life's work

Workaholism

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My name is Trista and I am a recovering workaholic. This is exactly what I would say if a workaholics anonymous group existed. This is a subject that I am continually exploring and I learned a lot about last year after spending 4 months working at the coffee shop waking up at 3:45am and then going home each day at 2pm, picking up my son, & then having lots of work to do at home were just insane! What I learned from that experience was that there is only so much work one person can do in a day and that we need to give ourselves more breaks, more days off and more relaxation time.

Productive Time:

I have always loved to feel productive and busy. I am kind of a “busy bee” type. I am always fidgeting, always going around the house looking for things I think need to be done. I love to do things like iron, organize stuff and de-clutter. However, I am learning that there has to be a balance there. Now when I make my planning sheets for my daily tasks I actually write down things like “break time.” This may seem crazy to some, but to a workaholic like me, it is a lifeline and a way that I can let myself take some time to relax and enjoy life.

Sometimes there is a big difference between being “busy” and being productive. I can have a tendency to spend too much time on social media, thinking that staying in touch with everyone is super productive when I should just take that time to read a good book, enjoy my lunch, go out for a coffee or go for a walk. I am now working on having a specific time window that is for productive work time activities like writing blog posts, marketing, writing newsletters, writing course materials, creating videos, setting up appointments and things like that. After that time window is finished, then I can spend time taking a lunch break, working on some fun hobbies like learning Japanese and more. Social media time is best spent during a short time in the evening and limited to just a few minutes. I admit that last week the screen time count on my phone as atrocious! That is why I am taking action to work on that and spend time doing things that really matter in moving myself forward and create more joy in my life. Also, I have stopped doing any work of any kind at around 6:30-7:00 pm every evening. I make sure to read a book, hang out with my family or watch a video with my son and have fun talking about it.

Home Management/Asking for Help:

Especially speaking for women (and some men) we can still find ourselves in charge of home management as well as having a job or business. With this we can put added pressure on ourselves and get overwhelmed by the number of tasks we need to accomplish. There are daily tasks like: dishes, laundry, recycling, going through papers, taking out garbage and more. Then there are other things like home and car maintenance.

There can be a huge list each week and each month that we feel responsible for and feel we need to take care of. This is why I am slowly working on asking for help. This is an area that I have been working on for a long time. I have a bad habit of trying to do everything on my own and then getting overwhelmed by it. This is not a good cycle to be in because your attention can get really scattered and that is especially tough when you are trying to build a business or work on your career while still balancing home, family and friends.

Lately I have begun to ask for help from my husband and son on a regular basis. Here are ways I have started to ask for help and hopefully some of these can give you some good ideas too.

  • My 10-year old son now has daily chores that he is responsible for- laundry- putting it in the washer, dryer and folding it. He also goes to the mailbox to get the mail. I also have him clear his dishes at mealtimes and also help put leftovers away, set and clean the table before/after meals. I have also been working with him to do 15 minutes of de-cluttering in his room each evening. We actually do this activity together and it’s fun to see what we discover. So far he has filled 3 grocery bags to give away to charity. He has been capable of doing these things for a long time, it was just a matter of me being consistent in asking him and reminding him. It will take a while to instill these habits and although sometimes it may feel like it is simpler for me to just take care of these tasks I feel that it is important to teach him: daily cleaning habits/chores, home management skills, to contribute to the family/household and to be responsible.

  • I ask my husband to help with specific tasks- I often ask him to help with vacuuming and he also helps clear the table and does the dishes often. He is also great about going to the store and the library for us. He is fantastic about helping out and is always willing to help.

  • Family clean up- On the weekend I have started a simple cleaning routine where we each take a cleaning task or chore and do it all at the same time. For example, last Sunday my husband vacuumed while my son folded laundry while I cleaned the bathrooms. Within a short amount of time our chores were done and then we had a fun evening together. Things take less time when you all work on them together.

Saying No:/Setting boundaries:

For a long time I have had trouble saying no. I still have trouble saying no sometimes. However, I guard my time a bit more closely now while still leaving time for fun, friends and family. It is important to me to be productive during certain days and then schedule ahead of time coffee dates, parties and other events with friends and family. The lines can often blur between work time and social time when you are running your own business from home. Because you don’t work at a “regular job” at an office sometimes people get the notion that you can meet up during the week at anytime. But, if you don’t set boundaries as to what are your work times and hours then you will overwork yourself and not enjoy time that you have set aside for social time or time to do things that you enjoy as hobbies. You are actually robbing yourself of time by creating such a fractured schedule.

If someone wants to meet during a time that I have scheduled to work then I have to say no. Also, if I get a phone call in the middle of a work session I will let it go and call the person after I have finished my work time. I also have to say no to myself sometimes if I put too many things on my list. I often cross those out and re-evaluate how many things I am trying to accomplish in a day. Saying no can be very hard to do and I am still learning how to do it.

I would love to know from you:

How are you suffering from workaholism?

What are you doing to combat it?

How do you ask for help?

How do you say no and set boundaries?

Please leave a comment below or feel free to email me at: trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Thank you so much!

-Trista

Junk Drawer

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“I think that a junk drawer is a thing that happens when we’re adults. We get a junk drawer. If you go home, we all have the same stuff in our junk drawer. We all have— for some reason we won’t throw a rubber band away. There are tons of rubber bands, like 24 rubber bands in there, like…a case a bunch of little girls come over for pigtails one day. I don’t know. There’s a red ink pen in there, just in case you have to grade papers or something. I don’t know, just like.. There’s a roll of scotch tape that’s out of the container, just the roll, and it’s , you can’t get it started because it’s halfway broken anyway, and you just keep it. There’ a AA battery. Does it work? I don’t know, I just don’t. I put it in there. There’s a key and you don’t know what it’s to. You won’t throw it away because what if someone finds it and opens something? What do they…like walk around opening. I heard from someone that a junk drawer is like a metaphor for life, like we’re holding on to things that we don’t need to hold on to.”

Ellen DeGeneres from her comedy special “Relatable”

A friend of mine sent me a clip of Ellen's new comedy special on Netflix the other day containing the quote above about junk drawers. How true is that? Wow! She is so right that all of us have a junk drawer of all of these items that for some reason we can’t let go of for fear of needing them someday. I have lots of rubber bands that I never use and plenty of old keys and batteries too. Why are we holding on to these things? It may be a fear of letting go, of some future time where we’ll have a need for these things, or a fear that we won’t be able to replace them. Whatever it is, this shows us how funny and ridiculous it is to hang on to so many things that are no longer serving us. I’m thinking of that small box of rubber bands in my junk drawer as I write this.

I believe that there is a new way of looking at our homes and the lives we live in them. I look at a home as an organic, living being. We bring things in and out of our homes on a daily basis, we live joyful moments and sad moments, our home sees us through it all. For this reason our home as a living being sometimes needs to be cared for in a unique way. We can all become explorers and caretakers in our own homes in our own unique ways.

I have found that with each big life transition comes a reevaluation of possessions and they way that they are stored in our homes. Now that I am making a major change in my life’s work I find a deep calling to look at what I am holding on to and why. I am now exploring my home for a few minutes each day in a process I call “clearing.” This is bringing me more peace each day as I transition to being of more service to others. With fewer physical and mental objects in my way I will be able to achieve my quest to help everyone find a path to joy in their lives.

Check out my Patreon page for ways you can sign up for monthly companion videos, workbooks and more to help you on your journey:

https://www.patreon.com/expansive

Feel free to share about your junk drawer or how you see your things in your home in the comments below. Thank you and with lots of love,

Trista

Transition and Letting Go

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Although it is a very icy day and very cold where I am right now here in Oregon, we are still in a transition time towards spring. I have seen little leaves of daffodils poking through the ground, a signal that change is ahead for the earth. In this way I am readying myself for a major transition in my work life.

With the experiences I have had recently I am going to be transitioning out of baking for clients and into a whole other realm of work that I can do from home. I have come to find how important it is to pay attention to so many factors in the way that I live life, how it affects others, how I serve others and how I feel on a regular basis.

Breaking a Similar Pattern:

Over the past 15 years or so I have mainly concentrated on baking or food-related businesses. It started with a farmer’s market baking business with my mom and sister in law that we did for 4 years while I was still teaching English as a Second Language, my mom was teaching too and my sister in law was in college. Later on I quit teaching after 10 years to start my home pie business. After 2 years of that I transitioned to teaching baking/cooking classes while still taking orders for baked goods on occasion and I did that for around a year or so. That transitioned me to starting a meal service with Josephine.com which I did for nearly 2 years. Then, I worked at a local cafe for around 4 months baking and cooking there 6 days a week. After the cafe closed permanently I had another transition to make. I decided to start baking at home again and created an online bakery for local folks to order from and had some bake sales. I then have transitioned to baking part time at a local farm for their store/events.

Lots of Changes But Stuck in a Rut:

I realized the other day that I had a pattern of lots of transitions but it was always in the same space: food. It’s funny that at those times I thought I was making so many changes in my life but in a way I was in a rut. I just kept doing the same type of thing. I think in a strange way although I love to help people, in all of these food jobs I was looking for outside affirmation from others as to my worth in my work. I was working on validating myself through what I physically created. I have been doing some deep personal growth/development work recently and one of the exercises in a course I have been taking really made my realize this. Although I am very ready for a change I feel that I have learned so much through all of these experiences and all of these paths I have explored through the years. I believe deep in my heart that I could not start to become the person I am starting to become at this moment without this work journey.

New Focus, New Journey:

Coming to the conclusion that I needed to radically change the work I do to take the focus off of me and put it on others and really, truly help others in their lives with skills that I have has been a big realization. It may seem very abrupt, but I am ready to transition over to working in the personal development/personal growth space, not only in a part time fashion but very soon in a full time way. I have found that more than a year ago I had started to stop putting recipes on my blog and I really started to focus on my journey and what I was learning in life along the way. That became very interesting to me and I wanted to see how I could help others with it. Now, I believe I can begin to transition to helping and teaching others and facilitating their own learning on how to become the person they are meant to be. That is such a beautiful, joyful and exciting process to me. I have always loved to write, to create worksheets, to teach others. I am now really listening to that calling deep in my heart to give back.

What is next?

Here’s what’s to come:

  • Patreon Page: I have created a page on Patreon that is affiliated with this blog. If you would like to sign up for monthly benefits that include companion learning videos, checklists, workbooks, a private Facebook group or weekly accountability check ins you can check out what I have available to help you here:

    https://www.patreon.com/expansive

  • Home Clearing Course: I am creating a course for clearing your home. This is a different method from de-cluttering and it is a very manageable, practical daily practice that is easy and rewarding.

  • Vision Board Course: I am creating a course on how to make your vision board for your hopes and dreams really come alive with worksheets on visioning your future, how you want to feel and what experiences you want to have. It includes writing exercises to go along with your vision board to make it a richer experience.

I will continue to blog, write newsletter for my list and create videos and courses. I will also be teaching some courses locally just like the vision board course that I did recently. I will be transitioning this blog to a new domain/new website very soon because I will be taking down any food/baking related things. I have started by removing the “bakery” tab on this site. Eventually over the next 2 months this site will be moved but I will keep you posted on that process. I am so excited to be able to serve you all in a very different, enriching way!

I would love to hear from you and what transitions and letting go experiences you have had in your life. Please feel free to comment below!

Thank you so much for being on this journey along with me. It means a lot to me that you are here to share in the experience. Please feel free to reach out at: trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com anytime.

Perfectionism

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Some things happened last week that I wanted to share with all of you around perfectionism in my life. This is a difficult thing to share because I am always a very positive person and it is difficult for me to share things that haven’t gone well. But, that is part of perfectionism speaking instead of my authentic true self. I feel that I am on a growth journey and have been for the past 3-4 years especially, so I want to share my vulnerable side with all of you as well so that we all may know that there are many curves and bends on our paths.

I feel that I am really in a lesson learning phase right now, and although we all learn lessons daily, sometimes they are hard ones to take.

Recently at the farm where I bake 3 days a week I had a meeting with the main chef and the farm store manager. They wanted to meet with me to see how I was doing since I have been there around 2 months or so and they also wanted to talk about holiday ideas to sell in the store. They told me that there were some items that I had come up with that had sold well. They also told me that there was a customer that was unhappy with a pumpkin pie that they had ordered and it fell at home (sank in the shell). They had refunded them and they are ok with it, but it was devastating news for me. They had positive things to say to me such as they were happy with the amount of items that I produced in the hours that I was there. I remember during my interview that they had said that the previous baker wouldn’t produce a lot in her shift although what she made was of very good quality.

Later that day all I could focus on were the things that had gone wrong. I was really mentally beating up on myself for the mistakes I had made. I was so concerned about being fast and productive I let go of being accurate. I wanted to be perfect! I wanted to have both. I wanted to have everything turn out, but hurry and produce a lot. I was trying to be everything and anything at the same time. I couldn’t let it go. I wanted to be the perfect baker that they were looking for- someone who could produce a lot perfectly. The results of this was that I kept going on this way the next day and proceeded to under-bake some items. I was super upset about that as well. I should have taken my time. I should have slowly worked on the recipe that was new to me and given it time.

The lessons that I have learned from this experience are many that I will share with you.

Perfectionism Can Hinder Your Workflow:

First of all, I learned that I have some perfectionism about my work that I need to be aware of. It can be something that really can hinder my mindset and also the outcomes of my work. I have always put so, so much pressure on myself to do all that I can possibly do. I often observe what others want of me and try to be all of that and more. When I really listen to what they are saying though, they don’t expect perfection, only I do. For example, the other chef said that she had some mishaps when she first started cooking at the farm and also recently the other day she over-baked the bread a bit. She did a great job of letting go of it quickly, then moving on to other tasks. Sometimes items that all of us make don’t sell well in the store for some reason or another and we all learn from it. When I don’t let go of work that doesn’t turn out right, it disrupts my workflow to the point that I am not helpful or effective. I let my mindset of perfectionism get in the way of getting things done to the best of my ability and learning from the experience.

Perfectionism Can Distort Your View of Yourself:

I think that within my baking work I have had the view of myself that I have to do everything right and that it’s ok if others make mistakes but I can’t. I let other’s foibles go and when I do something wrong it’s not ok. I am very hard on myself for anything that goes wrong- something burned, something under-baked, something that is not decorated correctly, or enough. This is another way of saying to myself “You are not enough.” “You have to do your work perfectly.” This is not a healthy view. I have to know that I am enough even if I make mistakes. By making mistakes I am learning. By failing I am growing.


Perfectionism Can Slow Your Personal Growth:

Since I am on a path of personal growth and learning I have learned through this experience that perfectionism can put a damper on your personal growth. I know that I am on the farm working in a kitchen team to learn some powerful lessons. I cannot learn those if I let perfectionism get in the way. If I fuss about every mistake and replay it over and over in my mind and beat myself up about it mentally over and over I am not learning the lessons I am there to learn. I know that sometimes lessons show up more than once. Sometimes the lessons get harder just like a voice can get louder if you are not learning them in life. I know that life is showing me this right now. I am choosing to listen so that the voice doesn’t need to get louder and the lessons don’t have to get tougher to get my attention.

Moving Forward:

I know that from time to time perfectionism will want to show itself, to greet me, to challenge me on my path. For this reason I am coming up some steps to soften that voice in my head and to know that I am enough and that I am doing my job to the best of my ability at this very moment. I think that what I am going to try when one of these moments come up when I make a mistake is to repeat in my head “You are enough” instead of “You did a poor job.””What’s going on with you?” “Why aren’t you doing a better job?” and so many other things that pop into my head at that moment. If I can take a moment to breathe, say “I am enough” to myself and maybe to even write it down somewhere to carry with me that will change the direction and momentum of the day. I am going to try this method this week and report back how it went in another short bonus blog post.

Thank you all for being on this journey with me, through the ups and downs and everything in between.

I would love to know your experiences with perfectionism. Feel free to share your story below in the comments or email me at: info@thecheerychef.com

With lots of love,

Trista