How to make a multitasking mind focus on one project

If you're looking for sound advice, I can't promise you much. This isn't one of those development tips for the multitasker, but it is the true story of how crazy it is for said multi tasking entrepreneur to stay focused one of task for the entire day.

Usually I have a todo list a page long and jump between emails, social media, a client chat here and solving a problem there, but today I had one task. I had one document that I was determined to start, finish and get off to my client by close of business today. The deadline is next week, but I have a crazy tomorrow and can't be lastminute.com. So my morning started the way any multi tasker would begin a focused day ... I moved all the furniture around in my house. Don't stress, that only took from 5am to 7am, still giving me the rest of the day to do what I never do ... only one thing!

bubblesIf you think I kid about bubbles being my sanity, today is going to set the record straight.

Thinking about one thing all day is my version of insanity. I even had moments where I thought I was going to explode from frustration, but I was also determined to focus and get the job done.

Bubbles ... just when my mind and the millions of anxious multi tasking cells in my body were about to explode, I grabbed my bottle of emergency bubbles. I have those. Yes ... I really, really have those!

Out into the garden and a few minutes of happy bubble blowing kept me going for a few more hours. Well, minutes ... but I took each minute at a time and was thrilled about any WhatsApp I received or email that I had to quickly check, just in case it was urgent. I only dealt with the urgent ones ... I promise!

Once this document was done and sent off to the client, I feed up my day for another client event tomorrow morning and full admin catch up for the rest of the day. Then I have a weekend. A whole weekend ... Imagine that.

bubbles and strawIf you are able to focus on one task, all day, I fall at your feet in admiration.

I nearly went insane. The amazing part is that I absolutely love putting together strategy for my clients but for some reason, every cell in my body knows that it should all be done in one sitting.

It could take me three days. It usually does, but then that's a bit of work at night and some on the weekend and ... it's time to try something new.

Bubbles ... I needed more! If you're only getting to know me, you'll soon learn that drinking bubbles is my anxiety reliever. It's also my weight loss bestie. For whatever reason, bubbles bring back the calm and the balance. Then there's the bendy straw ... when that gets hauled out you know I'm in need of major calming down. There's a packet in my makeup draw just in case I don't make it to the kitchen on time.

5:25pm and the document is complete and sent to the client. My insides feel like mush from the anxiety of the simple task of focusing. On the other hand, I have bouncy feelings of self pride and achievement, that I do have the ability to do something different. It was a long, totally out the norm kinda day, but I did keep one thing constant ... my bubbles! There's sanity in them ... I swear there is!

Huge thanks goes to @SA_Sodastream for my birthday present last year. It's the most used kitchen appliance and I have my bubbles on tap, which literally keeps me sane. I'll also soon blog about how it keeps me on the weight loss track ... but that's for another day! Right now ... I'm going to go and do five things at once, just because I can!!

What if no one is right?

If it?s raining in July, in Joburg, maybe we should head into this day tearing out the pages of life's rule book because, just maybe, anything is possible!!

Google it ... it should be dry season! Don't Google it ... figure out what you should do all on your own, despite the streams of advice that is thrown at us every day. What if it's all wrong? What if ...

clarahsudotcom

The things not even my bestie may know about me

I've had the combination of a stressful and exciting few weeks. I've also had my fair share of happiness and then a whack of sad. I've been forced to look at some things and tell myself the harsh truth and a few days later I've had the gift of being given the simplest reminder of who I am and what I deserve.

In all of this, my days have been filled with the ebb and wave of emotion and for whatever reason, I decided to deal with it on my own and not turn to friends for advice, a shoulder or an indication that I am on the right path. So, it's just been me!

Without the distraction of endless phone calls or whatsapp messages or coffee (okay, tea) where I speak my heart for hours, I have felt as though I magnified my life and discovered a few things that I have done, mostly unconsciously in the past, in times of happy and/or sad.

It's been a joy, actually! Even to discover the things I turn to while trying to mend my hurting heart, I have smiled at the little things I have come to realise that not even my bestie (who really knows EVERYTHING) may know about me ...

httphuffingtonpostdotcomI eat melted cheese when I am anxious.

Rephrase! I crave melted cheese at that moment when butterflies hit my tummy. It was the day I climbed into the car and drove to the supermarket, just to buy a block of mozzarella, that I realised, hey, I do this. It simply gets sliced onto a plate, popped into the microwave, splashed with Worcestershire sauce the moment it comes out and voila ... melted cheese totally trumps butterflies.

I have a size 34 dress in my cupboard that I have had there since 1998. I have dreamed of fitting into it for fifteen years. It's brightly coloured, with parrots all over it and has little shoestring straps. It's also completely hugging and not made for the curvy body I have come to love and respect. I'm only missioning my way down to a size 38 now and am creeping closer to turning 42 ... who the hell am I kidding?
I get the feeling that we keep something like that as a reminder of what we could have or be, but years down the line, I don't want the same things when I was a chubby 20something year old. I may still turn to melted cheese, but it's time for the dress to go ...

Years ago, a very special man what ripped from my life, by a vengeful person with a gun. It's been over twenty years and sometimes I think I need a second round of therapy to deal with his death. Anyway, I somehow associated the song Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen to my love and my loss and now I have over 20 versions of the song. Everyone from Bob Dylan, Katherine Jenkins (one of my favourite versions), KD Lang (makes me weep), to South African Idols version and totally random YouTube version. I have spent hours listening to different version all in a row. When life hurts, I shut the world out, wish I were somewhere else, living a life that wasn't torn away from me ... and I just cry! Dramatic ... but oh so true!

I own two mobile phones! The one is kept purely because I am a closet Candy Crush player. Okay, I think my bestie knows this one! No one else does. Oh the shame!!!
My brain is a noisy one and it's always filled with work or plans or what if's and sometimes I just want it to shut up for a while. I started playing around the time I called off my engagement, in the middle of the night, when I couldn't sleep and really didn't want to think. Then I got very far in the game and it was time for an upgrade. WHAT ... you can't transfer a game to a new phone??? I swear, I don't use the phone for anything else! It's literally charged, the switched off and turned on to get my "crush" fix and the process is on repeat!

There may be others, like I keep a pack of bendy straws in my makeup drawer, because sometimes sipping through one helps me concentrate for longer. Tiny little sips ... always of bubbles, but everyone knows that!

I'm about to head into a day where I'm going to need the melted cheese, a few rounds of Candy Crush, Hallelujah on repeat and a bendy straw in my laptop bag for just in case ... but first, I have a really old dress and some expectations to clear out!

Reach For A Dream #SlipperDay?

I have the cutest pair of Tigger slipper ... wait, I'll show you.

Reach For A Dream Slipper DayI proudly wear them through winter, around the house. They haven't been out for public viewing, but #SlipperDay is a month away, on the 7th of August and I'm thinking ...

Granted, I don't have offices of my own yet, so I may have to pick a client and tell them it's for a special cause and let's all wear slippers.

Actually, let's really all wear slippers!

#SlipperDay is an initiative of Reach For A Dream,helping fulfil the dreams of children fighting life threatening illnesses such as cancer, renal failure, heart conditions and blood disorders. Wearing your comfiest pair of slippers in public is now socially acceptable on?Friday the 7th of August 2015.

"The ?right? to wear your slippers on Friday, 7th August, in a show of support and solidarity for the Reach For A Dream Foundation will be granted when you purchase a ?Slipper Sticker? for only R10. Stickers are available at all Wimpy stores countrywide from 1st July. Alternatively, purchase a twibbon online at www.slipperday.co.za or at any one of the seven Reach For A Dream branches countrywide, in South Africa."

Don't miss out on this fun way of giving back and post your pics to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @ReachForADream and hashtag #SlipperDay.

Slipper Day Reach For A Dream

Yes, Humans Can Hibernate

I'm a 4:30am, get up and go, kinda girl. Well, in summer I'm that, but this winter I was more like a wake up and snuggle with the cats until the birds let me know it's warm enough to get out of bed. Amazingly, I still wake up before 5am through the whole of winter and every day, I begged myself to get up and do some gym or sit down and write a bit before the world caught up and woke with me.

It's my time and I love it, but it took nearly the whole of winter for me to stop the nasty voice in my head, yelling "lazy ass", because I couldn't coax myself out of bed.

leevingsdotwordpressdotcomI actually noticed I was getting it all wrong when I had a meltdown about the cozy food I was craving on the cold, winter, nights. It took me a while to cut myself some slack and start making stews, soups and big plates of roasted veggies, because my body was definitely craving the heavier dinner. I still think we are meant to get a bit fattened up in winter, because it's the body's extra warmth.

I'm not saying eat loaves of bread and stuff our faces with winter comfort food (which I did for way more than half my life), but rather, fill ourselves up and don't worry about the extra weight that may creep on from a hearty stew over a zero calorie salad. I haven't even bothered Googling, because my instinct says ... humans should totally change our behaviour in winter, because we can (and maybe should) hibernate!

Let's hibernate!

It's the first morning since winter crept in, that I am sitting at my desk and writing before sunrise. It's definitely warming up and I'm thrilled about that, but I also cut myself slack halfway through winter and let myself go ... into hibernation.

I'm not as enthusiastic in the morning and I don't think I'm meant to be. Let me rephrase that ... I don't want to be. Everything is cold and my body and soul has loved the nurturing of snuggling into the blankets, with warm cat bodies. It's like it's meant to be.

I've compensated though and made sure that I drink loads of hot water, with lemon or sage or ginger or orange (wait, I think I need a blog post dedicated to my flavours of water). I've made sure my food is hearty, but not starch heavy. I have kept up my weekend walk, where I can get out at around 8am and take in the winter sun, but for the most part, I have hibernated.

It's now, that I am consciously healthy, that I can appreciate my cycles of the body and I'm excited for the awareness that I plan to carry with me through the spring and summer, so that I can truly prep from my next winter, from the autumn days and then love and appreciate every moment my body needs to do what's natural in winter ... slow down, rest up, chill out!!!

The Big Lesson I Learned From My Only Boss

I knew from pretty early on in my career, that I wasn't going to make a great employee. It wasn't that I was going to get myself fired, but more that I may have walked out of any job where I couldn't create my own job description.

Before I discover that, I managed to suck it up and work in corporate for just under a year, of which the first eight months was with a boss who taught me all I needed to know about being an entrepreneur, without either of us realising it.

I'll tell you how the story ended and they go back to the juicy bits. Basically, that incredible boss moved on and I got a real taste of what corporate could be like, with another boss who managed to frustrate me so much that within two months, I resigned. That's where my entrepreneurial journey was born, way back in 1993. Admittedly, I worked for my mom for a few years, but she was grooming me to be the boss of her business ... which clearly didn't pan out the way either of us through it would. But back to the one great lesson.

I was a secretary, with a real typewriter and the beginning stages of working on a computer. Our faxes were still received or rolls of fax paper and I didn't have a clue what it meant to take the things I learned from college and implement them into the real world. My boss knew that and everything she needed me to do, she would do first.

She always told me ... and this is the one big lesson ... Don't give your team anything to do that you can't or won't do yourself.?

She taught me lots of other stuff, but the rest paled in comparison to that important message. On days when I wasn't getting all my work done, she would send a few emails herself or crank up the fax machine and send it. Some days, we would stick address labels on envelopes together, during our lunch time. She rocked and I wanted to rock too.

Fast forward to the boss I am today. Firstly, I have a team and I don't think I have ever said "staff member" or "employee". Every bit of work that my full or part time team do, I can do too. I may not have done it in a while, but I could *said with a rusty old brain*.

If there's training, I go on it as much as I possibly can. If I miss it, I want my team to teach me so I can jump in if they need me.

Thanks goodness I was taught how important it is to get and keep your hands dirty.

iamdashnetworkdotcomLife happens and today a team member needed us to pull together and help her. That meant I had to roll up my sleeves and do things I haven't done for nearly two years in the business.

I panicked so much this morning that I was giggling on the phone to one of our service providers, because she needed to help me along and kick start a few processes for me.

Amazingly, the only thing I didn't know how to do, was screen grab on my Mac. Don't judge ... it's new(ish).
The rest of the day, between juggling what was on the agenda, I got stuck in and I was so chuffed with myself. I even redid the templates, because it was time and I totally have the capability. It's easy to tell someone in the team to do it, but it's also as empowering to keep my hands dirty.

If it weren't for my one vital lesson, I would have missed training days, thinking that it's the work of other members of team. I wouldn't know how to work in the packages and systems that helped keep my business on track today, and I'm so damn proud of me.

 

Teardrop in the Changing Room

Retail therapy. I had no clue what that meant, as the fat girl. There's nothing therapeutic about standing in a changing room, under cruel lights and truthful mirrors. I didn't do retail therapy when I needed to have that girlie outlet, I did binge eating.

Each time I needed a pick me up, I ate, while other girls where buying a pair of jeans or a pretty pair of shoes. Then when I finally had to get into the change room, because nothing fitted me anymore, I needed a pick me up, all over again.

By the time I started consciously living #ProjectMe, I was in a size 46 (18). It took me over a decade to get myself down to a size 42 (14), with glimmers of moments where I could squeeze into a size 40 (12), but I always found my clothes at the big girl's shops.

It's been over the last two and a half years, where something has really shifted and I've steadily settled into a happier, healthier relationship with my food and my body. The irony is that it's linked to me turning forty and all I ever heard everyone say is that it's harder to lose weight after you hit the big four Oh! Um, they forgot to mention that it's very dependant on that relationship that you have with yourself in your forth decade.

I totally needed retail therapy today and easily escaped into the closest mall, with one plan on my mind. Shoes and clothes ... ASAP! It's heading to sale time on winter boots, so I easily scored a pair of South Africa's example of cowgirl boots, two pairs!

FullSizeRenderI swore I wouldn't buy from a big girl shop ever again, a few years back, but the reality was that it took a while to get to keep that promise to myself.

A few weeks ago, I had breakfast with a family friend and she said, "you're not a fat girl anymore."

That stuck with me, so today, I decided that even if I bought something I would have to squeeze into in a few months, I was going to walk into a "normal" shop and walk out with at least one thing.

A big girl's 40 and a the one in the "normal" stop are different, trust me. Most of the time it's cut and shape, but wouldn't dare try on a pair of jeans if they were hanging anywhere near the skinny jeans. That was on the other days, with the old me, but today I grabbed two pairs off the rail, walked to the changing room and took the biggest breath. In my head I was already telling myself that if they didn't fit, they would be a goal.

Up ... up ... over my hip ... zip ... button ... a screech of joy and then the teardrop. Okay, it was timed with the girlie need for the shopping spree, but I achieved something I have promised myself for far too many years. I could look at myself in the mirror and smile, even with the clothes size or two that I would love to still drop, but it completely felt like a, "this is good enough" moment. We don't have enough of those. We are so quick to have a look at how far we still have to go, that we miss the moment we are in. Well, I do at least ... but I didn't.

I ended up really having a feel good shopping spree, with a pile of clothes that don't have to be packed away for skinnier day.

IMG_4011I headed home and made myself roast chicken and a huge plate of roasted chips ... butternut chips!

Weight is one of the greatest struggles that faces the world today and I'm one of those people who has tried it all and looked for any quick fix that could speed up the process and allow me to still eat what I wanted, when I NEEDED to.

It doesn't work that way. It's the most conscious relationship I have had to build with myself and it's taken the most amount of work and self discipline, but it's been so worth it. I was a size 46 in 2004 and within 5 years I was 24kg lighter and have ever gone back to what I was. Oh boy, I've fallen off the rails and crept close, but I've reconnected with my Self and reworked my relationship with food to get back to my conscious, healthy relationship again.

I can't remember when last I felt so proud of myself. I don't, for one second, care that the world may say that a girl my size is overweight. I just bought a standard pair of jeans from a normal clothing store and that makes me just your average Jo!

 

Relaunch Time for Your Project Me Story

Years ago, I launched Your Project Me Story, where I would interview people for my blog and share their story. I loved it, but I got busy and it sadly fell by the wayside. I totally believe in subtle messages from the universe. I also believe that when we are onto something, there's a little nudge from ... yes, again, The Universe.

In the process of revamping my blog, I decided to relaunch the interview section called Your Project Me Story, and just as I did that, I was asked to do two interview, by two awesome SA bloggers:

gordonattarddotcom image for project me@gijane_zn (on Twitter) and her interview, "Getting to know Jodene Shaer"

@SandyNeneSA (on Twitter) and his interview, "Blogger Of The Week: Jodene Shaer"

 

Of course, I believe in signs.

I actually call them the Universal kick in the butt.

It's been beyond refreshing to relaunch the blog, in stages, and to open it up to the opportunity to interview some of my favourite people, excites me beyond belief.

I'm kicking it off with three of my fave SA bloggers, @StellaLurvs, Jane and Sandy ... eeek, maybe I should let them know 🙂

Okay, I have to dash, I have an exciting section of my blog to bring back to life!!