Post by Blog Manager Robbi Hess
I write frequently about conquering the overwhelm and what I am doing, and have been trying to do, since my breast cancer diagnosis. I realized I was operating on "I-must-do-it-all-all-the-time-mode" and I am not certain if my frantic, stressful lifestyle lead to my disease, but it certainly didn't help.
When I was given the opportunity to review the book Say Goodbye To Survival Mode: 9 Simple Strategies To Stress Less, Seep More & Restore Your Passion For Life by Crystal Paine aka The Money Saving Mom, I jumped at the opportunity. I mean who doesn't want to stress less and restore her passion for life? I certainly wanted to see if any of the strategies were truly simple. I am certain you've all read boods about time management and ways to take control of your life that simply turned into more work and more stress. Some time management tips call for ridding yourself of particular tasks or duties but in reality, those tasks are part of your daily routine (ie your job) so they aren't easily tossed aside.
Chapter One was: Stop Trying To Do It All and when I saw the title I assumed it was going to be a chapter I skimmed, rather than read fully and try to absorb the message. I am a driven, Type A personality and "doing it all" is in my nature. The subheading of the chapter, though, offered a Goal of: Streamline your life and cut schedule clutter so you can focus your time and energy on the things that matter most. Okay... I'm intrigued. The Strategy for getting there was: Create a personal priorities list and use it as a spring board for culling your commitments and to-do list. A "personal priorities" list? I'd never considered that nor did I have one.
As I read the book I found myself agreeing out loud (I work from home so thankfully the only ones to hear my outbursts were my pets and they are well accustomed to the conversations I draw them into on a daily basis!). "Sure I can take on that project/meet that deadline/edit your book, etc." (Sadly, no one ever asks me to "bake those brownies" as the author is apparently asked to do -- my cooking skills are obviously not as highly evolved! Saying "yes" is a problem for many solopreneurs. If you say no to a project will your bank account suffer? Will you have to buy your own brownies? It's hard to not say yes and for entrepreneurs, it's sometimes feast or famine -- I understand that. The author teaches that if you have your personal priorities in place (and those priorities do and should include your work and career) you will understand what you should say "yes" to and what you should simply pass along to a trusted colleague. There is an art to saying "no."
While I felt sections of the book spoke more to "mothers" than business owners, even those sections helped me gain control of my out of control household priorities and tasks. Crystal spoke about the time when she was offered an incredible opportunity to speak at a highly regarded blog conference and had to decide whether to do that or to go on the family vacation that had been planned well before the speaking gig was offered. It's a struggle I imagine many business owners are faced with -- career or family. She chose family and found that her business didn't suffer but her family thrived -- great lesson.
Another lesson from the book was to take a typical day and block out how many minutes/hours you needed or wanted to spend on particular tasks. Doing this offers a way to see what you're spending your time on, what you want to be spending your time on and provides you a written road map so you can see what you need to do to get to where you want to be. I know that unless I write a to-do list for my day I will while away the hours on Facebook or Pinterest and the end of the day arrives and I have not completed any client work. Why? Because I wasn't focused on it so nothing got done. I'm sure we have all had days like that.
The book also covers goal setting with tips that help you achieve them; discipline through the cultivation of daily habits (this could be a daily habit of exercise, meditation, or reading a book); managing your back account; keeping your physical house in order; what to do when you feel like a failure; and more.
Even though the book helped me gain and understanding of how to gain control of my life it also offered tips on how to focus on myself and how to regain passion for things I once loved (crochet, walking with my dog, spending time with my mom) and find the time to do those things without feeling I have to sacrifice another part of my life.
There were parts of the book that I will admit I skimmed -- some of the home/life struggles she went through but that could be simply because I am (a bit!) older and couldn't relate to the struggles of a young married couple just starting out. If I were in that age group though I can see its appeal.
I enjoyed the book, marked up my copy by answering the questions and filling in the blanks in the various chapters. It will be on my keeper shelf and I have found myself referring back it on on multiple occasions.