The Second Half of 2016 Starts Now: Are You Ready?

It’s so cliche to say, but wow, the first half of 2016 definitely flew by. It’s safe to say that 2016 has treated me quite nicely so far: the first half of the year stayed eventful and things are definitely on the up and up with work and the rest of life.

Happy and healthy!
Happy and healthy!

I find that my focus this year has definitely been on a better quality of life and more personal/professional development. I have started meditating daily (thanks to Conscious Transformation), and I have been reading much more avidly this year versus the last couple of years. It helps that I have daily train rides to give me time to read; I rarely make time to read at home, sadly.

In the past month, I have been keeping track of my time at work and I find that my focus has been much better for it. I am more intentional about what I am spending my time on, so I don’t end up wasting time on checking emails/browsing Facebook.

When 2016 began, I was anticipating huge growth for Hashtagitude. While business has definitely grown, it has also been at a ‘slower’ pace than expected. However, I am not disappointed! I realize that everything is moving along at a quite normal pace for a small business, so that’s comforting at least.

This time last year, I sensed that big change was about to occur, and I again feel the same about this year. We will see what the second half of the year will bring in terms of changes: take it all in stride and enjoy the ride!

My Top 5 Denver Coworking Spaces

Mugs at Creative Density. Photo from 2012.
Mugs at Creative Density. Photo from 2012.

In honor of the upcoming Denver Coworking Week (May 16 – 20)--which is a full week of celebrating Denver’s growing coworking space with free coworking days plus fun activities–I want to highlight my top five coworking spaces in Denver. Even though I have not talked about coworking much on this blog, I have tweeted about it quite a bit over the years (I even have a Twitter list called Coworking Rocks!). I began my journey into the coworking world in late 2011/early 2012: I LOVE the concept of sharing a professional working environment with others and building that community. Once I started my first business in 2012, coworking spaces became a lot more enticing to me (versus working from home or hanging out at a coffee shop).

I chose these five coworking spaces in Denver because either I was/is a member of the space, or I have visited the space for a day pass and enjoyed the vibe. What I love about all five spaces is that they are locally owned and operated and maintain great atmospheres in their spaces to foster community growth.

Check out these five superb coworking spaces in Denver:

My Top 5 Denver Coworking Spaces

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Finding My People in Denver

 

Living in Denver has provided me a lot of great opportunities to find my group of people to spend time with on a regular basis.

This past week marks my one-year anniversary being a part of Women of Denver, a growing professional organization in town founded by the amazing Krystal Covington. I was a little hesitant at first to join the group, but over the past year, I have made so many meaningful connections through the organization: not only potential and current clients, but great friends. Krystal has been a wonderful force of motivation for me, encouraging Hashtagitude to expand past social media services and provide video services (by way of Ryan), plus getting me out of my shell and doing workshops and interviews within Women of Denver.

My Time in San Francisco vs. in Denver

While reflecting upon this one-year anniversary this past week, I came to the realization that the reason why I have enjoyed my time here in Denver over these past four (almost five!) years has been because I have found “my people” living here. When I lived in San Francisco–while still an enjoyable experience–I never felt like I truly belonged to a constant group of people I could turn to on a regular basis. Yes, I still have several good friends (and also family) living in the Bay Area, but I never felt like I had a solid and constant group of people, either professional or personal, that I could spend time with.

My last day at ELI in 2010; got flowers for my departure. I miss Rimi and Masako!
My last day at ELI in 2010; got flowers for my departure. 🙂 I miss Rimi and Masako!

 

I made a lot of friends while working at ELI, but many of them were the students, who came and went as they completed their program at ELI. I felt a sense of loss when students would move on from the school, either going back to their home countries or moving on to the local city college/universities. Plus, during the time I lived in San Francisco, my own job situation wasn’t too steady either, so as soon as I felt like I was making friends at one job, the job would soon be over or someone (or myself) would move on to the next job.

Finding Leads Group 7 in Denver

Moving to Denver in 2011, at first I felt like I was again in transient situations: I only did one year of graduate school at the University of Denver, so once I left the program, I felt like I lost some good connections there. I floated around in tech/startup meetups for about a year and a half, trying to find my people in those groups, but I never felt like I belonged in those groups. Only when I joined Leads Group 7 of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce did I start to feel a sense of belonging: less than six months into being a member of the group, I felt like they were indeed my chosen family here in Denver. To this day, I am still a part of Leads Group 7 and look forward to our weekly meetings on Wednesdays.

Hanging out with Leads Group 7 this week at our monthly social event. Yay for bowling!
Hanging out with Leads Group 7 this week at our monthly social event. Yay for bowling!

I recently joined the Gold Member Alliance Program (GMAP) at the Chamber as well, and am already feeling like the members of the group are also my people; being a part of Women of Denver this past year has definitely shown me that another aspect of my people are also in that group. I am so grateful for these opportunities to be around people who have similar experiences in their work lives (and sometimes even personal lives).

Yes, I have found my people!

History Repeats Itself in March

….or at least for me it does, and especially since 2013.

History Repeats Itself in March

I had anticipated March to be busy this year with two trips planned (one to SXSW and one to Beaver Creek, Colorado); I don’t know why I didn’t prepare better for the month of travel, though.

In 2013, I had three separate trips planned in different parts of the country: San Francisco, DC area, and Colorado–that was the start of my family’s annual ski trip in Colorado. On top of that, my parents also spent some time with me in Denver that year in March…so I remember that year being super busy. However, my first business wasn’t doing so well by that time, so I didn’t have much work to think about then.

I had two trips in March of 2014 and only the ski trip to think about last March–but again, still, I didn’t have much work to think about.

Hopefully this Texan town is truly happy. Seen on road trip to Austin, Texas.
Hopefully this Texan town is truly happy. Seen on road trip to Austin, Texas.

This year has been very different from the previous three years: lots of forward motion happening with Hashtagitude PLUS two trips equals a frazzled, nonstop-working Helene.

But, this has been an enjoyable month though–lots of reunions with friends at SXSW and spending quality family time at Beaver Creek. The best news of all is that I’ll be able to come back up to Beaver Creek on Saturday to celebrate my niece’s birthday with the rest of our family (minus my younger brother); that’s what makes all this hustle and stress worth it.

It’s important to know when to pause work for those priceless moments.

Why You Should Take a Time Out

Taking time off when your brain stops working: best tip for productivity!

Admittedly, I am grateful for how jam-packed my schedule has been so far this year: better to have a lot of work to complete than sitting around twiddling my thumbs. Still, as predicted, I ended up hitting a figurative wall soon enough, and that was today.

It’s been a challenging week and month: the projections I had for the business have so far not panned out and I’m feeling the pressure from myself (and my Inner Critic) to sign on a new client. I guess I am my own worst boss, although I am working on becoming gentler with myself.

Well, even though I am my worst boss, I went ahead and took the second half of the day off after I found myself sitting and staring at my to-do list for way too long. My brain essentially shut off around noon and I felt that was the signal that I needed to just walk away from the computer and take some time to relax.

I find when I get into moods like this, I just need time to myself. Since I have a dedicated desk at Modworks now, I am always surrounded by other people–which is a good thing for productivity!–and when I am moody/burnt out, I just want to be alone. A phone room won’t cut it–coming home to the apartment with the cats helps me out though (yes, #crazycatlady).

Kitty is all curled up like a ball--exactly how I felt today by noon.
Yup. This was EXACTLY how I felt today by noon. Kitty has the right idea ;)

Tonight I am feeling much more refreshed, thankfully. Tomorrow is another packed day with meetings, workshops, etc.–but hopefully this time off today has helped me feel better prepared for the full day.