Thursday, April 29, 2010

Hold onto Your Hats! Windy City, Here We Come

It's been a very exciting time in the Haisman household -- we're M.O.V.I.N.G. -- to Chicago! Yikes!

Yes, I know it's cold there! That's the furthest thing from my worries at this point. It's the distance from my wonderful family and friends here in Fort Myers that has me most teary-eyed. Paul and I have been here almost 15 years.

The reason we are leaving is that Paul found a FANTASTIC job opportunity. He will be the top IT professional for the YMCA of the USA! Neither of us could be any more excited about this opportunity. It is amazing, and we are feeling very blessed. The opportunity is not just for Paul though, it is for the whole family -- because my family lives in the Chicago area -- what a gift! The thought of living near my family has me very excited.

Although Tyler and Alyssa are leaving Paul's parents, they will be closer to my parents, my brothers and their wives, my sister and her husband, their cousin, Katlin, and their two new cousins who will be born in July! Not to mention tons of extended family.

All four of us are excited for a change ... for a new adventure. And this is the attitude we will take with us and teach to the children. This entire experience is a teaching experience for them -- about the logistics of moving and the emotions that go with it. It seems unusual to be feeling happy, excited, sad and scared all at the same time.

We're working with Tyler and Alyssa to sort through the emotions and be present as the friends and family we are leaving behind express their emotions, as well. It's difficult to know a decision you are making is hurting other people. It makes the whole experience feel bittersweet.

We know how it feels to be on the other end of good friends moving, as we've had two families move away from us recently. It is heartbreaking, but life does go on. Thank goodness for cell phones and the Internet! It's not the same, but it'll have to do for now.

Although everything for us is changing all at once, one thing is for sure -- we love, love, love our SWFL family and friends no matter where we live!

Monday, April 26, 2010

My Media Free Week

As an assignment for my life coaching class, I was instructed to practice being quiet. For seven consecutive days I was to watch NO television, listen to NO radio, watch NO movies and read NO newspapers. 

Sound scary? It wasn't, but it was more difficult than I thought. I’ve already paired down my media consumption quite a bit, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but my media habits are more ingrained than I thought.

Overall, I would say the experience has been very peaceful and calming. I think all the background noise and negative news creates more stress than I realized. It was also a bonding experience for me -- with both Paul and the kids.

It was bonding with Paul because he participated with me -- what a guy! Seriously! That meant a lot to me. It was bonding with the kids, because we were music free in the car and really enjoyed our conversations! 

During this time, I’ve noticed there is music playing in virtually every public place in this town. I was at the Bell Tower coffee shop trying to work one day, but the music was so LOUD, I had to leave early – before getting all of my work done. I just couldn’t take the noise anymore. I have to say, though, that leaving early ended up being a gift, because I got some shopping done for our upcoming family photos. I was really excited about that, because it saved me time and stress later in the week! 

Also during the week, I noticed how habitual we are about our TV, music and newspaper reading. On the first day, I reached for the radio right after dropping Alyssa off for school – forgetting for a moment about the no media week.

There was also one day when I went out to pick up the paper in the driveway and started reading one of the stories on my way into the house – Paul promptly reminded me about the no media week! Then, one afternoon, I glanced at the one of the TVs at the gym and watched an entire story before I remembered the no media week! Another awkward time was going to bed at night – Paul and I usually fall asleep to the TV. We also turn the news on first thing in the morning to catch up on the world’s happenings.  

Before having children, I almost always had the TV on at home – I couldn't bear the silence – but I stopped that habit after having children. This no media week took that to a new level for me. I realized I use some of the time listening to the news and radio to drown out my thoughts. To shut my brain off. To go on auto pilot. By going no media this week, I realized that I will be OK if I let myself think, if I sit in silence. I realized that it's actually more relaxing to leave it off. And, for sure, I was more productive!

I am excited to report that Paul read a book during this time!!! Yippee! It’s been sitting on his dresser forever! The book was about leadership and was great for where he is in his career right now. Overall, Paul says he has enjoyed the silence. How cool!

So, I think I will continue to keep media to a minimum in my life for now. Not totally eliminated, but less -- especially in the car with the kids. We do a lot of driving to and from school, and that is valuable time where we can share about our days! 

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Time to Plan

I recently learned a statistic that says 80 percent of success in life comes from taking action, and only 20 percent comes from planning. I'm not sure where the statistic originated, but I heard it from Master Life Coach David Essel.

What that tells me is that many of us spend way too much time planning our lives -- personal and professional. David says we "overplan" to avoid doing the things we don't want to do, and that too much planning and not enough action keeps us from being successful and getting what we want out of life.

He also said there is a best time of the day to do our planning. Did you know that? I didn't. Surprisingly, it's at the end of the day -- not the beginning of the day.

"If we walk into the office in the morning and we don’t have a plan yet, we are sunk," David says. "Our planning should never be done in the morning. Ever."
Why? Because most people feel the most energetic in the morning, and the least in the late afternoon. David says we should not waste our morning energy on planning. "You’re spinning your wheels ... you’ve got to do the action first."

That makes sense to me. Since I am at my best in the morning, I shouldn't waste that energy on planning. Instead, I should be working on more creative tasks and taking action on my "to-do" list. Then, if I sit down to plan at the end of the day, I'll be ready to hit the ground running when I get up the next day!

David says the difference between people who are incredibly successful and those who are not, is that those who are successful understand the principle of 80 percent action, 20 percent planning. Action in the morning. Planning at night.

I've been trying this new philosophy over the past week, and it's worked out great! I am finishing up projects left and right and simply enjoying knowing I am using my bubbly morning energy to be productive!

I also started two new productivity techniques this week. I started putting a time guesstimate next to each project to help give me an idea of how long it will take. Then, I decide which of the 15 items on my "to-do" list I can actually accomplish that day. I don't choose them all -- only a few. This way, I feel good at the end of the day, instead of behind.

Happy Friday!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Making the Best of it: A lesson for the Kiddos!

This weekend we planned on a camping trip with Tyler's Cub Scout pack. It was the final camping outing of the year and featured the annual Blue & Gold dinner.

On Saturday afternoon, we got to the campground, set up, played for a while and headed over to the banquet hall for the dinner and awards ceremony. The weather was not looking good. During the ceremony, it started to pour. We thought about our campsite and everything that was outside, and we checked the weather forecast on our phones to see was in store for the rest of the night -- the answer was not good. It was going to rain all night and into the next day.

I don't know about you, but rain just kind of takes the fun out of camping for me. So, once we got back to our campsite and saw how soaked everything was, we packed it up and went home. This was not a decision that made Tyler happy -- after all it was the last camping trip of the year, and he was having a ball. There was still a nature walk and a campfire to look forward to.

Paul and I understood how he felt and decided to make the most of it for him. We told the kids we would "camp" on the family room floor! This seemed to help. On the way home in the car, we talked about what fun we had had so far and about how fun it would be to sleep in the family room together.

When we got home, we set up the sleeping bags on the floor, got out the flashlights and told ghost stories in the dark! It was awesome! We totally made the best of it! And, we used this experience to teach the kids about that life lesson -- we all make the grandest of plans, but sometimes, things change. We have two choices -- give up and cry or go out and make the best of it! I choose to make the best of it!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Get rid of that Mommy guilt!

I can't believe how great I feel this morning! I have so much energy, and I have been really "present" with the kids. I think it is because they went to stay with Grandma and Grandpa yesterday -- from about 1 p.m. until 9 a.m. this morning. Yippee! Paul and I had a break!

After we dropped the kids off, we went to get a couples massage; I got a pedicure; we went to a local waterfront restaurant for an appetizer and a cocktail; then we spent the evening chillin' on the patio at a friend's house. It was so relaxing.

I started to miss the kids early, though. The entertainer at the restaurant had his 3-year-old daughter with him -- she was playing around the stage and laying down in his guitar case. It was so cute! Watching her made me miss my little guys and feel guilty for wanting a break from them. It's funny how that works, isn't it? You want a break so bad, but when you get it, you feel guilty for taking it.

Well, this morning when I realized how happy I was to see the kids and play with them, I thought about that guilt, and I realized I shouldn't feel that way, because the mom Tyler and Alyssa got back this morning was a much better mom than the exhausted one that dropped them off at Grandma's house the day before.

As parents, we need a break from our kids. We need time just to be, and we shouldn't feel guilty for taking it. It makes us better parents when we are with them. Happy  Sunday!