Storytime: I was very mindful today

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

How you doing today?

I’m so excited to share my thoughts and I’m afraid that I might forget them because I got them while cleaning the bathrooms (I listen to podcasts while I clean the bathrooms because I don’t like cleaning the bathrooms but I like the feeling that I get after I clean the bathrooms- so clean and shiny) so I stopped to write this.

I was listening to a podcast and they were giving relationship advice about mindfulness and about a how you need to sit with your spouse 5 minutes a day and just be mindful together and connect with each other, so it got me thinking that today I was very mindful (I’ll talk about that in a minute) but I was also reflecting upon my relationship with my husband.
There are things I can’t write here but basically what I can tell you is that I am very emotional and a hot head but at the same time I work really hard to connect with my husband emotionally and listening to the podcast got me thinking “oh wow! I really do some of these things. I actually I go to my husband and tell him I want to connect. I feel like we connect when we sit together in the evenings and I feel like when I don’t sit with you at the end of the day we disconnect” because sometimes I go to sleep early so I don’t sit with my husband in the evening and sometimes he’s in a bad mood and he needs to sit alone to distress and so I don’t sit with him. So on those days we don’t connect but the days I sit with him even if we just sit and talk to each other for 5 minutes or just sit and hold hands, it makes a really big difference.

Anyway, back to how I was mindful today. I understood that my son really needed my attention today and I’ve been seeing these posts on Instagram by a parent therapist I follow and she talked recently about how we need to give children attention when they seek it, otherwise their need for attention will become greater and more negative so ever since I saw these posts, I’ve been trying to give my son attention when I feel like he needs it and surprisingly when I do give him the attention he needs, even if it’s for like 5 or 10 minutes (it’s usually for about 20 minutes) he eventually goes off and plays independently for at least an hour, but when I don’t give him attention he becomes very clingy and he starts acting out like he’s jealous from me being on the phone for example.
Yesterday, I wasn’t very mindful. That’s an understatement. I was very emotional and edgy and my son acted out because of that.

However, today I’ve been up since dawn and I noticed that when I’m up since dawn I’m in a better mood generally because I’ve had my me time in the morning before my son wakes up. I exercised. I watched Gilmore Girls. I had my coffee peacefully. So when my son woke up at 8:30 in the morning, I embraced him waking up and I hugged him tightly and I gave him all my love and attention and I made him feel like I was so happy that he woke up because I was, even though I was in the middle of watching Gilmore Girls, I just paused it and I gave him all my attention. Then I made him crepes for breakfast (they’re actually pancakes but I call them crepes so he’ll eat them) and we ate together and everytime I noticed that I was trying to read blogs while I was eating because I generally tend to do that, I would put my phone away and tell him I’m putting my phone away because I want to spend time with you. Then he had his screen time while I had my screen time at the same time. We both had an hour each which is a lot. Usually I don’t give him more than half an hour at a time but because I was really into the show I was watching…

Later on, he played by himself a little bit but then he started asking for attention again and then I remembered that for the past 3 days he’s been asking me for hot chocolate and so I told him let’s make hot chocolate! So I made hot chocolate for him and for me. It was so nice. I don’t really get to do these things with many people and I’m not one of those moms who consider her son her best friend but it felt really good to connect with my son like that and he even let me video him. Since he was 4 until he turned six, he wouldn’t let me video him or take pictures, but now he does. He even said “if you want you can send it to whoever you want, but just ask me first”.

I feel like he’s matured a lot and I feel like he’s learned a lot of things that I taught him. I can’t take full credit for how he is because I feel like he’s an amazing kid and when I nurture the amazing side of him it thrives but when I focus on the negative side of him, it increases.

Anyway,after the hot chocolate, I read him a story, and then he had homework and he did it without a fuss! He usually fights me when I ask him to do his homework. Also, he was great on his online classes and he didn’t even give me any trouble!
I feel like I’m reluctant to tell people when my son is being an angel because a lot of people around me are constantly telling me how their kids are driving them crazy especially with what’s going on this year, kids being at home and everything, but I feel like maybe people are like me and they do have good moments but are reluctant to share them just like me.

However, I’m afraid that if I share when I’m having a good day, I’d rub it in the faces of those having a bad day. Anyway, so I decided to share it here and maybe tell my dad. I feel like my dad is the only person I don’t have to worry about when sharing good news.

Also one other thing that happened today is that my son went to my in laws (hence the writing on the blog in broad daylight) and before he went, I made sure to change all his clothes and cut his nails and brushed his hair. I feel so proud of myself that I made sure he looked presentable because I don’t always go to that effort.
I didn’t even have the attitude like “ok go I need my me time”. I basically stayed home so that I could clean the bathrooms and yeah I won’t turn down some extra me time. Before he left, I looked at him and he looked so cute and so sweet and I asked if I could take his picture and he said yes and I said “I’m really going to miss you when you go” and then he said “do you want to give me something?” (I feel like sometimes he may be materialistic but I think it’s because gift receiving is his love language). I said “no I just wanted to tell you that I’m going to miss you” so he said “why don’t you make me a surprise when I come back” and I said “you know what I’ll think about it” so I’m thinking of baking him cookies. I know he loves cookies. But 1st I’m going to clean the 3rd bathroom then eat. I didn’t have lunch yet and it’s 5:30 p.m. and I think I’m probably going to end up not telling my dad what happened or maybe tomorrow I’ll tell him. I just wanted to write this here because I feel like I share more of the negatives than the positives mainly because when I vent about the negatives, I feel better and usually when I’m feeling positive I’m usually mindful about it and I don’t really share with people when I’m busy living in the moment. Sometimes I do but you know when you are having so much fun that you forget to take pictures, it’s that kind of mindfulness.

So there you have it. I was very mindful today and I’m proud of myself and I’m really happy at the moment even though there’s a lot of negative events occurring around me and it’s making me kind of feel guilty to be happy or to express my happiness but I feel like I just needed to let it out so I felt like the blog was the safest place for me to express myself because ironically, most of the people I know personally do not read my blogs.

Were you mindful today?

If not, did this post help by reminding you to be mindful?

What’s going on in my mind

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

I get a lot of thoughts during the day, but most of them are automatic negative thoughts. I do have happy thoughts too, often, like last night I was hanging the laundry and I looked at the sky (as I often do while hanging laundry) and noticed it was a clear starry night. It made me smile.

I thought of bringing my phone and taking a picture but I knew that the quality of my eyes were much better, and the camera won’t do it justice. I also didn’t want to ruin the moment.

I go in between wanting to live in the moment and hurrying to photograph it before it fades away.

I watch the sunset every night but I don’t take a picture every time. Sometimes I just look and smile.

In between my daily migraines and back pain and knee pain and exhaustion and laziness, there are moments of joy and clarity. My mood fluctuates throughout the day, and judging by a blog post I read today, that’s perfectly normal.

For example, while writing this post, I had to yell at my son three times. It’s hard to think of happy moments when my son is getting on my nerves. I try to give him as much attention as I can, but it never seems enough. On the other hand, we do spend some nice moments together, playing uno, drawing, coloring, and reading stories. He also says a lot of adorable things and sometimes I feel like he is mature. Then he acts like a 3 year old.

I understand that since school is online and he is an only child, he gets bored and lonely pretty quickly. However, my capacity to give him attention is limited. Right now I’m tired and I just want to sleep, but I can’t.

Anyway, back to my writing ideas, which is what this post is about. I want to write motivating and inspiring things, but with what is going on in Lebanon, it feels like what I’m trying to do is soothe someone whose house just caught fire and burned down. No matter what I say, I feel it won’t make a difference.

Which brings me to the reality in my life is that these small pockets of happiness do make a difference to me. They keep me from having an emotional breakdown. They keep me from abandoning all hope. I once said I’d never leave lebanon but honestly, I’ve been entertaining the idea of moving elsewhere. However, it’s not so simple to pick up and leave to another country, so I shut the idea down.

I’m currently reading Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus bit by bit. I’m watching This is Us and it’s helping a lot. I have a plethora of apps to pick from to entertain me and help me with a bad day. I’m exercising almost every day. I’m eating fruits but I’m also eating much chocolate. I’m trying to balance being mindful and taking pictures. I’m trying to find a strategy to sell my books.

That’s all I have for now. I wish I had something more motivating and inpiring, but it’s hard to think with a migraine and a nagging 5 year old. I have 3 to do lists heavy on my shoulders. One for habit building. One for housework. One for my goals.

What’s going on in your mind today?

Mindfulness vs. Productivity

Mindfulness is not the counterpart of productivity. However, I find it difficult to be both mindful and productive. I made 20 goals for January 2021 (I know they’re too many but I found it difficult to narrow them down) and every week I assess how well I’m doing at working towards my daily (things I want to do daily) and weekly (things I want to do a certain number of times per week) goals.

During the 1st week of January, I followed each goal in a different percentage, and at the end of the week, I circled the ones I needed to focus on during the 2nd week of January. The end of the week came and I knew I didn’t focus as much as I should have. Out of the 5 daily tasks I was supposed to be focusing on (there are 10 daily goals), I only improved in 2 (spending more time with my son and reaching out to friends more). I fell back in 6 of these 10 habits and I have no excuse. However, on average, I slightly improved in my daily goals from 61.6 to 61.9%

When it came to my 6 weekly goals, at the end of last week, I circled 4 to focus on, but surprisingly I fell back in the other 2 and remained stagnant in these 4. Overall, my progress for my weekly goals went from 66.3 to 50.8%

If you’re not into numbers, you’ll find this very confusing, especially since you don’t know what my goals are (I’m keeping them private on purpose) except for the 2 that I just told you. I didn’t even tell you about my 4 monthly goals (that I must do once this month at least) which I only did 1 of this week.

So obviously, I’m not writing these to brag because I didn’t do well, nor to humiliate myself, even if it seems I’m doing just that.

What am I telling you this for?

The thing is: I get hung up on my goals sometimes that I forget to be mindful. I get stressed out, pushing to finish my tasks, even if they involve tasks that I must be mindful in, like meditation. When I do try to step back from the mentality of “I’m as worthy as I am productive” and try to be mindful, I end up being less productive, because 20 goals are a lot and I won’t get them done while taking my time.

I also keep wasting time scrolling through instagram for hours and watching This is us

My takeaway from this post is that it’s important to be productive rather than lazy but it’s also important to be mindful and not stress too much about how much you get done. That’s what I’m trying to do, though I must tell you I was very disappointed in myself when I 1st calculated my results. However, I’m proud of myself for spending more time with my son and for texting my friends more. If anything, this is a reminder to refocus on my goals. Maybe this week I’ll focus on 3 instead of 9.

If you enjoyed this post, here are more posts of mine:

In the middle

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

“Chaos in Color” by

Today is the 14th of January 2021. We’re in the middle of the month, in the middle of a storm, in the middle of winter, in the middle of a complete lockdown (you now need a permit to leave your house), in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the middle of political chaos, in the middle of an economic crisis.

That’s where we are now.

In the middle!

When you’re in the middle of something, it’s hard to take a step back and assess your situation. It’s hard to objectively see where you are. In this vast universe, where we are is a blip on the radar, but to us, we’re right in the middle.

It’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when everything is pitch black, but here’s the thing. It’s not pitch black! There is a light within you called hope. There is light around you called love. There is light above you called faith.

I made goals for January because it’s hard for me to sit idle (as a mom to a 5 year old, I don’t get to sit down much) without working on self improvement. Otherwise, I think about all the things I cannot control and I spiral into anxiety or depression and either one is bad because then I can’t take care of myself or my son.

But goals aren’t everything. Being mindful and grateful is more important. Before I calculate the success of my goals this week, I know it’s going to be less than last week, because I know I ate a lot of junk food, didn’t exercise much, didn’t sleep well, didn’t get much reading done, etc.

However, I also know that I wasn’t the hulk this week. I know that even though I did yell at my son a lot, I spent more time with him. We connected more. I said yes more (I’m usually saying no). He made me a princess pencil holder (they taught him how to make pencil holders in art class online and he asked if he could make more and after making 2 more, he asked me if I wanted one and if I wanted to design it or if I wanted him to make one for me. I told him I’d rather he make it for me, not just because I don’t like to draw but because I feel children’s drawings of you express what they think of you, and I’m flattered he thinks I’m a princess. He also thinks he is king which says power struggle all over it but that’s for another post)

I also sat with him a bit while he was playing with his play doh (I normally do things that I love with him, like play uno or monopoly or snakes and ladders. He likes them but he doesn’t love them) and he asked me to make a person and then he made a cape for that person. He said that person was a Superhero. Honestly, I think he was making his dad.

Also, did I mention we’re in the middle of a storm? You know how much I love rain. I tried to catch the lightening. I couldn’t. I could see it but there was too much wind.

I also have been talking to my sister on the phone daily, who has 2 kids and is in the trenches (of being stuck at home with kids) just like me. But as much as I crave some alone time, I know I’d peobably binge watch This is us if I got some me time, rather than clean the house or work on my goals.

I’m a bit anxious about the next 7 days but I know I’ll make it. I’ve made it this far and I’ll keep grounding myself with gratitude and mindfulness and keep myself busy with my goals. I also need to remind myself to call my parents and grandparents and text my friends.

So if you feel like you’re in the middle of this and you can’t take a step back to see the full picture, ground yourself and turn on the light.

How to be effective in time management

Hello 👋 reader and welcome to my blog!

This is it! This is the post I’ve been procrastinating to write for a week. I’m not moving on to habit 4 of the book The 7 habits of highly effective people before I know that I thoroughly understand the concept of effectiveness, in addition to the other concepts explained in habit 3 of the book.

As an overview, habit 3 of The 7 habits of highly effective people is titled “Put First things First” and it explains the following concepts:

  • The power of independent will
  • Four generations of time management
  • The management matrix
  • What it takes to say NO
  • Moving into quadrant II of the management matrix
  • The quadrant II tool
  • Becoming a quadrant II self manager
  • Advances of the fourth generation
  • Delegation
  • The quadrant II paradigm

The power of independent will is basically the ability to make decisions and choices, not playing the victim, and having discipline in prioritizing your tasks to align with your goals.

The 4 generations of time management (from the title of the chapter, you can tell it’s all about time management) are:

  1. Notes and checklists
  2. Calendars and appointment books
  3. Setting goals, clarifying values, and prioritizing (being efficient)
  4. Not just managing time but managing ourselves by preserving and enhancing relationships and on accomplishing results (being effective)

Effectiveness vs. Efficiency

That brings us to the topic of this post which is mentioned throughout this chapter but never in bold letters, which made it harder to write this post but nevertheless is the essence of this chapter. The entire chapter is about being effective rather than just efficient.

What is the difference between effectiveness and efficiency?

I know it can be easy to confuse the 2 terms, just like I constantly get mixed up between authoritarian parenting style and authoritative parenting style, to the extent that I don’t aim for authoritative (wait while I check Google to make sure I’m using the right term) but rather respectful parenting using positive discipline (I’m failing miserably but that’s besides the point). So I’m going to begin with the very sentence the author used to explain the difference :

Effectiveness is for people, efficiency is for things

Stephan Covey, The 7 habits of highly effective people

The management matrix is a table used in prioritizing activities. It is split into 4 sections, urgent and important, urgent but not important, not urgent but important, and not urgent nor important.

Focusing on the wrong quadrant has dire consequences. So you need to learn how to say no to the urgent but not important and to prioritize the important but not urgent (quadrant II) and leave space for the crises in quadrant I so they don’t overwhelm you when they happen.

I know it’s easier said than done. I struggle with time management greatly. I don’t know where my focus lies but I think my lack of prioritizing gets in my way.

Moving into quadrant II is a process. It requires weekly planning rather than daily planning, after identifying roles and goals. I’m yet to make a weekly plannar but I did write my mission statement recently, identifying my roles but I’m yet to set weekly goals (I’ve been setting monthly goals for the past 2 months).

The tools needed to move into quadrant II (in other words, to create the perfect weekly plannar) are:

  • Coherence
  • Balance
  • Focus
  • A people dimension (effectiveness)
  • Flexibility
  • Portability

Becoming a quadrant II self manager involves 4 key activities:

  1. Identifying roles
  2. Selecting goals
  3. Scheduling
  4. Daily adapting

Advances of the 4th generation is in the concept that people are more important than things.

  • It’s principle centered
  • It’s conscience centered
  • It defines your unique mission, including values and long term goals
  • It helps you balance your life by identifying roles
  • It gives greater context through weekly organizing

Delegation to time is being efficient, but delegating to other people is being effective. There are 2 types of delegation:

  1. Gofer delegation: this involves one on one supervision of methods. The gofer would be a producer.
  2. Stewardship delegation: this is more effective because it’s based on the appreciation of the self awareness, imagination, conscience and free will of other people. The steward is his own manager. You explain to the steward the desired results, the guidelines, the resources availabile, and set up an accountability (specific time when evaluation will take place) and consequences as a result of the evaluation. The method is up to the steward.

The quadrant II paradigm

The key to effective management of self, or of others through delegation, is not in any technique or tool or extrinsic factor. It in intrinsic in the quadrant II paradigm.

Stephan Covey, The 7 habits of highly effective people

I hope you benefitted from this post. I know I did. It was a good way to recap what I learned in this extremely long chapter. After I write my 1st weekly plannar, I’ll move on to habit 4 of this book.

Are you effective at time management or efficient?

Quote of the day

Doing something that is productive is a great way to alleviate emotional stress. Get your mind doing something that is productive.
-Ziggy Marley

Good evening 🌃

How are you doing today?

I have a migraine because I’ve been up since 4am and it’s 8:30pm. I napped for about 30 minutes in the morning.

Anyway, I guess I good say that I was a little productive today but not so much.

I really want to write a blog post but I don’t think I’m up for it.

So instead I will ask you what productive thing have you done today?

I’m off to put my 5 year old to bed and I think I’m going to turn in early as well.

Just be (a poem)

Is it just me or are my poems getting longer?

Update: I am so full of it. I ended up writing a to do list of 17 tasks (I didn’t write do dishes or make my bed, although I did them) and I have 2 tasks left (exercise and post blog about whole brain theory) which I’m totally procrastinating because I’m so tired and I just want to sleep or watch Young Sheldon (I watched 1 episode of Red Band Society) or play games and just disconnect. I didn’t call my mom but I did call my sister because she called me so I called her back and I still relied on my goals plannar. I also downloaded a 2021 template calender and I’m so going to print it out. I really need to chill. Anyway, if I don’t post that blog today, I’ll probably post it tomorrow, but exercise is out of the question at this point. I’m exhausted and the day isn’t even near over. It’s 6pm and I need to feed my son dinner and start the exhausting bedtime routine that has been taking more than 3 hours lately. Wish me luck. I complain when I’m tired. Here’s something positive I found on Pinterest to end on a positive note:

Thank you for reading and until next time, bye 👋