Last week was a busy one. I am sure yours was as well.
Mine was a week full of great things…a trip to a water park, a wedding in my hometown, and a visit with a precious 7-week old baby girl and her beautiful mom. All of these events (and others) left me feeling energized and excited about life.
But, what these wonderful things meant was that I didn’t spend a great deal of time focused on Inspire to Engage.
This realization had me thinking about the balancing act that we strive to perfect in this crazy busy life.
Just Call Me Lucy
It seems that I can never find the right balance between the different aspects of my life.
Have you ever seen the hilarious scene from the I Love Lucy Show when Lucy and her best friend Ethel work at a chocolate candy factory. When their job at a conveyor belt is explained to them by a demanding, impatient supervisor, it seems easy and straightforward. However, the belt (and thus the candy) gradually speeds up. As the pace gets too fast for the inexperienced Lucy and Ethel and in an attempt to make it appear as if they are doing their job, they begin stuffing the chocolates in their hats, down their shirts, and in their mouths. The scene is hysterical!
This is how I often feel when I have a week outside my norm. I just can't keep up the pace (and chocolates get stuffed in places they shouldn't be!).
For example, if I devote myself to Inspire to Engage one week, then I don’t play with the boys much. If I eat dinner or shop with good friends several nights during the month, then I miss out on opportunities with my own family. If I exercise every morning, then I don’t work enough hours on Inspire to Engage.
A girl can’t win! I feel as if the conveyor belt is moving too quickly. I start reverting to insane measures to appear as if I am keeping up.
Do you ever feel like this?
One image I want to leave with you that helps me a lot and one I thought of often this week uses juggling as an analogy. At a recent mompreneur meeting, one of our leaders shared this, which was told to her by a friend.
Picture yourself juggling GLASS balls with a few others at your feet. The glass balls represent different aspects of your life...family, business, friends, exercise, vacations, self-improvement, etc.
First, recognize the fact that you can only handle a certain number of objects at once. Too many in the air, they all come crashing down. In order to keep from breaking these glass balls, you will need to make a conscious effort to put one or two down when you feel you can no longer juggle them all. Because...if you keep at your current pace or start to add more balls to your juggling act without setting some down, you begin to flounder. Dropping some or all of the glass balls. Breaking them.
We end up like Lucy and Ethel, stuffing chocolate candies in our bras and in our mouths, when the pace gets to harried. An ugly (but hilarious) scene.
Instead, picture yourself juggling glass objects...intentionally setting down some things to keep them (or us) from breaking permanently. You'll pick up the objects again...next week, another day, or in a different season of life. But, for now, your focus needs to be elsewhere. Give yourself permission to juggle...successfully. I am working on it myself.
Words, Words, Words, Words, Words, Words, Words
If you have read any of my stuff, you probably have noticed that I am long winded. The words just keep coming.
First off, sorry.
Second, I am working on it. I know you are probably thinking, “It doesn’t seem so!” Her later posts are as long as earlier ones.
For me, it comes down to a balancing act (seems like a theme in this week’s journal!).
Each writer needs her own voice…the way she writes unique to herself.
You probably guessed it by now, but I am a big talker. Thus, my writing style is wordy. It is who I am.
Yet, I know that I personally grow impatient when a blog post goes on and on. Even if I love the writer! So, I cringe when I think about you doing the same with my work. Plus, several of the people I enjoy reading (and who have a large following) encourage bloggers to write shorter posts, 500-800 words. Eeeek. I am just a shade past that with most posts around 1500-2400 words. ;)
My gut tells me there is a place for short AND long posts. Sometimes good advice can be said in 600 words. Other times, you want all of the information in one place, one post--not in several short posts over a course of multiple weeks. In this case, longer posts have a place.
So, a goal of mine…to write more posts with 800 words or less. That way I have a mixture of lengths (because I have the long stuff covered already!).
On a side note, a friend of mine shared these 2 older posts with me. They are 2 of my favorite (ever!) and are written by Jen Hatmaker. (She's real and funny!) Yet, I still found myself skimming them because of their lengthiness. This taught me that you may love a person’s writing but still grow impatient to finish reading it…almost bored. If you do choose to read them, which I suggest, you will need Kleenex. One post will make you cry with laughter. The other one…very sweet, especially if you are in education.
I got a chance this week to have a Dreamers' Meeting with my friend April. For 6 months now, we have been scheduling these conversations every 4 to 6 weeks. We usually talk during our children’s naptimes. This practice gives us a good starting and ending time.
Each Dreamers’ Meeting, we discuss 2 major topics—what product ideas we have and what frustrations we are experiencing.
Often times, nothing is decided in these meetings. These conversations simply and profoundly serve as sounding boards. We get to say ideas aloud without fear of laughter. See, we both have a tug on our hearts to do something…maybe a business, maybe a blog, definitely serve our Savior, and probably involve writing.
We don’t have the answers for each other. We just are willing to listen and to provide motivation.
I want to encourage you to hold your own Dreamers’ Meetings. Ask a friend with an entrepreneur’s spirit or one with the same passion as you if you can call her. Tell her your ideas. Ask about hers. It is amazing what clarity you gain and encouragement you receive by saying your thoughts aloud to a kind friend.
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Detailed Weekly Timesheet
Due to the busyness of this week (and the way I keep up with my work time on random sheets of notebook paper and in Notes on my phone), I have opted to not record my specific time. It would take significantly more minutes to gather my randomness and get it organized. I don't want to hurt my work for next week by belaboring this week's work.
Total Time = less than 15 hours
Takeaway - 1.) This week I had a goal of spending more time "with clients." See last week's journal for my reasoning. However, since I was "juggling" friends and family, I didn't meet my goal of 4 hours pretending as if I had clients. I am not sure if it will happen this upcoming week either with a special trip to Tuscaloosa from Wednesday to Friday.
2.) I plan to log my business hours in Squarespace (website platform) as I work this upcoming week. I dread every Sunday night having to gather all of my notes where I have worked and then organize them into the 4 categories (content, research, with clients, and marketing). If I will enter the hours throughout the week (instead of totaling all on Sunday), I won't dread Sundays anymore.