Welcome to the Weekend

It’s Friday and I’m exhausted again. This keeps happening, and yet I keep not quite changing things. I move in cycles, going from super-intensity to depleted and back again, over and over. It’s tiring and unsustainable. I am unsustained! As I type this, it’s 5:23PM and all I want to do is make a cozy dinner and curl up in bed with a book. And I think that’s what I’m going to do!

It’s ironic, because I’m a big proponent of balance and quality of life. And in general, I do feel pretty balanced! I have lots of time for family, friends, work, and play. And I have a wonderful quality of life! Lots of lingering dinners and interesting events and inspiring conversations. So why am I so tired?

Part of it is the stress of running my own business. No matter which way you slice it, it takes a toll to be the only one responsible for your life. To be the only one who does chores or makes meals or makes money. I’m organized because I have to be! I don’t have a safety net to catch me. I have to be responsible with my money and clear on my priorities and make the most of my time.

The other part is not having strong enough personal habits. This is changing, slowly, but it takes time and effort. Organizing grocery shopping and planning when to clean my house does not come naturally to me the way that writing a blog post does. It’s slooowwwww-going to build better habits for myself.

All of that said: I’m not complaining, I’m observing. I want to figure out how to set myself up for success, not just in business but in my health and wellness too. I want to make my schedule beautiful & build in lots of buffer. I want to make time to putter, plan, dream and do. So wish me luck! I am welcoming the weekend by starting to block out time for myself. I hope you have a wonderful weekend too. xo.

A Normal Day

Today is the first day in a couple weeks that feels like a “normal” work day. It promises to be a simple day without any appointments, just lots of time for me to fill with the things I need to get done.

It felt so good to wake up this morning with “nowhere to be” (until at my computer for office hours at 12pm), with the whole day stretching out in front of me. I was able to sleep in a little to make up for how tired I’ve been feeling lately. I made time to make a cup of tea. And now I’m writing this without worrying what time it is or thinking about everything I need to do.

I am well aware of how ironic it is that this kind of day suddenly feels like a rarity for me. I work for myself and generally I work from home! You’d think that my schedule would constantly be wide open and full of freedom. Not so. That joke about people working for themselves having the worst boss in the world? It’s kind of true, but it doesn’t have to be.

Today, on this normal work day, I am putting a task on my to-do list entitled: “Plan out an ideal week & calendar block”. The thing is, if there’s space on the calendar, it will usually get filled. Before I know it, I’ll end up at the beginning of the week looking at my calendar and wondering how everything got there.

I know I can be more proactive about making sure that my time is structured to support me in how I work best, and how I can best serve my clients. I know I can block off space for my most productive work hours. I know I can build in time for me to have a lovely morning routine, and a lunch break, and to stop working at a reasonable time.

The trick is to get super intentional about it. Create the boundaries I need. Make space for what matters. Clear the path towards the schedule I want. Cut things out. So today, on this normal day, I plan to do that for the next couple months. Hopefully there will be many more normal days in my future.

Decision Arcs

I’m an underbuyer, which means I have a really hard time spending money on anything, including necessities like toilet paper. In general, I think this tendency serves me well, but sometimes it gets in the way of me spending money to solve a problem.

A couple months ago, my friend Sonja said something really interesting about a purchasing decision I was trying to make. I was hemming and hawing, going back and forth, worrying and thinking through every possible option. Eventually, she asked me: “Where in the arc of this decision are you?” and it suddenly became very clear. I immediately pictured a rainbow-shaped arc, and I was well past the hump and approaching the bottom on the other side. I had essentially made my decision already, but I just hadn’t quite finalized it. 

On the other hand, I could easily picture how other decisions (things I never bought!) were on the ascending part of the rainbow but couldn’t quite seem to get over the hump. There was enough of a financial barrier, or an emotional one, to keep me on this side of the arc.

She didn’t explain what this visual metaphor meant to her, but for me it’s now a staple in my decision-making process. Last night, I was hemming and hawing over whether or not to purchase the most expensive (but hopefully the highest quality) tights I’ve ever had. I kept going back and forth, but when I pictured the arc, I knew I was over the hump. I’d looked them up a bunch of times, I’d converted the USD into Canadian, I’d looked at the sizing guide to figure out what I needed. I had made the decision, I just needed to slide down the last bit of the rainbow on the other side. 

I like this visual, because it doesn’t help me trick myself so much as show me where I’m already at. All the other reasons and worries can creep in, but if I picture the arc, I know where things stand.

Scrappiness, Not Scarcity

This idea came to me in my mastermind meeting yesterday while we were thinking about how to shift one’s mindset out of a place of scarcity.

When we live in scarcity, we feel like we need to be all things to all people. We feel desperate, like we can’t turn anything down. We think that if we miss out on any opportunity that comes our way, we won’t have another chance. It’s now or never. It’s this or nothing. It is reactive, not proactive.

Abundance, of course, is the opposite. We know we can’t be all things to all people and we are okay with niching down so that only certain people will “get it”. We feel relaxed and calm. We’re leading from our values, which means we can turn down anything that doesn’t feel like a fit. We know that if we skip an opportunity, there will always be more where that came from. It’s more like now, or then, or later, whatever. It’s this or something better. It’s responsive, not reactive.

And then we have scrappiness, one of my own core values and something I admire so highly in other people. Scrappiness sits squarely between scarcity and abundance. Sometimes it’s hard to feel a sense of abundance, especially if we’re triggered, things are scary, or we’re at our edge. Abundance feels like too much to reach for, when we have legitimate concerns about putting food on the table or paying our bills.

So instead, we can reach for scrappiness. We can build a bridge from scarcity to abundance by being scrappy and determined. We can take full responsibility for getting ourselves from point A to point B without compromising what we believe in.

Scrappiness says: “I’ll do whatever it takes to achieve my goals, but on my own terms.” It acknowledges that temporary solutions and “bridge jobs” are sometimes necessary, but it never loses sight of the ultimate goal. When we’re scrappy, we take on things we don’t love – not because we feel like we have to, but because we want to get closer to our goals.

Scrappiness is the “third way”. Instead of making our choices from a place of fear, it lets us make them from a place of love. It’s a subtle shift, but it makes all the difference in the world.