Reduce Stress, Increase Joy & Productivity—Why Is Simple So HARD?

Image via Demi-Brooke Flickr Creative Commons

Image via Demi-Brooke Flickr Creative Commons

Funny how we get the same lessons in life over and over and…over. Maybe not you guys. Maybe y’all are sharper than me. But the thing I keep returning to is “essentialism.” Boil everything down to the basics. Focus on one or even a few key areas with all you have. THAT is the key to success.

So why is simple so hard?

Last week, I blogged about what writing and Brazilian Jui-Jitsu had in common. Much of any martial art is mastery and focus on the BASICS.

Which is why I am no longer LOSING EVERY round. I’m even winning a few *happy dance*.

But I know my life goes through these crazy times. You’ve been there.

The Transition

It happened when I went from being single to married. I am a tad…ok, more than a tad OCD. I once moved and the movers called me, “The House that Rubbermaid Made.” Everything was organized and labeled and it took less than five hours for them to move me and less than four hours for me to completely unpack.

***Note: This phenomena hasn’t happened since *whimpers*.

Why? After that move it was no longer only ME.

I had to adjust to being a writer living with my mom who keeps EVERYTHING, then a wife of a man who is adorable but KEEPS EVERYTHING. Then I became a mom of a newborn and then a toddler, and now that he’s a preschooler? Yeah, I’m happy if I can keep the floors virtually hazard-free and my house not smelling like a crime scene.

But am I happy?

Original image via Melissa Bowersock WANA Commons

Original image via Melissa Bowersock WANA Commons

The Trouble with “Happy”

Am I happy?

I’ve had to ask that A LOT lately. In the end, happiness (in my opinion) should never be our goal. Why? Well, because the word is tethered to “happenstance.” It’s too wonky. Rather, I choose to do what is right knowing it will eventually produce joy which has a much longer shelf life. Am I happy being up at 3:30 in the morning because the cat coughed up a hairball on me in the middle of some weird dream about The Golden Girls and a money-laundering scandal?

No idea. That was a weird-@$$ dream and good reason not to eat too close to bedtime. BUT, I do know that I’m up for some reason…even if it is to make you feel totally sorry for me :P

Happiness and Joy

I am a NAZI when it comes to language. Seriously. Since we have lost SO many family members in two years, I finally went to a grief counseling group at our church and while it IS awesome and I have made a lot of progress (like finally CRYING) I nitpick about the Scripture. And not to be preachy here, but if you aren’t a Christian, just work with me and roll with it.

We use a lot of the Beatitudes. The translation they use in the group makes me nutso. It isn’t, “HAPPY are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Happy? That makes NO sense to me. I prefer other translations that are closer to the original text, which tell me, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”

I am NOT going to feel “happy” mourning. It’s awful losing people you love. But, if I learn to cry, let go, remember the good stuff and latch onto the gifts that those people’s lives gave me? I am definitely BLESSED.

Many times we are blessed yet miserable. 

I can think of a lot of super tough times that made me howl to the heavens, WHY ME? Looking back? Those were the times I grew the most. Though I was NOT happy, I needed the lesson. I needed the growth. I needed to let go of baggage, people, situations that I didn’t realize (at the time) were toxic.

I needed to realize my purpose wasn’t selling industrial paper.

Like, seriously.

Actual image of Kristen's Guardian Angel

Actual image of Kristen’s Guardian Angel

So, I do think semantics are key. We live in a world where everything is supposed to make us HAPPY. Well, kiddos, I hate to say it but most of the stuff that is good for us in the end will NOT make us happy. “Happy” is fleeting, joy is far deeper.

Letting Go

I like to believe I am an Essentialist at heart. I lose sight sometimes. We all do. Don’t believe me? Look in your closet O_o. But life isn’t static. We are slaves to entropy. We are changing and growing and shifting and we are wise to stay on top of what is going on. I cannot DO things the same as a Mommy-Writer with an infant who slept most of the day as NOW when I’m homeschooling a zombie-obsessed preschooler who abducts Cheerios in the wee hours and sprinkles them in my couch.

The goal is to always focus on what is essential. DO NOT COMPROMISE. And you will, but you can regroup. Breathe.

WANA has always been essentialist in nature. What is the point of social media? When we realize the core point, it’s clearer that we don’t have to rely on gimmick, automation or camp on top of “our brand.” The CORE of all social media is simply to create relationships. Takes away a LOT of pressure.

The weird paradox is that the more we let go, the more we can hold. We live in a world that tells us we can have it all. We can’t. Not really. There HAS to be a trade-off if we hope to do anything well (and remain sane).

For instance, I can have an immaculate home or a happy child. My son won’t remember that the house was dust-free in his childhood. He WILL remember playing at the pool with Mommy, or wrestling and playing “Attack of the MOMBIE.” He will remember the times at the park. He will remember Mommy suiting up with him in a gi to go learn martial arts.

The dishes? Eh, not so much. And if he does and this scars him? Well, shrinks need to eat too.

He can talk to his therapist...

He can talk to his therapist…

Choose Wisely

Okay, if you are anything like me you will likely goof this up and need retraining. Why? Because in our New-And-Improved-World, EVERYTHING is important. So give yourself some grace if you get it wrong the first couple tries. With all the options flying at us telling us we can HAVE IT ALL, we might struggle with discernment. That’s OKAY. Remember, life is not static. Just change direction. Make a different decision.

Go AROUND the leaf….

But, if we can look to the CORE of life, what is it? Health, Wealth, Relationships (not in any necessary order), priorities become clearer. As a fun fact, the word priority came from the Latin word a priori which was SINGULAR. It wasn’t until close to the Industrial Revolution that the word was ever pluralized into priorities. What this means to me it that most companies have their collective heads up their butts I need to work on discernment.

What is WANA’s priority? Empowering Writers of the Digital Age. Simple. We have classes, conferences, our own social network and all the tools to do ONE thing…empower. We give low-cost and digitally accessible classes and conferences, then we provide social media outlets so anything we can do can be magnified. Anything that does not align with Empowering Writers of the Digital Age? Not even a consideration.

Not that everything’s been seamless, but it’s sure been simpler.

With my life? Which things are priority? I can make a list—oh, can I make LISTS—but I’m better off focusing everything into a singular CORE a priori.

What is my GOAL as a mother and wife? As a writer? As a teacher?

Believe it or not, it’s all the same. Empowering. I can’t do Hubby’s job for him, but I can make our home a place of respite and peace that empowers him to do the best job he can each day. I can’t force Spawn to learn any faster than he does, but I can empower him to learn the best way for him.

Sigh, yes, even if it involves…zombies.

The Spawn LOVES "Mommy School"

The Spawn LOVES “Mommy School”

I can’t write your books for you or do your social media, but I can teach you all the craft and publishing stuff that tied my brain in knots for years. I can empower you to write faster, cleaner and better and also have a social media brand without going crazy. I can empower you to make the best decisions for your personality and book(s).

Something To Take Away

I am a Work In Progress. We all are. WE ARE NOT ALONE. We have to battle this entropy thing until we die, so what are some tips to keep life simpler? I’ll give a few and maybe we’ll expound later.

No Meddling!!!!

We all have family and friends who seem to collect disaster faster than black pants gather cat fur. BE UNAVAILABLE. I can’t even measure the time I’ve wasted trying to solve other people’s problems when they weren’t interested in solving it themselves. You know who I’m talking about. The people who cry and wail and want advice…and then do what they were going to do anyway and then it BLOWS UP and they need help?

No. JUST SAY NO. Back away. This is just never going to end well.

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 10.42.33 AM

When we meddle, we are NOT HELPING. We’re stealing this person’s power. We are stealing the lesson failure provides as well as the feeling of victory they will have by solving their own problems.

And, because most of us stink at priorities and think everything is an emergency, it is likely those around you do as well. So while they’re screaming FIRE!

…it isn’t.

Put down the firehouse and back away.

Take a Day Off

Sunday is my day of rest. Period. I’ve actually only fired a couple of people, but one? She couldn’t follow instructions. Every Sunday she was e-mailing and calling and wanting to talk business despite many times being told DO NOT CONTACT ON SUNDAY. Everything was a priority!

Failure to prepare on your part, does not constitute an emergency on mine.

Rest is WORK

In fact, rest is the hardest work we will ever do because we live in a world that frowns upon it. We’re supposed to be doing a zillion things all at once 24/7 and be available all hours all days. And then others wonder why quality suffers.

We have no problems putting gas in our car, plugging in our phones or laptops into a power outlet. Why are we last on the list? We need JUICE, TOO. Recharge and stop running on 3% battery.

Just so y’all know, I have one finger pointed at you and the rest pointed at ME. Lately, I’m learning to say no, turning off phone, doing more yoga and taking more power naps. I NEED for my brain to just chillax.

What are your thoughts? Do you struggle and have too many “PRIORITIES”? Do you lose your focus? Do you struggle with energy vampires who always have some new drama? Are you learning to put down boundaries with yourself and others? Do you feel guilty resting, taking a nap or even—GASP—A VACATION! YOU SLOTH! Have you gotten better at making you and your WRITING a priority? THE PRIORITY? What tips or tools could you share?

I LOVE hearing from you!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of JULY, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly. I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

For those who need help building a platform and keeping it SIMPLE here’s my newest social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

I have a new class series GOING PRO—Craft, Business and Brand. Take one or all three for a discount. Also use WANA15 for $15 off. Each class discusses the CORE ESSENTIALS. What is the essence of great writing? What is the heart of a brand/social media? What are the basics of publishing when so many options are available?

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  1. #1 by Marilyn Hudson Tucker on July 30, 2014 - 11:23 am

    I’m going to take off Sundays from now on. It’s great advice.

  2. #2 by Allan G. Smorra on July 30, 2014 - 11:24 am

    I have found that until I let go of something, I do not have open hands to receive what’s next. Nature abhors a vacuum—out with the old and make room for what works.

  3. #3 by Alexanda Lloyd on July 30, 2014 - 11:31 am

    What a fantastic article. Some real food for thought! Thank you!

  4. #4 by literaryliason on July 30, 2014 - 11:31 am

    I think we can all relate with what you’re going through, especially change and the frustrations of grief. I’ve recently gone through a major life change myself. I don’t think you ever achieve complete happiness, but I’m happy more often, and that’s what matters.

  5. #5 by Nicole Grabner on July 30, 2014 - 11:35 am

    Stress level is on full alert right now in my life. I’m getting ready to quit my job to put more time towards my writing and really taking a huge leap of faith to help me get to the next step in my career. Going from a guaranteed paycheck to this is causing not only little acid monkies that are running around in my gut, stabbing my randomly to keep it interesting, but also keeps me awake at night.
    I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without the support of my awesome husband (says that on our marriage certificate), and wonderful WANA friends. Thanks for this post, Kristen. Perfect timing for me. *smiles*

    • #6 by sharonhughson on July 30, 2014 - 12:25 pm

      Nicole- I have been a full-time writer for exactly a year and two weeks. Once you step away from your job, you won’t believe how much more productive and creative you feel.
      It’s great to have a husband that can carry the financial load while we struggle to get that novel right and then find the best mode for publishing it.
      Good luck. You are not alone. We are here to support and encourage you.

  6. #7 by drshaywest on July 30, 2014 - 11:38 am

    I loved this so much!!! I agree about the impossibility of being happy in each and every moment but OVERALL I’d say you were happy and content with your life. You and I are so much alike and see the world through similar eyes. And while I’ve had some rough times and been down and out, overall, I’m a happy person. I wake up pretty much every morning with blessings on my mind and eager to see what the day will bring. And while it doesn’t always bring good stuff (flooded yard from too much water in irrigation ditch, new roof leaking around vents, float in toilet went gunnybag) most days are pretty awesome.

    And I TOTALLY agree about relaxing :D My Saturday is your Sunday lol Most days I don’t even get out of my PJs. I don’t make plans, hang out and drink my coffee AFTER breakfast, maybe do some writing, but mostly just hang out and watch Doctor Who :D

  7. #8 by drshaywest on July 30, 2014 - 11:39 am

    Reblogged this on Dr. Shay West and commented:
    Some wonderful advice from Kristen Lamb!!!

  8. #9 by bookishashlee on July 30, 2014 - 11:40 am

    Love this, Kristen :) Just what I needed to hear today. Blessed are those who have to dig Cheerios out of their couch cushions …

  9. #10 by lauraeflores on July 30, 2014 - 11:44 am

    My work hours are like mother hours… Need to be available to work all days, even holidays… Hopefully I can change that sooner or later. Preferably sooner, the stress is horrible! I need to practise more yoga as well, lol, it seems.

    • #11 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 30, 2014 - 11:47 am

      I’m learning either I choose the priorities or others will. We train people that we are available 24/7. And I LOVE people. It is totally against my nature not to be available every second of the day, but I can’t do that if I want my actions to be meaningful.

      • #12 by lauraeflores on July 30, 2014 - 11:50 am

        You are so right about others choosing for you if you don’t, I have said no a couple of times and it feels awful, but… Looking to change some things around regarding that.

  10. #13 by Steph Mignon on July 30, 2014 - 11:50 am

    I literally just wrote a post about this, sort of. I’m so fragmented and easily distracted…. Like my life slogan could be “Look shiny!” I am constantly redefining what is “essential” and getting better at it, but it’s still so hard. I want to do, be, see, feel, and have everything. I’m learning to accept that if I want to succeed focusing on the essentials is key.

  11. #14 by Karen Lynne Klink on July 30, 2014 - 11:51 am

    Priorities. I have been feeling so guilty because I have been writing my novel every day, enjoying it, but I haven’t been blogging or tweeting. I want to write my novel. I don’t want to blog or tweet. I want to engage with my characters. Is this bad?

    • #15 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 30, 2014 - 12:02 pm

      People overestimate how much social media is necessary. Just pop in and let us know you are alive and that’s FINE. I’ve been blogging a lot less because I am trying to figure out how to transition from Spawn being in Pre-K 6 hours a day to home 24/7. Having growing pains. Writing should be the priority. All the social media in the world does no good for our author brand if we don’t have BOOKS finished :D.

  12. #16 by A Writer With Something To Say on July 30, 2014 - 11:53 am

    I know all to well what it’s like to lose someone you love. I lost my grandmother (who raised me), my brother, great-grand mother, and a cousin all within a year of each other. But, I still find time to smile now. I am blessed! Thanks for posting this

  13. #17 by logankeys on July 30, 2014 - 12:12 pm

    On my other inspirational blog I’ll be doing a podcast on “Post-traumatic growth”. i almost never share (cause its so spammy) but this blog perfectly describes what I will be talking about lol. http://wordswithsalt.wordpress.com/

  14. #18 by sharonhughson on July 30, 2014 - 12:33 pm

    I’m a big believer in Sunday as a family and church only zone. I don’t even feel tempted to write on that day (except chicken scratches of ideas for blogs). It makes Monday and the rest of the week much more productive and less insane (mentally, as least).
    Avoiding drama is a great way to increase both joy and productivity. Sometimes I feel like a hermit, though, holed up with my computer, notebooks and craft books. We have to find a balance, and I don’t think I invest enough time in relationships that are important to me. Work in progress – yep, that’s me.
    My mantra is: write it down. Write down specific goals for the week, the month, the year. Hang them where you can see them. Put a star by them when you meet them. This technique alone has kept me from giving in to the overwhelming sense that I’m getting nowhere since I’m still unpublished after a year of full-time writing. I see the goals I’ve met. I see I am perfectly on schedule for the traditional path I’m taking to the ultimate goal of publication.

  15. #19 by Diane Burton on July 30, 2014 - 12:40 pm

    Love this post. (Okay, I love all your posts.) Such great insight and advice–the most important is about the time spent with your child. I feel the same way about my grandchildren. You’ve had a rough time with losing so many family members. Been there. Letting go is so hard. My husband wanted to “fix” me, even asked the hospice counselor how he could help me get through it. She told him he couldn’t. Her giving me “permission” to grieve as long as I needed to facilitated the process. Our lives are truly blessed by those we’ve lost.

  16. #20 by Trishia Jacobs on July 30, 2014 - 12:41 pm

    So many points I appreciated in this post, Kristen. I believe that the pressure to produce 24/7 is killing us. No wonder we are a nation of anti-depressants and heart disease. We need reminders like yours. Love that “priority” history lesson!

  17. #21 by KarlaAkins on July 30, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    As I write this I’m in the car with my husband who has ADD, twins adult sons with autism/intellectual disabilities and my mother-in-love with Alzheimer’s We’re on a 5100 mile road trip. Not sure that really qualifies for a vacation for me, but the rest of the crew are having a blast. (Honestly, I am, too.) Being a writer and attending college full-time definitely has me keeping the main thing the main thing. It’s not easy and you’re right, you can’t have it all. I’ve learned to organize my house to the bare minimum essentials as much as possible. Less is more. And I’m still trying to purge the place of anything that we haven’t used in the past 12 months. If we don’t use it, it’s out of there! (Except for some of my books. I did give a thousand or so away last year.) I’m also a grandma now, and I have to remind myself that taking time to play with my granddaughters isn’t time wasted. It’s time making memories. When I’m on my deathbed, I’m not going to be wishing I’d cleaned more. And I think when we see God face to face, the question He will ask us is “how much did you love?” As for resting, it IS work. And it’s a lesson I’m very slow to learn. I’ve a sign in my office that says, “God works when I sleep.” It helps me let go and let Him. Thanks for this great post and blog and all the encouragement and EMPOWERING of us you do!

  18. #22 by charlaynedenney on July 30, 2014 - 1:46 pm

    I have learned that eating stress for breakfast, daily, is the fastest way to get broke down and maybe even sick. I used to be type A, ran things and was ALWAYS on call. And now I’m down and not able to even take care of things around the house some days. I’ve backed out of so much, not leaving friends (facebook is awesome) but also not trying to run things. I run “me”, I help my husband, I will do stuff for the grandkids when needed, but the rest of the time, I’m home. And yes, I take “mental health days” when i put down the writing, only post once, and spend the time killing stuff on World of Warcraft because that is relaxing.

    You are SO right on this one.

  19. #23 by Dana @ Celiac Kiddo on July 30, 2014 - 2:10 pm

    Oh those energy vampires are the worst! I’ve had my fill of those. Just say no indeed!

    I’m all about a messy house versus, well just about anything. My laundry sits on a chair for days before being dumped on a couch before (maybe) being folded :)

    I love the idea of priority instead of priorities, and empower is pretty awesome choice.

    Thanks for another honest and hilarious post.
    -Dana

  20. #24 by saralitchfield on July 30, 2014 - 2:38 pm

    Deep breath. I’m so glad I read this first thing… We all have to come to terms with being works in progress… And too right I need a break…

  21. #25 by Stephanie Scott on July 30, 2014 - 2:54 pm

    Nothing worse than hearing badly applied scripture when you’re grieving. You are right that the translations really matter, and some versions take some liberties.

    At my day job, we are upgrading our tech so that we can check our emails or remote into conferences from any device, and we have enabled voice activation of email with the selling point “so you can have your emails read to you on the commute in to work.” Um, no. I listen to audio books on my commute, that’s my time. I am not paid for my driving time and I will not plug work into every facet of my life when I’m not paid. I feel like we have to remind ourselves of our own boundaries, and hopefully I won’t be considered lacking in the team player area if I choose to only read my work email while I’m on the clock working.

  22. #26 by ddrespling on July 30, 2014 - 2:56 pm

    Love it! I need to rest more. I know this, but mommy/wifey life while working full-time and being a graduate student leads more to hours or minutes of rest rather than a day.

    I’d love a blog post on organization, as I am severely lacking in that area!

    I have been known to gripe about the grammatical errors in certain biblical translations. I’ve learned to stick with the ESV for my sanity’s sake. Maybe bring your Bible in your preferred translation and look it up and ignore theirs?

  23. #29 by Sandra Wagner-Wright on July 30, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    Being fully present is an important concept in yoga. I have found that if I am fully present, I know where my priorities are. When I allow my focus to divide into pieces, I have no priority, and a lot of stress. If I have any discernment left, I take a 10 minute yoga-break.

  24. #30 by Daphne Shadows on July 30, 2014 - 3:49 pm

    I love this. I am the worst at relaxing. Letting myself do something relaxing. Something NOT on the to-do list. It’s hard. And a huge part of it is the guilt that society implants in us. I have time – I should be using it to DO STUFF, DO STUFF, DO STUFF right now, right then, right always, get stuff done. Do not wait. Do not waste time. You are wasting time, you don’t deserve success. You’re not working hard enough.
    Well, that will only help someone sell a coffin for when I implode.
    Only, its one thing to TELL myself this and to actually ACT on it. Kind of like a phobia. Reasonably you know there is no reason for the emotional response. Emotionally? You’re responding the same way until you re-think the way you think.
    And I’ve been working on not feeling guilty over taking Sunday to relax for one and a half years now. And I’m only twenty-two. I shouldn’t be guilted out of doing something that makes me happy but doesn’t check something off my “Get Done” list. Or for taking a nap when my eyelids aren’t cooperating. No one should.
    So thanks for the much needed reminder. ;)

  25. #31 by dsmcknight on July 30, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    I think you wrote this for me! Simplify and prioritize will be my new mantra!

  26. #32 by Jackie Vick on July 30, 2014 - 4:58 pm

    I think for those of us who came of age in the 80’s, importance was attached to being overwhelmed. “Look at how important I am. I haven’t taken a lunch break in 5 years!” I still suffer from the residue.

  27. #33 by wynwords on July 30, 2014 - 5:02 pm

    Happiness vs joy hit home today. Thanx

  28. #34 by Isaac Carmen Gutierrez on July 30, 2014 - 5:37 pm

    The term comes from the physical stress and the Building and terms of force applied to an object, which can stretch or break. In psychology, stress usually refers to certain events in which we encounter situations that involve strong demands for the individual, which may exhaust their resources of confrontation.Many times stress makes us feel like we are pushing against a wall! Here is a article that can help against stress. How to know seven foods to fight stress http://www.firehow.com/2013021436664/how-to-know-seven-foods-to-fight-stress.html

  29. #35 by Tarla Kramer on July 30, 2014 - 5:40 pm

    Amen amen amen and all that. Learnt the hard way that those who mourn were blessed because if you don’t mourn your loved ones, you don’t get the comfort.

  30. #36 by Jennifer Holm on July 30, 2014 - 5:44 pm

    Yes! I’m in reorganization mode right now, and figuring out what I can let go. Family, work and writing, yes. The rest can fit in the gaps if there are any. My video game time and Facebook time is minimal these days, but there’s peace and contentment. I’ll take the trade off.

  31. #37 by Cheryel Hutton on July 30, 2014 - 6:11 pm

    OMG, this was EXACTLY what I needed to read. I’m printing this out and putting it where I can see it so that I remember not everything is crucial to my life. Thank you!

  32. #38 by dan4kent on July 30, 2014 - 6:13 pm

    I will keep this simple. The constraints of large fingers on a smart phone see to that. On your thoughts? Ditto.
    The drawing is cool, but connections at soul level are the best. It’s what good writing does. It’s where joy goes to pull out presents. Your text plugged in to me with so little effort. I knew there was truth in it and I found gifts. Well done. Simple and anything but easy. Like me. Travel well. Dan

  33. #39 by carbozombie on July 30, 2014 - 6:27 pm

    This is just what I needed to hear. Taking the time to read (your blog and other things) is my ME time for me. I always feel recharged.

  34. #40 by alicamckennajohnson on July 30, 2014 - 6:35 pm

    Taking a break, having a day off, or taking a vacation …. are you SURE I can do those things?? I don’t know that doesn’t seem true LOL I am SO bad at taking care of myself, I need to give myself down time. Right now my priority is to write and edit as much as I can each day so I can get out of my day job.
    Alica- who still dreams she can make money writing if I could only get my books perfect.

  35. #41 by kimhandysides on July 30, 2014 - 6:43 pm

    Thanks for another great post Kristen. On target agin.

  36. #42 by Deborah Makarios on July 30, 2014 - 10:53 pm

    Blessed, lucky, fortunate – makarios :-) No coincidence!
    If one’s only priority is being happy for the rest of one’s life, a morphine overdose will do the trick. Is that the life one really wants? No! Myself, I seek significance – for it to matter that (or if!) I lived and lived well.
    And you are so right about needing a day of rest – although I worry I am a little too good at resting the other six days as well…

  37. #43 by ashokbhatia on July 30, 2014 - 11:53 pm

    Entropy is indeed a good word to convey the disorder that change keeps bringing into our lives! Switching off is so very critical.

  38. #44 by extrasunday on July 31, 2014 - 6:06 am

    First of all, 3 important lessons I took away from your article:

    1. That everyone is a Work in Progress – and that nothing is wrong with that.
    2. While we can’t be Ms./Mr. Perfect – we can always Empower to get someone something closest to perfection.
    3. Rest; is indeed Work. Tough job in fact…

    I am glad that I’m half way thru #3 i.e. ‘Working on my Rest’. 6 years ago – I’d do anything to get a pay-rise, a promotion, publicity, fame and acknowledgements. But the price to pay? Longer hours, saying ‘Yes’ to every favour requests, forgoing weekends and day off, walking out of the cinema to answer every damn phone calls, replying on my then Blackberry thru the night…. I don’t need to go on :)

    “This must not go on” – and I told myself. I am glad that my weekends and day-offs are indeed my priority now. I still worries about work sometimes on a Saturday, especially on Sunday – but I’m happy it’s all just stuck in my head while I continue to hit the shopping malls, spend hours with my girlfriends in random cafés, taking my evening nap without feeling guilty at all~~~

    My next challenges: Learn to empower and have trust in others; and know that being imperfect will get me closer to perfection from all mistakes I make along the way.

    Thanks for the sharing, Kristen!

  39. #45 by Tina on July 31, 2014 - 3:52 pm

    “A priori’ means ‘from the earlier’ and is two words, not one. I don’t see any reason for it to be plural since ‘a priori’ is generally used as an adjective to indicate knowledge that is deduced rather than empirical. (I don’t really understand that part of your post.)
    Your advice about not meddling is soooo true and dead on fantastic.

    • #46 by Author Kristen Lamb on July 31, 2014 - 5:16 pm

      The word priority is derived from that. Beyond that? No clue. I know in the 1400s it came to mean “something that was utmost of importance”, then it wasn’t until the Industrial Revolution that this specific definition was pluralized.

  40. #47 by Julie Glover on August 1, 2014 - 6:14 am

    It’s funny that I didn’t read this post until today. Because after 7 days at church camp, then turning around two days later and leaving for RWA National for almost 6 days, and now having a trip this weekend…I just didn’t feel good yesterday and allowed myself to take a sick day. I thought about how I want to treat writing like a job–putting in full time — but that also means it’s okay to take a sick day now and then and not feel guilty about it. I napped for two hours, got caught up on household stuff, and I feel much better.

    It’s so hard to keep first things first, but well worth the effort. You have to take care of yourself and your family, or — in my opinion — you can’t truly enjoy the other stuff.

    • #48 by gilliansnotebook on August 2, 2014 - 11:01 pm

      Amen and AMEN!!! There are sooo many things that we need to do, but if we don’t take some “me” time, everything else will fall by the wayside. PRIORITIES. As the saying goes, “Charity begins at home.”

      Church camp is FUN… CAMP is fun, but there is a lot of activity packed into a week and your brains get jumbled with all the stuff you want and need to do. Aye, there’s a balancing act. Ever dream you were juggling Ginsu knives while standing on the deck of the Titanic as it’s going down? So many people (even single gals like myself) are trying to balance work, home responsibilities with personal goals. Oh, what fun. ;)

  41. #49 by Jennifer on August 3, 2014 - 9:29 am

    I don’t know how I missed this before, but I’m glad I clicked into it now. Sundays have been a day of rest for me for 37 years now, and I know from experience why the Lord created the Sabbath. I NEED it! A break from physical work, a break from some mental work (writing, schoolwork, etc.), and a re-focus on what’s eternally important.

    I really liked that you put my goal into words – to empower the people around me (and myself). And “Happy are those that mourn?” *bashes head against desk*

    Keep ‘em coming, Kristen – you rock!

    • #50 by gilliansnotebook on August 4, 2014 - 2:46 am

      Hi Jennifer; Minor correction. That quote/ verse is “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Sometimes, situations like stress, life’s aggravations can be ‘blessings in disguise’. I’m learning the truth of that, because my own relative mess ups have presented me with a possible novel idea. But, yeah, on the surface, ideas like having to be happy in our sadness is a mental head trip.

  42. #51 by nantongoharriet1 on August 4, 2014 - 6:55 am

    Reblogged this on nantongoharriet1 and commented:
    sometimes you need to just be you instead of trying so had to be perfect ,just do what is on your mind or how you would like it to be or even what your perception would be towards that certain topic.

  43. #52 by Raani York on August 5, 2014 - 4:09 pm

    Funny. I just told my boss today I needed a couple days off in September. LOL
    As for me: I will take them off to get my book published. ;-)

  44. #53 by johngee34 on August 7, 2014 - 1:10 pm

    Money Money Money Money…Money, Some people got to have it!!
    Some people really need it! Ya’ll do things, do things, bad things with it!! This will change the life of everyone who Joins!!
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  45. #54 by Rachel Thompson on August 11, 2014 - 10:28 am

    Some nice band aids you offer but it’s better to get at the core of our personalities and fix the false priority generator. The primary first cause of our molded selves is social programing and indoctrination– its everywhere and in everything. (Parents pass on much of it with good intentions) Breaking the thought habits impressed upon us from birth onward is hard work and requires total honestly. The two most prevalent mind killers and social remote control devices are religion and culture. Face it, we are all programed and if you want mental freedom and clear sight break your programing. It’s not easy. I became an armature scholar in comparative religions, anthropology and psychology long before I was able to become an atheist and only many years after I knew too much about religions to believe in any of it. We are our own worst enemies but it doesn’t have to be that way.

  46. #55 by 50djohnson on August 17, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    Very simply, I believe happiness is not an objective to attain but a result of objectives obtained. I’ve had six family members die in less than a year and 3 major surgeries in less than 9 months,resulting in blogging or going nuts. My new blogs doors are open… I’d love for you to visit.

  1. Writing Links…8/6/14 | All Twangs Romance

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