Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…


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I went to Hawaii and had a miserable time…

My husband called me one afternoon back in January, asking if I’d like to join him on a business trip to Hawaii.  I could join him in his hotel, we could use the rental car and I could lounge by the pool or on the beach while he went to work.  The cost involved would be minimal.  After a few minutes of quickly figuring out the details, I said yes.

So we made our arrangements; I told my boss my plans, we arranged for my mother-in-law to fly out and watch our two sons and I started counting down the days!

And that day arrived.  My MIL had come a couple of days before, she was settled, the boys were excited for her to be here.   I had all the notes and schedules printed out, I had a medical power-of-attorney lined up…I was set to go.

Tim was already in Hawaii and I was to fly out to join him.

I got the kids off to school the morning of my departure, I wrapped up a few details for work and home before heading out.

I boarded the plane, said hi to my row mates and got settled in for the flight.

The minute we pulled away…

The minute we pulled away from gate, tears started streaming down my cheeks.  I quickly wiped them away, they kept falling.  I tried biting my lip to make them stop, they kept coming.

I was filled with this unexpected sense of longing for my boys to be with me, I wasn’t even off the runway and I missed them terribly.

When I arrived in Hawaii and found my husband, he was surprised by my admission of feelings.  He travels a lot, so he is used to being away from home.  I have traveled a couple of times alone since my kids have been born, so I too have been away from them.

Even though I knew my kids were home, safe and having fun with Grandma (and I totally trust her, I felt no concerns on that front), Tim and I had never been away from them together.  And I guess my heart didn’t like that.

The first morning after my arrival, Tim Facetimed with his mom and my younger son.  I had to excuse myself to the bathroom.  Just hearing Joey’s voice made me tear up.  I didn’t want him to see me upset, so Tim told him I was in the shower and would talk with him later.

Over the course of the week, it got a little better.  But it wasn’t quite the vacation in paradise I had imagined.  I had a hard time relaxing; thoughts of work and looming projects hung over me.  I continued to miss the boys and would see things at every turn that I knew they would enjoy.  I tried to relax and just couldn’t let go…..

I was in Hawaii having a miserable time.

I know what you are thinking.   PATHETIC!  SPOILED!  First world problems.

….but also reality.

Trust me, I was disappointed in myself.  Here I was, in paradise.  In the middle of a yucky winter.  Where at home it was raining and cold, here I was wearing flip-flops and sunglasses.  My kids were safe and I was with my husband.  And yet,  I couldn’t enjoy it.

So I decided….

So I decided to never to allow myself these feelings again.

I got home and I vowed to  change things.

This is one of the reasons I haven’t written much this year.  I’ve been working on myself.

The disappointment of my trip to Hawaii has haunted me.  I feel guilty for not being able to embrace the moment.  I regret not being able to let go and relax.

Over the last few months, I’ve been working on making some changes; enjoying the everyday moments, seeing things for what they are, attempting to “roll with it”.  Some attempts have been successful.  I’m still working on things though.  It is a work in progress, for sure.

As the season turns into Autumn, I’m feeling stronger.  I’m noticing my efforts are making a difference.  I’m getting there.

~Amy 

Have you ever gone on a vacation and had a miserable time?  Please share with me your experience, I can’t be the only pathetic one….

 

 

 

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Thursday’s Take….GMA where did you go?

I love Good Morning America.  Well – – I loved Good Morning America.

That is…until it changed.

And I’m not talking the change from when Charlie went to the evening news and then when Diane left and went to the evening news….I actaully like Robyn, Sam, Josh and George.

But I guess their ratings aren’t doing all that well….so they are resorting to TMZ type stories that they feel are “news worthy”.  Sadly – I’m not really all that interested in what’s happening in Hollywood or what the famous people are doing.  And when I saw Nancy Grace on the show the other morning – – I thought – well, good gravy- they must be doing poorly in their ratings if they think they need that gal to help stir things up.  For me, that was an all time low.

I get it – I understand why they are turning their methods towards Hollywood and “trending now” stories.

When I was in college, in every Marketing class I took we seemed to be given the same example, it went like this:

If you move to a tiny little town and there is a bar on three corners of Main Street…what are you going to build on that fourth corner?  

a. A 24 hour gym?

b. A Four store restaurant

c. Another bar. 

Do you know what the answer is….

If you guessed C – you are correct.

Why do you ask?  Because obviously bars do well in this little town.  And that’s how marketing works.

If it sells – it must be what people want.  So let’s sell more of “it”. 

This is why we see duplicates of the same show on different channels.  Just how many show are about cooking challenges, talent contests, shows on hoarding, shows on pawn shops, and all those reality shows.

The theory is – – if it is popular – that must be what the people want.  And they are right.  People watch these sorts of shows and find similar ones and watch those on the different channels.

The sad part is for people like me – I don’t always want to watch the same thing over and over.  I like variety and I seriously don’t like what the choices are these days.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll dive into some Hollywood gossip every now and then – I’m not that much of a prude.  But I also like good reporting and good shows that make me laugh or think – not just roll my eyes and shake my head.

I guess it comes down to….I just miss Good Morning America.  When they travel to see different parts of the country and report on different aspects of American life.  I love the Made in America series they did a few years ago.   When they did good, quality reporting – that was really news worthy.

Come back Old School GMA.  Come back!

Happy Thursday, everyone!

~Amy

PS – today marks the end of my challenge to sell 100 copies of Making Time for Dinner.  We didn’t quite make it to 100, but the good news is – it is still for sale and you can buy your copy at any time.  Thanks for all who purchased a copy  – I love the support.


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Word Up Wednesday – – Delegate

It is interesting when I looked up the official definition to this word….all I found were links to the upcoming elections.  Well – DUH – Amy – we are in an election year and there is lots of talk about delegates.

But I’m looking at this word as in – delegate – – like to assign part of your workload to someone else.

Delegate: v;  to send or appoint (a person) as deputy or representative.

I think one of life’s most valuable lessons to learn how to delegate.  Yet, I feel , for small business owners, this is probably one of the hardest things to learn and to do.

For me, when I was running my own business I had a couple of issues that set up hurdles for me to delegate:

  1. I was very independent and felt as most small business owners, that I was able to perform every task needed for my company.
  2. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to afford delegating my workload to others.

Both of these situations are very common lines of thinking when I talk with other small business owners.  And one of the things I like about being a small business owner myself and now consulting with small business owners is the “I can do it” mentality.  But careful to not let this get in your way of yourself.   Yes, it is probably true that you can do “it” – whatever it may be.  But too many “its” and the service or product that you offer will begin to suffer.

It is important to take stock in the things in which you excel, the things  you with which you struggle and the things which you don’t like doing very much.

For example: when I wanted to convert my business from a sole-proprietor to a Corporation, I know in my heart and my mind that I would have been able to figure all that was needed to do this.  I mean, I have a BA in Business.  Surely, that should give me a leg up on knowing what to do.  But, I also admitted to myself that:

  1. I am not a lawyer, and
  2. I didn’t have the time to learn what was needed. Even from all I learned in college, I didn’t learn the intricacies of setting up a corporation.

So I allowed myself to hire a lawyer to handle this part of my company.  That was probably the best idea I ever had.  Not the becoming incorporated part (although that was pretty smart too), but the hiring a lawyer part.  He told me things about what was required that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.

A client of mine hates to do invoicing for her company.  I suggested she hire a bookkeeper to come in and do all her financials once or twice a month.  She did so and now she doesn’t put invoicing her clients off until the last-minute.  She saves herself many minutes each month not to mention the headache she doesn’t get anymore.

For personal or home management, it is important to realize where you can delegate certain tasks too.  Delegating household task can be to hired help, like a babysitter or a house cleaner.  But it can also roll into your kids.  Heck I’ve even delegated mouse patrol to my cat – – I mean – there are just some things I won’t do!

Seriously, there is no reason our kids can’t do household chores these days and I’m always amazed at parents whom I talk with that say “Junior can’t do that”.  And I ask…”have you had him try?”  I think kids as young as three should be delegated things to do.

WORD OF CAUTION!  I have learned it is best not to “delegate” household chores to your spouse or partner.  This gives the wrong impression that you are really in charge and/or have some superiority over your significant other.  It is best to use words like “share” or “let’s combine our efforts”.

One last thought – – trust.  It is important to trust the person to whom you delegate jobs.  Whether it is a co-worker you are asking for help on a project, an employee or a contractor…if you don’t trust them, they will fail.  And – it is oh so important to be specific in what you are looking for and when giving the details of the assignment.

Did you know I can help you with finding ways to delegate some of your tasks  – – and we’ll find more minutes in your day!  Give me a call…I’d love to chat and get things rolling.

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy

PS – we had a pretty good day, yesterday,  on our 100 for May challenge….will you help me sell 100 copies of my eBook, Making Time for Dinner this month?  Buy your copy today and ask your friends to do the same.  And thanks!


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Word Up Wednesday – Out of Office Assistant/Reply

Do you ever get those auto replies that say something like

“I’m out of the office this week, I’ll be in touch with you when I return.”  

This auto reply function on your email server has become named the “Out of Office Assistant” and that my friends, is today’s Word Up Wednesday!

This auto reply is very helpful for people who send and receive a lot of email.  It is a courtesy  for those on the sending end to be notified that you are planning on being away from your normal routine for a set period of time and when they can expect to hear back from you.

This function is available on most email servers and to use this option isn’t limited to only professionals or small business owners.  I suggest setting it for your personal email as well.

A couple of key points to remember:

  • Turn it on – it is important to set it up as you are planning on being away.  Maybe you are going on vacation, a business trip, a conference or maybe your week is just full of meetings that are keeping you away from your normal turnaround rate.
  • Turn it off. Once you have returned back to your regular routine, be sure to turn the reply off.
  • Don’t over explain where you will be.  You don’t have to say “I’m getting crown put in on my bottom, left molar and I usually take a couple of days to recover from any dental procedure.”  TMI!  Just state stimply…”I’ll be out of the office from this date to this date.  I’ll return your email as soon as I get back into the office.”
  • But do offer a contact of someone in your office who is covering for you if this is necessary.
  • Consider giving yourself an extra day to catch up upon your return.  By saying “I’ll be returning on Monday and I’ll get back to you as soon as I get back.” implies that you’ll get back to them Monday.  Give yourself a little time to catch up on details that happened while you were gone instead of promising an immediate response.  You won’t be able to give an immediate response to everyone.

People appreciate quick responses and we’ve come to expect it.  The handy Out of Office Assistant relieves the issues of “I haven’t heard back from Tom.”  This will keep your clients and customers satisfied and takes the stress off of you of having to be available 24/7.

What’s your experience with using an Out of Office Assistant?  I’d love to hear if you love it or never use it – – and why.

Happy Wednesday!

~Amy

PS – do you love inspirational quotes as much as I do.  Subscribe to my ” a minute, a thought” blog for a once daily, positive message.  It helps set the tone for your day.  This month we’re doing all Buddha quotes.


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Tips on Tuesday – Running on empty

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Yesterday I suggestion an article that offered nine ways to prevent that overwhelmed feeling.

Number Four said “don’t let yourself fall into empty.”

A couple of years ago, my friend Julie and I were talking.  She mentioned to me that one of the time-saving tips she always did was if her gas tank was getting low, she would force herself to fill it up on her way home from work and not leave it to “do in the morning”.  She confessed that she had to really fight that urge to “do it later” and just suck it up and do it – not matter how tired she was, how hungry she was, no matter how much she just wanted to go home.

That tip has always stuck with me – especially every time my gas tank is getting low and I’m on my way home.  Many times I can totally relate with that feeling of “I just want to go home….”.  But it never fails, the times I don’t stop for gas….I regret not getting it when I get into my car the next time.

Do you have a time-saving habit that you always do – even if you have to fight to do it?

Hope your day is a good one!

~Amy

PS – I recently told my seven-year old son that as soon as he starts driving, I’m going to have him fill up my gas tank every Sunday afternoon, whether it needs it or not.  Nine more years….nine more years!


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My Take on Thursday – the Friday edition –

I can’t think of what to write for this week’s My Take on Thursday.  Even now – it is Friday and my mind just won’t commit to any ideas.

They say – whenever  you are stuck about what to write, just start writing.  So that is what I’m doing.

Here are a couple of thoughts on what I thought I wanted to write about.

 

I sent out a request to a group I belong to on Linkedin looking for people who would like to be featured as guest writers for my blog while I’m on vacation next week.  I asked them to send me a link to an article they would like featured that might fit in with my overall theme.  I got a couple of really good suggestions, but I also got a couple of people that said “You can take anything off my blog.”

Well…I’m not going to be featuring those people, I can tell you already. I specifically asked for articles – not invitations to go read their entire collection of  blog posts and pick my favorite.  

Hint:  If someone offers to do something for you that will benefit you or your business – dont’ make them do more work.  Help them out as much as possible.

I was also going to write about:

 

An email I got from a co-worker that was obviously mid-thought on her part.  She was requesting some information, but her request was so vague  – I really didn’t understand what it was that she needed.

I ended up having to email her back and admit my shortcomings of not understanding what she needed and asked for more information. 

Hint:  Even if you know the person you are emailing knows what you are emailing about – it is best to still offer some additional details and background information to make it easier on the receiver.

One last thought:

 

On March 1st, I turned my programmable thermostat down one degree on all settings.  It is my attempt to save a little energy and reduce costs overall.  What I didn’t anticipate was March being colder than January.  So as I sit here typing, my fingers are cold and I’m about to bump of the heater a couple of notches.

Hint:  Don’t adjust the thermostat according to the calendar, use a thermometer instead.  

Well – look at that – – I started writing, admitted I was stuck and took a different approach to the process.  Originally, the posts were getting long and naggy  and quite honestly – boring.  But I like the way these turned out – short and to the point.  And three hints are a bonus!

Happy Day Everyone!

~Amy


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A combo for today…a five dollar vacation

Hi Everyone!

Happy First Day of Spring!  This is one of my favorite days of the year.   I hope yours is going really well.

Today I wanted to do a bit of a combination of posts today – combining this week’s Not me Monday and Tips on Tuesdays.   I’m doing this for two reasons:

  1. The tip I wanted to share today is not mine originally
  2. I’m a little overwhelmed with lots of projects going on – so yes, this is a bit of a cheat to combine these two.

A few years ago I read an article in Real Simple Magazine.  I wish I had the exact article or at least the magazine issue to reference, and while I don’t have that information – the lesson learned from the article really stuck with me.

Basically, the article talked about a guy who saved every five dollar bill that ever made it into his wallet and after a couple of years, he was able to take his family on a great vacation.  I want to say to Disney or someplace like that.

I love this idea because it shows how the little bit adds up over time. And by sticking to something, the payoffs are really great.

After reading this article, I starting doing my own version of this.  And while I’m not saving for anything in particular, I collect one dollar bills and place them in an envelope in my office labeled “the dollar fund.”

I don’t typically have a lot of cash in my wallet, I normally use my debit card and/or working from home, I don’t find a huge need to have cash on me.  But every few days, I’ll clean out my wallet and any dollars go right into my envelope.

Like I said, I’m not saving for anything in particular – but boy is it nice to have a few dollars available should you need them.

 

For example:

  • we pay our son $2 a week for his allowance
  • I bought a box of Thin Mints from a Brownie who knocked on my front door last weekend
  • whenever we are a couple of dollars short for the babysitter
  • if I’m feeling like I want to treat myself to a Chai before a meeting.

The fund sometimes adds up and I’ll have upwards of $50 in there.  But it probably sits around $25 on any given day.

It has really come in handy.

Do you have a secret stash like the $5 vacation fund or like my dollar fund?  Please share!

Happy Monday and Tuesday to you!

~Amy