National Wine Day

So, I noticed on Twitter today that it is National Wine Day (or National Wine Drinking Day). I stopped drinking on October 23, 2018 for no other reason that alcohol is dehydrating and I was coming off the med I took for atrial fibrillation. The way my morning happened (so far – it’s only 10:35 am!), I would not say no if the wine fairy dropped a bottle of red at my door.

We all woke up around 8 am since Baby Bull doesn’t have school today. I sprained my ankle on Friday (and how I did it is as equally ridiculous as my morning). It’s been swollen and I’ve not been able to really walk on it. This morning, the swelling is down and there’s less pain. I can kinda walk. I thought MAN THIS IS GONNA BE SUCH A FUCKING AWESOME DAY!

Then the shit hit the fan.

Bull went outside to check the tires on the van. Yesterday, before we drove to Broken Arrow to get his pictures done for Fight 2 Win, three out of four tires were flat (or almost flat). Coming home, the indicator for the back driver-side tire kept coming on. We stopped before we hit the turnpike to air it up as well as after we exited the turnpike (because there’s literally ONE place on the turnpike where we could have stopped for air). So, we knew that tire, for sure, has a problem. Since he is a mason, it could very well be a nail in the tire.

Anyway, so he goes outside this morning and sure enough…that same tire is totally flat. It’s cold here…not as cold as some places, but it’s cold for Oklahoma. He’s outside looking for the four way to change the flat. I am inside with Baby Bull, the dogs, and the cat putting together my list for the day and prepping for a 10 am call with a prospective client.

I remembered I soaked chickpeas overnight. I hobble into the kitchen (we have a galley kitchen and it starts maybe three feet from where I sit to work during the day (because my actual office space, which is part of the garage we converted, doesn’t have heat or air…and with a sprained ankle, I can’t go that far). I go into the kitchen with my wrist braces on to get the Knorr chicken bouillon granules so I can put the chickpeas on to cook. I take the lid off. I turn around to take the two steps to the stove…and I drop the fucking container. It went EVERYWHERE. A large portion rehomed itself on top of my six pack of Blue Sky soda. So then I have to wash the soda cans…and sweep up the mess.

I warn Bull that if he decides to drink a Blue Sky to rinse the lid again just in case…because cherry vanilla chicken cane soda sounds like some awful shit. I sat down and not two minutes later, Pandora is vomiting in the living room. (She’s fine, by the way. We sort of expected this anyway because she broke off a significant portion of a dog treat and tends to swallow and not bother to chew. She wasn’t choking or in any distress.)

I hobble into the living room to let her out back (yes, our back door is actually in our living room. Don’t ask me. I didn’t design the house!). I let her out. I walk to the back of the house to get a towel because all of the clean laundry is all over Private Christian’s bed right now. I limp back into the living room and clean it up. I let Pandora back in.

I check the clock and it is 9:45 am. MY CALL IS IN 15 MINUTES!! I plug my headset into Skype. I sit down with my notebook. I review the email sent to me. I call at 10. It is a seven minute phone call. During that seven minutes, Pandora, again vomits. I kept waiting for the prospective client to ask me what that noise was…thankfully, he didn’t. Maybe he couldn’t hear it. That’s my hope.

So, I clean that up and I get the dogs fed. Crom won’t eat in the early mornings any more. Athena is hit or miss. Pandora will eat anything at any time. I’m sitting on the couch with Athena after the other two are done eating. I’m pouring her dry food onto the cushion because right now she won’t eat unless I do that. I live stream what I’m telling you now on IG to highlight that working from home is often NOT glamour. It is often a train wreck. I’m blessed it wasn’t a literal shit show.

I will take vomit over that ANY DAY.

And right after I cleaned THAT up, Bull called. The price on the tire went up…so we have to pay the difference I guess between what we paid (still under warranty) and the replacement tire.

I don’t know what else this day has in store for us. I’m almost afraid to find out. This isn’t the post I planned for today. So with that:

WAH Rule #856: Harsh Truth: Outsourcing May Not Correct Your Lack of Productivity

As I sit here listening to a podcast about productivity for entrepreneurs, I am certainly not surprised to hear the guest and the host mention outsourcing not just business things you need done, but also personal responsibilities like cleaning. While I wholeheartedly agree with the base concept, I must correct something the host mentioned.

She stated that she and her husband hired someone to come in a few hours a month to do the deep cleaning that they don’t have time to do. Something that I can empathize with. It was her lack of logic that twisted my brain. She stated they did it because of how much time it would free up for them to focus more on their business.

Outsourcing to Free Up Time

Outsourcing to free up time is common. Outsourcing is also both a convenience and a necessity for many. However, outsourcing does not free up your time from a certain project…if you weren’t working on that project to begin with.

And It’s Not about Freeing Up Mental Space

Your brain creates an unlimited universe for you. Outsourcing something you’re not doing doesn’t free up any mental space. It relieves your self-imposed guilt. It gives you a reason to think you can be more mindful with what you believe is a better use of your time.

Yet, if you can’t be mindful now on this most important project that you’re doing instead of doing X, it’s likely that the X isn’t the problem. You are the problem. Your intimidation toward the important project is your problem. Your procrastination is your problem. Your lack of follow-through is your problem.

Your lack of self-honesty through self-assessment is your problem. It is not mental space. You will not focus any better just because you’ve outsourced something else. You’ll find something else to fill your thoughts instead of fully engaging in the project in front of you.

The Quick Cure for Pigeonholes

I think that most of us can agree that being pigeonholed sucks. If you don’t know what that term means, it means that because you’ve worked in a certain industry for an extensive time (or did certain things for an extensive amount of time), one or more persons (or businesses) think that you can’t do anything else.

And If You’re a Freelance Writer, It Can Hurt Your Business

As a freelance writer (or an editor…or, really, any sort of freelancer), there’s a big likelihood of sticking with the same sorts of projects or working with the same industry over and over again. They like what we do. We know what we’re doing.

Yet, interviewing in other industries for other work can cause the new potential client to determine, without really getting to know you or putting a lot of attention toward what you sent, that you’re not right for the job because you don’t have a substantial history working in THEIR industry. They pigeonhole you. You can’t be qualified because you haven’t worked exclusively in their world. You know, you haven’t been THEIR bird in a gilded cage. You were someone else’s bird in a gilded cage.

It has the potential to leak much suckage into your business. Because, you know, how the fuck can you grow your business (and experience) if people do that?

The good news is, I have a quick cure.

Know Thyself

Don’t worry – I’m not about to get all philosophical on you. What I mean by “know thyself” is to make sure that you can recall each project you’ve worked on with similar features OR that is exactly the same (on the same subject or what have you). Make sure that you have samples (and publication links) ready. And take the time to listen to what they’re saying as they speak. There’s a good chance that they really didn’t take the time to look at the samples they requested. Trust me, I know. I was asked for samples. I sent two. One was an ebook snip and one was a textbook snip; they weren’t related. The potential client stated I sent two samples of legal writing. One was on leadership. The other was on adolescent psychology.

From there, I went forward and discussed published clips where I had written extensively for the legal industry about the specific idea this person had for a project (to show my subject matter expertise).

Whether or not I get the work still remains to be seen. My point in sharing this is to explain to you that you don’t have to get flustered or feel bad because someone pigeonholes you. If you know your previous projects inside out, you’ll find a way to relate it back.

Shit I Learned During 2018

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year when people reflect on the previous year…the good, the bad, and the ugly. Overall, 2018 was really good for us as a family. Of course, that doesn’t mean that every single day was smooth sailing. So, I’ve compiled this list of shit I learned during 2018. It’s not written in any particular order.

We All Get Exactly What We Put Out to the Universe

And noooo, I am not talking about religion, prayer, deities, or etc. I’m not even talking about the law of attraction. So, then, what in the fuck am I talking about? The amount of work we all put into our lives, of course. If you want success, you can’t work one day and then decide it is smooth sailing from there. If you want a better tomorrow, take care of shit today. What you do today will affect your life tomorrow (and, depending on what you do, for years to come). Getting more money, more happiness, more anything requires us to actually, you know, do those things as opposed to just thinking about it or dreaming about it.

You Can’t Trust Just Anyone

As usual, I had a year of wanting to believe the best in people and give people a chance. The problem, for the most part, is that people want certain things out of life, but once they figure out it’s hard, they quit. They make excuses. They want things handed to them. Or they lie to you and try to cheat you…and then try to make you into the bad guy. I’m incredibly glad I’ve always been a good record keeper. That will always continue. It provides a certain level of protection for what I do and for my reputation.

Time Off Is Essential

Honestly, this is kind of a catch-22 when you’re self-employed because if you don’t work, you’re not getting paid. In 2018, though, I found out just how much time off does for me. In general, I’m a “writeaholic.” I’d say workaholic, but we did my yearly calculation of time…but I’m always thinking about what I write for my clients or for my audience*…or for myself.

I took a few weeks off over the course of last year. Some of that time was planned. Some of it was not, but was necessitated between devastating migraines and the youngest kid being sick. (And 2019 just seems like the year that everyone will catch everything going around…) It took a lot of constant reminders to myself to stop worrying about that time off. So I could rest. And when I returned to my work, I was far more productive.

Better Nutrition = Better Overall Life

We keep improving our diets. In July of 2018, we started “clean eating.” Which, if you don’t know what that is, think about how back in the day our grandparents (great grands for some of yall) would KNOW what was in their food. They ate what they grew…and it was back before most food was comprised of 87 ingredients most of which we can’t pronounce. We weren’t strict clean eaters. We were common sense ones. More fruits and vegetables (oddly, we look for produce from Mexico and other foreign countries because remember all of the recalls on American-grown produce? Funny how that happened, huh?). Reading labels and not buying shit with a fuck-ton of ingredients we couldn’t pronounce or identify.

But, it kept moving forward. We bought a juicer. Bull and I had already cut back some on meat. We ate a lot of chicken because of its lean nature. Heart health was important for me. Physical fitness for BJJ competitions was important (and is important) to him.

Now, we’re vegetarians. Again, not super strict. It’s not a moral issue because, let’s be real, two more vegetarians isn’t going to stop the slaughter of animals (and trust me – I do not like the inhumane conditions of most places that process meat). We’re back to heart health, physical preparedness, and, as we’ve learned, feeling better overall. And, yes, we ate turkey on Christmas. We still go out and have the occasional hamburger. Although I learned yesterday, the hard way, that I should probably just pay the upcharge and get a vegetarian patty. Talk about feeling sick.

I Need More “Me” Time

I told Bull in late December that I planned to be selfish in 2019. He looked at me weird because I’m not a selfish person. Pretty much everything I do is for someone else. That’s not a complaint, by the way, it’s just the nature of who I am.

Basically, the more “me” time is shit I do that I want to do because I like it. I’d give you a list, but I’d sound like your grandma (read: quilting, crocheting, embroidery by hand). I’ve got some other things in mind for the summer while my 18 year old is at basic training.

Clarity in Goal Setting Is Crucial for Success

This is something I’ve always known at some level, but it wasn’t until around September when I bought myself a birthday present (Tony Robbin’s Ultimate Edge) that I started getting really clear about things I wanted to do in my personal and professional life. So, I bought a special notebook and that keeps my morning and evening power questions as well as my goals. I revisit my goals periodically and also do monthly goal setting (which then breaks down to what exactly must I do for each week).

I also chose three words for the year that I want to represent my life. I did this last year around September and set reminders on my phone. That was very helpful for me.

Meditation Is Life

This last year, I’ve also realized just how important that both meditation and yoga are for helping with the severe anxiety I deal with. It helps me remain calm and recenter my thoughts. I’ve been pretty good for a few years now with countering my thoughts and even not having a lot of negative thoughts, but sometimes they still creep in. I’m only human. Meditation and yoga are integral for me now.

So, that’s really all I have except:

Buzzword Killer: Biohacking

“Biohack” your life for a better experience! Be faster! Be better! Be happier! Be more productive! Blah. Blah. Blah. I mean, sure the word sounds cool. And if using a cool word gets you excited, by all means please do it. I’m all for whatever helps you as an individual. 

But I want to dissect this buzzword “biohack” (or “biohacking”). The root of the word is bio. You know, life. We all know what “hacking” is in the sense of life. I’m sure all of you have heard of Life Hacker. Maybe you’ve watched the TruTV show Hack My Life. Even if you’ve not read / watched those, you’ve found a shortcut that you use to make your life easier. 

Biohack = Doing What Works for You

Some of the articles I’ve read on biohacking list some crazy shit. Well, what I would find to be crazy. For some people, it might work perfectly well. And that’s kinda the point I want to make with this. Don’t get overwhelmed by a buzzword especially if you look into it because people seem to be raving about it and getting up at 5 am, running 12 miles, and drinking black unsweetened coffee with grass-fed butter and coconut oil (okay, I get up early most days and I like the butter coffee shit) and that shit isn’t anything that interests you…or that you dread it. (Although if you’re struggling with time management, stop hitting snooze. Get up earlier – self-discipline!)

Try out productivity methods, morning routines, afternoon routines, aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, hot baths, or hanging upside down from a tree by your toes (be careful) if that’s what interests you. Find the little things you can do in life that make you look forward to your day and that make you feel better. 

My Routine

Out of the blue, I was asked about what I do in the mornings to prepare myself. I don’t mind discussing it. I have CPTSD and AFib. Working from home can be a repetitive and monotonous experience. I enjoy it most of the time, but there are times I don’t. It can be hard to separate yourself out when you live where you work. Amirite? So, my “biohacking” (routine) looks like this:

  1. Hour of Power, as Tony Robbins calls it. I get up, take my supplements, drink some water, feed the dogs, and workout in some way. Sometimes, I go to the gym and sometimes I just do yoga at home. I meditate after. I also answer the Morning Power Questions.
  2. “Bulletproof” coffee. You can make it yourself. You don’t have to buy it. I buy a ghee / coconut oil blend I use to put into the coffee. Make sure you do your research before doing this. Some people get an upset tummy if they get too much oil. Don’t make yourself sick. If you don’t like coffee, don’t do this. I love coffee. I like it as dark as my soul. 
  3. I drink my greens. Good nutrition is an important component of my life. I get dressed if I’m still in workout apparel. You feel better if you get dressed. It’s science
  4. While either drinking my coffee or my greens, I plan my day. I have a Panda Planner. I also have three notebooks. I’ve also used OneNote. I also have a project management software I rely on during my day. I think about my end goal. What do I want to get out of this day? I take 1% of my day (15%) to plan out the other 99%. My plans are also based on my monthly goals which I set with a group of ladies every month. I write down, in advance, all appointments and such that I must attend. I work everything else around it. I also think about Brendon Buchard’s four questions that help high performers continue to perform at a high level.
  5. I work when I am most productive. I embrace the deep work concept to some degree. Because I have AFib and CPTSD, some days are better than others. I am usually focused in the morning and early afternoon. If I have a lot of appointments or errands, I rest during the day and do something fun…and I work in the afternoon / evening when everyone is settled. 
  6. I drink a fuck ton of water during the day. Turns out, that AFib causes your body to use more water. I drink close to 100 ounces of water today (and no, I don’t force it). It helps me feel better. I also take certain supplements three times per day (for AFib support). 
  7. When I get stressed, I am learning to take a break. My favorite break is to take a hot bubble bath in the middle of the day. Sometimes I go out into the backyard and just hang out. I’ll work on my loom. I just try to recharge. 

Those are the things that work best for me. What works best for you? Leave a comment!