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If It’s Not Working, Change Your Methods

  July 21

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budget blonde twinsIt’s the beginning of another week, folks, and I had to pop in and say how much I appreciated all of the e-mails and comments that I got last Monday when I wrote about trying to find balance.

Writing is such good therapy for me. It always has been, and I had many of you reach out to me after that post and many of my “real life” friends message me on Facebook about it. It turns out, many of you are trying to seek some balance too.

I got messages from other working moms who felt the same way. I received e-mails from working dads and bloggers who spend their evenings on their online businesses when the rest of their families are asleep.

My big breakthrough, although he probably doesn’t realize it, was talking to Joe on Google Hangouts last week. Joe has a lot of experience in finance, but also in business coaching. Plus he’s old (kidding. sort of.) and he has a lot of experience with life in general. Oh, and he’s a dad of twins on top of all that so I really feel like he understands the crazy that is my life right now.

Joe really opened my eyes to the fact that a lot of my methods of running my business don’t really work. In sum, I’m a total spaz. I write half a post and then check my e-mails and then go back to the post and then get distracted by something else. Then I remember I was supposed to put the cloth diapers in the laundry, and well, you get the picture.

What used to be a nice, organized life and business has turned into total chaos.

Joe recommended grouping tasks and doing all of the same things at once. So, last night, I turned off Facebook and all of my e-mails, and I wrote 5 posts in a row. I got pretty tired towards the end, but I really pushed myself to finish. I have to say, I felt really accomplished at the end, and another interesting side effect was that I slept better too. (I tend to have a lot of trouble falling asleep because I run through everything I should have done that day, etc.)

Obviously, my issue of finding balance isn’t 100% fixed, but I’m on the road to figuring out a work flow and time management system that works for me.

I’ve realized that if something isn’t working, it’s time to change your methods.

This applies to your budgets, spending patterns, and even your relationships. I think we all have a habit of getting stuck in doing things our way or the way it’s always been done. However, I’ve realized life is about progress, not being stubborn, and continuing to try and tweak things until we all get it just right.

What’s been bugging you lately? What do you want to improve?

What used to be a nice, organized life and business has turned into total chaos. I need to change my method to help with finding balance http://catherinealford.com/2014/07/21/change-your-methods/

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37 responses to “If It’s Not Working, Change Your Methods

  1. This is exactly what I talked about in my post on strategies to stay focused. It takes a plan and commitment, but the payoff is huge. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to may it work for you.

  2. Getting stuck is one of my problems. I do things over and over and over again the same way, always expecting a different – or at least better – outcome. I think that that is the definition of insanity.Maybe someday I will learn to change my ways. Until then I will keep reading your blog.

  3. Very sage advice from Joe. In fact I was just thinking this, as I need to do some writing assignments now while I’m fresh before my whole ‘day off’ vanishes! (I’m taking Monday’s off from now until the end of the year so I can get this blogging thing under control.) After taking care of a neglected email inbox, I said I would spend max 1 hour blog reading and then start my writing assignments. Normally I would have spent a whole day blog reading and commenting and then it would be 5 o’clock and I would have not started what I had planned to do for the day. I decided that since I’m giving up most of my summer holidays in exchange for taking Monday’s off, I’d better use the time wisely. Good luck, Catherine! BTW, 5 posts is a lot. I wish I had that speed!!

  4. I ran into this problem with my emergency fund, every conventional way was not working for me, I changed the method and everything changed for the better. Be passionate about your new method and it makes life that much easier.

  5. I know reading might not be something you’ve got a lot of time for, but I’ve been reading a ton on slowing down, managing priorities, etc. One book I’m reading now is called Thrive by Arianna Huffington. It might be something worth checking out as far as finding balance.

  6. When I first started my business, I felt like I was all over the place with the various activities I had going on, and then I started doing something similar. On days that I feel inspired to write, that is all I will allow myself to do. On days that I feel “scattered” I accomplish a lot of random little tasks. It’s true, though, you have to try lots of different methods and some of them at once until you find the right mix for you, your biz and your fam.

  7. Finding the balance is an everyday battle, but you’re doing awesome! P.S. your little angels are beautiful!

  8. I find that when I’m working on my writing away from an internet connection, either outside in the park or on the train, I get SO much more done. Sure, it’s frustrating not be able to do quick research to supplement an article or double check a concept, but the additional productivity is SO worth it. On that note, I think I’ll go to the park 🙂

  9. There are times when I am working hard, but realize I just don’t have the energy to finish up a task. Instead of trying to push the project through and risk producing crap, I just stop and restart after I get some sleep. Since I work when my family is asleep, I tend to start getting tired near the end.

  10. I sometimes find I can lose focus on a task and then get bored of doing it. To make it better, I give myself 30 minutes to finish, then have a break. Because I’m more focused, I can normally get things done. Your babies are so cute!

  11. Great post and great realization Cat! I guess it’s about time for things to change in my life too. Hoping to give up a couple things to make more time for the things I actually want to do, like writing and spending time with friends and family. I have trouble with change sometimes, but I’m trying to be better at just going with the flow of life to see where it takes me. 🙂

  12. I like the idea of grouping tasks a lot! I feel like lately I haven’t been as productive at writing posts, because I was on a roll a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m just dwindling down… it’s not terrible, because I wrote so much that I have a backlog of posts, but it can be frustrating. I think, like you, I just need to sit down and group my assignments together and just DO THEM. It’s easy for life to get in the way and distract you 🙂 And I don’t even have kids! Kudos to you, Cat!

  13. Totally true – and I’m really glad that you’re starting to find balance! Again, I don’t have twins, so I’m not entirely sure how to handle that, but I do remember that right about the 3 month mark was when I started to feel like a human again, and revamped how I was doing things! Oh, and I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: those kiddos are adorbs 🙂

  14. Be gentle with yourself. It is SO hard to find balance at any time in life – but at no time more than when you have very young children. I’m glad you’re finding help in practical ideas like Joe’s. Your decision to let go of your previous ways of doing things is key – and it goes deeper than practicalities. With that kind of openness, you will get closer to that elusive balance you’re looking for. (Here’s an idea that I’ll suggest even though I stopped doing it myself to help us get out of debt: Have you considered hiring house cleaners? A once-every-two-weeks kind of thing? Just a thought.)

  15. I like your new strategy, Cat!

    Kids complicate things, don’t they? My kids won’t let me get anything done. All I hear is “Mom…mom…mom…mom….mom…” LOL

  16. You have a great point, and I need to take it to heart because our spending has been a little wild lately. We need to find a better method — maybe even switching to cash envelopes, which I never thought I needed in the past!

  17. Have you heard of ItsJudyTime on Youtube? She’s a makeup guru on Youtube and gave birth to twins a few months ago. She vlogs daily at ItsJudysLife and for some reason, reading this post of yours reminded me of her. My hat goes off to all you mamas of twins!

  18. This is great advice. I’m always trying to test what works best for me. I try my best to get things done in the morning, but I get so much more done in the evenings. I feel like my brain is “awake” by then. I want to continually find the methods that reach my optimum productivity and balance — which is hard. You are rocking it though, girl. 5 posts in a row? The most I’ve written is 4 and that is rare!

  19. I love the idea of grouping tasks and it’s something I’m trying to sort out now that I’m staying home. I agree getting rid of the distractions (like email, TV, social media) is key for making this work well. If they are around I’ll get pulled in that direction easily.

  20. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one struggling to do it all. I can only imagine how much more difficult it is with two babies at the same time. I have a hard time focusing on one task at a time, but I know that would be much more effective than the total spaz approach (that made me laugh, because that’s how I’d describe myself, too!). I tend to get my best ideas when I’m off doing something completely different, and I worry that I’ll forget if I don’t act on it right away.

    The thing I struggle with that I really want to change is finding “me time” to devote to projects without feeling like I’m neglecting my family. I think waking up earlier in the morning would be a great change, but I’m stuck in this loop of staying up too late, then being rudely awakened by the screeching baby monitor, and I’m off for another day at the races. I wish time would just stand still for a while so I could get my bearings and make a change!

  21. Okay, this might sound a bit odd, but I was thinking about this the other day, based on your day-in-the-life posts. I might be using a bit of vacation time for blogging in a bit, but I wanted to make sure I did it efficiently, so I started thinking about what I knew about freelancer days 🙂 Then, I remembered that you jumped all over a bit, and figured it wasn’t as efficient as it could be.
    Congratulations on figuring out a way to get your sanity back (a bit) I hope it continues to work for you!

  22. Its a great idea to try something new if the pattern hasn’t been working for you. I think the first step of that is recognizing that it isn’t working for you. Its hard for some people to step back and honestly recognize that it just isn’t working.

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