Thursday, July 24, 2014

My Secret Recipe for Time

Time. We all want more of it right? We try to fit as much as we can into every hour, minute, and second of the day, and it seems that no matter how much squeezing we do, there is always more to be done.

Lately, I've had quite a few people ask me, "How do you do it?" And interestingly enough, I find myself wondering the same thing. So, I figured I'd write out some thing to share! Here we go!

1. Lists are your friend.
I like to make lists for everything. I think they are very effective because it puts your goals in plain sight. When you have completed a task/goal, mark it off- this helps you to see the progress you are making. It is both encouraging and motivating. At the beginning of the week, I like to make a master list and then at the beginning of each day, I like to make a sub-list. The master list is kind of like an overview of everything I need to complete in the week, and the daily lists are the things that I need to do to knock out each task on the master list. I find this to be very effective, especially since I am a visual person. I also think this is a great thing to incorporate with your vision boards and bucket lists. Seeing a vision board everyday, or however often you look at it, is great! It keeps you motivated and keeps everything that you want in sight. When you have these things in sight and in mind, it can help you to better strategize and organize your lists and in turn, having your list will help you to accomplish the things on your vision board/bucket list.

2. Make deadlines for yourself.
Deadlines can be a pain and sometimes make you feel pressured, but pressured or not, they ensure that you get things done. Self-imposed deadlines are great, because who knows your sense of timing and tasking better than you? Set deadlines for yourself that are both realistic and effective. Just because you are setting a deadline for yourself doesn't mean that you give yourself all of the time in the world to get something done. As a matter of fact, it should be the exact opposite. Hold yourself accountable and get things done in a reasonable amount of time because if you don't,  you'll find yourself filing a lot of things under "that time I missed out on ___, because I procastinated".

3. Put your phone down.
This is one that I know can be a bit challenging for many of us. With text messaging, social media, apps, games, email and whatever else you can think of, our phones have literally become an extension of our person. But just try it. I guarantee many of your tasks will seem easier and you will complete them quicker, when you put your phone down. Sometimes, I like to put my phone on silent and flip it over so that I can't see the screen until I have completed my task; and once my task is complete, checking my phone is like a little treat to myself. I do this when I am writing, reading, cleaning the house, exercising, cooking...just try it. You'll be impressed with yourself, I promise.

4. Be savvy with little necessities.
 If it needs to be dry cleaned, ironed or hand washed, more than likely, I'm not going to buy it. I'd rather spend my time working or staring at a tree than to iron or drive to/from the dry cleaners. But that's just me. Also... stay focused. When it comes to grocery shopping, I keep myself on a tight budget and I know what I need before I go in. I tend to go grocery shopping weekly... so, to save money, I usually tailor my shopping list around whatever is on sale and I stick to my list so I only walk out of the store with two bags and not five. I also try to be (health) conscious about what I put in my body, so doing meal prep is the key for me! Meal prep(aration)= preparing all of your meals for the entire week, at the beginning of the week. My meal prep takes place on Sunday mornings or Sunday evenings. If it doesn't happen then, it is going to being a disastrous, money guzzling struggling to eat well throughout the week. You can save a lot of time and money by spending a little time and money.

5.If you can, do it in the morning!
I try my best to do everything that I can in the mornings. Mornings are generally our most productive time of the day. If you can commit to knocking your errands out in the morning, that frees up the rest of your day to focus on your personal goals/work or stare at trees or iron your socks- your world, whatever you want to do. Also, getting things done in the morning will give you a sense of feeling accomplished, which you will more than likely carry you throughout the day, which will more than likely transfer into you being more productive! Aaaand, anything that can be done online, is a done deal! I will admit that at times, the internet can be rather time consuming (*cough* facebook, pinterest, youtube *cough*), but on the flipside, it can also be great for saving time- but that's totally up to you :)

6. Think and decompress.  
Having time to think and decompress is so incredibly important! I could not sustain without finding the time to do this. My top two favorite places to decompress are in the car and in the shower! It is just amazing to me, many how many ideas and thoughts come to me when I am driving around with the radio off. It is just great. I also enjoy sitting in my car, just because. At the end of a long day, when I pull up at my house, I will sit in my car for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, before I actually go into the house. It's oddly relaxing.  And, showering! Showering is a great way to get the most out of your time, especially your personal time. Wash your buns and clear your mind. I like to shower in the dark with candles, and sometimes a drink. Judge not- If you've never had a shower beer/wine, perhaps now is the time to consider. Think about it, what better time to relax and reflect? Showering in the dark can be great time for gaining your focus for the day or for decompressing for the evening.

7. Let it be.
We all wish we had more hours in the day and days in the week...and then you see someone's coffee mug that says, "You have the same number of hours in the day as Beyonce", and you feel a little under-accomplished, I get it. But you know what? At the end of the day, that's it! The day is over. Let it go and let it be. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in maximizing my time is realizing that while timing is everything, everything happens the way it is supposed to. So, read all of the self-help books and articles, figure out what works for you, put your best foot forward, treat your time like the preciousness that it is, and let it be. That is my secret recipe.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

East End Barbershop Talk

Last week, I went to the barbershop for a haircut, for the first time. I walked in and was greeted by two barbers sitting in the front of the shop, talking and looking out the storefront window, people watching perhaps. Mr. James was the barber I was there to see. I'd attempted to cut my own hair earlier in the week and while I did an okay job, I definitely needed a professional touch to clean it up. Mr. James took me to his chair in the back of the shop and got me all prepped for the cut/clean up that was about to happen. He was great. I showed him pictures of what I was going for and we discussed it a bit. I felt comfortable and I trusted him and his clippers.

Well, if you've ever been to a (black) barbershop, you know there is always a conversation going. These conversations can be about anything, from Beyonce vs. Kelly Rowland to immigration reform. I didn't expect much "barbershop talk" considering it was only me and Mr. James- I was the last client of the day.  I figured we would have the general "Where are you from? What do you do?" type of talk...nothing really substantial enough to carry out a full blown conversation, but at least enough to break an awkward silence and show interest in someone other than yourself and whatever form of social media you may be scrolling through on your phone. The conversation started out that way, with the typical questions and answers, but it did not take long to escalate into something beyond the usual small talk..

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

I Dreamed a Dream

When I was a little girl, going to McDonald's for a happy meal was one of my favorite things. Getting a happy meal was a big deal! It was a meal, especially prepared for me, with a prize/toy inside and happiness included? Oh Mr. Ronald McDonald, you have really outdone yourself sir. How could he have been so genius as to put a smile in a box, in the form of a cheeseburger, french fries, orange hi-c, and miniature figurine or beanie baby (do y'all remember how crazy people got about those?)??? GENIUS, I TELL YOU! GENIUS! At least to me, at the time, it was. Going to McDonald's to get a happy meal was something that I always looked forward to, however, I did not always get the experience I'd hoped for. The experience I hoped for was what I saw advertised, which generally included a smiling, happy-go-lucky McDonald's employee who was glad to put the "happy"  in my happy meal. But often times what I actually got was no eye contact, no smiles, no "happy"...just a meal. This did not sit well with me, at all. I didn't even care about the food. My greatest concern was that the happy people that I saw in the commercials were not the happy people that I met in the drive-thru. I felt decided to do something about. One day, I told my mom, "When I grow up, I am going to work at McDonald's, just so I can smile at every customer that comes through the drive-thru." I don't remember my mom's response, but I'm sure she was praying, "Dear Lord, please let her grow out of that." Well...I didn't. I didn't grow out of it. As a matter of fact, as soon as I was old enough to work, my first job was at McDonald's on Veteran's Parkway in Columbus, Ga. I was excited to have a job and proud to be working at McDonald's. It was time to make my dream come true!

Monday, June 23, 2014

This Morning

When I woke up this morning, I did not feel awesome.
I rolled over and stared into the darkness and allowed my thoughts to flow. My thoughts bounced back and forth between acknowledging anxiety and focusing on the present moment. I felt guilty for feeling anxious because I know that what is most important is what is right in front of me, and if I am experiencing anxiety that means I am focusing/worrying about what's ahead and not what is "right now".  So I laid there, feeling anxious and guilty and a little sticky because I didn't turn my air conditioning down last night, thinking that the breeze from the storm would cool the house down, but it didn't. I closed my eyes and I asked myself, "why? why are you anxious???" I was taken back to a conversation I had over the weekend with a friend. We were discussing tattoos when she said, "I don't understand why people get quotes and sayings as tattoos. Maybe you like that quote today, but ten years down the road, your life may have changed and that will be completely irrelevant to you." Well, being someone who has a script tattoo, I shared the reasoning behind my decision.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

And About That Time I Threw a Surprise Party for Myself...

When I was in the fourth grade, I threw a surprise slumber party for myself.
And the best present I got that year, was an invaluable life lesson.
I know exactly what you're thinking... "Why wasn't I that cool when I was in the fourth grade?!?"  Right? Or... "How is it a surprise if you threw it for yourself?" Well, basically, if I told you how I managed to pull that off, I would be giving away one of my secrets to awesome, so you'll have to buy the book for that :)

Sunday, May 4, 2014

For Today's Graduate...Here's My Two Cents

Today, another round of Berea College students become Berea College Alumni. This one's for you.

1. YEEEEEAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU MADE IT!!!
-I know sometimes it can seem like Graduation Day is just an oasis off in the distance that you will never really quite reach, especially if you received any letters or emails from Financial Aid or Academic Services in the last 3-4 weeks. And if you did receive one of those letters, believe me, I know you were probably ready to burn Lincoln Hall down to the ground. I know. But now, look at you- standing tall on your graduation day with no record of arson to follow you across the stage. Congratulations!
2. I am incredibly proud of you. Incredibly.
-You are graduating from college.You're automatically amazing. That's just what happens. You go Glenn CoCo.
3. The world awaits you. Take that with a grain of salt...and a lime.
-Yes, you graduated and that makes you automatically amazing, but sometimes, the world is not prepared for all of the awesome that is about to hit them, and we are not always so prepared for the world's unpreparedness for our awesome. Take that with a grain of salt and a lime, but be careful with that because...

Thursday, April 24, 2014

I Am Perfect

I used to think that I was supposed to embrace my flaws. 
But then I realized that I am perfect.

Calling something a flaw implies that there is something wrong- it is imperfect. But who is to say what is perfect and what is flawed? Why should we subscribe to any opinion or thought other than our own? You never knew you were imperfect until someone told you that you were. You never called it a flaw until someone or something else changed your perception of perfection from who you naturally are to who you should try to be.
That pimple on your cheek- perfect.
The chickenpox scar on your forehead- perfect.
The dry skin in the crevice of your nose- perfect.
The one eyebrow that arches much less than than the other- perfect.
You. Your soul. Your everything. You're beautiful. You're perfect.