Where do you find the time?!

Do you love to read, but find yourself struggling to find the time and energy? I hear you! It can be so hard to make time, even to do something you really want to do. Here are some tips and tricks that have helped me increase the amount I read.

  1. Let your desire guide you

My “lowest” reading year was a year in which I wanted my reading to be academic, and every book I purchased or checked out fit that bill. And I just couldn’t sustain it. My reading lagged, and I had no desire to sit down with the dense tomes I was getting. The following year, I relaxed, and went back to my tried and true approach of simply sensing what I WANTED to read. Some of those books were academic and serious, and some weren’t.

  1. Give yourself permission to abandon a book

Have you ever spent weeks or months slogging through a slow read you’re just not connecting with? It is okay to put it aside! Some of my favorite books have been ones I tried once, abandoned, and came back to later. Don’t feel guilty about moving on to something better suited to your current reality.

  1. Date yourself

One of my dream dates is hours spent in an indie book store, coffee in hand, lost in the stacks. My husband can accommodate occasionally, but it certainly isn’t HIS dream date. Solution? I can create that date for myself. You don’t need someone else to go on an introverts dream date, and going alone can be rejuvenating and refreshing.

  1. Be adventurous

I cannot currently flee the country, time travel, or experience another person’s reality. But I can use books to transport myself into another reality, and by reading adventurously I can have my mind opened to thoughts, opinions, and experiences I may have never experienced before. Reading opens doors!

  1. Reignite your love

Check out or purchase a few of the originals – those books that first lit a spirit in your imagination or captured your heart. Reread them, and just ENJOY them. No pressure, no agenda, no purpose, outside of enjoying the reading experience.

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Amway

Heard of it?

I’ve been learning some, and am being actively recruited at the moment. Not 100% decided on what to do, but I’m drawn to it.

Or rather, I’m drawn to financial independence and the opportunity to be FREE!

MLK Day

Today was Martin Luther King Jr. Day, which means we have an opportunity to celebrate the great fight for equality and justice that began years ago and continues on today.

It is also a mini-personal celebration for my husband and I, as this was the day he proposed, four years ago. I can hardly believe its been that long since we danced under the pavilion, with icy cold hands, and I said “I do”. Time flies!

 

Developing Yourself

Lately I’ve been following up on quite a few different development options – webinars, e-books, blog posts, and social media expansion. I’ve been pushing myself to make more connections on Twitter and LinkedIn, and have a more active presence there. I’ve also been active daily on my GoRead page. I try to be good about commenting, following, fanning, and posting so that I’m forming connections, not just randomly “liking” people so they’ll like me to. 🙂

Jeff Goin’s work has been great also; I’ve really been enjoying his e-book on becoming a writer, and I know it is what I want. I still feel ‘stuck’ on one thing though – my niche. I’m  not sure what area to focus on, but I can see why it works best to have a focus area. Random articles about life just aren’t enough….I want to have something that I’m working on developing and writing about. Like a field of study, but for my professional writing. Still have to mull that over…

Planning to follow up with some training webinars this weekend, and doing some light reading on how to build your following online. My GoRead site is taking off! I’ve made 14 shares this month (roughly $560 if my shares go for $40 a piece)!

Companionship

Today I had a few rough patches at work – I felt so beaten down and discouraged. On my conference, I called my husband, hoping and praying he would answer.

And he did.

Thankfully. I was in a rough spot.

And he talked me through it, and loved me, and reminded me its all going to be okay.

The companionship of a good man is worth its weight in gold.

Independence

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about independence, specifically as it pertains to my work life. I think that ANY job could feel stifling when you feel obligated to work it; the knowledge that you must stay where you are, or must keep certain benefits, can suck the joy out of anything, eh?

I’m also getting more in tune with who I am and what I think I would enjoy in terms of work/life balance. Its apparent that I’m very introverted, and as such, jobs that require intensive amounts of people interactions can wear me down quickly. I also have this craving for flexibility, because I would really like to have time to invest in my home. It can be exhausting to work a full time job that is incredibly time consuming (+50 hours per week), be married to someone doing the exact same thing with their job, and feel like no one is truly available to take care of things around the house. There is something about having one half of the couple having some extra availability to take care of extra things around the house that really appeals to me.

So…introverted personality, seeking a career opportunity that allows for flexibility, possibly a work from home option, and minimal amounts of human contact.

What would work well for that?

Here are some of my thoughts:

GoRead – I started a GoRead author’s account for $50 monthly. This generates a monthly revenue stream. It will likely sit between $300-$600 monthly; not really livable, but a step towards freelancing.

Udemy Course Content – Udemy is a content site that allows professionals to create courses on anything of interest – science, math, writing, history, technology, etc – and sell their courses online. It requires the creator to provide video lectures, and mini-assessments for each unit. You don’t have to pay a subscription, and you receive 97% of proceeds from people who sign up via your own link, and 50% of proceeds from those who sign up via Udemy advertising initiatives. No idea what kind of revenue this could bring in – another step towards freelance work

VIP Kids – This is designed as a part-time opportunity for people with teaching qualifications. You commit a minimum of 7.5 hours a week, and make between $14-22 an hour. Teachers committing 4-5 hours a day reported making around $2,000 monthly. The teaching is one-to-one, online, with students in China who are learning English. No matter contact or lesson planning required!

Freelance Work – Many sites offer paid, freelance work if you take the time to track them down. You have to have the initiative and the time to do so, of course, and the income itself is not regulated.

I think what makes me the MOST anxious about pursuing more freelance / flexible work options is that the income might not be as consistent, which would stress me out. Also, the lack of benefits concerns me. But I want to at least give myself a chance to look into a few options that I think would be a better fit for me, my personality, and my family.

 

 

 

Success

This week I’ve done two mini-lessons on success, mostly as a way of practicing our room expectations and easing back into school. If nothing else, I’ve gotten myself thinking! Success can seem idealistic and elusive, but it is grounded in concrete steps – the kind of steps we take every single day.

Too often, we can easily state what we want to achieve – we know what success would look like or mean to us – but we don’t make the necessary plan to really get there. I’ve had rooms full of students who tell me success, for them, would be higher grades, no missing assignments, making the Honor Roll; all manner of wonderful things. If I ask them how they can achieve that, they say vague platitudes – work harder, pay attention, focus. Again, great things, but that doesn’t tell me HOW you are planning to be successful.

What can YOU specifically DO that would bring about success?

Frankly, for most people, success is different than where we are right now. I may have a good job, or feel happy, or enjoy my life overall, but success usually pushes us to work harder and achieve more. Success means you CAN’T keep operating the exact same way, and doing the exact same things. You just can’t. Something – someone – has to change.

YOU have to change. Its simply a necessary element of success. There is no room for stagnation and standing still when you really want to achieve.

Break it down – what are the specific actions you need to take to be successful in your life?

Would success be making more money?

  • Ask for a promotion
  • Get a part-time job
  • Start job searching for higher paying positions
  • Look for ways to add a stipend or make extra pay at your current position, if a raise isn’t an option

You have to come up with some actions to take to prevent this year from being the exact same as last year, and the year after last. You have to take responsibility for the change you hope to see in your life!

I’ve been struggling with some feeling of dissatisfaction, as well as really wanting to write more. Instead of ‘wondering’ if I could make money freelancing, or ‘wondering’ if I could ever complete a book, I’ve decided to take action steps to create the opportunity for success. I’ve started writing. I entered into an opportunity that could allow me to earn money from some of my writing. I’m rekindling my novel idea. Instead of just wishing I had a different employment situation, I’ve made adjustments to set myself up for possible success. Of course I may fall on my face a time or two…but overall, I know good things come from putting yourself out there and believing in the possibility for more.

What would you need to do to experience success this year? Don’t be vague! Come up with a list of actions you could do, and then actually DO them. The only one keeping you from trying is you.

Take the steps. Believe in your capacity to change, grow, and improve.

 

 

 

 

What are you worth?

Talked with my husband today about compensation for work done, and we ended up discussing, in a round about way, how your monetary earnings can reflect what your worth to a business.

Funny how that goes. Employment is essentially selling yourself for an hourly rate to a company. Some people’s hours are worth $7, while others are making thousands upon thousands for those same measly minutes, ticking by mercilessly every day. At the end, they are both simply humans, doing their best to make it in world that can feel so harsh and cold.

Do those hourly earnings show what you’re worth?

I suppose it shows your worth to your employer, although even that is hardly fair. Many employers would pay more in a heartbeat, if only they could. Sometimes your hourly rate is a reflection of a company digging deep to keep you, and even if it isn’t that impressive of a figure, its kind of like the widow’s mite in the Bible – so small, but all she had. Other times, your pay is a mere pittance, and you may very well seemingly be a cog in the machine – replaceable and unnecessary, easily removed if you ever threaten to need more money for your compliance.

There is just no way of saying a certain dollar amount means something specific about your worth and personal situation. Ultimately, I think you have to flip the equation and think in terms of what YOU believe you are worth, and how your position benefits you. Devoting 40+ hours a week to anything, no matter the pay, should feel like a two-way street in terms of rewards and gains.

When I did AmeriCorps, I made hardly anything an hour. What I gained, however, was invaluable experience in social services and a glowing addition to my resume. I was receiving something far behind mere dollars, and to me that made it worth it. Any job that is worth it – worth holding your time and energy and attention day in and day out – should impart something more than just dollar signs, at least in my opinion. The gain, however, was achieved in the course of a year, and then I moved on. Sometimes a low financial return is acceptable for a time, but most of us find that eventually, we will move on, taking less tangible gains with us as we transition to a position of more worth and value.

As a teacher, I’m certainly not making it “big” financially, yet I know so much beyond simple money is being given to me. Those secondary benefits are irreplaceable, and no dollar amount can be placed on them. Not that I would mind a bit of an increase in my salary…but the point remains – some things aren’t about the money.

My husband has had a similar experience. As a Youth Pastor, he isn’t exactly raking in the cash. However, there are certain, less direct rewards, that have made the position worth his time. As I watch, however, I can sense a growing sense of unbalance. That feeling you start to get when you wonder if you are imparting more of your own worth and self into something than you are receiving back. Perhaps, I think, his time is coming to transition on, seeking after a position in which he will receive a more equal compensation for the value he imparts.

Back to School

Nothing says, “Break is over!”, like getting up at 6:30am and returning to school. My dreaded alarm was back to its usual self this morning, and despite all impulses to the contrary, I followed its incessant command to rise and begin my day.

So far we’ve had a faculty meeting, discussed some goals for the year, and got an hour of personal work time to do anything that needs to be done.

Praise the Lord I do not have a single grade to enter or parent to notify! I wore myself out that last week of school, but I definitely went into break with Fall Semester officially completed and behind me. I’ve mostly been putzing around my room – making adjustments to posters, changing out some wall décor, putting up the new calendar – nothing super intense, but the sort of little stuff that helps you feel like you’re getting back into regular routines (and leaving the good old days of lazing about behind you).

Last year I remember being excited about many of my students return – thinking through my class lists I would feel genuine excitement over students walking back into my room and picking up again in the new year. This year….I just don’t feel the enthusiasm. The kids are coming back. No faces light up in my mind, and my enthusiasm is low. I wonder why? This hasn’t been a bad year – I’m so improved from year 1, its actually been very good. Maybe I’m just a bit tired from break still – lots of emotional experiences that have impacted me more than I realize, perhaps.

I look forward to getting back into a routine, to being productive, to moving through my day with purpose.

I don’t feel excited to lesson plan, interact with students, or jump into a new semester of content.

Does this mean I’m a terrible teacher? That I’m prematurely “burned out”? That I’m doing a disservice to my students?

Or does it just mean I’m a little tired right now, but I’m going to  be okay? That not everyday is rainbows and sunshine, and that doesn’t really matter?

I take comfort in the fact that I know myself – I will work hard, and do my absolute best job as a teacher, regardless of how I feel on any given day. You don’t have to have all the feels to do the right thing and make good decisions. One benefit of experiencing depression and having many absolute emotional “holes” in my life where I felt nothing at all, is that I know without a doubt that feelings are not *needed* for life to carry on. I will choose to be innovative & creative, I will work hard to meet my students needs, and I will complete all of the grading, paperwork, and random forms sent my way in a timely manner. Not because I’m “feeling it”, but because I have proven to myself, time and time again, that I am absolutely the kind of person that will show up and make good choices.

And you know what? That feels good.