Self-Care Priorities

Last week, I wrote about the importance of having a “second passion” or hobby in life.  Balancing work life with creative life and family life can be challenging. Time management is so important. In order to de-stress, this blog stresses the importance of prioritizing and learning to put the most important things in life in the proper order. So here is a list to summarize on what should be near the top of your list. These are all things the most successful people do but they are also vital for self-care. if a person is not taking care of himself, then they will not ever be successful and productive. Here is a list of priorities to consider for your own personal self-care plan.

1. Make time for family and friends.
2. Exercise.
3. Pursue a passion.
4. Use your Vacation time to relax.
5.  Disconnect from technology periodically.
6. Volunteer.
7. Get enough sleep/Recharge.
8. Plan ahead.
9. Socialize.
10. Enjoy a hobby.
11. Network.
12. Reflect/ Meditate. Join a religion.
14. Laugh and smile more. Try better posture.
15. Celebrate success.
16. Stay hydrated.
17. Learn to listen better.
18. Eat healthier also enhance diet with anti-oxidants and amino-acids.
19. Learn/Try New Things.
20. Reduce clutter.

 

Self-care needs to be holistic. So think of all areas of your life: physical, emotional, spiritual, social, financial, recreational, close relationships and more. Here is a nice Self-care checklist from Lucille Zimmerman.

selfcarecheck

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Enjoy a Hobby

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 A Hobby Outside of Work

             It is great when we find a career that we enjoy. It is nice to get paid to do something you love doing. If you  are blessed to be in a position that you like, congratulations! Not everyone is passionate about what they are doing in the daily grind.  In any case, it is important to have a hobby away from or outside of work. This is for several reasons. First, having a “second passion ” or hobby in your life is extremely healthy and can make you more healthy, more social and more productive. Second having a fun hobby prevents burn-out and also prevents workaholic syndrome.

               Randi Zuckerberg coined the phrase “Second Passion” at Vocus Demand Success 2014, to describe the importance of having an excellent hobby away from work. Randi is not the only productive person to live by this principle. Lots of famous, creative and productive people have balanced work life with creative work (or something fun, like a hobby). See the image below from Podio:  

While Podio’s chart (above) is based on research, it is not the only research that supports the idea of getting into a hobby. If these charts interest you a lot check out Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, RJ Andrews at Info We Trust. But it truly is mind-blowing how these famous people balanced their time. We all have 24 hours in a day. The key is in how we use it.

creative routines edit

Based on compiling and analyzing all of the research here is an ideal  24 hour schedule or outline to try to follow. Now of course not everyday is going to fit perfectly to this schedule….

Fortunately  created this image, seven-day chart, so we can fill in our own schedules based on each day of the week!

Some Ideas for you “second passion”

  • Improve the mind
    • Brain Training
    • Informative podcasts
    • Open and Free MOOCs
    • Meditations/Relaxation techniques
  • Learn Something New
    • Toastmaters
    • Read great books
    • Stay informed in the news
    • board games/cards
    • magic tricks
    • dancing
    • foreign language
    • Work on cars
    • Yoga
    • Computer codes
  • Be productive and charitable
    • Rotary Club/ Lions Club/ Eagles/ etc
  •  Volunteer
    • church
    • non-profits
    • schools
    • hospitals/nursing homes
    • rec. leagues/sports
  • Get physical
    • Fencing
    • Kickboxing
    • Taekwondo/ other martial arts
  • Enjoy the outdoors
    • fishing
    • hunting
    • camping
    • hiking
    • jogging
    • swimming
    • photography
    • geo-catching
    • play sports
    • paintball
    • raise animals/farm
    • Archery/ Firearms
    • Fireworks
  • Listen to music
    • Go to concerts/shows
    • Learn to play an instrument
  • Journal/draw
  • Get a pet
  • Be grateful/thankful
  • Enjoy life

 

Stop Multi-tasking

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Multi-tasking and stress

            We all are very busy individuals.  We all have phones, computers, tablets, oh yeah and we all have our own personal lives to live away from this technology also. Our work and our play have become so streamlined with technology that there is a fine blurry line between work and play. We use our gadgets all the time, everywhere we go.
Individuals have gotten so used to having the convenience of checking emails, texts and doing other work-related tasks right on their phone, in their hands, that it is just a natural, common-place occurrence.  Individuals have started doing these things while with their family at the dinner table, while watching TV before bed and even in the bathroom. Individuals feel empowered and accomplished as they “multi-task” at and even away from work.

The Problem with multi-tasking

                 The main problem with multi-tasking is that it simply is not real. Scientific studies continue to confirm that what is really happening in your brain is maddening! When multi-tasking,  your neurons (in the brain) are switching between two or three tasks very, very quickly. In all reality, you are not really ever doing two things at once. Your brain is just focusing on one thing at a time, but it does this for every little detail and then switches quickly to the next task and then switches back to the other task and then switches again very quickly. Talk about draining!
Multi-task enthusiasts have simply come accustomed to having your brains cells stressed out and fired on a daily or even moment-by-moment basis. They may even have an addicted to stress, anxiety or adrenaline. Or they may have a fear of boredom, despite exhaustion.  This is where it may be time to detox from multi-tasking and even consider taking a break from electronic devices for a hiatus.

Get Real

           Honestly, the problem that multi-tasking is not real, may not do anything for you. That is okay. Let’s get real about the real problems associated with multi-tasking. The real problems are with boundaries. We have attempted to adapt as our technology has evolved. This is a reasonable dilemma. Being able to accomplish more with technology is a great idea and it does happen. Although, we need to draw a line in the sand at some point and decide where the boundaries are in our life.
Moderation is key. It is important to set limits and priorities in one’s life. If family time is important, it may be time to set a rule that there will be no technological device at the dinner table during dinner time. This is a sacred time to spend with family, catching up, talking, eating and enjoying each other’s company. For others, a good idea may be to put away the devices for an hour and go for a walk with your significant other. Maybe for your own well-being, focus on one task at a time and do not move to the next task until every detail is complete.  Instead of watching TV, playing on your phone and trying to write a paper, try prioritizing the tasks. Finish the paper first, then move to the next device.

Learn Time Management

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Stress and Time

Life is full of time commitments. We are all only given 24 hours in a day, everyday. Despite how many things need to get done, 24 hours is still an equal for all of us. We all have several roles and responsibilities to fill, whether they are related to our jobs, our family or our hobbies. With so many things that need to get done,  priority-setting and  timemanagement are essential skills to learn in this fast-paced busy age.

An age-old approach for priority setting is the “urgent vs. important matrix.” When we are able to prioritize tasks, we are more able to use our time more effectively. The chart at the beginning of this post explains this matrix. There are 4 quadrants to the box:

1. Urgent, Important
2. Urgent, Not important
3. Not Urgent, Important
4. Not Urgent, Not Important

Think through a typical day in your mind and place each activity that the you do in one of the four boxes. Here is how to decide where each item belongs:
1. Urgent, Important – Putting out stressful fires, Crisis or deadline. Work deadlines, family emergencies, project/homework is due, major complaint from large company.
2. Urgent, Not important – red herrings (plausible but not important or relevant) , Interruptions like phone calls, some office meetings, some mail, chose of colors on a wall.
3. Not Urgent, Important – Creative pro-activity,- quality time/production, Preparation, prevention, planning, career development, long-term strategy, relationship building, personal fulfillment, family time, going to gym…
4. Not Urgent, Not Important – time wasting. TV, Internet, Video games, Fun, relaxing, does not add much of any other value, distractions, trivial activities, “escape.” We need to spend some time in all of these areas but you are going to make a lot of money spending more time in the important category.

The trick is to find a proper and healthy balance. Living only in the urgent category will burn you out quickly. Living in the not urgent box  can be unproductive which can lead to more stress down the road.

Many type “A” personalities, can easily become workaholics who do not give time for themselves. This could mean spending more time doing things to relax that are not important and definitely not urgent. This could be enjoying some TV or time on social media. These can be therapeutic in some cases. So it is okay to have some time wasters in your life. But I suggest also spending some time on the “not urgent, but important” box, this could be going to the gym, spending quality time with family, because taking care of yourself is IMPORTANT. It is often just neglected.

While it is normal for  people to often feel guilty for leaving work early to spend time with family (as an example),  and it  is okay to feel that way, but what is more important is working through that guilt. Think of it this way, you are going to be even better employee once you have taken care of yourself and your family. You will be more energized and fulfilled if you, yourself are taken care of.

Another major issue can just be learning how to say “no,” especially for people pleasers. They love to serve and help and get things done but hate to disappoint people. We can work through this in session also with assertiveness training.

To-Do’s

 1. Define your goals. Goals give us the following:
a. meaning and direction for our lives
b. a means in which we can evaluate our progress
c. a plan to follow

2. Create a to-do list. Organize what you have to do. Split up large projects into small parts. Create a to-do list for each part. Take your goals and break them down into small, measurable steps.

3. Finish what you start If interrupted, return to finish your task.

4. Identify your time wasters. Time wasters are not only actions in Quadrant IV, but also can be indecision, lack of planning, jumping from project to project, a disorganized desk, procrastination, insisting on perfection. Finish one project before starting the next. You’ll save time not having to re-acquaint yourself with each project.

5. Use email filtering software. Stop wasting time scanning for junk email and deleting them.

6. Be project specific before you sit down at your PC . Have you ever sat down at your PC to work on one project, but after a half-hour or an hour passes by, you have accomplished nothing towards your goal? By being project specific at the computer, you can focus on one item and be more efficient. You can also avoid wasting time on Quadrant IV items.

7. Practice the “two-minute pick-up” every time you leave a room or your desk. Before you leave a room, turn around and quickly put away everything for two minutes. The more you put away before you leave, the smoother your transition when you return and the less you have to distract you at your desk!

8. Avoid procrastination. You can do anything for 10 minutes. To get yourself started on something that you have been procrastinating on, grab a timer and set it for 10 minutes. Then do that one thing for 10 minutes. If you continue on after that, great! If not, you at least put 10 minutes into that task.

9. Delay gratification. Give yourself some rewards for completing tasks. Treat yourself to dessert after you have avoided procrastination. Don’t go out to eat until you have completed items off your to-do list. At the same time, don’t allow yourself to buy that new pair of jeans if you haven’t completed your tasks.

What I learned selling books door to door

Alright, so during the summer of 2006 I sold books door-to-door in Columbia, Missouri in an attempt to pay for college tuition and rent. As it turns out, I was not much of a salesman. That summer was one of the most challenging summers of my life. I learned a lot about myself, how to sell and ho to work hard no matter what.

While I did not walk away from the experience as a rich man, as others actually did, I did grow as a person in four major areas: time management, positive self talk, self-care and a having a business mentality or mindset.

Let me explain: In time management, I learned to break days into manageable sections. Selling books door-to-door, my team woke up everyday at 5AM. We showered, ate breakfast and drove to our locations. We had to knock on our first door at 7AM. Then we were not allowed to come back home until 10AM where we ate diner and went to bed. This routine started over again Monday -Saturday. Sundays were hardly a day off, since we had to travel three hours to get to an all-day business meeting with other link-minded book salesman in the same larger geographical region.

The thing about time management, first was focusing in. Focus on the first 3 hours. Map out a game plan and work hard for 3 hours. Do not think about lunch or tomorrow, push hard and focus in on the next potential customer.
The second time management tip is the more obvious stuff. There is no time for emails, going to movies, museums, football games, etc….This is not tourism nor a vacation. This is earning wages and working hard.

During the week-long training in Nashville, before heading out to Columbia, we were given a lot of training on selling, thinking like a business person and  we did a lot of practice role-play to get ourselves ready for the actual summer. After the role-plays, mentors and business experts gave us a lot of tips and feedback. They taught us to think positively. They showed us how to do positive self-talk. In between doors, on our drive from home to our locations and even during potty-breaks we were suppose to sing or shout, “It’s going to be a great day!” and “I am a selling machine!” I was pretty unfamiliar with this idea of positive self-talk up until this point in my life. Especially after a complete rejection from a potential customer who is threatening to call the cops, it really is encouraging to look at the positives instead of getting our psyche thrown off by a ragging homeowner. Even if the positive self-talk was just lies, it was still encouraging.

Okay, well with self-care, I learned how to control my energy level. These were long days, even longer weeks. And as I mentioned earlier, I was not very good at selling. So often times, I came away empty handed. The first few weeks I was adjusting to the ridiculous schedule I was not able to focus in on one three hour time block at a time. I was worried about the entire day and that was draining my energy level. Once I figured out how to focus in on the three hour time block, I was able to get my mind off of the worries of the day and just focus on the next street. Each street was a treasure hunt to find a customer. My positive self-talk told me, “someone on this street was going to purchase books today!” I am blessed to have learned this crazy skill of energy preservation. I used this skill again just this past week at a youth-group lock-in. All of the teenagers were napping by 4AM, I stayed away the entire night and didn’t nap until after the lock-in was complete and I was in my bed at home. Mental self-care was all about focusing in on the successes, that was the only way to survive mentally.

Another part of self-care is that I learned that I do not want to be a salesman. I do not want to be a workaholic that does not have time for anything other than making money. I found my true self and many things that I am not passionate about during this summer. But by going through with the experience I can now relate to people who are feeling burn-out of long work days and of the burn-out of sales.

Finally the main thing I learned is about the business mindset. The company, I sold books with, who will continue to go unnamed, had excellent training materials. I still look back at the sales manual today. The training was a great experience. I am thankful for that. I am thankful for not waking up to the dreaded day of selling books in the summer heat of the Midwest.
So I am blessed to have learned a great deal from my time there that summer. Now I can put these things and other things into practice even today. I encourage others to learn also from my experience instead of through the hard way!

Time Management and Priorities : Finding Time for Self-Care

 We are all only given 24 hours in a day, everyday. That is an equal for all of us, no matter what the situation is, no matter how successful or unsuccessful, rich or not as fortunate.
  It can be challenging to find time to take care of yourself, especially when you have enough things to do already! Your 24 hours quickly disappears! Many people are great care takers of children or of their elder parents, there is not enough time in the day to serve everyone that needs to be served or earn enough money that needs to be earned. So the main skills that are correlated with self-care are priority-setting and also time-management.
This box demonstrates a simple way blending these two elements: time management and priority-setting. The four boxes center around two thoughts: Urgency and Importance.
            1. Urgent, Important
            2. Important, Not Urgent
            3. Urgent, Not Important
            4. Not Urgent, Not Important
With these two ideas in mind, I can replay every action, that I did in my mind and categorize which box that action goes in.
For example, activities that go in the first box are: Putting out stressful “fires,”crises or deadlines. Work deadlines, family emergencies, project/homework is due, major complaint from large company,  
             The second box is my “Creative pro-activity.” Here is quality time/production, Preparation, prevention, planning, career development, long-term strategy, relationship building, personal fulfillment, quality family time and taking care of myself by going to gym or reading a self-development book. The third box may be my least favorite box. These activities are red herrings (plausible but not important or relevant) , Interruptions like phone calls, some office meetings, some mail, chose of colors on a wall, etc.  The fourth box is time wasting: TV, Internet, Video games, fun, relaxing, does not add much of any other value, distractions, trivial activities and “escapes” from reality. We need to spend some therapeutic laughter and pleasure time in life, but we need to limit this category or we will become its slave. 
 Here are a few more of these charts to help bring home the point:

Self-Care is for Everyone

Self care refers to actions and attitudes which contribute to the maintenance of well-being and personal health and promote human development.

Self-care is taking care of your own self, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually so that you are fully alive and able to truly fulfill all of your purposes and callings. 
I believe that self-care is for everyone.

Let me briefly run-through some examples and maybe you will be able to relate. Often times individuals get really busy in life through a number of scenarios  Unfortunately, we all only have 24 hours in a day.

  • Business owners and C.E.O.s work hard and work long hours to maximize their reputation  business and profits. 
  • Single parents work three jobs to provide for the family.
  • 40 and 50 year old parents who have their own children also take care of their older parents, sandwiched in two roles of care.
  •  School teachers with children of their own, once they wake up they turn on the teacher mode and even when they get home they have to be in mom/teacher mode.
  • Pastors who give and give and give might be neglecting their own care or their family’s care.
  • Doctors and nurses working in 12 or more hour shifts. 
  •   Let’s not forget our Heroes (Military men and women, E.M.T. workers, firemen and police men/women) who see trauma first-hand.
These are all examples of challenging scenarios, where self-care needs to be evaluated. But honestly self-care is for everyone. We all need to take time out of our busy schedules to take care of our own needs and care. We will not be as effective or healthy if we neglect our own care and health. We all have times in life when caring for our self is not our main priority, we have a balancing act between jobs, kids, spouses, institutions and those in our social network that need our attention and time. But what is one thing you are going to do to this week that is for you and your own well-being?