Be the BOSS of your own Life.

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Here is the start of my sticky note “to do” list. I focus on one sticky note and complete it. When finished, I crumple it up. Photo credit: Melissa Halstead

Be the BOSS of your own life: 10 ways to start taking control (time management, goal setting, record tracking)

Greetings my wonderful creative geniuses. Are you thinking of writing a book, creating a virtual or physical product for your business, but time seems to slip away from you?  We all have been there at one point or another in our lives.

How many times have you done this: The night before, you carefully write down a “to-do” list to tackle the next day.  Hell, I’ve taken out a pretty piece of paper with pretty graphics to write down my tasks to complete.  And before you rest your head upon your pillow, thoughts of tomorrow’s tasks dance around your head, and you might even slip into a dram of accomplishing all you set out to do.

When the alarm clock goes off, you view your “to-do” list and you’re getting ready to tackle… after you check the email and read the news and check your Facebook feed. The next thing you know, you’ve accomplished nothing on your list.  You slip into a moment of self-bullying and tell yourself that you’re not cut out for that product you want to release, or that book you want to write, or _______________ (insert whatever your beating yourself up over).

In all, you think that you’re the biggest loser ever and you should just quit while you’re ahead because successful people stay focused and actually accomplish everything on the task list.

Photo credit: (c) Melissa Halstead

Photo credit: (c) Melissa Halstead

Some of my clients feel as if they struggle to focus on what needs to be done and struggle to pull themselves out of the negative thinking patterns that creeps up on them.  You might feel as if you are a failure because you didn’t complete your “to-do” list.  Then you start with the negative thinking, which becomes the very thing that holds you back from shining in your brightest light.

Over time, we become frustrated by our challenges and frequent feelings of being overwhelmed. Overwhelm is an activity that taxes the adrenals and forces your entire body into a constant state of fatigue.  In addition, this negative outlook then makes it even harder for us to manage those challenges and move forward.

Overwhelm taxes the adrenals and forces your body into a constant state of fatigue. Robbing you from being the best creative you can be. – Melissa Halstead | Writer’s Oracle

So, how in the world does one shift from the constant cycle of overwhelm and negative thinking? When negative thoughts cloud your mind, address it.  Stand face-to-face with the ego within and find out the source of these thoughts.  People make the mistake of pushing those thoughts out of the way, but what you don’t address now, comes to haunt you later on down the road.  Write down the negative thoughts and find the source of your insecurity.

Do you think you’re a loser because you didn’t get through your “to-do” list?  Write that down and attach the memory of the times you felt like a loser or when someone called you a loser.  Empower yourself by highlighting all the qualities you do have and the moments you have succeeded.  You’ll see that your successes far outweigh the concept you have regarding “loser”.

Step into the Positive Thoughts

Practicing positive thinking allows you to focus on your strengths and accomplishments, which increases happiness and motivation. By the way: your adrenals and sanity will thank you a million times over!  This, in turn, allows you to spend more time making progress, and less time feeling down and stuck. The following tips provide practical suggestions that you can use to help you shift into more positive thinking patterns:

  1. Take Good Care of Yourself

It’s much easier to be positive when you are eating well, exercising, and getting enough rest.  Remember earlier, overwhelm stresses out the adrenals.  When you remain in a constant state of stress, it becomes harder for your body to function at it’s best.  Go outside and walk around for 10 minutes.  Visit a local museum to even out the tension in your body.  Visit a massage therapist or attend a local yoga class.  The bottom line here is: put yourself first so everything else around you is balanced.

  1. Remind Yourself of the Things You Are Grateful For

Stresses and challenges don’t seem quite as bad when you are constantly reminding yourself of the things that are right in life. Taking just 60 seconds a day to stop and appreciate the good things will make a huge difference.

One of the things I love doing each day for 10 minutes is to free write and free draw in my gratitude journal.  The biggest reward of keeping a gratitude journal is the evidence of abundance I have in my life each day.

  1. Look for the Proof Instead of Making Assumptions

A fear of not being liked or accepted sometimes leads us to assume that we know what others are thinking, but our fears are usually not reality. If you have a fear that a friend or family member’s bad mood is due to something you did, or that your co-workers are secretly gossiping about you when you turn your back, speak up and ask them. Don’t waste time worrying that you did something wrong unless you have proof that there is something to worry about.

People who have nothing better to do in their lives worry about other people’s business, meaning they want to put all their focus on gossip and digging up dirt, have a whole other set of issues to deal with that are beyond your control.

  1. Refrain from Using Absolutes

Have you ever told a partner “You’re ALWAYS late!” or complained to a friend “You NEVER call me!”? Thinking and speaking in absolutes like ‘always’ and ‘never’ makes the situation seem worse than it is, and programs your brain into believing that certain people are incapable of delivering.

Always ask yourself if the words you’re about to speak is the full truth.  If it’s a slight exaggeration, refrain from speaking it.  Address your feelings and find out why you feel as if they “always” or they “never”, etc.  If you have the proof to support those statements, then sit down with the person and give them specifics rather than absolutes.  Talking it out with people will do one of two things: lower your stress and repair the relationship or lower your stress and show you the truth about the relationship.

  1. Detach From Negative Thoughts

Your thoughts can’t hold any power over you if you don’t judge them. If you notice yourself having a negative thought, detach from it, witness it, and don’t follow it.

If you don’t like the negative thought, investigate the source, address it, and replace the thought/behavior with a positive one.


  1. Squash the “ANTs”

In his book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life,” Dr. Daniel Amen talks about “ANTs” – Automatic Negative Thoughts. These are the bad thoughts that are usually reactionary, like “Those people are laughing, they must be talking about me,” or “The boss wants to see me? It must be bad!” When you notice these thoughts, realize that they are nothing more than ANTs and squash them!

  1. Practice Lovin’, Touchin’ & Squeezin’ (Your Friends and Family)

You don’t have to be an expert to know the benefits of a good hug. Positive physical contact with friends, loved ones, and even pets, is an instant pick-me-up. One research study on this subject had a waitress touch some of her customers on the arm as she handed them their checks. She received higher tips from these customers than from the ones she didn’t touch!

In his book, “Quantum-Touch: The Power to Heal“, Richard Gordon illustrates how you can harness the power to heal yourself and/or others.

  1. Increase Your Social Activity

By increasing social activity, you decrease loneliness. Surround yourself with healthy, happy people, and their positive energy will affect you in a positive way!

  1. Volunteer for an Organization, or Help another Person

Everyone feels good after helping. You can volunteer your time, your money, or your resources. The more positive energy you put out into the world, the more you will receive in return.

For a very personal reason, I volunteer my time with the No One Dies Alone program.  The patients and family members I get to meet change my live every single day.  Volunteering and/or helping another person puts the needs of others to the front and center of your life.  There is little time to worry about your own life.  Also, you begin to realize that there are people who wish for your life because they are struggling with their own.

  1. Use Pattern Interrupts to Combat Rumination

If you find yourself ruminating, a great way to stop it is to interrupt the pattern and force yourself to do something completely different. Rumination is like hyper-focus on something negative. It’s never productive, because it’s not rational or solution-oriented, it’s just excessive worry. Try changing your physical environment – go for a walk or sit outside. You could also call a friend, pick up a book, or turn on some music.

When it comes to the corporate world, protocol is pretty much the religion. To know the things needed to do are the basics of productivity, but interaction and having a steady mind makes up the entire thing to true productivity. There are those who seem to work well even under pressure, but they’re uncommon ones and we are human and imperfect. To get these little things like stress under our skins won’t solve our problems. Sometimes it takes a bit of courage to admit that we’re turning to be workaholics than tell ourselves that we’re not doing our best.

Bright Blessings,

Melissa Halstead | © Writer’s Oracle 2015

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