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The Worth and Wellness Journal: A Review

There are so many new planners and journals available today, that it is hard to determine which one is right for you. There is the Purposeful Planner and the Passion Planner and the Erin Condren Planner. These are all great to get your life planned and organized. And I settled on one this year I love.

When I started looking at journals, I wasn’t even sure what I was looking for. I knew I wanted a guided journal. I knew I wanted a journal that lasted a certain number of days and was not too long. I also knew I wanted a journal that helped with my health and wellness. My health is something that was put on the back burner due to our insanely busy lives. I hate using the word busy, but there really was no time to make my health and wellness a priority until I left my 9-5 job.

I am a part of an amazing online group where people are dreaming and building and taking chances to be the best they can be. I was intrigued when I saw a post from my friend Amy Latta about her Worth and Wellness Journal.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and to use the journal!

I love that the journal is based on the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy model. “Circumstances are neutral, it is your thoughts about them that make them good or bad. These thoughts lead to feelings; feelings lead to actions; and actions give you your results, which often confirm your original thought.”

Circumstances > Thoughts > Feelings > Actions > Results = This is the heart of why we do what we do.

Sow a thought, eventually reap an action, which will either positively or negatively impact your circumstance.

Amy Latta _ Worth & Wellness Journal

The 30-day Worth & Wellness Journal is a workout plan, nutrition guide, self-care advisor, and therapist. It is designed to bring a greater level of self-awareness in various areas of your life and to help you discover why you self-sabotage your goals, in particular, your own weight loss goals. Health and fitness education will only get you so far. You need the tools to help you mentally choose, and sometimes fight, to become healthy and understand your worth.

This journal provides practical nutrition, fitness, and self-care tips for better wellness, and daily writing prompts to help you become more aware of the thoughts and feelings affecting your mindset.

As in all things, awareness is the key to any change. When you change your mindset you have the ability to change your body.

Each day focuses on two areas, your worth and your wellness. The Wellness Focus focuses on 3 sections: Nutrition, Fitness, and Self-Care. In the fitness portion, you are given 3-5 exercises to do that day. This journal provides practical steps to do immediately. The Worth Focus asks several questions to help you dig deeper to understanding why you do what you do. Each day has an area to brainstorm, sketch, or mind-map.

If you are looking for a simple tool with great impact, I want to encourage you to pick up your own copy of the Worth and Wellness Journal today. Click here to get your copy.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

3 Steps to a Smooth(er) Morning with Kids

Mornings at our house used to be chaotic. Some mornings still are.

You too?

Then you are in the right place.

My husband and I both work full time. Luckily, I have a great husband who helps out with everything around the house. Even though we both get things ready in the morning, there was a time it was extremely chaotic. It was ok when we just had one child. Then we had a second child and the chaos magnified. I’m not sure how adding one little person to the mix could do that, but it did.

In the mornings we would:

-Unintentionally be short with each other.

-Lash out at our 4 year old for not “moving fast enough.”

-Rush out the door with not a minute to spare.

Every morning was a nightmare. I would feel stress for at least the next half hour after leaving the house, even though that part of the day was done. Needless to say, it was not a good way to start the day.

One morning on the way to work, I was thinking about this dilemma. What made the mornings chaotic and how could we solve the problem? In short, everything which had to get done!

Mornings used to be chaotic. Then we implemented these 3 steps. Click To Tweet

3 Steps to a Smoother Morning (2)

Photo Credit: cuppycake fiend via Compfight cc

I talked to my husband about this later in the night, after the kids were in bed and we could think. We came up with three ideas to make our mornings easier.  Here are 3 steps you can take for a smoother morning with kids:

1. Prep everything you can the night before.

Think about what does not have to be accomplished in the morning.

Did you write those things down?

Those are the items you can prep the night before. The main excuse I get for this step is “I’m too tired.” I understand that. The last thing I want to do after the kids go to bed is prep for the next day. I would rather plop down and watch tv, write, or go to bed.

However, by spending 15 minutes prepping for the next day, I save myself from having a huge headache in the morning

Items I prep the night before:

-The kid’s lunches

-Our lunches

-Set out clothes

-If it is Sunday, I pack bags for preschool and the sitters for the week

Although prepping is not my favorite thing to do, it sure helps in the morning.

2. Make sure you are completely ready before the kids get up.

I like sleep. A lot.

When I went back to work after having our second daughter, I realized simply being up before the kids were up was not going to cut it. I was going to have to be completely ready before their little eyes opened up.

For me, this meant showered, make up on, hair done, dressed, coffee drank, and my daily reading.

Does my morning always turn out like this? Nope. Some days the girls decide they are going to get up 5 minutes after I do…at 5:30 am. Thankfully this is not the norm.

When I am completely ready, I can then focus on their needs once they are awake.

3. Have set “jobs” each morning.

The prep you have done the night before makes finalizing lunches and other items much less complicated. However, there are still numerous things that have to be taken care of in the morning.

Breakfast has to be made and lunches need to be finalized. The preschooler needs to be poked and prodded to get dressed, eat breakfast, get her hair done and brush her teeth. The baby needs to eat breakfast and *most* of the time we get her dressed before taking her to the sitters.

There is still a lot that has to be done to get the kids, and us, out the door on time. We figured out early on there are certain parts of our morning routine that we like over others. And thankfully we each like doing what the other would rather not.

The hubs loves to make breakfast, which means he takes care of all of the food in the morning, including finishing up lunches. I usually handle corralling the kids and getting them to the breakfast table and then finish up getting the preschooler ready.

This doesn’t mean this is the way it always is, but it allows us to each have something to own in the morning. This also means we don’t get in each other’s way or assume the other person is going to take care of that one thing neither of us want to do.

In Conclusion…

Ensuring mornings are a little less chaotic and a little smooth(er) with kids can be achieved. It takes some planning in the beginning, but once you find your groove, the process of each morning is much smoother. Are mornings still chaotic for us sometimes? Yes. When they are more chaotic than normal, odds are we skipped one of these steps.

What can you do to make your mornings smooth(er) with kids?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Permission to Let Go

I was at the end of my rope, emotionally, mentally and physically. I realized I couldn’t do it anymore.

How often do you push and push yourself, only to end up in an extremely unhealthy place? For those with dreams and plans, a lot of time and effort goes into accomplishing goals that are outside normal, everyday responsibilities. I seem to do that all too often. I have dreams, plans, and goals. I want to do and accomplish much in this life.

So I push.

And push.

And push.

Until I am at a breaking point.

When You Are At Your Breaking Point

Emotionally, one can only take so much. The car breaking down. The air conditioner breaking. Our daughter having surgery. My grandma passing away. Job interviews for jobs that meant a major family move. We have had one occurrence after another this summer. When I thought we were done with one situation, another presented itself.

Emotions play into our physical and mental well-being. When we are struggling emotionally, we struggle physically and mentally. The inverse of that is true as well. Physically, I was pushing myself to write a blog post a week, continue with coaching clients, and work as an adjunct professor. This was on top of my full time job, a husband, kids, and a house to manage.

Three weeks ago, I decided to give myself permission to let go.

Give yourself permission to let go of the

Granting Permission

The drive to do certain things comes from my “achiever” strength. I set goals for myself and I find fulfillment in achieving those goals. I create to-do lists so I can mark the items off of my list. I will even add something on to my to-do list after I have done it so I can cross it off (weird, right?). Yet I know this about myself which is extremely helpful.

Three weeks ago I decided to let everything go that wasn’t a top priority and to simplify my time. I had to go to work and I committed to adjunct; those couldn’t be put aside. What I could put aside was the pressure to write every night, to edit my book, to put that perfect graphic on the blog post, and to have my house spotless.

I had to give myself permission to have a messy house and to not give the baby a bath every night.

Give yourself permission to not do that one thing you feel you need to do. Click To Tweet

I gave myself permission to be a wife. I gave myself permission to be a mom, to play games with my big girl and giggle with my baby. I gave myself permission to just sit. I never just sit. Oh how this was so good for my soul. I also gave myself permission to be spontaneous and head out of town with my family for the day.

Give yourself permission to let go of the things that are not important. The things that take your time from what truly matters to you. When you know your priorities, you can begin to say no or put aside the items on the to-do list that do not matter.

The Right Action at the Right Time

I realized the amount of information I was consuming a day was not helpful either. Everyone is trying to sell something these days. 8 days to a more beautiful you. 6 steps to make $300k a year. How to double your Instagram followers. We are told by big names like Michael Hyatt that to be a success you have to do x, y, z.

The internet makes everything look so easy. The reality is, it takes hard work and networking to become successful. There is no magic formula. Being bombarded with these messages is not helpful nor healthy.

The internet makes everything look easy. The reality is, it's hard work. Click To Tweet

Limiting how much time I spent online and with the tv on took a burden off of me that I did not realize I was carrying.

In Conclusion…

Life can be extremely stressful. There are stresses that we can’t get rid of and unexpected situations that cause emotional turmoil. Playing with your kids, spending time with your family, these are the things that you can never get back. Once time is gone, it is gone. Give yourself permission to not do that one thing you feel you need to do. Cleaning the house or writing that blog? There will be time for that, but don’t let it consume you like it almost did to me.

What is something you can let go of?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How I Lost an Hour of My Life

When I looked up at the clock, I could not believe an hour had passed.

Not often do I get time alone to do whatever I want. However, when I do, I usually utilize the time to be productive or participate in some self-care. I have a to-do list a mile long. This list includes things that have to be done and things I want to do. Some of these items on my list are important yet extremely not urgent that I don’t often have time to do them.

I was excited to have some time to myself.

How I Lost an Hour of My Life

Then It Happened

I had plenty of time on Monday night as the kids were in bed and my husband went out with a friend. I had two small items to accomplish and my third item was to read a book that I have wanted to read for a long time, yet continued to put off.

I really thought this time was going to be awesome. No kids climbing on me or asking me for anything. No husband climbing on me and asking me for things. Just me!

After the two items were completed, I sat down to quickly check social media.

First I checked out Instagram, looking at the great quotes and cute pictures of my friends kids.

I then went on to Twitter and even scheduled some tweets for later in the week.

Then I landed on Facebook. I am a part of a few online communities so I made sure to check out the posts in those groups along with my normal news feed. I commented and got caught up. Before I knew it, an hour had passed.  I had unintentionally lost an hour of my life.

For someone who prides them self on being a good with time I sure screwed that one up.

iphone social media

The Reality

Then I started thinking about how often I am on social media and how much time it consumes. I find that if I am bored or simply need a mind numbing break I grab my phone. In all honesty, I know that I have been on my phone too much if my thumb is hurting at the end of the day.

In a report from 2009 published in the New York Times, the average American consumes 34 gigabytes of content and 100,000 words of information in a single day. If the amount of bytes consumed has increased six percent each year, which means today the average American consumes 48 gigabytes of content in a day. This will continue to increase with the use of technology and social media use increases with Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, and Periscope.

What does this mean? It means I am consuming a lot of mind numbing information each day. Everyone has a message or is trying to sell something. That is great, and the “world” needs to hear your message. But not every single person needs to hear your message. I don’t need to hear everyone’s message. At times I think I do, but the reality is that taking in all of that information is all consuming, and not in a good way.

Everyone has a message to share, but not every message is for you. Click To Tweet

The Plan

To try to combat the time suck that social media can be, I am going to put limits on when I can be on social media. I know this will be hard as my go-to when there is down time or when I am bored is to grab my phone to see what everyone else is doing.

This is my very loose, and modifiable, plan.

-If I am at home with my family, I plan on not being on social media from 6:00-8:00 pm on weeknights.

-I am going to limit when I am on social media during the day.

-On Sunday and Wednesday nights I will plan social media posts (automation so I don’t lose more track of time).

-I am going to limit when I am social media, and my phone in general, on the weekends.

In Conclusion…

I do not have this figured out in any way, shape or form. I know I need to work on it so that is where I start. A greater level of self-awareness and a plan to move forward. The online world should never be a replacement for real life that is going on in front of you. Hopefully, next time I have some time alone, I won’t be wondering how I lost an hour of my life to social media.

Do you find yourself “wasting” time on social media? Share below how you combat social media as a time sucker!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Avoid Fire Drills: 3 Steps to Plan the Urgent and Important into Your Life

Have you ever had a situation at work where you have to drop everything you are doing due to the urgency of the item at hand?

How about at home?

Do you feel like you are constantly taking care of the crises that arise on a daily basis?

I know there have been many times that the urgent items in my day overtake the important and it feels like I am constantly scrambling.

Take Sunday night for example.

The urgent items of getting everything ready for my child to start pre-k overtook the items that I deemed important. I had planned on writing that evening. Instead, I prepped lunches for the week and filled out registration paperwork for 45 minutes. In retrospect this was important for me to do, but it became urgent when I didn’t plan out my time appropriately.  This was both important and urgent for me to complete.

Often we confuse what is important and what is urgent.

Urgent items require immediate attention. They have to be accomplished or taken care of within a certain timeframe.

Important items help you move towards accomplishing your goals and vision. When you schedule the important it creates a level of intentionality in your day and week.

Schedule the Important and Urgent. This isn't an exact science, but an art. It will help you… Click To Tweet

Decision Matrix

President Eisenhower developed a decision matrix that was made popular by Steven Covey. It helps one distinguish the difference between what is urgent and what is important. There are four quadrants as listed below:

Important and Urgent: These items can be foreseen or unforeseen, as stated above. I had an important and urgent task to complete. In hindsight, it was so important that I should have scheduled it into this category to begin with.

These tasks can be deadline driven, crises, or problems.

Important and Non-urgent: These items help you further your goals and mission.

These tasks could include personal and professional development as well as recreation.

Non-important and Urgent: This area is what I like to refer to as the “fire drill” zone. It is a phone call or email that has to be taken care of immediately. If you do not have scheduled time to focus on the other areas, everything can begin to be lumped into the non-important and urgent.

These tasks include meetings, activities, and any interruptions.

Non-important and Non-urgent: The items that fall into this category are normally time wasters. It is ok to relax, watch tv, or play on your computer, but you can still be intentional about the time you spend doing such things.

These tasks include time wasters, trivial matters, and busy work.

How does this play out in real life? There are three ways you can approach this; your work life, your home life, or your whole life. The good news is, whichever approach you take, you can utilize these 3 steps to plan the urgent and important into your life.

Urgent and Important

1. Think Through Your Life in light of the Matrix

Think through your life. If you want to focus only on work, think through a typical day and week. If you want to focus on hours outside of work, think about your home life. I would suggest you think through this exercise in a whole life approach, especially if there are people and goals that are important for you to accomplish.

2. Place Items in the Appropriate Boxes

Now that you have thought through your specific areas, write them down in the corresponding quadrant.

The items that fall into the first quadrant, important and urgent, do those.

The items that fall into the second quadrant, important and non-urgent, plan to do those.

The items that fall into the third quadrant, not important and urgent, delegate those tasks (if possible).

The items that fall into the fourth quadrant, not important and not urgent, drop those tasks.

 

Urgent Non-Urgent
Important

DO IT

PLAN IT

Not-Important

DELEGATE IT

DROP IT

 

3. Schedule It

This is the most important step. Pull out your calendar and place the items on your calendar that fall into quadrant one and two. Those are the items that have to get done. You really want to schedule time for the important and non-urgent, as those are the items that are important but often are overlooked because of the urgent items that come up.

In Conclusion…

Life can seem like a giant fire drill. Knowing where your different responsibilities and priorities lands in regards to important vs urgent can help you plan out your day and week. It all starts with an understanding of the decision matrix, thinking through your life, and then planning according to the important and urgent, also known as your priorities. This isn’t an exact science, but an art. It will help you move in the right direction.

Have you ever completed this exercise? If not, what is stopping you? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

3 Areas to Prepare Beforehand to Make the Most of Your Vacation

Vacation.

It is now the middle of summer and you most likely have either gone on a vacation or are planning on going on your summer vacation soon. The excitement of getting away from it all can often be overshadowed by all that has to be accomplished before you leave.

There are different types of vacations that we take. It’s different when it’s just you going somewhere and when it’s you and your kids and your entire family. When I go on vacation with my husband, we stay up late and sleep in and lay out on lounge chairs with a drink in hand. Vacationing with kids is the same as being at home except they are more tired because they miss naps. And they get up at 5:45 am instead of their usual 6:30 wake up time. Although it can be exhausting, it is also a lot of fun.

3 Areas to Prepare to make the most of vacation (2)

I love to vacation. We have been in a stressful season of our family life, with one thing happening after another. Luckily, I have a great partner in this life who is my rock and together we navigate as obstacles arise. I couldn’t be more thankful for him.

To vacation means to vacate your life. Unless you are able to take a long vacation, often this isn’t possible. You still think about your job or something at home or if people are going to come look at the house you are selling. At the same time, you so desperately need a break from your life.

How can you ensure you have the best vacation possible? Make the most of your vacation. Here are 3 areas to prepare beforehand to make the most of your vacation.

1. Work

Before you leave work for your vacation, try to wrap up as many loose ends as possible. Make the phone calls you have been putting off and return emails. Tell your boss where you are at with different projects. Hand off any assignments to co-workers who might be overseeing your projects while you are gone. Write down any pending items you need to take care of when you return. You won’t worry as much if you know it’s being taken care of or if you have a plan to take care of it when you return.

2. Home

The best thing we do in preparing for vacation is hiring a house sitter. It is usually our neighbors son (who happens to be an old co-worker) who watches our house and dogs. The first time he watched the house and dogs I kept asking my husband to check in with him to make sure everything was ok. Now that he has done it so many times I don’t have to worry about it. I know it is being taken care of by a reliable college student. Having a house sitter lined up ensures items at home are being tended to.

3. Plan

Know what there is to do.

If you are going on a vacation to a location you go often, then you know what there is to do. If it’s a new town or a different part of town that you are staying, do some research beforehand to see how you can spend your time. If you happen to know someone who lives in the town you are visiting you might be able to get some insider information from a local on things to do and places to go. With kids, we do a day of planned activity (like the zoo or theme park) and then a low key day (like the beach) so we can ensure they get a nap in their beds. This helps for all of our sanity.

And While You are on Vacation

Be all there.

It can be easy to focus on the things back home or get sucked into social media. You will only have that one vacation at this age in your life with your family. My girls will only be this exact age once. Focus on the time you have to spend with them. Give each other grace while living in close quarters while also lacking sleep. If it’s just you and your spouse, I’m sure you are getting plenty of rest without the kids. Make lasting memories with your family. The hustle and bustle of life and responsibility will return soon enough. Embrace the time together.

Responsibility will return soon enough. Embrace the time together. Click To Tweet

In conclusion…

Vacations can be stressful. I’m in the thick of an awesome vacation with my husband, kids, my parents, sister, bro-in-law, and niece. There are 9 people living together in extremely close quarters. Since vacations can be stressful, get rid of as much stress as possible before you leave home and embrace all that your vacation has to offer.

How do you prepare when going on vacation? Let me know what I missed!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Why You Need to Be Intentional

Do you ever think an event or time that is 5 years away is going to take forever to get here and then all of a sudden that time has arrived?  It’s been five years in a flash? It is something you have anticipated doing. You set goals. You made a plan. Yet in the planning stages it felt like it was going to take forever to get there.

Then one day you look up and time has gone by in an instant. In almost a blink of an eye, the time has passed by.

And you didn’t even realize it.

Where did the time go?

We live at the very edge of development in our town. About four years ago they ripped out the mature trees in the orchard. We thought they were going to be putting in a commercial center. Instead they replanted the trees. I remember thinking how small they were. I remember thinking how it will take them a long time to grow.

This morning when I went to exercise, I walked by those trees. The trees that I drive by every day all of a sudden were mature, full trees.

Where did the time go?

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I want to make sure we live the story we want.  To live out a purposeful life and invest in those around us.

I want to make sure we live the story we want. Click To Tweet

That doesn’t mean that you quit your job, give up the security of a paycheck to do what you love or spend time with your kids without being responsible. I think that you can find purpose where you are. That doesn’t mean you have to stay in that place forever, but it does mean to look for the silver lining where you have been placed. You can make an impact right where you are at.

Be intentional about the story you live.

When did that happen?

Looking at those trees automatically made me think of my kids. See, right now they are small, but I have a fear that all of a sudden I’m going wake up one day and they are going to be teenagers. And I’m going to ask myself “when did that happen?”

With the end of the school year, people are posting pictures of their kids growing up. I saw pictures of kids that finished junior high or high school. Some were even pictures of kids graduating from kindergarten. And each person said “where did the time go?”

It is not as if each of these people had the thought “I am going to sit back and let time fly by.” I know many of these families personally and they live abundant lives. Yet in the busyness of life, even when they see their kids daily, time still seems to fly by.

What if I get so busy in the midst of life that I forget to look up? Did I forget to engage in a way that I should be engaging with my kids and my husband? Am I investing in what matters?

I’m really big on keeping my priority straight, but even then I feel like I fail miserably. I have my list of what’s important in my life and of course my relationship with God, my husband, and my kids are at the very top of the list.

I say that, yet I’m not sure of my life reflects that. Now it says in the Bible where your treasure (money) is there your heart is also. For me, it is where my calendar appointments are is where my heart is too. As I use my calendar for everything, and I need to be more intentional about investing in the things that truly matter.

Ways to be Intentional

We all have various areas of our life that we place a higher priority on. Here are 3 areas in which you could choose to be more intentional.

  1. Personal Development

Having a high level of self-awareness allows for you to see your flaws, recognize your strengths, and evaluate the areas in which you want to improve in yourself. This could be learning to be better with your finances, deciding to get healthy by exercising and changing your eating habits, or deciding to read a book a month, to name a few.  Be intentional about your personal development.

  1. Professional Development

You are most likely not the expert in your field or even at your office. Knowing where you want your career to end up allows for you to be intentional about professional development. Read articles and books on your career. Get hands on experience. One of the best ways I have developed professionally is by jumping in and offering to help with various projects. My knowledge has expanded as well as my experience. Be intentional about your professional development.

  1. Family/Relationships

The way you interacted with and loved others is how you will be remembered in this life. Your family, your spouse and kids, should be the most important people on this planet. You may have friends that are like family.  Be intentional in the time you spend with them. Plan date nights. Plan dates with your kids. Plan lunches and coffee with friends. Be intentional about the time you spend with your family and friends.

In Conclusion…

I hate the phrase YOLO. Usually that term is connected with temporary things, events. The reality is, you do only live once. This is why you need to be intentional. You need to be intentional about the story you live.

Looking at the orchard today was the best reminder I could have had about how I want to live this life.

What area of your life are you afraid time is going to fly by? What story do you want to live out? Would love to hear your thoughts.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Redefining Success

I’ve been struggling lately with the definition of success. My definition of success. I wonder if it’s time I start redefining success.

We are told that the definition of success is graduating from college and establishing a great career. I graduated from college, started what I thought was going to be a career, have made several detours, earned my Masters in Organizational Leadership, and am currently working a job that has nothing to do with my degree or strengths.

I am now in a place where I think I should have a career established. Instead, I have a job.

Doesn’t everyone have it all together and figured out by the time they are 30?

I have my Masters degree.

I have had multiple jobs.

But no set career path.

Definition of Success

Success is defined as the accomplishment of an aim or purpose; achieving a goal you set. From the time I could remember, my goal was to work for a corporation in business and become an executive.

I was indoctrinated with the idea that I needed the high salary, big title, and large house. Besides, that is what is emulated in the world.  I know that I have bought into that. Being an achiever has allowed me buy into it. And my head believes this definition of success.

The other day, in an online community I am a part of, one of the participants was bummed due to the fact that a product he was wanting to launch was launched by another company/individual. He was reminded by several of us that due to who he is, he will connect with a different audience than this other company. He has his own worldview, personality, and experience that will connect to a specific audience.

If you are an entrepreneur, we are told that to be a “real” business you must have a Facebook page and twitter handle and now periscope with thousands upon thousands of likes. The reality is that is not true. One can be successful with a couple hundred likes or followers if they have connected with the right audience.

Redefining Success

What if we changed the conversation around the word success?

What if we redefined success as the legacy we leave behind?

Redefining Success

This new definition of success does not have to do with the big title. Or amazing office. Or the great perks associated with a corporate job. The items that no longer matter once you are not around.

What if the new definition of success included the impact that you made on the lives of those around you that spanned for generations? When we live out our purpose in this life, we will be successful. We need to learn that when we invest time and resources into what matters, into what is eternal, we have become successful.

My new definition of success is whether I am living out my purpose or not where I have been placed. When I live out my purpose in this life there is great joy and fulfillment.

As For Me

I can make a difference where I am, even without the large office and big title. I can influence those around me by engaging in positive conversation that moves the organization forward. I can challenge the status quo to make the organization run smoother.

Where my definition of success has changed the most is how I am investing in my family and kids. I know I need to be available for doctor appointments and conversations at the end of the day. My definition of success is investing in the time my three year old needs of me, including the thirty questions that somehow made it to right before bed time. This means I put aside the things that do not matter, the things that the world says matters, and live a life that allows me to be fulfilled in my new definition of success.

In Conclusion…

I still struggle with which definition of success I want to follow. The definition that says I need to look important to the world and the definition that says the greatest job I will ever have is raising my little ones. This is another step in the balancing act of life. One thing I know for sure, is I want my kids to know without a shadow of a doubt that they come first.

How do you define success in your everyday life? Do you think you can have it both ways?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

Keeping the “Nine to Five” from 9-5: How Technology Creates a Work-Life Balance Struggle

With the use of technology today, we can work anywhere, anytime. This provides more flexibility in how our jobs are accomplished, and when they are accomplished. This can be a great asset.

iPhone

Photo Credit: Janitors via Compfight cc

Without the appropriate boundaries, we can see technology slowly hurting our families. There was a study done two years ago by Accenture stating technology allows employees to be flexible with their schedule and that flexibility is extremely important to their work-life balance. However, 70% say that technology has allowed for work to be brought into their personal lives. That is a large percentage of individuals who believe technology creates work-life balance struggle.

Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined.

Technology blurs the workday boundaries that used to be clearly defined. Click To Tweet

Several years ago, I was promoted at work and was given another person’s job on top of my current job. This led to extremely long work hours and taking work home with me. I was near burn out when I realized I did not have boundaries in place that helped me to thrive at work and at home. I checked my email at night, took my computer home with me every night, stayed late at the office, and even checked my email, while on vacation, in Hawaii (seriously, what was I thinking?!).

I read a book that described me; Mad Church Disease: Avoiding the Burnout Epidemic.

And it freaked me out.

I realized if I continued down the path I was on, I was going to burn out very quick.

I made a list of what I could do to create balance in my life realizing technology was here to stay. I realized that a big issue was having the technology at my fingertips. I also needed to be realistic about the use of technology when I had a heavy workload.

Here are 4 actions I took to leave behind the work-life balance struggle in light of technology and to leave the “nine to five” from 9-5 in light of technology:

  1. Turn off your email

If you have your smart phone connected to your work email, turn off your work email daily. As I drove home from work every day, I turned off my work email on my iPhone. It was as easy as going into settings, mail/contacts/calendar, selecting my work email and sliding the green button over. This way, I didn’t have the urge to check my email all evening. I didn’t have the constant dings letting me know a new message had arrived.

  1. Leave your computer at work

Don’t bring your lap top home. Seems easy, right? I struggled with this one, especially the first few weeks. I fought the urge to bring it home. I thought to myself “I will only finish that one ______ if I take my computer home”.  Leaving your computer at work ensures that you will not do work that you can only access from your computer.

  1. Review Your Upcoming Week

Looking at the calendar at the beginning of the week will help you gauge what to expect in the week ahead. Do you have meetings in the evening? A big work project that will take extra time? Knowing in advance can help you plan out your week.

On Sundays, my husband and I discuss our upcoming week. We talk about both work and family obligations to make sure we are on the same page. This allows us to discuss any work obligations that do not fit into our normal routine that would cause one of us to work late or have to bring unwanted technology time into our home.

  1. Don’t carry your phone everywhere

Your cell phone may be the only phone you have at home. You may not have a land line. We have not had a land line for 6 years. This does not mean you have to have your phone on your hip every second of the day. Set your phone down, turn the ringer up, and be free from technology for the evening.

Only 15 years ago the majority of the world did not have cell phones. When you called someone’s house and they were not home, you left them a message. Many did not have answering machines 20 years ago. Delayed gratification was still in place. And everyone survived.

You do not have to be available 24 hours a day.

In Conclusion…

This is how I was able to ensure that technology didn’t take over my life 24/7. I made sure I was fully present at work during work hours and fully present at home when not at work. This made all the difference in the world for me and my family. These are boundaries that are still implemented years later.

Does technology impact your work-life balance? I would love to discuss below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

How to Get the Most Out of the Time you Have: 5 Steps to Maximize your Time

Time.

We all have the same amount of time in a day: 24 hours, 1,440 minutes, 86,400 seconds. Yet, some people seem to be accomplish way more than the rest of us.

Time
frankieleon via Compfight cc

What is the reason some people are able to accomplish more in a day? It’s simple.

Time management.

And a little organization.

Time Management

Time management is defined as the ability to plan and control how you spend the hours in your day to effectively accomplish your goals.

As I too only have a certain amount of time in my day, I make sure to utilize every minute. From the time I wake up until I go to sleep, I have my time intentionally scheduled. Not every scheduled minute is what some may call “productive time.” I make sure to schedule times of rest and spending intentional time with my family. I make sure to plan out the things that are important, and non-urgent, into my day.

At work, I utilize my break and lunch time to maximize my time. I walk on my morning break, write during lunch, and read during my afternoon break.  The evenings are for family and once the kids go to bed, I set aside time to read, write or spend time with my husband.

I have many goals I would like to achieve in my life. We are never guaranteed a certain amount of time on this Earth. As the main character in the new Disney movie Tomorrowland says “With every second that ticks by, the future is running out.” Do you want to sit by and watch your future run out?

To make sure you do not sit on the sidelines watching others live the life they want, you must first look at how you are spending your time.

Here are 5 steps to maximize your time:

  1. Where do you spend your time?

Use this time blocking document to notate where you are spending your time. It is set up to be used in hour or half hour increments. This is a tool to help you, not to hinder you. If you forget to write something down, do not worry. Utilize this tool to the best of your ability. The more effort you put into the exercise, the better you can accurately determine where you spend your time.

  1.  Review the document

Look at your week.  Are there specific trends? Are there certain times of the day you check social media or watch tv?

  1. Decide what is a waste of time and what is important

What did you do in your week that you felt accomplished in doing and were proud of? What in your week can you not believe you spent time doing? Decide which activities you participated in are of importance and which are a waste of time.

  1. Think about your goals and priorities

Did the time you spent during the week help you move closer to your goals and keep your priorities in line? Often, I find myself zoning out with my phone in hand when I should be spending time with my kids. If I notice I am spending too much time on social media, I rethink how I want to spend my evenings and adjust accordingly.

Was there wasteful time (tv, social media, etc.) which you can turn into productive time? Everyone deserves to relax and veg out in front of the tv once in awhile. If this is your go-to every night, this might be getting in the way of you achieving your goals.

  1. Create a schedule

Create a schedule that includes tasks to be completed, people to be with, and the hobbies that are most important to you. This calendar is used as a guide. It includes the important and urgent, as well as the important and non-urgent. It is to help you maximize your time.

It is sad to say, but if I do not schedule family dates, the to-do list often gets in the way of being together as a family. As this is a priority, I put it on my schedule.

Scheduling ensures I have planned my time according to my priorities.

Scheduling ensures I have planned my time according to my priorities. Click To Tweet

In Conclusion…

Some may say by scheduling out my time I’m not leaving room for margin or spontaneity. There will always be certain things that trump my calendar. By scheduling out my day and week, I have a plan in place, and I get 85% of what I have scheduled accomplished.

And the other 15%?

Life happened.

Do you schedule out your time? If so, what do you normally put in your calendar?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)