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The Creative Meets the Practical

“Where did that idea go?!”

I have had that thought more than once. There is not much more frustrating than having an idea and then not remember that amazing idea a couple of minutes later. I seem to do this in many areas of my life, from an article idea, a new thought regarding a coaching client, down to walking into the other room to do something for one of my kids.

Being a creative type who is always thinking about new concepts on productivity, purposefulness, work-life balance, and leadership, I found I was not capturing the ideas that floated into my brain. Some of my best ideas come when I am doing mindless tasks and the others seem to come during very specific situations. I realized as with everything else in my life, I had to find a practical way to capture my creative ideas.

The Creative Meets the Practical

Being creative in and of itself is great. However, if you can’t capture those ideas to share with others, or even remember it yourself 5 minutes later, it does not good.

Today, I am over at Horkey Handbook sharing some practical steps for generating and capturing your ideas. Join me as we discuss How to Get Ideas for Freelance Writing.

Here’s to the Journey,

Stephanie_small (1)

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.

Your Past Does Not Define You, It Shapes You

Can ripping off a rear view mirror really make you never look back?

A news story came out a couple of days ago about Jimmy Butler, the Chicago Bulls basketball player. He said he literally pulled the rear view mirror off his car because he doesn’t want to look back. He stated, “It’s because I don’t ever want [the past] to define me.”

The concept is great in theory. Ripping your rear view mirror off of your car so you cannot look back does not work in reality. If anything, he just made himself a hazard to other drivers when he is on the road.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Every experience you have shapes you to be the person you are and the person you are becoming.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Click To Tweet

Every person has a worldview. A loose definition of a worldview is your framework or ideas about the world. It is one’s background, beliefs, experiences, values, and inherited characteristics combined together that makes your worldview.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming. Are you who you want to be-

Your past, your worldview, shapes you.

Jimmy Butler may not want to look back or remember his past, but it is a part of who he is. And that is a good thing.

Your past is a part of who you are. But it does not define who you are. If you had a rough past and you do as Jimmy Butler did, your past can shape you to become a better version of yourself. As Jimmy stated, he worked hard to get where he is here. His past shaped his actions which in turn has helped him get to the place he is in.

Your past shapes your behaviors and actions. If you don’t like who you were or who you are, then you can choose to rewrite your future. You can take steps and make goals to become the person you want to be.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming.

Are you becoming who you want to be?

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.

Self Talk the Gospel: Healing in the Most Unexpected Place

I normally write on intentional living, personal development, and leadership.

Today, I want to share something that is important and vulnerable for me.

When I left my ministry position at a large church in town, I left quietly, because that is what I thought I was to do. Only a handful of people really knew why I was leaving. I had not done anything wrong. In fact, I had followed all protocols and procedures which were in place. I decided I had to leave if I wanted to still follow Jesus.

The reality is that the church is full of people. People who make mistakes and sin. And often times, those in positions of authority mistreat staff. I decided that I was no longer willing to be treated in such a way and was no longer willing to work in a hostile, unhealthy environment.

When I left, I was broken.

I was hurt.

I was upset.

Instead of turning my back on my relationship with God, I pressed forward. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t easy, but it is so worth it.

I would be honored if you would read about my journey to forgiveness and healing at Self Talk the Gospel. And if it speaks to you, I would be honored if you would share the article. I wrote it not for myself, but to minister to others who have been in similar situations.

Healing in the Most Unexpected Place

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.

You Can’t Do It All: Live a Prioritized, Purposeful Life

I am excited to be sharing over at She Is Fierce HQ!

We often think we have to find the perfect balance in life. The reality is, you do not need to do it all. Instead, you need to figure out what is important to you and then create a life around those priorities. In this post, I discuss why you can’t and shouldn’t do it all.

Head on over to check out You Can’t Do It All: Live a Purposeful, Prioritized Life.

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.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking: 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

Multi-tasking. The ultimate skill stated at every job interview. Up until recently, it was believed that multi-tasking increased productivity. Studies now show multitasking wastes a significant amount of time.

The definition of multi-tasking: performing two or more tasks simultaneously

The idea is great in theory, but not in practice.

A great example, one that affects my kids, is when I’m trying to do something on my phone the same time my 4 year old is asking me for something. Usually the end result is me saying “what did you just ask?”

Multitasking does not allow for you to focus all of your attention at the task, or person, at hand. This is especially true if you are trying to listen to someone and simultaneously trying to write. Your brain does not have the ability to do comprehend both at the same time. You go back and forth between the two tasks at hand.

Overwhelmed. Drained. Disoriented.

These are words that can describe how you feel after you finish “multi-tasking.”

The good news is, we have the ability to move between multiple tasks and then come back to the task we were already doing. That is indeed impressive. Where we get it wrong is when we go back and forth between tasks without accomplishing any one particular task. It takes longer to complete each task when you go between tasks. When you focus on one task and then move to the next, it does not take as much time.

To be more efficient with your time, prioritize your tasks at hand.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking- 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks and Time

  1. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished.

Having a list will help you to see the entire picture. I have a running tab of to-do’s at work. When I look at that list, I can determine what is most important and focus on that one task at hand.

I sit down every morning, whether at work or at home, and create my to-do list. This helps me focus on what must get done.

  1. Decide what needs to be done first

Look at your list. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

Now that those items are off your list, you have a list before you that needs to be accomplished. Every item on your list has a level of importance. Re-order your list in regards to when it needs to be completed and order of importance.

  1. Get ‘er done

Go through your list one by one and

Get. It. Done.

Focus on one task at hand and accomplish it efficiently.

I’ve heard lately from many people that they dread making phone calls, for any reason. If that is you, put those calls first on your list so you can cross them off.

In Conclusion…

The idea and concept of multi-tasking is held on a pedestal as one of the best qualities to have, especially in an interview. When looking at how to manage your time, to be the most efficient, focusing on one task until it is complete is the most efficient.

Do you normally “multi-task”? If so, what does that normally look like for you? Share below!

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.

Why You Won’t Succeed

The world we live in is all about instant gratification.

You want the food warmed fast so you put it in the microwave. You are hungry so you stop at that drive through. You send the text, email, or leave a voice message and you expect to hear back from the person in a short amount of time. This becomes even truer if you see that they have read the text message or email.

All around you see people succeeding. You see the fruits of their labor, but you never see their labor. You see the success that they have and you want it. When it doesn’t happen in the amount of time you think it should take, you give up.

Everyone is looking for success but no one is willing to put in the effort to succeed. Click To Tweet

That is why you won’t succeed.

It isn’t that you are not talented, smart, or capable. You most likely know that there is this thing inside of you that you must achieve. The reality is that you are more than capable but when you fail once or hit a bump in the road, you will most likely give up. Failing is tough. Failing, not learning from your mistakes, and giving up may seem easier in the short term. The reality is, it will lead to further dissatisfaction.

“We must believe that we are gifted for

When you find yourself in a place of discouragement and pending failure, remember these three things:

1. Your Why

You started out on this project, business, or weight loss journey for a reason. You had a very specific reason why you were going to put forth the effort. Placing your “why” in visible place will help you stay focused on the goal that you have established.

I have my “why” placed in a couple of places, one in my house and one in my car. This is a daily reminder of where I want to be and why I want to accomplish it.

If your “why” is not compelling enough, then you will give up on your goal. Your “why” needs to be motivating enough to keep going when the going gets tough.

2. Success takes effort

Success takes great effort, and sacrifice.

As I said above, you see the success of others, especially now that we all consume so much information in a day through social media.

You think if you work out for a week you will drop twenty pounds. That you blog for a couple of months and you should have a large following. When you have that product developed it should “fly” off the shelf.

When you hear the stories behind the success, you will hear of the sacrifice of sleep. You will hear that the person got up at 5 am everyday and worked on their dream while everyone else slept. You will see the sacrifice of doing what was “fun” in the eyes of their family and friends, for a time. You will hear of the consistent sacrifices to achieve what they knew they were to achieve.

3. Personal Development

Success often depends on putting forth the resources and time for personal development in your specific area. If your goal is to lose weight, this could mean a financial cost and cost of time for a gym membership, or a workout program that you know can help you achieve the results you want. It may mean purchasing that course on how to become a freelance writer. It may mean reading up on all of the latest information on how to start a business or self-publish a book.

Make your personal development a priority.

In Conclusion…

Pursuing your dream and passion is noble and right. It is also extremely difficult and comes with ups and downs along the journey. When you know without a shadow of a doubt the thing you are to pursue, pursue it and don’t give up until you have become successful. As we have discussed before, success can look different to each person. Define what success means to you, establish your why, and don’t give up until you have reached success.

What is one of your big, audacious goals? Let me know below!

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.

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.