Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Ok, so I haven't written for a couple of weeks. There was nothing I really wanted to share, or admit to, so I avoided writing.

I hate to admit when my great ideas and plans are not working out so well. I had one wonderful week of plans flowing smoothly, then ....well, I'll spare you the whining. Suffice it to say that I have been derailed, partly by my work schedule and partly by myself and my own response to my work schedule, and other looming issues.

Maybe this is just the reality right now and I have to figure out and narrow down my priorities and focus on them and put blinders on to other creative endeavors, at least for now.  Or, maybe this is just a rough patch and I should keep trying to stick to the plan. It is a good plan and I really want it to work.

Ok, then. I am not ready to give up on the plan. Follow it, modify it, mess it up, be frustrated with it, get back to it, ...but don't give up on it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Dulicmer Days and Coyote Time

Welcome to my new year and my new challenge. Technically it is a 28 day challenge, yet I believe this will be a yearlong process. My goal is simple enough, to find a rhythym to my life that fits who I am at this point in my life. Easy right?!  Hardly!
My Dilema
My days are flexible at best. My 9-5 type job covers weekdays, weekends, and weeknights. There are family things I want to be available for, not to mention people I want to spend time with. Then there are things I want to do just because I want to do them, like continue learning to play the dulcimer and do more photography classes. For the business, there is blogging, card making, storefront creating, and so on.  And there is more, but you get the idea. So, what to do?
Lists & Schedules
I have written lists of what I would like to be able to get to and various schedule formats of how I might do all these things. I started with what I knew like work schedules and chiropractic appointments and such. Then I sort of worked the rest in. Writing these lists was as an exercise in possibilities. I am not a schedule follower per se, I am a visual person so seeing it all out there in writing helps me see how things could be worked out a little differently.
Beautiful Music, Getting There
I have been working out this rhythm since the beginning of the year and it is beginning to gel. Eventually all the pieces of my life will play like a beautifully orchestrated piece of music. Right? Well, at least until the next change and then there will be some tweaking of rhythm again.
The First Chorus
Here is what I have found in the first weeks of 2011.
I hope to incorporate these findings and changes into my life, not just for 28 days.
*No Input Time: a 15-30 minute transition relaxation time after getting home from work and doing the care and feeding of dogs and family. There is to be no computer, texting, magazines, etc.  No input.
*Coyote Time: I have named my stationary business Coyote Laughing Stationary so this is what I call time to work on my stationary/blogging/writing business. This is limited to 1 to 1 1/2 hours a night.
*What is The One Thing?: Each night when I am done working on business, I use a dry erase pen to write on a lovely glass picture frame, the one thing I need to do the next day that will get me closest to my goal.
*Family Time: Spend at least one hour a night with family, beyond dinnertime, or at least in an area where I am available.
*Fun Endings:Go to bed earlier so that I can read something just for the fun and enjoyment of reading it and not something for business, or even personal growth.
*Dulcimer Time: Practice dulcimer at least once a week. Dulcimer Time has come to represent any creative release time so it may be something other than, or in addition to playing the dulcimer.
*TV Night: I am in the bad habit of watching waaayyy to much TV, so I am cutting back to one TV night during the week. It is truly amazing how much more time becomes available for other things when the TV gets turned off.

That's it so far. Wish me luck. I'll check back in a week and let you know how it's going and if I have come up with a second chorus yet for Duclimer Days and Coyote Time.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Lessons From the 21 Day Challenge

Well, I'm back!  Life has been pretty good and pretty busy the last few weeks. I have been processing some of the things I learned during my 21 Day Challenge. I promised to share what I learned with you. So, here are some highlights, in sort of shorthand version.  Interestingly, most of what I learned was in the first week of the challenge.

To recap, the challenge was primarily to get me into the habit of doing something every day for my blog and business I am working on starting. In that respect, my challenge was very successful, but not as I imagined it would be. Early in the challenge I was given a large order for stationary from a friend. Much of my challenge was spent on that, which was great! However, I still have a lot to learn about blogging and haven't read or done my online "class" as much as would have liked.

  • Day 1 was all about commitment and sticking to my challenge. I had to be fully present and give it my full attention. And, planning for the next day quickly became essential.
  • Day 2   I realized that having a plan and a specific time set aside to be in my home office each day took away any anxiety of wondering what I would do and when I was going to get to the blog or stationary work. I had a plan. Come home, take care of the dogs, have my own dinner, relax a little, then blog and do stationary. Done! That was it.
  • Day 4 was a biggie. As I began the work on the order, it became very clear that I had been taking two steps forward and one step back since trying to blog and start a business. I was wasting time trying to catch up or relearn my software and was quite frustrated. So my lessons at this time were:
    • #1 Keep current. Use the tools of the trade each day, practice, craft, create...even if there is no order. Here is that word again...."commitment!"
    • #2  Focus. Use a 3x5 card system to keep ideas or some sort of system for future blogging/stationary ideas to prevent overload or forgetting good ideas.
    • #3 Prioritize. Decide the night before what will get me where I need to be. Give it one-two hours a night and then STOP! Sadly, I sometimes found myself working very long hours and getting exhausted with a full time job to get to the next morning. It is important for me to set some boundaries and then work hard within those boundaries of time and space.
  • Day 5 As I learned more about my software possibilities, I learned to track the details of an order I am creating such as what settings, filters, etc. were used. I also learned to keep a hard copy of each thing for my file.
  • Day 6 was a lesson in flexibility when I had computer issues and rather than give up, chose to work on other things instead.
  • Day 7 was all about multitasking. There are good kinds and there are not so good kinds of multitasking. An efficient example is when I am using the paper cutter while other things are printing. Blogging while watching TV is not so good. Insufficient focus is given to either thing and neither is enjoyable and both just consume time. Here it is again, commitment....be fully present to the task at hand.
Days 8-21 were mostly about putting these lessons into practice and about the details of using my software and keeping records of what I was doing. I think the first week set the stage for the rest of the challenge. 

Even though I haven't been blogging since my last post, I have been working. Well, and to be honest, enjoying time off with my family, too.  My next challenge has already begun and I will tell you about it next time. I hope it will go as well as the first one.