The Year of F.A.I.L

The end of the year is here and for the past month and a half I have been missing from this blog.

I finished the year with a large crash. It wasn’t necessarily a bad year but it was the year of failure.  At the same time it was a year of success.

Is it possible to succeed and fail at the same time? What I know is that at the end of this year, I am mentally exhausted.

On the career front, things were a success. I was presented with many opportunities to spread my wings. I spent the beginning of the year preparing taxes and found myself working as a bookkeeper in the summer. I was able to finally quit my retail job and am focusing my efforts on what I have been studying for the past 3 years. I did a small soft launch of my business.

On the flip side of this, all of the opportunities created a situation where I was juggling 3 jobs at a time, working sometimes 6 days a week and it took its toll on me.

I also committed to myself to complete my bookkeeping certificate this year. I was on a roll until I started my Cost Accounting course. Also known as Managerial Accounting. This course was the hardest one I have ever taken.

This ended up being the last course I needed and I failed.

I am trying to remind myself that a fail just means First Attempt ILearning. Thankfully, I can continue to work and grow in the field I want to create my career out of and the next time around I will blow this course out of the water.

When it comes to the rest of my list that I set out at the beginning of the year, I failed at accomplishing pretty much everything on it.

My 2015 achievement list. See the original post here explaining things.

  1. Complete my Accounting or Bookkeeping Certificate – NOPE
  2. Hit the Gym 4 Times a Week – This was another one I abandoned for a few different reasons. I cancelled my gym membership way back in April. I wanted to continue and miss going but I just couldn’t make this a priority.
  3. Take Adam to LegoLand Discovery Center – Because I started a new position just as the summer began it was hard to break away for a day trip. 
  4. Read 10 Books – Somehow I managed to complete this! I tried to escape into books, I didn’t get around to blogging about them all but I am happy to say I did read quite a few good books, and learned quite a bit. 
  5. Write 1 Thing a Day in my Happiness Jar – This again didn’t happen. I am thinking of a different approach to this idea and may reveal it early next year. 
  6. Have 1,000 views on my blog in one Month – It’s hard to get readers when you don’t blog. I just didn’t have it in me to put the time into the blog.
  7. Finish Disney Vacation Scrapbook
    I finished this on February 10th! Read about it here!
  8. Finish 2010 Scrapbook
  9. Start and Finish 2011 Scrapbook
  10. Start and Finish 2012 Scrapbook
  11. Start and Finish 2013 Scrapbook
  12. Start and Finish 2014 Scrapbook
  13. Start and Finish 2015 Scrapbook
  14. Finish Adam’s First Year Scrapbook (October 2010-October 2011)
  15. Start and Finish Adam’s Second Year Scrapbook (October 2011-October 2012)
  16. Start and Finish Adam’s Third Year Scrapbook (October 2012-October 2013)
  17. Start and Finish Adam’s Fourth Year Scrapbook (October 2013-October 2014)
  18. Start and Finish Adam’s Fifth Year Scrapbook (October 2014-October 2015) The scrapbook list just continues to get longer, one of these days I’ll manage to get caught up. I have been so bust that I have not been taking as many pictures as I usually do, as the years go by the scrapbooks should get easier. At least I hope!

This year has tested me mentally. It has been a year of ups and downs, but I feel as if having a year like this can may allow me to refocus and work on things that are important and put things into perspective. 

I have my health and I have my family who have been wonderful and supportive of me this year.

I am sure there are some very deep life lessons that have been presented to me this year and I think some more reflection and time will make these lessons much clearer and will help me find success next year.

Is It Christmas Yet?

I am asked this question at least once a day.

“No Adam it’s not Christmas yet.”

I have brought this on myself. I have pulled out the Christmas stuff from under the stairs and have started wrapping gifts. Online orders have started to come to the door and we’ve started to talk about parties and dinners.

What Adam doesn’t realize that by starting all this prep so far in advance when it comes to Christmas vacation I will be done everything and we will be able to enjoy quality time together.  Mommy won’t be stressed out, or rushing around to get things done.

The only thing that I wonder is if this question will start to drive me crazy. Maybe once the house is decorated and Elf arrives from the North Pole it will give Adam something else to focus on.

Before Adam knows it, it’ll be Christmas!

One Wet Child

It is a windy wet day here.

My child arrived to school soaked.

First he’s in shorts. Well its not cold out and I take full responsibility for that. Turns out he has no clean sweatpants.

I guess I should have done laundry yesterday.

Now the soaking wet part is his fault. I had to fight with him to get his boots on. I opened the door and showed him how hard it was raining.  Finally with a threat he put them on. He insisted he didn’t need his rain jacket or his umbrella.

Well then fine –

You’re going to learn the hard way that maybe Mommy has some wisdom beyond your years.

So off to school we went. I was prepared with my rain jacket and an umbrella in my bag. The gusts of wind make having an umbrella hard today.

Adam has nothing more then his sweatshirt on. I suggested he zipped it up.

After about 30 seconds in the rain he thought that was a good idea.

But boy was he soaked when he walked into the school.

The teacher and I laughed because Adam will learn that just maybe he should wear a rain jacket.

Once he got his sweatshirt off it didn’t seem to bug him being wet.

And in the end it’s just water and he will dry out.

Now for me I’m just going to end up being a hot mess when I get to the office. There is no way I can use my umbrella downtown today.

The “C” Word

I am going to say the C WORD

CHRISTMAS!

I apologize to those I have offended.

CHRISTMAS!

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Sorry, that horrible word to some just keeps slipping out of my mouth.

Actually the North Pole exploded in my basement but for a good reason. I picked up so much in January that I forgot what I had and I had to take inventory. There were things I completely forgot I bought. There were little things that I was able to add to gifts to top them off.

And the first day to we are technically allowed to put up outside decorations is November 15th so I am preparing for that too.

I am trying to get my Christmas shopping done before December 1st. Out of the past 12 years I have worked 11 retail Christmas seasons. The one I missed was because of maternity leave. Thank You Adam!

I am also trying to get all the gifts wrapped so I can enjoy December. Without the stress of shopping or worrying about Christmas gifts. I am very close to being done too.

I think there is an extra level of excitement for me because I will not be worried about the hours I am working and missing out on family time. Those who have worked in retail but eventually left know that excitement I am referring to knowing what you are missing and that you aren’t going to have to deal with it.

So for those who haven’t been paying attention Christmas is 47 days away.

Start now and you can enjoy the season too!

Being Productive

I have to be productive. I have so much on the go that I need to plan, organize and get things done.

It’s not easy, but by doing certain things I find I can get the majority of things done. Not necessarily when I want but things can be accomplished.

I have had a few conversations with people who are trying to do the same things as I have and had to drop classes because they couldn’t find and make time to study.

I thought I would share what I do to keep on top of things and be productive.

To Do Lists:

I have to do lists. I have a personal one, cleaning one, one for almost every job I work. Sometimes they are done by my superiors at my jobs, sometimes they are jointly made and then there are just the ones I make.

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I love this to do list pad because it can easily with arrows move things to different day and then as priorities change I can move it to the “maybe never” will I ever get this done.

Calendars:

I have the calendar on my phone which is actually a combination of 2 calendars, there is my personal one and my business one. I colour code what I am doing, different colours for Brian’s activities. I also have the calendar on the fridge so Brian has access to what is going on and for quick reference while I am doing morning breakfast stuff.

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Alarms and Timers:

I have alarms set to remind me to do even things like pick up Adam from school. I have an alarm set when I have to go get him and then 30 minutes before I have a warning so I know that I have to start to wrap up and get ready to leave. I have alarms set for all my activities and appointment. Usually 30 minutes before but sometimes the day before. I also frequently use times through the day so I can divide my time equally. If I say I have 1 hour to clean I will set a 1 hour countdown timer on the phone so I don’t lose track of time and end up not getting things accomplished.

Sounds on the Phone:

I have different songs, tones and ringers set on my phone so I know if it is an important message or if it is something I can ignore. I also have sounds assigned to specific people so I know when they are trying to get a hold of me. It’s all about prioritizing and not stopping a task for an email about a sale.

Spreadsheets:

Spreadsheets again go into organization. Spreadsheets to keep track of Christmas shopping, time worked at certain employers, assignments that are due and “what if” scenarios for grades. I save my most important ones on the cloud so I can access them wherever I go. If I end up taking the bus then I can be productive there. If I am shopping I can quickly pull up the spreadsheet so I know what I have bought who.  Spreadsheets also help track money, and help me try to stay on top of my budgets.

Waking up early or staying up late.

People roll their eyes at me when I say I got up at 5:30am. I find my mind works best first thing in the morning. Sometimes it is just better to get up before the birds and get some work accomplished. This morning I did that and I had almost all my required reading and homework done before Adam woke up. When he did I bought a bit more time by letting him sit at my desk and eat breakfast. This took a few things off my to do list and motivated me to keep going through the day. Some people are night owls so it might be better to stay up later too. Just make sure you are getting enough sleep to keep you going all day.

Rewards:

I try to reward myself for accomplishing tasks or completing a long stretch of working days. This is as simple as giving myself permission to sit and watch a movie or read my book. If there is something I really want to do I plan it for the end of my to do list.

Asking for Help:

This is probably the hardest thing for me to do but I am getting better at asking for help and making what I need help with clearer. I also try to take advantage of times where Adam asks to go to Gramma’s house. Even if it is for 30 minutes there is usually something that I can accomplish in that time.

Lowering Expectations:

I use to plan and work hard to make sure my house was “Better Homes and Gardens” ready. I have lowered my expectations on those standards. If my floor doesn’t get swept every day that is ok, if things get dirty that is fine. Those who love me won’t judge me on the cleanliness of my house. They will understand the tasks I am undertaking and appreciate that I can’t necessarily do it all.

This is how I manage to accomplish all I do in a day. There are days where I am juggling too many balls and they drop other times I put on quite a show. It’s not easy and it’s very stressful what I am doing but if I continue this for a little while longer my hard work will pay off. It already has and I am starting to mold and live the life I want to when it comes to balancing work and life.

How do you manage to make it through the day and get everything accomplished? Maybe there is something you do that I can steal!

My Home Office

Since I do a lot of work from home I always wanted a nice home office.  In my basement I have carved a little corner where I can be productive.

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This desk was a steal from Costco. It took days to build but it was so very worth it. There is enough room to spread out. I have a lot of “I’m dealing with” stuff piled up against the wall so it’s more full then normal.

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I have one little cubby with all of my to read books. They are guarded by my friends Anger and Sadness and then of course Wonder Woman. I must say the designers got it looking just like me!

I have a candy bowl for those late night study sessions and my incredibly well stocked supply drawer. If you need it, I have it in there.

This space is one that when I sit down I feel like it’s exactly where I belong. If I’m having a bad day I can sit there and shake it off or I can work and produce awesome things.

Since it is the basement the rest of the room leaves a little to be desired but I’ll deal with that in the spring. There needs to be some serious decluttering and getting rid of some items.

This space will be a key to my success running my business.

I love this space and am so happy it has turned out the way it has.