Relax, Reflect, Recharge, Unclutter Your Life

Embrace Life


“Work smarter not harder”

Wouldn’t we all like to do that?  Wouldn’t it be great to get to the weekend and just embrace it?  Would’t it be nice not to worry about the work that didn’t get done during the week, or have a list of to do’s a mile long?  I envy people who can shut off work and just embrace the weekend (or their days off).  I figured they were better at time management or had a hidden stash of money so there was no stress in their life.  Crazy right?  Remember I am a struggling, recovering workaholic.


Over the last few weeks, I learned a little bit about working smarter, not harder.  I found that despite the brain fog as a result of health issues, I have been able to focus more, enjoy time with friends and family, and have some clarity in my work and my life.  For the first time in a LONG time working from home, I have put down the computer (and the phone) to watch a movie, do some household chores and actually read a book.

Did my business fall apart?  NO!  Did customers care that I didn’t answer their emails/messages right away? NO!  The truth is, my business kept moving forward.  The best part was that I didn’t feel burnt out, exhausted or stressed.  Did it happen overnight? NO!  It is still a work in progress?  YES!

It has taken weeks of trial and error, hard work, and paying attention to what feels good and what doesn’t to be able to get to this place.  The best part is that I have been able to change my schedule around so that I get to be present in my life.

Here are some things that have helped in the process

Embrace Three:  I have been working with Desiree Wolfe who routinely reminds me to make a list of 3 things that need to get done each week.  Then break down the tasks so that they are accomplished.  I also read parts of Greg McKeown’s book, Essentialism, which talks about only doing what is most essential.  Of course, there is also the need to get crazy comfortable with the word “no” which is still something that I am working on!

Setting boundaries around my routine: This is a tough one for me.  Protecting my time in the office is key.  I plan out my week based on what I need to get done, then I stick to the plan.  When someone says “what is on your schedule?”, I now gladly share that I’m working from X to X.  By setting up a schedule, I have been able to accomplish more AND break away to embrace life.  I mean wasn’t the whole idea of having your own business to have flexibility.

Building a business that aligns with how I work and live best:  This has been my goal ever since I started my business.  I wanted to find a way to blend my work (my passion) and my life.  With harmony in both, I am able to thrive.  I mean if momma’s not happy, no one is happy, right?

Losing the guilt: WOW!  This one is HUGE for me.  On the days that I do this, I’ve been able to work smarter, not harder.  I’m don’t feel guilty about being in the office for a few hours on hubby’s days off.  I’m don’t feel like I’m being lazy and complacent when I am reading a book or watching a movie. Fighting the inner gremlins of guilt and learning that self-care is important to not only embracing life but also to building my business.

No matter what your journey is, you need to know that it doesn’t always have to feel like an uphill battle.  You have permission to seek out how to work smarter, not harder.  It will take time, BUT the only way to get there is to start shifting your routine, schedule, and mindset.  Even baby steps will lead you to where you really want to be.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Business Tips and Tricks, Hope Wissel

An Entrepreneur Curse

monday morning

Happy Monday morning!  I am one of those rare breeds that likes Monday.  Mainly because it means the next two days I get to spend with hubby.  Monday and Tuesday are his weekend.  PLUS it is the start of a new week filled with new opportunities.

You may not feel this way if you are heading to a JOB, facing traffic and dreading your job.  I on the other hand have a 1-minute commute, get to work in my jammies until noon if I want, work any time of the day or night, and have my business phone and email at the tip of my fingers.

All of this sounds AWESOME, right?  It is and I LOVE my pink bubble.  BUT, it can also lead to some serious boundary issues – it’s can be an entrepreneur’s curse.

Some days there is no reason to climb out of the sweats, do my hair and put on a little makeup.  For someone like me who struggles with positive self-image, this can really mess with your head.  It allows Debbie Doubtful to make an appearance.   I don’t know about you but I feel and ACT like a totally different person when I’m up, dressed and have a little makeup on.

Having an office in your home and a smartphone that allows you to be within reach definitely blurs the lines of your personal and business life.  Ask hubby or my daughter how obsessed I can get with the phone checking emails and answering calls.  I know there are NO PURSE EMERGENCIES but you never know when that next call may be an AWESOME lead. Right??

Having set office hours is also a struggle for me.  I like to work in the early morning before most people are ready to head to work.  I often take a break during the mid-morning and early afternoon to spend time with hubby before he heads to work.  Then I am ready to go back into the office about 4PM till who knows what time.  Forgetting about dinner and life outside of my office.  Some may call it dedicated while others would say I am a bit crazy.  It would be great if being in my office ALOT always resulted in income producing activities.

So, I guess you have figured out the Entrepreneurial Curse, right?  The learning curve that involves setting boundaries and having some accountability to make sure that you stay within those boundaries.

Here are some things that I am trying to do to set those boundaries:

  • Set office hours that are blocked out so that everyone knows what they are.  Post them for all to see.
  • Along with office hours, block out time for income and non-income activities.  Things like tagging catalogs and stuffing envelopes can be done while I am watching TV, or when I am winding down from the day.  These kinds of “mindless” activities don’t need to be done in the office or by you if you have children.
  • Turning the phone to “sleep mode” on hubby’s days off when we are spending time together.  This allows for calls/ texts to come through from family but no one else.  Then I can check messages when it is good for me.
  • Share interests other than business with family and friends.

Being your own boss is the BEST job but it can also be a curse if you are not able to set boundaries.  I love being in my pink bubble and I often forget that not everyone wants to be in it 24/7.

The key here is always in the communication and setting the expectation for yourself and those who love you. So… what do you struggle with around boundaries and how are you going to fix it?!

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel


ask yourself

For many, today is the first day of school…. what does that mean?  For parents, a return to a routine with several hours to get things done while the kids are in school.  For kids, a dreaded day and the end of their summer fun.  Is it me, or do we manage our time better when we have a lot on our plate?

When Belinda was in school, I managed to get her off to school, commute to work (2 hours round-trip), home for  gymnastics (or cheering, which ever the sport was of the moment) practice for several hours, help with homework, maintain the house (with some dust bunnies), volunteer my time and run a part-time craft business.  It doesn’t look like a lot on paper but managing time was something that I had to do every day.  Everything got done and I never felt like I had an incomplete to do list or one that ran over into the next day.  Now that the school days are passed and the daily work pressure gone, I struggle.  The more time that I have, the less I seem to get done.  Does anyone else experience this?

My to do list tends to grow as I get lost in cyber-space.  You know that area, right?  You are just going to answer a few emails, then you get a notification about a Facebook post and you just have to respond and before you know it, several hours have gone by and your to do list has nothing scratched off.  Today, is a new day and a new start (okay, so you have heard it before)!

I saw an article by Peter Drucker, a management consultant, who recommended a two step process for managing time:

  1. Start with a list of where your time is going – a time journal.  I know, another way to waste time and get lost right? The truth is for many of us, we don’t know where the day goes.  How often do we say “how did it get to be 3PM?”.  By doing this the first step will be to cut back on unproductive demands on our time during the hours  that you want to work. For me, this means doing my devotions in the morning followed by blogging.  THEN I can read the rest of my emails and work on my to do list.  I need to stay away from Facebook or set a timer.  I know that Monday – Thursday, I have from 7AM – 11AM to get work done in the office before I get drawn into my hubby’s day.  Then I have time again when he leaves for work on Wednesday and Thursday.
  2. After you list the activities that you spend your time on, he suggested that we ask three questions about each of the activities:
  •  What would happen if this  task were not done at all? If nothing would happen, then the obvious conclusion is to stop doing it.  Easier said then done, right?
  • Which could be done by somebody else just as well?  Raise your hand if you are the “they just don’t do it right” type of person when you really mean, they just don’t do it YOUR way.  Hubby says, the “independent me” thinks that I need to do it all.  WRONG!  It is time to share the wealth.  It is time to let him do it, HIS WAY and as long as it gets done, it is okay.
  • What do I do that wastes my time without contributing to my effectiveness?  For me, I had to put this in the form of  “does this make money for me or is it a time waster?”.   When I am in my office, the tasks need to be helping me to build my business (and not just by making packets, etc.).

Now, that I have evaluated where and how I waste my time… I am ready to move forward, what about you?

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!