Embrace Life

Funny-Friday-quotes

“Work smarter not harder”

Wouldn’t we all like to do that?  Wouldn’t it be great to get to the weekend and just embrace it?  Would’t it be nice not to worry about the work that didn’t get done during the week, or have a list of to do’s a mile long?  I envy people who can shut off work and just embrace the weekend (or their days off).  I figured they were better at time management or had a hidden stash of money so there was no stress in their life.  Crazy right?  Remember I am a struggling, recovering workaholic.

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Over the last few weeks, I learned a little bit about working smarter, not harder.  I found that despite the brain fog as a result of health issues, I have been able to focus more, enjoy time with friends and family, and have some clarity in my work and my life.  For the first time in a LONG time working from home, I have put down the computer (and the phone) to watch a movie, do some household chores and actually read a book.

Did my business fall apart?  NO!  Did customers care that I didn’t answer their emails/messages right away? NO!  The truth is, my business kept moving forward.  The best part was that I didn’t feel burnt out, exhausted or stressed.  Did it happen overnight? NO!  It is still a work in progress?  YES!

It has taken weeks of trial and error, hard work, and paying attention to what feels good and what doesn’t to be able to get to this place.  The best part is that I have been able to change my schedule around so that I get to be present in my life.

Here are some things that have helped in the process

Embrace Three:  I have been working with Desiree Wolfe who routinely reminds me to make a list of 3 things that need to get done each week.  Then break down the tasks so that they are accomplished.  I also read parts of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, which talks about only doing what is most essential.  Of course, there is also the need to get crazy comfortable with the word “no” which is still something that I am working on!

Setting boundaries around my routine: This is a tough one for me.  Protecting my time in the office is key.  I plan out my week based on what I need to get done, then I stick to the plan.  When someone says “what is on your schedule?”, I now gladly share that I’m working from X to X.  By setting up a schedule, I have been able to accomplish more AND break away to embrace life.  I mean wasn’t the whole idea of having your own business to have flexibility.

Building a business that aligns with how I work and live best:  This has been my goal ever since I started my business.  I wanted to find a way to blend my work (my passion) and my life.  With harmony in both, I am able to thrive.  I mean if momma’s not happy, no one is happy, right?

Losing the guilt: WOW!  This one is HUGE for me.  On the days that I do this, I’ve been able to work smarter, not harder.  I’m don’t feel guilty about being in the office for a few hours on hubby’s days off.  I’m don’t feel like I’m being lazy and complacent when I am reading a book or watching a movie. Fighting the inner gremlins of guilt and learning that self-care is important to not only embracing life but also to building my business.

No matter what your journey is, you need to know that it doesn’t always have to feel like an uphill battle.  You have permission to seek out how to work smarter, not harder.  It will take time, BUT the only way to get there is to start shifting your routine, schedule, and mindset.  Even baby steps will lead you to where you really want to be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

How To Have Less Stress

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt

TGIF!  Thank God it’s Friday… that is the chant that I hear far and wide?  This week has been a challenge for me on so many levels.

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I have been stomping on the inner gremlins of fear and doubt all week.  I have been struggling with stepping out of my comfort zone.  I have been worrying about pleasing people around me – doctors, family, friends, my team and my customers. I have had doubt about business decisions.  I have had fear when it comes to finances. Lots of stress.

Since stress is a key trigger in my MS, I am always on the hunt to eliminate it.  The thing is that many times, I don’t know that I am feeling stressed.  You know what I mean, right?  You think the day is going just fine when someone asks “are you okay?” or someone says “you sound annoyed (or snarky or angry)” or better yet they ask “why are you so stressed”?  Or worse, you SNAP at something someone says.  SMACK!!! This is when I know that I’m stressed.

Here are some things that have been helping me to eliminate stress personally and in my business:

  • Honoring my boundaries: Being a recovering people pleaser, setting boundaries in both my work and my life is a big deal.  Then top it off with trying to honor them.  Can you say stressful?  So, I have been planning out my days in my planner and sticking to my schedule.  That even means scheduling time for social media, sleep, office hours and even meals.  Maintaining boundaries and learning to say no relieves stress and the inner gremlin of guilt.
  • Getting outside:   I am so excited about the weather changing so I can go outside for just a few minutes to bask in the beauty of day.  Yes, I love being my own boss and working from home but then I get a little stir crazy.  I need people contact.  I’ve found that getting out plays a huge part in reducing the stress.  I love the idea of working from a local coffee shop or taking a walk around the neighborhood at those key times when people are walking their dogs.  I don’t have a dog to walk but it gives me a chance to engage in conversation with people.  It’s easy for me to stay inside and get lost in my computer but when I break my routine and engage with people,  I am happier, healthier and less stressed.
  • Finding joy, fulfilment, and creativity outside of my work: This is actually tough for me – a struggling workaholic.  I get obsessed with work – or the busyness of work.  This is why setting boundaries are so important.  My diagnosis of MS has been a blessing.  I am forced to STOP and take time for other things.  Why fight it, right?  The truth after a break, when I return to my desk/office, I am more creative and energized.  Scheduling time for lunch with hubby, spending time with friends and family or just working on my puzzle clears the head and brings me joy.  In other words, letting myself be instead of obsessing over work and the responsibilities that come with it is a stress reliever.

As the warmer weather approaches and life changes, stress creeps back into our lives.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one needing less stress and more joy in their life right now.  I am always surprised that as I prioritize  others joy and their wellbeing; I give myself permission to do the same.

What will you do this weekend, to reduce stress while creating more joy in your work and your life?  Share with us your best tips.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

 

 

Workaholic or Not

How appropriate that on “throwback Thursday”, I talk about being a “workaholic“.  In my previous life (COO for a non-profit, Grants Manager and a social worker), I didn’t know that I was a workaholic.  I thought I was just passionate about my job.  Then we went on a cruise and I had NO communication with the outside world (no cell phone or internet).  SMACK!!!

I got up early, worked late, and obsessed about all things work.  I mean how many people would actually commute 2 hours one way to work, work a 40 hour work week, take work home with them AND be on call 24/7.  Not sure if you are a workaholic – ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you dismiss breaks (hah! – times wasters)
  • Do you work more than your colleagues
  • Are you only passionate about work
  • Are you usually the first one at work, or the last to leave
  • Do you sacrifice time for yourself for work
  • Does your social life revolve around work or do you NOT have a social life

If you answered yes to more than two of these, chances are you are a workaholic.  Here are some ideas courtesy of Chapter Friday on how create more of a work/life balance:

1. Work fewer hours.  Has panic set in hearing those words.  The truth is that your boss and co-wokers will understand that you need a life too.  Scheduled till 5PM, make it a point to leave no later than 5:30PM.  I suggest the half hour grace period because I have been there.  Believe it or not, you might even become more productive by working less, as you’re likely to have more energy, and be more enthusiastic about getting back to work.

2. Leave your work at the office. ACK!!!! Honestly, during the work week, do you really get much work done at home if you are staying at the office hours on end.  Bringing home work is not good, take it from one who did it ALOT.  Take some time after work for you AND your family (or friends).  Live in the moment and you will be surprised at the change it will make in your life.

3. Take a real break – even just a 10 minute one.  Do you eat lunch at your desk? Do you skip getting coffee because you might be away from your desk too long?  Give yourself a real break to go and eat lunch outside the office, or where you go an sit outside during your quick lunch break. Even taking 10 minutes away from your laptop during lunch can make a world of different.  

4. Work smarter.  Lean how to say no (it is NOT a dirty word) to all those extra meetings and ‘quick’ requests that rob your of your precious time. Remember that urgent phone calls and deadlines are a great way to say no too – a simple, ‘Sorry, I have a deadline that needs to be completed first’ will suffice. 😉

5. Avoid becoming an addict.  Yes, being a workaholic is much like being an addict.  Take it from one who knows.  A promotion sounds great – more money, right?  But is it worth it if you have to sacrifice your family and friends.  There’s nothing wrong with hard work, and hey, it’s great if you want to work hard! But when workaholism becomes all consuming, where your life is dependent on your work – you might want to consider if you’re working just a little bit too hard.

The truth is you can be a workaholic whether you work for someone else or if you have your own business.  Do you think you, or a friend, might be a workaholic?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Truths Not Shared

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The best laid plans go out the door….. Remember when I said that hubby and I were scheduling office hours for me?  That worked great for about two weeks THEN we didn’t compare our schedules.  For some reason this week has been a struggle.  The lack of accountability to my hubby seemed to throw me into a tail spin.  Was it that or could I blame it on some health issues?  Either way, I don’t feel as productive as I have the past two weeks.

I saw a great blog by Traci Bild who I actually had the privilege to meet at the Mom Grows a Business Conference.  She talked about the “7 Truths that Women are Afraid to Share“.  Here awesome excerpts, see if any of them apply to you:

1. We’re Guilty, like ALL the time: WOW!  I thought I was the only one that del like this, so nice to know that I am not alone.  Most of the time, I just feel guilty about silly stuff – according to hubby.  The word “sorry” is something that I say a lot and most of the time it is for stuff that I can’t even do anything about.

2. We WORRY about EVERYTHING: There is never enough time in the day and no matter how hard you try, you will never get everything done. There is simply too much to do.  Is your To Do List way too long with things that could probably be done with the help of others?

3. We’re Letting our Health Slip:  Thankfully, I don’t have a serious illness but I do let my health concerns slip.  After nursing hubby back to health last year, I focus on him and his appointments.  The thing is when he starts to focus on health concerns he has for me, I just push them away saying “I am fine”.  Sound familiar?

4. Our Work-Life Balance Looks Like a 2-year-old on a Balance Beam: A nice term, most women simply can’t strike it. So busy living life, you don’t have time to work ON your life and find ways to create balance.  I LOVE this as a recovering workaholic.  My feeble attempt to work on this balance was to take the notifications off of my phone so the only time it “rings” is for an actually call OR a text message.  Novel concept huh?

5. Our love lives are on the Back Burner:  GUILTY!  Enough said.

6. We are in Constant Comparison Mode:  From my ability to maintain my goal weight, to the amount of dust bunnies taking up residence behind the couch to my business compared to others…this is me to the hilt!  Social media plays a factor in this craziness for me which is why I have left groups, unfollower people and just try to limit my time on Facebook.  Forget about the other forms of social media, I don’t even check them.   Spend more time living your life than watching others live theirs.  

7. We’re Still Not Happy!: The end result is that people are not happy. While women have more opportunity than ever before, we are more unhappy than at any other time in history. You have the power to create happiness but that requires tough decisions, laser focus on your priorities and standing by them at all cost.

So, how many of these truths are you?  Let’s be honest with each other…Just for today, I am going to focus on me, my business and spend some quality time with hubby (who took an extra day off).

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

Workaholics Day – July 5th

I know that there are lots of “special days” celebrated for many reasons but this is definitely a new one – for me!  Vanessa Coppes and I actually joked about this yesterday while we were working and blogging on the morning of the July 4th holiday.   Anyone know if there is a Blogger Day?  Let me know, I definitely want to celebrate that day.

rtc_june_5_workaholic_fullAccording to Punchbowl which helps you plan a party from start to finish – July 5th is Workaholics Day!  By definition, a workaholic is a person who is addicted to work.  Generally it implies that the person enjoys their work and they feel compelled to do it.  According to an article on Webmd, a workaholic is a life out of balance with key signs to  that you are in trouble.  Does this sound like you?

  • Trouble delegating work
  • Neglecting other aspects of your life (family, special events, vacations, etc) to work
  • Incorporating other aspects of your life into work (turning a hobby into a new business)

So, if I have just described you – TODAY is dedicated to you.  It is a time for you to step back and take it easy.  Do some mindless activity that you enjoy – read a book for fun, take a nap, take a walk on the beach or spend some time watching YouTube videos.  If you are the friend or family member of a workaholic, CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD them for their accomplishments today.

As for me, I an a recovering workaholic.  Family and friends used to take a back seat to my job – I used to call it passion.  Now, my passion is owning my own business.   Yes, I always have a catalog with me.  Yes, I am always ready to share about the way that Thirty One has changed my life.  Yes, I love that every time I go to work – I get to PARTY!  The difference is that I now take time to dedicate it to my hubby especially on his days off.  I still slack in the family time area but I am a work in progress.

I challenge you to look at your life and do a double check – do you have a healthy work-life balance?  If not, what are you ready to do about it?  Please share how you will be celebrating today

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!