About Letting Go and Making Room in My Life

Note: This post is inspired by recent events in my own life, but also by Chris Brogan. I adore Chris, and am grateful to watch him do his own letting go in favor of making room in his life. You deserve it, Chris!

I’ve had a crazy couple of weeks. I spoke to a room of 80+ people (may of whom were sitting on the floor! I love you guys!), unfollowed a few hundred people on Twitter, canceled 7 hosting accounts, removed 250 people from my Facebook friends (though I have a “fan” page, if you’re so inclined), ended a 20-year long friendship, and posted over 60 domains for sale.

I’ve hunted for houses with my boyfriend, had drinks with friends in Manhattan, written a few blog posts, helped my boyfriend’s sister move, and listened as at least two friends told me of their broken hearts and dreams. I spent some time with my nephew watching “Young Frankenstein” for his first time. I sat with a neighbor as she ran a yard sale, and took photos of a Memorial Day parade, both while soaking up the sun (just a little too much).

I’m letting go of so many things, which has enabled me to truly enjoy so many more. I’m learning something, and it’s that what matters most in life are the things that make you feel good.

  • Letting go of the domains and hosting accounts makes me feel good because I’m no longer spending money on something I’m not using. It gives me room, financially, to focus on the things that will help me grow in many areas, online and off.
  • Letting go of the toxic relationships, the “acquaintances”, the “we used to know each other but now we don’t” people – it has helped me to breathe deeper. I’m no longer feeling like I have to perform or be a certain way for anyone else’s benefit. I no longer spend my time worrying about who’s saying what behind my back, or why. I can’t even begin to tell you how free I feel right now. Words can’t possibly do it justice.
  • Spending time with friends and family – This is the biggest. I’m so glad I could both laugh and cry with my friends so much recently. I’m so grateful that the sun was shining so much that it bronzed my skin and warmed my soul. I’m happy to have spent time away from this box of metal and glass, to really interact with people I care so deeply about.

Don’t get me wrong – I love what I do, I love the internet. I just can’t keep spreading myself so thin. I want important relationships with people, I don’t need connections to people I only hear from on my birthday because Facebook alerts them. I don’t need to hoard domains because I once felt I had a great idea. What I need in my life is more of the stuff that lights fires in my heart.

There are a great many people who have completely inadvertently helped me to discover this “rebirth” I’m going through. I’m sure many of you know who you are, and if you don’t, I’m sure I’ll let you know somehow, in some special way, how much you mean to me. It’s something I look forward to.

Ask Me About: Building Online Communities (BlogWorld Expo NY 2011)

I’m gearing up for my session the end of this month at BlogWorld & New Media Expo in the Javits in New York City. My session is titled “Building A Successful Online Community” (scheduled for Wed. May 25th, 1030-1130am). Tickets are still available here! (Save on ANY pass with the coupon code: BWSAVE20)

I’ve got things fairly tightened up, but I’m looking for your questions. My reasons for this are many; If you’ll be attending, it would be nice for me to be able to incorporate your questions and my answers into the presentation if possible, so as to make room for more questions and answers at the end. (There will be a 15 minute Q&A at the end of the presentation.) If you won’t be attending in person, but may be ordering the video, I can bring your questions with me and you’ll be able to check in on the answers that way. And finally, I’m really determined to make sure I cover all the bases, and you might just have the perfect question that I forgot to touch upon in my presentation thus far. :)

So, hit me with it! What have you wanted to learn about building and managing successful online communities? Are you wondering what type of platform you should use? Do you have questions about using Facebook versus a hosted forum like vBulletin? Do you waffle over whether or not it’s a good idea at all? Why? Are you currently operating an online community, but you’ve run into a roadblock?

I’ll also be using your questions for future posts here on the blog, so don’t be afraid to get into as much detail as you like, and don’t forget to get down to BWENY11 if you can! I promise you won’t regret it!

Time Management Challenge Update

So clearly I haven’t been doing well with some of my goals (like blogging more often), but I’m writing this post to update the ones I have been doing well with. :)

1. Weekends. I’ve spent the past two weekends pretty much offline for the most part. I’m not doing my “day job” work stuff on weekends anymore. It’s been REALLY nice. I spent this past weekend working on my office/craft space and I feel accomplished. One of my projects from this weekend:

It’s totally not finished yet. I have to finish the tree painting on the wall, and start putting away all my supplies. But I’m not so stressed about having a good work space to create my jewelry and art. It’s so nice, because I’m actually able to see everything I have, and ENJOY working on my art projects because everything will have a place and be easy to find. I’m WAY excited about this, can you tell?

2. Working on more creative projects. Clearly as you can see, I’ve now got a dedicated space to work on creative projects. I’ve been making more jewelry and paintings, which makes me happy in so many ways. Painting and being creative reallllly soothes my soul. (It also keeps me from smoking, but that’s another story!) It also is an additional source of income and experience for me, and has ignited all these ideas and inspiration for me. I seriously can NOT say enough how important my creative time is to me… It’s utterly immeasurable.

3. Keeping up on bills. I’m working on my tried-and-true money management processes, and it feels good to be in control again.

4. Keeping up on the apartment. We’re both working hard at keeping clutter at bay and making sure that daily tasks are getting done. Part of this comes from my other time management goal of being done with work by late afternoon. It’s giving me back that time that I just felt was disintegrating. I get more done by backing away from the computer, and it too is soooo good for my soul. :)

So there you have it. There’s literally only a week left to January, and I’m feeling really good.

My next plan is to incorporate a stricter time schedule for my “day job” type tasks. I need to make sure that certain things get done each day, many at certain times. So it’s a clock-based schedule, and I’m hoping to perfect it and set up my reminders and all that. Will report back at the end of the month!

How are you doing with the Time Management Challenge?

2011 Challenges: January – Time Management

So I’ve decided that I’m going to do some monthly challenges here on this blog. They’re often quite personal in nature, but they have to do with living a good life, and that’s what we all want, right?

Yes, I know I’m late getting started, and that’s why I chose “Time Management” for my challenge for January. Fitting, yes? I knew you’d like it.

So there are a few things about me, and my time management woes, that are basic fact:

  1. I have a LOT of work. Work I’m responsible to others for, and work I’m responsible to myself for. A LOT of work.
  2. The economy has struck close to home. Boyfriend’s on unemployment (which in the state of NY, is running out very very fast) and he’s trying to start his own thing at this point. Until that takes off, I’m not only working on a few large contracts, but trying to use the necessity of making more money (and relax a bit in expressing myself creatively) with my jewelry and polymer clay (classes and sales).
  3. The more stressed I get, the less productive I am. Yes, I’m the occasional midnight-oil-burning type when it comes to deadlines, but when it comes to my own personal work goals, they always suffer.

These are things I need to take control of, and fast, before I burn the hell out and jump a plane to some near-deserted island.

So my challenge this month is to work on scheduling. Some of my goals in this challenge are:

  1. Get all client work out of the way daily, by using a daily to-do sheet.
  2. End client work no later than 2pm.
  3. Do my own work (whatever I decide that might be each day, via a second to-do list) from 2pm until 5pm.
  4. End my work day no later than 6pm.
  5. Stop working on client work on the weekends unless vitally important. If something does need to be done on the weekend, set aside a chunk of time, do it then, and walk away.
  6. Use my evenings and weekends to spend more time with my boyfriend, friends, and family. (I sure don’t do that enough, and it hurts my heart.) If there’s nothing going on, or if I’ve got no one to hang with, then use that time to work on creative projects (painting, clay, and jewelry).

My intention is to do a status report post each day (or as close to it as humanly possible). So whaddaya say? We’ve got two weeks left in January to nail this. They say it only takes 7 days to create a new habit, so I’m all in it to win it at this point! Care to join me?

You can chime in in the comments, and then give your status update in the comments on future posts, or better yet, start the same on your own blog for accountability (if you do, let us know in the comments here so anyone else can join in with you). Let’s see if we can work together to really kick ass in 2011!

Books I Want to Write

For a very long time now, I’ve seen my friends like Chris Brogan, Darren Rowse, Chris Garrett, and many others write and sell books. I mean, that’s just three of them, but there are literally dozens I could probably name in a few seconds. I know even more who are currently working on books. Some have been asked to submit proposals, others are just writing now and are going to publish later.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve considered writing one of my most favorite things to do.

Ever since I got into this whole “blogging” thing, which was way before they even called it that, I’ve really enjoyed writing.

Ever since I’ve been a business owner, I’ve wanted to write, but haven’t found the time.

I know, I know… all you pro-writers out there are humming along in unison: Just do it. Make time.

One of my goals for the new year is to write more, I promise. It really helps me get thoughts out that sometimes develop or expand in Skype chats with my other blogging friends.

Another place I get my crazy thoughts about writing is my own career as a Community Manager. Between ProBlogger Community, Tassimo, and Country Time Lemonade, I totally have a ton to say.

When I tell people how I got started working online, so many people say, “What’s this blogging thing? How do you really make money?”

But trying to explain to them that I can’t just knock out a thorough explanation in five minutes just won’t cut it. For now, I refer them to my friends’ books. How crazy is that? I want to write a book about blogging and community.

People look at my jewelry, and they ask me, “How do you do that?” or they say, “I make jewelry too, but it’s really just simple stuff, nothing like what you’re doing!”

Hello? Lara? Major opportunity here! I want to write a book about making artistic jewelry.

My greyhounds are still at my dad’s house. I miss them so much, and while I always said that I’d always have greyhounds, my boyfriend happens to be dog-avoidant. But I know literally everything there is to know about owning a retired racing greyhound. I know about worldwide issues with retired racers. I know the personalities, I know the environments they do best in, and I belong to local and international rescue groups. I want to write a book about retired racing greyhounds.

When I look at that list, I laugh. They’ve all been written before, some more often than others. It makes me think that I’d be wasting my time. Then I remember hearing that there is no such thing as an original idea, just an original way of thinking it, and I decide that this year (2011), I’m going to write a book.