How Learning to Say No Helped Me Make Time for the Things that Matter

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By Katie Corbett

Everything in your life takes up room, even if that isn’t physical space. Things, people and ideas can take up emotional space as well as time. If this is a positive, no problem. Negative situations in your life, however, can fill space that could be occupied by something better.

Author Rachel Hollis, in “Girl, Wash Your Face,” advises looking at your life and making sure you only leave room for things you want to be there. I took her advice and made room for a great new friendship. Here’s what happened.

I have a friend from college who is fun to hang out with. We have a lot in common and enjoy many of the same activities. This friend, however, is flexible to the point of being stressful to schedule with; details are vague or keep changing. This person has opinions about where and when we get together, but it takes a while to pin down a plan. This was fine when we were in college since we lived minutes from each other and had more time freedom. Now, however, this is not the case. After one particularly stressful planning session, I said “Screw it,” and cancelled—which I hate doing. I decided I wouldn’t get together with this person unless we had a date, time and place firmly established. I discovered that reliability is important to me and I want all my relationships to be with people who display that quality. I took a break from this friendship for a couple weeks

In the meantime, I started getting together with one of my husband’s friends. This friend loves the outdoors and I had been hoping to find someone with whom to do things like hiking, canoeing and birding. This friend is also reliable and tries her best to be on time.

My other friend texted me and asked to hang out. It took about an hour—I’m not kidding—but we were able to pin down a date, time and place. I had to stand firm and say no to a few ideas that would have made things complicated, and ask many questions to elicit this person’s preferences. In the end, though, we got together at the specified hour and had a nice time.

By letting go of the need to be flexible–and the stress that comes with it–I made room for someone fun to have a more prominent place in my life. And I didn’t have to completely let go of my other friendship to do it; I let go of my need to please others beyond the point to where it’s good for me. I’m relieved I had this realization and can enjoy both relationships stress-free.

I encourage you to take a look at your own life and prioritize the things, ideas and people in it. What kinds of space do they take up? Is there something else you want that you don’t have room for currently? Saying no, even if it’s just to yourself, can be scary. If you stick with it and remain true to yourself and what you want, it will be worth it.

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Have Physical Reminders of Your Goals so you Don’t Get Diverted

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By Katie Corbett

Often, people have a tendency to focus on what is right in front of us. We get distracted when enthusiasm wanes, when a project ceases to be interesting, or when something else comes along that seems more exciting. Having visual or physical reminders of our goals can help spur us on during emotionally dry times.

I first read about this idea in “Girl, Wash Your Face”. Author Rachel Hollis says she puts pictures on her closet door to remind her to keep striving for those big goals. I love the idea of having a collage or vision board. As a person who is blind, though, I knew pictures would not be an effective way to motivate myself. Here’s what I did instead.

• For motivation to keep working on my garment project, I wear my prototype every day when I’m in my office.
• To remember to complete one hobby each day, I have a notebook where I write my hobbies down as I do them, with a line for each day of the week.
• To keep prayer in mind, I put my rosary on a shelf right next to my cell phone, so I’ll feel it when I reach for my phone each morning.
• I have a notebook where I record everything I need to get done for the day; in addition to containing my list, it serves as a physical reminder of all I need to do.
• If I have to bring something unusual to work, such as a snack for a work pot luck, I put that item with the things I take with me each day.

Whether you use physical motivators like I do or create a collage of inspirational pictures cut from magazines, keeping reminders of your goals front and center will propel you to achieve them. What goals are you going after right now? What could you keep visible for motivation? Let me know in the comments.

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What I did to Discover that I’m Satisfied with Where I am in Life

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By Katie Corbett

I turned 30 this year, and one of the things I felt as I reflected on my life is that I wished I had accomplished more. I think this comes from not feeling good about myself. I knew one of the activities I could do to fight and disprove this feeling was to make a list of all my accomplishments so far.

I didn’t actually get around to doing this until I read “Girl, Wash Your Face,” by Rachel Hollis. She is an encouraging person who is honest about her faults, accomplishments and goals in equal measure. After reading such deep bluntness, I figured it was high time I sat down with myself and got a little pep talk.

I wrote out my list of achievements by thinking about my life at different ages, stages and activities. Here are some of the fruits of that exercise:

• I realized that most of the time, when I start a project, I see it through to completion. I do wonder whether I could achieve more in some areas, but I don’t wish I had spent more time on any specific achievement in the past.
• There are many things I have done that I am proud of and happy I achieved. It’s pretty cool to tell people that I have seen the moon through a telescope, learned braille shorthand, and have written three novel-length works.
• I want to explore some of my hobbies on a deeper level, though I am not sure how. I want to do something more with music and the 70 songs I’ve written.
• Although I’m blind, I have gotten to have many experiences in spite of – and in some cases, because of – my disability. I won two essay contests only open to people who are blind, got an A in an astronomy class even though others tried to tell me it would be impossible, and had the opportunity to go whitewater rafting while working at a summer camp for blind students.
• These life experiences could give me an avenue to teach others. I could teach someone how to cook Filipino food, how they could go about designing a product, or the ins and outs of being an editor of a newsletter.

I encourage you to think about your life and make a list of all you have accomplished. Writing it all down might help you realize you have achieved more than you thought in your lifetime. It can help you see that you are good enough, and give you the kick of motivation to go after those big dreams.

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The Acupressure Point that has Changed my Life

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Accupressure's Potent Points"

By Katie Corbett

Today, I’m talking about how I’ve successfully managed menstrual cramps. Not a topic you’d expect from a lady who blogs about career books? Well, our energy levels, sleep cycle and even our period can impact our careers. Here’s my journey from pain to productivity. Listen and enjoy!

Settling Your Stomach

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Accupressure's Potent Points"

By Katie Corbett

Nausea can hit at inconvenient times. It can be caused by something you ate, by menstrual cramps or morning sickness, or by nerves. I don’t get nauseous often, but when I do, I get to a point where I’m wondering if I should grab the nearest trash can.

The book, “Acupressure’s Potent Points,” by Michael Reed Gach, provides a quick way of dealing with a stomachache. Here’s how it works:

The Acupressure Points:
Intermediary (P 5)
Location: Four finger widths above the center of the inner wrist crease, between the tendons.
Benefits: Relieves upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

Inner Gate (P 6)
Location: In the middle of the inner side of the forearm two and one-half finger widths above the wrist crease.
Benefits: Relieves nausea, indigestion, stomachaches, and wrist pain.

Firmly press P 5 and P 6:Place your right thumb on the inside of your left forearm three finger widths from the center of your wrist crease. Apply firm pressure with your thumb for one minute, placing your fingertips directly behind as you take a few long, deep breaths. Then place your thumb two finger widths from your wrist crease and apply pressure for another minute. Firmly press these points on your other wrist for one minute each as you breathe deeply.

I have found this book to be instrumental in helping me feel better, concentrate more and ward off those common aches and pains that would normally bring my productivity to a halt. Pick up a copy and learn how acupressure could change your life for the better.

Note: I am not a doctor, and any advice I give on this blog is not to be taken as medical advice. I’m merely providing information about a technique that I have found to be effective in dealing with common aches and pains. Consult your doctor to get advice from a medical professional.

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What to do When you have a Headache

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Accupressure's Potent Points"

By Katie Corbett

It was the night of a gallery event for my workplace and I sat in my office readying a few last minute things. Slowly, behind my eyes, a headache blossomed. I knew I wasn’t sick; it was just a stress headache. But what to do?

In “Acupressure’s Potent Points,” by Michael Reed Gach, I found just the instructions I needed. Here’s what I did:

Take both hands and move them along your eyebrows, away from your nose. There is an indentation slightly above the corner of each eye. I pressed and held both points for about 30-60 seconds. Massaging these points in a circular motion works, too.

After a few repetitions of pressing on those pressure points, my headache faded away. (I also supplemented my acupressure treatment by sniffing a little bit of peppermint essential oil, which helps clear the sinuses and assists with focus.) I went on with the rest of my night without pain.

I have never used this technique for migraines or when I had a headache related to the flu. This technique was used to help relieve tension due to muscle tightening related to stress. If you do try this for another kind of headache and it works, let me know.

The next time you have a stress-related headache, give acupressure a try. Hopefully, it will benefit you as much as it has me.

Note: I am not a doctor, and any advice I give on this blog is not to be taken as medical advice. I’m merely providing information about a technique that I have found to be effective in dealing with common aches and pains. Consult your doctor to get advice from a medical professional.

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Benefits of Acupressure

Katie Corbett holds the book, "Accupressure's Potent Points"

By Katie Corbett

Acupressure is the practice of using pressure, usually applied with the fingers, to alleviate pain or discomfort by pressing on various points of the body. It might seem strange that I’m talking about this in a blog mostly about career books. This is why I bring it up.

“Acupressure’s Potent Points,” by Michael Reed Gach, provides step-by-step instructions to use acupressure to treat common ailments. From allergies to nausea, from headaches to cold and flu symptoms, the book provides ways to feel better. Some reasons I have grown to love this Asian medical technique are:

1. It is quick: The guide’s instructions are easy to follow and take only a few minutes.
2. No equipment is needed: I can use just my hands, so I don’t have to worry about having special tools with me.
3. The techniques can be applied anywhere: Whether I’m in my home or at the office, as long as I know what to do, I can use acupressure.
4. It doesn’t rely on medication: I’m definitely not opposed to taking medications when necessary, but there’s something so freeing about eliminating pain without putting chemicals and who knows what else into my body.
5. Acupressure can help in a variety of situations: I have mostly used it to assist with nausea, menstrual cramps and headaches; it’s amazing what else it can help with.

Here is a list of all the symptoms the book provides acupressure instruction to treat. If one or more of these are issues you face, pick up a copy of “Acupressure’s Potent Points” and follow the directions to start noticing improvements:

• Acne, Eczema, and Other Skin Problems
• Allergies
• Ankle and Foot Problems
• Anxiety and Nervousness
• Arthritis and Nonarticular Rheumatism
• Asthma and Breathing Difficulties
• Backache and Sciatica
• Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
• Colds and Flu
• Constipation
• Cramps and Spasms
• Depression and Emotional Balancing
• Diarrhea
• Earaches
• Eyestrain
• Fainting
• Hangovers
• Headaches and Migraines
• Hiccups
• Hot Flashes
• Immune System Boosting
• Impotency and Sexual Problems
• Insomnia
• Irritability, Frustration, and Dealing with Change
• Jaw Problems (TMJ Problems)
• Knee Pain
• Labor, Delivery, and Nursing
• Memory and Concentration
• Menstrual Tension, Cramps, and PMS
• Motion Sickness, Morning Sickness, and Nausea
• Neck Tension and Pain
• Nosebleeds
• Pain
• Pregnancy and Infertility
• Shoulder Tension
• Sinus Problems and Hay Fever
• Stomachaches, Indigestion, and Heartburn
• Swelling and Water Retention
• Toothaches
• Wrist Pain (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis)

As you can see, there are many uses for acupressure. I hope you will give acupressure a try to see if it will work for you. Who knows? Something you thought you had no choice but to suffer through might be treatable with this amazing knowledge of your body and how it works.

Note: I am not a doctor, and any advice I give on this blog is not to be taken as medical advice. I’m merely providing information about a technique that I have found to be effective in dealing with common aches and pains. Consult your doctor to get advice from a medical professional.

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Reflections on The 4-Hour Workweek, Q3

Katie Corbett holds the book, "The 4-Hour Workweek"

By Katie Corbett

Since I owe a lot of my success—and future planning—to the book, “The 4-Hour Workweek,” by Tim Ferriss, I have decided to revisit the book each quarter in 2019. Here are my thoughts as we round out the third quarter. I hope this inspires you to pick up a book that helps you live your dreams. Enjoy!

Creating an Offer They Can’t Refuse

Katie Corbett holds the book, "$100 Startup."

By Katie Corbett

Something I have learned in the product development world: Keeping things simple and providing a truly good deal will help you attract fans and retain customers. Tim Ferriss, author of “The Four-Hour Workweek,” gave his customers 125% back when they returned an item to one of his first online business ventures. That’s right. In addition to the cost of the item in question, he gave them an extra 20% back. He said that though some people took advantage of this offer, most people were surprised and appreciated the extra touch. Tim didn’t report a crazy-high number of returns, either. And he did have many loyal customers. That convinces me that this idea to create a standout offer has merit. The beauty is it can be applied to almost any product or service.

“The $100 Start-Up,” by Chris Guillebeau, has more examples of companies that have unique elements to their offers. In my coaching, I provide something extra at no additional charge, whether that be an assessment test, a résumé review, or an inside tip on an available job. When coming up with this idea to stand out, I asked myself these questions:

• What could I offer that goes above and beyond?
• What do my customers want?
• How can I go above their expectations?
• What can I do that makes me feel I’m providing stellar service?
• What is my competition doing?
• What can I learn from the competition?

I’m still thinking about how I can create a standout offer for my garment project. It takes creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, and confidence in you and what you offer to go outside the norm and truly create something special.

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The Possibilities List

Katie Corbett holds the book, "$100 Startup."

By Katie Corbett

I love lists. They help me keep track of things I want to do now, in the near future, and in the far-off someday.

“The $100 Start-Up,” by Chris Guillebeau, isn’t the first place I came across the idea of making lists to keep track of ideas. The fact that list-making is suggested in so many books I have read emphasizes the importance of the task.

To open your mind to the possibilities of lists, here is a “list of lists” to give you an idea of all the lists I have created. I have lists of:

• Nine weekly goals.
• Ten things I want to get done every day.
• All the little things that bother me.
• Product, book and business ideas.
• Things I want to learn and do.
• More than 100 marketing ideas.
• Everything I would do if I had a million dollars.
• People I want to stay in touch with or with whom I would like to reconnect.
• Career and business books I have read.
• When I feel stressed or frazzled, I make a list of everything I need to do, starting with the most basic first steps.

It is my hope that this list of lists inspires you to create a list of your own. I typically use spiral-bound notebooks and index cards to jot things down. You can use whatever works best for you: your phone, computer, sticky notes, or a large piece of paper tacked to your wall.

Whatever you do, start creating lists today so your ideas, thoughts and inspirations don’t get away from you.

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