When I was younger, like teenage young, I remember having an argument with my best friend because she was smoking pot at a party. Back then, I thought all drugs were essentially crack and you’d die from a bong hit. (I know, I know…that’s crazy talk but it’s what I thought.) I was by no means a “sweet little angel” as a teenager I just wasn’t into drugs or alcohol.
As far back as I can remember, anxiety has always been a part of my life I just didn’t know it was actually anxiety. Growing up I was diagnosed as bipolar and started on meds to treat it. The meds did not help. I was then diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and given a new set of meds to treat that. Again, it didn’t work so off those meds I went. My late teen years were pretty much an experiment in psychiatric meds with no real success.
In my early 20s, after loads of urging from my closest friends I started to explore different, more natural ways of managing my anxiety. One friend in particular convinced me to try cannabis. I was so against it, it was ridiculous. (Imagine me throwing a tantrum equivalent to a child not wanting to visit the dentist…it was THAT bad.) I did end up trying it and honestly did not love it. I didn’t have a bad trip or anything. I wasn’t paranoid. I was calm. And that feeling of peaceful calm was so unfamiliar to me it scared me.
I had become so used to living in a state of tension and worry that I didn’t know what to do when I had the chance to experience some relief. So I didn’t try cannabis again for a year. Then I had my very first panic attack. Everything changed after that. People that I knew and deeply trusted shared with me some of their experiences with anxiety and cannabis and I decided to give it another shot.
I’m so glad I did. There’s lots of reasons why I believe it helps me and maybe I’ll share in another post but here, right now, I just wanted to share the journey of how I became a “pot head.”
And the reason I felt called to share this part of me is because not sharing it began to felt icky. It’s like I was lying by omission. I found myself censoring my social posts and even withholding likes from certain content because “what if someone saw that I like a post about weed.” Completely ridiculous right?
As a mom, it was not an easy decision for me to share this part of my life. What if people say I am a bad mom? Or worse, what if someone called child protective services on me? Even though medicinal cannabis use has been allowed in California for some time, there’s still a huge stigma surrounding it and the parents using it. Recreational cannabis use is now legal here, too. Fingers crossed that it starts to become more normalized and widely accepted in the parenting community.
As a business owner, it was a tough decision for me to share this part of my life. What if I lost clients? What if all of a sudden my credibility went out the window because someone found out I smoked a little pot? Sure, it might sound extreme but those were serious things I had to think about.
Obviously, as you can tell by this post, I decided to go for it anyway. The truth is that I believe my use of cannabis as a medicinal treatment for my anxiety has helped me be a better mom, a more patient mom, a mom who isn’t paralyzed by anxiety and panic attacks. And in business, well, few things get me into the zone and out of my own head like one or two high-quality cannabis hits. So to my clients reading this….when you wonder how I get soooo much done in soooo little time- you can thank my “medicine” lol.
It probably is important to note that I don’t just smoke all day. There is a rhythm and routine to my madness. I’m not sitting at the dinner table casually hitting a joint while my littles eat dinner. I’m also not getting stoned out of my gourd before big business meetings. As with anything, there’s a balance. Cannabis is a tool that I use to keep my anxiety at bay so I can be taking action on the things I want to achieve in life. That’s what it all boils down to.
To all the marijuana mamas and stoner CEOs of the world, it is my hope that soon we don’t have to hide these parts of ourselves out of fear. That being a mom or an entrepreneur doesn’t mean we get looked down upon or have our morals, skill, and dedication questioned because we like to smoke a little weed.
Yay! I did it. And even as I am wrapping this post up, a small part of me says “Deanna, don’t post this you crazy woman.” And to that voice in my head, I say “Feel the fear, and do that shit anyway baby!”
Lots of love,
In college, I never dreamed of starting my own business, working from home, or having kids for that matter. I knew I was going to become an attorney and spend most of my day in a sweet pant suit (a la Hilary) making the world a better place one case at a time.
Boy oh boy, was I waaaayyyy off!
Fast forward 10 years and I have two daughters, a husband, a business, and I only have to travel from bedroom to the living room to work every day.
Becoming a mom is the reason I decided to explore working from home. I have really strong feelings about daycare and just wasn’t comfortable having someone else care for my kids when I could do it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not judging any moms who love daycare or need it because of school or jobs. I’m just simply saying that it isn’t right for my family.
I’ve been working at home with at least one small child for almost 8 years now and it has been amazing but still very challenging. Working from home is like doing 2 jobs at once. Maybe 3 jobs if you have kids and pets! Over the years I’ve tried a gazillion different things to make working from home easier with kids. I’ve had some successes and some major failures (like when I was on a skype call with a potential client and my daughter threw my ipad into the fan and broken glass from the screen went flying everywhere and I started yelling the f-word…yep that happened.)
I’m not sure if true mastery of the working from home balance exists but I still do what I can to make it easier. Here are my best tips and strategies for working at home with little ones…
#1 Be water. You are going to have days that don’t work out the way you had hoped. Your kid(s) will need you and you may not be able to respond to every email, return every phone call, or be able to show yourself on zoom or skype video. Sometimes the best thing to do in the moment is surrender, walk away from work and just focus on loving and being present with your little one(s). You can make a plan to catch up on work after you put them to bed or on another day.
#2. Have multiple work stations. If you are able to comfortably work from multiple rooms (especially the ones your children frequent) it helps a ton. I have a laptop desk that makes it so easy for me to work from the couch when my kids insist on me watching them “play playdoh,” or when I am asked to watch a movie with them (which basically means sit here with me while I watch the movie but don’t you dare sing along because I’m the star here.) I have a desk in their bedroom so when they beg me to stay until they fall asleep I can do so and still get stuff done. And then of course, I have my office aka third bedroom where I go to work and the kids know it means I’m working on something that requires quiet or being on video.
#3. Be fully present when you are mom-ing. This means that when you are not working you really are NOT working. You are not answering emails or texts, you are not thinking about your meetings and what you need to do to prepare. It can be incredibly difficult to separate the two when you work from home but it’s very important. Your kids will appreciate it and it will help you take it easy on yourself when you need to switch gears and be fully present in your work.
#4. Put them to work. There are actually quite a few chores kids can safely help you with while you are working. This is a great way to keep the littles occupied for 20 to 30 minutes. For example, my youngest just loves drawing on the walls and I just love having her clean the walls. With some non-toxic cleaner in a spray bottle (meyer’s is my fave brand) and a towel, I point her in the direction of a wall within sight of where I am working and she has a blast spraying the walls and scrubbing off her crayon and marker marks.
#5. Designate special toys. Children love new toys or toys that seem new because they don’t get to play with them all of the time. I have a stash of toys that the girls can only play with while I am on a meeting or needing some extra quiet time to work on a project. Electronics and even certain television programs work well as a part of the special toy stash too.
#6. Let them be kids. This one took me a while to accept. Creative and messy play, even though it’s a pain to clean up, provides me the most relief when I need to keep my littles occupied for chunks of time. Drawing on windows, playing with playdoh, finger-painting, and even playing in the dirt provides tons of entertainment for kids. It’s definitely worth the clean up if it helps you get more stuff done.
Do you have any ninja tips or techniques for working at home with little ones? I’d love to hear them. Also, if any of these tips I’ve shared worked for you, please share that too.
Lots of love,
Time blocking is my go-to strategy for making sure I’m productive. Running a business from home is great but it is incredibly easy to get distracted with cleaning, the kids, the husband, cooking, and if you are like me…reality tv. (Yes, I know…as a 35 year old mom of two my go-to fun and relaxing activity probably shouldn’t be reality tv…but hey…it is.)
I can’t remember a day in recent years where my to-do list was aligned with the amount of hours I had available to work on it. Also, I’m a mom…so my to-do list is always in flux. New emergencies, shifting attitudes, consistently changing tastes, and a whole range of other variables require me to get pretty streamlined with my time.
There are two things I must do if I have a chance in hell of having a productive day…I have to plan for the unplannable and I have to make sure the unplannable doesn’t take away from my self-care time.
How do I do it? Time blocking. It’s my holy grail of productivity.
I believe that learning to time block is a useful skill for students, parents and anyone else who needs help with boosting their productivity. Time blocking works because it allows people to focus on one task at a time. When we focus on one thing at a time we naturally limit distractions and minimize procrastination and stress.
Here are the strategies I use (and hope you’ll use) to effectively time block…
#1. List high priority tasks and projects. I find the best way to do this is to have a brain dump session where you write down each and every thing you can think of that you need to do or have been putting off. You don’t want to self-edit or assign priority while you brain dump.
Once you have your complete list of to-dos, it’s now time to rank or prioritize them. From this list you will decide which tasks need to be completed first and it helps to prioritize by deadline. For example, if you have an important presentation in a week but no idea what’s for dinner, prioritize meal planing & prep ahead of doing the slides for your presentation.
#2 Block out time for each task. The first step here is to break down the highest priority tasks from above into chunks that can be completed in smaller time increments. For example, taking the presentation mentioned above, you would allot separate time blocks for research, creating the keynote, and practicing delivering the presentation.
You’ll want to be sure and set a goal to finish the task within the time allotted. It helps a ton if you decide on start and end times and make an agreement with yourself to stay on schedule.
Important Tip: For the tasks that require loads of creativity or concentration, block time by yourself to complete them (time where kids and family do not have easy access to you.)
#3 Schedule breaks. Regular breaks are essential to boosting your productivity, concentration, and overall happiness. I suggest you schedule regular breaks in between each task block. For example, focus intensely for 90 minutes on a specific task, take a 15 to 25 minute break and work for another 90 minutes.
Do you have any productivity tips that work for you? I’d love to hear them.
Lots of love,
Have you ever been in conversation with someone and felt totally unsafe to share your opinions? Or maybe you thought “What’s the point in saying anything because they’ve already made up their mind?”
It sucks and it doesn’t feel good. Did I mention it sucks?! lol
Talking tentatively is how you avoid situations like the ones I described above. It’s basically a way of confidently communicating your position without disguising it as hard fact. In fact, I think any conversation should be approached with equal parts confidence and humility. And the last important piece is speaking in a way that shows people it’s safe to challenge your opinions.
Here are some examples of how we might start a statement when we are not speaking tentatively:
I know that…
It’s clear to me that…
The fact is…
Now, here are some examples of how you might start a statement when you are speaking tentatively:
I’m beginning to wonder if…
I’m starting to think that…
In my opinion…
Do you see the difference? Still holding your confidence without immediately shutting down the possible position of the other person leads to a much softer and productive talk.
Why would you even want to soften your approach?
The more firm and forceful you are, the more defensive people become. It’s that simple. The more tentatively you speak however, the more open people become. Open is good.
It’s important to note that talking tentatively is not the same thing as being wimpy. When I first learned about this I struggled with it. The best way I can explain the difference is that statements like:
I know this probably isn’t the case but…
This might sound stupid but…
Maybe I’m confused or something but…
all land on the wimpy spectrum. Instead, tentatively speaking sounds more like these:
ABC is leading me to believe that you XYZ. Is there another possibility that I am missing here?
It’s starting to look like…
It appears to me that XYZ is happening. Is that right? Is there more info I need to know here?
The best thing is that talking tentatively helps improve communication across all sorts of relationships. Personal and professional.
For example, when talking to your romantic partner, in the past you may have said something like “If you don’t start paying more attention to me someone else will.” If you make the choice to speak more tentatively you could say something like “I don’t think you mean to but I’m beginning to feel like you are ignoring me.”
Or at work, when speaking with a coworker you might have said “How come you messed up xyz.” If you were speaking tentatively it might have sounded more like this “I’m starting to think my instructions were not as clear as they could have been because this happened. What do you think about that?”
Talking tentatively has been a game changer for me in all of my communications. Are you up for giving it a shot? I’d love to hear how it goes for you.
Lots of love,
The last few weeks have been crazy busy for me. Waaay more action than I am used to in my simple life. From traveling to kids birthdays to product launches to houseguests to painting to dog-sitting…I’m pooped!
I don’t know about you but when I get insanely busy and have a priority list that’s a mile long, I retreat. I hide…I downright border on victim-y (is that a word? lol!)
Yesterday, I had a major breakdown. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel but a really good friend of mine helped to snap me out of it. She reminded me that I forgot I had the power to change things up, to move timelines, to take a time-out, and..gasp..to even say NO.
On some level I knew this but I couldn’t grasp it. It took another person to step in and remind me just how much power I have over my circumstances. And now I want to remind you.
You have more power than you know and you can change pace, switch directions, or downright quit if it’s what is best for you. You don’t need to suffer in silence because you are more powerful than you know.
Sometimes we just need a reminder.
Lots of love,
When is the last time you checked in with yourself to see how things were going?
Sure, it seems like we do that all day everyday with every decision we make but I’m talking about a real-deal total tune in.
– Are your current actions helping you get closer to your goals?
– Are you making decisions from a place of fear or love?
– Do you find yourself clinging to the things that feel safe but probably aren’t that gratifying?
– Are you making moves in your business that feel good to you or doing what you think you are supposed to be doing based on what you see others doing?
– Are you surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy?
– Do you come from a place of service or just doing what you have to do to make more money?
These are some of the questions I ask myself every week. I do this exercise so that I can quickly identify when I am getting “off course” and make the necessary corrections to get back on track.
Every week is different, there are times when I struggle…Big Time…But the important thing is that I am always checking in, not judging myself, and getting back to where I want to be and in flow with my core values.
I invite you to “tune-in” with yourself today and give yourself an honest but loving review so you can be clear about your actions and decisions and how they are (or aren’t) moving you towards your goals.
Lots of love,