Moving forward in life and venturing into new territory.

Winter has arrived here in Alberta. I’m not ready for it, but Mother Nature doesn’t care. It’s here and I can either embrace it or complain. (Chances are I’ll do the latter more.)

The home renos are coming along nicely; only two more rooms to do the flooring in. My office is going to be the last one because it is the smallest and has the least amount of things to be moved. I’m thankful for the built-in bookshelves; no need to empty and move them.

At the end of this month the arborist is coming in and taking out several trees that have lived beyond their years. I presumed them to be healthy but when the leaves fell I realized just how unsafe they are. I don’t like to have trees cut down, but when they become a hazard it’s time. I will end up with some nice firewood at the end of it all though, which is nice.

Plus I’ll be able to plant some fruit trees in their place come spring; which I’m looking forward to. I know they’ll do well in that spot because they’ll have all the sunshine they want, yet be protected from the west winds by an existing hedge.

Now that life has settled for me, I am able to pursue something I have wanted to for a long time. It’s going to take time and work but I’m so excited about it!

For those of you who are authors or information product creators, you know how hard it is to get your work seen. And it’s even harder to earn a living from it. (For those of you who are earning a full-time income from your work, kudos to you!)

At the end of October I bit the bullet and started my own publishing company, Birchbark Publishing. Right now I’m concentrating on ebooks and information products, with the intent to expand to other digital formats (audio and video). Digital is faster to distribute, easier to fix errors, and can be read on any device (as they’ll be in PDF).

For those with an artisitic flair, I’m also accepting submissions for colouring books. The beauty of PDF is these can be printed by the buyer and coloured in the traditional way, or opened with a note-taking app and coloured digitally. Portability at its finest.

Fiction or nonfiction. Novels or short stories. Kids books too.

I know there’s going to be a learning curve, but I’m going to do my best to not have any screwups.

You can read my latest blog post on my publishing site here, and let me know what you think.

How to get back into a routine after a major move.

I hope your summer has been a good one.

Mine has been extremely busy with the move and even a mini vacation, but now it’s time to get back into some sort of routine.

With moving comes semi-organized chaos, bittersweet moments, and then learning the ins and outs of a new place. It has definitely been an adventure for me.

I have my new office set up, complete with two desks, a beautiful built-in bookcase, and plenty of room to move around. It’s a nice change from the spare room I used as an office in my other house. Amd the bright paint is a motivator in itself.

I spent the majority of July either moving, packing, unpacking, or painting. I do have to say I’m glad the packing and moving part is done at least. The unpacking and painting will be done over time, but at least I have the main things unpacked.

It has been wonderful to just spend some time in my new house to figure out what I want to put where, which light switches do what, and do some yard work. I know it’s going to take time to get it all figured out, but that’s all part of the process.

I looked back at my last blog post and realized it has been over two months since I wrote anything. I honestly thought being able to do it from my phone would be easier, but it seems I was wrong. Apparently I need a little more structure than I thought.

Getting back into a routine after a major move doesn’t come easy; at least not for me. And this time it was me doing the majority alone; aside from help with the big stuff over the course of one weekend. Going through my late husband’s things wasn’t easy; it was hard to decide what to keep and what to give away. I don’t wish that scenario on anyone.

Now, to let you know what’s working for me in regards to getting back into a routine:

  • A view. My office faces south (as did my other one) but the view isn’t blocked by trees. I can see the road and the field across the road, plus I’ll see bison during the winter as they graze in the corn field. (Perhaps some inspiration for my fiction.)
  • Books and work-related things only. My office is only for work; no crafts allowed. That means no yarn, no fabric, no sewing machine, and no weaving projects. My Cricut is allowed, but a lot of its use will be for products in my Etsy shops.
  • A Kanban board within reach. I have used a kanban board before and it worked. Somewhere along the way I stopped using it, and my progress went to shit. Getting back into using it is helping. The first time I heard about a kanban board was when I watched one of Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings videos several years ago. Here’s a post from her in January 2021 resetting hers. I love her enthusiasm, and her methods work.
My Kanban Board ready for the next set of sticky notes. And of course my AWAI Copywriter’s Cheat Sheet.
  • Cutting the clutter. Yes, I am in a new space; but yet the clutter finds a way. It doesn’t take long for the mail to pile up on my desk, or the binders full of printed material to not be put back on the bookshelf. I find if I tidy before I leave it for the day, the next morning is easier to get right to work.
  • Take breaks. I’m terrible when it comes to regular breaks/mealtimes, but I’m getting better. By taking breaks for a snack, meal, or to refill my water bottle, I find I am more productive and can stick to a schedule.

It’s a big change being in a new home; but a change that needed to be made. As I get settled and figure out the creaks, groans, and lay of the land I’ll also be growing as a person.

The hardest thing I’ve had to do since I moved was to make the decision to have my Buddy euthanized. His loss of sight and hearing left him terribly anxious all the time, and I couldn’t bear to see him suffer because of it. I believe him and my late husband are now howling together (something they did on an almost daily basis) in Heaven; and their ashes are side by side on my mantle.

In closing I want to leave you with this: no matter what life throws at you, find a way to keep moving forward. Ask for help if you need it, or change your postal code if necessary…and always remember you’re never alone.

Procrastination: My own worst enemy.

Oh my! I’ve been terrible at keeping to my weekly schedule lately, haven’t I?

I could make 100 excuses, but in the end, there really has been no reason to not sit down at my computer for a couple hours and do my blogging. My procrastination has taken over again, which I am kicking myself for now. My apologies!

I’m the first to admit I can find other things to do when I should be staying on task. Probably not something I should be admitting, but only by admitting it can I make the changes I need to.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

In a sense, it’s like anything else. You do not see it being a problem until you admit there’s a problem. After that, you can then take the steps needed to fix it. I suppose it’s along the lines of health issues. If you don’t think you’re overweight you’re not going to change your exercise and eating habits. If you don’t think you drink too much you’re not going to cut back.

What is procrastination?

In a nutshell, it’s putting off until tomorrow what should be done today.

Procrastination affects us all to some degree. Sadly some more than others. And it’s the tasks we like the least that we procrastinate the most. Or, in the case of writers, not knowing what to write about when we sit down at the computer.

Wouldn’t it be easier to just do what needs to be done so we can move on to the next part of our day?

Don’t get me wrong: I love my blogs and I enjoy sharing what I know/do with you. Perhaps it’s the overwhelm I’m feeling right now with the upcoming move, and having to go through a house full of things. It’s amazing how much “stuff” a person collects over the years.

In all honesty, procrastinating with the sorting and packing is also a thing. I have been trying to do something each day; even if it’s just one box or tote. Or one thing out in the yard. And I may have overdone it yesterday, so I’m glad today is a rainy, breezy day. It’s giving me more incentive to sit down and get my blogs done and spend a little more time on a course I’m taking.

How to avoid procrastination.

I honestly don’t think it can be avoided 100 percent, but there are things we can do to make things easier on ourselves.

  • Start the task and finish it. Chances are the task at hand really isn’t going to take up a lot of time. And if it is, break it up into smaller tasks so there’s some progress made.
  • Be accountable. It’s easy to piss around and not do what you should be doing if you’re the only one who knows what needs doing. (Pot calling the kettle black here.) Something as simple as a little chart (light bulb moment for a printable) can go a long way to show progress. I need to do this, because sometimes my planner just isn’t enough. And seeing a lot of checkmarks, stars, or coloured in squares is a reward in itself.
  • Set a timer. The Pomodoro technique does work…if you stick to it. I have used it and have been much more productive than when I don’t.
  • Delegate if possible. When you’re working for yourself it’s a little more difficult to delegate the tasks. If your budget allows, hire a VA for the little things so you can spend more time on the big things. It’s easy to get caught up in the social media posts, Pinterest pins, and other shiny objects. Let someone else do those while you pay attention to the main project at hand, using the Pomodoro technique if necessary.
  • Reward yourself. I know this sounds a little childish, but it works. We all need a little positive reinforcement, and something as simple as a new book or spending some time colouring in an adult colouring book (yes, the ones with the f-word) is sometimes all it takes.

Now, as I have been writing my brain has been going 100 miles an hour; so I’ve been making notes (better than starting something new instead of getting this done) of things to do later.

If you’re like me, and I feel you are in some ways (or you wouldn’t be reading this), shiny objects do try to lead you astray. By jotting down those shiny objects you can remember them, but finish the task at hand before you start chasing them.

And yes, I will try hard to practice what I preach. 🙂

That all being said, sometimes we get taken away from our writing/task because something unexpected comes up that needs our attention.

Case in point: As I was writing I had an email pop up from an Etsy customer regarding one of my crochet patterns. Instead of making her wait (and risking a bad review) I responded with demo photos of a stitch she was unclear about. I didn’t have those photos handy, so grabbed a hook and some yarn to show her what I meant. Once they were sent off, I resumed my post.

Thanks to my Etsy customer, I have a photo for this post. The link will take you to the listing, if you’re interested in learning how to make a lingerie/doll clothes bag.

At the end of the day we should procrastinate less, but sometimes things do come up. It’s up to us to decide what should take precedence. For me, it was a 10-minute delay in finishing my post. For my customer, it was quick service and the solution to a problem she was having.

Question: Are you guilty of procrastinating a little…or a lot?

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