“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” ~Michael Jordan (more…)
“Most people are so busy knocking themselves out trying to do everything they think they should do, they never get around to what they want to do.”
It’s no secret–today’s women are all about multi-tasking, which, as it turns out, is a big huge myth–in fact, the “multi-tasking myth” is a well-known thing these days. Some would call the idea of multi-tasking complete bullshit.
Whether we’re work-at-home moms, stay-at-home moms, corporate career girls or retail clerks (or any number of acceptable roles we might choose), we’re all doing about 50 things at any given time, am I right?
But as we all know all too well–distractions get in the way of progress! Too often, even the slightest distractions end up being the difference between achieving your goals and missing the mark.
It’s important to remember that it doesn’t make you BAD–just unfocused. And hey, it’s natural for various emotions and events to cause your mind to stray. For example, I just moved out of the home I’ve lived in with my family for the past 11 years and into our dream home–and that’s been keeping me very busy for about a month now. But it’s important to avoid getting sidetracked for too long–for me and for you–because if you (and I) don’t, we’ll never get anything productive done. Well, not everything we need to get done, anyway.
Get Past the Multi-Tasking Myth: How to Really Get Stuff Done
Avoid Distractions to Achieve Your Goals
Take these steps to discipline your senses and give yourself the focus necessary to succeed:
Listen to music. As strange as it sounds, music can boost your ability to avoid distractions. But how does noise help you concentrate?
- Studies have shown that classical music enhances visual attention. Subjects apparently focus better with classical music playing than they do in silence.
- Listening to music also helps you make the most out of your workout. The music you listen to at the gym is really useful. It helps you focus on working out by taking your attention away from the discomfort.
Focus on one thing at a time. This step is a work in progress because we live in a world where multitasking is the norm. It’s easy to get caught up with doing more than one thing.
- Your efforts to accomplish several things at the same time may be breaking your focus.
- For the next few weeks, try to keep your tasks simple and one-dimensional. Aim to complete one thing before moving on to the other. Even if you feel underutilized in the process, try to stick to it.
- By allowing your mind and senses to focus on only one thing, you’ll be able to give it your undivided attention. Then, you’ll be able to successfully complete the task.
Avoid distracting situations. When you’re surrounded by things or people whose appeal you would rather explore than focusing on what you’re currently doing, you’re setting yourself up for distractions.
- A great example is studying in front of the television. In this situation, many of your senses are engaged in what you’re watching on TV, rather than on your studies. Find a quiet place to study, instead.
- Let’s say you have a deadline for work. Develop the discipline to tell your friends that partying is out of the question tonight. Learn to say “no” to distractions.
Consider the repercussions. A little conscious thinking is all it takes to maintain focus. Have you ever stopped to consider the repercussions of allowing distractions to take over? Surely you would be less than thrilled if great opportunities passed you by!
- Learning how to balance your priorities will benefit you. How useful is that particular distraction going to be to you a few hours, days, or months from now? Probably useless. Focusing on what’s important gives you lasting satisfaction.
- Allowing distractions to consume your mind also leaves you open to other issues that can interfere with achieving your goals. It’s possible that your mind can become lazy, impatient, and sometimes angry.
Great things are in store for you once you allow yourself to focus on your goals. Remember that your ultimate satisfaction comes from reaching your goals. If you maintain focus, success is sure to come your way!
After Nance Rosen’s comment on yesterday’s post regarding the facts about losing 100 pounds, felt like it would be appropriate to continue the discussion. Today, we are focusing on our elders.
In part, Nance said, “There’s ALL kinds of ‘invisible’ people, or people who get overlooked, labeled lazy or treated as stupid. People with physical handicaps. The elderly. Youngsters (with opinions). People from cultures that are quieter than the typical American. Introverts. Ambiverts. People coping with illness, physical and mental. Parents who have to hold down two or more jobs and support several kids. People who work fast food. People who use food support debit cards. Kids who need school lunches. Anyone with an accent other than British.”
“The list is long,” she continued. “The point is: we are not in high school and no one is with the cool kids. Everyone goes home to their own concerns – and most people are alone with them. Even the happy, well-treated, slim, strong and beautiful people.”
Way too often, I see people around me minimizing the value of the older generation. People roll their eyes when an elder doesn’t understand some of our current technology or asks too many questions. Some consider their older family members more of a burden than an amazing resource.
The truth is, even those elders who haven’t experienced a formal education still have more life experience than your average Joe, and you can bet that they’ve learned some valuable life lessons along the way. Instead of feeling burdened by them, take a few minutes to actually listen the next time your grandma tells her stories. As her life has progressed, she has likely learned a few things that you haven’t yet.
Consider yourself lucky if one of your elders is willing to share this valuable information with you. The benefit of their knowledge and experience isn’t the only thing your elders can offer you. They can be one of the keys to understanding yourself better.
Knowing who came before you, whether biologically related or not, can be intense. I know that I have personally related to people of all ages, races and sexes in trying to come to a better understanding of myself.
After all, we are all connected. Your elders may also offer you a friendly ear when you need to talk, sage advice when you don’t know what to do, and much more. Who of us doesn’t wish we could reach into the past and have a conversation with someone who is no longer with us? Everyone has likely felt that way at some point.
Now, you can change things–take the time you’ve got to spend time with someone you love today.
Mini-Bliss Mission: Hang With Your Elders
Today, I challenge you to take a few minutes to talk with one of your elders. Call your grandma, chat with an elderly neighbor, or go visit one of your friends or family members in their homes. Whatever action you take, be sure to take a few minutes to listen to them. Remember, even if they don’t text like a pro or couldn’t send an email to save their lives–your elders have something important to say. Who knows, you might just learn something new!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section, below.
If you’ve ever felt frustrated because you struggled to complete a task or achieve a goal, you understand the importance of self-discipline. Working to improve your self-discipline is a challenge that will take a bit of effort, but the results will be well worth your time.
Having self-discipline means not requiring anyone else to know about what you’re doing or why. All you need is to know within yourself that you want something badly enough to achieve it, no matter what.
Try these tips to increase your self-discipline:
Whether you’re striving toward a career goal or working to finish a project at home, be sure about what you want to do.
- Rather than saying, “I’ll try to lose some weight,” say instead, “I will lose 10 pounds in 3 months.”
- Semantics are important here. Taking the attitude, “I will” shows much more self-discipline than “I’ll try.”
- Set yourself up for success by making a firm decision to accomplish your goal.
Self-discipline requires a certain degree of focus. What you plan to do or want to do must be so important that it stays in the forefront of your mind until you achieve it.
- Leave yourself a sticky note so you remember what you’re doing.
- Tape it to your bathroom mirror or your computer.
- Visualize what reaching your goal will look and feel like.
Expect to fail once in a while.
One of the best ways to learn about self-discipline is to flounder at least once. This way, you experience the gravity of not getting or accomplishing whatever it is that you want.
- Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up.
- Tell yourself, “Okay, this is just a slip and it’s normal. Now, I’m really going to go for it and do what I’ve set out to do.”
- Use failure productively by telling yourself you’ll work even harder to increase your self-discipline.
Record milestones, both projected and achieved.
Keep track of your tasks and projects that contribute to your goals and celebrate your achievements along the way.
Achieving milestones and taking special notice of them will provide impetus to move you forward.
Hang out with people you admire.
One of the best ways to learn how to improve in some area of your life is to gravitate toward people that do well in that area. Make friends with people you admire for their self-discipline, follow-through, and ability to accomplish goals.
- Apply your keen observation skills to see how they do it. Ask questions. Compliment them. Then, strive even harder to achieve what you set out to do.
- Let yourself be inspired to develop more self-discipline by people who are living their dreams.
Increasing your self-discipline is definitely possible, but results may not come overnight. Avoid letting failure deter you in your quest to develop self-discipline. Instead, use it to motivate yourself to try harder.
Picking yourself up after a fall is the heart of self-discipline. Try these tips and before you know it, you’ll have developed this critical skill, which you can apply to anything in your life.
Editor’s Note: Ask QB is our new advice column. Today, we’re answering questions from parents of young children who want to make sure their kids get the best education possible. Enjoy, and please add your thoughts and questions in the comments section below this post, or via our Facebook page!
We Want Our Kids to Have the Best Education Possible: Where Do We Start?
My husband and I have two young children. The oldest, our daughter, is just starting kindergarten this year.
Since my husband and I didn’t have parents who were interested in or involved in our education, we want to do a better job with our kids. We don’t want them to struggle like we do. But we’re not sure about what we should do to see that our kids have the best educational experiences they can.We want to be sure we do what’s best for our kids.
Where do we start?
I can totally understand why you want the best for your kids, and allow me to commend you for recognizing the significance of being involved with your children’s schooling! Adults who had somewhat uninvolved parents often aren’t aware of the importance of knowing what’s going on educationally with their kids. So, having awareness and interest is truly a great way to start.
One of the initial things you might want to do is to check out the schools in the neighborhood where you live. Your goal is to find out how the public schools in your area rate in terms of standardized assessments of reading and writing abilities.
You can look up the accountability reports for the public schools in your area by searching online for the local school district. You’ll most likely spot links to statistics regarding each specific school. This will take some time and effort on your part, but it’ll be worth it. After you’ve done your research, step one is deciding on the best school for your children to attend.
Stay positive and keep your head in the game!
Public School or Private School: Which is Best?
I’m weighing my options on which school to send my kids to in my new neighborhood. There are a few different options, but it boils down to the usual question–do we go public or private? What things should we consider? What about private schools? Are they really better, or do they just cost more? Can we even afford a private school?
Please help! My head is spinning! How do I decide between public and private school for my kids?
Buzzing in Anticipation,
It always helps me to know that I’m not alone in a situation like this, and I’m guessing that’s pretty common. Fortunately or otherwise, this question sparks spirited discussions across the country–with strong proponents and opponents on each side.
It’s not an easy decision, and there are many factors to consider. The answers are many and complex, and the bottom line is that you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons as they apply to your family and your situation specifically.
Factually, the jury is still out on which provides the better education for kids: public or private schools.
Proponents of the public school route would argue that public schools provide a more “real-life” situation and expose kids to more cultures and experiences. They might point out that involved parents and caring teachers can produce public school graduates who outshine any private school alum.
Some would say that public schools offer more special assistance and programming to meet the needs of the masses of children educated in public schools.
Of course, those on the private school side of the fence would adamantly oppose this view and argue that you get what you pay for. They might point out that parents must be willing to pay more to furnish a better education through private schooling.
Money is a big issue when it comes to private schooling. In the U.S., private schooling at the elementary level can cost anywhere from $2,500 to $40,000 per year per child–and sometimes even more. If you can afford it and the exclusivity and potentially better education seem worth it to you, you should check out the private schools in your area to see if they might meet your children’s needs.
There are various kinds of private schools, including parochial, provided through church affiliations, and secular, among others. Some offer reduced pricing to church members and for members who have more than one child in the school. So, check out your church to see if they’re affiliated with any private schools.
Also, you might want to visit the private and parochial schools in your area. Check them out in person to gather as much information as possible about their teachers’ credentials, class size, teaching methods used, and the availability of computers in the classroom. Typically, class sizes are much smaller in private and parochial schools.
To some parents, this translates to more attention given by teachers to each child. However, you must also be aware that some small private schools inter-mingle kids in several grades into the same classroom with one teacher. Depending on your child, this may or may not be the best learning environment for him.
So as you can see, the public versus private debate has strong arguments on both sides and there are many elements to consider. You and your husband can discuss these issues and make decisions based on your local school visits and research. Frankly, for many parents, private or parochial school isn’t a viable option due to the costs of such schooling–but outside of the money, it’s all up to you.
You’ve got this,
Start Early: How Can I Impress the Importance of Education on My Kids?
I’ve got twins who just turned a year old. Right now I’m really happy to be a stay-at-home mom, but I’m thinking that I’ll go back to work when the kids get in school.
Speaking of which, I’m wondering what kinds of things should I be doing as a parent to ensure they understand the importance of school and that they do as well as possible? I want them to be well-educated because I know how important it is these days–I imagine it’ll just get moreso by the time they’re adults.
Seems to me that you’re on the right track already! The good news is that parents have a pretty significant impact on how well their kids are educated and how much they learn. Plus, parents can even influence whether their kids like school or not–no joke!
Try these strategies to affect your kids’ education in positive ways:
- Each day your child attends school, have a discussion on what occurred in class that day. Rather than asking, “How was your day,” or “How was school,” be more specific in your questioning. Dinnertime works perfectly for this kind of chat, or just do it on the way home or as he arrives off the school bus.
- For example, you could ask, “What did you learn in math today?” or “Tell me one thing your teacher talked about today.” Ask open
- ended questions and encourage your child to comment.
- Demonstrate that school/homework is important by providing space in an open area of the house for the kids to do homework and read books. For younger kids, all you’ll need is a small table and chairs in the living room or family area. As kids get older and can be trusted to do their homework largely on their own, desks for their rooms are in order.
- Consistently plan time each day for the kids to read a book when they’re small or do homework as they get older. You’ll be teaching them that education is an important aspect of life whenever you behave in ways that allow time for study just like you do for baths, meals, and playtime.
- If kindergarteners and first-graders are too young to be reading, sit down with them and either read to them or listen to them practice their reading every day.
- Smile and show a relaxed mood during “study time” with your child. If a child gets tired or antsy, it’s okay to stop for a snack or even a play break for an hour or so. Just be consistent with getting in the time daily. You be the judge of when your child’s attitude or mood indicate that study time should be suspended.
- As your child matures, study time will become focused on either helping your child with homework or just occasionally dropping in to ensure the child is completing assignments.
- As early as kindergarten, share with your child, “We’re going to read for 15 minutes.” This way, kids will develop a sense of time as they mature. They’ll also learn that after they put in the time,
- it’s off for play.
- Be very cautious about providing any punishment or negative comments to your child regarding anything to do with school. You want to do everything possible to ensure your child doesn’t develop uncomfortable feelings related to school.
- Use positive words of reinforcement for your child’s efforts during study time. For example, “Your reading is getting better and better! Good job!” or “You got your homework paper done really quickly! I can see that you’re getting smarter each day because you go to school.”
- You’ll have endless opportunities to speak encouragingly about your child’s school involvement. Take advantage of them.
Keep on keeping on!
Making for Better Mornings: Getting Bedtime Routines Underway Early
I’m planning our schedule for the upcoming year and I have a little one starting preschool three days a week. I’ve been thinking about bedtime and getting the kids up for school. When I was younger, I got to stay up as late as I wanted and often slept in, which made me late for school. Pretty much always went to school with no breakfast.
I know this didn’t work out well–I remember falling asleep in class more times than I care to admit. And I won’t get into the other issues that go along with all that.
I want to work on creating really strong routines in my home and I hope you can help point me in the right direction. Specifically right now I want to know about bed time routines. What do you think?
You sound like an amazing mom, and I hope you recognize that the fact that you’re even thinking about this stuff is a big, huge deal that means you’re pretty awesome.
With all of that being said, you bring up some good points that relate indirectly to the type of education your children will receive. From the time your kids start school, establish a bedtime that fits the child and his age and allows him plenty of time for proper rest before the next school day.
Be consistent and make it clear from day one that there’s no playing around or funny stuff when it comes to staying up late on a school night. Then, in the morning, allow plenty of time for a child to wake up, have breakfast, wash up, and get dressed.
This is one of the times of day that often presents great challenges for parents (and for kids, too). So, it’s best to establish routines and set boundaries to ensure the child gets the message that today is a school day and there’s no time for the television, computer, or video games on a school day morning.
Loving you and all that you do,
Keeping Up With the Times: I Want to Increase Communication With Teachers
My question has to do with communicating with the school and my child’s teacher. My second grader is being awfully quiet about his classes about now, and I am not sure I’m getting the whole story from him.
I want to be sure I know if he’s struggling so I can help him. What’s the best way to go about increasing communication between his parents and his teacher?
You are probably on the right track–when kids clam up suddenly, there’s a reason to worry. You already know that both parents must be involved at the child’s school from time to time. Both should also attend parent-teacher conferences if at all possible, of course.
One or both parents may want to join the parent-teacher organization (PTO). This will help you become familiar with the school building, the teachers and other students, and will provide necessary support for the schools and classrooms.
These days, parents might even have nearly daily communication from their kids’ teachers via the school website and email. Respond consistently and in a timely fashion to any requests made by your kids’ teachers.
If you’re not feeling like your child’s teacher is willing to communicate with you, set up a meeting with her in person and explain that you’re genuinely concerned about your child’s education and that you want to do whatever you can to make her job easier (i.e. support her in her mission to educate your child).
Commit to be as involved as you can with your child’s school. When teachers see parents who care, they stay on their toes where the children are concerned. And this situation ensures your kids will receive the best education possible.
You Rock, Mama!
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