Maybe it isn’t so much what I’ve learned about myself, but more that I’ve had some realizations on what works, and what doesn’t work.
My business has been very successful and growing and I’m super happy. I love what I do because not only do I get to use my creativity skills, my number crunching and logical thinking skills, but I’m meeting new people, seeing new situations, constantly learning, every day is different, every client is different, there’s challenges and situations that sometimes arise that keep it interesting and every changing. And I’ve gained a lot of friendships! I LOVE IT!
So work is going well, family and home is going pretty well….could be a little better in that we all seem to be going different directions sometimes, mostly due to the ages of my kids, but I think with a little planning, our family time could be even better.
I’m proud to say that 90-percent of the time, our family eats dinner together, and we eat it at the dining table. Sometimes that means throwing something quick together, sometimes that means we each eat a different leftover from a previous night, but it also means that 10% of the time we are scrambling and there’s no dinner and everyone just fends for themselves with a bowl of cereal or something frozen.
We’ve made some great strides in November and December by using Hello Fresh- we chose 3 meals per week, they sent us all the FRESH ingredients and the recipe and the kids have been helping prepare the dinners and they actually EAT them! I feel like it’s been a good family thing, and it’s helped to expand our tastebuds a bit.
WHAT WORKS #1: meal planning. Hello Fresh was great because it would just show up at our house on Saturday. But we aren’t doing Hello Fresh anymore (expensive and we were starting to see the same rotation of meals) so this means I need to sit down on Sundays and plan our meals for the week, just like I used to do when I had the daycare. I actually enjoyed doing that (although I was getting paid to do that so that makes everything better, right?) and I’ve learned that laziness does not put a healthy meal on the table or give us opportunities as a family to eat together. So that’s #1. Meal plan for the week, every week. With help, hopefully!
Monday: Chicken Fajitas
Tuesday: Pork & Potatoes
Wednesday: Leftovers (volleyball night)
Thursday: Leftovers again
Friday: Salmon and (not sure what side dish)
It’s a work in progress, at least I have the next several days planned out! Ha!
Side benefit: we’ll be eating healthier, too!
WHAT WORKS #2: DAILY PLANNER
I put everything in a Google calendar and every week I print it out and put it up on the fridge so everyone in our house can see what the week’s events are. They also all have access to our calendar through their own Google account so they can see it on their phone, but I like paper. Having a printout of the week’s agenda is great…. but…. I need to take it a next step further. My Google calendar tells me what we ARE doing, but it doesn’t tell me what I SHOULD be doing.
Back in my career days I used to use one of those giant “at a glance” planners so I could fill in the tasks and things that I should do that week. I felt so organized back then and I was able to prioritize tasks and knock them out so much more efficiently. Those to-do lists on my phone just get lost. The calendar reminders on my phone go off when I’m doing something else, and I forget. So I’m back to a paper planner….. writing out the tasks and things that need to be done each week. Also blocking out times for exercise, specific work tasks, meetings, volunteer time, lunch with Grandma :) I need to get these things on the calendar so I can make sure they happen!
WHAT WORKS #3: TIME FOR YOURSELF
I posted on Facebook earlier today that I missed parts of my old self….. I miss scrapbooking, I miss reading books, I miss art- painting and crafting. I miss having organized photographs. I started thinking back, wondering how I had time to do those things before but I don’t have time now? It’s the same number of hours in the day…. so…..
And then it hit me. Most of my “me” time was during quiet time for the daycare. I had an amazing group of kids that would all sleep for 2 hours solid. Thirty minutes for me to clean up after lunch and get everything ready for the afternoon…. and then a little over an hour for me to do something fun for myself- like digital scrapbooking, reading, crafting…..I loved my quiet time every day. It was a great time to re-charge. Unfortunately, the last 3 years of my daycare I had a more challenging group and they didn’t sleep all at the same time, and if they did, it wouldn’t be for very long. I barely had any time to clean up from lunch and get the afternoon stuff ready. No more “fun” time for me, I had to work. I felt like if I was to block 1-2 hours to myself after work to read a book or organize photographs that I would be taking time away from my family. And once I started my new career, I felt like I’d be taking time away from my job, too. I don’t feel like myself sometimes- I’m not going to say that I’ve lost my passion, because the passion is still there. When I think about doing those things, it invokes a feeling of longing… I really want to do those things again. It makes me happy to think about doing them again.
So why am I not doing them then? It goes back to feeling like I don’t have the time. But I do. I’m going to plan this block into my daily schedule so that I CAN do this and not feel like I’m taking time away from everyone else, because everything else has it’s time and place, too.
I’m thinking 2pm every day sounds like a good time for some ME time to spend an hour or so :)
WHAT WORKS #4: EXERCISE
I’ve become very aware over the past year that my body needs to be moving. I feel better physically and mentally when I am actively working out and taking care of my physical fitness. Everything just works better and feels better.
Sometimes you need a little slap in the face reminder from someone. I was told this morning that I should be “scheduling” my workouts so that I’ll DO THEM. I scoffed. Whatever. But then I started thinking….and remembered back to my kickboxing days. I scheduled those. I pre-planned on Sunday which days I would go to the gym and workout. I tried hard to stick to what I had written down. And it worked! So my daily planner will have blocks of exercise- and not just “exercise” but I’m going to write down WHAT I’m going to do so I don’t wake up and have to think about it and plan it… just do it!
WHAT DOESN’T WORK? INTENTION.
This is my favorite quote of all time:
“Despite popular belief to the contrary, there is absolutely no power in intention. The seagull may INTEND to fly away, may DECIDE to do so, may TALK with the other seagulls about how wonderful it is to fly, but until the seagull flaps his wings and takes to the air, he is still on the dock. There’s no difference between that seagull and all the others.
Likewise, there is no difference in the person who intends to do things differently and the one who never thinks about it in the first place.
Have you ever considered how often we judge ourselves by our intentions while we judge others by their actions? Yet intention without action is an insult to those who expect the best from you.” ― Andy Andrews
I think about this quote all the time. How there’s no difference between the person who intends to do something….and the person who never even thought about it in the first place. WOW.
Intention must have action. Otherwise intention is NOTHING. There is no power in intention.
I am a terrible friend. I always think, “I should make plans to have lunch with so-and-so” or “Jim and I should have a date night with so-and-so” or “I should mail her a birthday card” or “I should mail her a ‘thinking about you’ card” and next thing I know several months have gone by and I have done nothing towards connecting with those people. Ugh. I need to connect with my friends. And family. I think a lot of us suffer with this- time just gets away from us. The intention is there…. just no action.
Accountability and action. And that’s why I’ve posted this. And to spend a little bit of time on myself….some keyboard therapy- blogging! If I have this in writing someplace, I will do it.
Self-care and meal planning is definitely on my radar this year more than ever. Great post! -Ash