Coach, nutritionist, podcaster, and author Angela Shurina advocates for a holistic approach to productivity. I’m talking with Angela this week as part of our newly resumed Productive Living series.
Being balanced in all areas of our life can increase productivity
After a long hiatus I’m excited to bring back the Productive Living recurring series, in which I speak with women who have special expertise and insights to share in various areas that reflect components of a life that matters. This week I’m sharing my conversation with coach, nutritionist, podcaster, and author Angela Shurina.
Who is Angela?
Angela Shurina is a coach whose approach combines current knowledge from researchers and experts and her experience from multiple disciplines – including integrative health, brain nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress resilience, neuroscience, flow states, and high performance – to help change-makers to make bigger impact AND have higher quality of life.
In addition to her coaching practice, Angela is an author of “Fit-and-Focused Brain-Body Blueprint for Remote Pros and Digital Nomads”, host of “Your Brain’s Coach” podcast, and offers an online 12-week group coaching program to help ambitious entrepreneurs over 40 dial in all aspects of health, fitness, and stress resilience to build a strong foundation for success and high quality of life in the upcoming decades.
How Angela got started
Angela started her career as an IT professional and economist, quickly transitioning into coaching. She began with fitness, nutrition, and sleep and then transitioned into things like productivity and flow states. Angela is from Russia and had always been a “professional nomad” but after many years decided to settle down in one place; Cape Town, South Africa.
Since Angela was a teenager, she was always fascinated with the question of “What is human potential and how can we apply it to the goals we have for our life?” She has pursued the answer to this questioin since then and it is the main focus of her professinal work.
Routines can provide security during our busy days
When you work for yourself, you have a lot of flexibility to do what you want with your day and the time in it. This can be good but when you don’t have a deliberate routine, things can often feel chaotic. This is why Angela has made an effort to create a typical day for herself to help her manage her time and prioritize tasks.
Angela begins her day at about 5:00 am and uses the morning hours to focus on herself, which is very important to her. She will meditate, drink her water, get in a bit of movement, and take a shower. She also uses this time to think about her schedule and what she would like to do with her day.
By 6:00 a.m., Angela will begin the most productive time of her day and focus on tasks that require the most focused attention. She knows if she doesn’t get tasks completed before noon, they won’t get done with the same amount of quality because Angela is a self-professed morning person. She believes that we serve the world when we are at our best. Helping a person discover when they are most productive is a big part of her work. After working on focused tasks all morning, Angela will take a break, have some lunch, and then maybe go on a walk.
The second half of her day is dedicated to business issues and her clients, taking care of any needs they might have. By 6:00 pm, Angela has dinner and then dedicates her evening to social life or reading a good book.
At this point in her career, Angela feels like she has her routine down pretty well, which has eliminated a lot of chaos and allows her to be her most productive. She recognizes that life happens and sometimes things will be out of our control. However, having a routine in place can really ground us during those times.
Serving others when we are at our best
A key component of the work Angela does is about living a life that matters so that you can figure out where you fit in the world and contribute in a positive way. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of our purpose when we are just trying to get through our busy days, but Angela tries to stay focused on the bigger picture.
When she begins working with a new client, she first works on establishing goals and visions for their lives. Angela helps them define what they want for themselves and how to carve out time to accomplish their goals. She also gives them exercises to help them figure out what an ideal vision is for their life and gently redirects them to their vision when they get off track.
Angela’s goal is to help her clients stay aligned with their dreams in spite of the challenges they face each day. Angela feels that there is real value in hiring a coach in order to have an accountability partner and someone to encourage you along the way. She hopes her clients feel the same way.
A holistic approach to creating a meaningful productive life
In her coaching approach, Angela combines current knowledge from researchers and experts, her experience from multiple disciplines–integrative health, brain nutrition, fitness, sleep, stress resilience, neuroscience, flow states and high performance–to help change-makers to make bigger impact, change the world AND have a higher quality of life. She uses this approach because she realizes that we as humans are the most productive when we are focused. We’re our best when we have balance in all areas of our life, both external and internal. Angela helps her clients to align all areas of their lives with their lifestyle choices to get to this balanced state.
Angela is a nutritionist and has some good recommendations for maintaing focus, starting first thing in the morning:
- Always eat breakfast (and not just a cup of coffee)
- Include complex carbohydrates and protein in your morning meal
- Avoid sugars and fried foods, and focus on whole food sources
What we eat matters when we have important things to do!
Angela’s tips for reaching a good flow state
- Try to get outside first thing in the morning as the sun is coming up. Those first couple hours of sunlight are especially good for our brains and can help us focus.
- Be mindful of how you talk to yourself–look at your life and purpose in a positive way to maximize your motivation and productivity. We get to do something, not have to do something!
- Reframe stressful events as a way to improve your ability to handle hard situations, rather than something that can potentially destroy you. Angela recommends the book The Stress Prescription, by Elissa Epel as a good read on this topic.
How can we maximize our productivity?
To begin, Angela suggests we start with a top-down approach: what is our ultimate goal? Where are we going and how do we see ourselves in the future? This simple exercise is so good for productivity because having a vision helps us prioritize our tasks. How do our daily priorities align with what we want for our future self? Using this approach can also help us to avoid distraction and overwhelm in the face of our daily responsibilities.
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
When Angela has a day like this, she tries to get her expectations in check. She has a plan for each day, but things come up that can derail that plan. When man plans, God laughs.
When you have realistic expectations for how an average day may go, this removes the stress response. You think, “Well, that is to be expected”.
Angela also considers what is in her control, versus what is out of her control. There is only so much one can do right now that can affect the overall situation.
She also considers what is most important in the moment. She applies her effort to what matters most and hopes for the best outcome
Angela also likes to use a specific type of breathwork called Physiological Sigh, which can help to eliminate a “fight or flight” response. With this technique, you do two inhales through the nose, followed by an extended exhale, similar to what we do when we cry. This technique can turn help our nervous system to rest, rather than react.
Angela’s last words for the listeners
Every woman has her own gifts and talents, and this is why it’s so important to work on productivity. By being our most productive, we are able to share these gifts with the world and benefit others. The more we can express our own genius, the more we can contribute to the world.
What do you think? Questions? Comments?
Connect with Angela
- On Instagram
- On LinkedIn
- On Twitter
- On Youtube
- On her website
- Listen to Angela’s podcast, Your Brain’s Coach
- Learn more about Angela’s coaching program, CEO Health 360 Reset
Books Angela Recommends
- Clearer, Closer, Better: How Successful People See the World, by neuroscientist Emily Balcetis, who studies focus and motivation.
- The PARA Method: Simplify, Organize, and Master Your Digital Life, by productivity expert Tiago Forte.
- The Leading Brain: Powerful Science-Based Strategies for Achieving Peak, by corporate brain coach Friederike Fabritius.
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Royse City, Texas