I have often been called Monika the energizer bunny because I have a tendency to keep going and going and going. After my recent brief hiatus while recovering from surgery I realized what a difficult time I have staying put and doing nothing. Not that I’m an overachiever, I just get bored really easily. A lot of our guests, friends and family members frequently say they don’t know how I find time to do everything that I do. The cooking, cleaning, blogging, social networking, interacting with guests, article writing, cooking demos and on and on. I don’t think I’m all that extraordinary but perhaps there are a few things that I do that help me achieve what I need to on a day to day basis. Whether these are of any use to anyone else may be debatable, but they are my keys to staying on track.
1) Write notes. I am a copious note taker and I always keep a running log of things I have to get done. It helps me stay on task and not get distracted and I feel a great sense of satisfaction when I get to cross something off the list.
2) Multi-tasking within reason. This is something that may not be achievable by everyone as some people have brains that are wired for multi-tasking and others don’t. But where I can, I tend to do multiple things at once, particularly things like cooking, cleaning and social networking. Thanks to modern technology I can keep my phone with me and take photos, upload those photos to all the social networking sites and maintain all my profiles. It has made a world of difference for me.
3) Discipline. This is something I learned as a ballerina. In fact, I’d argue that it’s the best lesson ballet taught me. If you are not disciplined, you cannot make it in the dance world. And that discipline crosses numerous areas of my life from staying on task to doing things I may not feel like doing to helping me eat healthy which gives me the health I need to stay energized.
4) Diet. And I hate that word. It isn’t a diet at all. It’s a lifestyle. I eat well because it helps me achieve my day. It’s almost like being an elite athelete. I stay fit and healthy by making sure I put good nutrition into my body. That doesn’t mean I don’t splurge because we all do and I love food so I will have the occasional cheese or bread or steak, but as a general rule I eat a lot of veggies, protein and try to limit my sugar intake. My diet of late has gotten even more particular because of having my gallbladder out. Either way, treat your body well and it’ll treat you well. By extension of this, I also do take some basic supplements that I swear by. A good anti-oxidant, calcium, joint formula for those achy ex-dancer joints which really helps with the physical labor involved, a digestive enzyme with probiotics and resveratrol which is supposed to be good for a number of reasons. And I’m not a jump on the bandwagon kind of person. I usually approach stuff like this skeptically but I have done plenty of research and trials to know that I feel better when I am on them.
5) Sleep. This one is crucial. Jeff makes fun of me sometimes because if it was up to me I’d be in bed by 9pm every night and I tend to thrive on 9 hours of sleep. Because I’m on the go from the time I get up until the time I hit the sack and often am on my feet that whole time, rest is crucial for me. I have to give my body and mind the time to restore itself and rejuvenate itself. Your optimum amount of sleep may not be 9 hours, but finding out what it is and allowing yourself to get it is key. You will work more efficiently, more quickly and you will feel more focused on the tasks at hand.
6) Down time and hobbies. It’s critical to give yourself the permission to take time off periodically. We try to get away completely at least 4 times a year, even if it’s just for a 3 or 4 day getaway to another bed and breakfast. It forces us to pursue our hobbies, enjoy one another’s company outside of work and to just do nothing that has to do with work. This also involves hobbies we pursue when we aren’t away. If I have a few hours on a Monday where I have no guests, rather than finding something to do I will just let myself spend a couple of hours doing something I love, like watching videos of Celine Dion on You Tube or in Jeff’s case play a round of golf.
7) Exercise. This one is a little harder because my time is limited. I don’t get as much as I should but I do try to stay active. I lift light weights, try to get on the treadmill in between guests and occasionally go to yoga. This helps keep me healthy and it’s also a great feel good thing that makes you stay in a healthier frame of mind to do what you need to do.
8) Social interactions. I’m not talking with guests or even Facebook. I’m talking nurturing those relationships that mean something to you. Jeff and I try to go on dates where there’s no work involved so we can just enjoy one another as a married couple. I also try to nurture my close friendships, relationships with my mom and cousins and I spend a good amount of time texting with my favorite aunt. This is critical to me. It gives me a sense of normalcy and a chance to reconnect with my personal life.
9) Mind over matter. This is the last one and the one that is maybe the most important one. We all have our bad days. Days we don’t feel like it. Don’t feel well, don’t have inspiration, had a disagreement with someone or simply are in a bad mood. For me I always practice a little bit of mind over matter. My mind says do it and everything else doesn’t matter. When you consciously make this decision it really helps to get you past whatever funk you are in and just do it. I don’t mean to sound like a Nike commercial but really it is helpful to just do it.
So am I the energizer bunny? Perhaps. But you can be one too. Everyone can do it. Having a positive attitude about life is the first step to achievement. And one final word of advice? Have fun. Laugh. Find ways to make fun of yourself and to allow yourself to laugh at things. It can’t all be serious and no play. You’d be amazed at how often Jeff and I simply play at work and make each other laugh. That’s the best motivator to getting stuff done.