current status

Popping in to share a little life update:

  • We bought a house! Whoa. Much more to come on that experience, but we've mostly spent the past month working with our realtor, negotiating, closing and moving. And spending money, because apparently that's part of being a homeowner. It has been equal parts thrilling and overwhelming.
  • Our dog doesn't know what to do with a fenced-in backyard. He stands outside the door and looks around like, "Is it safe? What am I supposed to do, run around?" A cautious pug, indeed.
  • Though I haven't done a drop of personal writing (so much for that "write 500 words a day toward the novel" intention, whoops), I've been putting out a lot of work I'm proud of for The Everygirl, such as: what not to say to pregnant women, how to reduce stress during big changes (guess I should take my own advice), thoughtful ways to be a better ally to the LGBTQIA community, all the sexist shit I've heard over the years (*eye roll*) and all the places where icky germs lurk in your home.
  • Waiting on a couple of opportunities, so fingers crossed everything works out! (Yes, I'm being that mysterious blogger who will share more when I can . . .)
  • On that note, today I had a fantastic coffee-and-conversation morning with my friend Laura, who reminded me we all need a pep talk now and again. Creating is hard, lonely work. You get lots of no's for one yes once in a while, but the work is worth it.
  • I recently shared a whole bunch of personal stories on the Catch This Mama podcast, which was wayyyy outside my comfort zone but SO fun. Give it a listen if you have the time.
  • I'm an ambassador for the Des Moines Women's Half Marathon in May, though chances are very high I'll only run the 5K.
  • Working on two fun freelance projects with my friend Jami: one is a portrait + essay series of grandmothers and another is a story about siblings who run their own businesses. If you've got any good people for us to interview, let me know!
  • I got Invisalign. At age 30. It is really cramping my drink-coffee-all-morning style. How cool am I, though?
  • We had two birthday parties to celebrate Ezra turning one. I got real Pinterest-y and bought a sweet balloon set as our one decoration (going with the "one" theme, obv) and then promptly forgot to use it. He loved the boxes his toys came in. #winning
  • I'll be speaking at the next Des Moines Register Storytellers Project, on motherhood and ambivalence! Another speaking event that is not usually my norm, but I'm incredibly excited to participate.

It's going to be a busy spring <3

How to Work Your Best: Step 3

bizladies_how_you_work Step 3 of figuring out how you work your best means taking all the information from steps 1 and 2, and turning it into a plan.

Here are the tips offered by Design*Sponge (paraphrased by yours truly):

  • Block out your most productive, creative times on your calendar, and plot out priorities.
    • I'm literally blocking out my calendar for 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. every day to focus on my top priority, most creative projects. At the end of every day, I'm going to try to write my top 3 priorities for the next day, too. Often I'm rushing around and then arrive to work unfocused, then get distracted by email and "this must be done now!" stuff, and things get out of whack. Same with weekends -- I still want to relax and rejuvenate on the weekends, but I also want to set aside 1-2 hours for priorities I can't get to during the week. Like, free/creative writing and blog stuff, basically.
  • Work ahead of schedule.
    • This is really hard. But it feels oh-so-good to be on top of things.... so I'll try.
  • Create energizing space in your day.
    • I accidentally make this some sort of New Year's resolution every year, I've realized. Creating space can easily mean "doing absolutely nothing with a glass of wine in hand while watching Scandal because wine helps me relate to Olivia Pope better." That's okay, but I need to create energizing space. I usually do that through yoga but I want to include daily reading/writing space as well.
  • Let go of expectations.
    • Soooo pretty much a life practice in all areas, over and over.
  • Plan for the next day, energy-wise: what fills you up v. what sucks your energy away.
    • Sometimes I just set my schedule and agree to things without really thinking it through. For instance, I keep making plans on Monday nights when I know by 5 p.m. Monday I want nothing more than to go to yoga, do laundry and hang around the apartment. I never want to be social on a Monday night; I want to be a homebody to the max. Anything else steals my energy, whereas planning to be social on Wednesdays-Saturdays feels much more fulfilling and fun and I actually follow through on it. Same idea with work -- if I notice my tomorrow is full of meetings, I need to proactively think about how I can avoid momentary burnout throughout the day.
  • Know how you work best (because now you do!) and don't apologize for it.
    • I actually just had a performance review and got feedback about being a "quiet leader." I've struggled with this over the years, but honestly, I'm tired of apologizing for it and trying to be somebody I'm not. I'm a naturally quiet person; I'm a natural listener and thinker before a speaker and actor. It's good for me to push against this, but I also know that it's simply who I am. And I've done quite well thus far being that person!

In a week or so, I'll be back with an update on how this effort is going. If you're participating in this exercise, share your plan going forward!