Live and Lead for Impact with Kirsten E. Ross

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I think it’s pretty safe to assume that, if you are working to make an impact, life is busy!  You are almost certainly juggling, coordinating and prioritizing life, relationships, self-care, hiccups, money-making endeavors, impact activities, if the two are not intertwined, and then all of the extra activities that surround any and all of the above.

Most of us would probably say, “life is busy, but good!”

While you are increasing your bandwidth, however, it is so important to minimize stress.  Busy and energized is great but stress takes the energy to a negative place.  Overwhelm is never good and stress takes a toll on our impact, our bodies and our lives.

I always say, you can live that way for a sprint, but not a marathon!

Here are 6 quick questions.  Answer them and then take action to move from overwhelm to calm – or at least calmer!

  1. What can you stop doing?

Are there rules that you live with in your house because you grew up that way?  Your mom made you do it so now you have to?  Rules about laundry, making the bed, dinners and more…..sit back and start fresh. Can you relax some rules you have for you? 

I still remember the dinner I made when my boys were little……”Oh mom!  You are the BEST cook!  You should have your own cooking show!”  My fancily cooked cuisine?
Tomato soup and grilled cheese – I think it’s safe to say they were easily wowed –

I’ve been a huge fan of my crock pot for years and Dump Recipes are amazing.  Drop the contents in a freezer bag, throw it in the freezer standing up.  Pull it out to place it in the crock pot first thing in the morning.  Fire up the rice cooker for a side and the meal is ready to go!

Remember…..I’ve always done this….does not have to lock you in for a lifetime. 

Also consider, What committees are you on?  What volunteering are you doing?

How much time are you spending on social media or watching junk tv?  Now, I have nothing against either and I’m not saying you must stop it all – but, let’s get real, either can become time suckers.  Netflix couldn’t make it any easier to binge watch for hours.  And scrolling social media for a few moments can turn into hours without any thought.

Take a look at your time with fresh eyes and let nothing be off limits. Keep track for a week or so.  If you have an iPhone, check the stats they now provide for how you’re spending time on you phone. 

What will you stop doing?


Where can you lower expectations?

There are different seasons of life.  Did you create some expectations for yourself, your home, your family that made great sense during a calmer time? 

Making your impact or maneuvering through any busy time of life with some amount of peace requires recalibrating expectations to better fit the time.

I still remember when, as a single mom, I had to lower my expectations for our pool. I’d always been proud of how sparkly blue I could keep it.  Well, once the full complement of responsibilities fell on me as a single who hadn’t downsized the home it was no longer realistic to keep the pool that way.  There are only so many hours in a day and some things had to give - Good enough had to be good enough. 

Where are you holding tight to unrealistic expectations that are not a fit for your circumstance?  Are they causing extra pressure, stress and discouragement?  Give yourself relief by adjusting where you must.

What can you outsource?

Make a list of the activities you don’t like to do or aren’t good at and farm out what you can.

I’m not just talking about hired help.  Is there anyone in your household who could take on additional duties?  Do you have kids old enough to start doing or chores, or, if doing some, can they take on more?  Now….I get it, this may also plop you back into the question above….where can you lower expectations?  Are you one of those, it has to be done exactly how I want it or it will drive me nuts people?  If so…lowering expectations and learning to live with good enough or different is fine may need to be part of your solution.

And then what CAN you hire out or trade for? 

There’s an endless list.  If you don’t have money to outsource, perhaps you can trade some services.  If you do outsource, be intentional with the time you capture. 

Lawn and landscaping?
Driving Kids
Clerical Activities
Basic accounting duties
Marketing and Social Media
Emails and Schedules

How will you capture your list? 

The written or typed lists are essential!  If you don’t get it out the list sits in your head.  If it sits in your head you have to keep rehearsing it to make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.  I know you are laughing right now because you’ve done it or are doing it now!

Rehearsing a list makes you less productive in the moment and stressed.  Your mind will think that there is an endless number of tasks.  And you will be afraid of forgetting something.  It will also rob you of sleep.  Lying in bed when your mind is supposed to be quiet is the prime time for rehearsal.  Get it out of your head and on paper into a digital format!

How can you chunk down large projects?  

Good from a practical standpoint.  You can only do so much at once anyway. Unless your life is different from most, you’ll never get large projects done if you tell yourself you need a solid week of uninterrupted time.  BUT….you can finish pieces of a project 15, 30 or 90 minutes at a time.

Chunking down makes it easier to fill in fragments of time with pieces of your priorities list.  Apps like Toodledo will even help you sift to find tasks by time. 

Chunking down also helps you focus only on what’s next.  This is really helpful!  I used to feel the full weight of a project until it was all done.  That added way too much stress.  In a large project there is going to be an order to tasks.  If you’re on step 3 but worrying a feeling the weight of step 20 as if it’s gotta happen now, you’re increasing your stress exponentially.  I know from personal experience. I had to learn to chunk it down AND put the later tasks to the side in my mind.  Look at what’s in front of me now not what’s coming.

What should be prioritized first? Knowing what you need to get done is step one.  Step 2 is prioritizing it all to fit into the time you have in a way that gets it done on time.  Use your time with intention. 

When I’m prioritizing I pay attention to my energy.  I know that my most creative time is earlier in the day so prioritize tasks that require more focus into earlier time slots.

I also consider what’s happening in the world.  You won’t see me at a Costco on the weekend. I can go there during slower times so choose to do that instead.

I hope these questions will help you capture some productive time.  I can’t wait to see the impact you make with the new found time!

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Wishing you a life of joy, balance, passion & purpose!

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Category:general -- posted at: 3:00am EDT