Feeling Overwhelmed?

So this is where I am today!  Feeling overwhelmed and not sure what direction to go in.

I woke up remembering today was Gram’s birthday.  My grandmother would have celebrated her 106 birthday today…. I know she is celebrating in heaven with all of my other angels; BUT this got me to thinking – scary, right?  My grandmother had Alzheimer’s and on any given day, her memory was shot.  With my MS, on any given day my memory is shot.  I think of what a struggle it is for me and I can’t imagine the pain and frustration she felt for so many years….. Yes, I squirreled but this is all part of me being overwhelmed.

This is the month things get crazy – I have craft shows every weekend from now (okay last weekend) till the second weekend in December.  Some week-ends it is both Saturday and Sunday, some it is just Saturday and then there are a few mid-week events I squeezed in.  WHY?  Yes, tis the season of selling angels and helping people make memories BUT I can’t seem to admit things get to be a struggle.  MS has caused me to walk a little slower, my brain is a little foggier and some days I just can’t seem to move because I am so tired.

In the past, my blogs and my focus have been on my business BUT things are changing yet again.  I’m not sure what direction I want to go in and some days, I’m not even sure if I want to keep blogging.  SHOCKING, right?  I have been blogging since 2013 first on a daily basis and then I cut it back to 4 days a week.  Now, even that seems overwhelming.  I wonder if anyone is still interested.  I know my recipes get a lot of sharing so that is definitely at hit.  The problem is, I struggle with finding new and different recipes to appeal to everyone… even ones I would like. So, today I am thinking of trying some of the things I used to do when I was feeling overwhelmed in my business…..

In the midst of all of this craziness, how do you manage to NOT feel overwhelmed in your business or in your life?  How do you manage to not loose your focus at the busiest time of year?  I found an article in The Self Employed which may have some tips to help you….

1.  Reset:  Before you panic (unless you already have) press the RESET button.  Make a list of things which need to be done and rank them by priority.  At the end of each day, give yourself 5 or 10 minutes to relax, reflect on what you did and get ready for a new day.  You can’t change what happened yesterday but you can take control of today.

2.  Eliminate Outside Influence:  Do you have your own business?  Juggling kids and a job?  Juggling a chronic health issue?  Set aside time for it – maybe just a 1/2 hour, or an hour or even several hours.  Finish the most important tasks WITHOUT interruption.  Then focus on your family and enjoy.   Did you know it takes you 20 minutes to get back on track after a distraction.  YIKES!  Definitely time to weed out the distractions!!!

3.  Focus Down One Task – EAT the FROG  – you know the most daunting thing or the thing you hate to do the most.  The quicker you get this done, the easier the rest of the list will be to get done.  Get your productivity snowball rolling down the hill.  That works not only in your business but also in preparation for the holidays. Yup, it is going to be here before you know it!

4.  Ask for Help – alright, I know no one can do it the way you do it BUT they can help.  It doesn’t have to PERFECT but if someone is willing to pitch in, let them.  From helping get ready for the holiday meal to doing the small things in your office.  This is the hardest thing for me to do!

5.  Learn to Say NO!  Novel concept, right but it will not be the end of the world.  Remember you can’t do EVERYTHING.  As John Maxwell says – manage YOU because you can’t manage time, we all get the same 24 hours in a day.

Block time for work THEN enjoy the holiday.  Block off time for family and friends so you can enjoy without the guilt feelings.  What is your best tip for getting through this holiday season or just the every stress of juggling lots of balls without loosing your mind???

Have a blessed day!

 

 

Managing Distractions

I can’t believe Christmas is just two days away – well, Christmas Eve is tomorrow.  I have been sort of a Grinch at home this year – no decorations until last Sunday but I did get some shopping done.  Yes, I squirreled but what else is new, right?

Last Sunday at church,  the first hymn was “Hark the Harold Angels Sing”.  I know it is “herald” but my grandfather always said it was his song and yes, his name was Harold.  I knew then, it was going to be a service I needed to pay attention to.  As we moved through the holiday songs, I found my thoughts drifting to the things I wanted to get done, the people I was missing (Belinda not being home for Christmas) and then BAM!  The sermon was on “managing distractions”.  I knew this was just for me.

The brain fog from MS causes me to get distracted easily, memory is short or sometimes nonexistent and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate.  But the reality is, even without MS, many of us have difficulty managing distractions.  Think about how you or your kids do/did their homework.  Do they need the music or TV on leaving you wondering how they can possibly concentrate?  Or do they need silence?  These days, I need silence.  I get easily distracted but there was a time when I could have the TV on or music and actually remember what I was supposed to be doing.  Do deadlines cause you to focus more?  Is one of your tag lines, I work better under pressure?

#1 Identify Inevitable Distractions

Distractions are going to happen – they always do.  So why not expect them – if they come, you are ready but if they don’t you are ahead of the game.  I can remember when I was a work at home mom, distractions happened and I was never really ready for them.  The TV was too loud or a million questions came just as I was working on a grant.  Then there was the “I’m hungry” cry.  Yes, I miss those days but the distractions are different now.  I start a project or work in the office and thoughts of 10 other things which need to be done in the house enters my head.  Before long, I have squirreled into the “this will only take a minute” project being completed distracted from the work I was doing.  I’m sure I am not alone especially during this busy holiday season.

#2 Learn to Discern the Main Thing

SMACK!  Distractions sometimes pull us away from our main focus – family!  We get bogged down in worrying about having lots of time with family while we miss out on enjoying the quality time we do have with them.  What is your main focus this holiday?  Is it buying the perfect gifts, planning the perfect meal or enjoying the moments with family and friends?  I always “talk” about family being the most important thing to me – tops on my list.  Yet, I find there are times when I place other non-important things before spending time with them.  My focus turns to working in the office to make money to pay bills or being busy in my business (notice I didn’t say working my business).  Yup, I am one of those struggling recovering workaholics….

We have identifying the distractions, so how do you manage them, right?  You got this, it isn’t as difficult as it may seem if you are intentional about it…

#1 Clear the Clutter

No, I don’t mean the clutter in the house!  I mean the clutter in our heads.  Maybe you need to write a list or delegate chores or maybe decide not to do certain things at all – however you do it, JUST DO IT!  Prune your schedule. Control spending.  Weed out the things which aren’t the main thing.  I am working on calendar blocking AGAIN so I block out time needed to work versus time I will spend with family.

#2 Don’t Let Distractions Distract You

We know distractions will happen BUT don’t let them distract you from your MAIN THING! If the most important thing for you this holiday season is family – spend time with them, enjoy them. STOP watching the clock.  STOP worrying about if the house is clean enough or whether there is enough food or how you look.  Enjoy the moments….

The main thing is to make the Main thing the Main thing

This Christmas is different for our family – Belinda in North Carolina, missing my Dad, hubby working so others can spend time with their little ones  has left me trying to figure out how to embrace the change so I can focus on my main thing – FAMILY!  Grateful to have dinner on Christmas Eve with my step-mom and half sister then spend Christmas Day with my mom and step dad as well as my hubby.

What is distracting you this holiday season from enjoying your “main thing”?  When the holidays are over, will you have wonderful memories of the moments shared even with the distractions or will you regret being too busy to have enjoyed your “main thing”?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Are You Feeling Lost or Overwhelmed?

We have all been there at some point in our lives.  The moment when you feel lost, overwhelmed, or totally out of sync in your work/business and in your life. The moment when you feel uninspired, burned out, and unsure of what to do next.  What is a girl to do?  Ask yourself these questions and answer them HONESTLY so you can get back on track.

1. What’s feeling good?

When we feel out of sorts, this can be a tough question.  I mean, how do you really know what feels good when you are feeling lost?  Take a few minutes and think about: What you really enjoy in your business? What things are you loving in your life? What do you want even more of moving forward?

These questions will help you to see what is going right for you and as a result, help you reconnect to what lights you up.  Do you know the things which light you up?  Once you get super specific about what feels good, then you MUST ask yourself – how can I get more of these things?

2. What isn’t feeling good?

Now, the positive energy is flowing.  It is time to look at what is not working.  We look at the positive first so the negative doesn’t open the door for the inner gremlins to beat us up even more.  So, what is leaving you feeling drained, unhappy, and frustrated in your business and your life? What do you want way less of moving forward?  What sucks your energy?

Once you get a handle on where those energy leaks are in your life and business, you will be able to get super clear on how you can minimize the not-so-feel good areas in your business and your life.  There are going to be some unenjoyable things in our business and life – I mean does anyone really enjoy doing laundry or cleaning the house – but they have to be done.  The key is to see how we can change things up so we can find a balance between the enjoy and the don’t enjoy.  While at the same time, start eliminating some of the things which are totally sucking the energy out of us.

3. What are my core desires in my business and my life?

This is a great time to dream a little.  Think about what you want in your business and in your life? Do you want to grow your business?  Do you want to work less?  Do you want to connect more in your relationships? Do you want more self development? Do you want more clarity and momentum?

Get super specific about your core desires. Allow yourself to want what you truly want.  Listen to what you really want. Don’t just follow the crowd or let the expectations of others drown out your core desires.  These core desires will be your anchor as you move forward.  With every step you take in your business and your life, you will ask yourself, “does this align with my core desires?”.  If the answer is NO – don’t do it.  If the answer is YES – you will move forward.

4. What are my core priorities in my business and in my life?

Fulfilling our desire is wonderful but the reality is we still have responsibilities we need to show up for thus holding ourselves accountable along the way.  Ask yourself – what are the core priorities in my business and in my life?  Are there deadlines I need to meet? Are there relationships you want to invest more time in?  Do you want to prioritize your health and wellbeing?  Do I need to improve my money management?

Whatever your priorities are, you need to get super specific about them. Your core priorities just like your core desires, will become your anchor when you start to drift.

5. What distractions do I need to let go of?

When we are feeling lost, or overwhelmed, it usually means our focus and our actions are out of alignment with our core priorities, and desires.  Since you are super specific on what your core priorities and desires are, now we can review your current routine, workload, and what the areas are you are focusing on.  Ask yourself – what do I need to let go of?  What is just a distraction and isn’t serving me in my business or in my life?  What do I need to give myself permission to say no to so I can make more space for the things which truly matter?

Have these questions help you to find some focus but more than anything, have you given yourself permission to move forward in a way which feels most true to you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

Time Management – Does it Exist?

 Are you a hot mess?  Are you already dreading this week and it is only Monday morning?

Today should have been my first day back in the office after being gone for a week BUT Irma had other plans.  I did spend some time in the office last week BUT I’m not sure how much I actually got done.  It is Monday and I am playing the avoidance game.  Avoidance is a time waster which leads to being hard on yourself, right?

When it comes to business especially one online – wasting time will be the death of it.  I don’t mean time you take to renew your physical and mental powers because we need to do it in order to keep going.  I’m talking about the wasted minutes and hours which get out of hand….. the black hole of Facebook or Pinterest or Instagram.

I have talked about time management in the past and really wonder if we are managing our time or our tasks?  When I sometimes find myself obsessed with everything BUT working productively in my business I go back to the basics:

#1 – Block distractions.

I know it can be easier said then done.  How often do your keep multiple tabs open so you can see if you get any messages.  Block email and Facebook alerts (all social media), turn off your phone (or at least lower the volume) and hang a “do not disturb” sign on your home office door (if you have one).  What are the things which distract you from getting work done?

#2 – Set a time to begin work – and stick to it.

When you turn on your computer for work, give yourself a certain amount of time (10 minutes or so) to surf the ‘net and review your email before you begin.  Set a timer if you have to so you can then focus on work.  Switch into work mode and don’t look back until you’re done.  I have done the back and forth thing, jumping from one thing to another and the end result is my brain becomes mush and it is more difficult to focus.

#3 – End your work at a set time.

This is a tough one for this workaholic.  Hubby works the swing shift so I try to set my work hours accordingly.  Does it work?  Sometimes.  I do some early morning hours, then head back in the afternoon till the early evening.  Are there times when I spend more on my business and less time everywhere else?  Yes, usually for several days during the month when I am closing parties or it is the end of the month.  I am practicing on a regular day, setting a time to stop work so I can refresh myself both physically and mentally. I find when I do this, I am more focused when I am in the office.

#4 – Distinguish busy work from working toward goals.

I am so guilty of this.  Busy work can be a waste of time. Remember the “black hole” I mentioned earlier, the truth is you may be procrastinating.  Did you set a goal which is TOO BIG or are you afraid of failing?  They should scary you but you can break them up into manageable steps.  The best way to beat procrastination is to take action!  Do something to move forward

 

What is your best tip for managing your tasks instead of your time?  We all have 24 hours in a day, there is no changing it.  The difference is how we decide to work during those hours.

Would you like some more great tips on Time Management which have worked for me?  Fill out the form below:

 

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Beware of This Invisible Competition!

Thank you Gwen Smith for today’s message:

As Christian believers, we are called to live set-apart lives. To be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 19:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7). To be in the world, but not of the world. God is the source of all holiness, and in order to live set-apart lives – to be sanctified – we must spend time with Him and allow His Holy Spirit to lead us.

God loves us too much to leave us as we are. He wants much more for us than that! God’s plan is to make us more like Himself… to sanctify us. He is Yahweh M’Kaddst, the Lord our Sanctifier.

Let’s take this street level. I don’t know what your days look like, but mine are pretty full. They start early and end late. Once the sun rises, it seems that coffee isn’t the only thing brewing in my house. An invisible competition brews daily that vies for my time and attention. The competitors are often “good things” that end up to be “time-robbing things” that keep me from God’s best and God’s presence. When I’m kept from God’s presence, I’m also kept from growing in His divine grace: major loss for me.

Have you been there?

Does an invisible competition brew in your home and heart too?

I’m thinking: Yes. We all struggle with this.

So what are some of these “good things” that end up being “time-robbing distractions”? They look different for each of us. We are all like snowflakes and fingerprints: unique. A few good things that come to mind are over-commitment, activity overload, electronics, excessive shopping, volunteering at church or community service. Yep. Went there. Again, none of these things are bad in and of themselves, but they can become a hindrance to sanctification if we allow them to take precedence over our personal growth with Christ.

A big one for me is electronics. Let’s put our computer lives under a spiritual microscope for a moment. I’m an e-girl. I love my MacBook Pro computer, my iPhone, email, instant messaging, and the World Wide Web. Though I’m admittedly fully immersed in the e-life, I’m also cognizant of the fact that the e-world has become a dangerous addiction and spiritual deterrent to many.

I struggle with this personally. These electronic forums host a powerful and efficient opportunity for us to connect with other people 24/7. While much of social media, online surfing, and emailing is innocent, encouraging and fun, they also present us with opportunities to sin and to become distracted from set-apart living.

Over the past several years, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, games and texting have replaced many of our face-to-face conversations. For some of us, time with electronics has replaced and/or diminished our devotion time with the Lord. Online activities have become a new source of temptation for us, an opportunity to live a fantasy or a momentary escape from the daily grind.

A friend of mine recently said, “My computer whispers to me.” Yikes! Mine does too. I readily admit, at times I don’t manage my time efficiently because I give in to the lure of e-life by responding to an audio alert indicating “I’ve got mail,” or to a notification that someone has left me a message on a social media site. As a result, I waste time because I have spent it unwisely – therefore, robbing myself of productive time.

We are warned against this in Scripture. “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16, NIV).

Now, hear me clearly on this: I am not saying that electronics or computers are bad. In and of themselves, they aren’t bad. I’m simply suggesting that it would be wise for each of us to prayerfully consider the amount of time and energy we devote to these things.

How can we be set apart in our e-life? How can we establish healthy e-boundaries that will protect our purity and our time with God? Perhaps we could start by taking an honest look at the amount of time we commit to our social e-lives versus the amount of time we commit to spending in God’s Word and in His presence each day. (Did that sting? Rest assured it stings me, too.)

The good news is that we can turn to God for direction in all of this. His Word points us to a vital promise of wisdom that will guide us in holiness. “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV). How awesome is that? God loves us so much that He offers us an endless supply of wisdom. We just need to ask – so that we are enabled to walk in His wisdom and to live each day in His holiness.

Are you holy as God is holy? Do you want to thrive in His divine grace?

When we determine to grow in sanctification and allow God to lead us to deeper places of divine grace, those around us will see the hope of Christ in us. Isn’t that where we want to be?

No matter where we find ourselves on the path of sanctification, it is encouraging to remember that God’s not done with us yet. God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. (Philippians 1:6, NLT)

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!