Tag Archives: self-care

Just Start: How To Keep Going On Off-days

There’s this popular image shared on social media depicting an iceberg and having it explain success. The visible part  of the iceberg (what people see) is labelled “Success.”  The part under the water is labelled “What really happens.” : Hard work, struggles, discipline, sacrifices, late nights, persistence, failures, and many more.

We often take the surface impression as the whole thing, and not look at the years of work and struggle behind the success stories that make the front-pages.  Even with ourselves, we tend to do this. What’s worse, we can be much harsher on ourselves than necessary. We have this image of what we should be and have to be, and measure ourselves by those images. And when we have bad days or off days, we can make it even worse by feeling disappointed in ourselves for not measuring up.

For entrepreneurs who have built themselves strong habits and put good support systems in place, it can be much easier to get through those off days. What follows are simple things you can do to ensure that you get through days like those without unnecessarily having to suffer more that the situation would warrant. Continue reading Just Start: How To Keep Going On Off-days

Take A Break From The Problem

At one point or another we all hit the stage when we become overwhelmed in stressful situations.  it’s like a wave breaks over us and we get sucked under. One new bit of information, one more request from out of nowhere, one more irritating phone call — something happens to add that final push… and we get pulled under.

Mentally,  we can fray or go foggy, which blankets our formerly clear vision. This mental static eats away at our ability to make productive choices, to make thoughtful decisions, and prioritize calmly.  Our plans to use our energy in constructive ways crumble, along with that energy. Poof!

Stress affects everyone differently.  Some may zombie-shuffle through basics tasks. Others may feel like they’re moving in circles, or spinning their wheels. Some people internalize their stress, others externalize it, and the effects either way ripple out.

Under stress, trying to put ‘first things first’ is like walking through a blizzard. When the stress really hits us,  we can’t see straight, or think calmly, or get our bearings.

Being overwhelmed drains our energy and our ability to think clearly, and  hamstrings our momentum. Whether the stress is chronic or acute, it can still overpower your ability to handle  things  well, and leave you feeling shaken and futile.

To  replenish your energy and somehow ‘go back to your regular program’,  you need to get a new perspective on the stress-full situation. To do that, you can walk away, you can do something else, or you can stop and do nothing. (Yes, nothing. Yet.)

 

One way of getting a new viewpoint is to mentally drop and walk away from the problem.  Done well, this is the mental equivalent of “Stop, drop and roll,” a good thing to do when you feel like your brain is toast.

Why walk away? When we are too close to something we are enmeshed with it. It is all we can think of, and all we see when we close our eyes.

We can’t think clearly and that contributes to the problem. We’re too close. We’re too close, and no wonder we can’t see anything else, or see clearly at all.

Think of it: When you’re standing too close to something, it blocks your way. You can’t see past it.  It dominates your field of vision. When you’re overburdened with tasks to complete, issues to resolve,  running low on energy or running hot from frequent demands for attention — it creates stress.
And stress makes it worse.

 

When we take a break from the problem and walk away , we can use the space we just made to shake things off and focus on other matters.

We can mentally push away from the pressing issue and allow ourselves some breathing room away from what’s bothering us. It can be as physical as pushing away from our desks and taking a minute to collect ourselves. What other ways can you disengage  from what’s troubling you?
Continue reading Take A Break From The Problem

Four Bits of Advice To Get Through Rough Times

Well, we haven’t done this in quite some time now, what with being so busy with multiple projects, and it’s nice to take advantage of slow moments and check in with one another — or at the very least, sit a spell and check in with ourselves. So….how have you been doing lately?

And please, don’t go with the generic, “Oh, fine. Well, so-so, same as everyone else. Could be worse.”
Or the “Woow, superbusy, doing everything, really, you know?”
Or the “Maaan, I’d love to chat, but I don’t have the time to share everything, gotta go.”
How are you doing, really?

Try to recall what happened just in the last 30 days. The year hasn’t been going well for many of us, if the news in anything to go by. Even if you try to avoid the broadcasts just to keep some sort of peaceful, low-key mental zone to rest in, there’s always the internet,with its breaking news, social media and minute-by-minute updates to tell us all about the bad things happening in the world.

Check the article trends in the headlines of your favorite portal sites. You may remember seeing topics like: top 10 mistakes in picking a college major, or how to make enough money to retire, or tips on being able to work long enough to do so.

Go on to the news sites, there are wars, natural disasters, epidemics, graft and corruption, protests, riots….it’s a wonder we can sleep restfully at all with all the madness happening around the world.

Then there’s your own internal strife. Business is going down, what are you going to do about it? There’s not enough time to do all the things you need, what do you do about that? There’s not enough of you to go around, if you could only clone yourself…

Your worries chase themselves in your head, like rats in a maze. Things are moving faster than any one person can understand or can handle, and the world feels like it’s breaking down. The pressure is insane. How do you elbow out some breathing room in all of that? Continue reading Four Bits of Advice To Get Through Rough Times

How To Handle Low Energy Episodes

Let’s talk about low-energy days.

You know what happens. They have dips in energy, anywhere from feeling a little blah or under the weather, to actual mental fuzziness and blanking out on important stuff.

Often these dips manifest as the flickering attention or fractured focus we get in the afternoon — usually after we tried to get by on caffeine-drips and convenience food eaten desk-side earlier in the day  just so we could cram in all the stuff on our to-do lists.

Low energy manifests in many ways.
Physically, when it comes to posture we can revert to a certain ‘slackness’: slumping or slouching. There’s a sense of fatigue, listlessness and generally feeling “off.”

Mentally, low energy affects how you think: like experiencing the inability to focus, or to hold a coherent and cohesive working idea for a sustained period. You skip from idea to idea without settling on what’s important. Thoughts slip out of focus. The more you try the harder it gets, like trying to hold on to water –or nailing jello to the wall. You can’t concentrate for all the ‘static’ going on in your head.

Low energy can result in slowed reaction times and less comprehension. It isn’t a coincidence that accidents happen a lot more when people are tired, and that we make more mistakes as well.

These dips and slumps in our energy levels can come up like a sudden squall, leaving you feeling like a puppet whose strings have just been slashed. They can slowly creep in and envelop you without you noticing until it’s too late, you’re already foggy and can’t decide what to do first, or next, or at all.

For example: You made plans last night, prepping for today. The list is right there in front of you, but your energy level is somewhere around your knees, your mind feels like sludge, and somehow your give-a-damn’s malfunctioned while you slept and right now, sitting at your desk and looking at what you need to do today, you just can’t care. You’re barely there.

What can you do? Continue reading How To Handle Low Energy Episodes

Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Imagine a 3-question pop-quiz:

  • (Daily) What are your responsibilities as a business owner: Hah. Many.
  • (Longer-term) What is your responsibility as a business owner: To ensure the success of the business.
  • (Lifetime)What is your main focus as someone living in this time, in this era, in your culture, doing the things you do?

These questions may seem kind of unconnected, first asking about the business then becoming sort of metaphysical, but in light of all that we’ve seen happen when the internet (and the new communication technologies that followed) revolutionized the ways we can talk and share with each other.

We’re always connected, and yet feel disconnected at times.
We share a lot of our lives online, but feel like nobody really knows who we are.
And sometimes we feel there is more for us to do ‘out there’, yet we feel aimless, detached and unmotivated ‘in here’ (points to self).

 

The cost of doing something with intent is becoming lost in it. As paradoxical as it may sound, we often look for Big Things for ourselves: a cause to devote yourself to, something bigger than you. A vocation, a calling, a reason for being. We want to lose ourselves in a grand undertaking–and in doing so find our reason for being here.

We are also afraid of getting lost — which is why we do so much stuff, to prove to ourselves and others that we got things going on. Important things, you know? We’re not aimless drifters. We get stuff done.
We also burn out, or get bogged down. Continue reading Rediscovering Your Purpose In Work

Editing For Blogs And Business Management

 Edit – from the Latin edo, editus – “bring forth; bring about.”

When we say the word ‘edit’, the meaning is taken to suggest “taking away’ or ‘whittling down’, and that’s true when it comes to writing.

Editing in a blogging contexts means taking out the parts that don’t quite scan, refining the whole, and preparing the article so it will present a coherent, cohesive message.

But, adding the original meaning of ‘bringing (something) forth” , a slightly different angle reveals itself. Refining means removing the extraneous parts to reveal the essential structure beneath.

For instance, paring down an article to remove filler, awkward sentences and unrelated ideas helps make the core message clearer by bringing it out from under all that obscuring material.

Editing, in nearly all contexts, makes it easier to get a bead on things. Clutter –mental or physical –doesn’t get in the way of vision, and you can focus better on fewer items.

When life today seems to be on a perpetual treadmill chasing after just-this-one-more-thing-to-do-right-NOW, rendering things to their cleanest, simplest forms can help you find a sense of balance, control and even gratitude in your life.

Editing and blogging
Blogging is textual sharing, and as can happen with any kind of sharing, things can get in the way: irrelevant details, awkward sentence construction or run-on sentences, etc.

Editing is refining the message so you end with the best presentation you can have: the message exactly as you want to say it.

You present knowledge into linked concepts– specially crafted passages that act like bullets aimed right at eliminating problems, or resolving issues, or stating a particular call to action.

Editing as a practice leads to precision sniping, and leading away from a scatter-shot approach, helps get the message delivered every time. Continue reading Editing For Blogs And Business Management

Start As You Mean To Go On

Welcome back! It’s been a while, how are you doing? Good, not so good, so-so?

Maybe you’re edging towards being down in the dumps because you already slipped up with your resolutions. Perhaps you feel just a bit ragged around the edges from finalizing the little things that come after the end of a year… a little run-down chasing after the trickles of grunt work and red tape, and snipping loose threads threatening to snarl your work flow.

Frustration mounts. Resentment ignites. “This is a new year, it’s supposed to be different. It’s just the same old problems, popping up like weeds! It’s no use.” *gives up*

First, walk off the defeatist attitude. Don’t rag on yourself too, it’s already hard enough out there.

“I tried,” is a good start, but just leaving things there without any resumption of effort lessens it. “I tried, it didn’t work, so there,” doesn’t get anything done, either. Thinking like this cheats you. It also cheapens you. “I finished this today,” is better. It’s done. You did it. Tomorrow is another day.

When a decision sputters off in a ‘so there!‘ you need to understand that no one else but you will live in the aftermath of your none-efforts. When you honestly want things to change for yourself, you have to make sincere, sustained actions to change them. No one else will give a damn, they’ve got their own problems. And even if they care, caring won’t do things for you.

You have to walk towards your goal under your own power. Things don’t change by themselves. You have to get the ball rolling, and keep it in motion until it gets to where you want it to go. You just need to do it one day at a time. Just today. Continue reading Start As You Mean To Go On

Too Much Tech? Ask Yourself These Questions To Control Technorrhea

06 December 2013, by A. Cedilla

Think about the communication structure in your life. To start off, how many devices do you use?

For the basics, a phone and a computer are all you need. Some smartphones can already act as a mini office-station for email and files. Laptops can go anywhere with you, and desktops can provide more options, like more processing power and being able to use 2-3 monitors at once.

And what about hybrids and entertainment devices? How about tablets, phablets, and readers? And music players and dedicated cameras? Take a moment to check just how many tech tools you own.

How do you manage all the tech you use? How do you manage the data you access? Lay it out:

  • How many platforms are present? How do you access data across platforms–just the cloud? How secure are your connections?
  • What systems do you use in storing and syncing data, and backing up the important bits? What about security?
  • How systematic are you in attending to your communication –in reading, responding and viewing? How much time do you spend?
  • How about maintaining the hardware: protecting it from surges, damage, dust, scratches and whatnot? What’s your update schedule?

 

The deeper issues here are easy to overlook because of the technical details and personal preferences involved. Keeping things separate for business or personal use can be messy as well –imagine the hours we do something other than what we intended to do*cough-Skyrim-cough* but in the end, when it comes to your devices:

  • Do they help make work easier?
  • Do they make you work more effectively?
  • Do they make more work for you?

Continue reading Too Much Tech? Ask Yourself These Questions To Control Technorrhea

Looking Back While Planning Forward

10 July 2013, by A. Cedilla

It’s been quite a while since the start of the year — heck, even the start of the second quarter– so it’s definitely about time to take a few steps back, set aside a few hours or an afternoon, and see how you’re really doing, and perhaps getting some pen and paper handy for catching ideas.

So…what’s up? Have you accomplished significant changes in your life at this point? Paid off debts, got certified, made more contacts in the industry, got your blood pressure down, or fulfilled a significant personal goal?

Take a look at what you’ve been doing for the past half-year. In the daily rush it’s often difficult to pay attention to the direction things are going unless we take time to step back and assess the bigger picture. We need time to pass before we can get enough data-points, or tally up enough events, or get enough real-life information on which to make an accurate, contextually-based assessment of what’s going on.

(And you do this how?) Continue reading Looking Back While Planning Forward

Keeping On Track With Mindfulness

08 March 2013, by A. Cedilla

In a world with uncertain economies, shifting social changes and powerful, ubiquitous technologies, you may think that you’re doing all you can to protect the tiny economy of your own small enterprise.

You see, when it comes to running your own business, the sheer number of factors beyond your control –the down market, political infighting and indecisiveness, new tech demanding immediate mastery– demand that you bite down and focus on the essentials first before attending to the lower priorities. It’s basic self-protection. Survival first.

But life is more than just survival. If you’d just take a minute, just one, to watch the video in the linked quote below, it would help give you a background to this article.

 

You got into business for a reason, or several reasons. You’re making it thrive despite everything that’s happened in the world. Looking back at where you started, do those reasons still apply? Or have you forgotten them in the daily crunch of running your little empire? Is what you’re doing right now — and plan to do for the foreseeable future — giving you what you need and want? Are you doing things with your purpose in mind?

This is where cultivating the habit of mindfulness kicks in. Continue reading Keeping On Track With Mindfulness