Sep 072013
 

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Surprise! I leave for the Healthy Living Summit in just FOUR SLEEPS.  I think I am excited, but I’m not really allowing myself to process any of the emotions I’m facing until I’m done with the very long to-do list currently sitting to my right.  I’ve been LOVING the super big, uber-colorful, handwritten task list these days as a compliment to all the apps and programs I’ve been using to stay on top of all of the things, which you can hear more about during my and Julie’s session, The Organized Blogger if you’re joining us in Minneapolis a week from today.

One emotion I have been feeling lately is gratitude.  I’ve had so much support from my friends and family, over the past month especially, and my heart is swollen with love for all of you! 

My grandma passed away last month, poetically on her 70th Birthday.  I’ve spent the past two weekends flying into Chicago for mega-short trips; first to say goodbye [one day we shall discuss the bittersweet opportunity for last words,] then to gather back with my family, memorial service style.  I’m so fortunate to have been able to just drop everything and hop on a plane two weeks in a row to be with my family.  I’m so grateful for the support and love of my family, and for all the friends who have given me long distance hugs and words of support the past few weeks.

Nick is currently going through a similar experience, which is hard, of course.  Our apartment can seem a bit like a cold, dark cave at times with all the days of having to deal with the fact that life ultimately ends.  We continue on, one day at a time.  We search for the little things to bring in smiles.  We talk about life and try to get Benson to cuddle [he resists] when we watch mind-numbing television programming in need of an escape. It’s quieter here.

Prior to these sadder days were some crazy last-minute work trips, also leading me to board planes, trains, and automobiles followed by doing computer work from a hotel bed.  My instagram feed proves I can squeeze in work from the road and back-to-back additions of the Statesman and Globetrotter badge to my Yelp! profile can probably explain why I fought off a fever earlier this week and am trying desperately to kick this cold before I leave for Minneapolis to start Summit prep on Wednesday. 

I must state again that there is no way the 2013 Healthy Living Summit would be happening without Julie’s endless effort in picking up my slack while I was unavailable during my normal working times.  She’s been doubling and sometimes tripling her workload while I was traveling and still training for a charity century ride, which she happens to be riding in RIGHT THIS MINUTE.  That’s 100 miles on a bicycle, my friends!! She blows me away with her dedication and ability to do what needs to be done without a second thought.  She inspires me to keep chasing after my goals and do what needs to be done to reach them.  And she helped me choose family over work by reminding me she could handle things while I did what needed to be done.  To sum it up in as few words as possible: SHE ROCKS!! And I’d be lost without her.

[Did you know that Julie and I started our blogs on the same day over four years ago?  We just celebrated our blogiversary this week!! Check out this awesome Veggie Packed Lasagna Bolognese Julie made in celebration of her blogging and cooking journey!]

Did I just gloss over the fact that THS turned four years old?  As someone who has a scarf she’s “been knitting” for 4 years, a PR dream of a sub-30 5K she’s been chasing for years and dozens of half written pieces – perhaps I should take a moment to celebrate. 

A lot has happened in those four years, but truly it makes me oh so happy to get to work as the director of HealthyLivingBlogs.com and to be one of the planning partners of the Healthy Living Summit.  Thank you to every member of the HLB Community who has my day to day life such a wonderful experience – even when things get hard or the tasks feel overwhelming.  You have made my evenings and weekends a dream!  I am so thankful that my blogging journey has taken me on this path [which I am so excited to be taking on this adventure!] and I know it wouldn’t be possible if it not for every single person I’ve come in contact with over the past four years through the doorway of Then Heather Said.

Mar 052013
 

I’ve had a draft saved titled “March 2013 Goals” for several weeks now. I settled on a final list a few days before March officially arrived, yet I haven’t felt motivated to finish my post detailing which of my February goals were hits versus misses.  I haven’t felt motivated to share the goals I decided on for this month.  I haven’t felt motivated to do any sort of work towards said goals. I haven’t felt motivated for much of anything; especially in terms of sharing myself through this little blog these days.

I’ve been feeling pretty much the way Elizabeth explains in her post from earlier this week; “To say I am feeling a bit stressed lately would be an understatement.  To say I would like to hole up in my condo with a limitless supply of Cheese Doodles (and without contact with the outside world) would not be an understatement.”   [sub kettle corn for cheese doodles, of course.]

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I know that stress and worry is something we create ourselves, and I promise I’m trying to make this confession of said anxieties sounds as least whiny as possible.  I have brought this into my life and I’ve been on a mission to fight the impending “burn out” I’ve felt looming over my head for the past several weeks.  [Mission was launched after an over-emotional, over-tired, weekend of doubt and tears paired with the watching of the docu-film, Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop.]  I am in control of my emotions, my time, my priorities – and yet I haven’t yet found the balance I feel like I’ve been searching for in the past several years.

My biggest challenge has been accepting the fact that my to-do list is always going to be there and there will always be things to add to it, too.   I have a tendency to guilt myself into a black hole any moment I’m not GO!-GO!-GOING!, and it’s been a real fight not to fall into this habit in 2013.  I remind myself that I am the boss of myself and my internet-life and that I can work as many hours as I want to work, and no one is going to yell at me.  If I need to take a step back from one responsibility I have bestowed upon myself, or another, it will all be okay.  If I need to postpone a deadline or push back a project, it will be just fine.

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The funny thing is, these tasks and items of “to-do” all fall under the “my passion” file header.  I love the blogging community, and sharing my life through THS, and every part of HLB, and all that takes place in creating the Summit.   Each and every task is something I genuinely enjoy, no matter if it falls under the THS, HLB, or HLS heading.  Honestly, it confuses me – how can I love participating in all these tasks, and yet feel so very down in the dumps when I think about all that needs to be done?  How can I long for a break when I love getting to work with such a great team or people who I consider more than just internet co-workers, but my dearest friends and favorite people on the planet?  How can I want to crawl under my bed and hide from the option of spending time creating and planning and organizing – three of my favorite activities?  How can I turn my back on list making!?!?

These kind of questions send me into a mind-spiral, for certain.  The important thing and the healthy thing is to prevent the overwhelming anxiety I have found myself facing as March bestowed herself upon us.  “It’s okay to take a break” is written on a square of paper at my desk.  “It’s okay to say no” is scribbled on the page marker in my day planner. “Enjoy life and enjoy living it” is the mantra I’ve held tight to lately.

Today I am throwing away the first list I made for my March 2013 Goals.  I have created a new list.  A list of less. A list of enjoying life and enjoying living it.  A list free of nagging tasks and goals I’m not feeling, and full of rest and pause and simply being.



March 2013 Goals

Talk to a friend.
I’ve been holding all of this in until now because I don’t want to be the burden friend who is always complaining about self-imposed stress and worry.  I’ve been holding all of this in because it’s easier to hide from it and avoid the topic and just pretend like I’m not crumbling.  I’ve been holding all of this in because I am a fool. And I’m done with that.

Spend time with people. Period.
Real talk: I have a tendency to put tasks above relationships when it comes to my priority list, which is something I truly hate about myself.  Every time I make plans with a friend, go away for the weekend, or attend a party, I feel like I need to “make up” all the time I wasn’t working with late night hours or by setting my alarm clock for way too early the next day.  If I don’t find a way to make up the time, I feel like a failure and stress over how “far behind” I am until I am able to have a 3-day weekend of uninterrupted productivity, made by scheduling PTO from the office so that I can work at home.  I really would love to pour some energy into my relationships with humans this month and not feel like I need to compensate for it with more time working.

Read whatever I want to read, whenever I want to read it. 
Currently I’m excited for the #hlbbookclub pick, Julie & Julia from Julie Powell, and a large stack of magazines that have taken residence at my apartment over the past few weeks.

Embrace naps.
Because I was recently reminded of the power held in a good nap. Recommended reading: Change Your Life without Getting out of Bed from SARK



After having said ALL of that, I urge you to read this post from Rachel, please.  I want to add a disclaimer to so many of the sentences above.  Let’s just call Rachel’s discussion on the privilege of blogging be a step toward that disclaimer, okay? Getting Meta: Better Homes and Bloggers

Jan 232013
 

Do you share the valuable articles, blog posts, offers, and images you come across with your followers through your social media accounts? 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll definitely say it again: I recommend using the Buffer App for sharing through your social media accounts. [Are you a Buffer user yet? Just grab this link to signup and we'll both get extra features for free: http://buff.ly/M14zjF ]

Did you know that I love all things Google? Google docs [and now Drive] owns my soul, I want to GChat my life away, the way I organize my Gmail mirrors the way I organize my life, and I swear by Chrome. [yes, I even have fondness for Google+.  But I’ll leave my defense for another time.] To put it simply, I LOVE GOOGLE. 

Now that you know this about me, it shall come as no surprise that the Google Chrome extension for use with Buffer is one of my favorite “work smart, not hard” tools.

To get the extension for Chrome, check out the Buffer extras page. Here’s a couple ways to utilize the tool once you have it. 

Time saving tip number one…

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To add to your Buffer queue while visiting the webpage you want to share:

1. Press little button and wait for Buffer to pull up it’s magic on your screen.

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BOOM! There it is.

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2. Deselect the accounts you don’t want to update with this particular link.

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3. Edit the text before and/or after the link.  Make your comment unique and polished for your followers. 

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4. Receive confirmation of the addition.


Time saving tip number two…

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To add to your Buffer queue while using your Google Reader:

1. When you have a post you want to share, select the small Buffer logo to the right of the post title.

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2. Deselect the accounts you don’t want to update with this particular link.

3. Edit the text before and/or after the link. Make your comment unique and polished for your followers.

4. Receive confirmation of the addition.


Time saving tip number three…

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To rename subscriptions in your Google Reader:

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1. Hover over the name in the subscription list.  Click on the arrow to get to the drop down menu.

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2. Select “Rename subscription” and enter your preferred name for the subscription.  I think that renaming the feeds to the Twitter handles of the blogger was one of the smartest things I’ve done this year.  It makes properly crediting the link as I’m adding them to Buffer from Google Reader so much easier and less time consuming!

[note: I also use this trick when I enter giveaways on blogs I don’t always read.  I add the date the giveaway ends to the subscription name and add it to my “Giveaways” folder in my subscription list. [you can store each subscription in multiple folders, which is handy in this case!]  Then when the giveaway date is up, I rename the subscription again by removing the date, and remove it from the “Giveaways” folder.