Entries labeled as work flow

Motivation, momentum, and two Sarahs

June 7, 2010

During a recent class, we discussed how important it is to celebrate your accomplishments (big and small) before moving onto the next task. Celebration creates energy. A fun discussion about energy, fuel, cars and organizing ensued. I invited two of the participants, both named Sarah, to write about their perspective on the topic. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Sarah Tieck, guest blogger

My Toyota Corolla’s fuel gauge says there is a quarter tank of gas left. Noticing that, I added a stop at the gas station to my list of errands. Simple as that. There was no agonizing about if I should stop for gas or where. No cursing that I have to monitor my car’s fuel and maintenance needs. No weeping because my tank has gotten low. There is no question. I will stop and refuel — if I don’t, in time the car won’t work.

Lately I’ve been running on fumes. No, I don’t have a magical gauge, but I knew. All I needed to do was look around. There were pizza and take-out boxes in the garbage can, dishes in the sink, four timesheets where I’d logged into work well after my official start time, and a general feeling of being stuck with no clear steps forward on several projects.

As a creative person who has been steadily working and meeting deadlines, but rarely taking time to replenish and refuel after these journeys, my tank is low low low. And, I’m having to stop more often to refuel — sort of like those times when you only fill up partially at the gas station. In order to create, to do good work, and to savor my life, I’m having to learn how to fuel up. Interesting that the theme I’ve chosen for this year is nourish.

Celebration is a form of nourishment. Many people wait for completion to do this — and even then, barely stop to acknowledge what has been completed and put away supplies and papers. Little do we realize that little celebrations — nourishment — along the way are important fuel to keeping moving with big goals … sort of like fueling your car on a long trip.

To refuel by celebrating, you don’t need to do anything huge. You simply need to find a way to pause and take some time for an experience that will strengthen and energize you. That gives you ideas and images to draw from and fuel your work. It honors what you’ve done. Those important baby steps.

So, when you feel like you could keep going … stopping to play, to workout, to connect, to savor can all be forms of nourishment that will add  fuel to your tank. Things like workouts and fun offer a big boost for a goal — they create movement, energy, and excitement. And, that transfers. That candy bar and diet soda? As temporary as a jump for a dead battery.

Last week, I nourished a writing deadline with a bike ride and some geocaching with my husband. We played in the woods and the next day, I finished the book I was writing. When I take time to fill myself up like this — even when it seems counterintuitive — the things I want (and need) to do are easier! That weekend, I spent some time relaxing on the couch, saw Letters to Juliet, had an evening out with some friends who make me smile. You know what? Even though I rested and filled up first, the dishes and vacuuming and errands got done. And, that Monday morning, I returned to work with a tank full of fuel — as well as the fuel of my vision of what I want to create — to help me move forward.

Part 2:

Sarah DeWeerdt, Guest blogger

When Sarah likened needing to stop and replenish one’s energy to filling up the gas tank of a car, my immediate impulse was to wish I were a Prius. Imagine: speeding down the road in productive, virtuous near-silence, able to travel twice as far between fill-ups as all those other jalopies.

But the truth is, if I were a Prius, I’d just wish I were a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. And if I were a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, I’d wish I were…some kind of zero-emissions flying car thingy that hasn’t even been invented yet.

I’m hardly ever satisfied with the distance I’ve traveled. But maybe slowing down and refueling is actually part of the excitement. I mean, if I didn’t have to stop for a fill-up, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to notice the precise latitude where gas station convenience stores stop selling Dr. Pepper and start selling Mr. Pibb. I wouldn’t get to chuckle over those crazy souvenir snow globes filled with dinosaur teeth. I’d miss seeing, while paying for my gas, that family walk into the store straight from the pages of a Flannery O’Connor short story.

For me, this need to go faster and farther without stopping, ignoring the lurid red “E” on the dashboard, doesn’t just pose a problem when I’m trying to clear clutter and organize—it’s actually the source of my clutter. That is, there are so many interesting and amazing things in the world that I’m tempted to hold on to every interesting newspaper clipping, each scrap of vintage lace, out of the conviction that I’ll do something with it someday.

But I won’t. Because the body is a vehicle that craves rest, and one that can only travel so far. That’s been one of the most surprising and unsettling lessons of Jen’s class so far: confronting my clutter is, in effect, confronting my own mortality.

That epiphany isn’t a wholly gloomy one, though. With practice, I’m starting to recognize the difference between things that are merely interesting and things that make my brain light up with neurons firing in a thousand directions. (I swear it’s a literal scalp-tingling sensation.) I’m letting go of the former category so that I’ll have more attention for the latter. So that next time I pull off the highway into that gas station, I’ll be able to chuckle at that snow globe and leave it on the shelf, and fix the precise image of that Southern gothic family in my mind, because they are going to make one hell of a poem or painting later. Just you wait and see.

Sarah Tieck has authored more than 36 nonfiction books for children and teaches writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis. Her articles and essays appear regularly in home and garden magazines, lifestyle magazines, and major daily newspapers such as the Star Tribune and the Chicago Tribune. Contact her at her Web site, www.sarahtieck.com.

Sarah DeWeerdt is a freelance writer and editor in Seattle, Washington. Read her science writing via sarahdeweerdt.blogspot.com and her recipes at smalltastes.blogspot.com.

Can you relate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Increase focus by preventing distractions online

February 8, 2010

The “What do YOU do?” series gives you a glimpse into my life as a messy, creative person and invites you to share your organizing insights and ideas.

Online distractions.

Although the Web and email are all pretty handy tools, sometimes they’re so visually stimulating that they feel like threats. Enemies. Barriers to concentration.

If you want to focus, there are lots of ways to prevent distraction and still get the most from these tools.

Here’s what I do prevent online distraction

  • Close browser tabs – Firefox and Internet Explorer (and I’m sure many other browsers) allow users to open an infinite number of tabs. I just know that if the little tab says Facebook, I will click on it whether I really want to go on Facebook or not. So I keep it (and other distracting websites) closed. In fact, I keep as few open as possible. Usually just my gmail and gcal are open.
  • Prevent popups – Most of us know about pop-ups from websites. But I’m talking about the pop-ups that Skype creates every time one of my contacts gets online. And the pop-up on gmail when someone wants to instant message me. And the pop-up that appears when an email comes into your inbox.

Concentration is hard enough without pop-ups, so I’ve turned them all off. With Skype, I have to actually log off. With gmail, I have to select my status as “offline”. If you have Outlook, you can opt out of the “so-and-so has sent you a message” announcements. And good riddance!

Here’s what I’m working on

  • Twitter and Tweetdeck – I’m not sure I’m actually working on this, but I’m aware that although I keep very few browser windows open, I almost always have TweetDeck (a tool that makes Twitter easier to use) open. I’m still figuring out if it’s a distraction or a tool – or both.

What do YOU do that minimizes online distractions?

Your turn! If you’d like, please share what you’re doing that helps you in your business and/or life – and also something that you’re working on/experimenting with.

Your comments on your own process are welcome. Just remember to give advice to me or others only when it’s specifically requested. This makes exploring safe and learning possible for every reader.

Grape-scented delegation and dropping the ball

January 20, 2010

Lessons from markers, dogs, and the 3-letter word


When it comes to creating order in your workspace, sometimes it’s the smallest changes that have the greatest positive impact on your work and well-being.

I discovered an assumption recently that I consider it “free time” when I don’t have a task or appointment scheduled on my calendar. I was frittering away perfectly good work time watching Ellen videos and reading Facebook – and then wondering why I wasn’t getting anything done. Yipes!

Three weeks ago, I started a new practice that is benefiting both my productivity and spirituality.

It has so revolutionized my focus, that I thought I’d share it with you in case you want to try it.

A disclaimer

Now, before you go thinking I’m a genius, I’ll tell you that someone else thought of this before I did. In Abraham-Hicks, they call it the ‘placemat technique’. What I’m doing is a variation on that theme… without the manifest-y stuff. And also with a different outcome. But it’s similar. Aaaanyway…

Big, colorful, and grape-scented

I needed some structure with my work flow.

Since I’m a tactile learner, I love to use huge pieces of paper and sweeping movements with my whole body to think and plan. I am also a raving fan of those fruit-scented magic markers. Mmm. Strawberry… Lime… Blueberry… Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, I like to use these tools and methods because they’re so natural and fun for me. So I decided to use them with the intention of focusing better when I have unscheduled work time.

Monday morning magic markers

At the beginning of the week, I reflect on what goals I want to move forward. I check my calendar to see how much free time I actually have to work on these projects.

Then, using 2’x3′ Post-It(R) flip chart paper, I create two columns. The first column says “Jen” – and I write down the things I’d really like to do in the next 5 days. This week, for example, it looks like this:


  • Plan steps for 4HS
  • Meet with Marketing Director (me)
  • Prep for smARTist event
  • Plan to update December expenses/income
  • Update pricing on website
  • Write article for newsletter

I hang this colorful, fruity paper on the wall next to my desk. When I find myself getting distracted or confused about what I want to be doing, it’s right there. When I finish something, I use another marker and cross it off.

It’s amazing how something so simple can help me be so focused and productive.

What’s in the other column?

I mentioned that there are 2 columns. The second column says “God”. This is one of the most amazing, radical things I’ve ever done in my business. I’m delegating stuff to the Divine.

Now, maybe you’re thinking I’m being blasphemous or that all the recent retreats to the Abbey have made an impact on me. Maybe both are true.

But here’s the thing. Stuff happens every day that I cannot handle. I can’t handle it because I don’t understand it, or it frightens me, or I feel huge resistance to dealing with it. This happens for everyone. Every day. Conflict happens. Surprises happen. Things fall through.

All the stuff I cannot handle

At 3:45am, guess what I do? I wake up and start to worry about all of it. It sucks. Maybe you can relate.

Lately, I’ve started to realize that not a single bit of worrying I’ve ever done has ever changed a thing.

If anything, worry has made matters worse. “What if I don’t make enough money this month?” turns into awkward conversations with loved ones. “Do I have anything to wear tomorrow?” turns into a panicky morning and an uncomfortable day. “Is she mad at me?” et cetera – you know what I mean?

Worrying, no matter how skilled I am at it, is not helping me – or my business.

Drrrrrop it…

As a kid, I remember playing with a friend’s young golden retriever. “Sensi, drop it.” She had a tennis ball, but she wouldn’t obey. I didn’t yell, I just said it calmly, persistently, over and over, “Drrrrrop it, Sensi. Drrrrrop it. Drop. Sensi, drop it. Drrrrrrrop it.”

And some days, I think that’s exactly what God must be saying to me. “Drrrrrrop it, Jen. Drop. Jen, drrrrrop it. “

My ego really, really wants to hang on to control and try to handle everything. Yet there’s a deeper place in me that wants to hand over the scary stuff and the confusing stuff and the hard stuff. And maybe pick it up later when I feel more ready.

So I started this practice of writing a God List every week, along with my own to-dos, to practice dropping it and actively handing it over.

This week, it looks like this:


  • bill paying system
  • my week “off”
  • hard drive backup
  • too much to do

If it’s on this list, it means I have NO idea what to do about it and I’m not sure what my next step is. Because it’s on God’s list, I don’t have to worry. I delegated it. It’ll get dealt with.

I’ll bet you know what’s coming next, but I’m still amazed. After 3 weeks, everything I’ve delegated to God so far has gotten resolved. Inspired Spouse’s broken laptop. Feeling overwhelmed. Snarly budget stuff. I don’t know why it has worked out this way. In fact, I don’t need to know. It just has.

All from writing God a to-do list in watermelon-scented marker.

A word on names: If you wanted to try this yourself, it doesn’t really matter what your religious views are. Instead of a God List, you could write a to-do list for the Universe. Or the Divine. Or the Earth. Or Love. There are thousands of names for the Thing That is Bigger Than Us. I just picked one that works for me.

The lesson

Practice taking conscious ownership of the things you can handle – and purposely giving away the rest to Something Bigger. Scary? You bet. But it’s worth it. It’s clutter-clearing for the spirit.

Thoughts? Yeah, buts? Me toos?

What’s YOUR very next thing?

December 7, 2009

I love this quote.

“You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” — E. L. Doctorow (via @artcetera)

If you’re frustrated by the amount of email you have, or the amount of work, or the volume of paper on your desk, or the frazzled nerves in your brain, or the lack of time to do things…

Just remember that you don’t have to do the whole thing. You only need to do the next thing.

  • If you have boatload of work to do, pick one thing – even the easiest thing – and start with that.
  • If you have a ton of email to read and reply to, start with the one on the bottom.
  • If you haven’t had time to write a single Christmas or New Year’s card, don’t do all of them. Just start with one.

It’s the season where you can knock yourself flat, deplete your spirit, and snarl at loved ones.  Not because you want to, but because there’s just so much happening at once that it’s hard to decide where to start.

Just like the quote says, shine your light on one thing. Start with that. You’ll still get to your destination – and you might even feel lighter and more peaceful when you arrive.

For me, that means clicking “publish” on this post so I can share it with you.

What’s the next thing for you?

Claim your space without upsetting the balance

April 11, 2008

You ever have one of those days? Or weeks? You’ve got so much going on that you can’t think straight, return calls, or even get work done?

I’ve talked to a couple of people recently (including myself) who are currently dealing with SO much that they’re practically paralyzed. Dazed. It’s like they need a good long nap. Or a cold bucket of Gatorade.

Without a doubt, getting some time and space will calm your overwhelm. And deliberate self-care will bring you back to a resourceful state once again. I will always say that it’s critical you allow for time to do this.

But what happens while you’re taking space to recover?

People who know and love you are affected by your sudden disappearance. As this pattern of intense work, overwhelm, withdrawal, and recovery runs its course, people who know you notice.

They observe…

    Calls and emails getting returned slowly – or not at all
    Tasks and commitments getting neglected
    Your office space becoming messy (and possibly other areas)
    Communication stops without explanation

Is it such a bad thing to “do” this overwhelm cycle? No. Honestly, it’s not. When you’re super creative or naturally energized by something, you just go with it until you’re spent. That’s just how you work. I think that this pattern can work – so long as you know you’re doing it.

The important thing to realize is that the people around you are impacted by this cycle of yours.

The beauty of the “front load”

I’m not a domestic goddess particularly, but the front loading washing machine takes the cake. It uses less water and energy, so it’s more efficient. It’s easy to see what cycle the clothes are in. It’s a work of art and functional equipment at the same time.

The “front load” is also a communication technique that you can use for the benefit of your clients and those close to you.

Let them see into your little circular window

Let’s say you finally get that stroke-of-genius for that thing you’ve been wanting to work on forever. Or you’re having that “oh-my-GAHD – I’m going to pull all my hair out” feeling. Or you look at your calendar and think, “How on earth am I going to live through the schedule I have next week?”

Tell them.

Who’s “them”?

Anyone who will miss you while you disappear for a week or dive into that project so deeply you seem to be gone. “They” could be clients, support staff, your significant other. Whomever you think will feel the impact of your absence.

Just be honest.

That’s the beauty of the “front load.” If you’ve done this cycle your whole life, you’ve probably put a lot of energy into covering your tracks. Making it seem like you’re really there. So talking about it might not come naturally… I assure you, the people you share it with will appreciate it.

A good place to start is to communicate when you’re at the threshold of something that’s going to take a lot of time, energy and/or focus. The idea is to front-load and tell your peeps before you disappear. But if you don’t catch it that early, share with them when you notice the symptoms starting (the urge to withdraw, the urge to scream, the profound desire to be left alone, etc.).

Let them in on it and give as much notice as you can.

It can also be really helpful to explain what it might look like while you’re “gone” and when you can reasonably be expected to “return.”

Give your best guess – and then get down to doing what you need to do.

Why front load?

When you let important people see into your life and your process, they can be prepared for your absence. This also reassures them that you’re the same person they know, you’re just temporarily distracted.

It also allows you an opportunity to ask for support – something I think we all could benefit from learning to do better.

I saw an incredible example of front loading last week when ZenHabits blogger, Leo Babauta, was getting into the dense phase of writing his book.

He shared with his 50,800 readers that things were going to get pretty intense for him over the next few weeks and that he would be writing a little less on his blog. He also asked for their encouragement.

I encourage you to take a look at Leo’s post. And after that, give some thought to how you’d like to make peace with your work cycles, how you want to share them with others, and how to ask for the support you deserve.

Creating work/life balance in self-employment

March 26, 2008

A good friend from Ireland visited last week, so I decided in advance to take time off from work to fully enjoy her stay. It seemed like a really good idea.

The week before her arrival, I worked my tail off. It seemed like a stunningly good idea to put in 14 hour days to complete everything I’d normally do during the time she was here.

In the words of my Irish friend, “It was mad.”

Been there, too?

Maybe you’ve noticed this: you’re under a time crunch and expecting yourself to be ultra productive. But what actually happens is you fritter away time doing busywork and don’t complete the important tasks.

Personally, I got so frantic about everything I just had to do, I barely got it all done before my friend arrived.

Everything is an opportunity for transformation

The good news is that I practice what I preach: having an inspired home office is an evolution, not a revolution. When something doesn’t work or negative feelings pile up, it’s an incredible opportunity to learn.

Here’s what I realized.

You can’t manufacture yourself

Ever since industrialization, work has been defined as a linear process. Raw materials in, marketable product out. In our culture, we tend to work linearly, too.

But what happens when you are the product and your brain generates the raw material? You can’t hire three shifts, pay minimum wage, and keep the shop open 24/7.

When you’re the product, this linear thinking can do damage to your one-person show. Effort yourself into too much “productivity” and you’ll get exhausted sooner or later – even doing work you love.

The alternative: Working sustainably

It’s more sustainable and more enjoyable to think and work in terms of seasons. A particular project can show you the bountiful harvest of autumn and a contemplative winter. You plant the seeds of spring and burst into blooms of ideas in summer.

Chances are good that you’re in many places and seasons at once… and they’re all good. You might even check in right now and ask: what season are you in with your marketing? Or product development? Or your network and strategic alliances?

But what about your goals?

Does this seasonal, energetic flux mean you can’t have goals to work toward? Of course not. Goals keep you on track – but they don’t have to be shackles.

If you want to encourage sustainable productivity in your business, try these three guidelines for goals:

Things to try

1. Cultivate focus.

Ask yourself two questions to hone your focus:

    What do I want?
    When do I want it by?

These questions can be about anything: profit, marketing, projects, etc. You can write your answers longhand or make a bullet pointed list – whatever you need to take a good look at them.

2. Establish priorities.

Once your list is written and you’ve identified what you want – by when, ask one more question:

    What is most important right now?

If you have several projects running at once, one might bring you the greatest profit, another is something you promised to a client, and a third could include regular maintenance of files. All of these are important; you decide which outranks the other.

When you’re clear about what trumps what, decisions become easier. Look at your list again and determine what you’ll do first and next and next after that.

3. Set boundaries.

Last, and arguably most important, is deciding when it’s time to not produce work. The last 2 questions:

    When will I stop?
    What do I need to care for my body, mind, and spirit?

A list of goals or to-dos won’t become your master if you’re clear about what kind of rest you need. Once you’ve established boundaries for yourself, honor them. Stopping allows you to rest and recharge, so you can work again renewed.

Summing up

You can use these three steps when work is calm, but especially when your workload is overwhelming or “mad.” You’ll be able to see through the busy-ness and work more effectively on your business.

Help! The mail is taking over!

January 16, 2008

Creating calm after the storm

A few weeks ago, I asked readers to send in questions about their home office struggles and anything they’ve been wondering about. I made this request partly because I just like to hear from you. 🙂

And also, of course, because I want to help.

I received an email from my buddy, Karen, who is a parent coach (and a darned good one!) in Portland, Oregon. Here is what she said:

Well, [my issue is] not at all wacky, but actually fairly boring. MAIL! It’s taking over! UGH!

Okay, taking a deep breath now. . . I got behind on a bunch of stuff and I’m a bit overwhelmed getting caught up again, so my desk looks like a typhoon hit it. Not sure when I will have time to clean it either. Thank god it’s a roll top!

Anyway, some strategies for handling mail and maybe for handling a back log without the overwhelm would be great!

The thing I love about Karen’s email is that it’s so honest. We all have times in life like this and maybe you laughed in self-recognition reading it – I know I did! So when you read this, Karen, just know that you’re in good company.

From the backlog – into flow

You probably know what a backlog looks like. If you say the word “backlog” out loud, it just feels depressing. And trying to “get through” a backlog pile can feel like a daunting, overwhelming, sloggy task.

Breaking it down

The most important thing to know about a pile of accumulated anything is that it’s made up of individual parts. It may look like one thing – a big pile – but if you look really closely, it has many separate pieces.

If you’re in the place that Karen describes, there’s just one way forward: pick up a single piece. Open it.

Then get rid of what you don’t want (envelopes, “don’t miss out” offers, credit card checks, etc.). Keep the bits that you really do want or need.

Then pick up the next piece. If you focus on one at a time, really focus on it, it helps keep the overwhelm at bay.

Tracking the important bits

If you do this for 20 minutes or so, what you’ll end up with is a pile of to-do’s. Things to file, things to follow up on, bills to pay, etc.

You may find it handy to write a list of these actions as you go so you don’t have to keep the whole pile on your desk to remind you.

Get support

If you’re overwhelmed by the pile you’re facing, that is totally okay (not to mention normal)!

You might want to do some self-nourishment before, during, and after the time that you work on it. Maybe you’d like a nice cup of tea or cocoa to sip on. Or some of your favorite music at a rousing volume. You could even include a trusted friend to assist you in person or maybe check in with someone by phone when you’re done to get a dose of encouragement.

It can also help to set a timer or otherwise restrict the amount of time you work on this project. A specific amount of time helps you make decisions faster and can give you some relief knowing an end is in sight.

Things to try

An overwhelm reframe

It’s common to have all kinds of fearful or judgmental thoughts about a backlog of stuff. If you notice these thoughts coming up, make space for them – and then remind yourself of how important your work is to you, your clients, to the world.

Instead of a “beat-self-up” session, choose to make your downsizing process an act of love and service to your business. Bring your heart into it.

Separate the wheat from the chaff

After establishing a time limit, pick up once piece at a time and decide what you’d like to do with it. Be kind to yourself by stopping when you agreed to (unless you’re really having fun).

Think sustainably

Next week, we’ll explore ways to stem the tide before it crashes in. Tune in then and find easy and encouraging ways to increase your peace and decrease mail-related stress before it happens.

Daffodils in December – learning the fine art of gestation

December 5, 2007

Everybody knows that a daffodil won’t bloom outdoors in December. The cold and snow herald a time for the bulb to retreat into the dark earth and restore its vigor and strength.

Although sometimes we lose sight of this truth, you are also part of nature.

Are you fighting nature?

Many business models encourage perpetual productivity. But because our creativity is part of the natural cycle, there must be a time for replenishment, too.

Wintertime is as vital to the life of a plant as the glorious blooms of springtime and the fruits of summer and fall. So it is also with you. And your business.

Creativity takes time

Now, I’m not advocating that you close up shop tomorrow to return sometime in March.

But have you ever walked away from a project that’s been challenging you – to walk the dog, or take a shower, or pick up some eggs from the store and – BAM! The answer you were seeking appears, seemingly from nowhere?

That’s because you gave yourself some winter-time, some space for your brain to rest… and meanwhile the ideas are gestating inside, waiting to bloom.

How to make it hard on yourself

If you stay at your desk, glued to the monitor, trying to get… it… right… Nothing comes.

By forcing yourself to produce when it’s not yet time, you do damage to yourself. You stilt true progress and growth.

Perpetual productivity is painful

So why do you do this? Well, sometimes you need to “get the job done.” But oftentimes, the underlying factor is that the spring blossom and the summer fruit feel good.

You get a high from results. Another checkmark – but at what cost?

The Inspired Home Office 80/20 Rule

80% of creating and productivity is internal and 20% is external, visible work.

This doesn’t mean you need to sit at your desk, twiddling your thumbs for weeks on end. It just means that when you feel the urge to stop (writing, working on a project, whatever), you can trust that it really is time to stop.

And once you’ve stopped, you can choose to do something will nourish your heart and your mind. This will allow the next step will unfold naturally and organically.

Just like daffodils do.

How to work naturally

1. Notice when you force

Do you set up your schedule in a way that forces you to produce, without leaving time for contemplation or rest?

Do you commit to deadlines that seem reasonable, but really aren’t?

Do you notice feeling resentful for intrusions or extra demands on your time?

What choices do you make that contribute to these dymanics?

2. Listen to your inner knowing

While you’re working, listen for a tiny voice inside you that whispers, “I need a break now.” or “Stop.” This is your inner knowing.

It won’t roar, so be alert.

3. Do what the voice says

No, this isn’t a reference to that “I do what the voices in my head tell me to do” bumper sticker. 🙂

When you hear that tiny voice, take heed. Really.

You may come to find that the breaks you give yourself take less time than needlessly banging your head against the wall in frustration.

No matter what you do, a daffodil will take as long as it does to go from bulb to blossom. And so it is with you, too.