The Perfect Way to Make Time and Balance Energy for Everything

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Renaissance Soul"

By Katie Corbett

 

Having a weekly to-do list is a practice I have held for almost three years. It helps me get things done and remain productive, yet stay flexible and alert to fluctuations in my energy levels. Rather than writing in specific activities at specified times, I can follow my list and do things in the time blocks I set aside for to-do list items.

 

I was thrilled when I saw this practice suggested in the book, “The Renaissance Soul,” by Margaret Lobenstine. The author suggests setting aside blocks of time to do work on Focal Point activities and making a list of what needs to get done. Then, when it is time to work on Focal Point activities, you can choose what you want to do based on your time and energy.

 

Recently, I wanted to work on my business Focal Point. I only wanted to spend an hour-and-a-half working, and according to my weekly to-do list, I could either follow up on current projects, write a one-page brochure about my services, or schedule meetings with potential clients. I decided to focus on the latter because I wanted my brain to be in a more strategic space when writing the brochure and a happier space when doing follow-ups. I know, though, that because the brochure and the follow-ups are on this week’s to-do list, they will get done.

 

What will you be putting on your list for each of your Focal Points this week? When will your Focal Point activity time blocks occur? Let me know what you decide to do with your allotted time in the comments. I’d love to hear what you are working on.

 

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The Benefits of a Day Job

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Renaissance Soul"

By Katie Corbett

 

I write about life satisfaction a lot on this blog. It might surprise you, then, to learn that I sometimes do work that isn’t satisfying to get to where I want to end up eventually. This long-game approach helps me keep my end-goals in mind and to be grateful for all the things that do bring satisfaction.

 

You might have noticed that my day job is not one of my Focal Points. My business is, though, and my job gives me the ability to run my business without pressure. A job might have other benefits as well.

 

In “The Renaissance Soul,” Margaret Lobenstine lists the many benefits of having a job while pursuing a larger goal. I have found the following to be true of my day job:

 

  • It pays my bills and covers my living expenses.
  • I can pursue my hobbies without financial worries.
  • My job brings me closer to more personal and professional connections.
  • It provides an insider view of how a company is run.
  • I have had the chance to try new things, like being a hand model and riding an autonomous vehicle.
  • It has provided writing training, and I got paid to learn.
  • I have made friends with my coworkers.
  • I have had the opportunity to talk with those from different walks of life.
  • It has helped me reflect on what kind of manager I could be.
  • It covers the cost of products and services I need to run my business.

 

Listing the benefits of my job helps me approach each workday from a place of gratitude. This is important on those days when things are tough.

 

What are benefits you get from your job? How does your day job help you live your dreams? Tell me in the comments.

 

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Find Your Renaissance Soul Focal Points

Katie Corbett holds the book "The Renaissance Soul"

By Katie Corbett

 

If you, like me, have discovered you are a person who enjoys many pursuits, you might wonder how to move forward. You may worry about getting bored, about not finishing what you started, about being unsure where to go and what to do next.

 

In “The Renaissance Soul,” by Margaret Lobenstine, it is suggested to determine the areas of life that are most important to you. The book calls these Renaissance Soul Focal Points. I have found it helpful to identify about four. Here are some questions I used to identify mine:

 

  1. How do you want to spend your time?
  2. What do you enjoy doing that you could do for hours if not interrupted?
  3. What do you want to accomplish in your life?
  4. What would you be willing to prioritize over other things?
  5. What do you want to learn?
  6. Within the next three months, what do you want to accomplish?
  7. In what areas of life do you put in effort without trying?
  8. What have you been meaning to do that you have kept putting off till “someday”?
  9. What do you wish you could spend more time doing?
  10. In what areas of life do you want to improve?

 

By answering these questions, I was able to figure out that my Focal Points are: my marriage, my business, reading fiction and learning new things. I’ve been spending quality time with my husband, I’ve recently launched a referral program for my freelance writing business, I read all seven Harry Potter books and I’m taking a course to learn how to get more proficient at mental math.

 

Answer these questions for yourself to determine the areas of life that are important to you. The activities you do will change from week to week and from month to month, though your Focal Points will likely stay the same for at least a few years.

 

Is there a question you found particularly helpful? Let me know in the comments.

 

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The Best Medicine: Searching out More Laughter in My Life

By Katie Corbett

 

Have you ever wondered why you take life so seriously? I hope not. I’m usually quite a serious person, so I have needed to learn that taking time to laugh and relax is important. It helps me remember to have fun in life and that everything is a journey.

 

“Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, by Travis Bradberry, suggests getting more laughter in one’s life to be a good self-management strategy. It helps people release pent-up emotions and discover the fun in life. Here are some ways I have incorporated a bit more “ha-ha” moments into each day:

 

  • Spending time with friends I find funny.
  • Reading humorous books.
  • Downloading comedic podcasts.
  • Laughing along with the laugh track while watching TV.
  • Thinking of anything funny that happened that day or earlier on in my life.
  • Giving in to laughter when it does come.
  • Remembering the funny things I hear so I can share them with others later.
  • Making a point to smile every so often, because science has proven that we can’t feel negative emotions as intensely when we’re making a happy face.
  • Seeking out experiences that will make me laugh, such as going to a comedy event.
  • Sharing such experiences with a friend.
  • Attempting to make others laugh.

 

They say that laughter is the best medicine. I have read an entire book about laughter benefits, but that could be a topic for another slew of blog posts. For now, I plan to keep searching out the joy in life.

 

How are you finding more ways to let loose and laugh? I’d love more ideas, so let me know in the comments.

 

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Stop the Negative Self-Talk

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett

 

The area of emotional intelligence, or EQ, that I have concentrated on recently is self-management. That means working to use my awareness of my emotions to actively control what I say and do. I have noticed that I have become more positive, had more positive interactions with others and found greater satisfaction in life overall.

 

The book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, by Travis Bradberry, gave me several strategies that I have found helpful. One was controlling, and in most cases stopping, the negative self-talk that was happening inside my head. I have discovered that thinking the word “STOP” when I discover I’m headed down a self-deprecating rabbit-hole of thought very helpful. Since doing this:

 

  1. I can think more clearly without all the negative noise taking up brain space.
  2. I am less anxious.
  3. I can problem-solve faster and arrive more quickly at solutions.
  4. I am less worried of what I suspect others think of me.
  5. I am more confident.
  6. I have silenced my inner critic.
  7. I have realized that many of my worries never come to pass.
  8. When problems come up or bad things happen, I am less likely to dwell on those things.
  9. Instead of dwelling on the past or beating myself up for what I “should have done differently”, I am looking toward the future.
  10. Overall, I am happier, less stressed and more free to be myself.

 

I’m still working on fully employing this strategy. I’ll be the first to admit that I have a long way to go to catch myself every time. The more times I do silence my inner negative thoughts, the better life is for me and for those around me.

 

The next time your inner voice tells you something negative, I encourage you to think the word “STOP” and see if that brings silence to your thoughts and peace to your inner world. Maybe thinking “STOP” isn’t the right method for you. To find many other ideas, pick up “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” and find a better solution. I hope you experience some of the changes I have seen in myself in these past few months.

 

If you find a strategy that works better for you, let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear all about it.

 

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What is Emotional Intelligence?

Katie Corbett holds the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0"

By Katie Corbett

 

I first learned about emotional intelligence (EQ) when I was between jobs and contemplating a move to San Diego. After reading the book that will be the subject of these next few blog posts, I enjoyed the concepts so much that I reached out to the company, TalentSmart, where the concept of emotional intelligence was developed. (Coincidentally, they are located in San Diego!) I wanted to support their work, so I asked if they had any job openings. They did and I had a great interview with them, though I was not offered a position. In addition to providing some interview practice, the company’s concept of emotional intelligence has changed how I interact with others and how I treat myself. Read on to learn more!

 

The book, “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”, by Travis Bradberry, explains the idea that you can grow in EQ. Here’s a bit more about it, according to the book.

 

EQ consists of four key areas: Self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

 

  • Self-awareness means you know yourself and who you really are.
  • Self-management is the ability to use your awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do.
  • Social awareness is used to recognize and understand the moods of other people.
  • Relationship management is the concept of what to do to build and strengthen relationships.
  • Unlike IQ, which is fixed, a person can continue to increase their EQ.
  • Those with higher EQ have more success in their careers and more satisfaction with life.

 

I have reencountered EQ and reassessed mine a few times since first picking up this book in 2014. I tend to test high on social awareness and relationship management. I have been working to increase my scores in the areas of self-awareness and self-management. I have noticed a few notable changes during this last round of work, which I will elaborate on in coming posts.

 

If you want to learn more about EQ, take the assessment for yourself and see what you can do to improve. There are now several available online. I also highly recommend you pick up “Emotional Intelligence 2.0”. It’s life-changing stuff.

 

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Find Comfortable Ways to Say No

Katie Corbett holds the book "Do It Scared"

By Katie Corbett

Knowing I have the tendency to put the desires of others over my own as a people-pleaser has helped me evaluate the people in my life. I have learned to prioritize those in my life who respect me when I say no, encourage me to stand up for myself and let me know when I might be taken advantage of or am compromising my values.

In “Do It Scared”, the author, Ruth Soukup, talks about finding ways to say no. Here are some ways I have found helpful:

• Say no in writing so you have time to word your message just right.
• Ask the person to follow up with you at a later time if you feel more time will help you decide.
• Recommend someone else for the job or opportunity.
• Remember to thank the person for taking the time to ask you.
• Script your reply so you can repeat it if necessary, and speak with confidence.

Learning to say no takes practice. Recently, I was being recruited pretty heavily for a multi-level marketing company. I asked some friends about it to see if they had heard of it and made the decision that I wasn’t interested. (I don’t find anything wrong with multi-level marketing companies; they’re just not a good fit for where I’m at in my life right now.) I emailed my contact and let her know that I would not be signing up. I was nervous at first, but after I said a firm no, the decision was made and I didn’t have to think about it again.

I’m not sure what the future will hold in terms of opportunities. I do know that when great opportunities come around, I’ll have the space in my life to make the most of them since I won’t be in the midst of an opportunity that isn’t right for me.

What do you find helpful in terms of establishing boundaries and saying no? I’d love to learn, so drop it in the comments on this post.

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Create a List of Principles and Values to Live by

Katie Corbett holds the book "Do It Scared"

By Katie Corbett

One of my fear archetypes is called The Rule Follower. This means I value doing what’s right and can sometimes get paralyzed if I don’t know what the “rules” are, or get stuck on ideas I think are rules but are not. I’m going to talk about being a rule-follower from a business ownership sense. As a business owner, there are many spoken and unspoken rules. There are the obvious ones, like track your income and expenses, and the less apparent “rules” for how best to advertise.

In “Do It Scared”, a book by Ruth Soukup, it is recommended that you come up with your own set of principles and values to live by. I did this and it has helped me evaluate opportunities as opposed to going along with every opportunity that comes my way simply because I feel like I have to. Here’s my list so far:

1. Be people-centric.
2. Do not be pushy or salesy.
3. Know how I want to do business and stick with it.
4. Have conversations to genuinely get to know someone.
5. Provide value whenever possible.
6. Be transparent, honest and straightforward.
7. Say no when I need to.
8. Follow through when I say I will do something.
9. Only promise to do what I can deliver.
10. Treat people with respect and ask for respect in return.

A lot of these ideas might seem like no-brainers. You’d be surprised, though, how peer pressure, need for income or the desire to make other people happy can, at least for me, compromise my preferred behaviors.

If you think you are a rule follower, I recommend you make your own list of principles. Doing so will make it easier to tell when you are starting to slip and will give you a guide to get back on track.

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