28 Days to Make (or Break) a Habit

One of the things I’m trying to get a better handle on this year is being ‘in the moment’. Mindfulness seems to be the word I’m looking for. Looks like I just figured out one of my “three words for 2011“!

MindfulnessAt work I think about all the things I need to do instead of thinking about what I need to do right now.  Instead of getting up in the morning and worrying about the 46 things I have to get done before lunch, I want to start to BREATHE and pay attention to what I am doing at that moment.  Behaving like this always makes me full of stress and anxious about falling behind.  It’s going to take a lot of work to become mindful. It will be difficult to ditch the stress of thinking five steps ahead, decades of project management have drilled the obsessive planning and milestone checking into my head.  Since I’m a natural task and to-do list maker, the best way for me to combat this ‘thinking too far ahead’ mentality is to time block out my tasks.  Right now I work off of massively huge task lists – more like hierarchical, highly detailed outlines – and tend to look at everything all at once.  When I stare at a 14 page task list it becomes overwhelming.  My brain thinks GET IT DONE NOW and races to find ways to complete multiple items on multiple lists simultaneously.  I now realize it’s not my lists that are the problem, it’s how I manage my time.

I’ve taken to following my own professional advice and keep a calendar with big blocks of time to work on specific areas of my lists.  I think it might be easier to wake up and know that there are a specific handful of tasks I need to complete and anything else is icing.  Knowing in the morning I need to get my kids off to school without the huge cloud of “ZOMG I have a million things to do TODAY” hanging over me takes the pressure off. [Read more…]

Doing It Differently This Year

Today is January 1, 2011. The buzz in my social media circles is choosing a word (or three) to define and structure what you want to ‘be’ this upcoming year. I like the idea as long as you develop some sort of trigger to keep the words and ideas behind them top of mind.  Too often New Year’s ‘resolutions’ get forgotten by March (hello Valentine’s Day and Easter candy!).  I think the key isn’t to identify your three motivating words, but to find your trigger points to know what it will take to remind yourself of your words and keep on track.  Good intentions produce nothing without consistent action.

CalendarWhile I wasn’t originally going to pick my three words because I’m not really a fan of jumping on the Internet meme bandwagon, I realized that if I keep doing what I’m doing I’m going to keep getting what I’m getting.  I’ve been blessed with the ability to work hard and be productive with both my business and (hopefully) my family, and understand that my ability to be a driven, successful person is based on every decision and experience I have had up to this moment.  But – like many women – I have neglected ME.  You see, I turn 40 this year.  FORTY. I need to start paying attention to me.  When I turned 30 I was a bit unsettled, but had just married my husband the year before and was about to have our first child and it was all exciting.  I had a plan, or at least a general roadmap of where I was going.  I knew my 30s were the decade I was officially a ‘grown up’, where we would grow our family and plant roots and become stable.  What the hell do my 40s have to offer?  Our family is complete, we are as settled as we are ever going to get and our businesses are established.  I DON’T KNOW WHAT IS SUPPOSED TO COME NEXT. [Read more…]