Last August, a corner was turned. With this post, I chose to live my life, instead of letting my work live it for me. It came at a time when Spark Freedom had a very full docket and some internal challenges. It came at a time when the choir needed lots of attention. Then again, there is never a good time. Were I to let this stop progress, that corner turned would be lost. And really, furthering liberty should not put me personally in chains.

I laid out the following:

1) Full disclosure with myself, my family, my coworkers, and my business partners about what this problem was doing to me, how it was hindering forward momentum, and what I aimed to do about it. I asked for their help in getting back into balance.

2) List of everything I had committed to and get it done to the best of my ability. Share this list with those above so they could help.

3) Block time for me, my family and personal pursuits - no matter what. For real: No. Matter. What,

Four months later, there has been marked improvement:

  • For the first time in years, Christmas was spent with those I love, and without panic or stress.
  • Most of the "commitment" list got done and the things that are behind are very close to over.
  • I've said no. A lot.
  • The clearing of the clutter from my task list has opened up time for figuring out how to work less and get more done.
  • I saw my family. I went hiking. I went sledding. I cleaned my house. I played with my animals. I even made a doctor's appointment!
  • Coworkers and partners are happier with me. I used to give a series of scattered, panicked emails and forwards with no context. No more. Not acceptable.
  • We launched a local newspaper and it looks great! Better yet, it connects us to our community and is increasing our income from the local economy.
  • I made less money.
  • I said no. A lot.
  • Rest. Peace. More rest. I feel like a new person.

Four months in, it is clear that the three steps above were really only the first step. The bleeding has stopped and now it is time to heal by focusing on two things: Loving my life, and loving my work as integrated with my life.

Loving my life: Over the holiday, we developed a family strategic plan with four areas of focus for 2016. Every few weeks, we discuss short term things we will do to meet the bigger goals. One of the oreas of focus is "recreation."

Loving my work as integrated with my life: This month, I launched a new concept called "Productivity Hours." Set timIMG_0234es of the day when I focus entirely on Spark Freedom and do not allow any interruption. Of any kind. Not even blizzards. These hours are carefully planned, and all lead back to Spark's three strategic objectives.

The irony is not lost on me that I have helped so many launch themselves personally and their businesses while losing ownership of my life. But so far, phase two of gaining it back is much more fun than phase one.

If you want to join me on this journey, just look for blog posts tagged personal progress.