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!

 

 

Teacher Solution Sets

I can’t believe Summer is almost over.  It won’t be long (maybe a week or so) before many will be leaving the sunshine and sand while they head back to school.

Summer may be leaving BUT  it isn’t so bad when there’s so much fall fun to look forward to! Cozy sweaters, leaf piles and of course the hustle and bustle of back to school are right around the corner. I can see many moms doing the happy dance now.  LOL!

Who knows more than teachers about starting the school year off right? From classroom heroes to bus duty buddies, here are eight of  Thirty One’s top styles to create save-the-day solution sets for the ones who put the cool in school (or anyone else who needs to get organized)..

For taming the desk mess

From paperclips and pencils to staplers and snacks, teachers ask a lot of their desks. Make it more manageable with the desktop organizing combo of a Littles Carry-All Caddy (or two), Get Creative Slim Pouch and Get Creative Rectangle Pouch.

This durable, wipeable caddy is perfectly sized to fit a small box of tissues or extra coffee pods for your morning brew, while its exterior mesh pocket can stow paperclips, sticky notes and rubber bands at hand. Pop your markers, pens and pencils into the slim pouch, and use the rectangle pouch for large index cards or to keep loose bits and bobs in one place. Plus, both pouches are made of clear PVC, so you’ll always be able to see what’s stashed inside!

 

For manic mornings and laid-back lunches

One of a teacher’s many superpowers is getting up and ready before the sun, so make mornings a little brighter with a tote-ally perfect pairing that’ll pull double duty. The Crossbody Organizing Tote is one of our top styles for the season, and teachers know why! With all the pockets you could ask for and a spacious design, this tote is an organizing dream. Perfect for the ones who have to take their work home with them (we’re talking grading papers galore), plus the adjustable crossbody strap means hands-free organization, even on the go.

This functional work tote only gets better when paired with our tried-and-true Thermal Tote, its lunchtime partner in crime. Make lunch hour sweeter with an insulated tote in tons of fun prints, and add a personalized embroidered design for a thermal tote that’ll be the talk of the teachers’ lounge. Getting up early might be tough, but packing your lunch in the morning doesn’t have to be!

For classroom clutter

With kids comes mess, but that mess doesn’t have to equal stress. Meet your new all-star organizing team: the Large Utility Tote (our #1 style for the season!) and Double Duty Caddy. With its top handle and two side compartments, the Double Duty Caddy is just the structured sidekick teachers need to store cleaning supplies, art materials, papers or even plates, napkins and plastic utensils for classroom parties!

You already know there are a thousand uses for the LUT, so here are just a few ideas fit for the classroom. And don’t forget to add a custom embroidered message or design in Thirty-One’s personalization studio – just click the “personalize” button under Large Utility Tote to see your design come to life!

  • Stash toys and stuffed animals for indoor recess
  • Fill with books for a portable classroom library
  • Stow pillows and cushions for story circle time
  • Tote playground equipment to and from recess
  • Organize craft supplies for art projects
  • Make a portable lost-and-found!

For after-school fun

When the backpacks are packed and students are on the bus home, it’s time for teachers to take some time to unwind and focus on themselves. No matter the after-school destination, whether it’s a dinner out with the family, running to a yoga class or going out for drinks with the girls, the Boutique Backpack and Perfect Cents Wallet are your go-to duo.

Backpacks are perfect for the ones who are always on the go, and the Boutique Backpack’s faux leather finish elevates it to a statement piece that can also hold all your essentials with ease! And we can’t forget a coordinating wallet to keep your cash, cards and ID neat and organized.

For even more great back-to-school solutions, browse our hand-picked collection of school-ready gift ideas!

How Do You Unplug?

why unplug

Today I am sitting at Jersey Shore Medical Center waiting patiently (ok maybe not) for hubby to have his procedure and head to a room.  I was in this same spot 7+ years ago.  The only difference is, this time is a battery replacement which they say is a simple procedure.  I know, what does this have to do with being unplugged right?  Well, I might be more plugged in today to pass the time but as soon as he is out of surgery, I am unplugging.

When was the last time you totally UNPLUGGED from technology?  A scary thought, right?  I used to think it was impossible.  I have my own business and I rely on social media and technology for a large portion of it.  What happens if……?

A million reasons run through your mind as to why you should NOT unplug, right?  What did we do BEFORE technology took over our lives.  I used to call people until I got someone on the phone or if they had a machine, I left a voice mail.  The truth is business survived and thrived, right?

The last time I totally unplugged was on our cruise in 2011.  By totally, I mean no cell phone or internet.  No communication with anyone who wasn’t on the trip.  After the first 24 hours (always the roughest), I actually didn’t think about technology.  I enjoyed the trip and the people around me..

I haven’t totally unplugged for a long time, I have changed the way I look at technology and its effect on my life.  My obsession with my phone is a habit I developed during my relapse – a way to escape and turn off the people around me.  Did I know it then?  NOPE!  I justified it in a million different ways.  Now, I struggle with putting down the iPad.  LOL.  I started during puzzles and word games to help with my cognitive issues with my MS but it isn’t long before I am moving into scrolling Facebook or checking email.

What effect does technology have on your life?  I bet A LOT of the requests for your time, your money, and your energy come to you digitally, right?  Probably mostly via email as well as messages on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networking sites.  And it is stressing you out. It’s distracting. And worst of all you suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  I know I am not alone in this.  I have always said “there is no PURSE (substitute your product/company/business) emergency”.  So it was time I finally practiced what I preached.

Yes, I used to check email in the middle of networking meetings; while stopped at red lights; in the middle of dinner with my family; and as soon as my eyes popped open in the morning.  I used to hate to have any notifications showing on my phone. Yup, all part of the obsessive/compulsive life.

I was afraid. Afraid of missing out:on booking a party or the next big potential customer or potential team member; or maybe someone on my team had a question. I was afraid of just not being “in the know” or worse yet, them going elsewhere. Crazy, right?  The truth was (and still is some days) is I didn’t like myself enough to spend time with me so why would anyone else want to.  A harsh reality which has come from recovery.  As a result, I buried myself in social media where I could be who I wanted others to see – sometimes not letting them see the real me.

If you are in direct sales, thing about it…. who would want to join your team if we are  always accessible?  If your obsession is just with everyone else’s life, maybe unplug to spend some time exploring yourself and the beauty around you. Here are some tips for unplugging and re-claiming your life.

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#1 – I removed all notifications from my phone – the apps are still there but the only notifications I get are text messages.  My family does a lot of texting so it is a good way to connect with them long distance.

#2 – My phone is usually on “do not disturb except for my favorites”.  This keeps me focused on enjoying time with those I am with instead of grabbing the phone every time it rings.

#2 – I start my morning with devotions and a smoothie – social media comes later.

#3 – I don’t have multiple tabs open on my computer.  I try (sometimes I don’t succeed) in only checking email and social media periodically.  I actually am more productive.

What do you do to #UNPLUG?

Have a blessed day!

 

How To Energize Your Business

It’s HUMP Day and I am trying to get energized! I’m in a slump with my business. I’m not sure if it is MS related or if I am in-between “why” or if I just need a jumpstart!  What is a girl to do?

When all else fails go back to what worked in the past.  So I pulled up an article on the DSW website entitled “Seven Ways to Energize Your Business“.  I need some motivation.  I need to find a purpose.  I need to figure out what it is I really want to do (when I grow up! LOL)

Here are some of their suggestion which I tweaked just a little.  I mean a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do, right?  
  • Establish priorities. I used to be a multi-tasker, trying to tackle everything at once. MS has changed that AND I usually forget what I am doing without a list.  I’m looking at things now through my recovery eyes.  Just One Day (or step) at a time.  So, list all your priorities (or to dos).  Then focus on one or two items at a time. I have lots of ideas squirreling away in my head but once I get them on paper, it is easier to put them in perspective.  I keep a list on my planner so I can cross it off when done.  I love seeing the pink lines which mean I have accomplished something for the day.  Prioritizing takes the stress off. I helps you  to focus on one thing at a time with the comfort of knowing you will stay on the right track.
  • Be as efficient as possible.  What are your time suckers????  Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, binge watching on Netflix?  A time sucker is anything which distracts you from your daily goals.  I have been known to put a picture of a “security camera” in front of me as a gentle reminder I have work to do.  Don’t have a lot of time to “work”, grab that list of two of three things and set aside some time to get them done TODAY.  You will be amazed at how accomplished you feel when you cross them off the list as done.
  • Combine your work with different areas of your life.  No matter what kind of work you do, you can combine it into other areas of your life.  If you truly love what you do, this will be easy.  I am struggling with my purpose lately so some days this is a little bit more difficult.  As a Thirty One Director, it is an easy!  I use and carry our bags every where I go. People comment about them and I share how awesome they are. As for “The Angel Connection“, this is a no-brainer too.  I always have an angel on.  I am learning to change up my angel so it POPS when I wear certain shirts.  Seems basic enough, right?
  • Actively manage your time and stop wasting it.  Time management may be easy for some but for me it is a struggle.  I am getting better with the help scheduling things in my planner.  Color blocking used to work but now it confuses me.  I still set aside time for family, work, my Thirty One and Angel Connection business and time for me (ok, so maybe sometimes this gets pushed to the side).  Manage your time when it comes to activity or exercise.  Add it to your calendar so it becomes a part of your every day life and you aren’t wasting the small amounts of time doing nothing when you could be active.  I know, I need to practice this one myself!
  • Commit to learning new things.  Lately, it seems like I am learning something new every day.  The struggles with MS has made this an ongoing process.  I invest in my professional development because it helps my business and my team.  You can learn new things in a variety of ways like reading a blog, watching a video, listening to a conference call, a networking meeting or a formal conference/ training.  And a way that works for you.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff.  There are going to be bumps in the road but you can learn from them and then you MUST let them go.  Sometimes it is easier said than done – whether it is in business or in life.  Just because you hit a bump or deal with a little negativity, it doesn’t diminsh all the positive work you have done.
  • Laugh more. I am learning to laugh at myself.  I feel like this was so much easier before MS.  The truth is sometimes I just don’t get the pun or joke.  It kills the punchline when someone has to explain it to you.  In recovery, I am learning to laugh again.  It is a process but one I am enjoying.
The lesson is simple – we tend to look at our lives as separate compartments – business, family, work, spiritual, etc. – which very seldom merge together.  When they do, it is often in a negative way – why not take the positive lessons we have learned in each part of our life and apply them to every part of our life as we take this journey through life.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Do You LOVE What You Do?

Do you know what day it is?  YUP, it is HUMP DAY!  For many, you are DREADING the rest of the work week.  Are you already longing for the weekend?  I LOVE Wednesdays (even Mondays).  The truth is…. I don’t mind going to work.  I am a recovering work-a-holic BUT when you LOVE what you do, it is really work?  I have talked about the struggles I have over the last few months to find what I truly LOVE again.  Living life on life’s terms has  been a struggle and has me rethinking what it is I really LOVE to do.

I saw on a blog a checklist for figuring out if you truly LOVE what you do… so I decided to give it a shot and see what happens.  Why don’t you try it with me?

First upNever a dull day!  Okay, my days have gotten a little dull. MS has caused me to struggle in doing things but on those days when I am focused…. WATCH OUT!  I tend to have so many ideas going through my head, I tire myself out!  LOL!  The ideas are great but I just can’t seem to put them into gear.  Last minute parties – of course.  Last minute fundraiser – wouldn’t miss doing it.  BUT now I have added the love of creating angels.  The joy an angel can bring to someone as they share a story of someone who has passed is something I treasure.  The creativity gets my blood flowing!

Meetings? Love them!   I love leading discussions to help others grow their business.  I do struggle when there are multiple conversations going on at the same time – my brain goes into overload.  I feel like the teacher telling students “only person can talk at a time”. LOL!  So, do I LOVE them? No, but they do get my juices flowing.

Inspiration is around the corner.  Hubby said something the other night “You see the possibility of angels in everything” and it’s true.  I had a friend give me some jewelry pieces to combine and make an angel for her and I’m over the moon excited.  Don’t get me wrong, I still LOVE Thirty One.  I LOVE being around other Thirty One consultants who are smart, confident, funny, giving and dedicated.  They each inspire me in their own way to be better and to reach for the stars.

Work = part of life.  You enjoy life and work. You feel alive and joyful not just at home but also at your desk. When you love your work, it’s a part of your life.  

I think this says it all.

S0 much to explore!  When you love your work, it’s like peeling an onion. There are always more layers to discover and explore. When you hate your work it’s also like peeling an onion – but all you find are more tears.  

Are you discovering or are you shedding tears?

You hardly ever look at the clock.  This is definitely me.  I can get lost in my office working on my blog, crafting angels, creating ideas and planning the future.  You know the saying “time flies when you are having fun” well it does for me!

So what is the result of this check list for YOU?  Do you LOVE what you do or are you just working to pay the bills?  Don’t get me wrong, I do the same thing – I mean, the bill collectors want their money but I enjoy all of it.  I LOVE the combination of my Thirty One business and my angels.  Want to know more about my Thirty One business and how it might be able to change YOUR life, just ask.  Not only do you get paid BUT there are some AWESOME perks.

If you don’t LOVE what you do, maybe it is time for a change.  Life is too short to wait for “it” to come so you can retire and enjoy life.  Why not enjoy it NOW!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!