love to hear from you. Share your questions, comments, or suggestions in the comments section below or in The Productive Woman Community Facebook group, or email me!
More About Puja
Puja is the creator of WildRadiantWoman.com and the secret weapon to hundreds of soulful women entrepreneurs and leaders enjoying more flexibility and freedom in their life and business. As a leadership coach she offers a radical new approach to profitable productivity that combines practical business building techniques with eastern spiritual wisdom for change-making women.
Puja grew up in India and her qualifications include an MBA, 8 years in tech startups, certification in health coaching, and 12+ years of meditation and spiritual development. She is the best-selling co-author of Unleash Your Inner Magnificence and 365 Ways to Connect with Your Soul. Puja also contributes regularly to publications like the Huffington Post, MindBodyGreen, and ElephantJournal.
Free Resources from Puja for The Productive Woman Listeners
- Meditations 101
- Time and Energy Secrets for the Productive Woman — a combination of strategic resources and tips to help create more time as well as a resource of energetic practice especially designed for women so they can find more energy in their lives.
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