Energy Management

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If you were to type in the words “time management” into a Google search, you would receive 499,000,000 results. Countless books, blogs, articles and seminars have been written and built based on this concept. I’ve read and attended my fair share over the last 2 decades. There is no lack of content if you want to learn more about how to best manage your time.

We live in a culture where a crazy, busy schedule is the norm. Expected, almost. With more “to-do’s” fighting for our daily attention than ever before, it’s no wonder time management is a topic many are trying to master.

The purpose of this post is not to give you my insights on how to best manage your time. I think the bigger issue is how you manage your ENERGY.

In my last post, I talked about the idea of creating Core Habits, a concept I found in the book Off Balance by Matthew Kelly.

In his book, Kelly also tackles the issue of energy management. People, places, things, and activities all have energy. Some energize us, and some drain our energy.

Your capacity for life increases with the more energy you have. Your ability to embrace, absorb, and enjoy all the good things in this world, and your ability to respond and react to the not so good things in this word, depends upon the amount of energy you have….Knowing how to balance various activities in our life to produce the maximum flow of energy is perhaps the most important skill any of us can learn to develop…Your experience of life expands with the more energy you have.

Keeping in mind that everything has energy, take a look at your daily schedule. Are there times in the day where the negatives outnumber the positives? How can you reorganize your day to better balance the scale? (A word of caution: don’t overload your daily schedule in an attempt to add more positive energy. Ten pounds of fun will never fit into a five pound bag. Nothing empties your energy tank faster than the overwhelming feeling of being rushed.)

Is there a certain time of day where your energy goes to die? Mine is 2:30. EVERY DAY. Trying to do more energy-sucking tasks when your tank is already on “E” is no fun.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret – caffeine and/or sugar is not the answer to your empty tank. They only make matters worse in the long run.

You may also notice a certain time of day where you have a surplus of energy. Early morning is my favorite time of day. I try to schedule all of the things that require the most energy and focus first thing in the morning. If it’s not done by dinner time, chances are good I’m not going to have the energy to do it.

Here are a few strategies I use to help manage my energy flow throughout the day.  (Caffeine and sugar free!!)

    • Multi-energy-task. I know what the research says about the negative impacts of multi-tasking. But there are certain tasks that can be done with minimal cognitive effort (things you do often that don’t require much thought), and can be combined with something else. For example- if you are like me, and feel that completing necessary household chores (laundry, dishes, dusting…) sucks the very life out of you, try to schedule a phone call with your best friend, parent, or someone who fills up your energy tank every time you talk to them. Enjoy the uplifting phone date while you fold the laundry and see how much easier it becomes. Maybe you work full time and can’t seem to escape a co-worker who drains your energy tank each and every day. “Who ‘ya gonna call” to lift you up and give you the energy you need? Play your own “fight song” before or after you talk to them. Play it loud and sing along with it. It’s amazing how music can lift you up and make you feel less alone in this crazy world.
    •  Take Five: If your day does not start out on the right foot, it is highly unlikely it will end well. It is difficult to change the trajectory of your day once you set the course. What begins as a tiny snowball of negativity in the first few minutes of your day becomes an unstoppable avalanche by lunch. Not good. Spend the next week experimenting with the the BEST way to start your day. For the first five minutes- do something that gives you energy. (If you have longer than five minutes-take it!) It could be a quick exercise, quiet meditation, prayer time, reading, drawing, or planning your day. If you don’t take the initiative to run your day, your day will run you over.
    • Waffle Wednesday. Hump day often gets a bad rap. If Wednesday were a body part, it would be an armpit. A smelly, ugly, hairy (but necessary) energy sucker. Poor Wednesday. About a year ago I decided to give Wednesday an energy overhaul. Every Wednesday morning my kids wake up excited for “Waffle Wednesday”. I realize the irony of this sugar-filled energy boost. But what was once a mid-week day we all dreaded has now become one of my favorite mornings of the week. Having something to look forward to GIVES us energy. Maybe Monday is tough for you. If so- what energy giving person, place or activity can you add to prevent having another “case of the Mondays”?  case of the mondays
  • Move. I try not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time. I’ve heard it said more than once, and I couldn’t agree more, “sitting is the new smoking”. (There is also plenty of research to support this claim.) Instead of sitting down for a meeting with your co-worker, try a walk-and-talk option. Then come back and write down any action items. If you have a job that requires you sit at a desk all day with minimal options to get up and walk, try doing some chair yoga moves. If you stay at home with your kids, turn on Pandora’s 80’s station and dance together in your living room. It doesn’t matter how you move your body. Just move. (Especially during the time of day when your energy is the lowest.)

Take a moment to write down your daily schedule. Identify the energy givers with a “+”, and the energy suckers with a “-“. Give yourself a 1:1 ratio in order to balance your energy scale. Set boundaries and build in opportunities to recharge your battery. If you are a chronic people pleaser, use the power of “no” more often than you are comfortable. Give yourself the space and time you need to fill up your tank, and you’ll uncover energy reserves you never knew you had.

 

 

Are You “Off Balance”?

Ginny's 7 core habits

Ginny’s 7 core habits

“We seem more interested in how we want to live than we are in discovering the best way to live. Likewise, we are much more interested in developing self-expression than we are in developing selves that are worth expressing. Personal preference has triumphed over the pursuit of excellence. We want what we want, and we feel entitled to what we want.”

-Matthew Kelly, Off Balance

I read this book with my mentor while I was working as a Director for Discovery Education. I was overwhelmed with how to “balance” everything. My family, my career, exercise, grad school, etc . This book was a gold mine of information.

In his book, Kelly begins by explaining that “work-life balance” is a myth. It’s impossible to balance the amount of time spent on your personal life if you are working full-time. Instead, he talks about striving for personal and professional SATISFACTION.

This week I’m basing the presentation portion of the iMoveU bootcamps on this book. Here is my Haiku Deck.

Here are a few points he makes:

  1. Satisfaction is different from pleasure. Satisfaction can be sustained beyond the activity producing it. Pleasure is immediate and short-lived. We have become addicted to pleasure, and the cost is genuine satisfaction
  2. Time Management vs. Energy Management: People, places, food and things can give you energy or take energy away. It’s important to manage our daily energy flow.
  3. Systems drive behaviors. We often times approach our work strategically, but our personal lives randomly. Identify your desired outcomes, identify the right behaviors that will lead to these outcomes, and create a system so that it flows.
  4. What are your CORE Habits? Write them down, look at them every day, and add new ones to the list as needed.

This book is worth every penny. It’s evident through his writing that Matthew Kelly is a compassionate individual. If you are interested in learning more, there is a free work-life balance assessment you can take HERE.

 

Give Yourself The Gift of Time

DSCN1538“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can NEVER get it back.”

– Harvey Mackay (Found in the book The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson)

 

In my first week of iMoveU bootcamps, the presentation portion focused on “The Gift of Time”.

Here is the presentation deck

As you scroll through the Haiku Deck, you will see my notes that give context to the information on each slide.

The mission of iMoveU is to empower heart centered change in motion.

Essentially, that means I want to empower (NOT enable) you to make positive changes in your life to improve your physical, nutritional, motional and spiritual wellness. Changes that come from YOUR heart. Don’t base your changes on societal norms, peer pressure, your ego or money. Those types of changes, at least for me, have led me in the wrong direction.

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes find it hard to listen to what’s in my heart. All of the “white noise” of the world makes it difficult to listen to our intuition. All of the noise is YELLING at us through TV, radio and social media, telling us we have to look, behave and think a certain way.

Over the past 2 months, I’ve tried to tune out the noise. I’ve given myself the Gift of Time to discover what’s in my heart. I’ve spent time reading, thinking, writing, and listening to that inner voice. I’m striving to live my best life. I still have a long way to go. Some days are better than others. My ego still likes to pop in and say hello and remind me of all the reasons why I will fail at what I’m doing. I try to ignore it, but sometimes it gets the best of me. In those moments, I rely on my family and friends to lift me up and remind me that I’m on the right path.

Here’s the thing about living your best life. What works for YOU may not work for others. What works for others may not work for YOU. The goal is to figure out what’s in YOUR heart.

Turn off the noise. Get to know yourself. What gives you energy? What brings you joy? How can you do more of those things each day? Stop going through the motions.

Give yourself The Gift of Time and see what kind of positive changes you can make in your life.

If you need help, ask for help. Find an accountability partner. If you want to be brave, if you want to get better, if you want to be HAPPY, don’t go it alone.

Make Believe

make believeMake-Believe. Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.

Sing it with me. You know you want to. Belt it out. Right here, right now.

“It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood. A beautiful day for a neighbor. Could you be mine? Would you be mine?…. I have always wanted to have a neighbor just like you. I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you. So let’s make the most of this beautiful day. Since we’re together, we might as well say: Would you be mine, could you be mine? Won’t you be my neighbor.”

Hello, neighbor.

Here’s the thing.

In this hyper-connected world, we are all neighbors. We have access to one another, like it or not.

And it’s not going away.

We have a choice to make in how we interact with one another as “neighbors”.

I choose to be the best neighbor I can. I choose to wake up each day and make you think, smile, move and laugh. I’m like Wilson, and you’re Tim the Toolman Taylor.

I want to make you believe in yourself.

You become what you believe.

You know that saying “fake it until you make it”? Sometimes as adults we need to play a little make believe. We need to MAKE ourselves BELIEVE we can do something. When we believe we can, we WILL.

Here’s a perfect example.

My best friend from high school ran cross country with me. She hated it, and she wasn’t very fast. She did it more for the social aspect.

A little over a year ago, she made herself believe she was a runner.

She ran a few shorter races, gained some confidence and ran Dam to Dam (just short of a half marathon) last summer, ran her first marathon, and then ran the Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon just a few weeks ago.

She pushed through an injury and 10 mile an hour winds she endured for 6+ miles.

Kiley, mother of 3, runner and Boston qualifier.

Kiley, mother of 3, runner and Boston qualifier.

And she qualified for Boston. 

Don’t think for a second that Make Believe is just for kids.

Find something you want to do (especially something that scares you). Something that will make you a better version of yourself.

And MAKE yourself BELIEVE you can do it.

#iMoveU

How iMoveU Starts a Movement

post iMoveU bootcamp selfie

post iMoveU bootcamp selfie

“Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it, but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can NEVER get it back.”

Harvey Mackay

 

My first official iMoveU bootcamp is in the books! I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect morning to host this in my backyard. My foursome included 2 great mommy friends I met when we enrolled our kids in daycare several years ago, and a new friend who tagged along with one of them. It was the perfect crew to start.

You might think it’s weird, different or not for you. All I ask is that you don’t judge until you try it. What I’m starting is a movement. I want to spend the rest of my life doing this. It gives me the freedom to work where I want, when I want, how I want to help those I love the most. I’m helping people to be Brave, Better and Happy.


As many of you know, I’m the lone nut. I’m out there dancing my butt off like Elaine on Seinfeld. And I’m LOVING it. Never in the history of my life have I ever known, with ever fiber of my being, that iMoveU is what I was put here on this earth to do. Never in my life have I been happier, more excited, more motivated or more scared. Never have I received more signs from God that this is what he had planned for me.

This is not about me, it’s about YOU. Help me help you. If you are brave enough to join me (the shirtless dancing guy- except I’m not a guy, so I won’t be shirtless. That would be weird.), I will nurture you as an equal. I will help you in any way I can to live your best life. I will make it so much fun you will LOVE waking up early.

I’ll be offering the same bootcamp again Thursday morning (5:45 am in my backyard), Saturday morning at 8 am in Iowa City, IA (where I went to college)  and Sunday morning at 7 am in Gilbert, IA (where I grew up).  Below is the format. Any and all are welcome to join me.

At some point, when more people are attending iMoveU bootcamps, I may need to put a limit who can come. I may have to turn people away. As much as that breaks my heart, it’s a reality. It might happen in 3 months, it might happen in 3 years. But here’s the thing, I will NEVER turn away those who were brave enough to follow me from the start. These 3 ladies have a free iMoveU membership for life.

I can’t even begin to put into words how incredibly grateful and blessed I feel to be able to do this. For me, exercising, nutrition, humor, music, and personal growth are as important to me as the air I breathe. It’s who I am. It’s been a long journey for me. I didn’t always eat healthy. In college I gained the “freshman 15” TWICE with a steady diet of Natty Light and Gumby’s Pokey Sticks. I had terrible stomach issues all through college and though maybe I had IBS.

I began eating better about 6 years ago. After having my first child I wanted to lose the baby weight, and I also just wanted to feel better. Over those 6 years I have learned a lot about how to cook and snack healthy. My cousin Jen has been a goldmine of information. Her BLOG is amazing and full of awesome recipes, many of them I used for my Happier Hour last week.

Around the same time, I also began reading for my own personal growth. I read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins, and I haven’t looked back since. I’ve gobbled up hundreds of books that have taught me invaluable lessons on leadership, creativity, innovation, neuroscience, time management, wellness, etc….

I WANT TO SHARE ALL OF THIS WITH YOU. FOR FREE. Just show up. I’ll take it from there. Stop saying “I’m not a morning person” or “I don’t have time”. I’m not a morning person either! I hate the alarm. But I LOVE the feeling of accomplishing something alongside good friends early in the morning before my family has even opened their eyes. The rest of my day is better when I start out with exercise, learning, reflection and a healthy breakfast. So join me. I don’t want to do it alone. That would be boring. Find a friend, pressure them in to joining you, pick them up and get moving. It doesn’t matter what your activity level is. There will be modifications for EVERYONE.

Here’s the format for the 1 hour iMoveU Bootcamp:

30 Minute P90x3 video 

  • I chose this program because I’ve gone through about 30 exercise video programs over the past 6 years. P90X 3 is BY FAR the best in my opinion. Third times a charm. Tony finally got it right.
  • I also choose this because the AMA recommended amount of exercise is 30 minutes a day 5 times a week for adults.
  • Exercise comes first because it helps prepare the brain to learn.

20 Minute presentation (The Gift of Time)

    • According to Eric Jensen’s book, Teaching With The Brain In Mind, adult learners should only receive 15-18 minutes of direct instruction when learning NEW CONTENT. Anything beyond that and it’s information overload. These are very focused talks. I will make a slide deck for each talk and share it on Haiku Deck (which is an AMAZING resource) and share them online. A new talk will be created each week and repeated at each iMoveU bootcamp throughout the week. (CLICK HERE to view the presentation for The Gift of Time.)

10 Minute reflection

  • One of the best ways to retain new information is to immediately reflect and put it in your own words. I use the 3-2-1 approach: Share 3 things you learned, 2 things you are going to DO, and 1 person you are going to share the message with (the best way to learn is to TEACH someone else. This also allows you to pay it forward, which is a big part of what iMoveU is all about. )
Overnight oats with fresh berries. Recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen.

Overnight oats with fresh berries. Recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen.

Healthy Food and Juice Options 

During and after the presentation, there will be healthy food and juice options. This week, since it is my first week, I’m giving the food away FOR FREE. In the future however, the food will be available for purchase. This morning I had overnight oats, recipe courtesy of my cousin Jen mentioned above.

 

So- that’s it. 1 hour of exercising, learning, laughing, talking and eating. All focused on making you better. This is a movement in wellness. Please join me. I’m tired of being the lone nut.

 

JUST MOVE

shoesThis past week I “launched” iMoveU. Mother’s Day was more of a symbolic launch with family and friends. Tuesday I hosted a Happier Hour with some amazing women where I talked a little bit about the free bootcamps I’ll be hosting over the summer.

I’m really excited about this new journey. But I’m sick and tired of just talking about it.

So- let’s move.

iMoveU Summer kick-off bootcamps:

 

DETAILS:

Dates/Times:

  • Tuesday, May 20, 5:45 -6:45 a.m.
  • Thursday, May 22, 5:45-6:45 a.m.

Location: My backyard (if you need my address- send me a note) I may have a Google Hangout option for Thursday if anyone is interested in joining remotely.

Cost: FREE- JUST FILL OUT THIS FORM

Bring: We will be exercising outside, so dress appropriately and bring a large towel or mat and water. If it is pouring down rain or there is lightning, I’ll reschedule. Bring a notebook and pen for the presentation portion. I’ll be delivering the same workout for both kick-off sessions. Come to one or come to both. Bring a friend. Bring your green hat. I don’t care- just come.

Format:

  • 30 minutes of exercise (P90x3 Isometrics)
  • 20 minute presentation on The Gift of Time (based on the books The Slight Edge, Off Balance, and Steal Like an Artist)
  • 10 minute reflection/discussion/goal setting
  • Bring cash if you want to purchase any of the food/juice options

 

iMoveU: Be Brave. Be Better. BE HAPPY.

 

What Makes You Happy?

DSC05450“‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?'” And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something,”

-Steve Jobs

A good friend of mine posted this quote on Facebook the other day. It immediately made me smile, because I’m in the middle of a pretty big life change.

If I would have asked myself the question above on my 35th birthday (which was this past January), the answer would have been “NO!”.  I had recently returned to working full-time after having my 3rd son. Although I LOVED Discovery Education, adored the people I was blessed to work beside, and honored to work with compassionate educators across the nation to help transform teaching and learning, I was not happy. For me and what I want in MY life, it was too much travel. I loved my job, but I love my husband and my family even more. I was so stressed, and I didn’t have the confidence to have “the talk” with the leadership team at work to tell them I was drowning. I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to upset anyone, and I’m also the type of person who doesn’t like to admit I can’t “do it all”. So I put on a front and pretend everything is “A-OK”. I avoid the crucial conversations and instead cry and pray in the privacy of my own home for courage and strength. I lie to myself and tell myself that this is just the kind of stress that all full-time working moms deal with. I surround myself with friends and family every weekend who lift me up and give me energy to face another week.

Luckily, God often times takes the wheel when you are lost and guides you along the right path when you need it most.

Two days after my 35th birthday, I received the news that my position at work was eliminated as a result of a reorganization. Let me first say that I 100% AGREED WITH AND SUPPORTED this decision. I knew a change was coming and was hoping it would place me in a position where I was traveling less. The position I was in no longer made sense for the team I was on. I knew it, I felt it, and I agreed with the decision. I was in the wrong seat on the bus.

There were other seats available on the bus, however they also required a significant amount of travel, so in the end I made the decision not to pursue any of those seats, and I left.

I could say I was excited, happy and relieved when I left, but that would be a lie. I did feel that deep down, but mostly my ego was bruised. I felt embarrassed, ashamed, and angry. Laid off? That doesn’t happen to me.

I was pretty upset the first few weeks. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone outside my inner circle. Luckily I have the most amazing family and friends, and they lifted me up and reminded me that everything happens for a reason.

A few weeks after I left, I flew down to Florida to visit my parents for a week with the boys. We got to the condo we rented on a beach outside of Tampa just in time to see the sunset. My 2 older boys kicked off their shoes and ran to put their toes into the ocean for the first time.

As the sun disappeared behind the Gulf, a man (who had been standing in the ocean playing his bagpipes when we arrived) played Amazing Grace. Now, of all the places in the world he choose to play, God placed him right in front of me. If that’s not a sign that I’m on the right path, I don’t know what is. My dad hugged me and I held back tears of joy. I knew in that moment that I would be ok.

Fast forward a few months to yesterday, Mother’s Day. About a month ago the idea came to me to launch iMoveU on Mother’s Day. It was more of a symbolic launch, and I wanted to celebrate with family and freinds. That little voice in my head said “You should call it The Gift Of Time.” I likedimage (1) this name because time is a gift, and as a Mother of 3 boys, there is no greater gift than spending time with my family. The SAME DAY I had this idea, my middle son came home with this picture he had made at school. Getting chills yet? Yeah, me too.

About a week after I chose to launch iMoveU on Mother’s Day, I also decided I would use the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds. It’s a wonderful children’s book that teaches kids how to “make their mark” on the world. I recently gave it to my friend Jessica who wrote her first novel.  (It’s called The Rooms Are Filled, and it’s amazing. Go buy it. Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. ) Although I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Peter in person, I had the opportunity to listen to him talk during a virtual event while I was at Discovery and I was really touched by his own story. He’s an amazing man with a passion for helping kids (AND ADULTS) make their mark and share their inner art with the world.

image

The SAME DAY I decided to use this book in my launch, my middle son (who rarely draws anything- normally he’s busy playing with his cars and planes) drew this picture, which looks almost identical to the cover of the book. HE HAD NEVER SEEN OR HEARD OF THE BOOK!!! And why, of all the things he could draw, would he draw a big dot? Yet another sign….

These are just a few of the “signs” I’ve received along the way over the course of the past 3 months. These signs give me courage, hope and excitement for the future of iMoveU. I’m not doing this for attention, to prove anything to anyone, or to make a ton of money. I’m doing it all out of love. I’m doing this because I’m HAPPY. And I want to help other people be HAPPY.

Tomorrow I’m hosting my first “Happier Hour” for a group of amazing women where I will be cooking some of my favorite healthy apps and fresh juices, and I’ll be talking about companies, resources and products that have made me happy. (If you live in the NW Chicago burbs and you want to come please let me know!)

One of those products is Nerium. About 2 months ago my best friend and college roommate Megan called me to tell me all about “this amazing, all natural skin care product” called Nerium. I thought she was crazy and almost started avoiding her calls and texts. I’ve never spent more than $30 on face cream and I just lost my job, why would I want to spend money on that? However, because she is my best friend and because I love her, I listened.

I’m SO glad I trusted her when she promised me it would change my life.

I’ll save the details for a later post, but let me just say that Nerium has transformed my skin. Not just my face, but also my stomach (which I’ve had very loose skin since my second child), my neck, and my chest. I worked hard to loose the baby weight after each child. But after gaining and losing 30-40 pounds 3 times, my body has been through quite a beating. I am proud to say that I did it the right way. I didn’t go on a crash diet, I exercised daily and ate well. However, I was embarrassed by the loose skin on my stomach and was sad that it looked the way it did. I even thought about getting a tummy tuck because society is constantly yelling at women that we have to look perfect. (Which says a lot, because I even refused epidurals for all 3 kids in large part because needles scare me. The thought of my skin being cut off makes me cringe.)

After only 5 weeks, my stomach looks drastically different. Don’t get me wrong, I still have loose skin. I HAD 3 KIDS! You should see what my stomach looks like in high plank position if I don’t have a compression top on. Not pretty. But it has made such a huge difference, and it’s made me feel more comfortable in my own skin.

I’m happy to privately send my before and after pictures to anyone interested. Maybe in time I will post them publicly on on here and Facebook, but for now just send me a message if you want to see my real results.

I’m such a firm believer and supporter of Nerium that I also signed on to be a brand partner. I’ve never sold anything in my life, but I believe so strongly in the product AND the organization. I’m proud to represent Nerium and can’t wait to share it with my friends and family to see the difference it can make for others. And the best part about it is, you receive Nerium for free when you refer 3 friends. The company believes so strongly in helping people live better lives that they literally give the product away for free. They also give 30% of their profits to cancer research, which was how the product was discovered. It’s gluten free, and does not contain anything artificial or harmful for your skin. As a brand partner, I am blown away by the leadership and commitment to personal development this organization provides. Nerium is giving me access to amazing tools and resources that will help give me the skill set to build iMoveU.

If someone would have told me on my 35th birthday that I was going to lose my job, start my own non-profit, sell skin cream and have a new stomach (without having to get a tummy tuck)  within the next 3 months I would have slapped them across the face and called them crazy. But when you drown out noise of the world and listen to what’s in your heart, you never know where God will take you.

Here’s to being HAPPY!!