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How to Go from Busywork to Progress

You ever have those days where you wake up, take a shower, make your hot beverage of choice, and then the rest of the day is a blur?


You had a full day, you were active from the morning to the evening, and yet it feels like you didn't get anything "done?"


Been. There.


It can feel really discouraging to look back on your day and think, "I worked all day, but I feel like I didn't do anything."


Now imagine your BEST day.


You wake up, grab a nice, refreshing shower with your favorite soap, make a cozy cup of something hot, and the rest of your day is FULL of satisfying things that move the needle forward.


Your day might have included things you did, like:


  • Take care of emails in record time and have a nearly empty inbox

  • Make progress on your BIG projects and goals

  • Made time to meditate, journal, or do another centering activity

  • Ate healthy, nourishing meals

  • Caught up with a loved one for a few minutes

We've all had those wonderful days too, and they feel amazing! So productive.


So what's the difference between the day when you spin your wheels and the day when you feel on top of the world?


The difference between a frazzled day and a stellar day is the kind of actions you're taking.


On a frazzled day, you're likely doing a LOT of busywork - answering emails on and off all day, surfing online ("I'm researching!"), staring at your computer screen, wondering what to do next and going to the kitchen to find a snack.


Activity feels like movement, but it's moving in place.


Like the difference between walking on a treadmill and walking outside. They're both movement, but would you rather walk in place or be out in nature?


I'd pick nature any day, baby!


Progress means you take the insights, information, and awareness that you've learned and combine it with actions that improve your life, move the needle, and help you meet your goals.


Here's an example from my life:


I had MAJOR credit card debt for over a decade, starting in college.


For many years, this caused me DAILY stress and anxiety.


I often avoided the emails saying my payments were coming up on the due dates until the day or two before, then I would figure out how to move money around between checking and savings to make sure the autopayment went through.


I handwrote (yes, with a pen and paper) budget after budget to make sure I could cover the payments, but I didn't make much progress over time.


And in fact, every Christmas, Discover would raise my credit limit so I could go buy gifts and wrack up more debt - which I did. Every year.


Here's how I turned this whole situation around and completely paid off $16,000 worth of credit card debt.


1) I learned about the snowball method from Financial Peace University (thanks, Dave Ramsey!), and built my first debt spreadsheet to track where all of my debt was (credit cards and medical expenses not covered by my insurance), when the payments were due, what the minimums were, and how much I needed to pay to clean them up by a certain date.


Then I paid off the smallest one and moved that payment onto the next debt.


2) I joined Money Bootcamp to learn more about my money mindset and join a community of people talking about money too.


Having someone who's been down the road a few steps ahead of you can SUPERCHARGE your progress.


3) A family member offered to help, and I accepted. I wanted to be accountable for my debt, so I asked this generous loved one to match whatever I could put on the cards for one year up to $250 a month. This doubled my progress and helped me feel like I had momentum, and it didn't let me off the hook for my choices.


4) I did my homework and took out a consolidated loan for the remaining debt at almost 40% of the original interest rate (from 21.99% to 13.99%). This lowered what I would owe over time (by thousands of dollars!), and made the monthly payments clear and easy to budget.


In April 2023, I had $0 in credit card debt for the first time in 13 years.


I proved to myself what progress could look like, I took full responsibility, and I did actions that moved the needle forward - including and especially accepting help when it was offered, which is a tough one for me.


Paying off my credit card debt gave me the confidence to look into coach training programs, and here I am a year later, a Certified Professional Coach.


Without that win under my belt, I likely wouldn't have pursued coaching. I would have still thought I couldn't follow through on longterm goals.


So what does progress look like in your life?


Does it mean creating a plan, an outline, or a step-by-step process you can follow so you don't have to stress and decide every day?


Does progress look like deciding on an action you can repeat daily, weekly, or monthly and following through?


Does improving mean finding a guide and / or a community to inspire you, support you, and keep you accountable?


Does moving the needle mean asking for help or accepting help when it's offered?


I'm challenging you to come up with one thing you can do to get out of confusion and overwhelm and into improvement and progress towards your goals.


Then leave a comment below and let me know what you picked. I KNOW you can do it - because I did it too.


Big, warm vibes,


<3 Steph

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