This week on the podcast, I’m hosting a listener Q&A and giving advice and strategies on how you can make room for your goals, personal priorities and big dreams when you feel like you just don’t have the space and time.
Season 4 is all about BIG dreams, and I love how easily these submitted questions from my listener fit into this theme. We all have those goals in life we daydream about, right? But sometimes we doubt ourselves or become paralyzed by fear, and we never work towards them.
After listening to today’s episode, 044: Ask Tonya, you’ll feel inspired and ready to take actionable steps (no matter how small!) towards that thing you want most. So let’s get started with a rundown of my answers to the questions from this episode!
“I’m unhappy with my current nine to five job, and I want to move my art career to a place where I can leave. I’m struggling with knowing where to start, what to focus on. But my most pressing issue is how to juggle my time, goals, and projects. I can’t work on my priority, which is my art, and art goals, for the majority of my day. And I’ve got other little around the house projects that need attention too. I find myself reviewing my goals often, trying to figure out if they’re relevant. Some goals have obvious steps forward, but what do you do when those are completed, and the next steps are more vague?”
– Erika, Seattle, WA
This is a common question, because there’s a lot of people who are doing a side job, or a side hustle, and they’re wanting to transition that into full-time, and they don’t really know where to start.
- Organize tasks by breaking them down into categories. For example… your creative work, administrative tasks, online work, website, errands, etc. One thing that would be beneficial is that when you write down a task for each of these categories, also write down why this needs to be done. Having the ‘why’ written out in front of you, each time you check your list, forces you back to reality and to actually getting that task done.
- Prioritize your priorities. What tends to happen is that people think that everything is a priority. So they want to treat all things as equals, but they’re not. You need to figure out how these priorities rank, and then how much time you want to give to each. Then start blocking time in your schedule for this work. When you complete a step in a project, before you pack it all up and move on, brainstorm what needs to be done next, and write that down. Don’t forget to mention your ‘why.’
- Take advantage when the creative juices are flowing. Write down your next steps, and that will help keep moving you forward. Even on those days when you feel like your well is dry. And remember this: While you do want to take your creative work seriously, the foundation of creative work is having fun, and doing something for yourself. When you keep that in mind, it becomes clear what’s important for you to work on, in the moment.
“I work full-time, and I’m a mom of a toddler. I have dreams, goals, projects I want to work on, but I’m so tired, by the time I do just the ordinary day-to-day stuff. I have no time. Every 15 minute section of my day is full, and I just don’t know how to muster up the energy, at the end of the day, or wake up earlier, to do any more than I’m already doing.”
-Katelyn, Normal, IL
- Create a ‘Supper Club.’ When my kids were little and I felt like I didn’t have time to do all the things I needed to do, including making dinner each night, I started a supper club with three other moms. We would each bring the ingredients for one night’s dinner (enough for four families!) and cook together. Our kids would play outside while we worked inside, chopping, sauteing, and enjoying the act of cooking. Because we were each only responsible for coming up with one meal, it was so much easier!
- Cushion your time. If you don’t have time for breaks, you’re doing way too much. What do you think defines a good mom? Is it that you entertain your toddler all day long, without taking breaks? That a good mom never accepts help? Or a good mom doesn’t hire a babysitter? I’d love for you to take some time to answer what that means to you, and then I want you to ask yourself, is that statement really true, or are you just holding yourself up to such a high standard you can never really achieve it? I want you to take a good look at the stories you’re telling yourself, and decide whether you’re being fair to yourself. It sounds, to me, that you’re setting some really high expectations of what it is you need to do. And don’t let these stories that you’re telling yourself, like, a good mom doesn’t make time for herself, hold you back.
- What small steps can you take to fill your personal bucket? We can’t make big changes from the get go, so what is something you can work on, step by step, day by day, that fulfills you, personally? It’s not about adding more stuff to your day. I think you’ll be stretching yourself too thin if you do. It’s about figuring out what to cut, so you can grow and make the time for the things you want to do outside of motherhood.
My husband and I have been dreaming, for several years, to move to Ireland. We are in our early 50s, and fear is holding us back. It seems to paralyze us. The moment we think about it, where we could start, we get so overwhelmed that we give up, and we stay in our comfort zone. It’s so frustrating. Do you have any advice?”
-Susanne, Vienna, Austria
- Add images of your dream for inspiration. Put them on your bathroom mirror, in your wallet, anywhere where you’ll see them often. Make it so the idea of Ireland is always around you. So you can start visualizing what life would really be like for you there. Visualization is a powerful tool. And the more you begin to visualize yourself there, the more real it becomes in your mind.
- Ask yourself… ‘why?’ Why do you want to move to Ireland? Why does the idea of this move excite you? Write out a statement saying why you want to move, and what you are going to do there, put it where you and your husband will see it often.
- Create a fear list. You can use that download that I had back in episode 41 to help guide you on this. Take a look at what your fears are, because I want you to begin to look these fears square in the eye. Acknowledge them. Think about what, truly, is the worst case scenario, and is it really that bad? If the worst case scenario were to happen, would you be able to recover? Spoiler alert, the answer is yes. What we want to do is find a reason for you to keep moving forward towards this goal that is stronger than the doubt and the fear that you are feeling right now.
- Figure out what small action you need to take first, and then do it. Maybe your first step is to tell a friend. Maybe it’s to contact a real estate agent who will get the real timeline going on getting a house in Ireland or selling your place in Austria. Start with just a few small steps, and get the momentum going. This is a beautiful dream that you have, and I really hope that you start moving forward, so you can accomplish it.
If you want even more details and more questions and answers, I hope you’ll listen to episode 044 and start working on your OWN goals and big dreams!
These episodes are great to get insight to others’ lives… their struggles, thoughts, fears, priorities and dreams. If you like these episodes, I recommend listening to my previous ones on iTunes:
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