Take back a little control

When life gets in the way, what steps can you take to have some control?

I recently embarked on a project to complete 50 days of healthy habits, run by Smilin Aislinn. I managed 50 days of consistent meditation, reading as well as eating and exercising the best that I can. I didn’t manage 100% of all my tasks each day, but I hit 75% of the tasks every day and embedded some useful habits into my life. Her method worked really well for me and I would definitely recommend it to others.

In a bid to take this level of discipline forward for another 50 days, I have set myself some new tasks which includes writing 3 times a week. The tasks I set in the first 50 days were achievable because I had already started to try and put them in my life. What I did by taking on the challenge was stay consistent to support my health (hello daily green smoothies) and making sure I did morning pages (hello waking up to write.) The reason it worked so well was I was not strict or judgmental with myself. I enjoyed ticking off the tasks each day in my journal and getting that little hit of achievement. It also gave me a little bit of control over things I can do to help myself.

In the background of these next 50 days we have started another battle (always a battle) to get the right support for my Special Needs son. So, as we prepare documents and attend meetings and generally try not to worry about the future, it’s even more important to feel in control.

For me there are three things that help me manage my life: timers, lists and focusing.

Short bursts of time writing is one way to get work done.

These ideas are not revolutionary but if you knew how hard it was for my busy brain to knuckle down to tasks in this way, you would understand why I have to rely on them to function well. In reality this means I set a timer to write or read – essential tasks which take a lot of energy. I need a list of what I am working on next. And, and this is the hard one, I need time without interruption. Often I use the Binaural playlists in my ear buds but I also turn on “focus mode” on my phone.

Taking back control over our focus is a real skill in the distracted world. I previously took the “Bored but Brilliant” challenge to help me get into a more creative space. I have been reading a number of productivity books and will publish my essential list soon but for now I will say that being less attached to a device and more in control of my time is currently one of my main goals for part two of this challenge.

What are your essential tools to get your work done?

7 thoughts on “Take back a little control

  1. I loved reading this post, and well done for completing the 50 days challenge! I, too, am trying to foster better habits, particularly in my writing and reading life, which is often the things which get put off for more ‘important’ tasks (and also meaningless, but easier, distractions). I have found the work of Cal Newport invaluable with this, particularly his book ‘Digital Minimalism’ – would definitely recommend. Good luck with your next 50 days of good habit building! : )

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  2. Congratulations on your achievements! I’m going to check out the site you recommended. I, too, have a child with special needs. He has autism, level 2, if that means anything…and he’s now 33. He will more than likely live with us for the rest of our lives. Hopefully, after we pass, our daughter will take the baton. Again, hopefully, that’s a long time from now. I remember those days of fighting/advocating to get his needs met. Sometimes I still have to. *sigh*
    What tools do I use to get things done? Mostly humor and a LOT of flexibility. Not to say that my body’s flexible…but everything else has to be! Ryan or as I often call him, Ry, (my son) can have a meltdown day or night. Nothing like waking up at 3 AM with your son screaming at the top of his lungs because…well, because of so many things. It’s certainly been an interesting journey thus far.
    Besides humor and flexibility, one more tool might be…well, health has become a big issue over the last several years. So I try to make sure I get enough sleep, eat healthier, drink more water and walk. I say NO much more than I used to, I refuse to take on others’ problems and writing really helps! Relationships I’ve made through the internet and IRL are paramount to me! That was three things, right?
    I enjoyed your post. I see from your menu options that you’re a Julia Cameron person. Me, too! Where in the world are you, how long have you been writing, what do you like to focus on in your writing and do you have an About page? Also, if it’s not too intrusive a question and please excuse me if I overstep, but how old is your child? I fully understand and I’m very protective of my son…so, I just want you to know that I get it if you don’t want to go into any of that!
    BTW, I noticed you on LA’s blog so I thought I’d stop by. You’re welcome to my blog anytime you’d like to visit as well! I try and focus on humor, but I don’t shy away from the good, bad and the ugly either. I try to minimize the bad and the ugly more these days, but, you know…if good gossip sneaks in or stress demands I give it its due, it’s all part of life!
    Lastly, what do you prefer to be called: Claudia, Claudia Rachel, CR, something else? M.L. James aka Mona 🙂

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  3. I found you on LA’s blog, Waking Up on the Wrong Side of 50. Often someone will introduce themselves by explaining where they came across your name or the name of your blog by saying I found you on… And I wasn’t looking for your name. I just noticed it beside a picture, which is you, I presume. Your picture and name shows up when you respond to comments. At the end of your post it also gives your name “Published by Claudiarachel,” which is in a box that also has a very brief description of you and your blog. So when people make comments to me and want to use my name, they call me Mona even though I’m set up as M.L. James. I don’t think anyone calls me “M.L.” Sometimes when two or three people are commenting on one of my posts, they may be commenting to me or commenting to someone else. I try start my comment by using the person’s name, so they know to whom I am speaking. It can get confusing otherwise. So I didn’t know if you go by Claudiarachel or Claudia or something else. That’s why I asked. I asked what part of the world you’re from because you use the word “mum.” In the US, where I’m from, we say “mom.” My assumption (and I could be wrong) is that you’re located somewhere in the UK. I have a blogger friend at Pip’s Tips in England. In the whole of the US, I’m located in Texas.

    By the way, in case you weren’t aware of this, all you have to do is click on someone’s name or site name if you’ve commented on someone else’s blog, and it usually takes you directly to the person’s website. So in this case, I think you made some comment after my comment on LA’s blog, and I clicked on your name and it took me here to your blog If you clicked on “waywardsparkles” at the top of my comment, it would take you directly to my site. That’s how these sites are set up, to easily connect to others. There may be a way to disconnect that feature (most people want others to easily find their websites, though.) I’m not very good with tech, so I wouldn’t know how to do that.

    When I set my blog up, I set it up under a moniker, M.L. James, which I discuss in my About page, to provide a measure of privacy for my family. Only a few trusted souls know my real name. I have a few blogger friends who also go by a different name on their blogs than they do in real life for similar reasons. I know a few bloggers who don’t give out their name at all. For instance, my blogger friend at The Huntress915 just goes by “Huntress.” My friend at Rivergirl goes by “River.” In the instance of “Huntress” it keeps her employer from finding her on the internet by her real name because she discusses work issues on her blog, and she doesn’t want to get into any drama with her employer. “River” has suggested that she’s had difficulty with people she’s known in the past, and she isn’t interested in them finding her on her blog. I only mention any of this because you seem surprised as to how I found you and know your name. I usually ask people what they prefer to be called when I first exchange comments with them, which is why I asked you.

    Maybe you already know all of this kind of stuff. If so, I apologize for giving you info you already know. If you don’t know this, though, it’s good info to have. I’ve been blogging for many years at this point. I see the same names from one blog site to the next. We find each other through each others blogs usually. Most bloggers (though, not all) are pretty nice people and are supportive of each other. We comment on each others’ blogs and through our blogs we get to know each other. I’ve made some good friends through blogging. The very few times someone’s made a comment on my blog that strikes me as just wrong, I don’t hesitate to block them from my site. I’m so glad we have that ability to do so. Anyway, I know I went into a lot of stuff, but I hope this answers your question. Mona

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    1. Thank you for explaining. I didn’t want to keep my name a secret, I was just confused where you had seen in. “LA” in the UK can stand for “Local Authority” so in my paranoid reading of your comment last night I thought they had somehow found or linked my blog post about worries about my son’s school…essentially I am taking them to tribunal to get his place so I panicked! As a Mum (Mom) of a special needs person, I’m sure you understand that sometimes we are under pressure and our brains don’t work so well.

      It’s great to connect with others who have similar experiences particularly if you are trying to have a creative life alongside your responsibilities as it’s always interesting for me to find out how do you do it – live the life you want but be there for our children.

      Thanks again for your advice and support

      Claudia

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  4. Claudia,

    The best of luck to you on going to tribunal. I’m not exactly sure what that is, but we had to fight our school district tooth and nail to get my son the services he required. Where we live, these services are provided through the school system when the child with special needs is school-aged. It was expensive and frustrating…because why not make our lives even more difficult when we’re already having to deal with a son who has the myriad issues he does? It took years, but we finally got the services Ryan required. I don’t know how things work where you are, but I encourage you to keep up the good fight even if you encounter setbacks. Advocating for your child, no matter how difficult, is always worth it! You sound like an amazing mom who really cares and we certainly need caring parents in this world! It’s heartbreaking how many aren’t or who give up after a short period of time. Ugh!

    I can certainly understand how what I wrote was confusing and worrisome to you. If anyone gets that, it’s me. I’m sorry about the confusion! I figured I’d written the wrong thing somewhere along the way. Also, I’m someone who doesn’t mind going into detail explaining whatever’s not clear. Take care and I look forward to reading more of your posts! Mona

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