No More Notifications

Apparently, I’m one of the last people to do this, but this past week I removed all of the notification dots from my iphone. It has been amazing. The week before, I stopped all notifications from popping up on my locked screen or when I was using the phone. I didn’t really think about the dots when I made the initial adjustment, so it was a kind of baby stepping withdrawal, and it feet so good that I just kept going.

What made me want to do this was that as social media was such a large part of my day work wise, it was getting harder than ever to feel like I was not being constantly interrupted. I was feeling bombarded with work, news and mostly, a whole lot of spam at all times and add to that a stream of ig likes and comments scrolling through my screen, I felt like I was drowning trying to keep up with staying on top of this and all the usual work.

When I finally reached the point where I was close to panicking every time a message notification came though because I felt I had to answer NOW (I will say that FB biz pages constantly rating your page based on response time is largely at fault for this), I was at my breaking point. I was feeling like I was getting nothing done, and was irritable at constantly being interrupted. I was beginning to resent everything I was stopping work to do and was in a constant state of irritation.

So I did two things. I closed my email on my computer and shut off all notifications on my phone, requiring that I open an app to see if there are notifications (except phone calls and texts, which still pop up, soundlessly). I also stopped reading my email when I first wake up. I do my morning routine, and then I sit down at my desk with time to answer anything I need to get to. I close everything and a few hours later, open the email to check it.

Doing these two small changes has made a world of difference in my mental state and my productivity. I felt calmer within hours of the red dots going away and I no longer stop work to stare at a spam email that i just delete. Of course, I also can absolutely still obsessively check things if I’m in the mood, I simply have to open the app.

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Do you make resolutions?

I’m not much of a resolution maker these days, but I do I do enjoy using the new year to analyze and regroup a bit. Part of it is that as a business owner, I do this with finances and the various things I track. I have become in the habit of spending the week between Christmas and New Years Day finishing up that year and setting up all of my systems for the year ahead. There are the obvious: closing/starting out planners, calendars, spreadsheets and files and the not so obvious: reviewing my vision, and where I am with short and long term goals. Usually there is an area where I immediately notice, if I had not realized it already, that needs improving. If I have already been aware of the problem area, I try to start in mid December so that I’m feeling the pressure of the resolution setting chaos.

This past year, I gave up all sugar and sweet things on December 19th. This was following a doctors appointment where the cause of some heath issues were not obvious. I overheard the doctor and nurse reviewing my chart and wondering if weight or diet could be a contributor. Although in the end, the problems were completely unrelated to anything I was doing, that one over heard conversation gave me the motivation I needed to get my out of control sugar addiction in check. If there were going to be issues with my health, I refused to let them ever be caused by own self negligence. I got to work immediately and by the time the new year began, I was free from sugar and had dropped the extra weight it had caused. In December, I also started “reclaiming wasted time“, so I could do my favorite thing: read more. Soon, I was reading an extra 4 to 6 books a month. Yesterday I wrote about the business goals I was working on this past year, which were about defining my skills and building my personal brand.  But I also met my goal to not stop working out when I was the busiest so I was not removing my best stress reliever when I needed it the most. I set out to schedule time 5 days a week that I would not cancel on and commit to giving to myself this time to work out. I hit that one out of the park and think the habit has set in pretty well on it now and the results have been amazing. I was so calm during the holiday season that Adam was actually worried about me. These were all areas that I wanted to improve on over the past year and are now just a part of my life. I thankfully don’t have to work on these things anymore, just be mindful that I am continuing them.

So what do I feel are the areas that need to be worked on this year? The first area that needs to be worked on is that I stumbled a bit mentally with my vision and long term goals this past year. As I have been aware of this, I have been spending the last month working on not only defining these, but on shifting my mind set to work towards them. Interestingly, as I spent the past year defining what my skills are, I now see that there are a few things that overlap what I am good at and what I love to do and yet I have not been doing them. How sad is that??? Hint, hint, that is literally being worked on by my typing this! Another area that needs some help is that I am too often just going through the motions of my day. I’m getting things done, but not feeling excited to seize the day or proud of what I have done that day. Not that I am not proud, but I’m not all “best day ever, go me!!” as often as I would like to be. I think part of it is the lack of vision and with that, the lack of long terms plan, so although I’m getting through the to-do list, I’m not really sure that I’m accomplishing things for the big picture. I have already been working on this though, enough that I am now able to analyze it and put into words what I have been feeling and put into action some of what needs to be done to fix it.

So while I am not setting goals, I am already working on areas that need some help. I am making changes, I am researching (it soothes me to have information…knowledge is power and all) and learning from others who have succeeded at overcoming these things. I am slowly making changes, a little at a time until the change sticks and then I change a little more.

On the subject of of resolutions, goals and intentions…I was flipping through my old sketchbook/notebooks that I used to use jot down notes, lists, schedules and inspirations in (mostly pages of crazy long lists) and saw the 2 pages of resolutions I was making every year. I was overwhelmed just looking at it. I also never accomplished much of what was on those 2 pages. I then thought about on the flip side, I have veered to the polar opposite and had no resolutions or intentions some years, just took each day as it came along and acted accordingly. In thinking about both of these mindsets, the only thing I know is that neither of these work for me. I need a nice happy medium of having defined goals along with their manageable breakdowns but still allowing myself to have flexibility in my daily routine and life goals. If there is too much structure and too rigid of a plan, I freak out when something unexpected pops up and also say no to too much. If for example, I was not in the mind space I was in this last year (sort of floundering, not sure where I wanted to be doing), I never would have said yes to the interview with the tv channel. I would have said that it didn’t fit into my schedule and that I no interest in a future as a DIY host. Because I was trying to figure out some things, I thought it sounded like a fun project and why not at least look into it. I was incredibly surprised to realize quickly that it was something that I was naturally really good and at and I love it! They are great about working with my schedule (we basically took December off) and it has energized me in other areas. So finding the sweet spot where I am feeling proud of my work and what I am building, accomplishing growth personally and in business and having the time and energy to take on interesting projects seems to be what I’m aiming for.

What are your resolutions and intentions?

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Coloring = Exercise

Photo Aug 29

As you read yesterday, I am having a partial hysterectomy today. My uterus, fallopian tubes and maybe cervix are being removed due to adenomyosis in a laparoscopic robotic assisted surgery. We scheduled the surgery 10 days ago so this week has been a whirlwind of preparation, mostly mentally as I get ready to be limited in what I can do for a bit. My number one concern is when I can work out again as it’s the best way that I deal with stress and what I know will make me feel better the quickest. Unfortunately, even though it will help my brain, my body could end up being on worse shape if I do too much too soon. Scar tissue can form on the internal incisions and I’l have to have another surgery to remove them so there is a big heavy line between what I can do and what I can’t. So far, I’ve talked to three people about this, my doctor who will perform the surgery, the nurse at my pre-op and the nurse in charge of my care at my doctors office and have been receiving more detailed and firm info with each conversation as I try and push the boundaries. The final conversation went something like this:

Sierra: So I should be walking every day for the first two weeks, right?

Nurse: Yes, but by walking we mean very slowly and easy. NO POWER WALKING.

Sierra: Well, I mean, I can work up to that.

Nurse: Ok, now I’m saying three weeks. No power walking for three weeks. When you have no more bleeding you can VERY SLOWLY increase your speed and intensity but not for at least two weeks.

Sierra: Ok, so when can I do more than that?

Nurse: Six weeks.

Sierra: Well that’s just crazy talk. I know I can’t lift weight over 10lbs for six weeks, but what about body resistance?

Nurse: Do we need to go over what happens if you over exert yourself again.

Sierra: No. I understand, I just know I’ll be going crazy and need to know when to expect I can expel the energy again. I like a good plan, it makes me feel better and I’ll calm down if I know what to expect.

Nurse: What do you normally do for exercise?

Sierra: HiiT (High intensity interval training) and Kickboxing, 5 days a week.

Nurse: Ok, you were not exaggerating about liking to workout hard. This is going to be tough for you but you’re not allowed to kickbox for six weeks. You can ask the doctor at your first check up in two weeks about when you’re clear to do body resistance workouts and more than walking. The good news is that you are in great shape, so it will make your recovery much easier and quicker!

Sierra: I’m going to loose my mind.

Nurse: I get it, I really do. I know it sounds crazy, and when my sister suggested it to me when I was out for a month, I told her to shut up. But she sent one to me anyway and it really helped! You need to get a really intricate coloring book and a pack of 50 pencils and when you feel like you’re losing it, find the most complicated page and color your heart out.

Sierra: …

Nurse: I know, I resisted it too, but it really helps!

Sierra: …

Nurse: Good luck, it will go by fast I promise…and get that coloring book!

Sierra:  (silently orders a stupid coloring book because what else can I do?????)


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