Aaaaaaannd….ACTION!

I know we talk about about rest a lot around here. All of that is true.

And sometimes it is true that we need to take action.

“The Gambler” Approach

You know the Kenny Rogers song, “You got to know when to hold ’em; Know when to fold ’em; Know when to walk away; Know when to run.”

When you know you know.

Take time to get quiet enough to hear that voice in your gut – forget your head. Listen to your gut. It might be telling you….

  • To make that doctor appointment.
  • Just go walk for 10 minutes, you can quit after that.
  • Drinking like this is not healthy.
  • Sign up for that class already.
  • Quit.
  • Start.

Dealing with Barriers

What is keeping you from getting up and taking action? Are they true or are they just what you are telling yourself? Here are common barriers I hear about.

  1. Time. While it is true that time is finite, I wonder there are ways to refigure how time is spent to help you free up small amounts. If you scroll social media while watching TV as a way to connect with your partner, could that time be repurposed for a 10 minute walk together? A couple I know grocery shops together as their date night. Reimagine how time is spent.
  2. Money. If you don’t have money to spend on a class, could you create a list of YouTube videos to learn the same thing? No money for a piano – perhaps a used keyboard is in the budget.
  3. Ego. OK, no one actually says this out loud, but it is there. “What if I suck at this?” News flash – you will because you will be a beginner. When I recently started knitting, my project was supposed to have 30 rows. When I went back after a week of working on my own, I had 46 rows. I suck at knitting right now, but am getting better with practice.

What if people laugh?

One thing I have learned over the years is that the people who I may hear teasing from are often the people who are afraid to try something themselves. Those are not your people. Your people are the ones that feel the fear and do it anyway.

Your Turn

What have you been on the verge of? What wish is itching to get out? What is keeping you from taking action? Identify a few ways to chip away at that barrier so you can take action this week.

By |2021-08-29T10:38:30-04:00August 31st, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Time Management – Weekdays vs. Weekends

While rest is a mandatory part of a SusPro life, a bit of structure around the weekend can make sure that the important things get done. Each of us will have a different idea of what those important things are. Likewise, we will all have a different tolerance for planning out a weekend. I also want to assure you moms that are in the thick of it that there are different seasons of life in your weekend planning also. You will not always be chained to the steering wheel for hours on end every weekend.

This week’s post will introduce you to time management principles to consider when creating a weekend plan and how weekend time management might differ from weekday time management. The intention is not to accomplish more, but to create a rhythm of life that you feel does not suck all of your energy. Its all about creating a life you don’t need to escape.

Let’s dive in.

Weekday Time Blocks

For a traditional work and school schedule, the weekdays (Monday through Friday) is where the action happens. Time management during these days tends to be more intense. There is more happening, involving more people, and deadlines are less flexible.

Most of our days are ruled by a digital calendar or paper day planner. Time blocks present themselves neatly around parts of your day. Here is how my schedule might break out:

Block 1 – before work: 5:30 am – 9:00 am

Block 2 – work day: 9:00 am – 6:00 pm

Block 3 – after work: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

During block 1 I usually exercise, do a few house chores, maybe run an errand, and generally on ramp my day. Bock 2 is completely ruled by my Outlook calendar. Here is what that looks like in an average week.

This is open to everyone in my company so I often juggle my schedule based on what has been added to my calendar since I logged on last (note: this does not juggle my PRIORITIES, just the time where I can get priorities done. This is a topic for another day). Block 3 is dinner, crafting, and any socializing I might do (which is rare during the week).

I am relatively inflexible during the week. Although I may have an opportunity to do a quick bike ride during work hours if I skipped exercise that morning, it is not a sure thing that I can count on since work hours are dedicated to the office.

Weekends are a different story.

Weekend Time Blocks – What

My goal for most weekends is to recharge and restore. I cannot stress enough the reality that “recharge and restore” means something different to each person. The first thing is to determine what recharge and restore means to you.

  • Is it knocking out a chore or errand? Or designating an hour for each. Sometimes crossing things off my to do list early paves the way to relaxation. I know recharging is the right thing to do – as a recovering perfectionist, sometimes I need a little trickery.
  • Is it physical activity? Workdays often leave little time for exercise. The weekend can be an ideal time to make your physical fitness a priority.
  • Is it hobbies? Singing or dancing lessons. Time at the painting easel. Writing, reading, drive in the country. All of these activities can be the “big rocks” that you build your restoration time around.

Once you decide what you want to spend your time doing, let’s decide how to time block the days so you can accomplish what you intended.

Weekend Time Blocks – How

One of my favorite ways to organize the weekend is from Julie Morgenstern – breaking the weekend into 7 blocks.

Here is what this might look like in a weekend filled with SusPro activities):

  • Fri evening – dinner out (Nutrition / Health & Fitness), family movie night (Media / Environmental Surroundings)
  • Sat morning – long run (Exercise / Health & Fitness), meal planning / grocery trip (Nutrition / Health & Fitness)
  • Sat afternoon – nap (Sleep / Health & Fitness), house cleaning (Physical Surroundings / Environmental Surroundings), and yard work (Hobbies / Mental Well-being)
  • Sat evening – date night (Relationships / Mental Well-being)
  • Sun morning – singing in choir (Hobbies / Mental Well-being), phone calls to family
  • (Relationships / Mental Well-being)
  • Sun afternoon – meal prep (Nutrition / Health & Fitness), hike (Exercise / Health & Fitness and Rest / Environmental Surroundings)
  • Sun evening – planning for the coming week (Time Management / Mental Well-being)

Your Turn

Time to plan your weekend! First figure out what your true priorities are. Then block your weekend into 7 parts and strategize how to fit your priorities into each segment. Tell me how it goes!

By |2021-08-23T19:41:04-04:00August 24th, 2021|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Is Sleep Self-Care?

Wow – so many of you reached out to me after last week’s post about deep feelings around Simone Biles. Thank you so much. I am slowly working on peeling the layers of the onion when it comes to writing about vulnerable topics, especially when they might be controversial.

Today’s peeling is less controversial, but still on the personal side.

I am 47 years old and only recently started staying up until 9:00 pm.

Source: Photo by Lux Graves on Unsplash

Sleep is a foundational component for me to live a life I don’t need to escape. I wonder if it might be for you too. We have talked in previous posts about the changes to your body when you are sleep deprived. In the past I have given you tips to making adjustments to your SusPro components to improve sleep.

Have you done it yet?

Why Not?

What is keeping you from getting the sleep you need? Be honest.

Is it the expectation that fun only happens after midnight?

Mindless numbing out to TV shows is more appealing than boring going to bed early?

Do you tell yourself post kids’ bedtime routine is the only grown up time or alone time you have?

Now I want to suggest you throw these reasons up against this framework to see if they stick. Byron Katie has a set of 4 questions that can help us truly inquire into our motives, thoughts and feelings.

  1. Is it true?
  2. Can you absolutely know this is true?
  3. How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought?
  4. Who would you be without that thought?

Let’s look at an example related to sleep. If you ask yourself what is keeping you from getting the sleep you need, you may come back with an answer along these lines: After the kids go to bed is the only time I have for myself.

Is it true? Is it really true that this is the only “free time” you have? Have you tried moving things around your weekend schedule to make time to be alone? If you look at your workday are there pockets of time that could be dedicated to what you want to do?

Can you absolutely know this is true? Have you tried to do a time study to see where your time goes? It may feel like you don’t have any time for yourself, but once you see it objectively in a time tracker, you may find out this is not actually true.

How do you react, what happens, when you believe that thought? What if it is true that this is the only free time you have for yourself? Notice what happens in your body when you realize that you spend 18 hours every day serving everyone else and leaving only crumbs for yourself? Do you feel sad? Anxious?

Who would you be without that thought? Katie coaches us to, “Take a moment to reflect, observe, and experience the situation again, this time without the thought. Who or what you would be without the thought?” In this example, what would you be if you were not a person who only had time for self-care by cutting into sleep/recovery time?

Why Not!

Let’s step away from the buzzword use of self-care for a second. Being rested is simply the right thing to do for your mental and physical health. You don’t have to frame it in a certain way to get what you need. I love what Marc Randolph had to say about this in his book about his founding of Netflix, That Will Never Work.

“But when I needed a morning off, to mountain bike and clear my head, I took it. Nowadays they call that ‘self-care.’ Back then, we just called it common sense. If we were going to try to fundamentally change an entire industry, we needed to have our wits about us,” Marc Randolph, Netflix founder.

What do you have to lose by at least trying to get more sleep? I am not saying you have have an 8 year old’s bed time like I do, but you will be surprised what 30-90 more minutes of sleep can do. Even lying in bed reading, doing deep breathing exercises, or meditating can help. Perhaps increasing your rest leading up to sleep can be a gateway of sorts to improving your sleep habits.

“Nowadays they call that ‘self-care.’ Back then, we just called it common sense.” Mark Randolph, Netflix Founder

Your Turn

What is one small adjustment you can make to improve your sleep habits? Maybe you want to consider why you stay up late even though you drag through half the morning. It might be starting to track your time to consider why you think you don’t have more time for yourself. Maybe adjustments to your environmental surroundings to give yourself a better chance at a good night’s sleep is the right next step.

Whatever it might be for you, let me know how it goes and what it brings up for you!

By |2021-08-16T20:05:11-04:00August 17th, 2021|Health & Fitness|0 Comments

I have Big Feelings about Simone Biles

I have put up a new post every week 73 times in a row.

Until last week.

See, I chickened out. I had been drafting a piece in my head, but could not get it down on paper screen. I procrastinated until it was 10 minutes before posting time on posting day and I chickened out.

Even as I sit here 5 days later I am procrastinating with these vague intro paragraphs while I take deep breaths to really be honest here…

https://media.giphy.com/media/3o6vXJZlfNfAYysryo/giphy.gif

I have big feelings about Simone Biles and the twisties.

Initial Reaction

When I first read the headline, I was disappointed in her. You train for FIVE YEARS, truly are one of the greatest athletes ever, and can’t pull out of your tail spin to compete for your teammates?

This is less about patriotism and more about TEAM.

I was raised in team sports, and it was drilled into my head that team was EVERYTHING. The people you “were in the trenches” with. Those you literally shed blood, sweat, and tears with. Cue all the training montages.

In college I had a season where I was pressing too hard and making blunders all over the court. Today I would absolutely say it was neither productive nor sustainable. I was pulled from the starting lineup and had a miraculous recovery of mind. It was nothing physical – all mental.

I talked to my coach about continuing to come off the bench. It worked wonders for my game, and I got more confidence over the next several weeks. Then I ended up back in the starting lineup. I asked to come off the bench instead and was summarily told that what I thought didn’t matter, to go play – this is what was best for the team. I never did play as well as I did off the bench and my confidence went back into the dumper.

This is just one of the NUMEROUS times I was told that what I thought and felt did not matter, I needed to shove it down and perform for the greater good. It was often suggested (although on occasions like this stated directly) that my mental and physical individual well-being did not matter if it was a detriment – or even just inconvenienced – the others around me.

My mental and physical individual well-being did not matter if it was a detriment or even just inconvenienced the others around me.

As athletes we are to perform, not think. To achieve, not feel. If I could do that as a mid-major collegian, shouldn’t Simone Biles have to do that as an Olympian? This just did not sit right with me. I did not know enough about rules of Olympic gymnastics to know if she could have pulled out sooner and given a teammate a chance to compete. I just had a bitter feeling about all of it.

And yet.

Second Thoughts

Then came the abuse Biles received in the media. She is not a true American because she would not compete? Then of course comes the racist, sexist hate speech. All of that is totally out of line no matter what. Additionally, it was completely out of proportion to the “infraction” of not competing in a sport.

I had bitter feelings about this too. All of these strangers out there completely disconnected from Biles and her sport were making these sweeping, drastic judgements and dragging this young woman’s name and character over the coals. It was painful to me and they weren’t even talking about me.

But it felt like they were.

It felt like they were talking about me. Simone Biles had the courage to do what I was never able to do. She stood up for her own mental and physical safety even when it was not popular. Even when it probably went against every natural fiber of what has been drilled into her brain for the last 3 Olympiads – or longer. Even when there is no path of how to navigate, no lesson plan to follow.

She just knew that competing with the mental state she was in was not productive. Literally – she could not produce the skills she normally could. Calling it “the twisties” sure makes it seem trivial and silly – we need a name that truly reflects its  seriousness. Continuing to try to “push through” was not sustainable, potentially literally unsustainable. The stories of gymnasts critically injured by pushing through are horrifying.

Because it really is just a sport. Sport is not life – no matter what we are told or what Dani Rojas declares in “Ted Lasso.” In all of my years as an athlete, I only had 1 coach tell me that my performance was separate from worth. Coach Ken Witt, my high school track coach, told me once in a midst of a total meltdown, “Your worth as a person is not dependent on how far you throw a lead ball.”

What If

Which leads me back to my original bitterness about Biles pulling out of competition. What if I would have listened more to Coach Witt and less to other coaches who told me to suck it up and get out there, to not let the team down. What if I had admitted more about mental and physical struggles I was having to trainers who were there to advocate for me and other athletes.

I think this is why I had my original negative response to Simone Biles – she stood up for herself when I didn’t. Although I am not sure what the emotion is, I know that I had a visceral feeling of, “I pushed through so why can’t you?”

But here I am today trying to undo those feelings because shoving it all down and pushing through is neither productive nor sustainable. This avoiding and pretending and putting your worth into things outside of you is what causes the need to numb out in life.

Admitting you are human and have feelings and limitations is how you can define your worth as a person.

Being proud of how you respond and not how you perform is how you can define your worth as a person.

I hope that Simone Biles will be more proud of the example she has set for others by stepping off the competition floor than what she ever could have on the medal podium.

By |2021-08-08T10:13:33-04:00August 10th, 2021|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments

Quit Again!

This week I am going back in the archives to bring you one of the posts I get the most comments on – QUITTING. If you were around for the “original airing” of this post, I would love to hear if your stance on quitting has changed in the last couple years. If this is new for you – let’s hear your words about quitting.

 


 

I often have people talk to me about abandoning books. I have no shame in my DNF (Did Not Finish) game. I am not afraid to abandon a book and encourage you to look at why you would not stop doing something that was not lighting you up. Life is too short to read books that do not put wind in your sails just as life is too short to stay friends with energy vampires and life is too short to wear jeans that are too tight.

Quit Abandoned Books

It is not that it is a bad book. Despite what James Joyce said, I do not believe there are bad books. I can appreciate how hard an author works on a book and to call it bad just seems like a big kick in the pants. I hope anyone reading what I write will give me grace when something I write doesn’t land with them.

It is hard to abandon books that critics and the public RAVE about. Sometimes I think it is the chapter of life I am in vs. where the author was when he was writing. More often I just decide I am different than everyone else and move onto the next book in the stack.

Let’s talk numbers though. I do believe in skipping the rating if I have not finished a book. I would not want to bring down the average rating for an author if I have not finished a book. I have a specific shelf in Goodreads for DNF books so that I can make sure they do not count in my annual book statistics.

Tell me all your thoughts and opinions about DNFing!

By |2021-08-03T07:58:36-04:00August 3rd, 2021|Habit Change|0 Comments

Go to Top