Putting Myself First

I find myself floundering a bit lately, struggling with sticking to my plans. I’ve been tired, which doesn’t help, but even when I head to bed early it seems even that plan doesn’t work — the kids or my bladder end up waking me up during the night, so I don’t get a full night’s sleep. I’m still being productive, but it’s with more computer-related, passive tasks. My cleaning project seems to be stuck on hold, as I just don’t have the energy or motivation to get much done. And that’s not good news for my goals!

So what’s a girl to do? I’ve already made some adjustments in my planner. I’ve attempted to get more rest, to no avail. I make half-hearted attempts at pushing myself, but I don’t seem to get anywhere. The only times I’m interested in cleaning are when I’m at work or busy doing other things. During my actual free time I find I’m drawn toward other activities.

This has happened before. It happens periodically. And the best way to break the cycle is usually to grab hold of even the slightest bit of motivation and push myself to be active. The less I do, the less I want to do — I’m pretty that’s the same for everyone. So if I let myself get away with not cleaning, I’m not going to want to clean. But if I start getting back into the routine, then I’m more motivated overall. It’s a solid strategy that has worked in the past. Still, I think this time around more is going on.

I have a feeling that at least part of the reason this has happened now is that I haven’t been taking care of myself very well physically. Yes, I’ve pushed myself to get a lot done, resulting in fatigue, but that’s not the problem. The problem is a poor diet, lack of exercise, and low water levels. I’ve been eating too much sugar, drinking too little water, and the exercise plan I set for myself months ago has long since fallen by the wayside, a byproduct of a messy house; I need to clear out space in the basement (a big part of my cleaning project) so I have actual room to exercise.

So here’s the plan: grab hold of any motivation I can get, get cleaning again (with the focus on the basement to start), begin again on my exercise plan, and cut back on the snacks (and work on portion control — I know I’ve been eating too much overall at meals). I also need to start using my water jug again so I drink more water.

The good news is that this plan doesn’t really require more work. The cleaning was already planned, and, technically, the exercise plan was already written down in my planner, too (it just wasn’t getting checked off). Snacking, portion control, and water consumption are a mental adjustment, not a schedule adjustment, so they won’t take up any more time than eating and drinking usually do. If I can get myself in the right mindset, things should just fall into place.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in work, the to do list, the many projects I have planned. But, obviously, if I don’t take care of my body, the rest just falls apart. Sometimes I just need to put myself first. Maybe it’s time to add that to the to do list.

Pushing and Prodding

Sometimes I lack the energy, motivation, or desire to do what I have scheduled in my planner. Not surprising — I am human, after all. When this happens, though, I have to decide how to proceed. I am very committed to my projects and goals, but I don’t want to be miserable in the process, either.

Often I’ll give myself two options: push myself to start the project anyway, or let myself do something else productive. If I push myself, my experience has been that I’m usually fine after a few minutes. Once I get going on something, my energy and motivation pick up, and I’m able to make progress on that day’s project — sometimes even more than I had originally planned. But, if I really don’t want to push myself (or I lack the resources, such as time and energy, to work on the project), I will let myself work on a different task or project, as long as I’m being productive and still moving toward my goals.

A day or two of working on something else won’t set me back much, especially if I swap days (work on something I was going to do a different day anyway, then plan on doing the original plan on that day). But if I keep pushing off the original project, then I start slipping and falling behind. That, unfortunately, has been the case the last few days.

While I have been productive — making items for my craft fairs, updating one of my websites, taking care of some smaller tasks that needed doing — I’ve been falling behind in my cleaning project. I had had it penciled in to my planner for the last two weeks, and this coming week, and then I had hoped to have the bulk of it done, leaving me open to work on another big project and fit in cleaning periodically in smaller doses. But, since I have been doing other things instead, I may have to extend the cleaning project, pushing everything else later (and setting me back in other ways).

So what can I do to get back on track? The original plan I had had for myself was carefully though out, letting me meet goals I had set for myself in a timely manner. If I push things back, I will either have to scramble to meet my goals or have them met late. Since I have certain deadlines (like the craft shows I have booked in November), making them later may not be as beneficial. It seems, then, that the better option would be to fit in some extra cleaning time when I hadn’t had it scheduled. That will mean pushing some other items I had planned, but, if I push items that are not as pressing, it should work out.

It looks like I’ll have to sit down with my planner again and really figure things out. If only I had complete control over my energy and motivation levels! But, since I don’t, I’ll have to take care of things as best I can. And hope it all works out!

Growing Pains

When a business grows quickly, it experiences what are called “growing pains.” This means problems, struggles, glitches, random issues — all as a result of the rapid growth the company wasn’t fully prepared for.

In some ways I feel I’m like a company, with departments that each handle a particular responsibility and then combine to create me as a whole. There’s the Mom department, the Wife department, the Housekeeping department, the Creative department, the Business department, and more. Within each department are smaller divisions that handle more specific tasks — each child, each project.

When Emily came along, the Mom department experienced some growing pains, as did the Housekeeping department. Each time I add a new craft I want to try or novel I want to write, the Creative department experiences some struggles. And right now the Business department is protesting with pain, demanding more help from a Home Office who is stretched thin already.

Over the past week or so I’ve struggled with balancing the different departments as I add more tasks and more urgency to the Business department. Adding a new job in the form of Usborne consultant certainly created the biggest issues, and yet I’m excited about it and want to make it work. At the same time my websites are sitting on the sidelines, waiting for progress to be made. And I have two craft shows coming up that are asking me to put other things on hold and take care of the items I have to finish making, signs I have to create, and general prep work that I have to take care of.

Of course these business tasks are competing for my attention with the Mom and Housekeeping departments. I have to make sure my children are loved and taken care of. I have my huge house cleaning project that takes up time. And this crazy week that involved a birthday party, a launch party, two days off from school for Avery (and the resulting child care issues), doctors’ appointments, and making up hours for my day job because of all the craziness, is making Home Office go completely bananas. Home Office wants to completely shut down and take a vacation. Home Office wants to take all the departments, throw them out the window, and curl up in a dark room and sleep.

Usually when Home Office gets overwhelmed like this, it needs to step back and evaluate the situation. Perhaps some restructuring needs to be done. Perhaps we need a business plan. More meetings or less meetings. A change in management is not an option, so we have to make do with what we’ve got. But perhaps some management training would be beneficial.

All in all, the company knows it will make it through. And, while growing pains may be difficult in the interim, the end result will be a happier, more successful, more productive company as a whole. And, really, what more can we ask for?


My moods and motivation levels vary, same as everyone else. Currently, though, I’m in a bit of a motivated, take charge mood. I’ve decided my motto for the next couple of months is going to be “less on the to do list, more on the done list.” That means I’m working on clearing up projects and tasks that have been hanging around for far too long. It means getting to a point where the daily tasks – dishes and laundry and tidying up – are just part of my routine, not a monumental obstacle that needs to be dealt with around the other monumental obstacles.

As I believe I’ve mentioned previously, a big part of this is cleaning. I’ve made a decent dent in the disaster area that was our basement, but there’s still a long way to go. Plus I need desperately to tackle the bedroom, which has become home to bags and boxes of miscellaneous stuff that needs real homes. Then, once the house is mostly cleaned and organized, it’s time to tackle the deep clean and renovation stuff. We have mice debris to clean up (and, as a result, carpet cleaning to do, ceiling tiles to replace, and lots of dusting and wiping down to take care of).  There are shelves I want to put up in the mud room to get more organized for supplies and kids’ stuff. We’re separating Avery’s room into two separate rooms (not a permanent division, but a pretty solid one), so there’s some light renovation work there. His room was originally two rooms (you can see where the second door was, and between the two sections of his room is really just a wide doorway) so it’s not as big a task as it sounds, but it still has to get done. This will not only give Avery a smaller room – and hopefully a cozier feeling so he doesn’t get as scared at night – but also a separate living space should we opt to pursue foster parenting.

Though these projects are definitely the most pressing, I also have three websites that are crying out for help. For two I have a lot of content that just needs to be posted, but getting the content ready to post is time-consuming. The third needs more content written and posted. The two that have content written — A Life You Want and Your Gift Finders — I was hoping to have at least mostly completed before my craft shows in November, but I’m not sure if that’ll happen. If I could at least have them done by the end of year I’d be at least somewhat happy (but I’d really prefer earlier!).

I also still have some items to post on eBay, some items that need to go to the consignment shop, and bags and bags of cans and bottles that need to get redeemed. So many tasks that I JUST WANT DONE! Hence my motto. Now if I could only get the kids to cooperate so I can make some real progress….


A Little Hectic

So my Usborne Books Launch Party was last night. I think it went pretty well. A bit nerve-wracking, though, considering the party was in a format I was unfamiliar with and discussing a company and product I’m still learning about! Still, I think I put the tools and resources I had to good use and presented myself and the books well. Now I just have to wait for orders and bookings to (hopefully) come trickling in. The party doesn’t officially close until tonight, so there’s still time.

The party was the last step in a very hectic weekend. Saturday was Emily’s birthday, so we wanted to do some fun stuff with her, which we did. But Avery was so excited about Emily’s birthday that he was a bit off the wall, not behaving. They both fell asleep on the way home from New Haven (where we had gone to visit a farm and check out the animals), and Emily woke up later than I would have liked, which meant the last-minute trip to ShopRite happened later than I would have liked, which meant Emily went to bed later than I would have liked (Avery was sleeping over Nana and Vovo’s house). That meant I had less time to take care of the prep work for my launch party, and, of course, I was having issues uploading a couple of videos I had made to my computer. Then yesterday we had a party for Emily, which meant last minute preparations and gathering things together to bring over my parents’ house, then heading over to set up. A few hours later we’re heading home, with Emily falling asleep in the car, and a tired (and a little cranky) Avery just about ready for bed, though he needed dinner and some stories first. Just as he’s winding down, Emily wakes up. Ahh!! I’m finally able to settle at my computer about an hour before my launch party — with videos still to upload, thanks to difficulties uploading them that morning, too. Add a few butterflies and some last-minute anxiety, and it was a frantic evening.

In retrospect I probably shouldn’t have scheduled the launch party for the same day as Emily’s party. I knew it was going to be tricky. But if I hadn’t, I would have had to push it a week, and taking into consideration some incentives by the company, I wanted to get things going as soon as possible.

Now I get to spend the next week or two playing catch-up, taking care of the things I should have been working on over the last week, while I was trying to get ready for my launch party and learn enough to make it successful. Plus I know I’m going to have to do some work from home for my day job, thanks to Avery having 2 days off from school this week (Columbus Day and Yom Kippur). When it rains, it pours! But I can’t really complain, because I know it will all work out. And, despite the chaos, everything this weekend worked out pretty well, too. Emily had fun on Saturday, the birthday party was a success, the launch party went well.

With the crazy weekend over, now I can settle back into my routines and move forward with my goals. Let the daily grind begin!

A Little Buggy

OK, this is going to sound very strange, but I have a bug — a centipede — that has been popping up in my life periodically since shortly after college. It likely isn’t the same bug, but it sure looks like it, and I only see it around the time changes take place in my life (i.e. before a job change). I’d like to think it’s a little guardian angel — albeit in a strange form — looking out for me in times of upheaval. In reality, it’s probably just a type of bug I see once in a while and I’m applying greater meaning to it. Why?  Who knows?

The reason I bring it up is that I saw it yesterday at work. And, since I have decided the bug means change is coming, I’m curious as to what changes are in store. There are plenty to choose from: Kevin definitely losing his second job (though we’re not sure when), the start of my Usborne business, possible foster parenting, anything that could involve my books or business, our finances, the kids…the list goes on and on. Since the change is usually positive, I’m remaining hopeful. Maybe we’ll win the lottery! Though it isn’t usually so dramatic.

I know, I know, this sounds weird, even for me. Here I am talking about a bug on a blog that is about taking charge of my life and making changes. But I guess you can take it as a message. This bug is really just a symbol, a sign to myself that changes are in the works. Even if it’s all in my head, how I interpret something can be even more important than the symbol or sign itself. If I take it as an omen, perhaps I’ll take the steps necessary to make change happen. How many people believe in signs? How many people tell themselves “if I see this, then I’ll do this” or “if this happens, I’ll know I’m supposed to do this“? I’ve done it before, when I can’t make up my mind or I’m uncertain if I’m doing the right thing. It’s a way of making nature, God, fate, whatever you want to call it take the blame if things don’t work out. It’s a kick in the butt, an affirmation, motivation to do something.

So I saw this bug. What will change as a result? Probably whatever I want. I can decide. I can pick which endeavor I want to throw myself into, helping to determine its success.It is, after all, my life. And while yes, some things will happen to me that are out of my control, the vast majority of my life is a result of decisions I make, choices.

So which change should I take the leap with? Now there’s a tough decision. And no bug can make it for me. All I know is something is going to happen. But knowing me and my life, can anyone say they’re surprised?


When you have many items on your to do list, it’s important to prioritize. Which items are most urgent? Which items are most important? Sort items in order of importance and address the most important items first.

Ha! Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple? But throw a few million items on the to do list, with some urgent, some important, some meaningful, some affecting other items that are important, some affecting other people who are important, and it all becomes a jumbled up mess. That is my current dilemma.

I had had everything settled. My planner was all organized with time to take care of the projects and other things I cared about. I was able to fit it all in, with even a little wiggle room here and there. Then stupid me had to go and add more stuff, shift some things to a higher priority, and set deadlines on myself. Now I’ve been “tweaking” and “adjusting” and trying to make it all work again. Easier said than done.

So prioritize. Currently the most urgent matter is my Usborne business. I’ve set my online launch party up (for this coming Sunday – gasp!), and I’m hoping to book a few parties through that. That means I have to actually learn and figure out what I’m doing! I know next to nothing about these products so far, so I’m going to have spend the next few days learning about the business and the products so I can be successful. Of course I was planning on learning all that anyway, but now I have a deadline and a sense of urgency when before I had planned on easing myself in a bit. But of course companies want you to set goals, with incentives if you get things done quickly, so it’s not quite as laid back as I had initially intended. I shouldn’t be surprised though, and I’m not, really. I just should have set aside the time before I jumped in.

I’m not worried about the products. It’s the procedures I’m worried about — setting up the party in the system, making sure orders are handled properly, making sure I know the policies and information before the party so I don’t mislead people. I know my team leader will be able to help throughout the process, but it’s still a little nervewracking!

The other pressing item on my to do list at the moment is cleaning the house. As I mentioned previously, Kevin and I are considering applying to become foster parents. A big part of the process is ensuring a suitable home environment for the kid(s) we would be fostering. Currently our house is in not in the best condition. We have mice to clear out, clutter to clear and organize, deep-down cleaning to take care of, room dividers or walls and doors to put up…the list goes on. And, of course, knowing how well I work on a deadline, I set one for us. The plan is to spend October cleaning and organizing and figuring things out, so come November we can decide if we want to proceed, without the house issue hanging over us. The cleaning has to be done anyway; this just provides a sense of urgency — not a bad thing as far as I’m concerned, though at the moment it’s competing for my attention a bit with the Usborne stuff I mentioned above.

And let’s not forget the other goals I had set for myself: getting websites up and running and making items to sell. The deadline for those? Well, ideally, in time for the craft shows I have scheduled, which take place in November, on the 4th and 19th. So prep work for those is conflicting with the aforementioned items, as well.


Ok, Nessa, breathe. Whenever I get overwhelmed and stressed and frustrated, the best thing to do is step back and come up with a plan. So that’s what I shall do.

First up is maximizing the time I have. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been tweaking my sleep schedule so I get sufficient sleep, while getting sleep in the right increments (1 1/2 hour increments seem to work best) to ensure I wake up energized instead of groggy. Working with these times I’ve had a little more time in the evenings, and a little more time in the mornings. As long as my sleep hasn’t been interrupted too much by the kids, I do pretty well. I was able to tackle a bit of clutter in the basement yesterday morning, and I was able to tackle some Usborne party prep this morning before I sat down to blog. I have a long way to go, but it’s a start.

Next up is figuring out when I’ll do what. I’m trying to keep the bulk of my initial plans in tact. I still have a bunch of projects to handle, and I don’t want to fall behind on some old things just because I’ve set deadlines for new things. So I’ve mostly taken mornings — time that wasn’t being maximized — and fit in Usborne and cleaning tasks. Depending on how much time I end up with I may have to alternate days, or I can handle some Usborne stuff before I tackle some cleaning stuff. Either way I’ll move forward with both. Websites and product creation were already factored in to my initial plans, so, as long as I stay on track with those plans in the evenings, I should be OK.

Am I nuts? Probably. But I thrive on challenges. I work well with deadlines. And I certainly won’t get bored! Somewhere in my crazy little mind I’m convinced I can get it all done. And I may just have enough determination to make it happen. I guess only time will tell!