How to Create a Personal Mission Statement

I believe everyone should take time to write their personal mission statement.  It is your guiding light as to how you will spend your life.  Just as companies have mission statements that help them make big decisions within the corporation, you can do the same with your life. Here's how to write yours.

How to use your Values & Priorities to set your Best Goals

Do you ever think about a goal that you’d love to achieve but you’re not sure HOW to make it happen, or even IF you should make it happen right now?  

Our lives are multidimensional and have so many different aspects to them that it’s hard to know how much time we should be devoting to what and when.  We always hear the phrase “work life balance” but really, it’s impossible not to integrate both areas of our lives. Into our ONE life.   

There is no separating them.  

  EmprovedLife.com | Productivity Coaching with Emily Swanda

 

EmprovedLife.com | Productivity Coaching with Emily Swanda

Rethinking the "work-life Balance"

Some areas of life will get more attention at certain times in your life than others and as times change, your focus on priorities will also change.  Understanding what your current values and priorities are will keep you heading in the right direction…the direction that leads you to the success you want.  

When you know how to understand your values and priorities, they can help you reach your goals faster and easier.


I like to sit down in a quiet space at least a couple times a year. Preferably quarterly, to check in with myself to see if the goals I’m working towards are matching up with my current priorities and values.  

As we evolve and change throughout our lives we go through different seasons and our goals will therefore shift as well. For example, a first-time mom will have a very different set of values and priorities than a mom who just sent her youngest child off to college.  Your goals will therefor reflect these different stages of life.

 

Start Saying "No"

It can be so easy to say yes to a variety of opportunities because we want to help others but that can lead us to spending our time and energy on something that doesn’t line up with our own priorities and values.  

Don’t veer off course!  

Stay focused on what is best for you.  When you are at your best, that’s when you can give others around you the most value.  It’s so important to live your life on purpose and with intention.  

 

Schedule Your Priorities

Set a time in your calendar every 3 months to reflect on your values and priorities.  I pick December, March, June and September.  

These times match up nicely with my kids’ school calendars so I can make the necessary adjustments to my goals according to the changes in the kids’ schedule or spring and Christmas breaks.  

My business becomes less of a priority during the summer months than during the school year when my kids are in school all day.  I value the early morning sunshine and the long summer evenings and choose to prioritize that in my summer time as well. I prioritize family time more during the holiday season than during the rest of the year.  I’m sure if you look at your life you will see an ebb and flow throughout the year.  

When you think about the areas of your life where you spend the most time OR money, that gives you a pretty good idea of where you hold your current priorities.  If you are not satisfied with the priorities you’ve been living with, it’s okay to make the changes now.  Better late than never!  

 

Creating Harmony in your Life

If you want to spend more time with your kids because you say that they are your key priority, then it’s time to think about how you will readjust your schedule to make that happen.  If you value your health, but you’ve been neglecting it, then now may be the perfect time to make exercise and healthy eating a big part of your life.  

I like to use the life balance wheel to guide me through this, rating each priority on a scale of 0-10 (10 being most important).  

Keep in mind that you are not required to score high in ALL areas ALL the time.  Life is not about balance, but instead about harmony.  Some things will take more of a backseat for awhile and then it will change again.  

I look at my overall life to see how well I’m keeping it in harmony,  If at the end of my life I can recognize that I made it a point to focus on each area of the wheel for period of time, then I will feel confident that I led a full and “balanced” life.  

I encourage you to sit down and write out your top values and priorities in your current stage of life and make sure the goals you are working towards match those.  There’s nothing more frustrating than working towards a goal and still not feeling satisfied once you achieve it. These tips will help you change that, starting today. 

 

It's Time to Chunk Your Time

Are you sick and tired of wasting energy throughout your day, because you're not being productive enough with your time? Well I have the simple solution that I've been using in my life and it seriously made such a huge difference. So I wanted to share it with you today because not only will it boost your productivity, but it will also make you feel so accomplished at the end of the day.

 One Task, One Time Chunk

The idea of working in time chunks is to work on one certain task without losing focus so it can be done fast, and be done well. Many people talk about how they can multi-task, but what they don't realize is when your brain focuses on multiple things at once, it can't give quality attention to anything. If you think about it, try having 5 conversations at one time. You won't have good quality conversations will you? This is exactly how your brain feels when you are multi-tasking, because you are trying to get it to focus on multiple areas at one time.

 

 Working in time blocks is essentially taking a certain amount of time and focusing it in on one task. Then you take a break, and after your break is over you work in another time chunk focusing on a different task. I like to work in 25 minute time chunks with a 5 minute break, because then you can give your full attention to the task. I find that working for more than an hour at a time, you are more easily distracted.

 How to get started

If you are someone who wants to work in more time chunks, I would recommend starting out with making a list of tasks you need to get done in day, but rank them from most important to least important. Then you want to start out with the most important tasks first, and move forward with the tasks that aren't AS important. This will help you feel more productive as you move through the day as you've gotten the more important things knocked out of the way!

 

 You can look at the technique that I use, which is called the Pomodoro technique.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pomodoro_Technique

 Try it out!

This organized system is going to help you be more productive throughout your day and get more accomplished. Once I started implementing the Pomodoro technique into my life, everything changes as far as what I got accomplished.

How Checklists Can Help Your Success

Oftentimes in life, we have certain things that seem to be on repeat. What I mean by this is that we often have tasks that have to be done every single day. If you've got kids, then there are certain things you have to do daily like pack lunches for school and make sure they did their homework. Then there are other mundane tasks we have to do like the laundry and checking our P.O box. Through the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to get carried away by all of the other tasks that can add up and overwhelm us and we easily forget about the bigger tasks that need to be done on a regular basis.

    

If you have tasks that need done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, then these are things that you will want to keep written down so that you can constantly check in on them and ensure you are staying on track within your progress. For instance, if you have certain things that need done every single week, then I recommend keeping a weekly checklist. Not only should you keep this weekly checklist, but you should also set time aside each week to do the things on it and make sure that they get done. For instance, you can set aside 30 minutes every single Saturday to go over the checklist. This will help you to start off each week fresh with a new checklist and you will have a sense of accomplishment at the end of each week.

 

 Using multiple checklists is a great way to ensure that you get those small mundane tasks done that are easily overlooked. I suggest having a weekly, a monthly, and a quarterly so you can get everything accomplished and stay on track. The small tasks like changing the filters in the vents of your house are really important, and if you have them written down then you will be sure not to forget them .

   

 Like I said, using checklists is a great way to ensure that you don't miss the important tasks and everything gets done that needs to. It's a small shift that can create a large impact within your life and business.

 

Task Management Systems to the Rescue!

As human beings, we are constantly given tasks that need to be accomplished in a timely manner. But how in the world are you supposed to keep up with all of these tasks and get everything accomplished. It's not easy, and having papers and sticky notes everywhere isn't the best system for everyone. If you're like me, those sticky notes get lost, the papers get coffee spilled on them, and then you end up missing half of the tasks that you needed to accomplish for the day or week. So I wanted to share with you my favorite task management systems, because these seriously changed the way my productivity was achieved.

 

Even though sometimes a notebook and pen doesn't work for everyone, it might be exactly what you need in order to achieve your daily tasks. If you're a notebook and pen kind of person, then go ahead and grab yours and get the things written down that you need. Chances are, if you're a notebook and pen person, you would also love using post it notes, to post reminders in places where you can constantly see them so that you don't forget.

 

There are two other amazing ways that are great for tasks management, and if you're a paper and pen person then you are going to love these. The first one is utilizing a planner or a calendar. There are some amazing planners and calendars out there and I would highly recommend trying these out if you like being to physically write things down. The second option is a bullet journal and these are all of the craze right now. It's no wonder they're all of the craze, because they are fun to use and help immensely with task management. You can do a quick pinterest search for bullet journals and see the great ways that you can utilize them!

 

Those of you that aren't big on pen and paper, you lose them every time you write a note, and you just need something else; I've got you covered. There is an amazing tool that I love to use called Trello-  https://trello.com/emilyswanda/recommend.  

 

You can use the link I just shared with you to sign up, absolutely free and utilize Trello to get all of your tasks on one place. My favorite thing about Trello is the fact that you can move a task once it's complete to the done section (that you create) so you can control which stage your tasks are in and what still needs to be completed.

 

Much like Trello, Asana is another task management system that is great for keeping up with things that need to be done. Asana has a handy calendar feature that is color coded and if you are working with a team on a project, you can put faces next to the tasks that need to be done. This makes it super easy to know who does what within your team. Asana is free much like Trello as well, and seems to be a great fit for those that are super detail oriented.

 Don't give up

The most important thing to keep in mind as you set up a task management system, is that it might take a few tries to see what is going to work for you and your life. Everyone is different in what works for them and so it's very important that you test out different things to see what will work for you. The entire idea of a task management system is to ensure that you don't forget things that need done. Even if you have to do something simple like call your mom and ask her a question, you can get that written down so that you don't forget. Whatever method you choose, it needs to be something you can access no matter what. So a white board nailed to your wall may not work the best, because if you're on vacation somewhere you can't take it with you, and it will completely throw off your entire system.

 The best way to use a task management system to your full advantage is to always pause when you have a thought or idea, and write it down into whatever system it is you are using. With this being said, if you've chosen a paper task management system, it's really important that you take that with you everywhere you go so that this method works the best. Now that you've started writing out all of your ideas as they come, you are now being proactive instead of reactive.

Schedule it in

 One of my favorite ways to keep up with this task management system is to schedule out a few minutes at the end of each day to go over my list and make sure that I have achieved the things that I need, and tie up any loose ends of things I may have forgotten. I then go back at the end of each week and do the exact same thing for just a little bit longer. This ensures that your to do list isn't piling up and you are scheduling out time to ensure the things get done that need to.

 Using a task management system will surely boost your productivity and take your business to an entire new level. You will love having a place to keep everything, as well as scheduled out time to get things accomplished. I know how overwhelming having many tasks can be, but having a system to get them done will erase that overwhelm and replace it with a feeling of accomplishment.

 

     

 

 

 

 

 

   

Morning Routines Are Priceless!

If you're like me, it's likely that you have one million and fifty two things on your plate that you have to accomplish on a daily basis. You probably constantly ask yourself how you're going to get everything done, and you just can't ever find that missing piece to the puzzle. After months (and years) of testing out new things, I've finally found the thing that works best for me, and that is simply setting up an effective morning routine.

 How do I start a new routine?

The first step to creating an effective morning routine is to think about the things that need to be involved in your morning routine on a daily basis. If you have children, like me, then you know that there are certain things you have to do with them every single morning. Those things are all vital to your morning routine, and should always be added in,even though they may not be the most fun parts of the day. When it comes to creating an effective morning routine, one of the most important things to keep in mind is that you need to start at the same time everyday. This is going to ensure you have a steady flow of tasks that are being accomplished and consistently done. You wake up at the same time everyday and your body knows exactly what it needs to do, because you've gotten it into a good routine.

 The SAVERS method will save your productivity!

In The Miracle Morning book by Hal Elrod, he recommends incorporating the SAVERS method. This method is silence/affirmations/visualizations/exercise/reading/scribing(journaling). For me personally, after implementing this method into my life, the effectiveness of my morning routine skyrocketed and I was more productive throughout my day because of it. Utilizing this method will also allow you to start off each day with a positive and balanced mindset, as it focuses on core mindset practices.

 

As a human, we often worry about everyone around us but then forget to give ourselves any attention. This is why so many Americans experience burnout and exhaustion, because they skip over the fundamental steps of caring for themselves. By using the SAVERS method, you can start each day of the week by caring for yourself, and therefore will feel more energized to take care of the other tasks throughout your day that need to be done.

 

Our bodies love routine and predictability, which is exactly why I love the following article.

(https://www.bustle.com/articles/148246-7-benefits-of-a-solid-daily-routine)

 Start tomorrow!

It doesn't have to be a big ordeal that you start crafting a morning routine to boost your productivity, and you could easily start first thing tomorrow morning. One of the many excuses people use is that they will start on Monday, but then somehow Monday never comes. If you find this being you, then make it a point to start tomorrow and get a jumpstart on your effective morning routine. If you're ready to take this huge step towards living a better life, then go ahead and grab pen and paper and let's take some notes. Start by simply writing out what you want in your routine. Write out when you want to wake up, how many times you will allow yourself to hit snooze (IF ANY!), what the first thing you will do when you get out of bed is, and what things you need to accomplish after that. If you're someone who is driven by to do lists that are sectioned out in time blocks, then go ahead and write all of that out. The more you can prepare the night before, the more prepared you will be the morning of and you will be setting yourself up for a successful morning routine.

 

Studies show that with the majority of humans, it takes us about 21 days to form a habit that sticks with us. So if you can create a morning routine and push through it for 21 days, then you will likely have no problem moving forward with it. That first 21 days is absolutely going to be the hardest, but when it's all said and done you will be so thankful that you took the plunge. If you find that you are too shaken by the sudden changes, then you can slowly work your way to where you wish to be. For instance, if you go from waking up at 9am to 6am and your body seems to be shocked from it, then you can slowly turn your alarm back 15 minutes each day until you get to your desired wake time. This will help the entire process of the morning routine go much more smoothly and effective.

 Final Tips

I wanted to leave you with a few more last minute tips to help you have the most effective morning routine possible.

 

1. Set out your clothes the night before, so that when you wake up, that is one less thing you have to worry about. The  easier you can make your routine, the better.

2. Put your alarm clock across the room, and don't allow yourself to hit snooze. By hitting snooze, you are setting yourself up for failure. You need to get up, wake up, and stay out of the bed!

3. Use an affirmation somewhere near your alarm. This could be a post it note on the alarm itself, or a large quote next to it that grabs your attention. Starting your day with positivity will make you more willing to get out of bed and get moving.

4. Find a simple breakfast that you love, and that is fast and easy to make. If you start your day with a huge chore like cooking a meal, not only will you be wasting time from your morning routine, but you will also be creating more chores for yourself. Start your day with something simple like overnight oats or a smoothie.

5. Reward yourself for the different milestones you reach in your morning routine. For instance, at the end of a week give yourself a small reward. Reward yourself with something bigger and bigger each week until you hit your goal. For instance, if you want to stay consistent for 3 months, plan out rewards for yourself.

 

Creating an effective morning routine can boost your productivity and the way that your life operates. The way that you start your day will set the tone for the rest of your day. So if you start your day lazy, not accomplishing anything, chances are, that is how the rest of your day is going to flow. Get your pen and paper and craft your perfect morning routine right now while you're thinking about, and start tomorrow.

How to Take Control of Household Papers

Keep track of all the paper that enters your house

 

Who would’ve thought something as simple as paper could cause so much stress in our daily lives?  We’ve got bills coming in, junk mail, school work, kids’ activity schedules, save the date cards, book order forms, party invitations, paperwork to return to school, paperwork for your taxes and other financial records, sentimental items from your kids, greeting cards, recipes you’d love to make, exercise plans you want to follow, receipts, and that’s only a small list!  

So many of my clients feel like they are drowning in paper clutter.  I used to feel that way too!

I have created a simple system to manage all these papers effortlessly.  I developed my system years ago shortly after my husband and I got married.  He’s not as organized as I am and I soon became frustrated by all the papers piling up that needed some type of action.

household papers

I call my system the Brain Basket.  

Without this basket (which functions as my second brain) I would be a complete basket case...hence the name.  I can attribute my current sanity level to this basket.  I can’t live without it and as soon as you start using this system I think you’ll agree with me!

 

Let me explain how the Brain Basket works.  

 

What to use:  

I bought a pretty basket at my favorite place--Target, of course.  I chose a longer rectangular basket so it wouldn’t stick out as far on my kitchen counter.  Any type of basket or bin will work but I love to find one that is aesthetically appealing so it matches the decor.  Don’t let deciding which basket to use hold you up on starting this process.  Just find a temporary basket and begin.

 

Where to keep it:  

I definitely suggest keeping your basket in or near the kitchen since that is the heart of the home and where everything enters our home.  You want to make this system as convenient as possible.

What to do with it:  

As papers enter your home put them in your Brain Basket.  It is a collection tool to gather everything that will need action steps at some point.  Also, if there is an item that needs to be repaired or batteries replaced I toss that item into my basket and it stays there until I have time to take care of it.  

 

My goal is to keep my mind focused on the task I’m working on and not be distracted by other to-dos. We waste too much energy task-switching so I strive to eliminate that as much as possible.  

 

Once the item is in the basket I can stop thinking about it because I know it is waiting for me and I won’t forget about it.  This gives me the peace of mind to keep pushing through my current task.  If an item is too large or can’t be placed in your basket then I recommend writing a note on a piece of paper and tossing that paper in the basket.  

Hello, World!

How to organize everything within the basket:  

To create an organized basket I recommend using the Avery binder pockets to keep like items together.  The pockets are transparent so you can quickly see what’s inside but nothing falls out.  You can use my affiliate link here if you’re interested:  

 

 

When to go through the basket:  

This is a crucial step in the Brain Basket system.  You must have a regular weekly appointment with yourself to go through your basket or the system won’t work.  

 

For me I go through my basket every Friday afternoon when I get home.  I never miss a Friday.  If you prefer another day or time during the week, go for it.  Just be consistent.  

 

If something comes into your home but doesn’t need to be done before your next brain basket appointment toss it in there and wait until the scheduled time.  If it needs immediate attention then go ahead and deal with it as soon as needed.  

 

What does the Brain Basket appointment look like? 

At your scheduled weekly appointment you empty everything out of the basket and lay it on the table.  You touch each item and ask yourself if this needs to be taken care of before your next week’s appointment.  If not, then place it back in the basket.  If it needs to be done before next appointment, take care of it now.  Do this until you’ve touched everything and nothing is left on the table.  If you have time and want to do other tasks in your basket that aren’t due before your next appointment go for it!!

 

Who does this system work for?

This system works for anyone who wants to leverage their time and increase their focus.  With better focus you will accomplish far more in a shorter amount of time.  Over time this will add up to reaching more and more of your goals, which means you can be as successful as you’ve always desired.  

 

Other tips/suggestions:  

I also set up a basket just like mine for my husband so when mail comes in that he needs to deal with I just toss it in there.  I’ve also told my husband and kids that if they need me to take care of something and it can wait til Friday they just need to put it in my basket.  


 

I hope this system helps keep you focused and organized during the busy weeks.  I know you’re balancing a lot and sometimes it just gets to be too much.  A good system can help eliminate so much stress.  If you are needing to increase your productivity and lower stress around your house, please comment below and I’d love to connect.  


 

How to Productively (and effortlessly) handle your invoices, income and expenses as a business owner

Put the dreaded accounting tasks on autopilot and save hours each week.

You may be like me and have a business of your own.  Either you’re just starting, or you’ve been going for a while now.  Your business may be a side hustle or your full time operation.

 Either way, you know keeping track of your clients’ invoices, payments, sales tax, etc. can be challenging.  This is a time killer for most.  It keeps you away from your business, and worse yet, time with your family.  

 

Being a busy mom, and business owner, I struggled to keep up on my business invoices and expenses.  Being the business owner, operator, and accountant book keeping was my weakest link.  

 

I could never justify spending the money on a full-blown accounting program to keep track of my business’s simple income and expenses.  Then my business grew, and it grew some more and I was falling further into chaos.  

Once my business got large enough that it became difficult to keep track of income, and expenses using my “go-to” Excel spreadsheets, I knew there had to be something else.  Something that didn’t require an accounting degree to figure out.  Luckily, I found the simple solution with Freshbooks.  

I looked at several options, did reviews, and tried the free trials of a couple cloud based programs that are out there.  Freshbooks turned out to be the best option for me.  With its ease of use and awesome customer support it was simple to integrate into my business.  I even got to create a pretty header for the top so it matches my brand.  

Small business accounting

As a sole-proprietor, Freshbooks has everything I need.  I can simply create invoices, email them to my clients, keep track of payments, and those who are late to pay.  It also goes a step further by showing you if your client has received, viewed and paid the invoice.  No more wondering if it got lost or overlooked.  It also sends a reminder email automatically if it's not paid by the due date.  

Can it get any better!?  Actually, it can!  With Freshbooks you can even accept payment via credit card (fees do apply) so you get your money so much quicker.  No more snail mail!  

Freshbooks takes care of recording my expenses, income, and sales tax.  As a type-A personality I like to have everything clearly laid out and organized and Freshbooks does that perfectly.  When tax season comes around I know I will have everything ready and the click of a button.  

If you are looking for an answer to your small business accounting click on this affiliate link and give Freshbooks a look.  Freshbooks offers a free 30 Day trial so you can give it a try without obligation.  You will not regret it.  

 

I hope Freshbooks helps you out as much as it has me!  Let me know if you have any questions and I'd be happy to help.  

X0

Emily

 

How to Organize Household Papers Once and For All

Household paper is a huge time suck and organization nightmare UNLESS you have a reliable system in place to keep it under control.

 

The system I’m about to share with you is what I’ve been doing for all my adult life and it works like a charm.  

 

I call this system my Brain Basket because honestly, if I didn’t have this, i would be a basket case.  This basket is my dumping ground for everything that needs attention but I don’t want it inside my head right now.

 

 

 

Here’s how it works:

On my kitchen counter I have a pretty basket from my favorite place on Earth, Target (okay, my second favorite place….first place is my house).  In this basket I keep my weekly planner printable (here’s a link where you can get your free downloadable PDF.  I toss in any birthday party invitations, newsletters from the kid’s school I need to read, sporting calendars for the season, bills I need to pay, forms I need to file away downstairs, recipes I want to try soon, a broken toy that needs to be fixed (or a note card that lists the broken item if it’s too large to fit inside my basket.

 

Anything that comes into the house, or my mind, that doesn’t need immediate action goes in my Brain Basket.  I am a huge believer of the “batching technique”  where you do all like tasks at the same time.

 

For example, I don’t pay one bill today and another on Thursday and another on Friday.  I let them all pile up and pay them all in a single sitting.

 

My brain can get into this bill paying mode and move through the entire list so quickly.  Then I move on to a different type of task.

 

One thing I want to mention about the Brain Basket is that you MUST , MUST, have a planned time set in your calendar to go through it each week---on the same day.  

 

For me I choose Friday afternoons.  I love starting my weekend with a clean slate and then I know I have the entire weekend to tackle any tasks I discover in my Brain Basket.

 

The day of the week doesn’t matter as long as it’s the same day each week.

 

This will soon become such an ingrained habit in your schedule almost like brushing your teeth in the morning.  

 

On Friday afternoons when I get home from cleaning (for those of you who don’t know, in addition to my Productivity & Success coaching business, I have a housecleaning business too). I dump everything out of my Brain Basket and see what needs to be done before next Friday...since I won't look in this basket til then.

 

Last week I had 2 birthday party invitations that my sons were invited to and we needed to go shopping for gifts.  I knew this task couldn’t wait til next Friday because the party would be over by then.  So I laid the invitations on the other counter so I would remember to buy gifts.

 

I also saw bills in there that came in during the week (or if a bill is emailed to me I write it on an index card and toss the index card into my basket).  I keep my checkbook in this Brain Basket so it’s super easy to write out any checks.

 

If anything can wait til next Friday I put it back in the basket.  

 

To keep things organized within my basket I use the Avery Binder pockets.

 

 

We are currently planning a vacation for next month so as I print out hotel reservation confirmations, airline information, brochures, I put it all in a Avery Binder pocket so it is contained.  

 

My Brain Basket keeps me focused each day of the upcoming week on the 3-5 Most Important Tasks (MIT) that day.  No more mental clutter distracting me or pulling me in a dozen directions.  

 

My husband also has a basket so I toss things in his basket I want him to take care of or look at or to file.  

 

Today’s Assignment (if you choose to accept):

 

  1. For the purpose of this assignment, I want you to go through your entire house and gather all your household papers. Toss them all in a box, tote or basket (we’ll organize them soon)  I know some papers end up in the living room, on your nightstand, in your purse, in the laundry room, in your car.  This step is simply getting all the papers in one location

  2. Now you can sort through the papers and put them into categories.  I recommend you make a category for :

    1. School related

    2. Work related

    3. sports/extracurricular activities

    4. Bills to be paid

    5. Papers, receipts to be filed

    6. Misc.

  3. Every paper now has a category.  Until you purchase the Avery Binder pockets I recommend you paper clip each category and label it with a sticky note.

  4. Place all the stacks of papers in a basket or a bin (You can purchase a permanent basket later)

  5. Now go through those categories of papers and take out anything that needs immediate attention.  Keep those papers out so you remember to take action.

  6. Write in your calendar your weekly Brain Basket appointment with yourself.  Until then, just toss everything into your basket.

 

I hope you can see how helpful this system will be for your mental clarity and your productivity

 

The most successful people contribute their success to being focused.  Organization and a decluttered space works wonders for your focus.

 

I know this was a lot of information to take in at once.  Please move through it one step at a time so prevent overwhelm

 

I’d love to see photos of your Brain Basket even if it’s still a work-in-progress so leave your photos in the comments below.

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negative Emotions Can Lead to a Wonderful Life

Have you noticed that feeling anything other than positive emotions can be viewed as a negative thing? Almost like there is something wrong with you for not being perfectly happy and chipper all of the time?

 

People tell each other to cheer up, put a smile on your face, don’t cry, don’t feel bad, you shouldn’t take it so hard, no reason to be so bent out of shape.

 

I am generally a very positive, happy person but sometimes I’m downright angry or sad or disappointed or frustrated or……(the list goes on). For the longest time I would feel so guilty for feeling negative emotions because I thought it meant that I was being ungrateful for all the good in my life. Or that I was being too picky or whiny.

 

I would try to convince myself why I shouldn’t be feeling the negative emotion that I was experiencing.

 

Then it dawned on me that I am supposed to feel a full range of emotions throughout my life….even throughout a single day! That’s the wonderful thing about being a human being. We get to feel a variety of ways and combined, this makes a more full life.

 

I can’t imagine living a life where I was perfectly happy all of the time. How would I really even know what happiness was if I didn’t know the opposite feeling of sad?

How would I feel satisfied and fulfilled if I hadn’t experienced disappointment?

 

I wouldn’t want to live in a world where if someone you love deeply passes away and you don’t feel grief or sadness. Or if someone hurts us we aren’t able to feel disappointed and angry.

 

If we all are humans and feel a full range of emotions, then why do we try to prevent all the negative emotions in ourselves and others? After thinking about this for awhile, I came to the conclusion that it has to do with fear. We are afraid of feeling certain emotions.

 

We know that some emotions will hurt and be unpleasant and we generally steer clear of discomfort in our lives. We like to live in our comfort zones.

 

But how are we supposed to push ourselves to our highest version of ourselves if we don’t push against this “comfort zone” boundary? In our comfort zone we usually only expose ourselves to situations that bring about the emotions we desire to feel. We don’t take lots of risks or test the waters.

 

Doing something you’ve never done before is scary. Pursuing a goal that you may or may not be able to achieve is frightening. This is why so many people often settle for their “good enough” life because it’s where they are comfortable and the feelings they experience are more predictable.

 

I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone 6 years ago when I decided to leave my full-time job and pursue my housecleaning business. I felt so many negative emotions during the process that it was very exhausting.

 

I decided that I was willing to pay the price of the negative emotions of fear, overwhelm, uncertainty, anxiety, doubt, guilt, and embarrassment in order to make my goal come true.

 

I expected to feel uncomfortable and when those uncomfortable emotions came I recognized them, accepted them and waited for them to leave. The funny thing is that they always leave….eventually. The emotions come in waves so I chose to ride them out almost like I ride out the waves of hunger if I’m unable to eat at the first sign of hunger.

 

If you just accept the fact that you’re feeling a negative emotion and don’t try to resist it, it’s amazing at how your body lets it flow through you and leave.

 

Focusing on the positive emotions you have can really help carry you through the times when you feel the negative emotions because you know that better times are coming.

 

I challenged myself recently to keep track of all the emotions I had in a single day. I think I experienced every single one! It is amazing to actually write your emotions down for a day and see what experiences trigger each emotion. If you want to get to know yourself on a deeper level, I highly recommend you do this exercise.

 

Also, if you have emotions that you are terrified of experiencing, try writing down what’s the worst thing that would happen if you felt that feeling, and what are the benefits to feeling that emotion?

 

If you can prove it to yourself that the emotion is worth the price you pay, then you may begin to resist that emotion less and less and take chances towards reaching goals that you otherwise wouldn’t attempt.

 

I wish you the best in reaching your dreams and being open to experience any emotion that may arise.