Co-working

On Tuesday I got a tour and tried out my first “co-working” space experience, at The Reserve in Roseville. It was a lovely space. This location just opened in October and they also have locations in Edina and Woodbury, two other suburbs in the Twin Cities.

These spaces seem to be popping up more and more. This is a sign of the future: more and more solopreneurs and small business owners with part-time needs for office space that is more sophisticated than a coffee shop. I was struck by how many offerings exist for networking within the membership here, and how willing the Member Services Manager is to connect people and their businesses to each other.

The Reserve
Photo of The Reserve from my desk “booth” for the afternoon

Another appealing feature is that membership plans are a month-to-month commitment so that avoids a long-term lease requirement. The location is excellent – right across from the Good Earth Restaurant, and close to the all-women’s Roseville Lifetime Fitness. There’s a UPS store a short walk from here, along with many retail options. Parking seems plentiful, and it is about a 15 minute drive from home. There is a nice “concierge” kind of feeling to the space in that guest can be escorted in by the receptionist for meetings, and I like the professional vibe.

There was no sales push or pressure to join, since I mentioned I am just getting started doing my research on these options.  I may need places where I could have 1:1 conversations with clients in a private environment, and this would definitely fill the bill.

Though I am not sure this option will work for me, it is exciting to feel like I am moving forward on gathering the information I need for this next phase of business-building.

Onward,

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Watch the Bullets – an experiment

People have often recommended to me that I must try a bullet journal, if I truly want to keep myself organized. When I watched Ryder Carroll’s You Tube video on why and how he created the bullet journal for himself, I definitely felt that “click” in my brain that tells me someone is speaking my language. (Sometimes it’s more of a tingle in my spine rather than an actual click, but you get my point.)

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Found this cool bullet journal on Amazon, but it’s out of print now. 😦

Carroll titles his Ted Talk “How to Declutter Your Mind” and he talks about his experience with a.d.d., which he eventually outgrew. In the process, he designed a system to help him keep track of things, while also being mindful about not wanting to focus on too many different things at once.

We live in a world with so many choices, and for many of us, more freedom than ever. This is why minimalist living has become increasingly appealing to me. Decision fatigue is a real thing. And for those of us who struggle with some attention issues, de-cluttering our minds by creating a mental inventory and writing things down is important.

Once it is written down, we can ask ourselves: do these things matter? Or are they just fleeting notions that take up mental space? Once we cross off those items that do not matter, or that we truly do not need to do, the list gets smaller.

Paying attention to “small projects” that hold our curiosity and recording these, we intentionally make space in our lives to do them. Carroll breaks these into month-long chunks, because it makes them more manageable.

Over time, we make adjustments, through a periodic process of reflection. We keep the mental inventory updated each day (more videos here if you want to explore). On a monthly basis, we take a more top-oriented view, setting intentions that are longer-term in nature.

I tried the practice in January to see if it works for me, and I discovered a few things:

bullet journal monthly log
January monthly log
  1. I love the idea of looking 3-6 months and putting a “future log” on paper to approximate when I want to complete certain things. Even if you don’t anticipate everything, it helps set direction.
  2. The monthly log rocks. One line per day, really got me to reflect on only 2-3 high level things I accomplished in that day. It was a nice way to look back and see what I did that month in a 1-page summary.
  3. The daily logs are a struggle for me. I am customizing the bullet process, and the migration process to my own brand of check boxes and “swivels” to bring forward the tasks I want to keep. But that is what Ryder recommended anyway. It is why bullet journals are mostly blank – YOU fill in the system that works.
  4. You must exercise compassion. I did not sit down and do my February plan until the 7th of the month!! I think I was reluctant to admit that I didn’t follow the exact program in January (and I didn’t want to beat myself up over the things I did not finish). But I am using compassion with myself to migrate the tasks that are still relevant, and cross out the ones that obviously were not.

I may write about this experiment again in a month, because I am curious about whether February’s efforts will be refined. I want to improve and customize. I should mention that I still do a “shape of the week” in parallel in which I graph out one full week and fill in the sections with my overall time chunks, and then track actual time.

For those of you who have taken the “bullet journal” path – does it work for you? What clever modifications have you added to make it even more functional? 

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

Wellness Wednesday – healthy boundaries

It is Wellness Wednesday! The question for the day is this:

Do you consciously set healthy boundaries in your life and work?

I only recently started understanding what good boundaries are for me, and how to say a courteous “no” to certain requests when appropriate. We are wired for connection, and this means we often strive to please other people, not out of any weakness on our part. This is part of the human condition, and how we survived as a species, through relationships and connections.

The problem comes in when we do not see how the multiplying complexity of our social platforms and our networks creates an ever larger amount of choices and opportunities. That can be a blessing. But it can also have a cost, in terms of our overall productivity and focus on the things are the most relevant to us. Do less, but better (as Greg McKeown would say).

Wellness Wednesday

My need for regular solitude and time to think and reflect sometimes comes into conflict with my desire for input and learning, for example. Often I must put some constraints around the input, whether through books, podcasts or audio books.

I have learned that adding some constraints to my schedule, such as when I will meet with people or how many calendar items I will schedule in a given week, helps me be more productive with my time. In my previous position, when I was working in a corporate environment, it helped to block off some time for planning and thinking. Otherwise, I was at the mercy of others dictating my calendar.

It was harder in the days when I was traveling to put constraints on my hours because I often wanted to take advantage of the time to meet with people locally. But at the same time, I learned that running myself ragged did not increase my productivity at all. In fact, it usually led to consequences such as less quality sleep and less creativity about problem-solving.

It can be a tricky balance. Some people have an easier time with boundaries at work but home is the place where the requests can feel mandatory. I am interested in your experience with this idea, and where you find it most challenging.

What can you do to set healthy boundaries to fulfill your needs for rest, creativity and play outside of work and family obligations?

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

Tech upgrades

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Today I am going to upgrade my personal phone from a non-smart device (yes, it had an old-fashioned slide-out keyboard) to an iPhone 8. Yes, I know: it’s time to get out of the stone ages. Isn’t it cute & quaint though? 🙂

Since I have had an iPhone for work, I have not felt the need to upgrade my personal technology. It was adequate – I could text and call, but I did not really need it, and since I am pretty frugal about my utility bills, I did not want to pay for an unnecessary data plan. But now that I’m 5 weeks out from leaving my corporate job, it is time to upgrade and get all of my important data and contacts migrated over.

It’s such a pain though, isn’t it? That is the reason I have not yet done it. Every time I upgrade to a new platform, I seem to lose 10-20% of the useful stuff. I really want to preserve my meditation app, Insight Timer, but I am trying to figure out if I can move it from the work phone to the personal. I guess I probably need to connect my iTunes app to my personal email rather than my work.

Seems like this process could take a lot of steps. Oy.

Well, I have real work to do this morning, and I will spend the afternoon on figuring out my tech upgrade. It makes sense that I give myself the proper time to adjust to the new system, figure out how it works, and make sure I’ve got what I need well in advance of my exit timeline.

I’m gonna keep this post short because I want to devote time to wrapping work things up before the weekend. If you have any advice on upgrading platforms, or migrating things (like my Audible App or the Podcasts App) so you do not lose things that you use all the time, please let me know!

Cheers & happy weekend!

cristy@meximinnesotana.com

 

 

 

Solving for scarcity

We are not going to solve a broken health care system with a food system that is poisoning our population. Until we begin to understand that sugar, flour and other processed and “powdered” foods are killing us, and that we are addicted to them, both systems will remain broken.

When I began to understand the role that food was playing in my life as a comfort mechanism and a way to “medicate” my emotions, I started waking up to what I needed to do in order to promote vitality and health in my life.

What I see in our national discourse is a lack of understanding of how privilege and knowledge function in keeping some people focused on their next meal, rather than on the future they can build. 

I love personal empowerment literature and believe many of us can control our destinies because of the choices we can make. But there are systemic problems in our schools, communities, cities, states and the world that do not allow every person with high potential to thrive.

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Photo credit link

Hidden Brain replayed an episode on the scarcity trap a few weeks ago, on the problem we have of the “tunnel vision” that develops when we are desperate for something. We spend our time and mental energy focusing on the scarce item item (whether it is food, or time, or health) so obsessively that there is little time for anything else.

But really then we have a scarcity of insight, because we focus so strongly on the current problem that we are unable to see the bigger picture. We are unable to make good decisions for the long-term because all we see is the lack, the need. We may sacrifice long-term rewards because we are stuck in that cycle of lack.

When people feel they lack power over their own lives, they make decisions that may not be in their own best interest. They fall back on “what they know” rather than trying something that may feel risky to them, or that could jeopardize what they do have.

Taking good care of our health and well-being is not something we see modeled for us in this culture of “busy-ness as a status symbol” (thank you Brene, Brown). It is indeed a radical act of self-love and self-compassion to attend to our wellness regularly and without apology.

Taking in only what nourishes us and rejecting or minimizing anything that depletes us is the way to true health and lasting joy. For those of us with enough privilege to know where our next meals are coming from, and who have decent health care and a good support system, we have amazing power to choose in our lives.

Let us now empower those around us to get what they need as well. In a country of plenty, what if nobody lacked basic necessities such as food and health care? Imagine the explosion of creativity and innovation that could exist if we could empower every person to live up to their full potential.

cristy@meximinnesotana.com