person starting at the cosmos wondering how the will manage their time and achieve complex project objectives

OMM: 5 Ways to Squeeze in Good Work


Life is complex. Work, school, family, career (which is separate from work), brand, relationships, and, oh yeah, our passions. As complex humans we tend to want to achieve complex goals (e.g. goals made up of many tasks). For instance, I have a friend Tia who works in education, serves on a nonprofit in her free time, is starting a business, and still manages to rise as a brand leader on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This along with the other dimensions of being a superb daughter, reliable sister, active community leader, and woman growing into her own creates a week that ebbs and flows, and sometimes feels like an intense juggling act. Finding balance as she leads as a nonprofit board member (her first time around btw) means is fitting in one more complex role into her life. How could she possibly squeeze in everything and still maintain her brand of composed and in control?

It’s taken me years to refine a time management system that ensures I am meeting the goals that matter while living the life I want. Although, I am still adapting and trying new systems, there are a few key principles that matter consistently.

1. Commit to something

A nonprofit that strives to grow a powerfully empowering networking of women means that you have face a lot of goals to chew through before the vision is fully realized. Meetings, deadlines, worksheets, and email correspondences can quickly come before you and it can feel comforting to ignore it and hide. Yet, part of you made the decision to be a part of the mission in the first place, which means there is a reason behind you decision. Within that reason is your motivation.

Write down the why behind your commitment. This is the something that you can turn to when you are forgetting the motives you had.

2. Set goals

Writing down or otherwise documenting your goals gives your brain something simple and concrete to solve. Your mind is a powerfully calculating tool and you are the command master. Set small SMART commands and your brain will do the work for you.

goal achievement

3. Put it in Your Face

How do you make sure the things you really want to get done actually get done? You have to constantly remind yourself until you have it finished. To keep your tasks at the top of your mind, find a place you look at often and place those goals there. For me its my homepage, a small notebook I keep in my purse, and a calendar on my desk.

4. Measure It

Review your history and cross off what you successfully completed. You’d be amazed. Once I stumbled on a five-year goals list I made for myself in high school and I had completed about 80% of the tasks even though I left it at my dad’s house when I moved away to college. When you celebrate your small successes you rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit to continue doing more.

goal achievement

5. Talk about it regularly

It can take a while, but even the most stubborn of individualist must admit humans cannot exist alone on an island for long. We need others to grow us, to support us, and to hold us accountable. Set goals and share them with others and then return and share your achievements and failures. Communicating is the first step to bringing the ideas inside our heads into reality.

How do you manage to squeeze your passion into your daily activities? Let’s chat. 

friends connecting by a campsite like one would find in northeast ohio especially if you were on a retreat and wanted to connect with your leadership team

One More Move: Connect

friends connecting by a campsite like one would find in northeast ohio especially if you were on a retreat and wanted to connect with your leadership team

Image source

I had lunch with a colleague yesterday and the weather was delicious. When in Northeast Ohio one must bask in the sun’s rays for winter is always a whisper away. My colleague was a woman I’ve been meaning to have lunch with since last year. It took twelve months for our schedules to align so we could breath and meet for lunch’s sake. She was a mentor to the Executive Director of the non-profit I am helping to grow, and when she spoke in one of my graduate classes I could tell she was a kindred spirit.

Tweet: Persistence pays. Follow up on the people you mean to meet. You meant to meet them for a reason. @ZingaHartTweet: Persistence pays. Follow up on the people you mean to meet. You meant to meet them for a reason. @ZingaHart

Meeting for leisure can be rare in a world where agenda’s are pressing and calendar days stream past us. Yet, leisure is the glue that sticks business together. It is where we find the human in all the services, activities, and products we offer. It keeps us orbiting around where our purpose belongs. It is imperative that all personalities find ways to connect. My lunch was a bonus because she was an acquaintance so we had much to discover about each other. When we met, I got to remind myself of why I got into higher education, the renaissance career path I have taken over the past decade, and the complex life history that makes me who I am. She got to speak about her path as well and the art of leadership today. We didn’t focus on the mission, yet we refueled for the long haul.

zinga hart paulo freire only through communication can human life hold meaning

Here are three simple ways to connect this week:

  • Remember that person you’ve been meaning to call? Send an email or Facebook message. Sometimes it takes a build up to get to the call stage.
  • Respond to someone’s comment on LinkedIn. If they reply back keep the conversation going.
  • Schedule 1 lunch meeting with a person you would like to know more. Schedule it for 2-3 weeks out so you don’t feel rushed into the challenge.

Connecting with people is the cornerstone of building trust. Therefore human connection is the cornerstone of our economy. Authentic leaders will find time and space to facilitate human connection and allow for it to grow in organic ways. How do you take steps to grow your connection with others? I would love tips – as an INTP it is a worthy challenge for me.

unplug in order to increase productivity and live an authentic life

One More Move: Unplug

unplug in order to increase productivity and live an authentic lifeHappy Monday! On our journey towards authentic success, leadership, and overall self-improvement, it is important to note progress is a process. In order to make progress you must be aware of where you currently are, then you must plan and move to where you want to be, and along the way measure you growth. Our process may be creative and no two journeys will ever be exact copies, but there are some steps we must take before being able to take another. A part of my process for self-improvement is finding time to unplug.

Naturally, I am an INTP/J, which is a personality type that loves to analyze and absorb an abundance of information to soothe an insatiable hunger for new ideas. This personality means the internet is bottomless source of pleasure to feed my need. I read e-books to improve myself as an employee, board leader, entrepreneur, landlord, writer, mother, friend, etc. I follow news websites and my Feedly covers a gamut of topics. Sometimes, I’ll have a news article in one hand, an audio book in the background, and a Youtube video going on branding. It then when I realize the information overload has to stop. Talk about overload! This easy access can cause some serious hurdles on the journey for authentic self-development, but there are easy ways to overcome and the main one is unplugging. 

Before the internet grew to be my cheap buffet of information, I lived a relatively simple life. It was not until high school that I got my first internet-ready computer and at that time I was still a Hebrew Israelite. A sect under Judaism, which means every Friday night to Saturday night we unplugged as a family. We started this routine when I was five years old, so I easily spent over a decade, living one full day out of the week disconnected from television. Several religions later, an enrollment in an out-of-state college, and I soon lost interest in keeping a Sabbath. Now 7 years later, I set aside time to unplug as a crucial part of my week.

What are the benefits on unplugging?

  • You make decisions using your own faculties. Have you ever been in this situation? You are wondering what you should have for dinner so you google it and then 1 hour later you are knee deep Pinterest recipes and running to the store to buy ingredients you didn’t have or need before? When you are disconnected from the internet, you are forced to rely on your environment and mental faculties to aid in your decision making. Search around your cabinets, make up a recipe! Not having the answer readily available helps us exercise our imagination.
  • You can practice your patience. Sometimes we have to wait in life. Prior to having the internet in our pockets, waiting including creating a conversation with a neighbor or watching the comings and goings around us. Now in a rush to constantly be doing something we cultivate this idea that we need to always be doing something. Disconnecting reminds us that at its best the world is at peace and when we are patients we can be at peace with the world.
  • You can feel more rested. Constantly engaging with information is tiring. As it constantly churns to connect, store, and retrieve information it takes away from our energy of just being.  Walking away from this engagement gives our brain time to rest so it can grow in the long term. Just like the refreshing feel we get after a good nap, walking away from our screens for a while replenishes our capacity to continue discovering more.

unplug, disconnect, self sustenance

While complete unplugging might not be possible (how would you read this blog?) it is something we can set aside time to do. Here are ten things to do instead of powering up electronics, phones, or any other device.

  • Birdwatch
  • Dance
  • Go for a walk
  • Meet a neighbor for a talk
  • Paint
  • Sew
  • Volunteer
  • Read a physical book
  • Write
  • Build something

Simple, yet effective. Making times to get away from all the information is essential to staying motivated, productive, and calm. If you still need ideas here are more things to do sans the internet from Gala Darling. Do you unplug? How do you rest from being connected all the time?

photo credit: AC power plug/socket via photopin (license)

automate your lunches - could include healthy yogurt and granola recipe

One More Move: Automate Your Meals

Happy Monday Readers!

success, meal planning, leadership

Last week, I posted an article about automating emails as a great way to cut down on email time while providing thorough service for any of your clients, customers, or contacts. Today to continue the trend of automation comes perhaps one of my most important processes: Automating my lunches (and dinners) for the week. I started doing this when I became a senior in college. I was living on my own with no dining hall plan and quickly finding my diet of ramen noodles, pizza, and Chipotle was not fulfilling my energy needs. One day I stumbled, on an article about Squirreling. Weird right, what do squirrels have to do with eating? We essentially squirreling is a technique where you cook food in large batches and freeze some for later. Hooked I was! What is this batch cooking and what tested recipes will hold up in my freezer?

After I graduated and became a full-time worker, the need for food available always became even more important. My office building had a wonderful café that sold peanut and banana smoothies for 4 dollars. Delicious, yes, but quickly my need for a quick delicious snack was racking up major fees. In a typical month 4 dollars every work day becomes $100 a month, which is easily a car payment or a wise investment. So, I stopped that and stocked up my office drawer with snacks, then focused on creating lunches so filling and so healthy that snack cravings we reduced greatly.

So for this week, consider how you can include some healthy meal automation in your life. Cooking your meals in batches, creating freezer meals, or even hiring a service for meal creation will help soothe you because it takes care of one of your basic needs, leaving time for you care for your higher-order needs like fulfilling your greatest purpose!

Here are some easy ways to automate your lunches.

Meal Delivery Service

I have yet to try this since my investment decisions are more for long-term needs over short-term convenience, but if I had the room I would consider doing this – even for just 1 week per month. Has anyone actually tried meal delivery and they enjoy the service? Let’s chat in the comments below.

Here are some options:

Cook Once a Month

This I have done! Unfortunately, my newest freezer can not handle such a bulk of food, so I dropped down to once every other week. Yet, when I did do the once a month meals there was one site I used and paid and happily paid for:

Once a Month Meals (Formerly Once a Month Moms) – They do everything! Meals, menus, grocery lists, and instructions to get your meals done for the month! They use a blend of foods for crock pots, baked goods, and menus for every meal.

I would recommend more, but I’ve only used them.

My hybrid – 2 week option

Every friday, I create an easy two-week menu by coming up with 4 dinners and 2 lunches. At the beginning of the week I will cook anywhere from 3-6 meals and then divvy them up into containers and toss them in the freezer. Dinners become lunches, lunches become dinner and we never completely eat all the food by the end of the week. I only have to worry about grabbing a container and going about my business.

Then there is always squirreling or cook every day, but get your groceries delivered.  Getting your basic needs covered delivers peace of mind so you can focus on the long-term vision. How do you fuel?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”