As a writer and artist, illustrated books are among my favourite things. I'm always on the look out for new ones, and new titles that come from artist authors I love and collect.
Below is a short list of my favourites, many which have been in my library for years and regularly come out so I can enjoy them all over again...and again. Picture books used to be only for children but no more. Beautifully illustrated books for adults are just as thrilling.
I've provided links for you to buy the books if you choose. I'm sure you'll drool over them as much as I do.
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I have lots of wonderful things in the works that you won't want to miss.
I wrote this poem several years ago for my mom for Mother's Day, and now that she has gone on to heaven, I found it while cleaning her house. I still feel the same.
I am blessed to have had Inez Dewar as my mother.
A Good Mother
Thank-you, Mom, for loving me
For encouraging all that I can be
Thank-you that I am able to see
You're a good mother
Never a mentor so profound
Who lifts me up when I am down
Could I be certain would be around
You're a good mother
I realize as the years go past
And children grow up so very fast
That yours is a love that will always last
You're a good mother
As now I'm approaching middle age
And time turns yet another page
I see with the wisdom of a sage
You're a good mother
When you've finished the course and run the race
And heaven's reserved you a special place
Tell the Lord, when you see Him face to face,
You're a good mother.
Copyright 2017 Wendy Dewar Hughes, All Rights Reserved
Sometimes I don’t want to do anything. I sit by the window and look out. The neighbour drives by in his little red car. I see a hummingbird zip past, stopping briefly to examine a leaf. The forsythia blossoms are finished, dear. It darts away.
Clouds tumble over the mountains. Will we get sun? It’s iffy, but the clouds today put on a show all their own.
I sit here knowing I should want to do the things on my list, but I don’t even want to want to. I want to do nothing, or at least nothing “important”. I am fine with reading a few chapters in a novel, or even turning on the television in the daytime (heaven forbid!), though I don’t. I don’t want to enough.
I heard on the radio that spring floods are ravishing neighbourhoods, sweeping away homes and filling basements with water. People have to evacuate for fear of being swept away with the rising water.
While natural disasters like this can be terrifying, being flooded by activity, obligations, and social pressures can catch us just as unawares.
“I’m so busy!”
That seems to be the cry of the modern working person—and even sometimes the retired person. As a culture, being busy has become like a badge of worth somehow.
I’m not going to belabour the point, but I think this is the wrong direction to go. For one thing, it sets you up for a fall. Running around like your shirttail is on fire leads to exhaustion sooner or later.
I know of what I speak having been in business for a decade and a half. Work can easily overwhelm a life, but so can other things, such as childcare, elder care, and extra-curricular activities, and especially if they all happen at once.
Lately, I’m feeling like it’s all been too much. Do you ever feel like that?
I went to the library a few days ago, and had no enthusiasm for books. (I know. Weird, right?) My lilac tree bloomed and was done before I could cut any blossoms and bring them inside. I went shopping briefly at one of my favourite stores, and left with nothing after wandering around for ten minutes.
Sometimes you just don’t want to do anything. It’s a sign. When you don’t want to do anything, perhaps that’s exactly what you should do.
And me? Right now, I’m going to go and sit by the window. The clouds are spectacular and looking at them is enough. And the sun came out.
Yesterday I cleaned out my piano bench. It was full of cassette tapes. We all know that cassettes have now gone the way of the 8-track and the video rental store so even though I still own a stereo unit that will play cassettes, I haven’t listened to most of them in years.
Time marches on. We adopt new technologies, try new ideas, and buy new things. It’s so easy to simply leave something on the shelf where it has always lived and close the door without dealing with it. We still own it but don’t really need or want to have it.
Last week I sat at breakfast with a darling friend who told me about what she called, “my injury”. This person went through a terrible ordeal and still suffers the consequences. My heart went out to her.
However, it struck me that she is not only dealing with the after-effects of the injury but still owns it as her own. She hasn’t let go of it and relegated it to the past as something that happened to her from which she can move on, rather than something that she still accepts as part of her. She still carries it around.
I spent last week cleaning out my mother’s house. Cupboards and closets were stuffed with items than I’m sure she’d forgotten about years ago. It’s different when clearing someone else’s effects than cleaning out your own closet skeletons, I get that, but boy, it has sure made me take a hard look at my own trailing clutter.
The cassette tapes all went out the door. With the piano bench empty, I had room for music books and sheet music. Then the ragged pages and coverless music books went in the recycling, and the good ones that I no longer want, go to the used bookstore. The stand where they’ve languished for more years than I care to count now goes too. (I never liked that thing.)
Possessions that I no longer want to own are moving out of my life to make more room for the objects that give me joy.
The incidents and events that have happened in my past are like those belongings in my house that are no longer necessary. They’ve made an impact and won’t be forgotten. But I don’t need them anymore so I no longer own them as mine. Yesterday’s stuff can stay in the past.
Today is a new day with new possibilities, new choices, and new chances for wonder and happiness. A light heart is not encumbered by yesterday’s burdens.
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I’ve never been on a football team, a hockey team or even a cheer leading team. But I did play a little basketball in high school. Our school was so small that you didn’t have to be tall or even very good to play basketball; you just had to show up.
During my stint as a basketball player I had two different coaches.
Coach Ann hollered a lot, often until she was had turned a dangerous-looking shade of purple, noticed every mistake the players made, and pointed out our errors in front of the rest of the team for the benefit of all.
Coach Jenn also shouted a lot, jumped up and down, and cheered when any of us made a great pass or a basket, and reinforced our successes while training us to do better.
Even when we lost, which was fairly often, she encouraged us by saying we had done a good job and that next time would be better.
Which coach to you suppose helped us win more games? Both, each in her own way, or you could say, neither, given our dismal record of wins.
But Coach Jenn made us want to play better and win more games than Coach Ann did. Coach Ann made us want to quit.
When one or the other of my daughters is having a down day, she sometimes calls and intones in a plaintive voice, “Mom, I need a pep talk.”
Since I’m a pretty positive person by nature it’s not too difficult to think of something uplifting when the need arises. Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying, “You can do this,” or “It will work out, you’ll see.”
An encouraging word from a friend can make all the difference in keeping going or giving up. Commiserating isn’t usually helpful.
If someone you know is miserable, what good will it do to become miserable with her? (Misery may love company but it doesn't help.)
To encourage means to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. How we need those things sometimes!
My aim is to encourage us all to believe in ourselves more, to be inspired, to know we are not alone, or just to laugh.
I write to inspire you with courage, spirit and confidence. Whatever you want or need to do, know that you can have the courage required to do it.
You have the strength, the ability, or the inspiration to follow through.
I have to admit that I haven't felt particularly creative lately and while I have ideas for things I want to do, my motivation has been low. (I think I just need a holiday.)
My sister came by a few weeks ago and dropped off a box of magazines for me to look through then she went away and forgot to pick them up. I've been thumbing through them one by one. The most numerous one is Marie Claire Idées, which is all in French. My French is a tad rusty but thankfully, there are plenty of gorgeous photographs from which to glean ideas for creative projects.
The magazines that I'm not going to use, I plan to pass on to my local library for their sale table, or recycle.
However, this morning I had an idea, not for something presented in a magazine, but for pages from the magazines themselves.
I tore out a few pages and made an envelope. As you know, I love all things stationery, writing, and art related so the idea of making my own envelopes from magazine pages was a natural.
Here you can see a couple of the pages that I've torn from one of the magazines. I knew I'd never make this particular craft so it didn't seem like a great loss to sacrifice the pages.
paper, in this case stamps and postmarks in French. Apropos, oui?
To make the flap, I folded the top corners in to meet up with the top of the pocket.
You can cut these off if you like but I didn't bother. I like a neat folded edge.
I like how the interior of the envelope is full of photos in colour. They make a nice little surprise when the letter is opened.
I also folded the "point" of the flap so it has a neat edge, riather like gift wrap.
You can see in the photo below that all you have to do is pop your letter into the pocket of the envelope then fold down the flap.
I just happened to have a pretty sticker (because I buy them whenever I see them) that looks nice with the colours on the envelope. You could also use a glue stick to seal the edges of the flap, which is probably a good idea anyway.
It turned out that a white space appeared above the butterfly sticker so I could write a return address there, or in this case my other web address, LettersfromWendy.com.
On the front, if the graphics are too busy, you'll probably want to affix a mailing label sticker for the address. I made this name and address up, so my apologies if an April Marshall really exists at 7741 Willow.
Voilà! A beautiful, unique envelope that takes only minutes to make.
Here is a selection of paper tapes, also known as washi tape, that I've collected. They are lots of fun to use.
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Recently, I was musing about making some changes in my life and when I thought about certain things, I could actually feel a sensation in my body. It was like that feeling you get when you are startled by a knock at your door, or when it's your turn to speak a meeting.
What is this? I didn't want it to pass unnoticed, because I've learned over the years to pay attention to those visceral responses. The are useful indicators of what's going on emotionally under the surface.
I realized that the sensation I was experiencing was a little quiver of fear. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty confident—even fearless—person. Most things don't slow me down. However, as with everyone, there can be things under the surface of daily life that still have an emotional hook to something fearful.
This brought me to another question: What would my life look like if I weren't afraid?
This question is different than, what would I do if I weren't afraid? I want to know the end result, what my life looks like without that particular fear holding sway.
So let me ask you...
What would your life look like if you weren't afraid?
"But I'm not afraid," you might protest. And in most situations, you're probably right. But see if any of these give you a little twinge.
What would you life look like if you weren't afraid...
Obviously, there are more possible fears than I can list here. The point is, if your particular fear were not part of your life, how would you life be different?
If you can imagine or picture your life without that fear controlling your actions, you're well on your way to eliminating it and living a better life.
Fear is a thief.
If you think about how fear affects your life, you can easily see that fear is a thief, by any other name.
It steals your peace, your joy, your future, your choices, your happiness, your health, and your relationships. It robs you of confidence and ambition.
Fear is a Liar.
Fear lies to you about your abilities and your future. It lies about how smart or capable you are. It lies about what people think of you and how much God loves you. It even lies about danger.
Fear is destructive.
Fear destroys your dreams, your compassion, your thought life, your sleep, and your health. It damages your ability to think clearly and make decisions that will enhance your life.
My life is like this...
If you've identified anything from the list above, or that you already know is causing you to hesitate and not to do what you would like to, take some time to imagine your life without that particular fear.
Where would you go?
What steps would you take?
To whom would you talk?
Where would you live?
What would your days look like?
What would you try?
This is a fun exercise because all it requires is a bit of imagining.
Close your eyes a picture the result you want. It's pretty easy but if you're getting resistance, just keep trying until you can see your life without the stumbling block.
Daily joy is up for grabs so don't let fear steal it away. Go for the happy.
I am so excited to welcome new subscribers to the Letter Box. I have lots of wonderful ideas in store for upcoming months.
In the Letter Box this month, I am exploring how to simplify in various ways so that your life is fuller, richer, and more peaceful because you make the right choices, and much more.
Subscribe now for the latest issue.
She had a lot of interests and boy, did she fill up those cupboards, shelves, and closets. Amongst the articles discovered were lots of old letters and cards, some nearly 100 years old.
I remember collecting such things when I was a teenager and had pen pals from different parts of the world. One year for Christmas my mom ordered monogrammed stationery for my sister and me. She was a classy lady.
When I was in high school, my sister went on an extended backpacking trip around Europe (these were the '70s) and wrote letters home on thin airmail paper detailing her travels and what she had seen and done.
Experiences like these and the emotions that accompany them were the inspiration for creating the Letter Box and the Wish Letter. The Wish Letter is not the only thing that will appear in your Letter Box when you subscribe to the twice+ monthly missive. (Each letter includes a gift, for example...)
I've always loved writing and paper, and I know I'm not alone in my love a receiving delightful letters.
Part of the motivation for creating the Letter Box and writing the Wish Letter is because I know she would have loved it. I think you'll love it too, and I hope you'll subscribe so I can shower you with delight and joy that comes in the Letter Box each month. Click HERE to learn how. The second February issue is already available and when you subscribe you will also receive a surprise gift in the mail. (No, I'm not telling...)
If you haven't already subscribed to my little old mailing list, be sure to do that and get your free mini-version of the Wish Letter and my Dream Believe Poster.
It has snowed steadily for a day and a half, covering cars, causing bushes to bend under the weight, and forming icicles from eves. And it shows no signs of stopping any time soon. While the temperatures are not terribly cold, blasts of wind blow snow around into drifts and into faces. Here is the forecast for the week. Showers after snow...very messy.
My husband and I cuddle up on the sofa and watch travel videos or Netflix movies.
Be sure not to miss all the news and creative ideas, join my email list today HERE and receive my Introductory Wish Letter, plus my Dream-Believe Poster that you can print and frame. It is an original artwork print of my own. I think you'll like the uplifting messages.
The Letter Box is where good things arrive. One of those lovely things is the Wish Letter. The Wish Letter is part, "I wish I would get a letter" and part, "My wish came true. I got a letter."
How fun is that?When you subscribe to the Letter Box you will receive the Wish Letter two—or more—times each month. You can download and print it or simply read it online. Somtimes I will surprise you by sending it to you in the mail. Yes, to your address at home so you can have the fun of getting real mail in your own letter box. But it is so much more...just go HERE and see.
Here are some rabbit tracks, or snowshoe hare tracks, to be more precise, along with paw prints from some other little visitors to the farm yard.
The prairies have a singular beauty that the uninitiated (those from elsewhere) often miss. The lack of obvious visual activity, such as mountains or trees, causes those unfamiliar with the landscape to miss the finer details of the setting. For example, it never fails that when I visit the prairies I see far more wildlife than in any other locale, including the Rocky Mountains.
This trip was no exception. More than once we spotted husky, well-fed, and well-furred, coyotes loping across the stubble fields. Last fall was not a good one for the farmers as constant rain prevented them from bringing in their crops, many of which still lay in the fields, now covered with snow. However, this situation is a boon for coyotes and foxes because mice and other small rodents can have a field day in the windrows, making for good eats for the predators.
We also saw several herds of deer, many in number, and when we stopped the car to gaze at them they leapt, with ease, over a nearby fence, and trotted away.
In January, mornings come late and evening descends early, but in between the sky is clear and bright most days. Because the landscape is flat, you can't help but notice the sky. It is a presence. At night, we were blessed with a full moon.
If you've ever wondered what southern Alberta looks like, wonder no more.
Being away from home, for whatever reason, gives me time to reflect on my life and what direction I'm going with it. Losing my mom, while a sad time, has also signalled the end of a chapter in my life. (Officially, I'm an orphan now as my father passed away about two years ago.)
We arrived home late on Sunday night. By Monday morning I was sick with a deep chest cough and a fever. It has clung to me all week, I'm sure a result of accumulation of grief, stress, and lack of sleep. I needed the rest, but I didn't need to be sick.
I have had something on my mind for several months now, an idea that won't go away and keeps popping up again and again. Until now, I've made that idea sit on the sidelines as I worked on my clients' books and other projects. But leaving it to the leftover time in my days (of which there is extremely little) has meant not moving forward with something I think people will love, and that I believe has value.
I have decided that now that we're in a new year, it's time to pay attention to what is truly important for me. In fact, though I don't always do this, I felt compelled to choose a word to keep me focussed this year. It is, attention.
Paying attention to too many things, plenty of which don't even matter that highly to me, means that I don't have the energy to give attention to the important ones. So this year, I'm giving attention to what matters most and am beginning to eliminate what doesn't. There is only so much time and energy to go around. I want it to go to the right things.
Now that I'm back home, in the land of mountains, forests, and farms, my attention is turning to 2017 and its possibilities and promises.
Christmas in the city is exciting and fun. We arrived on Christmas Eve, did a little shopping foray down the street and back. My younger daughter is "with child" and had a queasy stomach and her two year-old was running out of steam so the shopping trip was short and slow. Just perfect, in fact, as the sun decided to come out and hung low in the afternoon sky for a short while before disappearing below the horizon. Such is winter at this latitude.
I did have a chance to nip into the Indigo bookstore, which was crazy busy, and pick up a copy of Susan Branch's book, The Fairy Tale Girl. (I feel like Susan and I are kindred spirits, both artists and authors.)
Little tummies need constant filling with fruit and protein, and grown-ups need stops at Starbucks for hot chocolate for energy to keep shopping. The French says "prepared with love."
My husband and I both grew up on the Canadian prairies where winter lasts a long time and the weather conditions have to be pretty bad before you let them stop you from doing what you want. Driving here on the coast is a bit frustrating because of the other drivers. So a one and a half hour trip home took nearly three hours.
My sparkly blue and white theme acts as a counterpoint for my olive wood crêche, hand made by an Israeli man with whom I used to work. It is one of my most treasured Christmas decorations because it reminds me of that night so long ago when a young lady and her husband trudged through a town looking for a place for their baby to be born.
I hope your year was a good one, that your Christmas holiday time was filled with love and friendship and remembrance of the real reason for the season, Jesus Christ's birth. As we look forward to a new year, I wish and pray for you, good health, great success, and dreams that come true.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Many thanks to Karen for allowing me to feature her charming home.
For more creativity coming your way, be sure to subscribe to my Luscious Newsletter HERE.
Maria's Christmas decor with a silver and white theme, and touches of gold, that suited her home perfectly. Sparkle set off the neutral decor palette. See what I mean...
Many thanks to Maria for allowing me to feature her home and decorations.
For more creative ideas coming your way, be sure to subscribe to my emails HERE.
At this latitude, the sun gets over the mountains just before ten o’clock in the morning and disappears by 4:00. It’s dark a lot at this time of year.
I trudged around the parking lot until I found a cart shed with some buggies in it and heaved two of them through the snow and ice into the store with me. Another mom, with one child on her hip and another at her knee, sagged with relief when I offered her my extra cart. I saw a car accident happen on my way home.
Once home again, I fought to bring my boxes of groceries in against a vicious wind that threatened to rip the front door off every time I opened it. Going back for another box, I fell on the ice and bruised a knee. Admittedly, I have a bleak view of winter. I don’t enjoy winter sports and though cozying up by the fire with a hot chocolate and a good book is a wonderful vision, it’s never the only thing you have to do.
In life, stuff happens; stuff we don’t want to have happen. It’s like winter comes, it won’t leave, and there is no summer in sight. We cry out, “God, why is this happening to me?” Or, sometimes, “God, why are you doing this to me?”
You mean it isn’t God who is doing this to me? Then who is?
In a metaphor using himself as a shepherd, us as sheep (the resemblance is not lost on me), and the force of evil (Satan) as a thief, Jesus says, “The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them (us, the sheep) a rich and satisfying life.”
For years, Jesus’ comment to take heart because he had overcome the world perplexed me. What about my problem that won’t seem to go away? What about when life is anything but rich and satisfying, when it’s actually poor and unsatisfying, or downright awful?
What exactly am I to do?
It brings me to this question: How much of what we suffer is simply fear? When things don’t work out like I want them to, I have a choice. I can move into fear, or I can move into Jesus’ peace. When I trust that his goal for me is a rich and satisfying life and that he’s working against the force of evil that wants to take that away, I can have peace—his kind of peace.
I have learned that the more I believe in God’s plans to give me a rich and satisfying life, the more it happens that way. Things will still come along because we live in a world where evil also dwells, yet we can live in peace in the midst of it.
Is this easy? Sometimes; sometimes not. Still, when I see that my only two choices are fear or peace, and I get to choose, I’ll take peace.
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I am a reluctant hostess. I require lots of time alone to think and stay focused, and as a business owner with my operations centred in my home, having guests is a disruption I can seldom afford.
As a guest it is important to consider the feelings, habits and schedules of your hosts and adapt yourself to them as much as possible. Seek to please wherever and whenever you can. Offer to help, mean it, and do a good job of it.
During one of my guest’s visits, I experienced a particularly busy and stressful season in my business. She asked how she could help me the most. I replied that if she could take over some of the meal planning and preparation it would be a huge relief to me. Though she readily confesses that she is no cook, she cheerfully took on the task without complaint and we accepted her efforts gratefully. She also made sure to give us time alone and with each other. I thank her to this day for her willingness to adapt herself to our needs.
By accepting what you are offered with grace and charm you eliminate the possibility of hurt feelings, and you will succeed in preserving a valuable friendship. Keep your moods and opinions to yourself unless they are cheerful. No one wants to spend time under the same roof with a disagreeable person.
The best part of being a gracious guest is that you will always be invited back for another visit. Because of her graciousness, kindness, and lovely disposition, my guest is welcome in our home any time. In fact, we hope she comes again soon to brighten our lives.
I take responsibility.
You are in charge of your life. Hold yourself accountable for the outcomes you create. Celebrate the fact that you have the power to determine your own future.
I apply effort.
Figure out your definition of success so you know what is worth working for. Give yourself credit when you're making progress rather than comparing yourself to others.
You have your own individual strengths that you can draw on. Figure out what you're good at and what you want to do. Let that knowledge guide your choices.
I listen to feedback.
Ask for feedback so you can enhance your performance and show others that you respect their point of view. You grow faster when you gather solid input that you can translate into action.
I ask for help.
Expand your capabilities by building a sturdy support network. Work with a mentor. Divide up household chores with your spouse and children.
Moral support counts too. Surround yourself with loving and encouraging family and friends. Participate actively in your faith community. Join a club with members who share your interest in solar power or badminton.
I recognize opportunities.
Stay alert for promising openings. You may meet a new friend while you're standing in line to buy your morning coffee.
I try new things.
Be open to experimentation. Go kayaking one weekend instead of playing tennis. Bake your own bread or knit a scarf. You may discover hidden talents.
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Consider these empowering beliefs that you can start using today to transform your life through the power of positive thinking.
You can achieve amazing results when you put your mind to it. Feel excited about reaching your true potential.
I count my blessings.
List each thing that you have to be grateful for. Remember to include the smaller items, like warm socks or tart cranberries. Expressing your appreciation reminds you of how rich you are.
I learn from mistakes.
You can make setbacks work for you by focusing on the lessons that they contain. Flubbing one project can teach you how to ace the next one.
Tough times can be the most rewarding phase of your life. Know that you can emerge from any challenge with greater wisdom and courage. Look back at the obstacles you've already overcome, and reassure yourself that you can handle what's ahead.
I embrace change.
Accept that life is a series of changes. Focus on the present moment, and prepare yourself to adapt to whatever circumstances come your way.
I dream big.
Expand your wish list. Setting demanding but attainable goals gives you adventures to look forward to each day.
Lighten your load by clearing away any resentment you're holding onto from the past. Set reasonable boundaries while you respond with compassion when others disappoint you. Pardon yourself, too.
I give generously.
Sharing your blessings makes you more powerful and joyful. Volunteer in your community and speak kindly to each person you meet today. Buy coffee for your co-workers or give your sister a flower.
I have worked at home for over fifteen years and I know a lot about distractions. While I no longer have small children or teenagers in the house, the distractions dangled before my eyes by the rest of my life are countless.
Facebook is fascinating, blogs are brilliant, and email is endless, but if spending time on any of these will not result in my business success, I will have wasted precious time looking at them. In order to avoid distractions it is vital that you know what your goals are for your work.
I will be the first to admit that it’s not easy to stop and ask yourself if what you’re about to do will contribute to your goals, but once you get in the habit, I think you’ll find that your productivity will increase, and most likely your bottom line, too.
The Internet is a fun toy, so if you remind yourself that cat videos and knitting blogs are for off-work times, you won’t feel deprived of those enjoyments, and you will get a lot more done.
For creative people and dedicated individuals, putting your head down and working straight through can happen without you realizing that hours have passed. I tend to write or work on art or websites only to look up and realize that it’s already 4:00 PM and I’ve hardly left my desk for hours.
A good way to avoid this is to set a timer to ring after fifty minutes of work. When it goes off, get up, walk around, breathe deeply, stretch, and adjust your gaze to something far away out your window. This is good for your brain, your circulation, and your eyesight.
This brings me to my final point in this series. Be sure to build breaks into your day that include going outside and getting some fresh air. Go weed your garden for ten minutes, take a brisk walk to the mailbox or the corner store, or just walk around the block. It’s not healthy to sit for hours at a time.
It’s also important to have human contact, so if you work alone all day, be sure to factor in a trip to the library, or a networking event so that you get out of the house. Working at home can be lonely and isolating, even if you’re an introvert and love your own company.
Get up, move around, see people, and do something fun. You will have more success if you balance your work life with lots of other activities and you’ll enjoy it all more, too.
You’ve kicked the 9-5 job to the curb and have joined the ranks of those blessed few who get to work at home. You crawl out of bed your first morning of freedom and are at your desk bright and early.
You may already have your time planned but it you don’t, it’s a good idea to put some schedules and systems into place. Trying to accomplish things with a loosy-goosey day plan (which is no plan) isn’t going to contribute to your success.
Without structure inherent in a job environment, it’s up to you to impose structure on your own time. The easiest way to do this is to write a daily schedule. Start by listing your main goals, and then break those out into a task list. By assigning “appointment” times, or duration times, to each task, you can stay on track without getting lost in the many choices you may have.
A great way to accomplish a lot in an efficient manner is to batch similar work together. For example, if you have appointments out of your home office, arrange for them all to be done on the same day, thereby saving travel time.
You can also look after social media posts of all kinds in one session, say from 9:00 until 10:00. This not only focuses your attention on the task at hand, but it eliminates some of the temptation to click over to Facebook or Twitter to check out what your friends are saying several times a day.
Regardless of what type of work you do, whether sitting at a computer, or sanding cabinets in your shop, it helps to separate home life from work by keeping work in the space meant for it. Believe me, if your work gets spread all over the house and your kids are moving your papers or tools, you’re opening the door to lots of family conflict.
Don’t eat at your desk, and don’t sleep in your office or workshop. Stop trying to do more than one thing at a time.
In Part 3, we’ll discuss those pesky distractions and how to rise above the din.
Many people have the dream of getting out of the corporate rat race, leaving the stressful commute behind, and starting a business working from home. If you’ve managed to make that happen, Yay, you!
So now that your commute is down the hall instead of down the freeway, how do you structure your days so that you succeed? I’ve been working from home for over fifteen years and I’ve developed some essential strategies to make things work.
Okay, this sounds too simplistic. Of course, you’re going to get up. But let me tell you, the temptation to lie in bed late can be strong if you’re not naturally a morning person. But remember, you’re still getting up and going to work so lazing in bed in the morning isn’t an option.
If you’re like me and live on the west coast, those folks on the east coast who may be your clients have already been up and working for three hours before your eyes open.
One of the perks of working at home is that you can work in your pyjamas. Who’s to know, right?
However, there is a certain mindset that goes with being in your nightclothes and that is that you’re still on leisure hours. Besides, how you do one thing is how you do everything so sloppy is as sloppy does.
If you conduct business via Skype, or Zoom, where people will see you, it is doubly important that you look presentable and professional. Fix yourself up as though you’re going to the office, because you are.
Besides being a writer, I’m a visual artist, and like most visual people, I’m happier when I can see what I need. But honestly, it gets away on me frequently. The “I’ll just put that here for now” method of dealing with incoming materials means it doesn’t take long until I’m overwhelmed with messes.
I’m not saying that you have to constantly be cleaning up, just regularly tidy up your space. The best way to stay on top of that is with systems, which we’ll look at in the next article in this three-part series.
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Where I share thoughts, creative ideas, and spread sweetness for abundant living.
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