Flexibility: Bend without Breaking

flexibility

It was about 2 in the morning when I realized the power had gone off. It was early Monday morning…the day that usually the busiest for HOPE Unlimited. The steady, sometimes heavy, rain continued, and by 5:00, when my day would normally start, the power was still off.

The power came on at 9:35, a full 4.5 hours later than my day would have started. I essentially lost a third of my day already, and on a day that already tended to have a large list.

I could do nothing but be flexible. I admit I wasn’t thrilled, but I survived. Here are a few flexibility tools I drew from.

  • I took advantage of the opportunity for extra rest. I lazed in the warm bed for longer than I normally would. Maybe I needed the rest.
  • I used some remaining Internet access. Due to a battery backup on our WiFi, I did have access to the Internet and could engage a bit, check something for a client, contact two other clients, etc.  I wasn’t fully functional, but by being prepared with that backup, I wasn’t completely off the grid on a work day.
  • I finished a book. I have a practice of finishing one book per month (not start and finish, but finish.) I had about 30 minutes left on this month’s book, so I was able to finish it. This was nice, as it was already the last week of the month and I hadn’t finished it yet.

When the power came on, I modified my routine. I decided to still go through some of the “morning motions” that are important foundations for my days. I did shorten or skip some, as appropriate though.

The key to the day was adapting. There are going to be things that happen out of your control. I’m all for making a reasonable plan for the day, using schedules and having lists. But unless we accept that our plans are mainly guidelines, we are going to live in a frustrated state most of the time. Maybe it’s better to start the day with an attitude of holding our plans loosely enough that if we need to adapt, we won’t over-stress about it.

 

I’ve created a fun coloring sheet to reinforce this concept. Sign up below to get it!Be flexible coloring sheet

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Four Ways to Grow as a Pro

development

“I barely have time to get my work done. Who has time to watch a webinar?”

Do you ever feel that way? If so, your point is valid.  Many of us tend to put off our professional development, but there is high value in learning new skills, refreshing our perspective, and as Stephen Covey put it, “sharpening the saw.”

Here are four ways you can incorporate professional development into your busy life:

Harness your commute time. There are multiple podcasts that can help you learn and expand your perspective, with a bonus of not starting your day in a bad mood from listening to the news or talk radio.

Arrange to attend a conference once a year. Make the case that it is valuable for you to get away, even if it’s for a local one-day workshop.  Not only will you gain from the presentations, you will make valuable connections with others.

Create a sustainable book reading goal. Since 2012, I’ve had a practice of finishing one book a month. That doesn’t mean start and finish…it means finish a book I have not yet completed. This plan seems to work for me. Maybe you could read one book a quarter, or a book every two weeks. Shoot for something you know you can sustain over time. Check out my books and others here.

Join a membership site/Become a blog supporter.  I have belonged to Platform University for years because it offers a central place for resources related to building an online business. There are membership sites for almost any industry or interest, and you can drill down with their classes and discussions. Alternatively, you can follow the blog and social media presence of writers you find beneficial. This method is typically free, although some providers use sites such as Patreon to obtain financial support. (At HOPE Unlimited we have “HOPE Helpers.”*)

Use an aggregate app.  Apps such as Feedly or Flipboard help you capture blog posts and articles into a central place to form a type of customized newspaper.  Electronic assistants such as Alexa, Echo, etc. can do the same thing, allowing you to select news and tips that you would like to listen through each day.

Your professional development is your responsibility. Continual learning will keep you sharp, which is of great value in an ever-changing, fast-paced world. Be intentional about your growth.

*Tip: if you benefit regularly from an author/speaker, show your support by purchasing their books and products, or becoming part of their membership community. It matters. 

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Make Your Morning Ritual Work for You

 

Time to make the donuts.”

This phrase from a classic commercial points out that most of us have some type of morning ritual.

Whether you’ve made it intentional or not, you have a routine you tend to follow when you first get up.  It may be haphazard, or very structured. But whatever it is, you DO have a routine.

You can leverage your morning routine to help you get your day started in the right direction to excel for the rest of it. How?

Here are a few tips:

  • Think: What does my morning routine already look like?
  • Decide: What would I love my routine to look like?
  • Adapt: make reasonable, incremental adjustments.

THINK: Ask yourself, on a typical weekday, what does my routine look like? Does it include getting dressed, making breakfast, pouring a cup of coffee, reading the paper? Make a list of what you typically do on a morning.

For example, I have an extended morning routine because I have the flexibility to work from home a lot. Many others have to be somewhere by a certain time. My morning routine contains quite a few elements that pertain to my personal values.

DECIDE:  What would you LOVE your morning routine to look like? Do you want to have time for exercise first thing in the morning? Would you love to have 30-60 minutes to pursue a hobby or study? I have a client who decided that writing was important enough to her to get up one hour early daily and make time for it. She now treasures that daily time before her workday begins.

ADAPT:  Your morning routine will be a work in progress. You probably can’t suddenly decide to get up an hour earlier each day if you don’t make changes on the other end by going to bed earlier.  As my friend did above, she adapted her morning ritual to fit writing time in. You may not be able to adjust by an hour or more, but perhaps you could start by waking up 15 minutes earlier.  Make small, incremental changes, perhaps one per week or even one per month, until it turns into a habit.

YOU are the only one who can make your morning routine work for you. Think. Decide. Adapt. You’ll begin to see a difference in how the rest of your day goes!


Bonus tip: If getting up early is hard for you, start your day in bed. If reading inspirational material is important to you, for example, set the book or tablet by the side of the bed and as you wake, do some reading. Sometimes it’s the idea of having to pop out of bed immediately that makes it so hard for us to try to get up earlier. Ease into the day instead.

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Should You Track Your Time?

If you are busy, you may not want to add another task of logging the time you spend on things throughout the day. I confess, I have rarely done this. But I do see that it could be eye-opening, and it may be time for me to try it for a day or two! ~ Beth

(If you receive this by email and cannot see the infographic well, click here.)


About Time: The benefits of time tracking
About Time: The benefits of time trackingInfographic by Quill

Five Ways (Some) Multitasking Can Work for You

Includes a Guest Infographic: How to Be Good at Multitasking

The concept of multi-tasking has gotten a bum rap. Articles such as this one are tell us that we are not as effective when we multi-task. We are being told to slow down, focus on one thing at a time, and not over-commit ourselves. That’s great advice–but it’s harder for some to implement than you think. What if your personality is one that thrives on having several things going at once and being fast paced? 

As a seasoned multi-tasker (seasoned meaning I’ve been doing it for a long time, not that it is always succcessful for me) I am challenged by this new wave of thinking (some call it “uni-tasking.”) However, I have my doubts that swinging the time management pendulum from one extreme to the other is the best way to go. I think there is a middle-ground that can be a healthy place.

The idea of multi-tasking is to have several things going on at once. The idea of single, or uni, tasking is to focus on one thing at a time. Let me pitch to you a compromise: complementary multi-tasking. This approach embraces doing two (or possibly more) things at once, but being intentional that they complement each other, not distract from one another. Common sense and safety are key components of this idea.

When you are planning your “to-do” list, ask yourself the following questions to see if you can apply complementary multi-tasking to your list. (For the sake of simplicity, we will consider planning two complementary tasks, although sometimes you could plan three or more.)

1. Are there two tasks that can be done in the same general vicinity? For example, making sandwiches for tomorrow’s lunch while waiting for water to boil for tonight’s spaghetti works better than leaving the kitchen to check email in another room.

2. Is one task relatively hands-off and one hands-on?  While a new software program is downloading, I can organize one drawer in my desk.

3. Can two things be going simultaneously, safely? My laundry can be drying while I work on a blog post.

4. Could I mix a mindless “task” opportunity with a “people” opportunity?  With the help of a phone earpiece, I can fold laundry while talking to a friend, which would be better than trying to answer email while also talking with her on the phone.

5. Will doing these two tasks at the same time add cause more mental fatigue or less?  Listening to a podcast or some music while cooking may help pass the time nicely, while trying to help your child with homework while also preparing a meal can become frustrating for both of you.

So before jumping on the bandwagon that all multi-tasking is ineffective or wrong, consider that complementary multi-tasking may be the way to accomplish two important tasks without driving yourself crazy.

Question: What are two tasks that you can do at the same time without misusing the idea of multi-tasking? Join the conversation by commenting!

 

My thanks to Gisele Navarro (@ichbingisele) for the infographic, originally seen here.  (If you receive this by email and cannot read the infographic well, click here.)

 

How-To-Be-Good-At-Multitasking

 

 

7 Exercises You Can Do Right In Your Chair

Guest Post by Dave McDonald

You may be an overwhelmed professional, but you can manage your energy better if you move regularly. My thanks to Dave McDonald of The Great Outdoors Fix for this guest post and infographic.  (If you receive this by email and cannot see the infographic well, click here.)

Beth

 

The lack of physical activity might be the biggest factor why you are gaining weight. This is why if possible, you have to keep moving. The nature of your work is not important. The point is to do exercises just to keep the fat burning. Even if your job requires you to sit in front of the computer for the entire day, there are still activities that you can do. For instance, you can do some stretching or leg exercises without disturbing other people in the office.

Another strategy is to wait until everyone goes out for lunch and start doing the exercises on your chair. This is if you worry that your officemates will make fun of you. Again, these are simple exercises that won’t make you really sweaty. Therefore, even if you are attending a meeting with your boss in the afternoon, it doesn’t matter. You will still look fine. Just keep doing these exercises to stay in shape.

Once your work is done, head to the gym for more intense exercises. Just keep doing these strategies so you won’t worry about gaining weight anymore. It is just a matter of discipline and consistency in your weight loss strategies. You can do more if you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with your job.

For more information about these exercises, check out the infographic below. It provides the right steps that can be done with ease. Start doing the exercises now before it’s too late.

7 Exercises You Can Do Right In Your Chair!

Announcing the Winners of Theme Month

And a Quick Note to the HOPE Family for May

Beth BeutlerHi everyone!

Calendar month is in the books and our winners are listed below! I hope you found the tips, articles, contest, freebie, etc. helpful to you. The “Conquer Your Calendar” Course will remain available with the new price of $49.00.

April was a very full month with content on the blog almost every day, longer than usual emails, and an unexpected personal twist for us (we’re fine) that is bringing a project/purchase to our lives that we hadn’t anticipated. (We hope THAT will be handled in time to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary later in the month.)

For many of YOU, May probably feels as busy as December, and your minds are yearning toward that summer breathing space.

So, I’ve decided that on the blog and my social media channels, I’m going to “go with the flow” and be less concerned about a publishing schedule or structure. It will be more of a  “May Mashup.” I’ll be posting a few helpful items here and there, many of which has already be created (or shared with me) in the past. You’ll still receive a digest through the typical Monday email if there has been material added to the blog during the prior seven days.

This will also give me a good opportunity to go deeper with some thinking/visioning I’ve been doing for the content portion of HOPE Unlimited…in other words, what the blog, social media platforms, and extended resources like books/courses should or shouldn’t look like for the immediate future.

Our world has SO MUCH INFORMATION out there now, that I don’t want material and products from us to just get lost in the noise and add to your feeling of overwhelm, or be too similar to other things you can find that there’s no need to duplicate efforts. I’ll be doing some praying and listening to discern what, if anything, HOPE should continue to provide in terms of regular content through blogging, social media, and fee-based content. And if inspiration hits me, I’ll still be writing and creating behind the scenes.

You can be a part of this if you like. I appreciate the feedback that several of you have provided through surveys, and if you have a strong feeling about what content you’d like to see from HOPE, (or if you don’t feel it’s necessary) please contact me with your thoughts.

I wish you all a pleasant May and if we can be of help to you, get in touch!  (And congrats to our winners, listed below!)

Beth

Click on image to enlarge.

Click on image to enlarge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Congrats to Our Winners!

$25 Surprise Gift Card: Paula K.

Calendar Lover’s Pack: Nancy D.

Coffee with Beth session: Beth L.

Thanks for participating!

Four Reasons Why You Should Enroll in My New Course – Part 4

 

Calendar Course NEW 60-90 minute course (self-paced.) Click to learn more and enroll!

Our April Theme Month was on the topic of calendars is to introduce you to my new course, Conquer Your Calendar. Each week, I’m providing one reason for joining into HOPE Academy and being part of this course, specifically. Now it’s time for the last reason.

Reason number 4: Your professional development is important, and it is your responsibility.  This course gives you an opportunity to take a look at something you use every day, and determine if you are using it in the best way to help you serve others, reach goals, and stay sane.

Enroll today!