Busy Mom Tips

Hopefully by now you have settled into a routine after the back to school craziness.  Are you wishing you could put an “out of order” sign on your head and run away?  Thank you to The Peaceful Mom for the inspiration for today’s blog…

Are you searching for a way to get it all done and stay sane?  Do you wonder if it is even possible to do that?  Is your to-do list growing while your time seems to be slipping away?

I know my daughter is grown but I do still run into days like this.  I think I still suffer from the same overwhelm I did so many years ago juggling work, business and family.  Here are some tips from the Peaceful Mom and me.

#1 – KICK MOM GUILT TO THE CURB

It is okay if you don’t get everything done.  Let me repeat “it is okay NOT to get everything done”!  Some things can wait.  Yup, I still suffer with mom guilt.  🙂  The best way for me to get things done is to set THREE tasks a day as my top priority.  I used to do this when Belinda was growing up.  Picking just one or two things to get done during the week while I was working full-time and being mom taxi.  I seemed to forget how well it worked until a business coach, Desiree Wolfe suggested the same thing for my business.

Some tasks can wait, it all depends on what needs attention at the moment. I have started using my Passion Planner for more then just keeping track of office hours, weekly to dos, business stuff and medical appointments.  I am using it to list my 3 things for the day.  I love the fact it has space to make lots of notes  as well as a spot to celebrate “good things which happened”.  Now, I am sure you could accomplish more than 3 things in a day BUT for those days when getting 3 things done is a struggle, you will want to have this system in place.  Sometimes the list looks like this:

Yup, when brain fog sets in, this could be my list of things to do.  The biggest accomplishment is no losing my temper and on some days it is a true miracle.

#2 THINK TINY

Do you have “time pockets”?  You know the 5 or 10 minutes while you are waiting for the kids in the school line or washing some dishes as you cook dinner.  I like the term “time pockets” instead of multi-tasking.  Pick a task to do while you are waiting (one which will only take a few minutes)… waiting for the kids, waiting in line to check out, waiting for your gas task to be filled.  How many time pockets do you have and how can you fill them to get more things done?

#3 – CHOOSE YOUR TOOLS

Busy moms need practical, functional tools to stay on top of all the details. Let’s face it we are not only juggling our own stuff but things for the entire family.  I use a paper planner, the calendar app on my phone and Notes on my phone.  I talked about my Passion Planner.  It is where I dream big, set my goals and priorities then create a weekly plan to pull it all together.  I use my smart phone calendar to set notifications and keep track of appointments because it is linked to my iPad and my MAC.  The benefit of Google Calendar is you can keep everyone’s stuff organized then share it with everyone across all devices.  You need to find a system which works for YOU.

#4 – MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF

I take time each week to plan for the upcoming week. My planning time is Sunday evening and I plan out:

  • My Calendar: Set the goals, projects and top priority tasks for the week and time block on my calendar.  I also prep for the week for posting on all of my business pages with CinchShare.
  • Meals:  Planning for meals is a BIG help for busy moms.  Since I only cook twice a week, it is not tops on my list.  
  • Money:  This is now part of my Sunday night routine.  Review the bills which need to be paid and figure out what the budget will be for the week.  

When you take the time to plan, you will find the week goes some much smoother.  Include scheduling the planning time on your calendar so you don’t make excuses.

#5 – BUDDY UP

Carpooling can be a life saver for the busy mom.  Team up with someone to share the mom taxi role.  You take the kids to practice, she picks them up.  You watch her kids so she can run errands and then swap so she watches yours.  Remember we don’t have to do it ALL!  Teaming up with other moms gives everyone a break.  No help?  Why not limit your kids extra activities and your extra commitments.  No, it won’t make you a bad parent!  

The BIGGEST tip is to remember what is really important and stop obsessing over little things.  For many years, I felt guilty for leaving Belinda a daycare from the time she was 6 weeks old BUT when things came together and I was able to quit my job to work at home, I realized what was important.  She didn’t remember spending days at daycare when she remembers (I hope) is the time we spent together while she was in HS and my schedule was flexible.

Remember you are doing the best you can do with everything on your plate.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Need Help Achieving Your Goal?

Yesterday we talked about “drawing a line in the sand”, hitting reset when we are stuck. Each month I set goal in my business – some months I struggle while others I knock it out of the park.  I am one of those always looking for the next coaching opportunity to help me get through a rough spot.  Did you know you, can actually coach yourself?

Thank you Valerie Burton for sharing these seven questions and inspiring me to troubleshoot some of my own challenges.  I’m not saying business coaching is not necessary or helpful but sometimes we can work through the challenges on our own to help us grow and move out of our comfort zone.  Let’s get started:

1. What are your three most important values?

Values are the concepts and principles you feel are most important – what you value in your life. For example, one of my values is caring/ concern for others. Taking care of others has always been important in my life.  I always wanted my own business because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others – from the early days making premature baby clothes till now – caring for others is always in the forefront.  Research says we stick to our goals when they revolve around our values. Not sure what your values are?  CLICK HERE for a link to some examples.  What are your three most important values?

2. What goal would best reflect those values?

Once you know your values, think about your goals and ask, “Does this goal reflect what I value?” If it doesn’t reflect them at all, then it may be time to drop the goal. If the goal reflects a little, tweak it so it represents what matters most to you. When you make your goal more meaningful, you increase the likelihood you will persevere until you reach it.

3. What are the measurable signs I’ve reached my goal?

We have all heard of S.M.A.R.T. goals, right?  The bottom line is your goal should be very specific. For example, my goal to goal weight.  A more specific version of this goal could be, “I’m going to lose a pound a week for the next 3 months.” It is a goal you can measure at a doable pace. It becomes about you consistently changing small habits to be successful. With a specific goal, you are able to get very specific about what you need to do in order to achieve it.

4. What skill do I need to acquire in order to be able to reach my goal?

I dream big – some would say too big.  What about you?  If you dream big and you haven’t reached your goal yet, maybe there is a good reason.  Maybe you don’t have the skill set to fully achieve your goal.  Don’t get discouraged! Acquiring the right skills can become a goal to help you reach your goal. Why “acquire” instead of “learn”?  Sometimes you need to personally learn the skills and sometimes you need to find someone who has the skill so they can help you reach your goal.  You might hire someone to help you or team up with a partner, or it maybe have a conversation with someone who understands what it takes to reach the goal. “Be honest with yourself ” about the skills you need to reach your goal.

5. What is my game plan for handling a setback on my way to the goal?

Let’s face it, we will have setbacks. There will be disappointments. There may be failures along the way.  What happens when I don’t lose the pound a week or when my business calendar is not full?  Are you ready for them or are you convinced it will never happen?  SMACK!  We need a game plan so 1) it’s not a surprise because you’ve already planned for it, and 2) you already know what to do. Think ahead and ask yourself: “How will I handle a setback so I bounce back quickly and keep moving forward?”

6. Who is the best person(s) to give me feedback on my progress?

Feedback or accountability is necessary for success. Talk to someone who is objective, someone who can look at your work and say, “I’ve been there, done that and here’s what will work.” Remember the old saying “Iron sharpens iron”?  Ask and willing accept help from those who understand the process.

7. What is an alternative path to my goal?

Do you have a list of action steps and think there is only one way to achieve your goal?  Guess what?  You need to be flexible. Your path might not be the path meant to be used to reach the goal. Be open to an alternative path if your path is not working. Be flexible and creative, and sooner than not, you’ll arrive at your finish line.

What is your goal and does it reflect your values?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Drawing Lines in the Sand

Every once in awhile I get stuck, okay maybe more often then I care to admit.  Stuck on what to write about, stuck in my weightless journey, stuck in the comparison game – you get the picture, right?  What about you, are you stuck?

I was on a roll, the scale was steadily going down then something happened it STOPPED. When it stops (or creeps up), I get obsessed with getting on the scale every morning.  When the scale doesn’t move at home, the inner gremlins have a field day.

My business was on a roll (still is just not as crazy busy) and the inner gremlins started to creep in then the comparison game started.

So, for all of you who are with me, today is the day we draw a line in the sand… This is the day we SERIOUSLY hit the reset button and move forward.  

I often talk about setting the RESET button but truth be told, it tends to be just words. Am I committing to it or am I just going through the motions?  OUCH!  I have been going to weekly Weight Watcher meetings (I love my Thursday morning family) because it has been a BIG part of my weight loss journey and hitting goal.  Lately, I have been there in body but not in mind.  Focused on the number on the scale and missing the message.  Letting the inner gremlins talk about “wasting the money” since I am not at goal (just 8 pounds to go). You know what I mean, right?  You are there, half listening but the message doesn’t really sink in.  Or, you are listening and at the same time checking emails or scrolling through Facebook?  I have been a meeting person in some form since NA and found  it has always been my mental health therapy for the week when I am present!

So, let’s turn this around – whether you are stuck in your business, in your weightless journey, your job or_______________(you fill in the blank).  Join me in drawing a line in the sand and moving forward.  Step over the line and out of your comfort zone

Here are some inspirational thoughts which might help you:

  • “I’m not perfect, I am HUMAN”.  A cliche saying for some but it is a reminder I need – a dim light bulb moment.  It may not rock your world but it may remind you how often you compare yourself to others.  Time to get rid of the ANTs!  No, I don’t mean the little annoying critters, I mean the “automatic negative thinking”.  Did your light bulb go from DIM to BRIGHT.  I have ANTS!  I am not perfect but no one is.
  • This is a journey without a finish line!  Thank you Lynn for reminding me of this fact every week.  I am always looking for the finish line and it keeps moving.  My weight loss has been a LONG journey.  Losing 120 pounds took an eternity but it is okay because I did it.  The journey will continue even after I reach my goal weight.  A light at the end of the tunnel – NO!  It will just mean no more monthly payments to Weight Watchers but this time, I will not stop going to meetings.  Once I reach my goal weight, my goal will change to MAINTAINing it.
  • OWN your journey!  This means squashing all of those inner gremlins who like to play games.  This is your journey, not anyone else’s.  You need to focus on what matter’s most to you.  When we play the comparison game, we lose perspective on what is important to us and try to live in someone else’s shoes.  The woulda, shoulda, and coulda becomes a way of life instead of being present in YOUR moment.  Be present in your journey.
  • Lastly, Enjoy the journey – thank you AnneMarie.   You always inspire me.  Your positive attitude helps me to put things in perspective.  I need to slow down and enjoy this journey.   It is a roller coaster ride and I am NOT a fan of roller coasters but I need to enjoy it.  We are always rushing to something or somewhere when we need to “stop and smell the roses”.

I am again drawing a line in the sand.  I have again found the strength I sometimes think is not there.  Thank you to my Weight Watcher family for these weekly reminders and lessons.  I have been applying them to my business as well as working my weightless journey.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

What Do Happy People Do?

Last week I talked about three things happy people do, remember it was:

  • They don’t dwell on the past
  • They focus on the here and now
  • They recharge

Believe it or not, there are 4 more things they do.  Have you every searched “things happy people do” on Google?  OMG!  There is a ton of stuff.  I have scanned a lot of it and it really comes down to just a few things said in a different ways.

So here are a few more things happy people do and those who aren’t happy 24/7 don’t do:

#4. They don’t spend time with toxic people

We all have had or have people in our life who are toxic.  The ones who say things behind your back. Or are constantly putting you down.  Maybe they promise to change but it just never happens?  Being around people like this over a long period of time, will bring you down. Happy people don’t let this happen.  They quickly recognize a toxic person when they see one. Me, not so quickly.

Here are some tips to help you recognize a toxic person, and what to do about it:

  • Notice when someone puts you down. Are the words they use positive or not. Body language can also tell you how someone feels about you. Don’t feel good around them? Gradually close them off.
  • Notice when someone constantly cancels on you (leaving you feeling bummed)  If someone doesn’t want to spend time with you, and they are constantly cancelling on you, it might be time to direct your energy into something or someone else.
  • Be aware of those who take advantage of your kind nature. I’m happy just going along with things most of the time but some people will use you for it.
  • Don’t let people take advantage of your generosity – whether it’s time or money, don’t let people take advantage of you.  It is okay to say no. What’s the worst that can happen?
  • Spend time with those who make you feel cherished, valued and happy

#5. They value their self-worth

We are all human, so at some point in our life, we are going to have negative thoughts about ourselves. Happy people control these thoughts, or at least recognize when their self-worth is low. They know the moments will pass, and at the end of the day, they are just thoughts.

When your mind starts to wander to thoughts of low self-worth, or doubting yourself, spend time focusing on the good stuff. REMIND yourself of the great things you’ve done, or take yourself away to a happy moment in your life.  Being happy is all about choosing to be happy. Lacking in self-worth can be controlled just as easily as controlling your thoughts.

#6. They keep things simple

How have you felt after you cleared out your closet, or tossed/donated items you didn’t need anymore? Awesome, right? That’s the beauty of keeping things simple. “Clutter in the house clutters the mind”

“It is simple to be happy, but it is difficult to be simple”.

Our lives are complicated and busy.  I don’t know about you but I long for things how they used to be.   So how do we keep things simple? Here are a few ideas:

  • Toss old stuff away. If you haven’t used it in the last 6 months, are you ever going to need it, really?
  • Keep some time in your schedule clear – you deserve some time off
  • You don’t need to be busy to feel validated. Being busy and being productive are two very different things
  • Looking for a solution, and can’t find it right away, come back to it tomorrow. Obsessing over things for long periods is not going to get you a solution.

#7. They smile often

Yes, smiling makes people happy. When you smile, your face lights up. When you’re on the phone and you’re smiling, your demeanour changes.  EVERYONE looks and feels better when they smile.  Happy people tend to smile more. Consider this quote from Scientific American:

“It would appear the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies which help to reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study.

Our emotions can be affected by our physical body, too. Feeling down, stressing – SMILE!  It might just do you a bit of good, and help you improve your mood (even just temporarily).

Are you a happy person 24/7 or do you strive for it?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Don’t Worry – Be Happy

Did you start humming the song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”?  I do every time I see or hear this line.  Have you ever wanted some of the “pink kool-aid” people who are alway happy take?  You must know someone who always seems to be happy, I have one or two people I know like that.

When I am not having a MS flare up (of the depression kind), I am pretty much a happy go lucky kind of gal.  Yes, I have times of sadness, anger, frustrate – don’t we all? I mean if we didn’t have a variety of emotions we would be “like a wet noodle” or a “block of stone”.

I will be the first to admit, on days when depression hits I enter a black hole where there sees to be no way out.  It can last for an hour, a day, a week and sadly there are times when it can last for longer.  You know those times when even the simplest word will make you cry.  Key the song “Cry Me a River”. LOL.  Thank you to “Modern Day Girl” for inspiring this post.

1. They don’t dwell on the past.

I know I do especially on a bad day.  The shoulda, coulda, woulda kick in and the path into the black hole gets deeper.  What happens when you start with the stinkin’ thinkin’? Things get worse instead of better, right?

So how do you stop yourself from dwelling on the past? Remember “It takes 21 days to make or break a habit”.  So you need to change your mindset.  Your mind is a powerful thing and you can control how you think, and it’s not hard either.  When you focus on the here and now, it becomes easier to get rid of the old bad habits.

FIRST, recognize you’re dwelling on past situations. I know, easier said then done.  When you spend time being more aware of your thoughts, it is easier to change your mindset. Like a new habit, once you start it becomes easier over time.  When you’re aware you are dwelling on thoughts of the past, you can work on ignoring them, or replacing them with focus on the here and now.

2. They focus on the here and now

When you get rid of the thoughts from your past, you can dwell more on the here and now.  I have been told meditation helps and will teach you how to focus on your breathing and what is around you.  I haven’t mastered this yet but I haven’t given up.    Here are some ways meditation and yoga (still need to try this) can help:

  • When you’re focusing on the past, you’re distracted.
  • We miss moments in our lives which may have been the happiest.
  • When we let our thoughts control us , we feel unbalanced
  • When we’re aware of our surroundings, we feel more empathetic towards others, have high self-esteem, and can reduce impulsivity (reducing mental health issues – Psychologytoday.com)

So, if meditation and yoga aren’t for you, find a way to focus on the here and now.  Journal your thoughts.  Take a few minutes to “zone” out.  I like to sit outside and watch the clouds float by, imagining it is all of my past floating away.  I guess my own form of meditation.

3. They recharge

Recharging is something we all need to do.  For happy people, it is part of the every day life.  Not sure what this means? Well, it means different things to different people. Think about what you like to do in your spare time? I know, what spare time, right?  I’ve been there.  The truth is having a chronic disease has helped to me identify when I need to recharge.  It is usually a SMACK but I am learning to stop and rest.  Maybe one of these will work for you:

  • A good book and a cup of coffee
  • A nap
  • Exercise of some kind
  • Drawing
  • Writing/scribbling
  • Painting
  • Spending time in a spa
  • Eating chocolate in front of the TV
  • Pretty much anything that makes you happy

The truth is, we live our lives in overdrive, always rushing to the next thing.  Our bodies need time to relax and recharge. How happy are you when your schedule is jammed full with no time for fun?  Probably not very, right?

If you feel like you don’t have time for yourself, make time. I know it’s hard, believe me I get it.  I was a single mom working full-time but you need to schedule time.  Maybe when the kids are napping, grab the book you’ve been meaning to read. Or on your lunch break at work – read your favourite magazine (whether online or paper).

Happy people value their time and know cultivating happiness is important.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!