Congratulations to Kalsie V! She accepted my challenge to Take Care of You, and now gets to choose between 2 hours of cleaning or a Strategy Session! I have shared my personal journey through breast cancer because I want to help raise awareness about proactive care - and while extremely important - this extends beyond mammograms and pap smears.
Taking care of you is about recognizing your own personal needs - for good old mental, physical, and emotional health. It is about the big stuff - cancer screenings - and the small stuff - like taking a time out to read a favorite book.
How do you take the time to take care of you? Please share in the comments - you never know who you might inspire! And if you need a little more "me time", let me know how I can help!
Six people, 2 dogs, and life spent travelling, working, and living. While this lifestyle may not be for everyone, Bryanna of Crazy Family Adventure shares her insight into how to do more with less and enjoy life along the way. She talks of how we have to identify our wants and our whys - and not lose sight of our priorities.
Here is a snippet from one of her latest blogs titled, "How we manage (or don’t) running a business, being parents, and traveling full time." You can then head over and read more at her site!
"We have learned how to simplify our life by having less things. We are deepening our family bond by spending a lot of time together and will continue to push to make this our top priority. We will also keep a pulse on our business and the blog to make sure we don’t take on more then what we WANT to do.
The best advice I can give (for you and for me to read everyday!) is don’t lose sight of what you WANT to do in your day. Don’t lose sight of your priorities and make sure to catch yourself from going down a route that is going to back you in a corner (like having to work more to make more money because we are spending too much!).
Our WANTS and our WHY (to deepen our family bond) for traveling full time have helped pull us in multiple times to realign the direction we were going. We are living our live the way we WANT to not the way someone else or society tells us. But man, that pull is always there!" Keep reading more at her blog!
I love learning - especially when it comes from fellow entrepreneurs! Today we have a guest blog review from one such woman who opened her own business less than a year ago - and quickly determined that wrangling in the chaos would require more than just a blank daily planner. She is sharing her experiences with the Daily Action Planner - and how to account for the "weeds" and "seeds" of daily life!
Guest Blog by Alex Oldenburg
My typical weekly/monthly planner just wasn’t cutting it for keeping track of everything, and I needed a better way to organize and prioritize my to do lists. As a co-owner and founder of MESSY Dog Training I specifically needed a way to organize my life, along with my small business, so I started using the Daily Action Planner (DAP) about 6 months ago.
What I love the most about this planner is that it groups tasks into several categories, including:
By giving my “weeds” their own section, it has really helped me to avoid putting off the tasks I need to do but don’t enjoy. As a small business owner, I also appreciate a section for my “seeds”, so I can make sure I’m taking steps to grow my business and move forward.
The planner also understands that life can be chaotic, and that’s okay! It encourages you to “organize your gorgeous chaos”, with daily and weekly places to savor your successes by finding a success each day, and dedicating that success to a reward for yourself, such as a family game night or treating yourself to that favorite coffee drink (my go-to treat).
The Daily Action Planner helps me balance a business along with the rest of my busy life, and the change of mindset it has provided me has definitely helped lower the stress of trying to organize the gorgeous chaos of owning a business! The DAP company also provides a free support call to help you make the most of the planner, and a Facebook group with other Daily Action Planners for tips and ideas.
Do you use a digital organizer - or are you loyal to your paper planner? Digital calendars and planners have become both easier to use and to access. Smartphone apps put complex calendars literally in our purses and back pockets. The ability to access future commitments in seconds and have them graphically spread in front of us like artwork can be exciting, and possibly a bit overwhelming.
The most important consideration when choosing a planner is what feels natural to you and helps you best stay on track. As with paper planners, there are specific pluses and minuses to using digital calendars.
Digital Calendar Pros:
+ Lightweight, compact and portable
+ Can hold a TON of information
+ Can program for reoccurring events (i.e. weekly meetings)
+ Easily search for data
Digital Calendar Cons:
- Requires you to rely on device being charged (or find an outlet)
- Higher learning curve – must learn the program or app
- Can be challenging for people to use who are visual learners or who prefer the tactile feature of paper planners
My advice for starting out is the same as with paper planners – choose the simplest option, master it, and build upon that mastery as your needs change. A formula for organizational success!
Do you use a digital calendar on your smart phone/tablet/laptop/desktop computer? I’d love to hear what program and what you love about that program! Please comment below.
Ever noticed how valuable time is? Yours, mine, and everyone else's? I thought so!
The other day I had an appointment to sign some papers. It should've been a 15 minute thing, maybe 30 minutes at the most. Instead I was there for over an hour, on a Saturday morning.....because he was talking....about himself. I left there feeling frustrated, and honestly, a little angry. I had to percolate those feelings a bit to get to the root of why I had these feelings.
The reality is that the time in that office belonged to both of us. We are required to share time - even if we do not share the same goals with that time. Every conversation, every interaction, every event where there is more than one person is a practice in time-sharing.
Looking back I see that maybe this person was lonely. Or maybe he was bored. Or maybe he didn't respect me and my time as a client. I'll probably never know, but it helped prepare me for the next time I'm time-sharing, but not necessarily goal-sharing.
Those of you who know me know I'm a "get the job done", no nonsense kinda gal. We all have things to do, places to go, and people with whom we want to spend our time. I also believe strongly in building relationships, and acknowledge that it's a two way street - the middle of your sentence can't be cut off by the beginning of mine!!!
My point you may ask? On a personal level I want the people in my life to know how important they are to me, and truly being present in their presence (kinda catchy, eh?) is one way to demonstrate it. I also know that on a We Love Messes level, it's important that each and every one of you knows how important you are - I'm honored that you've chosen me for your decluttering journey, and respect both your time and resources. And if you need a little help with time management - I can be your co-pilot to get you headed in the right direction!
At our local Entrepreneur Meet-up recently I sat next to a retired hockey coach of 41 years. We were discussing time management and balancing work and family. He made the comment that, back in the day, when he "fired off an order he got in the next chair and did it".
Doesn't that pretty much sum up the life of a solopreneur/small business owner? Yup, we make the big decisions, but more than likely we're the ones who need to carry them out as well! Often that doesn't leave us time to do what we went into business to do - to follow through on our passions.
Obviously I LOVE to organize. I love to work with clients and encourage them to organize. I love to work independently to get my clients organized. I love to research solutions for organizing challenges. I love the sense of completion and satisfaction that comes with getting a space under control and clients having "ah ha!" moments when they realize they CAN do it! Have I mentioned that I love organizing? K. Thought so.
What I do NOT love is the always present behind - the -scenes administrative work that goes with running a business. Thankfully I've been able to delegate out my "orders" to the next people in the chair - and they've become my right hand people and kept We Love Messes on an even keel so I can do what I love. Make room on the chair for others to step in, sit down, and help you get things done. You do not have to travel your journey alone.
Was it easy to ask for help or release the control over the outcome? Nope. But the inordinate amount of time it has freed up has been worth every single step!
How about you? What can you outsource (whether it's laundry duties to your kids or balancing the business books to the accountant) that frees up time for your passions?
So, first the bad news. Time management, for all it's celebrated to be, is a bit of a farce. I can feel you shaking your head in disbelief already. But it's true, folks. We ALL get the same 24 hours in a day - you, me, and SuperMom over there who makes raising kids, working full time, and being the PTA Mom of the Year (at two different schools) look like a cake walk.
OK, so I'm teasing about the SuperMom part (Well, that she's the PTA Mom of the Year at TWO schools, anyway. Maybe just one). Do you know what's going on behind her doors? Her closet doors? Her pantry doors? Her laundry doors? Me neither. But, if I had to guess.....well, I'm trained to check my judgment at the door.
Indulge me for a moment, will you? In just under 3.5 minutes, Mike Vardy's TedX Victoria presentation says, more eloquently than I ever will, How To Stop Time. It's the QUALITY of what we do, not the quantity.
Have a happy day, my friends - do some quality stuff out there!
Relationships struggle, sometimes dissolve, employees and co-workers have issues, sports teams struggle to work together, coaches quit, friends get sick, the washing machine breaks - you know that moment when you just want to shut down and not be an adult? Yeah, I thought so - me, too!
I'm a fixer. When a challenge presents itself my first instinct is to fix it. As I've gotten older (and hopefully wiser) I've come to realize that some issues can't be fixed - at least by me. The best thing I can do is just listen and be there. That comes with a personal price - sometimes there is so much listening going on that I feel like I'm suffering from Drama Trauma! That's my sign that the mental clutter is too much and it's time to check out! Here are my top 3 ways to take care of me so I can be there for others:
1. Literally "check out" from electronics for at least an hour - no phone, computer, tablet - nothing that dings, whistles, vibrates, or otherwise indicates that there is possibly a need that needs fixing!
2. Practice some self care - a good cup of coffee, a pedicure, a massage (now that's a LOVELY indulgence) - we are SO worth it!
3. Listen....to myself! What is my mind and body telling me? I write it down, get it out of my head, and then try to take action to meet my own needs.
Do you suffer from Drama Trauma? Please feel free to comment - I'd love to hear what you do to combat it - and maybe we can support and learn from each other!
Catchy title, eh? Graymail are emails we "opt in" to receive, but aren't really interested in reading. Think about checking out at a retail store and they ask you for your email address - YEP, that's "opting in" for advertising solicitations from that store. Also known as "Bacn" (as in bacon) because it is generally considered more desirable than spam, this collection of emails can fill your Inbox menu, but are they really what you ordered?
What is Graymail?
A fairly decent chunk of the emails coming to our inboxes each day - 19% - are considered spam and graymail. We all know spam. Those subject lines telling us we've won a million dollars in return for a small deposit. And we have spam filters in place to eliminate it. Graymail, however, enters a grayer area. We've acquiesced to receiving it the minute we give out our email address to anyone! Think about email newsletters, Groupons, grocery store advertising - those are all examples of graymail - specific advertising targeted to you, the lovely consumer!
Is some of the graymail relevant? Yes! It's targeted at our interests. Have I ever made a purchase due to graymail I've received? Another resounding YES! Of course!
What Do I Do About Graymail?
My recommendation? Use the unsubscribe button at the bottom of graymail (often in very tiny print) to remove yourself from mailing lists that don't interest you. I did this every day for one week - instead of just hitting "delete" or letting the graymail linger in my Inbox adding additional stress.
I've done these steps, and the result? I get MUCH less email! Another bonus? I've gotten faster about making the decision as to whether individual emails are worth my time, even the time it takes to click "Delete". I love it!
Try it for a week and let me know how it goes. Do you have another way to decrease your email? I'd love to hear about it!
Continuing our February Email theme (not love, silly) I bet you can guess what the average worker does 36 times an hour....I can hardly believe this myself, but yes, checks his/her email!!! That, my friend, is a lot o' email checkin'! Not only that, but we send/receive about 105 emails a day. That means 38,325 emails in a year. Yowza.
Why do we do that? It's like we've been trained to jump at the sound of the incoming mail and respond immediately - channeling Pavlov's dogs and Classical Conditioning. Based on the information from last week's blog, we know that refocusing after an interruption takes MORE time than staying focused and finishing the task at hand. It's not just emails - it's texts, tweets, dings, dongs, insties, selfies - the list goes on.
What's a person to do? Utilize the Email Budget we talked about last week - and have it in writing, even on a post it note by your computer, to help you stick to it. Can't imagine only checking your email twice a day? Try for once an hour. Aim low, and achieve! You can tweak the plan as you go along and tailor it for success.
One final note. Please don't check your email first thing in the morning. Oh yes, we get a great feeling of accomplishment by whittling down that inbox that popped up overnight, while the rest of our paperwork and phone calls continue to pile up around us. Emails will wait - I promise. They can be very patient, lurking in files and folders for years.
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Tammy Schotzko is a Certified Professional Organizer who