7 Time Management Strategies ⏰

A friend of mine asked me to write about time management this week…something I struggle with just like everyone else!

People say to me all the time “I don’t know how you do it all!” Truthfully, I don’t. About 40% of my day is eating and sleeping 🐽, 30% is dedicated to managing my kids and THEIR schedules 🚕, 10% is probably wasted on TV and social media 🙈, which leaves about 20% for the actual work if I’m being honest (about 4 hours per day). So that brings me to my first tip:

1. Audit HOW you are spending your time. You may think you spend 30 minutes checking emails, social media, etc. when in reality those tasks could be sucking hours of your day. Be honest with yourself about your habits. 📵

2. Get off your phone! If you’re reading this, I already found a loophole in your time management. 😋 Did you know your iPhone has a “Downtime” setting? You can actual PLAN for your phone to be inaccessible. The fact that this option exists is concerning for our culture but that’s another story for another time.🤪

3. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Make your to-do list the night before and decide what time you need to start. Then set as many alarms as you need to stick to the plan. ✅

4. Tackle the most urgent items first. I’ve learned that if I don’t work out first thing in the morning it falls off the schedule. Think: if I only have time for one thing today, what should it be? Do that first. The rest will just be a bonus. 🏃🏻‍♀️

5. Minimize distractions to maximize efficiency. Designate time for certain activities and guard it fiercely. If you’re replying to emails or getting in a 30 minute workout…leave your phone in another room. [Basically leaving your phone in a different room will solve 99% of your time management issues.]⏱

6. Schedule self care time. I really hate the term “self care,” I prefer “treat yo’ self!” Whether than means alone time, the gym, a massage, etc. put yourself on your calendar! 💆‍♀️

7. Don’t fall for the lie that you can do it all. Let’s face it — we are all exhausted and spread thin. Trying to do it all isn’t working for us. Check your priorities against your calendar. Does your schedule reflect your values? 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦♥️

I want to hear from you! What are your biggest challenges when it comes to time management? How many hours per day do you think you are actually working? Be honest! 😉

#timemanagement #lifehack #liveyourbestlife #selfcare #balance #mentalhealth #emotionalintelligence #happy #healthy #bodymindspirit #stress #wellbeing #thrive #success #girlboss #womenempowerment #motivation

Haters Gonna Hate

One thing that really brought my husband and I together even as naïve high school kids was our drive to succeed. We are both fiercely competitive in different ways, but always competing with ourselves to be better. We recognized this in one another even as teenagers and, for me, it was the most attractive thing. Ambition is so sexy! Get you a man with big dreams!

My high school flame had a 6-year professional baseball career. When that ended due to injury, he pursued a career in the fire service which was “impossible” because “everyone is trying to be a firefighter.” Harder than becoming a pro athlete? We’ll see.

I had two toddlers at home and worked 2 jobs when I decided to go after the highest degree in my field. My firefighter husband was never home. NO ONE thought the timing was right. Fortunately, I didn’t give a damn what they thought. I got that degree before my son finished preschool and picked up a 3rd job along the way. BOOM.

The term “haters” wasn’t really a thing back in Y2K, I think they were called “naysayers.” But fast forward 20 years – after all we have accomplished – and we still have people close to us saying:

  • Your dreams are not realistic
  • That will be too much for you
  • You can’t handle it
  • This is bad for your kids
  • Self-care is selfish
  •  Stick with safe, certain, and comfortable
  • Don’t challenge the status quo
  • You’re working/exercising too much
  • This is how we’ve always done it
  • Career = Self-worth
  • Don’t let them see you sweat
  • Following your dreams is irresponsible
  • Money = Success
  • You can’t afford to take risks
  • Do you think you’re better than me?

I. could. go. on. Have any of these statements been made to you? Did it come from someone who is supposed to have your back? Why is it that people want to chain you down to stay on their level? They believe your success diminishes theirs. They are SO threatened that you will outshine them as if there isn’t enough light out there to go ‘round?!

Listen up, dear ones. YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, BUT YOU CAN’T DO EVERYTHING. Give up on people pleasing. Quit listening to the critic. Sacrifice your comfort zone.  Don’t give up your ambition. Don’t quit on yourself. Don’t sacrifice your confidence so someone else can have theirs. The haters are gonna hate anyway.

MANIFEST

My husband and I had a quick getaway last week and the best part for me was the 7 hours of driving. We had uninterrupted conversations about our dreams and goals and where we want to see our careers go. Those conversations get us into alignment and give me LIFE!! We are always on the same page when it comes to wanting one another to thrive in every way possible, but it helps to actually hear what the other person desires. It gives you some perspective to support him/her in going after it! When was the last time you and your spouse got to do this? It had been a minute for us.

We talked about MANIFESTING (focusing on and attracting what you want in your life). Personally, the idea is a little too “new age” for me. In my opinion, no amount of meditation and “putting it out into the universe” has the same effect as laser focus and hustle!! Rather than trying to attract what I want, I prefer to take it by the balls with action! Still, you need to have a vision to make your plans successful. Maybe that is where the “manifesting” really comes into play.

After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish.

SELF CHALLENGE: What is your vision for YOUR future? If you don’t know, you better sit your ass down and think about it. If time and money were no option (spoiler alert: that’s NOT what’s holding you back), what does your dream job/hobby/startup company/non-profit look like? What skills do you have that are unique to you? What comes easy to you that you enjoy doing? THAT is purpose, and that is what you need to be chasing.

MARRIAGE CHALLENGE: Carve out some time to talk with your spouse about your vision and find out what his/her vision is. How can you support one another in getting there? This requires at least a date night, preferably a road trip!

If the word MANIFEST feels weird to you, try replacing it with VISION. Make yourself a road map for where you want to go and what you need to get there. Then take the first step.

#goals #hopes #dreams #purpose #manifest #hustle #vision #marriage #marriagegoals #relationshipgoals #drive #passion #liveyourbestlife #growth #growthmindset #personaldevelopment #leadership #selfactualization #empowerment #girlboss #motherhood #parenting #mindfulness #selfawareness

Our Journey

With my husband’s permission, I have decided to share our journey as foster-to-adopt parents. 💑
We are anxiously beginning the journey full of doubts and hesitation and I want to share all of it in real time, warts and all.

It took a long time to get here and we can list 100 reasons why it’s a terrible idea. We’ve had family members be outspoken against it which has made it difficult to share publicly. Unfortunately, we don’t have everyone’s support or approval of this decision, and we have to be ok with that.

The decision to become a foster/adoptive family was (is) scary. We’ve never struggled with fertility. We have healthy children – a girl and boy! We already have the “perfect” nuclear family 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦. So what made us decide to make our lives really uncomfortable? We are “doing it scared” because of 1 important reason:

We are pro-life.

I may have just lost a few followers for that politically unpopular statement, but it’s part of our story. We have 100 reasons not to start this journey, but just 1 that makes us dismiss them all. We believe being pro-life doesn’t just mean “pro-fetus.” We believe it comes with the enormous burden of being pro-mother, pro-baby, pro-child, and pro-humanity. We believe being pro-life means being part of the solution.

I recently watched the movie “Instant Family” where Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne adopt 3 foster kids. Wahlberg’s character, Russ, says:
“People who take in foster kids are really special. The kind of people who volunteer when it’s not even a holiday. We don’t even volunteer on a holiday.”

I think a lot of us have this misconception that we don’t have what it takes to do this type of work. If you were to attend one of these training classes and hear some of the dumb questions being asked, you would feel qualified! 😳

Our Pastor often says “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” The truth is, we are ALL called to serve the orphans and widows among us (James 1:27). We can all serve in one way or another. Maybe foster parenting isn’t your calling, but don’t miss out on your calling, whatever that is! We all have one!

I look forward to sharing more about our journey with you over the next several months. I will be relying heavily on your support and encouragement along the way! Thank you for being my people!! I’m going to need you. 👊

#fosterparents #instantfamily #fosterlove #adopt #adoptionstory #foster #prolife #focusonthefamily #family #blendedfamily #realtalk #parenting #fostermom #fosterdad #motherhood #fatherhood #growth #growthmindset #passion #leadership #purpose #presence #selfactualization #empathy #compassion #selfawareness #empowerment #inclusion #equity #diversity

GEN Z

What do you know about Gen Z? 🧒👦

As the successor to the
millennials, these “digital natives” are described as consummate multitaskers, achievement oriented, and sheltered (Rickes, 2016). One of the most notable effects of this digital age is a stress-induced environment due to increased connectivity, academic demands, a host of extracurricular activities, and athletic competition (Hoffman, 2011).

As parents, we want to give our kids every opportunity to be successful. This is what leads us to club sports and travel teams, private tutors, art and music lessons…you name it, we’ve likely tried it. But in our attempts to “help” them succeed, we are often stifling their success and setting them up for failure.

Children do not have the physical and emotional capacity to manage our high expectations. After all, WE didn’t grow up this way! The result of this stressed out, hyper scheduled culture is a mental health crisis where young people are riddled with anxiety and an inability to regulate their emotions (Knopf, 2016).

Suicide rates in young people have increased 25% in the last 10 years, and Gen Z has the highest rate of anxiety, depression, and suicide in recorded history. WHAT WE ARE DOING ISN’T WORKING.

Millennials are notably big spenders. Millennial parents will spare no expense to give their children a hand UP in life. However, in our attempts to do so, we are destroying our children and making them feel inadequate.

So, how can parents help their children manage this anxiety to lead happy
and successful lives? Give them a break!

– Schedule in some unscheduled time.
– Let them get bored.
– Take away their devices.
– Turn off the TV.
– Go outside!
– Actually spent time with them rather than money.
– Develop their emotional vocabulary to recognize and identify their feelings.
– Find out how THEY want to spend their time.
– Give them chores.
– Teach them kindness and compassion.
– Schedule time to help others by volunteering. Focusing on helping others helps alleviate the burden of perfectionism.

It’s not too late to turn this around, but our time as parents is limited. Be purposeful in your parenting and don’t let the World steal their childhood. It’s too magical. ✨

A Grandmother’s Legacy

As I reflect on my personal heroes, there are many significant women who have impacted my life through their words and actions. They include Mother Teresa, Rosa Parks, Dr. Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, and Coco Chanel. I am inspired by women who demonstrate their strength though self-sacrifice, determination, bravery, wisdom, and compassion. Each of these women lead by example, boldly paving the way for the rest of us to have limitless possibilities. Of all the powerful women I have had the honor to learn from, no one has influenced my life more than my very own grandmother, Charlotte Neal DeRossett.

Charlotte was born in Tennessee in 1929 during the Great Depression. Her father was a kind and generous farmer who would set aside food each week to give to the poor. As she recalls, “We were the poorest people we knew,” but her father instilled the importance of generosity from an early age.

Lesson #1: There is always someone who has it worse than we do. Be generous, always.

Her father died when she was just 8-years-old, and her mother quickly remarried a man who was quite the opposite of her father and had no interest in his step-children. As a child, she worked in the cotton fields until she eventually left home at 15 to seek better wages in Chicago. She worked two jobs and sent all of her money home to support her younger siblings. She always regretted not getting an education, but she read every book and newspaper she could get her hands on.

Lesson #2: Be a lifelong learner, hunger for knowledge, and be your own teacher.

My grandmother is the most positive, affirming woman you will ever meet. She will never miss an opportunity to give a sincere compliment and tell you how special and talented you are. She will be 90 this year, and she was never educated in positive psychology or appreciate inquiry, she just understands the joy that comes from approaching life with gratitude and optimism.

Lesson #3: If you woke up today, be grateful. There is always something to be grateful for.

I am grateful to have had the influence of this woman in my life. Today we celebrate Charlotte along with all of the powerful female influencers who have opened the doors of possibility for the rest of us.

“For the hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” – William Ross Wallace

**Article published by Brandman University https://www.brandman.edu/…/looking-at-leadership-internatio…

COMMUNICATION 🗣👤

I have gotten countless messages from you guys wanting to hear about COMMUNICATION 🗣👤 and I am happy to oblige as the subject is one of the specialties I teach my college kids.

Here are some general tips ✅ :

1.) Active Listening / Feedback:
Sometimes when we listen to our significant other, we’re not fully present. We may be distracted, or feel overly reactive to strong emotions they’re displaying. It’s hard to resist the urge to chime in with a thought (defensive statement, rebuttal, etc.) while the other is speaking, rather than simply taking it all in and then responding afterwards. “Active Listening,” on the other hand, involves making a concerted effort to slow down and listen with an open heart and mind. 👂

Step 2 is sharing feedback. You don’t have to agree with what is being said, but you do want to show that you’re getting the other’s perspective to the best of your ability. For example, you can say, “It sounds like you are upset with me for forgetting to take care of _______, or for using that tone…am I understanding you correctly?”

2.) Don’t make Criticism Personal:
As we all know, criticism makes people feel defensive, which significantly inhibits the listening process and can lead to further escalation of anger and hurt feelings.

3.) Seek First to Understand vs. Being Understood:
When in conflict, our default as human beings is often to focus on our desire to be understood. Rather than emphasizing your own desire to be heard, try changing your focus to putting attention on understanding the other.

4.) Ask Open-Ended Questions:
Have you noticed that those passive-aggressive questions, such as “I wonder if you’ll ever take out the trash without me asking?” don’t seem to initiate healthy dialogue? Try sharing your concern with an open-ended questions. For example, you may say to your spouse, “I could use help with the trash; do you have any ideas for how we can tackle this?” He will likely get the point without feeling personally attacked.

5.) Use “I” statements:
Own your feelings rather than blaming, by using “I” statements when communicating (e.g., I feel, I need, I want). Remember the “XYZ” technique: “I feel X when you do Y in situation Z.” For example: “I feel frustrated when you don’t take out the trash on Tuesdays, the day you agreed to do so.”

6.) Self-soothing:
Take charge of your own well-being. No one “makes” you upset. You allow it. Find ways to soothe yourself when the feeling arise before confronting your spouse. For example, take a “time out,” by going for a walk or taking some time to yourself to do some breathing exercises. Conversations will be much more productive when emotions are more balanced.

7.) Accept Influence from the Other:
Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and be willing to go with their perspective and suggestions. Marriage expert Dr. John Gottman’s research indicates that “a marriage succeeds to the extent that the husband can accept influence from his wife.” Accordingly, be mindful of the gender dynamics in your relationship that may foster or inhibit the ability to influence one another.

8.) Share Your Appreciation:
In any good relationship, each person will feel that they are valued and respected for who they are. When communicating, it can be helpful to identify what you appreciate about the other and state those things. Gottman’s research indicates that those in successful relationships make 5 times as many positive statements as negative ones when discussing issues. Affirm one another to maintain trust and respect during tough conversations.

The manner in which you communicate with your spouse is EQUALLY important as what you are saying. Do you agree? Let me know what you think! 💘😘

#marriage #relationshipgoals #communication #love #respect #realtalk

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

Let’s talk about sex, Baby…let’s talk about you and…your spouse!

Well, if you’re married, you definitely have a mutually fulfilling sex life, riiiiight? 🙃

Chances are, one of you is wishing it happened more often while the other would prefer a good night’s sleep. So what’s the solution? Communication and compromise! Have an open discussion about how often you’d like to get busy…this will likely involve someone stepping it up and someone simmering down. Challenge yourself to compromise on the higher end of the scale. 😜

Listen up, guys. Foreplay, or #choreplay as @drlauraberman aptly calls is, begins the moment you wake up. Your wife wants to feel supported and valued and it’s the quickest route to getting what you want! Takeover some of the things on her to-do list for the day and you will free up some extra time in her day for sex! 💏

Women need emotional intimacy to desire physical intimacy. ⬅️ READ THAT AGAIN! Be intentional about connecting emotionally. Discover one another’s love language and put in effort to connect accordingly. 👫

#adulting and #parenting make spontaneous sex nearly impossible. Don’t wait for the perfect moment – create it! So what if it’s not spontaneous…a thoughtfully planned encounter can be so much more special! Be intentional about making time for physical intimacy in your marriage. And start tonight. 😉

💕LOVE STORY 💕

Patrick’s Senior Prom (Our First Date): May 2000

Everyone loves a good love story, right? 🥰 Here’s mine in a nutshell…

I was only 15 when I met my husband and if you would have told me then that I would end up married to that awkward, skinny, 17-year-old boy I would never have believed it! Needless to say, it was not love at first sight. And that ended up being the secret to our success.

My best friend, Krystal, brokered the deal for me to be his prom date in Y2K. She reminded me recently that I made her tell him NOT to expect any physical contact on this date. I was always good at managing expectations. 😆

Although there were no fireworks on that date, the fact that we weren’t trying to impress one another is what eventually made us click. Looking back, I’ve never been more unapologetically myself with anyone than I was with that boy. I didn’t care about impressing him and we proceeded to date other people and give each other dating advice in the years that followed. In hindsight, it was a lot of TMI if I’d known I would marry this dude. 🤐

For me, the turning point happened when I went on a family vacation. I had a boyfriend back home who I didn’t miss at all, and I was calling my best friend, Patrick, every day while I was gone. I knew what I had to do when I got home….and I was pretty sure he had been patiently waiting for me to arrive at this conclusion on my own. 💑

There was a lot that happened in the years that followed…to save time, you can refer to the plot of The Notebook. We loved each other fiercely and we believed in one another fiercely. Those early years were SO difficult. It’s hard to pursue your own dreams and fulfill the needs of someone else at the same time. Maybe impossible. Choosing to grow together, rather than as individuals was our biggest struggle. 🌳

The fact that we have persisted for almost 20 years is a testament to our mutual stubbornness and the grace of God. Patrick told me yesterday that his favorite thing about me is my grit. When I decide to do something, come hell or high water, I won’t give up. Similarly, my favorite thing about Patrick is that he will do absolutely anything to be successful. He works so hard to be proficient at whatever he does and he works hard at being a good husband and father. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦

We were married 10 years ago and learned how to navigate adulthood, careers, and parenting together. We are still unapologetically ourselves. We can’t be any other way because we showed all of our cards early on. We know the worst about each other but choose to believe the best – day after day. We respect each other and we are still best friends after all these years. We are so different from those awkward, superficial teens setup for a prom date, but we choose one another every day, year after year. 👰🏻🤵🏻

Love is not a feeling, it’s a commitment. The best marriages involve 2 people in competition to out-serve one another. They require mutual respect, admiration, and a determination to be the best partner you can be. It’s not a natural response. It’s a choice. And it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. 💞

The Grass is Greener Where You Water It

🌱The Grass is Greener Where You Water It 🌦

We all know the agony of comparison – in friendships, in parenting, and in our marriages. Social media has multiplied this feeling exponentially. Everyone else’s marriage looks easy breezy on Facebook, so why don’t I have that? 📸

The truth is, ALL of our relationships have their challenges. Chances are, if you could see the secret struggles of the relationships behind the picture perfect filters, you’d probably RUN back to your spouse and be grateful for the small problems you are faced with in comparison. 🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️

All of our relationships have seasons that are hard. We are individuals driven to seek our own happiness, yet relationships require the selflessness to put someone else’s needs above you own. It’s unnatural to us, which is why we have to be intentional in connecting with one another. 💑

Think about what first attracted you to your spouse. Of all the people in the world, you CHOSE this person! That’s a really BIG DEAL!

Take some time to reflect on the qualities that made you choose your husband/wife. These are the foundations of your marriage and I bet they are still true!
1.
2.
3.

Now go share these qualities with him/her! Here’s a little script to get you started:
“When we first met, I fell in love with you because ________. I knew I wanted to marry you because _________. I really appreciate that you still ________. Thank you for __________.”

We are all looking for affirmation and confidence that we are ENOUGH and we are seen and valued. Practice giving that to your spouse, and chances are, you will receive it back in return.