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!

 

How To Marie Kondo Declutter Your Business

Have you heard of Marie Kondo? If not, you must be living under a rock.  LOL.  She is a Japanese tidying expert and author of the bestselling book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up“.   She has a Netflix show  called “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” where she helps people clear the clutter from their homes—and their brains.

How about applying her approach of to your business?  So, instead of organizing what you  have, you focus on getting rid of what you don’t like and don’t need.  Then you are left being surrounded by only the things you love and use.  This system is all about getting your house in order, BUT is will also reduce stress, increase focus and give you more time to focus on what really matters.  Doesn’t this sound like a GREAT idea to get your home office in shape?

There are six basic principles in the KonMari method. Let’s see how we can apply them to our business.

1. Be committed.

In order for this to work, you need to be fully dedicated to doing this.  Ideally, the whole process is done over a series of days and although this may be difficult for businesses – you still need to commit to finishing what you start and working through each category completely before you stop. If you don’t, you will lose momentum. Set aside time to focus on files and documents so you can get it all done in one fell swoop.

2. Imagine your ideal life before you start.

Before you start the decluttering process, take some time to think about what you want your business and life to look like when you’re done. What do you want to achieve by decluttering? Do you want your business to be more efficient, more successful, more enjoyable, more appealing for employees?  Her method places LOTS of importance on being mindful, introspective and forward-looking. You need to know why you want to start this project before you start, and it will help you stay focused when you are decluttering.

3. Tidy by category, not location.

This is a though one for me.  I even had a hard time when I was tying to do the house.  Instead of starting with your desk or a file drawer, Marie Kondo wants you to declutter each category all at once. In the home, this means taking out all your clothing (from the closet, the dressers, the hall closet, the under-bed storage) and going through it all at once. For your business, it might mean going through all your equipment first, then all your paper documents, etc.  It doesn’t matter where they are located – files, desk, shelves – just pick one thing first!

4. Discard before you re-organize.

If you are like me, once you clear stuff out – you want to get organized, right?  Don’t! With this system, you are supposed to finish the decluttering process THEN you organize what’s left.

5. Do the easiest things first.

What’s the easiest thing for you to let do of?  Start decluttering there – a category easy to let go of.  In the home, the clothes are usually the first thing with sentimental items last, since these are the hardest to let go of.  Figure out what’s easiest for you to start with (like paper documents) before moving onto more difficult areas such as business processes. This helps you get used to the method and avoid getting sidetracked.  You know how easy it is to squirrel!

6. Keep what sparks joy.

This method of decluttering involves holding each item in your hands and asking yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Don’t overthink it: go with your first instinct.  YUP, not easy for me since I tend to overthink EVERYTHING.  Realistically, everything in your office will not spark joy (I’m looking at you, ream of printer paper). For those items, ask yourself if it’s necessary to help you accomplish a task. Don’t keep more than you need: if you have a whole drawer full of (necessary) file folders, keep the ones which spark joy, like the colorful, crisp ones and get rid of those that don’t spark joy, like the old, ratty Manila ones.

Now, there will be some things which will spark negative feelings.  If so, you need to figure out what’s really going on. Does it remind you of a task you hate doing in your business, maybe it is a a client/customer who drives you nuts, or a concern you don’t want to face. Is it a necessary item which doesn’t spark joy?  Is it hard to use or it really doesn’t do exactly what you want it to do? Get rid of it and find a replacement which is more joyful to use.

This is kind of where I am in my business right now…… Ask yourself these questions:The

What sparks joy in your business? Customers value authenticity, and when you’re passionate about something in your business, they’ll know it.   If you are in direct sales, find your passion product or set of products and share them like crazy!   Focus in your business on what brings you the most joy, and put more energy there.

What if there’s a component of your business which doesn’t spark joy? Maybe you added a new product, a new service, or maybe you are doing things “like everyone else” but your heart really isn’t in it.  If this is the case, it may be time to do some soul-searching.

Before tossing anything, Marie Kondo says, you need to thank it for its service to you. (Yes—even if you’re getting rid of an old stapler.) It is part of “letting go,”.  Why not thank the things you’re keeping as you clean out your business.  Take some time to appreciate all the things which help your business thrive. Once your business was just a dream—and now it’s reality. So let’s celebrate it.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

I’m The Best!

Okay, I have your attention, right?  You are probably thinking “Who does she think she is?”.  “What makes her the best?”

Although, I have some skills and have received a few awards for my work – I wouldn’t say I am the best.  “Doubtful Debbie” is always lurks in the corner.  Just when I think I have built my confidence up to where it can’t be shaken, she pops her head!  Since MS has entered my life, those inner gremlins seem to come more often.  Add to it, relapse and recovery and those gremlins have a field day.

In direct sales, as in most businesses, self-promotion is important but we need to say it without actually saying it.  I mean, isn’t branding part of the key to growing our business?  Not always an easy task, right?  I am guessing I am not alone since Entrepreneur magazine did an article about it.  Here are some tips:

1. Identify what you’ve done and and what you’re good at.  This has always been difficult for me.  Believe it or not, I didn’t think I was good at anything for many years.  While working in the non-profit world, I was a behind the scenes girl.  The one who let everyone else get the fame and glory.  I got my share of rewards but I never felt like I truly deserved them.  I am learning to share my achievements along with my failures through blogging.

2. Practice your communication.  I LOVE these key phrases to help – “I’m passionate,” and “I did [this]” or “I worked hard [at that].”  When I share about my my passion for Thirty One, people respond.  When I share about my passion for my angels, people respond.  They get interested, share their stories and then usually shop.

3. Tell everybody.   This is definitely hard for me but I am getting better.  I mean if we worked hard and built an AWESOME business – shouldn’t we be able to share it with the world?  I mean when people meet me and they ask what I do, my answer is “I’m a Director with Thirty One Gifts, a blogger and a crafter”.  This starts the conversation rolling and allows me to share my passions with them.

4. Be prepared to prove it.  Don’t just talk about how awesome your product is – make sure you are using it so they can see it.  I had a consultant tell me once , no one took her business seriously. Then I realized she had LOTS of Thirty One bags at HOME!  She never carried one with her.  Now she is a walking billboard and she is getting sales.  I always have product (Thirty One and angels) with me and I include my blog on all of my business cards.

5. Get creative.  For me, sometimes it is tough to get creative.  I offer my customers great service – I try to remember birthdays and key events in their lives so I can celebrate them.  My VIP customer page offers some fun without promoting sales.  I haven’t found an unusual way to promote myself except by blogging so maybe it will catch some attention.

6. Be generous. Promote and encourage others who are doing a good job and offer your help to those who ask for it.  Giving back and making a difference in the life of others is the thing which keeps me going.  From chemo comfort bags to Fight Hunger Campaign to mailing an angel to someone who needs some cheering up.  Helping others is what I like to do.

Are you “THE BEST”?  Brag a little… tell us what you are the best at!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!