Your Brain is Eating Itself Alive (and an easy peasy fix)

Your One Day PassAs a ball-buster, there's a whole world of shit that swirls through your head on a regular basis. And it's loud. And sometimes? It just gets to be too much.

 

What suffers isn't just your sanity. It's your focus. Your drive. Your goals.

 

The only thing you can do at that point is stop. Tell everybody to back the fuck off and go do your thing. Because when you're done? You'll not only see what it was that was right in front of you, you'll remember who you are, what you want, and how you get it.

 

I know.

 

That's what happened last week.

 

The shit in my head got so loud and angry, I had no choice, but to saddle up and head out. As I threw my leg over, I had no idea where I'd go or what I'd do when I got there. I had no plan.

 

And it was fucking mind-blowing.

 

The freedom I stole got me in trouble. But it was so much more than worth it.

 

I came back clear and driven again.

The Science Behind Erasing It All

 

We get so fucking caught up in thinking, planning, strategizing, and comparing ourselves to the competition that only exists between our ears, that we lose our visions. We let other people's demands on us roadblock our success. We don't allow ourselves to develop the routines our minds need so it can free up that creative space and that ends up biting us in the ass.

 

But by letting our brains become and stay busy with shit that doesn't matter (or even stuff that does), we steal away the focus that it needs to hone our crafts, to make us the BOSSes we are. According to a bazillion and one studies reported in Scientific American (and just about every other journal out there), our brains need every moment of downtime we can give them.

 

Because even in mundane moments, it reverts to its resting state, using that time to boost our memory and learning (you know, that shit you need to get REEAAAALLLY fucking good at what you do).

 

Kimberly Lin-Pollard, Troll-Tamer Extraordinaire, calls moments where our brains have checked out, self-care. She says you don't need a massage or 3.5 hours straddling a motorcycle to take care of the noise that is killing your focus. She says, all it takes it the mental focus to clock out and pay attention to what's in front of you. No matter what you're doing.

 

Though I can't and WON'T use that as an excuse not to ride (EVER), it's a great way to build in a little brain-care every day...you know...the days when you can't run away for a few hours for the most exquisite wind therapy you've ever had (or mindless shopping/massages/whatever gets your rocks off).

 

You want to continue ball-busting? Run away (or pretend to). Because every moment you spend relaxing that magnificent melon of yours, you get closer to your goals. And when you can't? Focus on what you're doing, nothing else, to give your brain that interlude it needs in between creative power sessions.

 

Join the Badass'D and get in on our Marketing and Money Mondays. Because getting lost in the whirlwind of to-do's shouldn't affect your wallet. 

The Danger of Autopilot on Your Business (And how you can fix it)

Jose Cuervo | Badass'D Biz+Ink The other day a friend said, "Yeah, you need to change that up," referring to my drink of choice.

It's been bugging the crap out of me ever since. Do I really need to change that up?? I mean, number one, I LOVE it. Number two: It's a habit. I don't have to think about it.

I don't have to think about it.

Day in and day out, when you run a business, meet clients, decide on what projects to conquer first, take care of admin crap, manage a home of 5  people, make decisions about what to cook, what to clean first, what emails you need to send, fold and put away mountains of laundry, decisions for yourself are the last ones you want to make.  Putting things on autopilot makes life a little less chaotic.

BUT...

Creativity comes from that chaos. So what if my dearest friend was right? What if you really should change up a little more?

Autopilot Somethings, Not Everything

I'm an advocate of autopilot. Life just becomes too overwhelming when everyone else's demands are on you. And autopilot means you can do what has to be done, quickly, easily, almost painlessly. But autopilot becomes an issue when everything is set to it.

You stop using your brain so much and your creativity suffers. Life is about experiencing things, not just moving through it. Put your laundry on autopilot, not your detergent.

Put your menu-planning on autopilot, not what you cook.

Autopilot should be about the processes, not the details. Enjoyment, pleasure, LIFE is in the details.Tweet: Autopilot should be about the processes, not the details. Enjoyment, pleasure, LIFE is in the details.

Get Out of the Rut

Release some of your autopilot and take the wheel for a while. And live in those moments.

Take a long, hard look at what you do, day in and day out. Find those spots that you're just existing, not living. Change them up a little. In taking back a little control, you'll find not only does your spirit get a little lift, but your creativity does, too. And that's where your business will thank you.

Breaking Up with Your Routine

So vow to live your life. Because when you live, your business flourishes. (See Richard Branson as a stellar example of that!) Break up with your routine, force yourself to think.

Go do things you'd never normally do, like ride a motorcycle, drink whiskey instead of tequila, hand glide over the ocean (HOLY HELL, let's not get crazy!!), juice it for a week, try getting out of your pajamas when you work, cook only meatless dishes for two weeks, see Europe...just LIVE whatever your definition of change and FUN would be.

Force your brain to come up with solutions and ideas to flex and build your creative muscle. Because that creative muscle is going to be your ace-in-the-hole. It's going to be right hook you knock your competition out with.

What are you going to do to shift your world today?

Kick Ass!

Tania Dakka |Badass'D Biz+Ink

Beat Your Fear (Or lose it all)

Fear | Tania DakkaDave's Tragedy

Dave’s taken care of his family for years while his wife worked her big corporate job. It was all he had come to know. But, the time came for Dave to step up. He was worn down and needed to be everything his guts told him he could be – before it was too late.

So he took all his powerful business know-how and opened up a consulting business. It was great! He was taking on new clients and starting to create new and better products for them.

Until he had meetings that didn’t mesh with the rest of the house’s plans. Now, everyone was not so happy.

Succeed, But Only on Their Terms

Dave was doing well, and as much as everyone said that’s what they wanted for him, what they really meant was that’s what they wanted on THEIR terms.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not their fault. Dave’s been their foundation from day one, now the foundation sways just a bit. The old way of doing things is shifting to fit Dave’s new routine and everyone’s a little fussier for it.

So to avoid confrontation and strife, Dave makes a horrible decision.

He scales back his power house to suit everyone else. Partly because he feels guilty. Partly because he’s scared that if his success continues, it’ll change the dynamics of the house and his role in it.

So he goes back to maintaining meetings based on everyone else’s schedule. Back to writing only when it’s convenient for everyone else. Back to resenting not being able to blow his biz up, full-force – the way he knows he can.

A Year Later

Dave’s doing freelance consulting when he can. He’s only making a fraction of what he could make because he chose not to push through the yucky feelings change brings. And he goes to sleep at night wondering “what if”, wishing he’d had the courage to face his demon, Fear.

What if Dave had listened to his gut? What if he had shifted the family dynamic? What if he had succeeded?

Instead of going to bed with a knot in his stomach, hating what he does, he’d rest well knowing that with a little fortitude, he managed to continue to care for his family on HIS terms AND theirs. He’d rest well knowing he’s developed products that can do what he does for his customers, instead of trading his time for a dime.

He’d be happy.

And so would his family because he’s finally able to focus and give them the attention and peace of mind they need and deserve.

Fear Won

Fear took Dave’s chance at success and spat on it. It took his self-confidence and chewed it up. It stopped him from living his best life and building his best business.

Don’t be Dave.

Take Back Your Chance for Success

Acknowledge your family’s and your own fears and move on. Acknowledge that change IS scary. And do it anyway. Acknowledge that without fear, there is NO growth.

Practice being there for them when they need you most. Practice creating  windows of opportunity. Practice pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.

Set limits for your family. For yourself. For your Fear.

Win. Because you have NO other choice.

 

I'd love to know what you do to kick Fear's ass in the comments. You may help someone who can't see past it. Thanks!

Freelancing: Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Beep! Open email. Crash. Burn. Your “Gym Rat For Life” piece has been rejected by yet another editor.

After 15 rejections on the same piece, you start to feel a little dejected. Questions start making question your abilities - “Should I even really be writing?” “What if I’m trying to do the impossible?” “Why don’t they like my work?”

Going Into Shut Down

The first thing that I want to do when I get bad news is head for the snack cabinet in our house. Yeah, it’s not a pretty sight - during or after. As a matter of fact, I’m writing this right now amongst some chaos and unpleasantry going on right now. I’d love to be chowing on some chips and chocolate (not necessarily separately) right now. There’s a fire in my stomach that makes me want to throw everything in the trash. But I don’t. Instead of letting my family pains get in the way, I’m choosing to barrel forward.

The life of a freelancer or writer doesn’t slow down when we don’t feel good. Deadlines don’t go away or automatically get pushed back because things aren’t going our way. On the contrary, they seem to come at us harder.

But, no matter how bad we want to stop. We can’t.

Emotions Block The Path

Negative emotions can really throw a freelancer off balance. When you’ve got editors or clients to answer to, they’re not particularly interested in WHY you didn’t turn in your assignment on time. But when your mind is preoccupied with the negative emotions that revolve around what you’re going through or that stem from depression or anxiety, thinking clearly is beyond difficult.

So your mind goes blank. (Or it keeps flashing to the thing that shut you down). You’d want avoid the emotions and the work altogether.

Overcome

Your business depends on your ability to cope.

[tweetable]Successful freelancers deal with the crappy days just as they do the dancing-in-the-kitchen days.  Tweet this![/tweetable] Thanks!

Working from home creates a whole spectrum of issues that make the setting difficult to work in: the kids are having a bad day (and, thus, so are you!), your mom is on the way over because she wants to know why you’re not married yet, but you’re still turning away the girls she sends over, or the neighbor’s dog has literally not stopped barking since 9am.

Whatever the reason, you’ve had it.

Your tired and frustrated so instead of producing, you go into hiding. Your negative emotions just prevent your fingers from tapping out the rhythm that you know they can.

But when you can hash out piece after piece, in spite of the thunder in your head, and put your projects behind you, you’ve reached professional status and are no longer at the mercy of your emotions.

So how can you do that?

Ideas To Push You Through

First, let’s be clear, this isn’t easy. It isn’t pretty. But rarely anything worth your sweat in the end is going to be. (And here’s your gratuitous medical disclaimer: I’m not a doc, nor have I played one on TV, however, this is what I’ve seen work and what works for me.:))

Tuck them away

I’m not a particularly good compartmentalizer, but my brother and my husband are (maybe it’s a guy thing?). But people that can create a little box to store the negativity in have a distinct advantage over people (like me) who can’t - occupationally speaking, of course. Perhaps you’ve never tried “locking” away your issues. However, I don’t recommend that they stay that way. Just lock them away until you are in a better situation to deal with them - like when you’ve completed your Focus Session.

Put them front and center

Give yourself time to wallow in your sadness or frustration for a while. Literally set a timer and give yourself time to get the emotions out there. When the timer dings, tuck away the negativity and focus again. Besides, if you were enjoying the wallowing, you can always go back to it in 90 minutes when your Focus Session is over.

Use Music to Soothe

Music is the soundtrack of our lives. You can turn on the sad songs like Alicia Sparks suggests and stay in your moments before you get started (by the way, Sparks, I think I’d add anything Matchbox 20 to your list - back on topic, Tania...). Or you can up the beat a little and play a little Blind Melon or my personal favorite, Don Omar, and wiggle the yuckies away.

Beat the CRAP out of it

Yeah. It works. If you have a heavy bag, duke out those frustrations. If you don’t have one, shadow box. And if you’re really desperate for something to hit...have a wrestling match with your significant other or beat your pillows from your bed. Whatever you do, get lost in it. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to fight and not get caught up in it.

Write it out

Or, you can choose to do what I’ve done here.

Write.

In the face of my sad spiders (Luca Harding, Yesterday’s Gone - read it!), I choose to write - not to let them crawl me into the funk that I could so easily sit in right now.  And what did I get? A post. Project number 4 on my Focus List for today. Yay!

As a freelancer, you work (and work well!), or you don’t get paid. Period. Choose to wallow in your funk or choose to earn - even when you don’t feel like it - it's up to you.

You’re a Fit Freelancer. In spite of the turmoil and chaos that twists and turns over your head, you’re a survivor and you WILL succeed!

What tips do you have to working through a funk? Let us know in the comments!

Thanks for reading and have an awesome day!

Tania

PS

Sign up for email updates to get your Fit Freelancer Focus Book to help you get your life, your home and your career on track!

2 Steps To Optimizing Your Freelance Life (Plus a Gift For You!)

You know the scene - working at home is a picnic. We do it because we love it. We love challenges. We love listening to the sound of laughter while the kids play behind us. Working in our jammies. Getting up when we feel like it. It’s all paradise. (Right? :D) Yeah, right. Seems to be what the world thinks, though, isn’t it?

But the fact is...

Working At Home Is Hard

Very hard - whether you have kids or not. There are family interruptions, friends calling, noises, and endless distractions from social media and the internet.

Client emails, cold calling, generating content for yourself and for others is demanding. And it takes concentration, will power and focus.

As a freelancer, you’ve got to maximize those abilities so you can be productive and create content that your clients and readers need. You have to manage your time around those you love, those that need you, and yourself.

Scheduling Around Everyone Else Is Challenging

But you don’t know how to do that. You work crazy hours - up before the rest of the house. Sleeping long after everyone else is snoring. Even locking yourself away from the rest of the world doesn’t help sometimes.

Your family and friends don’t understand the depth of what you do. To them, you’re just playing online and not really an entrepreneur trying to build a successful business.

And juggling their time, your time, and all that you have on your plate requires something that you’ve been putting off because you hate it:

Planning.

You know you should do it, but you haven’t found a way that works yet - so you throw it all to the wind and wing it everyday. Or maybe you’re that creative that avoids scheduling because you feel it will squash the essence of your free spirit.

The result: You get work done, but you’re exhausted from it. The constant back and forth of working between your job and your other responsibilities is mentally taxing.

But planning is only the first step to finding time to get it all done each day.

Step 1: Invest Time To Plan

Planning isn’t an option it’s a survival technique.

Taking the time to plan everything that needs to be done is a necessary evil all freelancers have to take on.

Planning keeps you from dropping the ball and having to send an email that says, “Oh, sorry! I totally forgot your launch was tomorrow and I haven’t gotten your blog posts ready!” and losing clients because you can’t produce on time and with quality.

So choose a day to be your planning day and stick to it. Which day is the slowest day for you? Use that as your planning day. It's still a work day, but it can be short and sweet. You just need general guidelines for the week.

I call Sunday Planday. That’s the day that I plan my menu, my workouts for the week, check the schedule for upcoming appointments, plan what parts of the house I’ll attack, and, of course, what projects I need to finish for myself and my clients.

This keeps everything in my face at once. For me, too many papers to keep up with means I’ll never look at them all and something’ll be forgotten.

That’s why I made the Fit Freelancer Focus Book. It's what I use to keep everything in one place. Now you can plan it all and keep it together. But the second step in optimizing your freelance life is up to you.

Step 2: Execute Your Plans

Planning is only half the game. You need to THRIVE.

And to do that, you need to EXECUTE what you plan.

https://twitter.com/TaniaDakka/status/225257296085790721

Once my planning is done for the week, this is a rough idea of what I do each day when school is in session:

Morning: Fix breakfast Clean up Get kids off to school Set up third for learning while I work WORK! (8:30 -11:30) - 2 Focus Sessions

Afternoon: Lunch/Playtime with 3rd Back to work/focused play time for 3rd - 3rd Focus Session Pick up kids Playtime with all Get dinner ready Put laundry on Hit the day’s cleaning tasks

Evening: Eat Dinner Clean up Get ready for the next day (Cook for the next day, get clothes out for the family, etc) Bathe kids Get the kids in bed Put the laundry away 4th Focus session Bed

Workouts are either done prior to or following Focus Sessions. And summer days are a little less rigorously planned, but they still follow the same format, and we even add in lesson time at night before bed.

So I plan. Then I execute. And life is on autopilot.

Execution of the plans I made means I don’t have to spend all my time “nexting” about what needs to be done in the house when I have assignments to throw my creative self into.

Without these two steps, my house of five would be in constant chaos and I would be a wreck -- mentally and physically.

Note: Even if you don't have kids at home, you have a home or apartment and yourself to take care of. Planning will help you master it all so you can love what you do.

So take this schedule and tweak it to make it work for you. Tweak it to optimize your freelance business and your home so they can coexist- happily.

And to help you do that, I’ve got the "Fit Freelancer Focus Book" for you! It’s full of charts and schedules to help you find a time to do everything that needs to be done so you can be successful and love your freelancing life!

(If you’re already on the email list, it’s on its way to you. And if you’re not, sign up in the box at the top of the site today and I’ll ship yours, too!)

Thanks for reading, commenting and being a part of the Fit Freelancer community!

Have an awesome and productive week!

Tania :D

PS Please use the share buttons to share this post so all freelancers can benefit from it and develop the life they deserve, too:)! Thanks so much!

Fit Freelancer Manifesto

Fit Freelancer Manifesto  

That's who we are. That's what we strive for.  And THAT's why we THRIVE.

Are you a Fit Freelancer? Let me know in the comments!

If this manifesto resonated with you, it would be a great honor if you'd share this with your social networks. Let's give all freelancers a shot at sanity and happiness!

Don't forget to sign up in the little box above to get updates as they're published. And follow me on Twitter and Facebook to stay motivated to get it all done.

 

Have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to the Launch of the Fit Freelancer!

Life's hard when you're a freelancer (and even if you're not)! The demands on you are overwhelming. Families needs, business needs, and taking care of your home are never-ending drains on your energy. I asked a dozen successful writers and writerpreneurs what they believe the keys are (or aren't) to balancing career, life and fitness are. Here's what they had to say! Enjoy!  

http://youtu.be/YR9HUteMXbk

There's one more very important woman I'd like to add. She's a mom and a successful writer. This is what she had to say about balancing the demands of life and her career:

"I think the key is understanding that they're interrelated. They don't happen in separate compartments. Improve your fitness, you're more alert + productive at work. Improve your work, you're more confident in your life. Likewise, if you neglect one area or push yourself to burnout, that's going to drag down other parts of your life as well. So I think you have to hold a sense of the big picture and listen to what your gut is telling you about where you need to put your attention right now in order to cultivate an overall well-being."

Justine Musk

 

There you have it: everyone has a different idea of what balance means to them. What does it mean to you? Add your two cents in the comments and tell me what you think the keys to balance are!

Thanks to all the rock stars that were super enough to contribute their awesome words of wisdom to this post! Check them out and follow them on social media for some great content that will help you rock your world!

Dusti Arab - Undefinable You

Ali Luke - Aliventures

Samar Owais - The Writing Base

Alicia Sparks - WritingSpark.com

Linda Formichelli - The Renegade Writer

Amelia Ramstead - Amelia Ramstead Writing & Editing

Lisa Balash - Kettlebell Bombshell

Charlie Gilkey - Productive Flourishing

Sean Platt - The Digital Writer

Patti Larsen - PattiLarsen.com

Justine Musk - Justine Musk

Jonathan Bailor - The Smarter Science of Slim

If you enjoyed this post, please share it with your friends, fans, and followers! And don't forget to sign up for more great content to help you thrive instead of just survive!

Thanks for reading (and sharing)!

Welcome to Fit Freelancer: Why subscribing can make a difference in your life

You're a busy, busy freelancer (or want to be) and you want to be able to get it all done. But it's hard. Really hard.

Managing your family, your own health and your business can be insanely daunting. But with the right tools and information, you can master it all. You can become the sane freelancer - handling all that's thrown at you and asking for more!

Fit Freelancer's Your Ace in the Hole

Whether you want to be able to cook, clean, do 100 pushups or write that SWEET sales letter, it can all be done - but only one way - by USING what you learn. I'll give you the inspiration, the motivation, and the knowledge you need, but you have to give it the energy it takes to follow through.

Consider this a 50-50 partnership. Ok, maybe not 50-50. More like a 70 - 30 partnership that can help you get as close to balance as you can.

Balance Isn't Perfection

While we can work together to get you past the point of survival into thrival (sorry - I've a bad habit of making up words - but I'll try not to let get out of control), the most important lesson in all of this is that balance isn't perfection. Balance is acceptance.

It's knowing what you're capable of and using it to your advantage.

If you know you can achieve balance, that you can thrive in the chaos of it all, and that you can make a better life for you and your family, I'd love for you to join the Fit Freelancer tribe by signing up for regular email updates. I'll be sending out info on everything from freelancing, marketing, fitness, nutrition, life-balance and more!

My promise is that I won't flood you with non-sensical emails that waste your time (as busy writerpreneurs, neither one of us has time for that), but I do promise that I'll share with you information that will help you better your life and your career.

Sign up and start thriving today!

Why You’ll Never Achieve Life Balance (And How You Can Fix It Today)

You spend every day on a hamster wheel. Running and running. And getting nowhere. It’s tiring and it’s frustrating.  You do the best you can with that you have, but it never seems to be enough. But before you throw in your towel, read this.

There’s Just Not Enough Time In The Day

When you work on your to-do list, you expect it to get shorter. But it grows longer. And at the end of the end of the day, when you look back at your list and see you didn’t finish what you wanted to...

Enter the guilt.

That guilt carries over to your family life. It makes you crabby and unpleasant to be around. And worst of all, it makes you unhappy with yourself.

This is the cause of your life's imbalance.

But the problem isn’t that you didn’t finish what you had planned, it’s that you think your “failure” to finish is a reflection of who you are.

Perception of Perfection

Your perception of perfection flaws your vision of yourself and your accomplishments. You did a lot today. But, you don’t remember that. You only see that you still have items unchecked on your to-do.

You see the completed list as perfection and it’s reflection.

So when you don’t finish. Your mind becomes cloudy with yucky feelings that make you wish you had done more. "Maybe I shouldn't have checked my email at 7am this morning." "Maybe I should've written that post I needed to write, instead of doing the laundry.'

But, you're not perfect.

Give Up Your Idea Of Perfection

Since perfection's your goal and perfection's impossible, you’re setting yourself up for failure. (Another self-sabotaging practice that needs to be thrown out - but that’s another post.)

When you stop looking at the list as a measurement of who you are, you free yourself from the guilt of not getting it all done. And once you’re free from those cuffs, your mind opens and your self-perception alters.

You’re happier.

Your family is happier.

That happiness IS life-balance.

And it’s not impossible. You can do it. Today.

How To Make The Imbalance Work 

The life of a freelancer can be chaotic. How you handle the chaos is the key to balance. We have sooo many projects on our list that it’s overwhelming. And trying to manage when to get it all done and have a life is what’s making the insanity worse.

As of today, STOP making an impossible to-do list your measuring stick. Your to-do list is not who you are. It’s what you need to do. And that’s it.

How I found balance:

1. A non-negotiable set of routines (routines and not part of a to-do list) - things that have to be done every day, regardless of how late it is when I do them (i.e. taking out everybody’s clothes for the next day, ironing, etc because honestly, it doesn’t take 5 minutes to do them)

2. Scheduling 1 - 2 projects per day - Overbooking yourself is invitation to feeling bad. Know your work habits and your environment (i.e. the demands of the family that you love) and be a smart scheduler. Schedule what HAS to be done now.

3. Knowing my peak performance periods - There are certain times of the day and the week that you work best. Think back to the times when you get the most done and make sure you hit your hardest projects then. I work best in the morning, so I’ve cut off all other responsibilities until my writing time is done. Also, getting up before the house gets up means I get an extra 1.5 - 2 hours of work in BEFORE anyone stirs and the chaos begins. (If you’re a night owl, then stay up later working - not veging in front of the screens, but getting your projects done.)

4. Taking care of my body (You knew this was coming, right?) - If you’re eating junk food, those guilty feelings that accompany not finishing your list are amplified to make you feel even worse. In our house, we try to avoid processed foods as much as possible and we hit the gym almost every day. Eat as cleanly as you and get at least 15 minutes of exercise, yes, EVERY DAY.

5. Dropped the idea that I will be able to do it all - Life happens. I know that now. And that will never change, but when I accepted the ups and downs, I gained the balance that I never thought I'd have. You can, too. Do the BEST that you can do and don't judge yourself (because, guess what...no one else is) and you'll relax and find the spot where your life is balanced.

 

Which of these points resonated with you? What helps you achieve balance?

If you enjoyed this post (or even if you didn’t!), I’d really love to hear from you.  And if I could ask a favor, would you please share this on your social networks? You ROCK! Thanks! And you can find me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ (sometimes :D ).