As the new year approaches, I always like to take stock of my life and assess what’s working, what’s not, and what improvements need to be made. I try not to make any outlandish resolutions and instead, set small, manageable goals so that I have a chance of succeeding. That being said, I do envision some big dreams for myself to achieve because those dreams are what keep me going during challenging moments.
This year was a roller coaster of highs and lows. While I won’t get into the weeds, let’s just say that on a personal level, I spent more time putting out fires than moving forward (although some breakthroughs have been made). The week leading up to Christmas probably best exemplified the ups and downs of this year. My husband was stopped at a red light and had his car totaled by a school bus (thankfully, there were no major injuries!), I (happily) picked up a few new, fantastic projects, and then two days later acquired a flu-like illness that left me sick with fever in bed through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (and a couple of days beyond). But reality is, this is life for most of us. As carefully as we may try to craft our lives, crap happens. And sometimes, those lows serve as fertile ground for growth (like my manure analogy?).
Where I would like to be right now. Serenity now! Serenity now!
It was a blessed year for Claudia Josephine Design. One of my dreams was to have my work featured in a high-end magazine. During one particularly trying week this past spring, I was contacted by Colleen Richmond, the editor of Luxe Lifestyle Magazine. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when she said she wanted to highlight my work in her magazine! This eventually led to the publication of three articles, which you can read by clicking the images below.
Go to page 28 to read the article! :)
Go to page 28 to read the article! :)
Go to page 24 to read the article! :)
If this weren’t gratifying enough, I was recently asked to be a regular columnist. I’ll be Luxe Lifestyle’s designer “Dear Abby.” Readers will submit their design dilemmas and I’ll provide the advice they need to solve them. You guys, this blows my mind. As a kid, I was a magazine advice column junkie! I wrote questions to them, read them, and envisioned myself giving advice to other readers. There is something so gratifying about being able to share your expertise to help others.
When you stink at photoshop so you just superimpose your
image over Dear Abby's face
On a side note, I recently used a “Word of the Year” generator. The word I got was, “balance.” This didn’t surprise me because it’s the exact thought I had been having lately about my life—that I need more balance. This past year I threw myself into my business, both because as a growing business, I needed to but also because my work brings me a lot of pleasure. However, I did so at the expense of my physical well-being and, to a lesser degree, my family. Instead of daily walks and balanced meals, I was lucky if I got a weekly walk and dinner that included more than one veggie. Rather than spending my weekends enjoying family time, my husband often took our daughter out for some bonding time while I stayed back in my office, working on projects. Although the time together was wonderful for them, both my husband and daughter missed having mom around and I missed just being in the moment with my family without thinking about a 3,000-item To Do List.
Since most of us struggle with some semblance of balance in our lives, I thought I’d share the tips I’ve gathered that have proven to be effective.
Five Strategies for Getting It Together
1. Time block. Make a list of weekly, monthly and yearly tasks that you view as must do’s, including time to exercise, medical appointments, grooming (hair salon, nails, etc.), work tasks, your kids’ activities, meal planning, bill paying, volunteering, date nights, etc. Pull out your calendar and block in time for all of these activities. Cull activities that aren’t necessary and say no if you need to. Hire help (if you can afford it) for activities that can be outsourced. Ask family members for help as well. You can’t do it all and shouldn’t be expected to. Here’s the hard part. As closely as you can, stick to the time blocks. It’s easy to let piles of laundry beckon to you when you should be doing something else, like working out. Resist the urge and stick to your schedule as closely as possible. The more consistent you keep your schedule, the less decision fatigue you’ll encounter.
2. Use a timer. Sometimes, you REEEAALLY don’t want to do a scheduled task, like decluttering your closet. Get yourself a kitchen timer (or use the one on your phone) and block off a small, manageable amount of time, like 15 minutes. Tell yourself that at the end of 15 minutes, you can stop the task if you want. Chances are, once you get started, you won’t want to stop after 15 minutes and you can keep going until the task is complete. However, if you want to stop when time is up, give yourself a pat on the back for the work you did accomplish and move on. Just be sure you’ve blocked off enough time to finish your task(s) so you don’t find yourself mid-project with no time left.
3. Meal Planning. If you’re like me, you probably wing it with meals and end up resorting to take-out more than your waistline or budget appreciate. Pick a day of the week (usually Sunday works best) to plan, shop, and prep for your meals. You can also try batch cooking and freezing meals. When I cook, I often make enough to freeze the extra for my husband to take to work for his lunches.
4. Family Meeting. Whether your family includes six kids and four dogs or just your significant other, plan a time to meet weekly to discuss family goals, chores, and who will accomplish what during the upcoming week. There more buy in you get from other family members, the less you’ll (hopefully) have to do on your own. Make sure you throw in some fun goals, like vacations, to keep family members motivated. End family time with an enjoyable activity to reward yourselves for all the hard work you did the week before.
5. Only use what works for you. We are bombarded daily with what we “should” be doing to improve our lives, including the list above. Some things you will find helpful, others will make you tense just considering them. Sometimes, what we really need is less doing and more acceptance of ourselves.
And when you think that everyone else is doing it better, think of this...
by Theodore Roosevelt
Wishing you a blessed and prosperous 2019. Thank you so much to my clients, family, fellow designers, mentors, vendors, and others who have supported me in my work. Your support means more than you could know!