Motivational Mondays, Uncategorized

Do we NEED a following?

Long ago, in a place far away, Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage.”  Little did he know how much truth would be found in that statement in the age of YouTube and Instagram stories.  A little over a year ago, Jon Acuff wrote a post, “The old rules don’t apply” and the following paragraph really struck me:

When my grandfather was my age, he couldn’t build an audience easily. What would he have done? Run for local government? Try to get a radio show? Write for the city paper? He couldn’t reach a million people with a tweet. He couldn’t live broadcast from his own house with his own phone. He couldn’t sell something on Amazon.

The conclusion of the article is that now we CAN build an audience easily.  We don’t have to run for local government.  We don’t have to get a radio show at a radio station.  We don’t have to write for the city paper.  We CAN reach a million people with a tweet.  We CAN broadcast from our home on our phone.  We CAN sell things on Amazon without ever actually seeing or touching those things.

I guess the question I have is although we CAN do those things, SHOULD we?  Don’t get me wrong.  I am obviously typing this on a blog, trying to reach people and establish a following.  I love listening to podcasts.  I have a Twitter account.  And I have tried selling things on Amazon (failed miserably, but I tried).  But, our world has become so much about “likes” and “followers” and “vlogs” and “pods” that we often fail to give those who are actually going through life WITH us (not following us, but walking along side of us) enough time and attention and love.  I also fear that we have lost our ability to move through life quietly and contentedly.  And I fear that our society has now become more likely to reward those with large followings than those with large hearts or large minds.

What does it do to us when our values are more tied to how many strangers follow us and like us more than giving to others or making the world a better place.  It is hard to be a parent in these days.  It is hard to be a teacher in these days.  It is hard to be a human in these days.  Changing our focus towards the One we follow rather than how many followers we have will be helpful.  So, this week, I plan to do just that.  Stop focusing on posting things on Facebook to be liked.  Stop worrying about whether my blog is being read by many or only a few and focus more on the message I am sharing with others.  Stop looking backwards for followers and start looking up to follow the One who leads best.

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Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday -First Week of Summer Plan

That’s right, summer is here!

summer-time-1405961228GHz

This first week of my summer break is sure to be full, though.  Today is Memorial Day and it is our first day of 100s in a while, so we’re probably staying inside for the most part.  I’m still cleaning and grading and grading and cleaning.

Tomorrow is the end-of-school-year field trip to a local park and I’m driving/chaperoning.  So, three hours will be taken up doing that.  I also have some clean up work I need to do at work, so I will go do that between field trip and pick up time (an hour and a half or so).  Wednesday, I scheduled the dog for a bath, flea treatment, etc. at Noon while DD is at school.  Thursday is the last day of school, so DD gets out at Noon and we’re having her friend over for a sleepover (we did one last year with her as well).  So, I’m trying to figure out what to do with them for 24 hours (Noon is early!).  We are thinking Round Table for dinner and probably some sprinklers since it is going to be hot, maybe a movie…we’ll see.  Friday, we leave for our mini-vacation to Monterey for our pre-hospital enjoyment.  Monday is pre-op in the morning and then Tuesday is pacemaker placement surgery.  Then, hospital for four to seven days (or so they say).

We went to the library yesterday and loaded up on books (I got three, DD got five and has already finished one).  We are also reading the Wizard of Oz together (and that should take a while) and we got the Barnes and Noble classics with five novels in it, so we may just continue on through the four other Oz novels after we finish the original.  I need to get the house clean and type up a list of things the house/pet-sitter needs to do before Friday.  I have filled in my summer calendar with the Dollar movie choices (lots that my DD would like to see), my trip to San Diego for my grant workshop (and DD will stay with my in-laws in Bakersfield, so we’ll drive down and maybe stay a couple of days after), some Michael’s craft workshops, two different art camps, one ice cream camp, one cooking camp, a camping trip with friends…so, we have a full summer planned already!  It is strange to be able to make summer plans because the past three or four summers I have been dealing with a sick parent and the need to be flexible.  This summer, I only have to worry about DD’s recovery, which should be relatively easy (fingers crossed).  It will prevent swim lessons until more towards the end of summer, but I might just go back to enrolling her during the Winter at our swim school to insure she knows how to swim safely by her 8th birthday and can maybe do summer swim team next year.  I will probably try to spend some weekends helping my sister with my parent’s house that she has been doing a ton of work on to get it ready for sale as well.

So, overall, I’m happy summer is here, I’m happy to have a plan and I’m looking forward to the next 10-12 weeks or so!

What about you?  Do you have summers off?  Are you planning anything fun and/or exciting?

Motivational Mondays

Ch…ch…ch…changes – taking first (baby) steps

Welcome to Monday, which right now looks a lot like Saturday and Sunday in my world.   But, that is all going to come to a screeching halt next week and we’ll be slammed forward into a new school year – no air bags provided.

are you ready-!-

I’m not.  I hope to be more ready six days (!) from now when my DD starts back to school (I can’t believe she’ll be in First Grade…there was many a day when I wondered if she would ever come home from the hospital, and now she’s going to be a First Grader!).  I hope to be even MORE ready when I start back to teaching thirteen days from now (holy cow – that’s less than two weeks people!).  BUT…I’m not going to try to do the same things I’ve done in the past (which haven’t worked and I think Einstein was a pretty smart guy and he says its insane to continue doing the same things and expect different results).  So, I’m really trying to do things differently.  What am I doing differently?  Well, let me tell you!

  1. I am NOT trying to do every possible Pinterest perfect project for back-to-school.  We got my DD’s First Day of School outfit today and I’ll make a sign for her to hold before leaving that morning so I can take a picture.  That’s it.  No best breakfast or special lunch or crazy pre-first day party.  So, in a more wholistic view of things, I am being REALISTIC.
  2. I am starting a routine THIS week instead of trying to start on the first day of school.  My DD THRIVES on routines.  She loves a list and completing the list is a serious big deal for her.  So, I took an archived Kid’s Routine from My Simpler Life, changed it up a small bit and printed it out for her last night.  I posted one upstairs and one downstairs and she has one she can carry around with her.  It includes all the things I need her when school kicks in, but she is doing all the other stuff this week.  So, when school starts, she will already have a routine and will just add in school.  Brilliant!  She’s loving it so far.
  3. I am prepping my classes COMPLETELY for at least the first month of school.  I’m hoping that I can get even further than the first month, but four weeks being completely done and posted on Blackboard with notes in my day planner for what needs to be printed out or added in, etc. will be awesome.  Most of the time, I’m trying to do this the weekend before school starts and I never get it done, so I end up flying by the seat of my pants in at least half the classes and trying to make technology work for things that it doesn’t really work for and getting frustrated and overwhelmed.  So, now I have almost two weeks to get it all done and I think that will be enough time (I already have one class done through Week Three and just a couple of more things to add for Week Four).
  4. I am really looking for places to delegate.  This is a HUGE weakness of mine.  Part of it is my lack of organization makes it difficult for me to hand things off to other people.  I’m either so late doing things that I need to do it myself because it would take too long to bring someone else in on it or I can’t get my $#@! together enough to make it understandable to someone else and when I do, it is an abject failure which makes both them and me feel bad.  So, I’m trying to get ahead of the game, figure out where I need help and asking for it in plenty of time (e.g. babysitting in three and a half weeks – I need that…and I can start figuring out who is available now; having dinners figured out so I can tell my hubby what to do to get it on the table while I’m at work).

The book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is really changing my life.  And I’m only through 41 of 220 some pages!  I feel like Crystal Paine GETS me.  I’ve read other books and they always seem to be saying, “just do this and everything will be great.” and I would try to do the things and it wouldn’t be as easy as they said and everything was not great.  But, she makes it clear that it isn’t going to be easy and its going to require changes and we need MARGINS (spaces for us to make mistakes and still recover – time cushions, planning for disasters that are sure to occur, etc.).  It isn’t something that I haven’t heard before, but the way she says it is in MY language.

Anyways…I’m really trying to get to bed by 11 p.m. every night and up by 6 a.m. everyday.  Getting on that schedule/routine myself before school starts.  So, I’ve got to hit the hay.  Although I’m terrified, I’m also excited about the new school year and what it will bring.  I just hope I can stick with some of my new found baby steps!

What about you?  What are you doing, if anything to prepare for the new school year/new season?

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday – I Missed You…

still alive

Just in case you were wondering.

It has been a while.  I was really hoping to be more consistent here, but when stuff piles up, this goes to the bottom of the pile.  So, I haven’t been in a while.  But, today is Monday.  A new week.  It is the first Monday in May.  A new month.  The end of the semester is drawing nigh and I am looking at summer break with a bit of drool on the side of my mouth.  This semester has been a rough one (gee, I seem to say that a lot come the end of the semester).  But, once again I appreciate the teaching benefit of getting to “start over” each semester with new students and a clean slate.  I’m hoping the Fall 2015 slate stays cleaner longer than the Spring 2015 slate did, but who knows.

So – this week’s agenda is busy, busy, busy.

WORK:

At work, we have our end-of-year celebration for Speech and Debate on Wednesday.  So, I need to get graduation gifts, going away gifts (my Assistant Coach got a full time job at the local CC, so she is moving on), student awards (certificates were not printing right today, so I need to figure that out tomorrow and then have my student assistant get them all in frames on Wednesday) and then we’re Karaokeing (is that a word?) at a local restaurant that is frequented by retirees (we have quite a few under 21, so most of the Karaoke in town is out of bounds for them).  It should be interesting.  I might find someone to talk Murder She Wrote with there.  🙂

I also have committed to really working on getting my grading done for Chico State tomorrow.  That way, I can give everything back during the last class meeting on Wednesday.  It seems kind of insane to even think about being able to do that, but it would be so wonderful to have it out of the way before finals week.  We’ll see how much I actually get done.

My other classes are pretty much on cruise control until Chico is done since they go for another two weeks after Chico is done.  Then I will have to get all of those graded.  Sigh…

HOME:

My mom has agreed to come up this weekend instead of us going there.  It should be better, but I need to get the house cleaned up.  Right now, it is pretty much a mess.  And my DH is leaving on Thursday morning for a work trip and will be gone until Monday night.  So, not much help there.  We’ll see how she deals with the stairs, etc., but hopefully it goes well.  So, there is laundry to do (lots of it), dishes to wash, vacuuming to do, dusting to do, etc. etc.  It is never ending around here.

This week is Teacher Appreciation week, so I volunteered to help with Bean’s school’s celebrations.  Tomorrow I am getting a traveler of Starbucks and a dozen bagels and some cream cheese from our local bagel place.  There is a potluck later in the week as well.  I want to help out because I really do love the teachers at Bean’s school.  But, tomorrow is going to be an early morning – I need to get it over to school around 7 a.m.

REFLECTION:

I’m feeling a bit better about things.  I’ve got my calendars up-to-date and relatively synced.  I am getting things done slowly but surely.  I’ve taken my boss’ advice after a meeting earlier this week and I now have a “To-Do list” on each day of my Google calendar on which I put the things that need to get done that day.  The stuff hasn’t got done everyday, but as she says, “as I move it from one day to the next, it makes me realize what really needs to be prioritized.”  So, I’m going to try to stick with this one and really start being more productive.  I’ve already noticed a difference, but I still don’t check it nearly enough and I forget things that are on the list.  But, baby steps.

So, there is my motivational Monday post, 9 minutes before Tuesday.  My goal for next week is to get the Motivational Monday post up more than 9 minutes before Tuesday.  As I said, baby steps.  🙂

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday – Spring Break Edition

pi joke

A little humor in honor of Pi Day this weekend.

Well, motivational Monday is upon me once again.  And once again, I am feeling a little lacking in motivation.  I am thankful it is Spring Break and I have no instructional duties for a week as I have a TON of grading to get caught up on and it would be nice to go back to school with it all graded and entered in the grade book and prepped through the end of the semester, which is actually spiraling towards us at break-neck speed it seems.  So, I guess I’m kind of motivated to do that.  I am also motivated (sort of – I’m feeling a bit ambiguous about my motivations versus my must-dos, but in the end, if I can converge those two things it would be great) to get all the laundry caught up and get the house somewhat clean and organized.  Oh, and I HAVE to clean up the backyard because the dog comes in with stickers all over her every time she spends any amount of time out there because of all the weeds.  So, yeah, my Spring Break is basically booked up.

But, I am also motivated to spend some quality family time doing things that are fun this week.  So, tomorrow we are heading an hour and a half north of us to Redding, CA to stay a couple of nights in a hotel (which, in itself would be enough for my DD) and go to Turtle Bay Exploratory Park (one of our favorite family outings, which we have annual passes to thanks to my in-laws) and maybe find a couple of other touristy things to do (although playing in the pool and reading and relaxing sounds like enough things to do for me).

Speaking of reading, I’ve been doing pretty good in that area.  I’ve already read three books since the beginning of the year, which is really good for me during the school year.  I’ve stayed off of Candy Crush at night and read instead and I’ve been motivated to finish books!  I’m excited about re-establishing my reading habits and I’m motivated to get as many books read this year as possible!  So far, I’ve read Inferno by Dan Brown, The Mangle Street Murders by M.R.C. Kasasian and Murder in Merino by Sally Goldenblaum.  I am currently reading The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons which seemed like a good read for Spring Break.

I think that motivation sometimes stems from desperation (the procrastinator’s way) and some of my motivation will be coming from that (laundry, grading, etc.), but other motivation stems from desire and that will be my motivation to read and spend quality time vacationing with my family.  So, I’ve definitely got some motivation going on this week.

What about you?  What is motivating you this week and what are you motivated to do?

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday –

Well, today’s motivation is a little low because I’m suffering from a cold and not looking forward to traveling with it in a couple of days.  To be honest, my usual motivation is much like a fire alarm – I get a note saying there is a deadline looming, so I do whatever that thing is.  But, as of late, that really isn’t working for me.  First of all, some things don’t come with a note that there is a deadline looming, so those things tend to NEVER get done.  And a lot of that stuff is stuff I would REALLY like to get done or I REALLY need to do.

So, I’m trying to figure out how to give myself meaningful deadlines on things to motivate myself to do them.  I’m just not good at fooling myself.  But, I’m also realizing how stressed out the way I’m living is making me.  And stress is not good for me.  I am trying to use the “act now” principle as often as possible.  But, often I can’t act immediately due to circumstances or other fires that I’m putting out.  So, that doesn’t always work.

But, I’m really trying to either “act now” or identify the time I will act and then follow through on that.  It isn’t always working, but I do seem to be making improvements.

I feel like I’ve read every time management and productivity book, blog and article out there, but nothing seems to work for me in the long term.  I start off strong and then fizzle out when things get overwhelming.  I think part of it is that I lack discipline, but part of it is also that I can’t find my “thing” that is really going to work for me.  I have been better about saying no to things this semester.  I’m consciously trying to not try to do everything (although it is often very tempting) and prioritize things to make it work better, but it hasn’t been easy.  There is so much cool stuff out there and people I’d like to help and things I’d like to do.  But, then I get bogged down in it all and I end up not doing anything at all.  So, making some choices will help me get things done in the end.

I really would like to do the 21 Day Fix (I failed at it the last time before I even got started), but the planning aspect seems totally overwhelming to me.  I can barely plan my life as it is, I can’t imagine having to plan the meals so far down to the measurements, etc.  So, I’m thinking that really won’t work for me.  I need something simpler.  I think Weight Watchers might work because it is just recording, not necessarily planning (although some planning has to happen to avoid running out of points on day 3 of the week, but not nearly to the level that is required for 21 Day Fix).  I need to do something because I’ve got myself scheduled to do a 5K in three weeks and then a mudder run in 3 months.  I need to get in better shape and start eating better.

I would also like to put together a budget and actually get on following it.  But, again, it seems a little overwhelming.  Which is ridiculous.  How simple is it to put together a budget?  But, it seems like a lot and then requires planning and follow up and all those things I’m not very good at doing.  Sigh…I really wish I could just have a personal assistant that I could hand everything over to and have them put it together and tell me what to do.  🙂  If only I were famous or wealthy or wealthy and famous.  I could probably get one of those.  I’m good at following instructions and doing what people tell me to do.  Maybe I just need a bossy, overly involved life-coach.  I wonder if I can find one of those on the internet…why yes, there is:

http://auntbossy.com/

http://www.yelp.com/biz/bossy-outsider-life-coaching-hanover

There is even a bossy nutritionist – that would probably help me out:

http://thebossynutritionist.com/

But, its relatively limited.  I think it may be that whole Ban Bossy problem.  No one wants to claim they are bossy…

Anyways, if you’re a bossy person who wants to use me as your test subject, I’m open to it!

What about you?  What’s your “thing” that keeps you on track?

 

Motivational Mondays

Motivational Monday #1 – I need this…

I-hate-Mondays

This is what I’m feeling like today.  I think my allergies are acting up (or I’m getting sick…so I prefer it to be allergies at this point), the pediatrician called today and the renal ultrasound we had done on Bean last week shows a thickening in her bladder (which could be the cause OR the effect of her recent UTIs) so we now have to go and see a urologist for her (by the time she turns 18 there may not be a type of specialist she HASN’T seen), I am still far behind in my grading considering all of my finals at one of my jobs are tomorrow and the others are in a short couple of weeks, and my house is a complete disaster, with piles in almost every room and just plain dirt and dust where there aren’t piles (and probably under said piles in all honesty), I have a bunch of laundry to do (how?  I feel like I’ve been doing laundry non-stop and I keep getting close to being done, then BAM it is all back again, piled up on our garage floor).  So, in short, I am feeling like Monday has me beat and I need some motivation in my life.  So, I’ve decided instead of Management Monday, I’m going to do a Motivational Monday with my favorite motivational pins from the past few weeks.  Enjoy – and if you need it, I hope you find some motivation here!