Archives for 7 minutes

My Labor Day of Labor – I’ve Come Clean

This may still be cluttered to some, but it is zen-inspiring to me.

This may still be cluttered to some, but it is zen-inspiring to me.

No, I didn’t have another baby. I spent my holiday fighting dust balls and licking paper cuts.

After 3 years of compiling papers and collecting nonsense in my office, I “clean sweeped” (I know it’s swept, but it doesn’t sound right in this context.) There were literally 60 lbs. of paper and other junk purged from my house. I have two big boxes of great fall clothes to sell on e-bay, donate or turn into crafts. I know where everything is in my office. What is most important is most prevalent and within easy reach.

The adjustment to working from home with my babies, who are now grown up enough to know when the house is messy, happened very slowly.  While I expanded my roles as primary caretaker and entrepreneur, some of my other priorities and values were placed aside. I justified that it was what I had to do because of the choice I made to stay home and work, but in the meantime, crap accumulated and inhibited my growth. That’s where I was; I had no more room to grow because I had no room in my home and most sacred space.  The choice I made was no longer empowering; it was an abyss. While I continued to learn more and teach clients about efficiency, time management, resource management, etc., I was ignoring fundamental best practices of success – simplicity of organization and accessibility of information.

Especially because I do so much on my computer, where it seems everything is at my fingertips, these fundamentals were easy to ignore for so long. Until, enter financial advisor and partner Brian Brogan.

He asked, “Where is the space dedicated to managing the lifeblood of my family and business?”

“Oh, here and over there and I can even work outside…”

“STOP!,” he pleaded. “What are you saying about your priorities if you have no place dedicated to managing the very thing that allows your family to function?”

While he has been here at our house, he never new we had an office because the door stayed shut when there were visitors. We even kept the vent closed so as to not heat or air condition it. It was, essentially, a junk room.

After reading some of The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, by Allyson Lewis, I had started to make a little progress on my office. I sorted unopened envelopes one day. Then another day I opened them. Then another day I took out any files older than 2009 to make room for the newer files. Then, I left the office alone for a week. I avoided it. What happened?

If my house were a factory, I think they would call it a bottleneck.

I needed to renew my car registration, but I couldn’t find the form. I had to make a return, but I couldn’t find a receipt. The CPRW (Certified Professional Résumé Writer) certification exams that I am supposed to grad within 2 weeks piled up for a month. ssential functions took 10 times longer than they should have. I was wasting time looking for things, feeling like a hot mess, and my temper and patience were getting short. Friday I had a gentleman tell me that I wasn’t able to listen to him. I didn’t even realize it, but I kept interrupting him. Instead of listening compassionately first, then advising appropriately, I was defensive and curt. This was impacting more than just tasks – my credibility with peers, my authority with my kids and my ability to effectively coach were hampered.

Enough – I had to do the work. The clutter had to be confronted, and so did my feelings about the clutter. With the exception of a break to have tea with my husband, make princess hats with my daughters, and hit up a local playground where we could all get a workout in, I pounded away – from breakfast to 2 or 3 in the morning. I finished at 4:30 Tuesday morning. The process, while tiring, was cathartic. What Brian said was reverberating in my brain and I thought very consciously about where I placed things based on how important I wanted them to be. Even choosing what size folder to attribute to a project made me process what amount of time I was committing to dedicate to that project.

Once it was done, I didn’t care anymore that I didn’t get to go the shore or the Poconos or that I didn’t see any concerts or even go out to eat. I had forgotten how much I value organization. For a while, I had been wishing I could just hire someone to find a place for everything, but I couldn’t wait for that to happen.

Now that I am in my office, and I can work in my office and find things in my office (and elsewhere,) I am able to think. I feel lighter and can breathe easier. Brian says that I have now made room for the harvest. Those books that I read, while portraying the importance of organization to taking action also echoed his sentiments: If you want something to show up, you have to make room for it. Now that I know I have room for growth and expansion, I have more confidence making strategic plans for my business. I want to spend time here. I want to show it off. Here. Have a look:

One thought leader I follow, I can’t remember which or perhaps it is all of them, says that people take action when they are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Why is that? Why did I have to let it get to that point? Even though the disorganization was certainly having an impact on my family and me, I waited until other people were being impacted by my disorganized house before I resolved to get it cleaned up for good. I resolve now to be proactive in keeping order in my house, in my office and in my mind.

 

Have you ever been sick and tired of being sick and tired? Are you waiting until to feel this way to take action?

5 Things You CAN Do TODAY To Bring Your Dream Job Closer

The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, by Allyson Lewis

The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, by Allyson Lewis

A book was recommended and lent to me, The Seven Minute Difference: Small Steps to Big Changes, by Allyson Lewis. You know I like to share what I learn, so while I haven’t finished, why wait passing on some nuggets of wisdom I have already gained?

What the author highlights is how you can move inches closer to your goals every day by dedicating what is completely reasonable to – 7 minutes.

Every day, no matter how busy we are, we can find 7 minutes to make our futures a priority by doing what are called micro-movements. The artist Sark writes about practical ways that you can infuse your life with creativity and be an artist, and she first introduced me to micro-movements. I had forgotten how great micro-movements can be, especially when completing a project or achieving a goal seems insurmountable or overwhelming.

I thought I would share 5 micro-movements that you can do TODAY that should take about 7 minutes and will move you closer to your dream job and/or move your dream job closer to you.

Answer the following questions. I have found that it is best to suspend any thoughts that you might have about whether your answers are realistic or not. Consider this a stream of consciousness exercise, where you just let the thoughts flow. Do not judge them. Just record them to refer to later.

#1: Taking into consideration your skills, experience and passion, what is the greatest contribution that you could make if you knew that you would be paid well for it?

#2: What new skills and experience could you gained that would help you make the contribution even greater either in scope or in the number of people impacted.

#3: If you could handpick your boss, what qualities would he or she possess that would motivate you to achieve your highest potential and what kind of experiences would they have already gained that you would like the benefit of learning from?

#4: What kind of people would you like to work among?

#5: Where do these people go to feed their own passions where you might be able to meet them and pick their brain about potential companies?

That’s it. Just answer the questions freely – nothing too difficult or overwhelming. I’m not telling you to go and do anything with these answers – YET. When you are done, come up with your own next 7-minute micro-movements that can take you even further.

UNVEIL YOUR BRILLIANCE!