Conversations with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone

Looking at ourselves and the world through the lens of the 21st century.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Heard it on the Podcast - December 7, 2022

 

 
 
Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

7-DEC-2022
S2E50: The 7 Secrets to a Perfect Holiday

Sorry, we don't have any links today from the podcast, but do visit our Facebook group, MMC Chat. Let us know what you think!

Monday, December 5, 2022

My 7 Secrets for a Perfect Holiday

 

My Thanksgiving Day schedule on the fridge. Next to the stove, you can see my recipes on a stand.

Have you noticed how time seems to fly when we get close to the holiday season? This is my favorite time of year, and yet I seem to always be running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get everything done, and getting flustered, flummoxed, and frustrated in the process. If you can relate, then I am here to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way, and I think I’ve found the secret to making any holiday just about perfect.


Like many families, the last few years around here have been fraught with change…COVID, unemployment, extra family members living with us, illness, death…we’ve survived it all, and it has changed the way we look at Christmas (or any holiday for that matter). At some point, I just gave up trying to be the perfect hostess presenting the perfect dinner in a perfect house with all the perfect touches for a perfect event. Where does this idea of perfection come from anyway? I think we’ve all been watching too many Hallmark movies! Although I truly do know better than to expect perfection, there is something in me that has this “perfect” picture of the holidays in my head and I’ll be darned if I’m not going to try and accomplish it! 


A few years ago, I finally figured out that I can’t do it all on my own, and I enlisted the help of my daughter, Christen (who you know from this blog and the podcast), and my niece, Ashley. One early fall day, we enjoyed happy hour at our local Chuy’s and decided to plan our holiday festivities, nailing down any and every detail we could think of along with assigning a person to be responsible for it. It was nothing that I hadn’t done before, but having it all spelled out in writing and with two other family members to back it up, it carried weight.  We planned it together. Who was going to challenge that?


Those first couple of years were focused on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and many of the activities in our “plan” involved baking days, crafting days, and even some movie-watching and game-playing days. As each day rolled around, we found it was easy to know what was supposed to happen and when so most things went off without a hitch. After each holiday, we would regroup, make notes about what worked and what didn’t, and set it aside for the next year. This planning has become our routine and has been amazingly effective even through COVID and all the aforementioned changes. And because of the success of all this planning, I was able to discover what I call my 7 Secrets of a Perfect Holiday. 


  1. Be realistic. 

When you look at what you want to accomplish realistically, you may find that what you want isn’t just a challenge – it can be impossible. Pick and choose what you really want to include, and learn to say “no” to anything that goes beyond that.  


When my family started planning, we quickly realized that some family activities just weren’t going to happen when we are all  together, so we opted for going our separate ways for things like visits with Santa and driving around looking at lights. We also quickly realized that to have all of our Christmas baking and decorating done in time to enjoy it, we had to start working on it the weekend after Thanksgiving. Now, baking and decorating on that Saturday is part of our Thanksgiving/Christmas ritual.


  1. Make a plan.

Once you know what is most important to you, start planning it out. Think about all the details like time constraints, supplies needed, and who will be responsible for each part. Plan out the menu for your meals and then break the recipes down into little steps that are scheduled throughout the day or even the day before.


Knowing that we are going to make cornbread dressing on Thursday for Thanksgiving, we knew that we had to bake the cornbread on Monday so it could dry out to bread crumbs. I made pies the day before. Then, for the day of our feast, I start at the time I would like to serve dinner and work my way back through all of the recipes so that everything is done and ready to serve at exactly the right time. If a recipe calls for chopping celery, I mark on the plans who will be chopping. In this way, every person knows exactly what they are doing and when…right down to setting the table, changing clothes, and putting on make-up.


  1. Delegate.

This was one of the hardest things for me to do. I’m a control freak, and to allow someone else to do something that I am perfectly capable of doing (especially when I have a specific way I want it done) is darned near impossible, but I’ve learned to do it. I realized some while back that the other women in the family are never going to learn how to do things unless I allow them to do it and learn, and someday it will be up to them to carry on our family traditions. I owe it to them to bring them in on the process – to teach them the way. It has been a lifesaver for me. Learning to let go and let someone else do it allows me to focus on other aspects of the holiday like baking my special recipe or coordinating all the other helpers. This year, more than half of our Thanksgiving dishes were made by someone other than me, and my brother and niece set the tables.


  1. Lower your expectations.

This can be hard, too, especially if you have some kind of Norman Rockwell/Hallmark movie picture of what Christmas (or any other holiday) should be like. Remember that 70% rule Christen talked about a while back? It applies here, too. If you can manage to get 70% of what you hope to accomplish, I’m betting you’re going to have a great holiday. And remember that delegating thing? Don’t expect too much of your helpers, either. It’s perfectly okay if your niece sets the table with the forks and knives on the wrong sides of the plates. No one cares. Really. No one cares.


  1. Be in the moment.

If I learned anything from our adventure reading Eckhart Tolle’s, A New Earth, it is this – be in the moment. The moment is now. Now is all there is. Make the most of what you have. Enjoy it. Be fully present. 


This was never more evident in our family than this past Thanksgiving. My brother and his family came to visit, and rather than change our plans, we decided to just bring them in on all the fun. For Saturday, the plan was to rise early, eat some donuts and start decorating my tree. In the afternoon, we were going to start some of our baking and take turns at building gingerbread houses. If there was enough time in the evening, we would either play a game or do some crafting. But things change. Christen wasn’t in the mood for donuts, so she brought breakfast burritos, too (a big hit with everyone), and we were having so much fun visiting with my sister-in-law and doing some crafting that we never did decorate the tree. In the end, the “boys” played a game while we crafted, and then we all got in on the gingerbread houses, taking turns at the dining room table. It was all good fun, and while I wished I had gone to bed that evening with a fully-decorated tree, it didn’t kill me to do it the next day. The point is that we were in the moment, enjoying what was, and not worrying about what was supposed to be. I wouldn’t trade those hours of crafting and talking with Lisa for the world.


  1. Stick to your budget.

This may sound super obvious, but budgets have a very real and valuable purpose, and that is to keep us out of trouble! It’s very tempting to shop for groceries for a dinner and add one more side dish or appetizer, or to discover one more gift for someone that you think you must give. I am so guilty of this! Especially when it comes to gift-giving. I will find the perfect gift for someone and then the very next day find another little something that would be perfect for that person. But, oops, if I buy one more for this person, then I need to find another little something for that person, and it just keeps adding up. I love using things like Amazon Wish Lists to buy gifts because I can quickly tally how much I’ve spent on each person and stick to my budget. It’s a lot safer for me than just randomly milling through stores looking for something. Santa has the right idea; make a list, check it twice, and stick to it! There’s nothing worse than overspending on a meal or gifts and then eating beans and rice for the next month just to pay for it.


  1. Stick to your routines.

This last little tidbit is more about self-care than anything else. Often, when we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we tend to overlook things like our diet, exercise routines, and even sleep. Be sure to stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible (even when you have company!), and don’t give up on those exercise routines. A morning work-out, evening meditation, or that wonderful soak in a hot tub might be just the thing to help you keep the stress at bay. As for that diet…well, we all over-indulge once in a while, so just be mindful and don’t make it another habit that you’re going to have to change come January 1.


That’s my secret to having a perfect holiday. I’d like to know what you think. Do you have any tips to share with our readers? Be sure to listen to the podcast on Wednesday to hear what Christen and Amber have to say!


Saturday, December 3, 2022

Creatively Flexing My Muscles

This week on the podcast we talked about taking our crafts when we travel. I have to admit, I’m a proCRAFTinator. I just made that word up. I honestly don’t normally craft when I travel. Last summer, when I went to New Orleans, I took my craft bag with me on the trip and didn’t open it once. That being said, I do take some sort of craft when I travel…and that means across town as well.

I am a beast of burden. I carry my backpack with me everywhere, and in that backpack, I may as well have bricks for all the use its contents do for me when I travel. Every day to work I carry my backpack full of crafty things and occasionally I will carry my craft bag with me as well. In my backpack, I have practical things that I need for work such as my laptop and planner but I also have a plethora of other things I carry with me that I don’t necessarily use but hope for a fleeting moment of free time to get a little craft in.

Crafty things I always have on me:
  • All three sets of my pens: In my backpack, I carry three sets of pens in three different pen bags in case I need them. I carry my gel pens (Papermate™ and Pilot™) in case I want to write something down in my APN (all-purpose notebook) in many different colors. I carry my flair pens because sometimes you need a bit of flair instead of gel. I also have my Sharpie™ pens because they can be used for a completely different purpose than my other two sets of pens.
  • Scissors and glue: You never know when you need to cut or glue something. If I remove either of these things from my backpack, I always find an occasion when I should have had them.
  • My list journal: This is a given. My list journal is one of my current projects that I am always working on. I carry it with me if I get to add to it. I also use all three sets of my pens in this journal. I mentioned this list journal on our “Current Projects” podcast.
  • My art journal and pastels: I usually carry my art journal with me as well, and if it is not in my backpack, it is in my car. I don’t use this journal regularly, but it is always nice to have it when I get the inspiration to draw or collage (this is where the scissors and glue come in).
  • My All-Purpose Notebook: I carry this with me everywhere. Other than my planner and gel pens, this is the one thing I carry with me consistently. I started keeping an APN when I was in middle school but I started carrying it with me everywhere when I was in high school. The full ones are dated, numbered, and cataloged on my bookshelf.
  • My Happy Planner™: This is where I do all of my planning. I mentioned my planner and how it transformed my life on my Day Planners blog back in April. I carry my planner with me everywhere and I keep everything I do not keep in my APN in my planner such as my daily activities, my classroom activities, and my grocery lists.  Sometimes I have things in both.

Other things I carry with me everywhere:
  • A book: I always have a book in my purse.
  • Crossword puzzles: I always have my ColorCross™ book with me.

My takeaway is that you don’t always have time to craft when you travel, but, I have the things I enjoy with me in my bag in case I get those little stolen moments to craft (or read). I want to hear from our readers. What do you take with you for your downtime when you travel? Let’s continue the conversation below or on our Facebook Group: MMC Chat.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

I Love to Craft When I Travel

 


Yesterday on the podcast, Amber, Christen, and I talked about some of the crafts we take with us when we travel, whether it’s to the doctor’s office or an extended vacation like a Caribbean cruise. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what that might look like, so I thought I would use my blog today to share photos and video walk-throughs of some projects I’ve worked on while traveling.


The largest, and most obvious, projects I’ve done are my travel albums. I’ve done everything from digital 12” x 12” scrapbook layouts to tiny little sketchbooks completed with nothing but a pencil, a pen, and some colored pencils.


New Orleans Smashbook:

For this album, I used a Smashbook to record our trip to New Orleans. 



Aggie Moms Cruise Traveler’s Notebook:

I used a mixed-paper travelers notebook to create this chunky album on the fly while cruising with friends.




Las Vegas Traveler’s Notebooks:

For this album, I used three small traveler’s notebook inserts – one for each day of our trip. As Amber mentioned in the podcast, Christen and I had a lovely time crafting in our hotel room during a bit of downtime.



Arkansas Sketchnote Traveler’s Notebook:

As I mentioned in the podcast, I took minimal supplies on a recent camping trip with my family. This prompted me to try my hand at sketchnoting the trip. The project is a hybrid of sketchnoting with smashbooking since I added photos of our trip as well as the sketches. I haven’t created a video flip-through of this one yet, but here are some photos of the unfinished project. 









I’m hoping to add flip-through videos of all my travel albums someday. I hope these albums have inspired you to take a bit of scrapbooking or other crafts with you on one of your upcoming trips. It’s a great way to wind down after a busy day, and if you’re scrapbooking, you have the bonus of documenting those memories while they are still fresh. 



Have you taken your crafts with you when you travel? I’d love to hear about it! Tell us what you think by commenting below or joining the conversation on our Facebook group MMC Chat.


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Heard It on the Podcast - November 30, 2022

 
Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

30-NOV-2022
S2E49: Traveling with Your Crafts



      Wednesday, November 23, 2022

      Heard it on the Podcast - November 23, 2022

       
      Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

      21-NOV-2022
      S2E48: Facial Skin Care Routines

        And Christen mentioned:


        Monday, November 21, 2022

        A Basic Skincare Routine


        Hello! This week on the blog we are talking about our favorite facial skincare routines and why you should have one. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t always have the best skincare routine, especially when my daily flow is interrupted. When that is the case, I usually get off my routine and have to pick it back up again. I’m inconsistent but I’m trying to be better as I get older.

        I have susceptible skin, and it changes throughout the year, so it is trial and error when it comes to my skin to find products my skin will tolerate. Over the years I have tried many different companies, searching for the best skincare products using beauty subscription boxes such as Birchbox™ and BoxyCharm™. After years of searching, I have finally decided that Clinique™ has some of the best products out there. 

        Clinique™ was actually the brand that I started my skincare journey with years ago. If anything, I like consistency and my mother and my grandmother were avid users of Clinique™. When I was a freshman in high school, my mom took me to the Clinique™ counter and she showed me the different products they had to offer and how to use them. Since then, I have always been faithful to their makeup and their blemish control system, AcneSolutions™. It wasn’t until about 10 years ago that I felt like I needed to amp up my skincare routines.

        The one thing I try to stay consistent about daily is my moisturizer. I have Rosacea, which is a facial skin condition causing redness. One of the best moisturizers that I have found to help with my rosacea is called Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream™ by Clinique™. I can tell a visible difference whenever I use the product consistently or switch between products (which often causes a breakout). I use my moisturizer twice a day after washing my face with a mild facial cleanser. One thing I like about this product is that it leaves my face feeling soft, unlike other moisturizers that I have used, which leave my face feeling dry.

        Aside from an overall moisturizer, I also use an eye cream for the dark circles under my eyes. My favorite eye cream is also by Clinique™ from their All About Eyes™ eye cream line. Their eye products are the only products that I’ve tried that visibly reduce my eye puffiness in the morning, especially if I consistently use them every day.

        My routine isn’t extensive but it helps keep my rosacea and eye puffiness at bay. My key to success is consistency. After years of trying, I found products and routines that work for my skin. The best advice I can give to those looking to try out new skincare routines is to try a beauty subscription box like the ones I mentioned above and see what products work for you.

        I want to hear from our readers. What are your favorite skincare routines? Do you struggle with keeping routines? Let’s continue the conversation below.

        Wednesday, November 16, 2022

        Heard it on the Podcast - November 16, 2022

         

         
        Did you miss a link we mentioned on the podcast? Here's a quick post we'll do every Wednesday to share any links or information from the podcast. We'll also keep a running post on the "Links from the Podcast" tab so you can refer back to any previous episode. Here's the links for this week:

        16-NOV-2022
        S2E47: Who Are Your Spirit Guides

        Monday, November 14, 2022

        Can a Non-Catholic Have a Patron Saint?

         


        Have you ever felt like an angel was looking over your shoulder? Did you ever get a sudden flash of inspiration when you most needed it? Have you ever prayed or concentrated hard on something and it came to pass? Did you ever feel like everything was hopeless, but suddenly you saw a way out of your predicament? Maybe it was your spirit guide.


        This week on the podcast, we are talking about spirit guides…who they are, and how they help us. I don’t want to give everything away, but let’s just say that they are sometimes more or different than what you think. As I share in the podcast, even though I am not Catholic, I have a special connection to Saint Jude the apostle. Also known as Thaddeus and Lebbaeus, but not to be confused with Judas Iscariot (Jesus’s betrayer), St. Jude was one of the original 12 disciples and is associated with hopeless causes – the patron saint of the impossible.



        I came to believe in Saint Jude many years ago while facing a legal battle that would have devastated me financially. I was wrongfully sued, but I was up against a company owned by lawyers, and I had no evidence to support my position. My bank accounts had been frozen, I couldn’t pay my bills, and my husband probably would have divorced me if I had lost. It was that bad. I cried out for help on my Facebook page, and someone (oh, how I wish I could remember who it was) suggested I pray a novena to St. Jude. I found the prayer online, and I started praying. 


        On the day of my court appearance, a very good friend helped me smudge my house while we repeated a spiritual warfare prayer, and once I got to the courthouse, I was sequestered in an antechamber to await my turn. I was left alone, so I just started praying. Every prayer I knew, but especially the Saint Jude prayer. After a while, my attorney popped in to tell me I could go home – the previous case on the docket was taking longer than normal to resolve and he didn’t think I needed to wait around. The judge was going to hear my case during a break in the other trial, but he only wanted to hear from the lawyers at this point. So I went home. I was frustrated, dejected, and fearful. I wanted this to be over, but I was afraid of the outcome. I kept praying for the rest of the day.


        As it so happens, my case did eventually come up before the judge in one of those breaks, and my attorney submitted my rebuttal against this shady pack of lawyers. He had a tough case…he had to prove that I was never served papers to appear in court more than two years prior (which I wasn’t) and that the lawyers had seized my assets without due process.


        Do you know how hard it is to prove you never got served? It’s nearly impossible – especially when the process server signs an affidavit saying she did. But I was fortunate, or Saint Jude was listening, because the judge believed my attorney and dismissed the case, ordering the pack of ruthless liars…I mean, lawyers…to release my assets. But the worry wasn’t over yet. We may have won this leg of the battle by releasing the lien on my home and the levy on my bank accounts, but I still had to prove that I didn’t owe them enough money to buy a brand-new sports car. 


        This too, was a bit of a hopeless case, because I had to prove the impossible yet again…this time that I never had a credit card with a particular company, and I did not owe them any money. My previous attorney handed my case off to another lawyer who was more experienced in this sort of thing, and he promised to do his best but offered little hope that it would go my way. How do you prove that something doesn’t exist? The attorney said our best chance was that the company would be willing to settle for a smaller amount of money…even though it was not my debt! And somehow, amidst a litany of prayers to Saint Jude, I won the case! The entire thing was dismissed!


        By this time, I was convinced that Saint Jude was looking out for me. A friend made me a necklace and I wore it often. When I wasn’t wearing it, it hung over my desk in a protective position or from the rear-view mirror of my car when I traveled long distances. I bought St. Jude candles at the Mexican market down the street. I made donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. And I told everyone who needed help to pray to St. Jude. 


        That was seven years ago, and I’ve been a believer in Saint Jude ever since. These days I have statuettes, candles, and images of my favorite saint throughout my house, and I invoke him regularly for things both big and small. Saint Jude has helped me find things that are impossible to find, locate items I have lost, and most recently gave my family a miraculous hope in a possible cure/remission of my husband’s stage 4 lung cancer. I will never doubt that St. Jude watches over me when I ask for his help, and I have promised to bear witness to his gifts for the rest of my life.


        Of course, not everyone has such a profound experience with their spirit guides. It could be anything from a gentle nudge in the right direction when you’re trying to make an important decision, a sign that you can’t ignore, that little niggle when you’re taking a test that helps you guess the right answer when you aren’t sure, or a smack-down wake-up call to turn your life around. Whatever it is, I hope you embrace it. Call on your spirit guide for help. Stay open to the messages they are trying to send you. And most importantly, celebrate and be grateful when they answer.


        Do you have a spirit guide? Who do you turn to spiritually when you are in need? In what ways have they helped you or answered your call? We’d love to hear about it! Please share your story in the comments below, or join us over on our Facebook Group, MMC Chat.


        Thursday, November 10, 2022

        Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Expectations

         

        Yesterday on the podcast, you heard Christen introduce the idea of the 70% Method (or Rule) to help combat perfectionism and become more productive. Like Christen, I am a procrastinator. I can find all kinds of things to do to avoid starting or working on a project, and for many different reasons, including perfectionism. In fact, I’m writing this blog post at 12:42 A.M. and it is technically supposed to post at 9:00 A.M. That means I’m going to have to hope Amber can proofread it first thing in the morning, and I might get it posted sometime around noon. Oops….


        This is not a new behavior for me. I may have mentioned my bookkeeping and taxes a time or two on the podcast; they’ve become a long-standing thorn in my side because I can never seem to get them caught up. As the tax deadline looms, panic mode sets in and I scramble as hard as I can to crunch all those numbers and get them handed over to my accountant for the tax prep part of it. Then, as soon as I get the previous year’s reports turned in, I slump into a “much-needed reprieve” from the stress – in other words, I drop it like it’s hot and move on to the next thing until tax crunch time rolls around again the next year. As time goes on, my dilly-dallying pushes me closer and closer to the deadline until…oops! Yep, I got my files turned in too late to make the extension deadline. Now what?


        When Christen shared the info about the 70% Rule, she was talking about the problem of perfectionism getting in the way of starting on (or finishing) a project. It’s a valid point. As an artist and writer, I am as guilty as they come, and I often feel like I have nothing at all to say, create, or write, unless it is the perfect thing to say, create, or write. But what’s the deal with my taxes? I certainly don’t have any aspirations of perfection when I’m tallying up how much money I spent on office supplies and postage – it is what it is. So, why can’t I seem to get motivated to work on that bookkeeping throughout the year and keep that stress down to a minimum?


        The answer is pain avoidance, another common reason for procrastination. Yep, those taxes are not what I want to be doing. I’d rather be doing just about anything else in this whole world than sitting down with my calculator and a whole stack of computer reports and bank statements. I look over at that ginormous box of receipts, and my monkey brain says, “Time for a snack!” Then, 10 minutes later, it suddenly remembers that I need to add mustard to the grocery list. Oh, and don’t forget to start a load of laundry! It doesn’t help that I have ADHD and have a hard time focusing on unpleasant tasks anyway. So, while the 70% rule is great for combatting perfectionism, it doesn’t solve my problem. Besides, I don’t think I want my taxes to be only 70%, no matter how quickly I complete them – the I.R.S. might frown on that.


        Procrastinators, especially those of us who practice pain avoidance, are masters at coming up with reasons to evade the things they would rather not do. “I need to set up this cruise workbook…”, “the laundry needs to be folded,” and “Mercury’s in retrograde,” have all been an excuse at some time or another. Okay, maybe not “Mercury in retrograde,” but you get my point. My excuses always have something to do with time, and I’ve often claimed that I just have too much to do and not enough time to do it. That part is probably true, but it’s my own fault. I could set aside some things to focus on those taxes. Yes, the laundry will pile up, but I can still see all of that cruise group’s data on the printouts in a folder instead of a ring binder. The point is, the world won’t come to an end if I let those things slide and just get focused on the taxes for a time so that I can get them done. I just have a hard time letting go of how I think things should be. My expectation is that the laundry will be folded and put away on Monday after I wash it, and I feel like I should set up that cruise binder just as soon as I book the group so that it can serve as a handy reference tool while I add new reservations and other documents to it.


        This idea of expectations came to me from Christen a few weeks ago. We were working on our One Little Word projects for October and we interviewed each other (along with another friend) on how we were progressing with our words this year. At one point, I asked the question, “What is the one thing I could let go of in my life that would make the biggest positive difference?” I was expecting answers like, “over-scheduling yourself”, “taking care of everyone else”, or “doing all the housework”, but the first answer I got was, “Let go of your expectations.” (Boy, do I wish she’d said, “Let go of doing all the housework!”) It took me by surprise, but it only took me a minute to realize she was right. I have this expectation that my day…my schedule…my life is going to be a certain way. That I will wash the laundry on Monday, and Tuesday I will run errands. I often schedule so much into my day because I feel it is expected of me to stay on top of all these things. In reality, I am so overscheduled that there is no way I could complete it all, and on top of that, it leaves no room for me to edit my plan or to work on something that is not part of that routine. The taxes and reporting part of my business happen only at certain times, so they defy my expectations of how my schedule will work. To further complicate things, I just heap on even more expectations by thinking I should be getting all these things done on my task list, but what happens is that the list is so daunting, I don’t even know where to start. My expectations are so unreasonable that I actually give up before I even begin.


        Just this morning, I spoke with my therapist about the interview project and how I agreed or disagreed with some of the answers I got. And while I did agree with Christen on the issue of expectations to some extent, I did not agree with the assessment of my other friend who was part of the interview (more on that in a future blog post). It left me feeling like there was something they missed. Surely there is something I could let go of that would make my life easier. But what could I let go of that would make the biggest difference for me? As we talked it over, the only thing that came to my mind was the stress of being the responsible party for my mother, who (as I’ve mentioned before) has dementia. She currently lives in a memory care facility, but it is very expensive, and her money is dwindling fast. I’m now faced with the daunting task of moving her again, and it’s a task that I’ve put off for far too long (there’s that pain avoidance again). 


        What my counselor helped me to see was that even though I can’t let go of the responsibility of moving my mother, I can break it down into smaller, more palatable chunks and then focus on it wholeheartedly until I get that chunk done. The key here is focusing on that one thing that is most important right now (remember the Eisenhower Matrix?) – what is the most urgent and important? In a way, it’s a lot like ripping off the bandaid; it only hurts for a minute and then it’s done. It also helps to keep the “why” at the forefront. Why is this task so important? 


        This also plays into another percentage rule – the 80/20 rule, which states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. By using effective time management to prioritize and work on only the most vital few things, I can be more productive and it will have the biggest consequences in my life. If I can just spend 20% of my time working on those big things I’ve been avoiding, it will make a huge difference in my productivity because the most important things will be done. On top of that, I won’t have spent so much time making myself miserable by thinking about (and beating myself up over) all the things I’ve been procrastinating. That means less stress, and I like the sound of that! 


        So tonight, I sat down to write this blog, having nothing to say (or so I thought), but I just started typing, and here we are at the end. Obviously, I did have something to say after all, and I’m glad I managed to prioritize this task and make myself do it. By shutting down that perfectionist in me and allowing myself to present an idea that was just 70% good, I managed to knock out two and a half pages about procrastinating, perfectionism, and expectations, and it’s only 2:48 A.M. And that, my friends, means it’s time for bed!

        If you enjoyed this post, or you have more to add, please feel free to comment below or start up a conversation on our Modern Musings Facebook group: MMC Chat

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