Creativity Blocker #2 – Housework

sidetracked

I know the stereotypical creative works long, crazy hours in what seems to me mass chaos for the sake of his or her art, but I just don’t operate like that.  I need some sort of order in my life so that I can even think about being creative.  Maybe that means that I’m not a TRUE creative at heart…  I don’t know.  But, I do believe that all creative mamas out there must balance their creative passions with their housework.  Myself included.

Let’s face it.  Housework has to get done.  The more it piles up, the more hopeless the situation seems to be.  Your entire family probably depends on your ability to run your household and everyone suffers if you aren’t doing it well.  There are so many things on our to-do list–meal planning, cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, paying bills, grocery shopping… The list goes on and on, and it can seem overwhelming.

I have one solution that worked for me–“Sidetracked Home Executives” by Pam Young and Peggy Jones.  This book was a game changer for me several years ago, and I still use the system today, although my system is customized and updated.  This book is a super short read, but it is packed with so much wisdom.

You obviously have to read the book to get the most out of their system, but the general idea is to create a rotating card system that keeps track of household duties so that you won’t get behind again.  This book covers all aspects of homemaking and has wonderful suggestions for meal planning, organization, scheduling, holidays, and dressing like you intend to leave the house.

I do have to mention that earlier this year I got rid of my beloved file card box.  I had had that thing for 10 years!  But, I traded it in for something that works just as well, if not better, for me.  I use the Tody app.  With this app, the calendar, and contacts on my iPhone, I could replace my entire card file box, and the system still works great for me.

On that note, I do have to say that I wish the slob sisters had kept up their momentum and reinvented their card file system for the digital age.  I would love to see an app from them.  The book was first printed in 1981.  While a lot of the book is still relevant, it could use a little updating.  But that’s where your creativity comes in.  Read the book and make the system into one that works just for you and your family.

Although I am Pam and Peggy’s number one fan, I will have to say that different systems work for different people.  Theirs happens to be the one that clicked for me.  Here are a few other suggestions if “Sidetracked Home Executives” doesn’t work for you:

And if none of these systems seem to work for you, you’re creative… make your own system.  But the key is to stick with it.  You didn’t get into your mess overnight, and you won’t get out of it that quickly either.  Find a system that works for you and keep at it.  It will get better and easier, and eventually you will have some guilt-free time to dedicate to your creative passion.

What blocks your creativity?  Financial troubles?  A messy house?  Leave your comment below.

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Speaking of Ruth Soukup…

I just shared with you an email that I received from Ruth Soukup on Friday.  Within that email was a link to The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit.  While the toolkit looks amazing, that’s not the point of this post.  I LOVE the story Ruth shares about how she began her blog.  Very inspiring and definitely worth sharing.

Here’s the story from Ruth’s blog:

I don’t usually write about the business side of blogging here at Living Well Spending Less. My main focus and passion is helping my readers discover simple ways to live better, spend less, and have more time for the things that matter most.   

That said, as someone who earns a full-time income through blogging, the topic of how to start a blog and how to make money blogging is something I get asked about all the time! The truth is that I am incredibly passionate about helping other bloggers—or those who aspire to be—gain the knowledge to do the same.   Don’t get me wrong, blogging is by no means “easy money”, but it is very possible to earn a full-time living writing about what you love and care about.

I know because I’ve done it.

You see, when I first started blogging, I set a goal to make enough money from my blog that my husband—an aerospace engineer—could quit his job and become a stay-at-home dad.  At the time, it was a completely crazy goal that seemed utterly impossible, and my husband told me as much, insisting that I would never be able to make money from a blog.

But I wanted it so bad, I could almost taste it, and I was determined to do whatever it took to make that crazy dream a reality.

And so, with two toddlers at home, I started getting up at 3am every morning—and sometimes even earlier—in order to work on my blog before anyone else was up.  I took advantage of every naptime, every weekend, and every spare moment.  And when I wasn’t working on the blog itself, I was learning everything I could about blogging, from SEO to social media to how to monetize.

I’m not going to lie, it was a pretty exhausting time.  There were lots of downsides.  My husband couldn’t understand why on earth I was spending all my time on a blog that he was sure would never amount to anything.  My real life friends made fun of me and talked about me behind my back.  My kids watched way too much Dora the Explorer.  I didn’t get nearly enough sleep.  I had almost no life.

But to me, it was all worth it, because I could see the vision, even if no one else could.

And eventually, that vision paid off because in 2013, 2 ½ years after starting my blog, my husband was able to quit his job, and we’ve never looked back.  The blog—and the business that has grown out of it—has continued to grow and flourish.

Such an inspiring story!  You can read Ruth’s full post here.

How to Find Time for Your Dreams

I’m really loving the emails that I get from Ruth Soukup.  This one showed up in my inbox on Friday, and I thought I would share it because it’s so relevant to the book and moms everywhere.  From Ruth:

I don’t know about you, but over here this has been a busy week of trying to settle back into a productive groove after being out of town for a week and then moving to a new house, pretty much all in one fell swoop!

But the thing that is on my mind today is a question someone asked me this week in response to something I had said about goals.

The question was this:

“How do you find the time to pursue your dreams and accomplish your goals? I feel like every minute of every day is spent running around and putting out fires–I can never get ahead.”

It’s a great question, and one I’m sure we can all relate to! The reality is that we’re ALL busy, and that for most of us, life gets pretty crazy sometimes.

And sometimes all those demands on our time can mean putting our dreams on the back burner. We tell ourselves we’ll get to them when things slow down, or when there’s more time, but then we never do.

But the reality is that there will never be enough time for our big goals and dreams unless we put them first.

In my own life, I have discovered that the secret to making my goals and dreams a reality is getting up early every single day–even on the weekends and even when my schedule is disrupted by life events like travel and moving–and dedicating those first few hours of the day to the big things. Those early morning hours, when the rest of the world is asleep and there are no other demands on my time, have made all the difference. Without them, there would be no LWSL Blog, no books, no Living Well Planner, no Elite Blog Academy.

But make no mistake, getting up early every day comes at a cost. In order to get enough sleep and keep my immune system healthy, I have to be very diligent about getting to bed on time. I am almost always asleep by 9pm, and sometimes even earlier. And this usually means skipping out on evening activities that I enjoy, like going out, or reading a book, or playing games or watching a movie or favorite TV show.

It’s not always easy to say no to the fun things, but the truth is that every time we choose to say yes to something that is not a priority, we are–however unintentionally–saying NO to something that should be.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once noted that “things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Along those same lines, Jim Rohn pointed out that “if it is important to you, you’ll find a way. If not, you’ll find an excuse.”

In other words, if we want to find time to for our dreams, we have to make them a priority.

My challenge for you this week is to resolve to become more intentional about making time for your big goals and dreams. Block time out in your calendar. Start waking up 30 minutes earlier. Skip your favorite TV show. Make the choice to do whatever it takes to get one step closer. A year from now, you might just be amazed by what a difference it will make.

In the meantime, live with purpose, friends, and have a wonderful weekend!

xoxo, Ruth

The M.A.P.P. Gathering

I stumbled across this website while I was doing research for the book.  It looks interesting, but I have not signed up or listened to any of the interviews.  I thought it might be worth sharing.

I wanted to pass on an extraordinary project that Lisa Byrne from WellGrounded Life has put together.

She’s launching {at no cost} a series of intimate conversations that she’s recorded with 9 exceptional women around the topics of motherhood, ambition, passion and purpose.

It will be like going to an intimate dinner party with Brene Brown, Jennifer Louden, Renee Trudeau, Dr. Sara Gottfried, Pamela Slim, Jill Savage, Kelly Rae Roberts, Andrea Scher and Tsh Oxenreider.   Do you want to join us?

The M.A.P.P. Gathering is all about coming together as modern mothers and entering a dialogue about what it looks like to navigate mothering in the world while keeping a strong sense of yourself and your passions.  It’s about diving right into the heart of the new paradigm of mothering from a deeply nurtured, generous, fulfilled and purposeful place in the world.

The whole interview series is free and open to everyone, so I wanted to pass it on to every woman I knew.  You can learn more and sign up here:  www.mappgathering.com