Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Scheduling life - how do you do it?

Lately, I've been struggling with the "stuff" in my daily life, and more specifically what to do with it.

I set out with big ambitions in 2014, and I've stuck to many of my goals and ideas. Which feels great, but it's very time consuming - and a lot to juggle. I've been thinking of the idea that you get what you put into it - whatever "it" is, and I get so frustrated that I just don't have the time to excell at any one thing. Truthfully, I've never been the type to master anything. I've always been decent at everything, expert of nothing. And that's okay - my mind likes to dabble in too many things to box myself in. But when you turn your hobbies and passions and ideas into endeavors - how do you succeed at any one of them when you're attempting with all of them?

I'm not good at that part. I'm not good at saying, "Okay, this and this are my thing, and the rest can wait." I want it all. I have an I'll sleep when I'm dead approach to life so I can cram as many things as I can into a single day. But when you mix that in with the obligations of life - school and groceries and doctors appointments and sports and haircuts and visiting family and friends - HOW can I be good at everything? Not even incredible or wonderful or impressive - just, good?

Time Flies --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI started thinking about this because of my Jamberry support group. It's a team of people above me that I was added to when I joined as a consultant. It's a great team full of supportive, knowledgeable, supporting women - but they all have WAY more energy and ambition for selling Jamberry than I do. It's their thing. When I signed up, I warned my sponsor that I didn't have time to be an over-achiever. I simply wanted to support my own Jamberry addiction and gain experience and a customer base for the time when I do have space in my life to be ambitious.  But they get you, ya know? They give you all of these rewards for checking certain achievement boxes as fast as you can, and I'd get so close to each one that I'd try to push it a little. I tricked myself into thinking that I wanted to be ambitious even though I started this whole thing with a casual attitude.

The group has been posting things about needing to do this and that and I caught myself feeling guilty for not being a better salesperson or more involved in my customers or being more supportive of the team - or being able to find a single person to sign up under me. I've spent a couple months feeling that way. And then just this week I was like, hang on sec. Do I have time to support any team members? Do I want to plan ways to help them succeed and keep active posts and contests and things going to inspire their success? I barely have time for myself and all the other things I have going - Jamberry is a very small piece of my life right now. The answer is no. I don't have time, and that's not what I want to do when I have 5 minutes. Do I want to earn free stuff and help my friends earn it to (because I'm OBSESSED with the product itself)? Absolutely. But that was supposed to be the end of the story for now, and I forgot that for a minute.

So, okay. I've come to terms with being a so-so Jamberry consultant for the time being. But what about the rest?

For example - Etsy. My shop sits stagnant for so many months of the year, and despite adding in extra efforts this year, it hasn't taken off yet. It's early, just the very very start of holiday shopping, so I should not get discouraged. But it's difficult to know how much I should put into it. Should I make it my main focus? Turn it into my main job? Maybe throw a couple more ads out there and see what happens? I don't know.

And I have ideas. For new items. For possibly a whole second store. But.....time. I don't have enough of it. And will I regret it? I want the feelings of success - I want people to like my stuff, and to buy it for themselves, and to be proud of selling my handcrafted pieces, and to make a little money for Christmas, but will I totally regret filling up my time? Will I look back on it and say, I wish I could just play outside with my kids today, but I've got to get this done. I hate when something I love becomes obligation (sewing and crocheting for fun is different than sewing and crocheting with a deadline), so I hesitate.

I've tried to come up with schedules, and that rarely works out. I function decently when I say "Mondays are for this, and Tuesdays are for that"...but there always ends up being some un-done cross-over, and that upsets the flow, and then I end up feeling like it's not worth it.

In the end, most of my jobs and endeavors are for ME. Truthfully, none of them support my family or pay the bills. It takes me an entire year of saving all of my income from all of the jobs I do to pay for Christmas. And that is something that I am EXTREMELY grateful for, don't mistake this for complaining. Having my own money to buy gifts for my husband and children and parents is such a blessing! But it takes me ALL. YEAR. My Etsy shop is usually upside down because of the costs of materials and advertising (and no, I don't think the problem is in my pricing, people won't pay more than what I charge for what I'm selling). My VA job is wonderful, and the most profitable thing I have going, but the money I make for the work I do is not what you'd find in an office setting, by a LONG shot. (And that's totally okay, because it's NOT an office setting, and that's the loveliest thing about it.) Jamberry basically pays for me to buy Jamberry for myself. Once I spend money paying for prizes and gifts to make my parties successful, I have no spare change beyond my personal orders (and I don't even order that often!) And my blog isn't profitable in the least. I'm here to chat with you, and share my family, and maybe even a few goodies along the way, but aside from getting free products from time to time, I don't make actual pay-the-bills money. At least not yet (look out, 2015!)

All of that said, it's easy to feel guilty about my side jobs because they're not even covering our family's expenses month-to-month. They cover the extravagance of Christmas and pretty nails, and not much else. It's good to have these things going for myself - to have something for me, to keep active and learning and growing - but they also take away from time with my kids, and that's not always okay with me. In the moments that I NEED a bit of time away? They are a God send. But when I really just want to shut out the world and BE with them, these things tend to get in my way.

I have had so much to do lately, and after catching strep last week and struggling to put life back together afterwards (I mentioned that in yesterday's post), I took some unplanned family time last night and this afternoon. When Matt came home from work, we all went outside and played on the swings, raked piles of leaves to jump in, and ended up having a fire with s'mores and apple cider. It was SO Fall, and SO fun. My favorite part was Henry animatedly throwing his Mickey Mouse in the piles of leaves, and then pulling up a camping chair for him to sit at the fire. So sweet! Then today, after I picked Henry up from school, we met Matt for lunch and a quick playground visit. It was 75 and sunny at the time, totally unseasonable for October 28th, and it was SO nice. Then after we picked Luke up from school, I let them run around on the playground for a bit before heading home. These were all really simple things, but they all felt SO GOOD! And they're usually things we'd say, "sorry guys, we have stuff to do, it's a school night!" to......it was really, really nice to say YES. Even if my sprawling list of things to do was floating around in the back of my mind in the mean time. :)

Is it really crazy that I AM a virtual assistant, and on a nearly-daily basis I think, "Man I really need an assistant"? haha!

So, what are your pointers for organizing the mess of daily life? You probably don't have as many "things" going on as I do, but how do you manage what you do have?

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