Create your balance. Design your life.

How Do You Find The Time?

How Do You Find The Time?

Mar 25, 2015

By Vee Pope “How do you find the time?” I’m trying to break up with how that question makes me feel. It has simultaneously irked me and made me feel productive. My over analytical mind asks if it’s a loaded or genuine question all the time. I never know but what I do know is that I can control how I react to it.   So, how do I find the time? I can say I simply make the time to do the things I want to do, or I can show you how I have tried to master the art of time management. One thing I want to make clear to those who are taking the time to read this: I currently have How I Met Your Mother playing, another “work” computer is running, and I just finished texting with both of my parents. Also, I did not sit down to write this in one sitting. Now, I recognize multi-tasking might not be effective for certain tasks. I’m not claiming to be perfect in this area of my life, but I can still provide tips on how you can better manage your time. Let’s just say I have spent a lot of time researching time. Okay–these tips can apply to anyone and I mean ANYONE! Time is not gender, age or race specific. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom, single, dad, married, teen or toddler (well, some of the tips may not apply to toddlers).  We can tackle these together! Find a hobby: No matter who you are or how your days and weeks are structured, you absolutely need to find a healthy outlet to build into your routine. Hobbies can contribute to eustress, which is a healthful dose of stress or quite literally speaking “good stress”. Eustress is that feeling of excitement about life. It keeps us revitalized and positive. So pick up that book or go on those walks and treat yo’ self to a HOBBY! Write everything down: My planner obsession is unhealthy. Trust me, I recognize that, but I have also met people who wished they had one. While whipping out my planner to schedule future appointments, people will comment on how they just...

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Branding Tips For The Small Business Owner

Mar 18, 2015

Small businesses often overlook their branding efforts because of the perceived cost of having a cohesive look. In reality, it’s a small investment with high return potential. Branding is the first thing a customer sees and also the last thing a customer feels. My best tips to help you strengthen your brand: 1. Describe Your Brand’s Personality – What does your brand look, taste, smell and feel like? Are your current efforts evoking this personality? Every company should have a personified brand and those characteristics should come out in everything you do. 2. Fix Your Font – If your company is modern, new, fresh and clean DON’T pair it with Times New Roman. And please don’t ever use Comic Sans, Curlz, Brush Script or Papyrus. That’s a big WTF (Why The Font) in my book. Once you’ve described your brand’s personality, pair it with fonts, colors and verbiage that convey. 3. Be More Than The Business Suite – A cohesive business suite of collateral is standard. Well-branded companies look the same over e-mails, invoices, thank you cards and social media. Here are a few great resources for inexpensive logo’ed products: Pakible – Online packaging products with a variety of colors and sizes to pair your logo with. Take advantage of the current 10 for $10 special. Sticker Mule – Another low minimum (50) online print shop with a fast turnaround. Choose your final sticker size based on multiple uses.  Campaign Monitor – User friendly e-newsletter templates that you don’t have to know code to customize. The best thing about Campaign Monitor is the option to test out one campaign without the commitment of a long term contract. Canva – This free, online photo-editing site offers small business owners a place to edit their branding with built in dimensions. Templates from facebook ads to pinterest posts are readymade with no pixel x pixel guesswork. 4. Establish Your Standards – Once you’ve settled on your branding, set the standards. At minimum, your business should have a guideline of colors, fonts and logo to adhere to.  A simple brand standards guideline would look something like this example from University of Connecticut: http://brand.uconn.edu/sites/default/files/BrandStandards_Guide0913.pdf. Don’t let the entire document deter...

5 Tips For Sanity In A Crazy Busy Life

5 Tips For Sanity In A Crazy Busy Life

Sep 25, 2014

From juggling to balancing–how can we maintain our sanity and health with a crazy busy lifestyle? By Jen Kahn We’ve all been there. Something big changes in your life and suddenly it’s front and center; all other parts of life fade into the background. Like a new job, a new relationship, a move, a health-kick, a health issue, break-up, even a new puppy. Sometimes the focus can grow so big as to obliterate healthy choices we might otherwise make: like getting enough sleep, recuperation between workouts, maintaining relationships, making time for fun! Suddenly it’s six weeks later and you don’t know who you are anymore, and life feels out of control. You know it’s time for a change before one of the balls you are juggling crashes to the ground and takes something out – possibly even you. So how CAN you turn your life from a juggling act to a balance, where all important needs are getting some sort of time and attention? It begins with slowing down enough to pay attention. With pulling back in your viewfinder so you can see a bit more of the whole picture, and with regularly spending time with yourself, by yourself, listening. Slowing down, you ask? How can you slow down when there’s so much to get done! The key to slowing down is not necessarily in doing less, or moving more slowly, it’s in taking a few extra minutes, or seconds, to breathe, and be, and check in with yourself, as often as you can. In my life lately I have been in the midst of moving for a month. I work for myself, and sometimes with or for other people, for the most part on my own schedule. I’m also in the last recovery stages from a long-term illness, building my business, finishing up a yoga therapy certification, and oh yes – I have a relationship to spend time on, an apartment that usually needs cleaning, cats who need love and attention, friends and family to keep up with. At the moment I also have boxes piled all over my living room and belongings in three different states (did I mention I move a...

In Case No One Told You, You Look Fine.

In Case No One Told You, You Look Fine.

Sep 11, 2014

You look fine. You look like you. If no one has told you lately, or ever, let me. You are fine. You look like you are supposed to look—and it is perfect. Perfect is a loaded word, isn’t it? I could literally HEAR your eyes rolling as you read that line. “I don’t look perfect! I have “x” pounds to lose, my boobs are too “x”, my flab is too floppy.” Etc. But think about it. What if you just lived in your own skin for a day, without thinking about how it is aging, how much it weighs, or what it looks like to others? You look like YOU. You are the perfect you. The Throwback Thursday (#TBT) phenomenon on Facebook is one of my favorites. I love looking at everyone’s past pictures and catching a glimpse of the person they used to be before I knew them, or be reminded of the person they once were. When I look at my own, especially from my last years in high school, I want to reach across to myself and tell her that she is fine. I want to reassure her that everything will work out the way it’s supposed to–that there is an end to her loneliness. Seeing my picture, at 17, reminds me of all the things I was doing to myself to be thinner, prettier, look more like everyone else, be desired—things I hope my daughters never feel the need to do to themselves. What did I need then, and what can I give my children now, that might help them feel a little more sure of their place in their own skin? My parents ached for me. All the tears I shed—face hot and crammed into a pillow–about being overweight, being picked on, or worse, feeling left out, spurred my parents to say, “We just have to work harder. I’ll go on a diet with you. Kids are mean,” or “You have such a beautiful face.” Friends listened and echoed sentiments rooted in their own insecurities. We could easily identify with each other’s flaws and shook our heads in agreement any time they were mentioned. We all felt we needed to change. At no...

That’s Not Fair!

That’s Not Fair!

Aug 4, 2014

When we are kids life is carefree. We bounce from day to day with a sense of wonder. Our reality set in when we would want something (sometimes as simple as a box of Fruit Loops Cereal) or want to do something (stay up 30 minutes past bedtime to watch a show) and have our world come to a crashing halt with one simple word: NO. Do you remember how much your feelings would get hurt or how angry you felt when you were denied? How many of you argued with your parents about it? How many of you claimed you hated them or wished that they were dead? Kids can say very mean things in retaliation. How many of you said “I can’t wait until I’m a grown up so I can get the things I want”? How much did you hate the explanation for that dreaded No? If you don’t remember it went something like this: Child: Can I spend the night at Margie’s house? (or any other request) Parent: No. Child: Why?!?!?!?! Parent: Because. Child: Because why? Parent: Because I said so. Child: That’s not fair!!!!!! Parent: Don’t you raise your voice at me! Child: I don’t know why I can’t spend the night at Margie’s. Her mom said it was okay! Parent: (trying to remain calm) I said no. That’s it. You can spend the night another time. Go watch TV. Child: Mooooooooooooooooooooom….why won’t you let meeeeeeeeeeeee!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Parent: (losing it) If you make me say it one more time you are grounded! GO WATCH TV! How many of you swore you would never treat your kids that way? How many of you hear your parents falling out of your mouths now, especially when you tell your kids No? How many of you realized that when you reached adulthood that you got a bum deal and in some respects kids have it a lot better? Adulthood is just so unfair. I can’t wait to be a kid again…what do you mean I only get one turn? I don’t get a do over? I couldn’t wait to be a grown up. I got my wish. I now understand the statement that youth is wasted on the young. If I knew then what I know now, I...

Homecoming is the Beginning

Homecoming is the Beginning

May 5, 2014

Hopefully, this will be our first, last, and only deployment, and therefore our first, last, and only military homecoming ceremony. I tried not to have pre-set notions of what the day would entail, and tried to have a laid-back attitude about the whole affair. True to form, the Army had different plans, and my laid-back attitude was challenged at every interval. We were lucky in that our homecoming was only delayed a couple times, and only by 36 hours. Our Friday night arrival became Saturday morning, then Sunday middle of the night, then Sunday morning. Sunday, Feb. 9, at 3:30 a.m., I got the kids up, bundled, and into the car and made our way to post. Note: Not many people coming on to post at 3:30 in the morning. Our arrival was set for 0600, and the suggestion by the unit was that you arrive at least two hours early. With nightmarish thoughts of my husband arriving early and us not being there to greet him, I dutifully complied. I parked and unloaded children, stroller, supplies, snacks, and then boarded the bus that would take us to the airplane hanger where maybe, in two or three hours, we would get our Soldier back. Bathroom issues with my oldest were a recurring theme of our deployment adventures, and the early wake-up and deviation from routine was no match for the tummy monster. We spent a good bit of time running back and forth from our seats to the “potty.” Since it was early February, I assumed it would be cold in the airplane hanger where the homecoming ceremony was to take place and dressed us all accordingly. Of course, the hanger was more than comfortable, and there was lots of running — to the bathroom, to find a missing toddler. You may call it sweating, I call it glowing in anticipation. We got to watch the plane carrying our Soldiers come in. Well, WE didn’t, because we were in the potty dealing with the aforementioned intestinal issues, but we could hear the roar of the plane landing and made a bee-line to the flight line in time for the three-year-old to see Daddy pass...

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