5 Ways I’m Curbing My Workaholic Nature

I just realized, I’m a mild workaholic. I might even be a full-fledged workaholic… I have two main jobs. Well three…. I am an actress. I am an event planner’s assistant and I nanny. And then I have this blog, and I write and I do a bunch of other part time joby thingys. Ok, not just three.  So… the realization came just now as I was texting the mom I nanny for—Munchkin has today off of school, but she released me until the afternoon. My immediate response was to text my event planner to see if I could help her out with extra work.

And then it hit me. I’m a workaholic. I was up til 1:30 last night working. I was up at 7am to go to work yesterday. I work throughout the weekends. I am in constant contact with both bosses. Not to mention with the acting career I’m continually looking for auditions and classes to attend, and trying to network like crazy. In my down time, I go see shows—even though I enjoy them, its kind of part of my job to be up on what is out there and going on in the community…. Smoke is figuratively coming out of my ears as I’m typing this.

I’m a workaholic.

Question, what is the difference between someone who is passionate and loves their job and a workaholic? Its quite a fine line. I would tell you that I’m the passionate one, but sometimes, I truly feel the need, its almost an addiction to work.

I’ve been working since I was 13 doing babysitting, and my first real, on the books job, was when I was 17. My dad wouldn’t let me have a real job, I had to beg for one. This should have been a clue. Another clue was that in high school I wanted to be a part of EVERYTHING. I was the only person to graduate in my class in all four honor societies. I was in band, drama, newspaper, Spanish Club, competition forensics and debate. I wanted to take more art, and choir, and be in Student Government, but I couldn’t fit it in. I was actually disappointed that I couldn’t do more.

A day has 24 hours, and I usually spend 6-8 of those sleeping, but I swear sometimes I can squeeze 25 or even 26 hours out of a day. I don’t know how I do this other than telling myself that I can.

Then I find myself in crazy situations where I’ve booked myself solid for days, without a moment to eat, or pee, or breathe. Other times, like a few weeks ago, I go INSANE when I don’t have enough to do. I need constant activities, and in some light, entertainment. I can watch TV or a movie—although movies are hard… that is a lot of commitment to sitting for that long. And I live in NYC, I’d rather go see a play! But in these down times, I get super introspective and berate myself that I’m not doing enough. (Clare, seriously?!? By who’s standards?)This is the downside of the workaholic/passionate person lifestyle: feeling like I’m either doing way too much, or not even close to enough. That and not enough time for friends. I either have too much time or not enough.

I get overwhelmed by all the plays I haven’t seen, or books I haven’t read, or podcasts I haven’t listened to. Let alone the friends I haven’t seen in months who live less than 20 blocks from me. Let alone the things I need to do like cleaning my room! (Seriously, the stack of papers is STILL sitting there from September.)

I’m trying to make myself slow down. Here are my solutions—but please share yours in the comments!

  1. Carry a pen and paper, ALWAYS. It always seems like I think of blog ideas, or things I need to do, or calls I need to make when I’m on the subway, in the shower, or in down dog. NONE of these is a great place to get a mental reminder. I carry paper and jot it down, and then like my Lists Blog—I cross it off when I’m finished.
  2. I’m trying to spend more time IN down dog, the subway, or the shower. Ok, not literally, but I’m trying to give my brain more neutral time. The reason I remember things when I’m in those situations is because I shut my thoughts down temporarily, and those important things pop out.   Spending more time with my brain in neutral will help me refocus and remember. 
  3. LL talked about scheduling her life around the things she wanted to do in her Get Out of Your Own Way Blog and how she made it like an appointment in her life—which some things should be. I’m trying to actually schedule in my down time and a little bit of exercise time as well. (For those of you reading the Goals posts… you know I’m struggling with this!) By actually making myself take time to sit and do nothing, I’m letting my mind know it doesn’t always have to do. I’m also letting it rest. I can function on little sleep. I CAN’T function on little rest. My brain is very cloudy.
  4. This one is hard, but I’m trying to do no electronics 30 minutes before bed, as the light affects your ability to fall asleep http://legacy.kgw.com/story/news/investigations/2014/04/14/doctor-cell-phones-hurt-sleep-quality/12584984/#
  5. The exception to this is that I fall asleep to podcasts—this is great because it makes my brain shut off and listen to the podcast speakers—which are interesting but lull me to sleep, because I’m focused on those, not on the thoughts bouncing around in my brain.

I never thought I would be a woman who makes work come first. But I’m single with no kids (I think this is only partially to my busy lifestyle choices and my work ethic). I don’t think that I’m missing anything in my life, per se however, I do admire and feel a tinge of jealousy for those friends who seem to have more down time in their life or get to do more fun things like travel or hang with friends more.

This is going to take baby steps, especially since my first reaction today to my little bit of time off was to work more and my SECOND was to write a blog about it. Old habits are hard to break. I think I’ll go watch an episode of Castle now.



2016 Goals Plan- LL

I am really excited to share with all of you my 2016 plan. As I mentioned in “How not to make resolutions” I do not make any resolutions for the year. Instead I use the new year to reflect on what I enjoyed about the year before. Then make a clearer map for the year ahead.

I do not cling to goals. If a goal isn’t working, I simply ask it if it wants to work or if it needs a new plan. So, my readers, here is what I am working towards for 2016 and even beyond:

This year I will remind myself that I want a Fierce and Fabulous Life!

Health: Stay Consistent, Stay Positive and put myself first

Sure I want a handstand in yoga…still (I am so much closer). But I don’t want to put some arbitrary date on this said handstand. I will get handstand and so much more if I continue to do my yoga regularly.

It’s easy for me to beat myself up for not being able to do something. I am a perfectionist and a creative. A perfect combo for negative thinking. As I approach a challenge and I hear the neg self talk begin to whisper I smile, I literally say to myself “live fierce and fabulously” and that gives me the strength to squash that self talk that serves no purpose.

Personal: Consolidate and Organize

I happen to have a few things that do the same thing. Bank accounts, sweatshirts, email addresses, and some social channels. It’s time my minimalist living takes over a little bit more of my lifestyle not just my apartment style.

Job Love: Plan, Produce and Grow

I quit my salaried job at the end of last year. It’s the second time in less than a decade that I left the security of a salary to live my dream. I am super excited and of course happily scared. There’s a lot I have to do today to make the rest of the year even exist. I want my website to be full of workshops for instructors and blogs of inspiration. However, I can’t do a years worth of anything in one day. So, I set up a plan for January, February and March. I will take a moment end of march to see what’s working and what’s not. For their to be growth I must produce my product. For their to be product I must plan.

There are my three major themes my loves. Stay tuned for next week to hear what I did towards these goals. Don’t forget we want to hear from you. Share your goals with us!


What is YOUR Worth?

Last week I had dinner with a galfriend who was telling me about her new job. She and I had recently both been looking for new part time work, and had applied for similar positions around town. When I asked her if she was going to still pursue one of the jobs we both applied for, she asked how much the pay was and then replied, “I will no longer work for less than $20 an hour.” I was somewhat shocked when I heard this, as a part time service job rarely pays that much, even here in NYC.   She being in her late twenties and I in my mid thirties, we both are highly trained performers and need to take the survival jobs that work with our performing schedules—which means that usually we aren’t allowed to be that picky. Usually, we apply to lots of places, get hired at a few, and juggle schedules to fit with our rehearsal and performance schedules, so we can pay rent.

A few days later I awoke from a dream where a talent agent I auditioned for in the dream handed me four $20 bills. It was a very clear dream and I did look into the symbolism, but the point is that in the dream I was shocked to be handed $80 for minimal amount of work—an audition—which I always do for free. Upon waking from the dream my friend’s statement that she would no longer work for less money an hour rang through my head. I sat up and knew she was exactly right.

This post is about worth and self-value, so ignore all of those exact dollar amounts for now. Google defines worth as: the value equivalent to that of someone or something under consideration; the level at which someone or something deserves to be valued or rated. Back in the day, before there was cash, people determined the worth of their goods in marketplaces. What they had to trade versus what they needed, and the time that was invested in the tradeable product. For example, I weave two blankets and it takes two days to weave one, my time and product are worth the four days that the farmer takes to harvest 24 gallons of milk and a bushel of corn… so we have a fair trade. (This is super rudimentary and I’m by no means a reliable resource on this concept, its just so you who are reading and I are on a similar page to get to my point.) Basically, whatever I put into something—my time, my money, my resources—I deserve and equal (or better) trade for what I’m selling. This become an even bigger concept when you get into supply and demand—whatever I have versus the general availability of the product—makes the worth grow. But with all of this, the point I’m getting to is that it isn’t the product itself that holds the worth, it’s the value of our time and our abilities.

When my galfriend stated that she was worth at least $20 an hour, I was shocked. But why was this? I realized because I valued the actual money more than I valued my time. I feel like time is something I have a lot of, however this is not true. I have plenty of responsibilities to myself and plenty of education and experience to demand a certain value of my time. I have a master’s degree in Psychology. Truth be told, I got it because I was lacking a direction in life, and decided to go back to school I got the degree in Psych with the idea that I’d write grant proposals or teach classes, but when I finished my program, I realized I didn’t feel qualified to do either. Why is this? Because I don’t think that my online degree is worthy of more than that. For some reason, I felt that my lack of experience, with only a degree on paper and class work to validate me, I was afraid to I would be turned down because I don’t have enough experience, or a big enough name. Now, the brain in my head is exactly the same as it was before I got the degree, just now with added information. I’m a really smart gal, many people think this, and its not just my parents and relations. I’m smart. I’m analytical. I’m helpful. I’m good. Why don’t I see this? My galfriend has so much bartending experience, as well as music training. She paid for that training and worked her way up, so yes, she does deserve to value her time highly. She is good at what she does. I’m good at what I do, too. I get amazing reviews for acting. People love working with me onstage and in my survival jobs. My employers, co-workers, and friends know they can rely on me to get things done. So why don’t I see how much I am worth. And even worse, why can’t I demand my worth? If you don’t eventually demand your worth, people will think you’re worthless, or worse, take advantage of you.

OUCH !! No one wants to be taken advantage of in any kind of relationship. Jobs are the easiest to understand because there is a transaction that happens—you do X amount of work per hour in exchange for a certain rate. You have to demand to be paid what you’re worth, and your worth will manifest. But we have to look at worth in all relationships. We have to understand that we are valuable and should be treated as such in any relationship we invest in.

This is a lesson I’ve been working on within myself for a while. Its very scary for me to stand up and say that I’m worth certain dollar or time allotments. Its rough. I’m terrified sometimes when I turn in invoices for my time—because I’m not sure that the work I’ve done (which was elaborate, and researched, and substantial) is worth whatever dollar amount. And WHY do I think this? I am worth a lot. I am good. I am educated. I am thorough. But because I don’t have people walking up to me just handing me money or telling me of my worth, I doubt myself.

Its very interesting because I have a few friends who are going through similar things at the moment—or at least I’m noticing it more because I’m on a similar path. I have a friend with an office job who is frustrated because the people at work seem to only value her for what she can do for them. She is an incredibly kind, incredibly helpful, incredibly resourceful person. I don’t understand why people don’t latch on and keep her friendship around—I’m certainly glad I have her. Anyway, after chatting with her about her helpfulness, I realized that she doesn’t ask for anything in return. Which is okay, but when she needs something of value to herself—even if its just a buddy for a conversation—she doesn’t get any return from anyone that she helps. Which sucks and feels even worse. I told her she needs to start telling those sucker fish when they ask for things, what they will do for her in return. Yeah, I know, for all of you “nice” people out there, you shouldn’t demand a return on your helpfulness—however, if sucker fish aren’t told that the help you’re giving them is worth something to you then they won’t see your worth. Let me rephrase: your time has value. If you give me your time, I should help you out in return. Basic. Simple. Sadly, not always followed. Just remind people that your time is valuable, and then when you call on them to help you, gently remind them that you helped them, and that your help might not be there next time if they fail to assist you. Especially if the helping is a one way street.

Another worth issue is when you’re actually given help, time, even love when you didn’t ask for it. It’s a weird thing to handle when you are given a lot that you didn’t do anything for. A singer friend is going through this, as am I. We have both found people in our lives who, for once, seem more invested in us than we seem to be in them—which is a lot if you know either of us in life. We both give everything to anyone who needs it—and sadly don’t demand something in return. We both keep up the hope it will be returned, but always seem to come up lacking. Anyway, dealing with an outpouring of help, time, love when its not expected, just for being ourselves is an interesting phenomenon. Singer friend and I had a conversation on the phone about how neither of us knew how to deal with it, because its usually us that start the outpouring, and usually us that get the short end of the stick. But because its incoming first, and nothing is really expected more in return, its confusing. When value comes your way you have to accept it, and enjoy it. And hope it doesn’t evaporate too quickly, or at all.

Worth is a very difficult concept for some—I’m one. However, figure out the time and energy you put into something. You should expect to get an almost equal, if not more, value in return. Tell yourself you are worthy of receiving that value. Be strong in asking or demanding it—you don’t need to be rude about it, but you should be strong. Strong people are rewarded. Also think about what you need—its really okay to ask, or strongly request, what you need in return for what you’re giving. Everything has a value, even time. Especially time. You are worth a good deal. But only you can demand your value. No one else will. Good luck, and know you’re not alone in this battle.


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Take a Leap of Faith

I have fallen into most jobs I’ve ever had. My first job was at a very cute coffee shop near my high school. My mother mentioned it seemed like a great place to work after visiting there. Less than two weeks after our visit, I was hired. I don’t even remember interviewing.  My second job, my classmate put my name in for her job at a doctor’s office when she moved to Arizona. Two weeks later, I was a junior in high school and I had a new job making more than I did at the cafe with weekends off.  In college, I turned in applications at an upscale mall. One of those applications, I handed in to Clare, and the next day I interviewed with the manager. The next Monday I was working for the same boutique as Clare. We became good friends and even business partners.

I stayed at that store from 2002-2007 moving up from cashier to store manager at my original store, and was later transferred to another location 50 miles away to manage that one.  I was good at my job, but it wasn’t fulfilling.  I needed a change of scenery. In hindsight, I needed to change careers. I had already discovered Pilates but wasn’t listening to the voice inside my head telling me “go this way.”  Instead, I tried to “fix” things by doing the same job with a different backdrop. Hello Patterns and Change. I still needed to learn something here.

I thought moving cities, locations, new friends a new life was what I needed. I also thought I was waiting for the next promotion to be a regional manager. I kept thinking that if maybe if I just waited a little longer…I’m sure you may know what I mean here. For years, I thought I was “next” in line. In fact, even other managers in the company thought this. It never really occurred to me if I wanted to be “next” or if I just liked the idea of it.

Think back, or maybe think now! Are you in a job that you wanted or that you just got because it was the next step? Jobs are often like relationships and can “happen” to us if we are not present with our own wants and needs. If we are not clear on our goals then someone else will get clear on their goals for us. This was the case for me. While I was “figuring” out my early twenties I wasn’t clear with myself on my goals and I began working very hard for someone else.

While waiting I decided to start training as a Pilates instructor. I thought I would do it as a hobby. Something to keep me busy. As I mentioned back in my Orange County life I had already discovered Pilates. I freaking LOVED it! As an ex athlete, Pilates made me feel like I was back in training again. But this time instead of training for a race I was preparing my body for my own life. I loved how strong it made me feel and I also enjoyed how no matter my mood walking in I always walked out focused, present and invigorated. But, when I moved to LA I struggled to find a teacher I could jive with like I had back in the OC or afford. I went to a training mostly for my own self learning. I knew enough about the body (I went to college originally to become an Athletic Trainer, the dream was to work for the San Diego Chargers) I figured I would just teach myself. A girl on a budget I could save a lot teaching myself.

The thing about callings is that once you’re called you have to answer! If you don’t it’s like a phone that doesn’t stop ringing. You can ignore it, even try to silence it but the call list still shows it’s trying to get a hold of you. Try not answering see where it gets you.

I couldn’t though. I answered it! Except, I tried to conference call—I tried to do both, manage a store and start my Pilates Teaching business. What happened? Well after a couple months of working 7 days a week some days 6am to 8 or 9pm! I needed to hang up the old landline. I just didn’t know how.  My transition from my manager job to full time Pilates extraordinaire was a big deal for me. Many around me tried to give advice. Tried to tell me I cared too much. To just put in my notice and move on with my life. The thing is, I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. I was still caring too much about someone else’ goals for me. I was still not fully engaging in my calling. I was on the phone, but I was also talking to the person next to me. Eventually, I was forced to get f’ing on my call and hang up the other. Callings are like that. They are demanding. Selfish. And they should be. It is your calling—what you’re meant to do with your life.

I wish I could say that those on my other call were still part of my journey. They are not. That’s ok, as we all know when someone doesn’t join us on our journey we can take it personally. We shouldn’t though. Now, on my own journey I have worked hard to support those who have to take their own path. In fact, I get excited even through them a party! Today I will encourage anyone who wants it to follow their bliss as soon as they can. Why? Because I took a little too long to admit that I didn’t want to just keep getting promoted. Of course new titles are exciting, more money in my pocket. But, what did any of that matter if I was following someone else’s dream and not my own?

I will never say it’s easy. Actually, it’s probably easier to ignore the call then it is to hang up and answer the new one. I knew what was on the old line. My store manager job was a salaried job with commission. I knew exactly what the minimum I was going to make each month. Security is a big deal. I knew I had health insurance and vacation time. Leaving that for my bliss too a huge leap if faith. Faith in myself and the Universe.

That leap was the best jump I’ve ever had. I’m still flying high 6 years later. The thing is when you start following your bliss, when you answer your calling. You’re rewarded!

How do you answer your call?

Well, turn off all the noise. Yep! Put the distractions away, the apps, gossip magazines, the reality TV shows, your email. Sit still, go for a run or swim, grab a notebook. It’s time to hear what you’ve probably been avoiding. Change is scary, leaps come with fears, what if’s, how’s and unknowns. All those distractions keep you busy avoiding that nagging voice telling you you’re meant for something bigger!

You know deep inside your heart what that is. What if you had zero obstacles keeping you from your calling. Forget money and time and anything or one that is putting doubt in your mind. Take a step in the direction of your dream. It’ll pay off!

As I said it’s not always easy. But wouldn’t it be the greatest to wake up and be excited about what you have on your calendar that day? Wouldn’t it be fantastic to have career love? To have Life/Work balance? (Yes, I wrote LIFE WORK balance.) wouldn’t it just be grand to live your dream, and not someone else’s? Leaving a consistent guaranteed paycheck for a “service job” where I’m paid only when I work was scary. I had and still have bills just like everyone else. I have student loans. I still had to make a certain amount. But, looking back and looking forward no regrets or worries interrupt my call. I am excited for what I know is coming ahead and for what I don’t.