perfectionism

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

6 Ways I Disagree with Kon Mari

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I have personally been through Kon Mari’s 2 books most recent books on tidying and de-cluttering. I can honestly say that I did really value these books and I do find lots of good things about them. I did actually go through the entire book step by step and followed her methods. However, I can attest to the fact that clutter crept back into my home. At first I felt a lot of guilt and shame. Maybe I had not done everything correctly? Where did I go wrong? Did I fail? Why do I continually need to de-clutter/clear my home? What’s really going on here on a deeper level? What problems am I not dealing with? What am I resisting?

These questions really helped me because it really made me see the deeper personal relationship we have with our things and how it connects to our homes and ourselves. Recently I have begun de-cluttering in my home again, but I do it in a completely different way. Here are some thoughts on Kon Mari’s method and ways that I disagree with her through my own experience.

  1. There is no such thing as a rebound: In Kon Mari’s book she claims that if you go through her method you will never need to do a big de-cluttering session again. She calls needing to do a major de-cluttering session a “rebound.” If we happen to have a need to do more de-cluttering it does not mean that we have a disease that came back. It does not mean that we have failed. It does mean that we have more exploring to do in our homes, to discover what our things mean to us and what our relationships with our things represent in our lives. This is a continual process of discovery, letting go and learning. I believe that exploring your home is a habit that you can develop and one that can happen daily or weekly. It is not a “one and done” process.

  2. Most of us don’t have the time to fold our clothes like origami on a regular basis: I will freely admit that when I first went through her method I was in love with trying to fold my clothes very neatly and spent some time rolling things up, trying to get them to look a certain way in the drawers. Although I do think there is beauty in that, it is not a realistic assumption that we will spend the time and effort to do that sort of folding very often, especially if we have laundry for more than 1 person in our household. I believe that we all have a way of organizing our clothes that works for us. As long as we can reasonably find things that are clean and neat to wear every day, that is the most important thing.

  3. I believe that each individual person will know what areas they are ready to de-clutter rather than insisting that we go through categories in a specific order. I know that Kon Mari has her reasoning as to why she feels we must go through clothing, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous/sentimental items, I personally have discovered that sometimes I am not ready to go in that order. I believe you need to have a curiosity about your things and your spaces and really want to explore then before you will be ready to let go of some items in your home. I do agree that sentimental items are often the last ones that we are able to sort, and I freely admit that there are some that I keep going back and forth about getting rid of (like journals and letters). However, I feel that each individual has an intuition that they should trust in relation to what they are ready for.

  4. I feel that we need to ask more questions of ourselves before we de-clutter and during our de-cluttering. I think that asking “Does it spark joy” is helpful, but only to a certain extent. More questions to ask, such as “Will this help my future self?” or “Is this an item I need for my new career path/transition?” I’m not suggesting we need to ask ourselves countless questions about each item, but we can have them in mind before we start. This I believe will help us to truly let go of items that are no longer serving us in our current lives.

  5. There are no “rules.” Kon Mari has many rules and methods in her books about trying to use only built-in storage, ways to store clothes, etc. I think that especially for a creative person such as myself who loves to explore different art mediums and many crafts it can be limiting to have rules and methods.Rules are so very useful, but there are so many situations in our home where we feel guilt and shame because our method of storage doesn’t fit the rules.I know that I tried my best to follow the rules and strategies in her book, but some of those just didn’t work for me. I believe that as a facilitator in helping people clear/de-clutter their homes that my clients have the best intuition of what will work for them and for their families. I can give people some guidelines, questions and ideas, but often they come up with amazing solutions that I never would have thought of. That is the power of co-creation.

  6. There is no be all-end all one-time transformation of your home. Often when we see de-cluttering shows and read de-cluttering books, we see this amazing, life-changing, perfect transformation. Every problem seems to be solved! The magic of TV gives us the illusion of a very simple, easy transformation and that it will stay that way forever, static and perfect, frozen in time. However, our homes are not static. They are ever-changing, they are flowing and fluid. We must be kind to ourselves and realize that daily habits are more powerful than a one-time transformation. If we don’t develop the habit of exploring our home, then a big transformation will soon fade and we will feel as if we have failed, but we have never failed. We have only learned, grown as a person and need to become curious about our relationship to our things on a daily basis.

Here’s a question I’d love to hear the answer to from you on in the comments below:

Have you tried de-cluttering methods/rules before? How did they work /not work for you?

You can comment below or email me at:

trista.signe.ainsworth@gmail.com

Thank you so much!

—Trista

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