motivation

Personal Development for Busy People

One of the number one reasons we don’t follow through on something is because of the time commitment it takes to get it done. We’re all busy people, so when it comes to working out, reading that book the internet is raving about, or starting up a new hobby that you think looks interesting, the number one justification is “I don’t have time for that!”

I consider myself “busy people.” Until recently I was working 2 jobs (1 full/1 part time), helping my dad with housework at his place once a week, working out regularly, and trying to have a healthy pregnancy. When I was juggling all of those things, I did still manage to find time to incorporate personal development in my schedule. Here’s how:

Listening to podcasts. Podcasts are a great way for on-the-goers to work some personal development into their day. You can listen on your commute if you’re driving, taking the bus/train, or even walking. I also like to catch up on podcasts when I’m doing chores like dishes or folding laundry. Listening to a few episodes of “Side Hustle School” makes things feel less tedious.

Reading. Probably one of the most difficult personal development mediums for me to follow through with is a book. It’s the easiest one for me to bail out on at the end of the day when I start winding down. Do I really want to read this book that’s going to make me think more after a day of thinking, or should I just watch South Park and completely veg out? Knowing that this is the easiest way for me to self-sabotage, I started bringing my book to the gym after work and reading on the elliptical. Some days I will set my alarm 15 minutes early and spend that time reading before doing my morning routine. If audio books are your thing, you can also listen to personal development books using the same tips from the podcast section above.

Please appreciate that it was very difficult to snap a picture of me reading while also maintaining balance on the elliptical.

Online Learning. To me, online learning is anything from signing up for a 30 day course of some sort, following a certain blog/topic, or enrolling in an online class. These all have varying levels of commitment, but regardless you’ll want to have an internet connection and a computer/tablet/phone so you can participate. The next is creating the time to get online solely for personal development reasons (i.e. not Facebook). For an online course, you’ll obviously need more time than reading someone else’s blog posts, which you can do standing in line for groceries or on the bike at the gym.

Asking Other People. If you’re at a loss for what podcast to listen to or what book to read next, ask someone you know who is into that sort of thing. All of the podcasts I listen to were recommended to me by someone else. When I was looking into things like personal fitness certification and starting a blog for fun/just because, I asked for recommendations for books to read and started paying more attention to different techniques/plugins used on my favorite bloggers’ websites.

What do all of these things have in common?

No matter how you decide to get your personal development fix, there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success.

  • Know your weaknesses. For me, that’s the desire to wind down at the end of the day and watch something brainless on t.v. Knowing this, I incorporate personal development time into a workout, while I’m doing chores, or by setting my alarm earlier in the morning.
  • Find something you’re genuinely interested in. If you’re already a busy person, it’s going to be even harder to motivate when you’re dedicating time to something you have “meh” feelings about. Find something that you want to pursue and it’s amazing how much harder you’ll work to make time for it.
  • Make the time. Speaking of making time, one of my favorite time related quotes is “You have just as many hours in the day as Beyonce.” Even if it’s not an ideal amount of time, spending 10 minutes on something every day is better than spending no minutes. You can also think of personal development as a way of shortcutting your learning time because you’re learning from an expert and that will save you time and money in the long run.
  • Be Organized. One of the best tips I’ve heard from Side Hustle School was that if you’re a busy person trying to work a side hustle, organization is key. If you only have half an hour of time set aside to work on a project, have an agenda before you sit down so you can get right to it instead of spending 5-10 of those minutes hemming and hawing about where to start. Making lists at the end of a work day or as you go to bed can be a great way to have ‘what’s next’ ready to go for next time.
  • Make yourself accountable. When you’re busy, it can be easy to just say “Eh, there’s always tomorrow.” The problem is when you keep pushing things to tomorrow you’ll never get them done. Find a way to make yourself accountable for personal development- if it’s a matter of paying for something because that makes you feel accountable, then consider signing up for an online course. If you’re more accountable when it comes to other people, find a friend who also needs some accountability help and make it a weekly check-in. Click here for the blog we wrote about accountability partners if this is going to be part of your lifestyle.

More reading when I couldn’t fall back to sleep on Saturday morning. Great way to start the day!

No matter what type of personal development you’re trying to pursue, there is always a way to fit it into your schedule! Try some of the tips mentioned above and find out what motivates you.

If you have any tricks for fitting personal development into a busy schedule, or recommendations for books/podcasts/etc, please comment or send us a message!

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Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

The Four Tendencies: A Deeper Look

The four tendencies in a neat graph via gretchenrubin.com

The four tendencies in a neat graph via gretchenrubin.com

I’m in a bit of a ‘mastermind’ group on Facebook. The idea is we’re supposed to motivate each other with posts and encourage each other.

One of our group members Cherie (an excellent blogger who I am linking here) posted this link for the Four Tendencies quiz: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1950137/Four-Tendencies-January-2015

If you are a self improvement junkie like I am, you’ve heard of Gretchen Rubin. She wrote ‘The Happiness Project’ and other books about being happier/forming good habits. Her latest book is “Better Than Before” and in it is the Four Tendencies.

Four Tendencies is a framework for how you deal with internal and external expectations. For example, according to the quiz linked above, I am an ‘Obliger’ which means I meet external expectations but have a hard time meeting internal ones. This is apparently the most common tendency. The name of the podcast discussing this is called “Meet a work deadline but can’t go running on your own?” Sounds exactly like me, which is why Kassie’s ability to run marathons is something I admire!

What’s interesting is that obligers will meet expectations over and over and then rebel, usually in a symbolic way. The example they used of this is dying their hair. Guess who was thinking of being rose/gray? 🙂

Now that I know I need external motivation for my internal goals (for example, reporting to my mastermind group online that I was an unmotivated sloth), I feel myself making some headway.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.22.27 AM

If you want a better overview as to the why/how these tendencies work: http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/01/ta-da-the-launch-of-my-quiz-on-the-four-tendencies-learn-about-yourself/

As an added bonus, Gretchen Rubin is going over each tendency in a detailed podcast. I’ll link them all here so you can get to yours easy:

http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/11/podcast-37-obliger/

http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/10/podcast-36-questioner/

http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/11/podcast-38-do-you-hate-being-told-what-to-do-maybe-youre-a-rebel/

http://gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2015/10/podcast-35-upholder/

Nicole runs Breaking Even Communications, an internet marketing company in Bar Harbor Maine. When she’s not online, she enjoys walking her short dog, cooking with bacon, and trying to be outdoorsy in Acadia National Park.

Marketing Monday: Run, Eat, Repeat

A couple years ago, I started following some lady runner-bloggers just for fun. One of these blogs is “Run, Eat, Repeat.” Admittedly hooked by the title (it’s my life story in three words!), this blog has become one of my favorite reading materials. It’s not your average fitness/foodie blog. There’s a cool story about a girl (Monica) who struggled with her relationship with food and exercise (something that I think a lot of people find can relate to), and how running has helped her adopt a healthier, fun lifestyle. Her blog isn’t running-centric or wrapped up in any sort of health-craze. It’s more of a fun lifestyle blog with a focus on health related issues.

Here are some key things that keep me reading:

Quirk. There’s a down-to-earth tone in Monica’s blog posts that make her accessible to readers. She’s hilarious and self-deprecating, always trying new things and sharing them with her followers. She adds a lot of eCards, GIFs, and Real Housewives screen-caps to embellish her posts. We share a very similar sense of humor and would probably get along really well in real life… Some of the titles of previous blog posts include: “The Day I Almost Chopped Off My Toe,” “Do I Look Like Zach Galifianakis or Tori Spelling?”, and “If You Don’t Play Lion King with Your Pets What’s the Point?” Her Instagram is also one of my favorites, and it’s hardly about running. In fact, it’s mainly about coffee, food, and everyday struggles of the modern twenty-something.

An example of a recent blog post.

An example of a recent blog post.

Recipes. What I love about the recipes is that a) they’re pretty healthy and meant to keep you going throughout the day, and b) they’re actually simple. Nine times out of ten, I can whip up one of these concoctions without having to go to the store and get 5 different types of seeds and nuts and several different spices and expensive superfood powders that, let’s face it, I don’t have on hand. This girl knows that, while we all may have fantasies and lofty ambitions about meal preparation, the reality is that snooze buttons exist, late night Netflix binges happen, and driving (back) to the store after a day at work just isn’t going to happen. The recipes she shares are for “the everyday.” They’re boosts of inspiration that are totally attainable and delicious (oh yeah, and healthy).

RERbreakfast

This is just a sample from her “breakfast” section, mainly because I’m biased and love breakfast more than any other meal.

Running (and working out in general). I started reading this blog because of the running aspect. While the blog is less workout-centric than Hungry Runner Girl (another favorite), Monica does excellent race-recaps, shares her training plans, and isn’t afraid to talk about how hard, awesome, sweaty, rewarding and disgusting running can be at times.

But it’s not all running. I’m a one-dimensional athlete, but reading this blog inspires me to try out some other things. She’s tried a lot in terms of cross-training. These posts are awesome for me, because I tend to hang back until I know what I’m getting into with a new workout. She also encourages readers to join in on challenges, like last winter’s 25 days of Fitness (a 25 day calendar of circuits you can do at home-no running involved). You don’t necessarily have to be a runner to follow this blog. In fact, Monica frequently drops gems throughout her blog/Instagram/wherever just for her non-runner followers. This adds to her overall accessibility. And there’s a lot of inspiration throughout.

FullSizeRender

Product Reviews. Last summer, I got to learn all about Stichfix through Run, Eat, Repeat. This summer, it was Le Tote (similar to Stitchfix, but with accessories included). Every once in a while, she’ll write up lists like Best Gifts for Foodies, Playlist Ideas, or Favorite Fall Running Gear. She also writes flavor reviews for things like Chobani…and sometimes donuts. She was the one who informed me that Pumpkin Spice M&Ms are a thing this fall (sidenote: I have yet to find any of these for myself, but M&Ms are my all time favorite candy, and anyone who can help me find these will be my new BFF). She has also written a review about laser hair removal, lash extensions, and laser liposuction. It just adds to the idea that she’s willing to try things out and report back to all of us, which I definitely appreciate.

RERcross

Discounts and Giveaways. This blog is sponsored by a few different companies, but that’s part of the reason why she has giveaways! Race Registration can be a bit steep (especially out in California, where RER is based), but Monica does have discount codes for certain races that she shares. For non-runners or non -racers, she’ll sometimes offer a discount for a gym membership or class. For everyone, she offered a Le Tote Discount Code to the first 10-ish people. She also occasionally writes reviews for products, and as a result, has regular giveaways. There’s been FitBit, Northface, Pro Compression, Starbucks, and Lulu Lemon, to name a few.

Runner or eater, this blog probably has something in it that you will appreciate. Through her work with Run, Eat, Repeat, Monica has proven that she’s funny, hip, and benevolent. Also, I’m completely serious about those Pumpkin Spice M&Ms…

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.

The Before & After Craze

Whenever you get on the internet or social media, eventually as you scroll through various posts, you’ll probably encounter a “before and after” image. I recently saw this article about a woman’s photoshoot before/after her gastric bypass surgery. Her photographer friend came up with a clever concept for the before/after images, where her pre-bypass and post-bypass selves were interacting with one another. Why does social media enjoy before/after images so much? Or, more accurately, why do we like before/after images so much? Perhaps we’re all a tad sentimental, yearning for simpler times. Or maybe we all secretly want to be time travelers, and looking at these pictures is the closest we can get (#tbt, anyone?).  I’m  personally leaning toward the latter explanation, but whatever the reason, we seem to be fixated on stories that depict transformation. This may also help explain our culture’s fascination with werewolves etc.

Weight and body transformations are probably the most common types of before/after images that we see go by (with fitness groups and accountability), but there are so many other types out there. It’s a timeless marketing tool (think of any laundry detergent commercial you’ve ever seen) and inspiration for entertainment (pretty much any fixer-up show on HGTV).

They show change. Whether we consider that change progress or regression, before/after images show development. This change may deliver some shock value or share the results of someone’s effort and hard work. They offer the reminder that nothing is permanent, which can be equal parts reassuring and terrifying.

Time lapses are also a way to show change. I’ve never made one myself, but it is a neat way to show how things have progressed. One of the more touching examples I’ve seen is the one where the guy takes a picture of his pregnant wife every day for 9(ish) months, until she gives birth. And it’s all captured in a little under 3 minutes, which is pretty magical.

There’s also the ever popular sunrise to sunset time-lapses, which take you through a day in a matter of seconds.

(originally found here)

They can be entertaining…

Who doesn’t love a good (or bad) celebrity transformation? Or seeing shows like Pimp My Ride or Extreme Home Makeover? There’s a reason these shows are/were successful. You can watch an average Joe’s dilapidated sedan transformed into something sleek you’d see on Fast and Furious with a control panel that Batman would envy, all in a half hour time slot with no less than 5 commercial breaks featuring whatever Real World we’re on now. I invested a lot of time in this show, and I don’t even know anything about cars.

There’s also movies like She’s All That or The Princess Diaries, where the average looking nerdy person is transformed into a beautiful popular person. These transformations are usually a matter of switching from glasses to contacts and a good hair straightening, set to an aggressively peppy pop song. Then there’s the hold-your-breath anticipation before the big reveal that we all buy into, in varying degrees. It’s also fun to see how our favorite celebs have grown up over the years.

I especially enjoy when people try to deny that there has been any sort of transformation (looking at you, Renee Zelleweger). “Seriously, I just woke up and had a different nose and possibly a few less wrinkles.” For instance,  That’s like if I decided to dye my hair black tomorrow and then get angry and defensive when people try to tell me otherwise.

Or Motivational…

In the case of accountability groups, or people who have had a traumatic experience, before/after is used as a story. “Once upon a time, I was here, but now, I am over here.” It’s a way of sharing a triumph against whatever struggles we are going through, encouraging others. This is how Kayla Itsines became Instagram famous. Her before/after pictures of clients reached a much broader audience than she ever imagined possible.

This is just a snapshot of her more recent posts, to see more check it out here: https://instagram.com/kayla_itsines/

This is just a snapshot of her more recent posts, to see more check it out here: https://instagram.com/kayla_itsines/

When used this way, before/after images can inspire others through sharing experiences and letting them know that “You, too, can make a change!

Or Terrifying…

In addition to inspiring positive, healthy transformations, before/after images can serve as a warning. During my senior year of high school, our hallway* was peppered with pictures of healthy looking people turning into promotional material for The Walking Dead. Before/after images are also used to depict really grotesque stuff. Besides PSAs for drug abuse, my other favorite “bad” before/afters include celebrity plastic surgery gone too far and terrible things happening to the environment.

*Some of you might think this is meant to be plural. It is not.

Or Sentimental.

What is it about having that to go back to? We have Transformation Tuesday, Throwback Thursday and Flashback Friday for a reason. There’s a certain “Remember when…” element to these travels through time. During Class Night (the night before graduation) my senior year of high school, everyone submitted a 3 pictures for the slideshow (usually, a baby picture, a candid, and one of the senior portraits). People laughed, people cried. In a way, our slideshow served as a before/after montage of our entire class. It was really heartwarming and we all felt closer than at any other point in our 4 years together.

Ultimately, before and after images are narratives. Everyone has a story to tell, it’s all about how you tell it.

Cracks me up every time.

Cracks me up every time.

 

Kassie is a distance runner and a distance reader really. She lives in Ellsworth Maine and, while she might be quiet when you meet her, will throw out something witty when you least expect it.