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!

 

 

Thankful Thursday: Focus

Today I am thankful for having focus….

Life with MS can be difficult – not usually physically for me but mentally.  Focus is defined as “a center of activity, attraction“. On any given day brain fog makes focusing on anything next to impossible.

Since stopping my Co-paxone (the doctor said it wasn’t helping with the change in diagnosis), I find I am having more days where I can focus.  On those days Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie pay a visit and I don’t need to tell you what happens then.  A mini-pity party starts and NOTHING gets done.

Some days, I loose focus because I try to get too much done in one day.  Sometimes I just wake up in a fog.  I keep a list in my planner and am grateful I am able to tick off more things getting done.  I love seeing the pink highlighter line meaning I have completed a task.  Some days I squirrel.  Yup, I have a plan and then get side tracked by something else.  Now, it could be something which also needs to be done BUT instead of being grateful to get another task done,  I look at the fact I am behind schedule.  Tell me I am not alone, right?

I listened to a John Maxwell program where Les Brown talked about focusing on what we have and not what we don’t have.  When we do this, we will get more done.  WOW!  What a way to change perspective.  Instead of thinking about all of the things I don’t get done and how behind I am – cleaning, errands, making phone calls, creating new angels, shipping orders, following up with customers, etc. You get the picture right?

I need to STOP and think… I am blessed to have customers to call, people who want to place orders, the ability to create things and a space to do all of this in.  The truth is the more I focus on the negative, the worse things get.  So I have asked Negative Nellie and Doubtful Debbie to leave. I am ready to restart my day with a change in my focus.

I never lose sight of my overall goals but when I focus on what I don’t have versus what I do have, they seem unattainable.  Life may toss you a load of lemons but it is what you do with them that makes the difference.  Will you make lemonade and share with everyone or will you grumble about the fact that it takes too much time and energy to make the lemonade?

What are you focusing on this morning – what you have or what you don’t?  Change your focus and see what happens.

Have a blessed day!

 

Productive Or Busy?

How often do you answer the question “how are you doing?” with “I’m so busy”?  Think about it…. as wives, mothers, and business owners, we often wear busyness as a badge of honor.

But is “busy” really a label you want to wear? Does it mean, your business is doing well?  Does it mean we have it “all together” as moms?  Does it mean we are reaching our goals and being successful?

Or does busy just mean being occupied? You are doing stuff. I’m not saying some of it may not be purposeful but I am sure some of it is not.  Yes, some of it necessary while some of it we do simply out of habit.  Does being busy mean you are being productive?  Does it mean you are getting things done which actually need to get done?

Think about it… do you have a plan in place for the day or the week? Do you have a clear picture of what is important or what matters most?  If you are “busy”, the answer to both of these questions is probably NO!

What if you were to say “I’m productive” instead of “I’m busy”.  What’s the difference, right?  Semantics?  The reality is, it makes a HUGE difference in how you go about your day.  You become purposeful in what you are doing.

When you’re busy, you take on new tasks without considering whether you even have time to complete them. You are less likely to delegate the task to others.  You are less likely to ask for help.  Why delegate? Because when you delegate, you take time to think: “Do I really have to do this myself? Who could do it instead? When can I ask them? How long will it take to explain?” In many cases when you are busy, the response is “never mind, I’ll just do it myself.” In the long run you waste more time and get less accomplished. Being busy generates a more stressed and hurried way of life so doing it yourself is an easy answer.

What if you were to look at “hurrying up” as the one thing which is actually slowing you down? Yes, if you took just a moment to slow down, you could actually get more of the right things done in less time and be more productive. WOW!  I know it is crazy but it really does work.  It is a great way to de-clutter your life.

I find the weeks I am more productive are when I follow a simple process of planning out my week. I make a list of everything I’d like to accomplish this week. If a week is to overwhelming, do it just for a day.  Now, put each item into one of four categories: Do it. Delay it. Delegate it. Delete it.   Stick with me, it really does work and it can all be accomplished in about 10 minutes.  Yes, you have 10 minutes to spare when the end result is feeling more productive.

So, first pick the stuff you choose to do is important. It is a priority.  I know, right now everything seems to be a priority BUT try to limit it to no more than 3 things.  I hear the groans!

Now, move on to the stuff you can delay. These are things which are not urgent and may actually be causing you stress.  Maybe you really don’t have time to do it right now, and frankly, it doesn’t yet need to be done now. Add it to your schedule for a later date.  This is where my planner comes in handy.  I list things at the bottom of the week in the space called “infinite possibility”.  If I have time, great!  It may get done before the delayed date but most times, it doesn’t.  It is okay!

Here is the tough one – the stuff you delegate.  I will admit, I struggle with this on a regular basis.  Health challenges have helped me to put this in perspective.  Delegate things which do not require your personal attention. Someone else can handle it just fine. Okay, they may not do it your way BUT it will get done.  Does it really matter as long as the end result is the same?  Maybe it is tossing clothes in the washer.  Maybe it is putting labels on the catalogs.  Maybe it is putting out the trash or emptying the dishwasher.  Learning to let go and delegate things has made life less stressful for me which is a plus as some days the health challenges are a struggle.

The last list is the stuff you delete. It is those tasks which serve no important purpose at this time. We all have them.  So, give yourself permission to take them off your to-do list.

The truth is hurrying up or busyness is actually slowing you down. What can you change in order to be more productive?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

What is YOUR Limit?

limit

It is one week till Christmas and the mad rush is on.   It was one of those mornings when I wasn’t sure what to write about.  I know, amazing, right?  Then I listened to “Minute with Maxwell” on LIMITS!

The definition of LIMIT is a restriction on the size or amount of something permissible or possible.  There are limits for our own protection – like speed limits.  Restrictions can help to keep us safe from the world around us.  We limit our kids when they are growing up to protect them as they learn to set their own boundaries.  As adults though, do our LIMITS prohibit us from stepping out of our comfort zones?  Do we LIMIT ourselves in our dreams, when setting goals and as a result LIMIT our potential to achieve all of the blessings God has in store for us?

At the end of John Maxwell’s video, he issued a challenge – share this word with someone and ask THEM if they have placed LIMITS on themselves they need to lift?

WOW!  This was something I needed to hear this morning.  I dream big, set goals and share them with all who will listen (or who are reading my blog).  Honestly, internally, I place LIMITS on things.  I allow Doubtfully Debbie and Negative Nellie to hang on the edges of my dreams just waiting for the chance to find a crack in the door so they can enter.

I LIMIT myself without even realizing it sometimes when I hesitate and wonder “what will people think”.  I LIMIT myself when I give Doubtful Debbie even a moment of consideration before doing something.  My self imposed limits may have kept me from reaching my goal weight or recruiting new team members or event growing my business – not allowing myself to reach my full potential.  I know this is ALOT to think about with Christmas just around the corner BUT this may be the perfect time.

Many will be setting New Year’s Resolutions over the next two weeks.  Will your resolution be limited or will you let yourself dream big stretching your limits?

What are your limits?  Are they self-imposed to keep you from reaching YOUR full potential?  Does your self-imposed limit keep you in your comfort zone?

My challenge to you today is to FIRST, listen to Minute with Maxwell.  I take one minute ever morning to hear his motivating words which sets the tone for the day.  SECOND, identify YOUR self-imposed limits and work on lifting them so you can reach YOUR full potential.  The “Sky’s the Limit”  reminds you: “Nothing will be impossible for you!” So, shoot for the stars! If you fall, you’ll land on a cloud!

the-skys-the-limit

I would love to hear your thoughts on the word “LIMITS”.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Humility

monday morning

Happy MONDAY!  Can you tell that I love the little minions?  Every time I see one I think of The Crafty Recluse’s tag line “you are one in a minion” and I smile.

For those in direct sales, the key to growing into leadership is building a team, right?  We all what the “dream team”.  The ones who are focused, consistent sellers and all want the same things that we do.  The truth is that the people on our team are there for a reason.  They may not be someone else’s definition of a dream team but their are God’s definition of a dream team for YOU!  I LOVE the diverse personalities that are on my dream team.

As leaders, we are always looking for what it takes to be a great leader.  I am working my way through the Leadership Bible every day to be able to raise “my lid” as a leader.  Tracy Simmon summed it up in one word – humility:

Not the sickly sweet distorted version of humility which turns some people into doormats, but the powerful kind of humility that moves mountains while always upholding the dignity of every person involved.

I’ll take a humble, unskilled, inexperienced leader over an arrogant, experienced, highly skilled “leader” any day of the week.

So, what are some traits of a humble leader?  Here are just a few:

 

1. Admit It: You admit your weaknesses, flaws, and the things you don’t do well. You laugh at yourself. You know you have an inner freak and you’ve embraced it. Humility allows you to give an honest assessment of yourself.

 

2. Ask for Help: You know when you need to ask for help from others and you’re not afraid do so. You’re likely to hit your limit at some point, whether you’re running out of time, coming up against a lack of knowledge or missing skillset, or just feeling overwhelmed, and you’re not afraid to ask for help.

3. Better Than You: You do not feel threatened by (and are willing to hire) people who are smarter than you, have greater skills and experience than you…and you’re happy to pay them more than you make. You know that hiring people who are better than you doesn’t diminish you or your role.

 

4. Take Responsibility: When there’s a failure or a mistake made by someone on your team, you acknowledge that part of the failure belongs to you. You take responsibility for your team’s mistakes.

5. You Can Handle the Truth: You welcome constructive criticism. You ask for feedback—and openly listen to it and receive it—even when it’s hard to hear. 

6. Apologize: You’re willing to admit when you’ve blown it and to apologize for your mistakes.

7. Let It Go: You don’t always need to be right. You know it’s better to let some things go rather than trying to prove your point.

8. Forgive Others: You forgive others when they make mistakes. You speak with them about their errors and then let them start all over with a clean slate. 

9. Give Credit: You look for ways to give away credit for work done, shouting it out to anyone who will listen, rather than to soak it all up for yourself. 

 

10. Share the Knowledge: You willingly share your knowledge with others. You have no need to hoard it in order to look smarter or better than others. You want to help others develop and grow as far as possible.

I don’t know about you but even on this short list, I found a few of my own weaknesses.  In the areas where some may see me as “arrogant”, the real reason is probably due to a feeling of inadequacy as a result of shame and fear.  Yes, let’s get gut honest with ourselves so that we can be better leaders for our teams.

Would your team consider you a truly humble leader or an arrogant leader? Or do you bounce between the two.  I would love to know your thoughts…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!