Archive for Balance

5 Ways to Deal With Stress

Audio Business Tips

So I discovered something I didn’t know today. April is Stress Awareness month. I know that every month, week and day has a theme and that we are taking pause for everything. Well, almost everything, apparently there is no national scrunchie day (I checked), but there is a national pickle day (November 14th) National Sugar Cookie Day (July 9th- My birthday), in case you wanted to know. While most of these days are just an excuse to have a margarita, wear socks that don’t match or post a selfie with your dog, I felt like Stress Awareness Month was worth taking note. I wanted to share

A little history: This isn’t one of those social media inspired monthly themes. Apparently, since 1992 April has been recognized as Stress Awareness Month. This month is all about raising awareness of stresses causes and cures in this pressure driven society. I’ve been talking a lot about anxiety lately and felt this topic was a great addition.

I don’t need to list out things that cause stress for me or in modern society as a whole. I mean dismay and anxiety are just part of the American way nowadays. With changing politics, personal stressors, bills, personal relationships (or relationshits depending on your situation), stress is all around us. While I haven’t managed to find a way around entirely avoiding stress, I have worked on the search for ways to cope with it and prevent it from turning into crippling anxiety.

Push Through

This is somethings the only option. Things get so heavy or crazy all you can do is keep pushing through. Don’t focus on what is stressing you out but why it’s stressing you out.
Example: You’re stressed because the negative number on your credit card statement is four times as much as the positive amount in your bank account.
Solution: Look through those statements. What are you spending your money on? What can you cut back? What can you reduce? Don’t think, “I’ll never pay this off!” Change your thought too, “How can I pay this off?
Sometimes pushing past the negative paralyzing feelings and focusing on your abilities makes all the difference. No one has ever made progress focusing on their limitations, they focus on what they can do and they do it.

To-Do Lists

To-do lists are my bread and butter. Seriously I’m obsessed with them. Taking a big project and breaking it into bite size doable tasks makes my heart happy. This also can have a bit of a Catch-22 effect for some people. They write out all they need to do and it freaks them out, they look at it and say, “How will I do all of this?
You have two options. You can put them in order of urgency, ease or return and then just make the conscious decision to work on one thing at a time. Go down the list and focus on the tasks one by one until you get them all done.
Another choice (my favorite) is to make a master list, see what you can eliminate (by eliminating I mean take off completely, outsource or do at a much later date), then pick three work on those three one at a time. Totally block any of the other things out of your mind and focus on the three you selected to complete.

I like to-do lists because you get to cross things off as you do them. Putting the line through or checklist next to a task, moving a sticky note into the done column on my Scrum board is like saying, “Look at me kicking ass!”

Focus on One Thing at a Time

This isn’t the same as the to-do list. With this, I’m talking about massive projects. I’ve been guilty of having multiple passion projects at once and not getting anywhere on any of them because I was taking little chunks out of them but not consistently.
Write a chapter of the e-book, make the slides for one lesson of a course, reach out to a few contacts about webinars and so on. If you have a project that requires a lot of time make that your top priority and get that done then focus on the next big project. This isn’t to say you let the daily tasks required to live life or run your business fall through the cracks. You still have to answer your emails, pay bills make dinner but you should limit the number of things that are taking large chunks of your time. You will be more likely to retain your drive if you see yourself accomplishing things and making progress.

Taking Care of Yourself

This one is kind of obviously but still warrants mentioning because the truth is most people don’t. There are tons of things you can do to take care of yourself. The important thing is to make sure you are doing so inside and out. If you go to cardio kickboxing four days a week that is great. If you’re going to cardio kickboxing four times a week, are in an emotionally abusive relationship and 90% of your meals come with a side of fries it’s a little less great.
You may need to take a hard look at your life. Think about what your habits are. Who do you surround yourself with? Again focus on what you can change. This year I’ve worked hard to heal myself inside and out.
Some of the things I do to make sure I’m taking care of myself:
I take personal days off– I take days off of work just to relax and spend time with myself. I seriously have scheduled vacation days months ahead of time like, “There aren’t any work holidays in June, I think I’ll take the 15th off and have a long weekend to recharge.” You may not have the money to take a vacation at the beach but if you have vacation days don’t let that stop you from using them. I was so bad about this until a few years ago. I didn’t have money to travel, so I’d let my hard earned vacation days go to waste.
Take nights off from my business– As a side hustler, I know how easy it is to fall into the habit of working all day then coming home and working all night. I make a point to give myself Thursday nights off. I take the night have some wine, hang out with a friend and watch our favorite shows. It may not seem like much, but I look forward to that time and rarely miss it.
I meditate daily– I’ll be honest I can’t meditate most days without falling asleep. That’s why I’ve incorporated it into my bedtime routine; it’s the perfect way to clear my mind before I go to bed. Each night I do a guided meditation to help wipe away the day and prepare my mind for rest.
I journal– I know I do my best to publish a new blog post each week, but it’s not the same type of writing or reflection. Each morning I write out five positive affirmations to start the day and each night I do a goal and gratitude check in. Between the two things, it probably takes me 5 minutes a day. In that 5 minutes, I get reminded of all the great things in my life, the greatness in myself and the greatness to come.
Workout– This is an excellent way to get my heart pumping and clear my mind. It’s hard to think about that stupid email a client sent you at work when you’re doing squats to Jason Derulo.
Make time for my loved ones– Sometimes the best thing you can do is give a part of yourself to others. When I talk to my sister after she’s had a long day and make her laugh about my own misadventures, I feel good.
Eat Healthy– I have lost almost 30 pounds since New Years. I’m not starving; I’m not depriving myself, I’m just healthier. I eat more greens and protein, fewer carbs and hardly any dairy. I find it helps me sleep better and has given my IBS a reason for pause.

Comparison

What! I know everyone has been talking about how bad comparison is for your mental wellbeing. I totally agree comparison can take you down a dangerous rabbit hole, but I like to practice positive comparison. When I am feeling down, victimized or defeated I think about how bad things could be.
For example, when I have a bad day at work I think about a friend of mine who lost their job and is having to move back home because they can’t find a job. I reflect on how lucky I am to have a job, apartment and car!
I think about how lucky I was that I wasn’t at home the day I got robbed. Does it mean these things don’t still bug me or I don’t have self-pity moments? No, but they do let me get over them quicker.

Another comparison tactic I recommend is self-comparison. So you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss, so what? You are still 15 pounds less than you from 3 months ago.
Even when I get frustrated with my current state I think about 19 year old me, driving a car with a mind of its own and working two jobs while going to school full time, she would be so happy to have some of my problems.

This isn’t to say you should look down or others or your past self but you should realize that some people would love to be where you are. Count your blessings and celebrate your progress.

What are some ways you deal with stress?

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Learn more about Stress Awareness Month

7 Ways to Stay on Top of Your Side Hustle

When I started my blog, I had no idea it would evolve into the business and passion it has become. I also never imagine the time it would take or how draining something that was built from passion would be. I mean they say, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life…” I’m going to go ahead and say, FALSE. More like, “Do what you love, and you will probably work even harder to get it done.” When you’re working a 9-5, working all night on your side hustle and trying to maintain the other aspects of your life, it’s easy to forget to take care of yourself.

I know that we all have to find our way and that we all have different needs but I want to share some tips for taking care of yourself when you are trying to build a business.

Be Super Focused

This can be difficult when you have an entrepreneurial brain. The more entrepreneurs I get to know the more I see cases of entrepreneur’s brain. It’s easy there are so many things to do and try, so many platforms to use, services to offer, people to connect with, the list goes on and on. One of the best things you can do for your business, personal wellbeing, relationships and life is to try your best to be super focused on what you’re doing when you’re doing it.  I know at any given second I have ten things popping into my head. Try your best to focus on what you’re doing when you’re doing it.  If you’re working on your newsletter, then close those ten other tabs and just work on that. If you are having a girls night out, don’t answer emails just because your friends are all checking Facebook. (Tell them to get off the phone and enjoy the awesomeness that is you!)

Yes, I am telling you to live in the moment and practice mindfulness.

Keep a notepad in your purse, a memo file on your phone or a Google Doc open behind your work so if you have one of those great ideas or remember something you need to do, you can jot it down quickly and then get back to what you’re working on. Being able to separate the parts of your life and just focus on the task or event happening at the moment will make your work sessions more productive, your relaxation time more relaxing and your life just overall more awesome.

Plan Breaks

People may think it’s crazy, but I plan days off from my day job just to reset. I do it before I feel like I’m about to snap. If you have vacation days, use them! I’ve scheduled a Monday or Friday off like three months ahead of time to have a day off of my day job, work on my business, go grocery shopping, do laundry or just watch freaking Lifetime movies (P.S. The husband did it.) I plan at least one night during the week where I just relax and read or watch tv when I get home. This is one of the best ways to avoid burnout, maintain your passion and take care of you!

Plan Work

The same way I plan my breaks I plan my work. Each night before I go to bed I get a sticky note and decide three things I want to get done the next day and stick to tasks that are actually can achievable based on time and ability. If it’s a Tuesday and I won’t be able to get to work until 7 pm on my business tasks, my list isn’t going to say: Build Website, Write four blog posts, Comment on 25 blogs. A realistic list would be: Finish editing the new post, Create graphics for social media, Set up a landing for next week’s webinar.

If I am working on an individual project, I gather whatever I’ll need to get it done in one setting without having to search for stuff. When I sit down to work, I find that I am more likely to finish something if I know what it is I want to finish.

Practice Gratitude

By far my favorite new habit this year is my nightly practice of journaling. It started off as trying to incorporate gratitude and the practice of writing my goals down often into my schedule. Each night I write down one thing I’m grateful for, one goal I have, one thing I accomplished that day and one thing I want to get done tomorrow (this can be from your list of three tasks mentioned above). I’ve taken it a step further and have just started writing the first three things as gratitude statements.

For example:

Gratitude: I’m grateful that my sister and I are close now.

Goal: I’m grateful for the opportunity to do a webinar with Mariah Coz.

Accomplishment: I’m grateful I got today’s post out and shared.

Goal for tomorrow: Email Jane my ideas for the guest post swap.

While I haven’t accomplished the goal of doing a webinar with Mariah Coz, this is an example of putting it out into the universe, while also reminding myself it’s one of the things I want to do. It’s been proven that people who look at their goals often or write them down often are more likely to accomplish them than someone who might just write them down once and not look at them on a regular basis.  

Have a Support System

It’s so important to find your tribe when you are trying to build your space on the big crazy internet. There will always be a new platform update, a new social media platform, etc. so it’s great when you have a support system that gets what you are doing. This can come in many different forms, maybe you are in a Facebook group, maybe you have an accountability partner who you work with and send daily texts, you could join a small mastermind group where you meet up with 2-3 other business owners and video chat or in person on a regular basis, or you may just have those friends who you met in a Twitter chat and reach out to when you have a question or just need to vent. You may have an amazing family or group of friends in your day to day life, but the online business world is complex and can be a lonely place without the right people to have your back.

Nurture All of You

My blog allows me to nurture my creativity. Yes, it can be draining and time-consuming, but if I didn’t get the incredible feelings that come with expressing myself, helping others and building connections, I would close up shop tomorrow. But like you I am a complicated person with needs. I try my best to eat a healthy diet of foods that nourish my body and tickle my palate. I go to the gym to stay active and remain in shape. I go to therapy to nurture my emotions. I meditate and practice visualization to remain in touch with my feelings, desires, and goals.

Whatever your needs are, take care of them. It’s easy to pour as much as we can into our business and then without noticing using what’s ever left to nurture those around us, but you have to remember to take care of yourself. It goes back to kids on an airplane; you need to put your oxygen mask on before trying to help anyone else put on theirs. 

Whatever your needs are, take care of them. 7 ways to stay on top of your #SideHustle Click To Tweet

Ask For Help

Sometimes we all need a little help; maybe we are trying to learn a new system? Maybe we hate technical copywriting. Maybe we need help narrowing down our focus or goal. Whatever it is asking for help and recognizing areas where you need it are imperative for growing your business. This is why I am such a huge fan of online education. We all have something special to teach and share with the world. Think about it like this, when you’re car shopping the sales person shows you the features, they point out how to move your seat to be comfortable or how to add your favorite radio stations to the presets. When you decided at 18 you wanted to be an accountant you didn’t just say, “I’m good at numbers,” and start taking people’s money, you went to school to get an education. It’s the same with things in business, if you need a tutorial, a coach or even coaching one on one services, that is okay. These things are an investment in your business and inevitably in yourself as well.

I am not ashamed to hop in a Facebook group and ask my fellow business bosses how to create a particular type of form on ConvertKit. I’m not scared to email a fellow blogger to ask who she filed her taxes with? If you can find someone or something to save you time and make things easier why wouldn’t you?

The Balanced Side Hustle

I want to invite you to join my new course The Balance Side Hustle. If you feel like balancing your side hustle, full-time job and life are becoming too much; I’m here to help. I’ve been there! You feel like you can’t ever catch up and no matter what you do there is still so much more to be done. You haven’t seen your friends in what feels like months. When you do make time for something fun, you spend the whole time feeling guilty and dreading the work you left waiting at home. You started your side hustle because you had a passion or a dream and now you feel like you spend more and more time on the admin tasks than the part you’re passionate about. What you need is a system that fits your life.

With this month-long self-paced program, you will break down your side hustle goals and purpose as well as pick out your balance points. What are balance points? The parts of your life that you decide are a priority and want to balance.

Once your balance points are defined, you will be given training on keeping yourself in check and on schedule, as well as saying, “No,” to others.

Finally, you will be given training on creating systems that fit your business and life to let you focus on what matters most to you while growing your side hustle. This program is great if you don’t have the income yet or time to do regular full-time business coaching. You’re ready to take your side hustle to a better and less chaotic level. You might still be busy, but you will be spending more time on the stuff that earns you money and feeds your passion. To learn more about the program check it out here and save your seat. Get early bird pricing now. The course will never be this low again! 

February 2017 Goals

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Can I be honest, I am as happy to see January 2017 go as I was to see 2016 go. I’m not going to say it was a bad month but man did it feel like a long one. I hit a rough path with my Generalized Anxiety Disorder this month which in my unprofessional opinion may have been the result of a combination of stress, major change, uncertainty, antibiotics and more. This has resulted in a not so fun month but it hasn’t been all bad by any means. This is sort of a side note but I came across this article on Pinterest and as if God knew I needed to feel less alone. When you think I’m being rude, here’s what’s really going on Fiona at Fiona Likes to Blog. (P.S. How much do you love the name, Fiona?) Please feel free to check it out. I wish I could post this up at work so my coworkers understand my mood changes.  So let’s get into the review of last month.

January 2017 Goals

Objective: Launch TheBalancedSideHustle.com (this won’t be the full course, the official launch date is March 6th. I was hoping to launch February 27th, but I had family and social obligations heavily in February and wanted to give the launch and you guys my full attention).

Personal Goals

  • Read one book

I don’t know if it’s because I was sick or was feeling less social than normal I read 2 books and have started another 2. I read The Big Leap and The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl you can read more about what I thought of those books here.  

  • Purge some of my closets

Haha nope. But it was a nice thought. 

Blog and Freelance Goals

As I’ve said a thousand times. I am so glad to be in this program and apart of this amazing community.

  • Finish the articles for my feature in All Things Trend Magazine!

Any day now I should get my copy of the magazine and I’m so excited. The article took a life of its own but I feel like it is one of the most honest things I’ve ever written.

  • Have 536 Facebook page likes

545! Woot! Woot!

  • Have 3148 Twitter Followers

3155!

  • Have 1115 Instagram Followers

1111. Can a girl get 4 more followers? LOL. 

  • Have 966 Pinterest Followers

968!

  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library

I finally released my scripts for saying no! Check them out here. 

  • Post at least 4 times this month

Yes! Go check them out! 

  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.

My feed has been very Trump heavy so I kind of slacked on some of this from lack of energy.  But I have started doing Instagram stories… I wonder if that’s why I didn’t hit my goal… do you guys not enjoy hearing me sing the hits of the 80s while sitting in my car at lunch?

  • Crush the webinar I have scheduled this month.

This was probably the best webinar I’ve done. It was so much fun and we actually had a decent conversation going with those who attended. Thank you if you joined in.

  • Do one guest post or contributor article.

Can I use the magazine article for this? LOL. I have some stuff in the works besides that just running a little behind.

Health and Fitness

  • Walk 7,000 steps a day

R.I.P to my Garmin. I don’t know that I’ve done this because sadly I lost my fitness tracker. The band has come undone many times. (Even once on a plane where I was sure it was lost but found it when leaving.) It was only a matter of time.

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.

I’ve started a new fitness plan and can say this happened for sure. I have been doing really good on improving my eating habits.

  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.

I went once. I know what the hell? Not once a week, once the entire month. So the above-mentioned antibiotics I was on was for a double ear infection so it’s hard to go to Zumba when you have a fever, headache and vertigo. 

  • Lose 5 pounds. I won’t put my weight but I started a new fitness program and am excited about it. (More details to come.)

So I went to weigh in today and am down 15 pounds. I had someone notice but I still have a ways to go. I can openly say I’m proud of myself! This is also why I didn’t purge my closet, I might fit those skinny jeans just yet.

February 2017 Goals

Objective: Launch TheBalancedSideHustle.com and just list build and connect like crazy.

Personal Goals

  • Read one book
  • Get back into meditating
  • Do at least one activity a week for myself that isn’t work related.
  • Do my gratitude/goal journal at least 5 days a week if not 7.
  • Party like it’s 1999 for my grandpa’s 85th! I love that guy. Here is a picture for the hell of it. Grandparents

Blog and Freelance Goals

  • Continue working on Launch Your Signature Course!
  • Have 555 Facebook page likes
  • Have 3200 Twitter Followers
  • Have 1125 Instagram Followers
  • Have 990 Pinterest Followers
  • Create at least one new Resource for my Resource Library
  • Post at least 4 times this month
  • Spend at least 10 minutes a day engaging on each of the above social media sites. That means repinning, responding to tweets of others or seeing what their links are, etc.
  • Do at least 2 webinars
  • Reach out to affiliates
  • Do auto versions on relevant posts. I did my first audio take on a blog post in January. I have been wanting to do this for a while and plan to do it for posts in certain categories.

Health and Fitness

  • Make meals at home 80% of the time or only eat out 4 times of the week.
  • Go to a gym class at least 3 times a week.
  • Lose 5 pounds more pounds

February is going to be an amazing month. GO Patriots and happy black history month! What are you looking forward to this month? What did you accomplish last month? Let me know in the comments.