One of the reasons I do this work is because I value time. Yours and mine.
You’ve heard me say this before, moms do too much.
We are told that in order to have it all, we have to do it all.
And I don’t buy it. And I’m on a mission to change this.
I want moms to feel like they have time to have fun with their kids. To spend time with their partner and their friends. And to not feel guilty about all the things that aren’t getting done while they’re out having fun!
Yes, parenting is hard. Yes, it’s often exhausting and overwhelming.
But we don’t have to spend our days simply flinging from one task to another without end.
So if you value your time and you’re ready for things to change, let’s talk. Schedule a Get On Track call today.
And if you’re still coming up with excuses, here are a few reasons why scheduling this call could be just the thing you need!
Feel pulled in too many directions? No more days of too many tasks on that list. You know what your priorities are and how to approach each day, no matter what it throws at you.
Think there’s not enough time to do it all? Create time to spend with your family and on yourself. Watch a movie? Yes please! Spend a weekend away with friends? Heck yes! Know things are getting done and create time for fun too.
Grumbled at that work project your boss just gave you? You know how to break it down into small steps that are achievable. You’re ahead of the game now!
Tired of all the activities? You were just asked to be on the PTA. Your kids just asked to join yet another sport. You know if it fits in with your life and whether it’s a heck yes from the beginning.
Is life constantly throwing changes your way? You got this! You know how to evaluate what’s working and what’s not and shift routines and systems as needed.
That’s right. You and your kids need to go to bed. Yes, it’s August and it’s still summer. But, school is going to be here before you know it. Here in the Denver metro area, schools start in mid-August.
If you’ve been letting your kids stay up late and sleep in, now is the time to get back on a better schedule. Don’t wait until the night before school starts to enforce an earlier bedtime. It takes several weeks to shift things. Start to shift things by 10 minutes each night. Slowly get back to a school-night bedtime.
Spend some time thinking about your evening routines. What can you do at night to make your mornings better? Pack lunches? Pack backpacks and work bags? Set out breakfast?
And, you need to go to bed too.
Sleep is important. If you’ve been skimping on sleep because you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do, then stop it. Sleep (and taking breaks) actually helps you get more done each day.
When you’re tired, you’re not efficient.
You make mistakes.
You’re slower both physically and mentally.
So go to bed.
Ok. Now that you’re getting some sleep, start thinking about your morning routines. Are you getting up earlier than your kids? What needs to happen in the morning to make the rest of your day easier? Run the dishwasher? Put dinner in the crockpot? Here are a few ideas for morning routines.
Think about your evening and morning routines now. Start working on sleep habits for you and your family. Start the school year off on the right foot, not kicking and screaming!
If you’re not sure what you want your routines to look like (and really, who knows what school is going to look like again this year) let’s talk! I can help you create routines to make your mornings and evening better for everyone.
Not sure you’re ready to dive into changing your routines but want to get a little bit of support? Sign up for a free PDF on my STRIDE Method. Everything I do in my business (and in my own life) follows these ideas.
Last week we talked about maternal gatekeeping. How, as women, we’re conditioned to believe we’re better at parenting and housekeeping than our partners. How we are the ones who need to control everything, to ensure it’s done right (or done at all). And how we need to stop letting society create these ridiculous standards.
This conditioning comes from what’s known as the Ideal Mother. This is the idea that a mother know’s best. We’re led to believe this from a young age.
Men are conditioned to believe they are the ideal worker and the breadwinner. Jobs are designed around the ideal worker. The person who is always available for their work. They don’t have a life outside of work. It’s expected that there’s someone else (usually a wife), at home making sure the kids are taken care of, the house is cleaned, and dinner is on the table.
So what happens when the wife works too? Life gets complicated. Women are expected to work like they don’t have a family to take care of and care for their family like they don’t have a job.
But this isn’t possible and it isn’t fair. And it’s time to break this expectation.
And it starts with a conversation.
Yes, this might feel like one more thing you have to do. And it is. But it’s also the only way we’re going to change things. We need to get our partners on board here. And not in a guilt and shame-filled way. But in a way that leads us to be true partners, sharing childcare and household tasks in a way that’s fair to everyone. (that is different from sharing things 50/50).
One of the first things to discuss is an acceptable level of cleanliness and which Eve Rodksy, in her book Fair Play, labels Minimum Standard of Care. These are the agreed-upon expectations of everything in a house. Who cleans out the cat litter and when does it happen? What about the trash? What about family activities, like soccer, piano lessons, church choir, etc.? How many activities does each family member take on each season? How often do you have family dinners?
When my kids started elementary school, I decided we were only attending birthday parties with my kids’ friends. Not every birthday party. We were not going to sign up for every activity possible. Each person gets one, maybe two activities per semester.
Remember, you do not need to spend every day after school driving your kids around to activities. Pick one of their favorites. Carpool. Schedule things so it all happens on one crazy day, where you have take-out for dinner. Or where you can trade off with your partner on who does the driving. Meet a friend for a walk around the park while your kids are at soccer practice. Or spend one-on-one time with one kid while the other(s) are at practice.
Don’t feel obligated to say yes to everything.
There is no need to wear yourself out. It is ok for kids to be kids. To learn how to entertain themselves. Let them figure it out.
If you want to talk more about how to incorporate this in your life, how to let go of all of the tasks, schedule some time with me!
If you want a PDF to get you started down this path, sign up below.
It feels hard to plan much of anything in the middle of a pandemic.
If your kids are in school, you never know when you’re going to have them home for the next 2 weeks due to possible exposure to COVID-19.
It’s hard to plan for much of anything beyond the next few weeks because we just don’t know what life will look like this summer or fall.
This feels more complicated and disruptive than a snow day or a sick day. Maybe it feels heavier. Maybe the endless, monotonous days are getting to you! (They’re definitely getting to my family).
So how do you plan anything or pay attention to how you’re spending your time?
One way we can have more control over our time is to identify our daily and weekly priorities. When you know what you need to do each day, it’s a little easier to focus. If you’ve planned out your week (with room for things to shift) then you can handle last-minute surprises.
These last-minute surprises could include a snow day or a sick kid or your kids moving from in-person learning to remote learning due to COVID-19 exposure. They could also be a last-minute project your boss throws at you.
It’s easier to focus when you know your top priorities for each day. It’s easier to shift things around when you know your priorities for the week.
This does not mean planning every minute with tasks. This means planning your top 3-5 priorities and leaving room for things we didn’t plan for.
Take some time each day and start planning your top 3-5 priorities for the next day!
When my kids were younger, I remember a friend asking me how I was doing. My usual answer washanging in there. Suddenly, I was tired of that being my answer. When does just surviving stop? When do I start thriving? My kids aren’t going to get easier. I think they get more fun as they get older, but there will always be something we’re working on (arguing about?!). So enough with this hanging in there.
Part of this hanging in there was how busy I felt. I don’t think busy is always a good thing, yet we cram every minute of our days with activities. We need to be crossing items off our to-do list. We have so much work to do that we don’t know where to start (or when to stop). Our kids are signed up for every activity under the sun because we feel they need to be enriched and entertained all the time (pre-pandemic).
I get it. I’ve looked at my schedule and wondered how I committed to so many things. What happened? When did I get so busy? I’ve looked at how much I crossed off my to-do list and wondered if those were really the tasks I should’ve focused on today. Or did I just do what was the easiest to cross off? Let’s call me a recovering over-committer.
I’m on a mission to help end the mom guilt. To help moms shift from putting out fires every day to feeling more proactive and in charge of their time and to-dos. Because I’ve been there! So let’s stop with the guilt. Let’s focus on our big rocks. On the choices we make with our time, where it goes, and how we spend it. Let’s start thriving. And let’s see the amazing things we do accomplish every day. Let’s tame the chaos.
Feeling like you’re just slogging through each day? I get it, I have started giving myself pep talks to get out of bed! If my phone didn’t tell me the date, I likely would have no idea. Every day is starting to blend into the next! Weekends don’t feel any different (we really should do something fun to change that, huh?)
I don’t want to add one more story about how we should be productive right now since we have all this time. Working from home, helping your kids remote learn, and keeping everyone fed is enough! You might feel even busier! I do want to help you feel like you’re moving forward in your life, even while stuck at home. Read on for a few ideas!
Define what your work hours look like. Tag team with your partner. Someone is with the kids while the other one works. Trade every few hours as necessary. It’s also ok to put the kids in front of a movie and get some work done. Or send them out to the backyard to play.
Identify 3-5 priorities for each day. Yes, you might do more. You feel more accomplished if you know what needs to be done to move yourself or a project forward. Think about how it would feel to cross 5 tasks off your list of 5 tasks versus 5 tasks off a list of 15 (that you were never going to have time to do all anyway. Listen to what Laura Vanderkam has to say about limiting your to-do list.
Create a ritual between work and home life (even if work life is at your kitchen table). Find an activity to do before you switch between work and home. This helps your brain realize it’s now doing something different. Try a quick 5-minute meditation, a dance party, or a quick walk around the block.
Create visual boundaries if you’re working from the kitchen table. Put on headphones, signaling that you’re working and are not to be disturbed. Or you can put up some form of barrier, like a 3-sided poster display board. This could also be a place to put tasks and reminders! It’s like your own cubicle space in an open-concept office.
Break your projects into small, clear steps. If my to-do list says ‘Create workshop,’ it’s not easy for me to do what’s next. If it says create an outline for workshop, create marketing for workshop, or some other next step, then I know what to do next. Otherwise, I stare at it for a week and nothing gets done.
Still feeling stuck on how to get through the day? Schedule a 30-minute call with me to talk about your situation.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. I’ve long had this theory that women get mad at our partners for not helping when in reality, we’ve taught them not to. Then came a worldwide pandemic and I wasn’t sure if it was relevant. However, I do think it’s still relevant. Because we’ve all been thrown into this crazy time of trying to work, take care of our families, and homeschool our kids. And we can’t do it all at the same time and do it well. We need to give ourselves a break. So read on and let me know what you think!
We do it to ourselves
I had a roommate in college who would reclean the bathroom after I cleaned it. So I stopped cleaning it. Now, depending on who you are in this story, you may think I was lazy because now I never cleaned the bathroom. Or you thought, sure, what was the point of cleaning the bathroom if someone else was going to redo it? That would be a waste of your time!
We, as women, create this scenario all the time. No one else can clean the kitchen or do the laundry or clean up like we do. Because, of course, it’s not done right if it’s done differently. So we do everything ourselves. We reload the dishwasher or don’t let our partners do the laundry. Because heaven forbid, it’s not done to our exacting standards.
Then, we complain because our partners aren’t participating in the housework. When in reality, we’ve driven them to this point. We treat them like they’re unable to do anything, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They give up and we continue treating them like they are unable to do anything right.
We need to stop doing it all ourselves.
We can’t have it all. At least not all at the same time. And what does that even mean? We can’t magically do everything we want/need to and do it all well. It’s not possible, yet we beat ourselves up for not doing it every day. We overdo it and we constantly feel like we’re failing. Yet, we’re not. We have crazy high expectations that we’re never going to meet.
And this is what we model for our kids – that we must do it all instead of working with our partners. Whether you’re raising boys or girls, they’re watching you and seeing how you work with your partner. So the little girl watching her mother struggle to do it all instead of asking for help or letting something go is going to grow up to be the same crazed, stressed-out woman trying to do it all, feeling bad about not succeeding (even though it’s impossible). And the little boy is going to grow up believing that they don’t need to do much of anything. Because those were the examples they had growing up.
What if we changed that story?
What if we came into the kitchen that was mostly clean and thought great, someone loaded the dishwasher, now all I need to do is wipe down the counters? Or, said thanks for doing the laundry, can I help put it away? Or had the conversation of having too much on your plate and you need things to change? It’s not just helping each other – you’re in this together, you’re partners.
So let’s stop trying to do it all.
Let’s realize that life is like a symphony. Sometimes the violins are loud, sometimes it’s the drums. Sometimes there’s rest. But it all comes out a beautiful song in the end. Sometimes we’re going to work all day, sometimes we’re going to spend all day running errands, or playing with our kids or out on some adventure. And at the end of the week, we’ve covered most of it. And if it didn’t get done, it wasn’t important, and it can wait until the next song.
If you’re tired of feeling like there’s too much on your plate, I’d love to help you feel less overwhelmed! Let’s work together to create a task list and schedule that works for you! Let’s do this together instead of all on our own. If you’d like to chat more about this with me or want to learn more about how you’re spending your time, contact me or schedule a call.
We’re not sure what the next few weeks or even months are going to look like. You may be staring down 3 weeks at home with your kids, wondering how you’re going to get any work done. Or you may be alone or with a partner, wondering how you’re going to keep yourselves entertained.
There are so many articles out there on what to do while stuck at home. And maybe this one is just adding to it. I wanted to share what we’re doing here and give you a few more ideas.
I’m looking at 2-3 weeks at home with my husband and kids. Our goal is to not leave the house unless we have to. We’re rationing milk and cheddar bunnies. There will be tears (mine and the kids), there will be too much screen time, but there will also be laughter, lots of family time, and hopefully plenty of time outside. We’ll watch Frozen 2 way too many times. We just bought the DVD and our girls are obsessed. My youngest keeps walking around the house in her Frozen dress singing all the songs. Thankfully, I like the 2nd movie!
Anyway, we’re not going to be one of the households that keeps a strict schedule every day. My goal for each day is (in order of priority): Family time, physical movement/outside time, work/household list of tasks, relaxing/reading/tv. Our days will be flexible and fluid. We’ll take it day by day.
What does this make possible?
One of the best things I’ve read lately is from Jason Kotecki of Escape Adulthood. He asks the question: Now that this has happened, what does this make possible? (you can read his post here.) I don’t want to look back at these next few weeks and feel like I wasted all of our time being shut up in the house. I’ve made a list of all the things I can do for my business and around the house. It ranges from updating my website and planning my marketing for the year to working on my photo books and cleaning out paperwork. I also plan on learning a few new games to play with my kids. Family time is the most important of all of this to me.
I know other articles out there have talked about all the organizing tasks you can tackle while you’re stuck at home. And they’re right! Now is a great time to tackle that closet, basement, or garage. If you want any guidance on a project, send me a message https://strideproductivity.com/contact-me/ or schedule a call.
I’ll be posting on my Facebook ideas on how to make this time productive. And if you need to chat, even just to connect with someone, I’m here!
If you haven’t given your files a glance recently, it’s likely time for a purge. You may have stacks of paper all over your house, or you may have papers languishing in your files that you no longer need. Either way, take some time this week to sort through your files and get them in shape. Organizing your papers helps you find what you need, when you need it. (And maybe even make tax time easier for you next year!)
If you need to create a filing system, follow these steps. How you sort and label each category and subcategory depends on what paperwork you have and what you need to keep track of (yourself, partner, 3 dogs, 4 kids, etc.)
Gather all of your paperwork into one place.
Sort papers into high level categories (Auto, Health Insurance, Health Information, Home Improvements, etc.).
Create labels / hanging folders for each high level category.
Where necessary, sort high level categories into smaller subcategories (one for each car, each person’s health info, etc.). Label these folders.
Put all paper you are keeping into their labeled folders.
Recycle or shred the paperwork you don’t need.
I suggest keeping your system simple so it’s easy to maintain and expand. Feel free to color code, but keep in mind it needs to be easy to add more categories and subcategories.
No matter the state of your files, take some time to go through each folder, purge and shred what you don’t need, and catch up on your stack of filing. If you need guidance on what to keep or toss, ask your financial advisor or do some online research. Turn on some fun music, listen to your favorite podcast and get busy!
Sometimes you may be so used to the stuff around you that don’t even know you have clutter. So, how can you become more aware of the clutter you have? Read on for a few ideas.
Take a picture. Then look at the picture. It gives you a different perspective and allows you to see the clutter you may be missing in person.
Put stuff in a box. And date it. Clear rarely used items out of your kitchen utensil drawer (spatulas, knives, etc.), put them in a box, and put the box somewhere else in your house. If you truly need something from the box when you’re making a meal, then go get it. That item can now stay in your kitchen. After a certain amount of time (1 month, 6 months, your choice) donate everything else in the box. Use this technique for other items in your house you’re considering getting rid of.
Turn your hangers backwards. If you have a lot of clothes in your closet that you are not sure about, turn the hangers backwards so they are facing the wrong way. If you’re like me, and most of your stuff sits on shelves, consider putting them on hangers for awhile anyway. Then, as you wear a piece of clothing, it gets put back on the shelf or the hanger gets turned back around. At the end of the season, you can see what you haven’t worn. Simply take these clothes out and put in your donation box.
Take a few minutes and think about how you can become more aware of your clutter! Or schedule some time with me to chat more about how we can work together to help deal with your clutter.
The 3rd week of March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week. How are your closets looking?
You may be thinking about switching out your Fall / Winter clothes for your Spring / Summer clothes. Here, in Colorado, it’s been in the 70s for the last few weeks and we (likely) will see snow in April or May. So it’s hard to put away all of our warm clothes and we’ve all pulled out the t-shirts and sandals by now.
But, it’s still a good time to clean out your clothes. As you’re switching your closets over and making warm weather items more accessible, think about the following questions. If your answer is ‘no’ to any of them, toss those clothes in your donate box (and create a donate box if you don’t have one).
Have I worn this recently? Will I wear it again?
Do I love it?
Does it fit me?
As I’m cleaning out my clothes, I’ll make a list of things I need to supplement. What shoes, necklaces, etc., might I need to make sure I wear a certain shirt or pair of pants. Then, when I’m out shopping, I’ll know what I need and won’t end up with a closet full of clothes that I don’t wear because I don’t have anything that matches.
Let’s also talk about your linen closets. As you’re pulling your warm quilts and blankets from your bed, take a look at your linen closets. Are there items that need to be replaced? Does the closet simply need to be straightened up? Take a few minutes to make sure your linen closets are in order too.
Procrastination impacts us in many ways. It is incredibly draining if we’re ignoring something we don’t want to do or need to do but keep putting it off. What could you be doing with that time and energy if you could just get that task off your list? What is holding you back from getting to that project? Here are 5 tips for getting started and battling procrastination.
Break it in to small pieces. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Can you break the project into small pieces? Clarify the next step. If you just moved and are overwhelmed by boxes, tackle 1 box a day. If you want to get your house organized but don’t have a full weekend (or several), tackle 1 drawer or shelf at a time. Spend 15 minutes a day (or 5 or 10) cleaning something out.
Find an accountability partner. Do you want to get up and exercise before work 3 times a week? Find a friend to join you. Or report to a friend each time you do it. Your friend can report to you about something he or she is doing and you can support each other through the process. There’s motivation in being responsible to someone else.
Turn it into a game. Put on some music, set a timer, and see how quickly you can get something done. Hate putting away your laundry or cleaning the kitchen? Time yourself and see how fast you can do it. Or listen to a book on tape or your favorite podcast while you’re organizing your closets. Find a way to make it fun and it won’t seem like such a chore.
Tackle a small to-do first. Or, tackle the biggest one. Sometimes I just need a small win before I can get going on other projects. I’ll pick the easiest thing on my list, maybe sending a birthday card to a friend. The satisfaction of crossing something off my list motivates me to continue on to bigger projects. Or, I’ll tackle the biggest project on my list. If I just make that phone call I’ve been avoiding or sit down and do the research I need to do, it will remove the stress and mental drain.
Invite guests over. It’s like setting a deadline. Host a dinner party or a backyard BBQ. Don’t just stuff everything into a closet before your guest show up. Schedule the time to clean out and find homes for everything.
What steps can you take today to get past the procrastination and get started on a project? If you need help identifying where to start, call me or send me a message!
Ok, you’ve spent all this time getting your house organized and I bet you want to keep it that way. This week, we’re going to look at maintaining your beautifully organized house.
Never leave a room empty handed.
When going upstairs (or downstairs) or to another room, take something with you that belongs elsewhere. My daughters hairclips end up all over the house and I’m constantly bringing them back to their box in the kitchen (or asking her to put them away).
Straighten as you go.
When putting away laundry, pull out clothes that don’t fit and make sure clothes (and linens) are neatly put away.
Connect a task to another habit.
Clean old food out of the refrigerator when planning your meals for the week (or when it’s trash day).
It’s also a good idea to identify routines and systems you need to have in place. Ask yourself the following questions (and put these tasks on your calendar).
How often do you clean out your closets? Paperwork? Refrigerator? Pantry? Storage spaces?
What does your weekly routine look like? When do you buy groceries? Run errands? Clean? Plan meals? Do laundry? Pay bills? File?
What does your morning routine look like? Do you make sure dinner is defrosted? Clean up breakfast dishes? Get a load of laundry in the dryer?
What does your nightly routine look like? Do you pick up toys? Make lunches? Pack bags for the next day? Take some time for yourself?
This week, take some time to plan how you are going to maintain your newly organized projects. If you need help identifying where to start, call me or send me a message!
Are you feeling overwhelmed, like your time is managing you instead of you managing your time? Are you feeling busy but not productive or you’re just not sure where your time goes? Then read on for some ideas on better managing your time.
Say No. Saying ‘no’ (politely) is one of the most important skills out there. No is a complete sentence, it doesn’t need an explanation, and it can be said kindly.
Write down all your tasks in one place.This helps you see all your tasks. Then, you can see if there are tasks that you can renegotiate, delegate, delete, or knock off your list.
Ask for help.Talk to your boss about your workload. What deadlines can change? Is there someone else on your team who can take over a project? What are the most important tasks you need to focus on? At home, can you hire a house cleaner, have groceries delivered, hire a laundry service, get your family members to help out more? Stop doing it all by yourself.
Streamline your decisions.Where can you simplify tasks? Use a rotation menu? Have a simple work wardrobe? Have certain days of the week to complete tasks (marketing Mondays, phone call Tuesdays)?
And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help with time management, productivity, or routines, call in a professional! Sometimes a little outside perspective is all you need to get headed in the right direction.
When was the last time you went through and cleaned files, apps, and photos off your computer?
I’ve been working on cleaning
off our computer for the last year. We have thousands of pictures, old files from planning our wedding, old school papers, so many unncessary items. And our computer is old, we’ll likely need to replace it in the next 1-2 years. For me, simply moving files from one computer to the next is like moving boxes from one house to another without seeing what’s inside!
Here are 4 tips for cleaning off your computer.
Take 15 minutes a day and start reviewing files, deleting those items you don’t need, and making sure everything else is properly labeled and filed for easy access.
Review any apps or programs that you never use and delete them. They’re just taking up space!
Make a plan for keeping your files organized in the future. Create folders as you need them. I have a file called ‘Photos to Sort,’ where I put photos I don’t have time to deal with just yet. Once a month, I take a few minutes to go through these photos, delete the blurry ones and file the ones I want to keep.
Ensure everything is labeled and that the label makes sense. You want to be able to find something when you need it.
Build some time in your schedule to start cleaning off your computer. Even if it’s just 1 hour a week, you’ll keep it organized and uncluttered.
This week we are wrapping up my series looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.
The last two sources to cover are structural motivation and structural ability. Structural motivation looks at bribing ourselves to change. Instead of believing you can simply make the change on your own, try something to entice you toward change. Structural ability looks at making changes in your structure or space to make your goals easier to reach.
Let’s start with structural motivation, which the authors describe as ‘inverting the economy’. Change your incentives to help you toward your goals. Here are a few tactics to use.
Use carrots and the threat of losing carrots.
Find an incentive for making the changes.
Take 30 minutes to read your favorite book when you turn down a commitment.
Give money to a charity you hate if you don’t meet set goals.
Maybe you give to a charity you don’t like if you say yes to a commitment you really wish you had turned down.
Use incentives in moderation and in combination.
Use small rewards, not big ones.
Taking yourself out for coffee each week you successfully deal with incoming mail and paperwork.
Use rewards in combination with social and personal motivators.
If you’re trying to keep your kitchen table uncluttered, maybe a family dinner or hosting book club is your reward.
Reward small wins.
Break your goals into smaller steps and reward those steps as you meet them.
Spend 15 minutes a day dealing with paperwork, instead of a Saturday afternoon.
The final source of influence is structural ability. This source looks at controlling your space. It’s tactics include:
If you are saving money, don’t go into stores where you know you will spend money, unless you stick to a predetermined list and budget.
Don’t sign up for any magazines or mail subscriptions.
Create a distance between yourself and temptation.
Delete Internet bookmarks to make online shopping more difficult.
Deal with your mail somewhere other than your kitchen table.
Create cues in your environment to remind you of the changes you are making.
Use your phone or photos on your fridge or car dashboard to place notes or checklists.
Engage your autopilot
Find a way to put something on autopilot or into a default mode so you don’t have to think about it.
Schedule regular appointments to deal with paperwork or to spend time with family members.
Regularly post your progress on Facebook.
Commit to nightly family dinner or breakfast.
Ensure your electronic devices are working for you in your change.
We have now covered all 6 sources of influence. Remember that you need to use all 6 sources, not just a couple, if you want to make real progress towards change.
I hope you have found something useful in these posts and are able to use this information as you tackle some changes in your life! If you’d like to talk more about how to apply these in your life, schedule a call with me. Or send me a message.
The last few weeks we have been looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I hope you’re finding the information useful! This week we are looking at social motivation and social ability.
Whether you identify it or not, the people in your life influence you in many ways. Some influence you towards the positive (the friend who meets you for a morning run) and some towards the negative (the friend who tells you to buy that shirt or eat that dessert because you deserve it, despite the fact that you’re trying to save money or be healthier).
Here are some ways to identify these influences and how best to change them towards the positive.
Identify the accomplices and the friends in your life.
Who is leading you astray from your goals? The friend who always wants to go out for nice lunches followed by an afternoon of shopping? The roommate or partner who is constantly signing up for catalogs (which just clog up your dinner table)?
Who is helping you in a positive way? Who are your coaches or fans as you work towards your goals?
Redefine normal. Stop comparing yourself to others. How do you want to live and who do you want to be?
Stop trying to keep up with everything your neighbors are doing. Sign off of Facebook for a few weeks. Just because your Facebook friends are constantly posting pictures of the latest adventure doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong if you’re not out there doing the same thing. You are not them!
I’ve made Sundays my Facebook free days. If I have to, I’ll sign out of it so I’m not tempted.
Whenever I find myself comparing my life to others, I look at whether it’s something I would do. I’m not someone who wants to be traveling every weekend, so I can reframe it to ‘that’s not who I am or who I aspire to be.’
Have a transformative conversation. Talk to those you’d like to have as friends or coaches and tell them what you are doing and what you need from them.
Talk to your roommate or partner about how you’d like to get your mail organized or keep the clutter from your dining table.
Talk to your friend about how you’d like to spend time with her but you’re also trying to save money. Are there other things you can do together, like join an exercise group or meet for coffee instead?
Add new friends.
Join a social network or organization that supports your goals. Do you need a financial counselor? A professional organizer? A life coach? A therapist? An accountability partner?
Distance yourself from those who are unwilling to support you in your new endeavors. If you’re trying to save money, stop spending time with the friend who only wants to go shopping.
This week, take a look at your social motivation and social ability influences. Who in your life is helping you reach your goals and who is slowing you down? What can you do about this? I’m going to look at the social networks I am a part of and ensure they are helping me reach my professional and personal goals for the year.
Next week we’re going to wrap up this series by looking at the structural motivation and structural ability.
I hope you enjoyed my last blog on personal motivation, one of the 6 sources of influence discussed in Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This week, we’re looking at Personal Ability.
When wanting to make a change in your life, there’s often more than willpower working against you. Sometimes, you may not have the skills to make the change. Maybe you never learned how to manage your money or how to deal with incoming mail and paperwork. Maybe you never had a problem with managing your time until you became an adult and had a house to manage, a full-time job, a dog, and a new baby. Often, this lack of skill sits in what the authors call a blind spot. You simply didn’t know it was a problem!
Let’s look at some tactics on identifying your personal ability to tackle this change.
Start with a skill scan. Start looking at your ability to do what you need to before getting started on making changes.
You ignore your bills because you don’t understand how to track your finances. Unpaid bills coupled with your shopping habits, you may never end up paying down your debt.
Make an appointment with a financial advisor or take classes on managing your finances.
You say yes anytime someone asks for help (joining a committee, taking on extra work that requires extra hours) because you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings.
Take a class on assertiveness or create a rule that you always say ‘let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you.’
You don’t know how to set up a file system or what to do with all the incoming mail or if you can even stop it.
Call a professional organizer, take a class or find a book on managing paperwork.
Apply deliberate practice.
Practice saying no, practice saying ‘I’ll get back to you.’ Practice scheduling time for yourself.
Break it down into small steps. Put your mail in the same place every day. Put a shredder right next to where you sort your mail. Put a recycle bin for your junk mail next to where you sort your mail.
Learn the will skill. Willpower can be learned and strengthened.
Can you avoid temptation when faced with your most tempting scenario? Can you avoid the situation altogether? What about distracting yourself, reviewing your personal motivation statement, or finding a trusted friend who can act as your coach.
Suggest a lunch and a movie instead of shopping with a friend.
Look at your calendar and think about your priorities before you say yes to something.
This week, take a few minutes to see what outside help you might seek and what you can practice. I’m practicing saying no to things I know I can’t fully devote myself to. And I’m breaking tasks down into small steps (emptying the dishwasher when I first get up so I can put dishes away throughout the day instead of spending a bunch of time at the end of the day).
I hope you read my last blog about my favorite book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This week we’re going to look at Personal Motivation.
Let’s start with your crucial moments. Do you get sucked into the $1 bins at Target (I’ll admit, sometimes I have to drag myself away from them)? Or do you come home from work so tired that you drop everything at the door saying you’ll deal with it all later? Then you find yourself scrambling to get out the door the next morning? Or maybe you say yes anytime someone asks you to help or join a committee, even if you know you don’t have the time!
With your crucial moments in mind, think about your default future. Where are you headed if you keep living this way? Imagine your worst-case scenario if you don’t change. Overwhelming debt? Exhaustion, illness, or missing out on time with your family? Resentment? Not being able to find anything in your house when you really need it?
Ok, now that you have your default future in your mind, let’s look at changing the way you make choices or learning to love what you hate. Yes, you can do that. You need to see and believe in the future you want.
Here are some tips on learning to love what you hate.
Use value words. Why are you making this change? What good will come from this change?
You want to save more money or quickly find clothes to wear, clothes that are clean and ready to put on. You want to eat dinner at your table with friends and family or be able to host Thanksgiving.
Make it a game. How can you make this change fun? Break your goal into small tasks, compete with a friend. What can you do to provide yourself encouragement along the way?
Get rid of 2 pieces of clothes each day, spend 5 minutes every day sorting through the mail, put on some music, set a timer, set a deadline.
Create a personal motivation statement. Create something to remind yourself why you’re doing this. You can glance at this during your crucial moments.
Find a picture of something you aspire to such as a family dinner, an organized closet, or a trip you want to take and need to save money for.
This week, choose one or two of the above tips and figure out how to incorporate them into your change plan.
One of my favorite books is Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This book discusses how to make changes in your life and how willpower is not the answer. I like their philosophy because it has you look at 6 sources of influence in your life. It helps you identify these sources that are working against you and shows you how to turn them into positive influences. And, just like each organizing solution I provide is unique to that person or family, your path to change is unique.
Here is an overview of the 6 sources of influence. We will get into much more detail over the next few weeks.
Personal Motivation: Personal motivation is all about how you think about your future and why you’re making these changes. It’s all about the ‘why’. Maybe you want to be able to have people over for dinner and are tired of the dining table always being covered in paperwork. Or maybe you really want to save money for a vacation but keep buying stuff you don’t need.
Personal Ability: This is all about the skills you have to make changes. Do you know how to set up a place (and routine) for all the paperwork coming into your house? Do you need to figure out how to set up a budget or understand what’s behind your desire to overspend?
Social Motivation and Social Ability: Social Motivation and Social Ability look at those around you and whether they are a friend or an accomplice. Do you have a friend you have lunch with every Saturday, who also likes to shop? Who is influencing you in a positive way? Can you make more friends who help and talk with those who don’t?
Structural Motivation and Structural Ability: This is about creating incentives and controlling your space to help you reach your change goals. What is going to motivate you along the way? Reward small wins and find inexpensive ways to motivate yourself. How can you change your environment to keep you on track?
Many of these sources of influence are invisible to you. Until you become aware of them, you will be unable to change them. This means you get to be both the scientist and the subject in your life. You learn what influences are at work in your life.
Here are some other things to think about as you begin to identify these sources of influence in your own life.
What are your crucial moments? Where is it that you fall short of your goals?
These moments may be physical, emotional, or involve certain people or places. Start becoming aware of these moments.
What are your vital behaviors? What actions do you want to take when you are in a crucial moment?
These actions or guidelines help influence your behavior.
When making a change, it’s important to use all 6 sources of influence, not pick a few. Also, just because something doesn’t work or you have a bad day, don’t quit. Use that information to your advantage and turn it into a learning experience.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll get into more detail of each source of influence. I’ll share a few examples and I want you to think about how these 6 sources of influence can help you reach your goals for the year.