Sunday, November 12, 2017

I Think 2018 Is Going To Be My Year. Between Now and Then, I Need To Make Some Changes.

I've said it before. I'm going to say it again. This time of year, I get a bit reflective because it's almost December. The last month of the year. I think back to the changes and goals I had set forth to make and accomplish this year. Where I was in January. Where I am now. My strengths. Weaknesses. Areas I could have done better in. Other areas I flew by with a stream of rainbow colors tailing me. The curveballs. Obstacles. How I can be a better Work at Home Dog Mom. Other personal stuff.

This year, my intervals of reflection are hitting me hard. I know I didn't reach a lot of my goals. We had a few big changes this year that altered my schedule and threw me off. Way. Off. I struggled to get back on track. I'm still struggling.

On the flip side, a lot of great stuff happened too. Our family got a little bigger in March when Willa joined our family. After years of hard work and dedication, and completing a management training program, Lisa was promoted to management the end of May. Our DIY Dog Mom Projects have been in full swing.

That's just the tip of the iceberg on both angles. 

I think I'm being harder in my reflective states this year because I know that in order to reach my goals and be successful next year, I need to make some changes...

1. More focus. Fewer distractions. I can't tell you how many times I've sat at my desk, witnessed the success of this person and that, and thought, "How the hell did they have time to publish a book or start a business or get affiliated with all of these big companies?" I know the answer to that. They stay focused. They didn't allow for petty distractions. They worked hard. Busted their ass. And everything between. I can do the same and then some. I have over a decade of experience under my belt. It's time I utilize that. For me. For us. For our family.

2. Stop creating distractions. While we're on the topic of distractions, I'll be the first to admit that I have a bad habit of creating them. From hosting outdoor gatherings to dinner parties, I need to seriously tone it down. I also need to take a step back and ask myself a few questions. Who's been consistent with having us over as much as we have them over? Why does everything need to happen here? How much work is involved before and after? As of now, there is only one person who embraces, "the road travels both ways." Not only does she have us over for dinner too, she's been the only one to help with cleanup after a party or gathering.

3. Adjusting my schedule. Due to Lisa's work schedule and other unexpected happenings that surface throughout the week, etching a schedule in granite is not an option for me. However, I can adjust my daily schedule enough to get things done in a more timely fashion. For example, during the day when the neighborhood kids are in school, it's relatively quiet around here. I know that I can get work done that requires quiet time. If it's after the hour of 2:30, or the neighborhood kids don't have school on a particular day or they're on vacation, I need to tackle work stuff that isn't halted by noise. That would include DIY Dog Mom Projects, baking biscuits, housework, etc.

4. Making a list of what needs to be done on certain days. I've been working on sporadic 6-week projects for a client over the past year or so. Because of that, I have deadlines throughout the week. I've met every deadline. I've never been late. I've never rushed through a deadline because I got distracted. I need to apply this same discipline to other stuff. Blog posts. Creating a new, homemade dog treat recipe every week. Social media. Marketing. Reaching out. Grabbing potential opportunities. Increasing my traffic. Updating Facebook pages. Working on my books. Getting DIY Dog Mom Projects completed every week so I can sell them. Taking time out every day to take photos of the kids. Etc.

5. Figuring out a sleep schedule. For the past 4 years, I've stayed up on the overnight to get work done that requires silence. I'd work at my desk all night until Lisa got up for work at 3:30 a.m. I'd usually fall asleep around 5 a.m. and wake to my alarm that sounded off at 10 a.m. Prior to Lisa's promotion, she usually worked until 2:30 p.m. and was home 20 minutes later. Sometimes, she'd get out earlier.

Lisa was home to take care of our kids when the neighborhood kids got home from school. I was able to continue working for a bit. Then, I'd grab a 1-hour nap either before or after dinner. That, along with a strong cup of coffee, would get me through the overnight. Since her promotion the last week of May, that all has changed. Sometimes, she has to get up at 3:00 a.m. for early in. Most days, she doesn't get home before 5 p.m. At times, it's later.

What that all boils down to is I don't get that 1-hour nap in. It made a big difference. And, my workday ends when the neighborhood kids get home from school. To compensate for losing that 2 hour work time, I have set my alarm for 8 a.m. instead of 10 a.m. Most days, I'm barely getting 2-3 hours of sleep. And, that results in me dozing off on the overnight. Every. Single. Night. I've dozed off in the middle of typing a sentence for a blog column.

6. Improved organization. Last week when the energy efficient crew was here to do some work on our home, the lead person commented on how clean our home was. I forced a smile and said, "Thank you." Yes, our home is clean. I do housework every single day. But, it's not as organized as it could be. Or, how I need it to be. I work at home. I have mild anxiety. Any type of clutter irritates the hell out of me. It culminates into a massive distraction. This is why I do a seasonal cleaning. Most people do Spring cleaning. Not me. I do Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall cleaning. This year I've slacked because since April, we've planned on repainting all of the walls in our home. I figured we'd conquer both tasks at once. Our latest attempt was in October. That didn't happen. So now, I need to go through certain areas of our home and get them organized.

7. Defending my work. Everything I do as a Work at Home Dog Mom is important including, at the front of the line, taking care of Lisa and our kids. From housework to meal prep to blog columns and client work, it all contributes to the greater good and well being of our family. That also extends to the work Lisa and I do aside from our usual work stuff. DIY Dog Mom Projects. House and Pet sitting for neighbor friends. Baking Biscuit Love. Making Bodacious Care Packages for pet parents in need. The. List. Goes. On. My "busy" is just as important as everyone else's "busy." My "busy" is just as significant as everyone else's "busy." I need to stop thinking otherwise.

8. Relinquishing the fear. Fear is a distraction. It's my number one culprit of writer's block. I need to shift my perspective. The work I do is good stuff. Writing. My books. Blog columns. New, homemade dog treat recipes. DIY Dog Mom Projects. Photos. Etc. I will never succeed in pleasing the masses. Some will like what I create and write. Others won't. That's okay. My current and eventual audience reflect and will reflect that. That gives me the utmost sense of pride.

What do making these changes entail? Well, that's a whole other blog post. But, until then, I feel motivated, on track, focused on what's important, and determined to meet a lot of goals. And, I'm SO looking forward to December 9th.

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