Happy Friday! Jen here, and it’s time to lead you into your weekend with inspiration from today’s design your life feature.

I’m so happy to introduce the very talented Jenna of Jenna Arak. Jenna is an amazing writer and has a knack for telling an engaging story. She is known for being the modern day story teller where she helps people like me and you develop and hone in on the voice of our brand.

Not only does Jenna have her business, but she has a full-time job and is soon to be married this summer, so I couldn’t wait to read how she leads her life with intention. I can tell you this, she didn’t disappoint me one bit!

 

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No, but seriously. Write it down in your planner – “ME TIME”. Because when you commit your time to everybody else and you feel overwhelmed and you just want a minute to do whatever in the world it is you feel like doing (including sleeping; sleeping is great), that’s on you. And it’s on me too, because I make this mistake all the time.

When I find myself frustrated that everybody and everything is demanding so much of my time, I remind myself that I am the arbiter of my own schedule and I can (mostly) decide how I spend my time. So I choose to spend it well. And for me that means, making time for myself. Not thinking it or hoping for it, but writing it down and sticking to it, like I would any other social engagement. Maybe I spend that time reading or writing or working or playing with my puppy or sleeping (probably sleeping), but the point is – it’s entirely up to me. And that leaves me all the more refreshed and prepared to devote the rest of my time to the people and projects that matter most to me.

 

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I have some perfectionist tendencies. And though that sounds like a great quality, it really just means that I struggle with owning up to my mistakes. It’s a miserable feeling when I fail and I’m quick to excuse away my behavior or the consequences of a decision I’ve made.

But I’ve learned (and am still learning) that I benefit so much more – and am able to move on so much more quickly – from simply understanding that I’ve messed up and owning up to the fact that I’ve made a mistake (and that’s okay). I am human and imperfect and sometimes I do or say or think stupid things. Not even sometimes, a lot of the time. But instead of trying to make excuses or sweep things under the rug, I’ve learned that it’s best to own up to my fumbles, learn from them, and move on. On to the next one. As quickly as possible.

 

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Is this an obvious one? You’d think so. But in all aspects of life and career, I watch people (myself included; pretty much always myself) veer from this advice. I make to-do lists every day of my life. I take great pride in them, actually, and in my ability to keep track of and stay on top of every project I take on. But I never cross everything off, unless I first prioritize what is most important. What really needs to get done. It’s not everything on that list; it never is.

And I think a lot of us tend to list EVERYTHING we could possibly do and then do what’s quick and easy first, without expending the necessary energy tackling what’s tough and important. So I call myself out every day – personally and professionally – asking, what three things HAVE.TO.HAPPEN today? Make it clear. Then get it done.

 

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I think there’s a lot of pride behind the idea of “powering through” – and I think it’s valuable, no doubt. But I’ve learned that there’s a lot of value in taking a break too. At my last job, I never took a break. Ever. I powered through the day, through lunch, through my evenings and my weekends. I grew to resent the hell out of that. And I still power through a great deal now too. But I take advantage of a break when I have it – even when I don’t, I can often make time and – shockingly – the world doesn’t fall apart while I rest.

When presented with the opportunity to, I will stop and breathe, take a walk outside, put in my headphones, read a book – right at my desk. And I never regret it. I always come back to my work invigorated and more empowered to get through the rest of my day. There’s value in the times you rest, as well, and I try to remember that.

 

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I’m a grudge-holder. There, I said it. Always have been, though I hope not to always be. I have a very keen memory, which aids (quite unfortunately) in my ability to remember not only every single time an outside party has wronged me, but also to remember those times I have made mistakes and let myself and those around me down.

I think it’s fine and fair and human to be upset about things – to be hurt by wrongdoing or disappointed in a choice you made. But once you’ve sulked and stewed and hopefully learned from it, LET IT GO. Let it go. Every single time I’ve held on to my negativity, I’ve added negativity. That’s not the way I want to live my life. I sulk, I stew, I learn, I let it go, and I move on. And I’m so much happier for it.

 

Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.

 

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  • http://twitter.com/vmusgrave Victoria Musgrave

    Thank you so much for sharing how you live a life with intention. I’m always curious how women who are running a business create balance and sanity in other aspects of their lives. You’ve provided some great suggestions on how I can live my live with intention.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennabritton Jenna Britton

    Thanks, Victoria! I’m so glad these were valuable to you. Sanity is hard to come by and definitely don’t always have it, but these five things help me maintain it a lot of the time :)

  • http://sagegrayson.com/ Sage Grayson

    I completely understand the need to choose what must absolutely get done during my day. My to-do list is crazy long, but you’re right that nothing gets crossed off unless I make it a priority.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennabritton Jenna Britton

    Totally, Sage! And I tend to get disappointed in myself for not crossing *everything* off my list, even if I’ve accomplished a lot – which is ridiculous. I think if we focused on what we’ve accomplished (instead of everything we haven’t done), we’d be a lot more motivated to get sh*t done :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennabritton Jenna Britton

    Chelsea, this is so nice! Thank you for your kinds words. I’m so glad this inspired you, even a little.