To Be Perfect, or Not to Be Perfect

I had a goal. More like 50 goals simultaneously, and it was hard to ever focus on one thing because I wanted all 50 of them to have been done about 3 months ago.

I tried to be perfect. To have the perfect planning system, the perfectly organized home and garage, the perfectly checked off to-do list, and perfectly emptied out email inbox.

I still aspire to all these things, just not quite so perfectly. And now for my own personal satisfaction, rather than to prove to others that it can be done.

Releasing the need to become perfect has created space for me to be me. Which is so nice.

It is liberating to allow myself to continue to discover what I am good at and what I am not good at, and to accept those things the way they are. continue…

Why Being Lazy Is Good for You

All our lives, “lazy” has been mostly a negative term. Sometimes we can get away with a lazy day here and there, but in general it has a derogatory connotation. But what if that were different? continue…

How Do You Know When a Dream Comes True?

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens. – Carl Jung

This past year has been filled with long-time dreams come true. We got married, traveled to Europe for the first time together, and now own two orthodontic practices (husband being the orthodontist). Still, I felt that my dreams had not yet “happened”.

This weekend my sweet husband took me back to the resort where we got married in Sedona and we enjoyed a very peaceful, serene, reflective weekend together (I will be posting pictures on our website this week for anyone who is interested). My plan was to spend time thinking about what I would need to do in the upcoming year to make my dreams into my reality. continue…

Can’t Life Be Easy?

One of my five personal core values is inner & outer peace. Every morning when I meditate, I run through these five areas of my life. When I get to number three, I say this affirmation in my mind:

“Everything in our lives is taken care of with effortless ease.”

(Especially since I got married, I have been affirming for two. I figure it can’t hurt!)

The concept of effortless ease stems from the teachings of Louise Hay. It totally goes against everything we have been taught – that life is hard, nothing comes easy, be realistic, you have to work really hard and even then you might not get what you want…at least that is the prevailing vibe I have picked up on from our society in general.

When I started listening to Louise Hay’s books, I too had the resistance of wait a minute, life isn’t easy. What is she talking about?

But what if life is easy? And we just don’t realize it or tap into it.

Is an easy life a lazy life?

Sometimes I don’t really feel things, but I throw them into my meditation affirmation mix anyway with the hope that by some mystical force of the universe they will one day be true for me. I also feel very strongly that this cannot hurt anything.

So I envision my ideal day first thing in the morning, and then I go about my day as I normally would. Ideal or not so ideal.

This past week I was sick and totally exhausted. I slept in until 10:30 Saturday morning, after getting 12 hours of sleep, and it was glorious. Then I slept in until 9:30 on Sunday morning. Also glorious.

Since I was so tired all week, I was “lazy” and stayed in bed until the last possible second and took naps when I felt like it. And I didn’t feel bad about the extra sleep. I just acknowledged that that was what my body needed and enjoyed the extra rest.

Yesterday while driving, I was thinking about how I usually get up early to get a jump start on the day, and how I usually power through the afternoon tired feeling and skip naps that I would love. And then I thought about all the extra sleep last week and how my life was still okay and on track despite the supposed lost hours of productivity.

Effortless Productivity Just Might Exist

And then, I remembered my effortless ease affirmation. And realized how true it is for me. Even now. Even when my to-do list is no where near empty and my ideal day of productivity remains just out of reach.

I have complete faith that one day my to-do list will be a beautiful blank page, and that I will reach 2 p.m. knowing that everything that needed to get done that day has been taken care of.

And on the path to those and other goals, there will be naps. There will be breaks. There will be weekends of sleeping in ridiculously late just because. There will be days of missed yoga and meditation. There will be movies watched without other tasks getting done simultaneously.

Just because we are working towards greater things, that doesn’t mean we can’t be great, and feel great, right now. Wayne Dyer said on numerous occasions that we aren’t the ones doing the doing, but that we are being done. At a time when I had a work to-do list with 80 or more tasks at any given time and a sense that there was no light at the end of the tunnel, I couldn’t fathom what this man could possibly mean by not doing the doing.

But I am kind of starting to get it. Yes, I have plenty to do and I get my work done and still have more things to do, but I am realizing that it doesn’t have to be that hard. It can be effortless. It can be easy. If we let it.

So I continue to choose effortless ease as my primary filter through which I view my life and its many activities. Choosing to believe things are difficult doesn’t make sense to me anymore. Why not expect things to be effortless and easy? It doesn’t take any extra effort, after all.

Do you think life can be effortlessly easy? Please share your thoughts!

The Christmas Tree Timeline: Is It Too Soon?

When I was growing up, we almost always had a real tree, even when we lived in Florida. I insisted on it.

When I lived in my first apartment, I went to a Christmas tree lot and got a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree, even though I was going home for Christmas.

O Faux Christmas Tree

I resisted getting a fake for a while, but now I embrace it. Especially since we are usually traveling for at least one of the major holidays in November or December, it’s nice to be able to enjoy our tree in our home for more than just a few weeks. continue…

My To-Do List Is a Junk Pile

For YEARS my to-do list has been my Everest. I just cannot let it go.

I have read productivity books like Getting Things Done by David Allen and Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern, and experimented with all different kinds of planners from Franklin Covey to The Hipster.

So far, I have come very close to my vision of getting this thing cleared off by the end of the day, or at the latest, the end of the week. I know it is possible, no matter what anyone says. Which is always some version of that doesn’t sound very realistic whenever I tell people about my dream of a beautiful, emptied to-do list on a regular basis.

I know there will always be things to do. That isn’t my problem. My point is having a list that doesn’t contain things that were due yesterday, or from 2 months ago.

I want to wake up in the morning, knowing that I will have the time I need to do all the things I want to do that day, AND get done whatever else needs to get done. Not working until 7 p.m., not skipping out on my walk because I’m too busy. Not sleeping less than 7 hours (I realize whenever I have a baby that last one might be negotiable, but you get the point).

My To-Do List Is Cluttering My Life

It dawned on my yesterday that my to-do list of unfinished, overdue tasks is creating clutter in my life. Not only is having this list of unfinished stuff like having junk piles all over my house, but by taking up time that I could spend dealing with physical clutter, it is literally contributing to the clutter in my life and my days. continue…

Short Attention Span? Try This.

Sometimes Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, our cell phones, YouTube, the internet in general, an inspired idea, and food, among an infinite list of potential things to do, are too tempting to ignore. A span of 20 minutes or however long we are trying to stay focused on something else (likely something else more worthwhile) may not be able to compete.

The List of Infinite Possibilities

When I sit down to write or do something that I would like to focus on for a period of time (usually 20 minutes to an hour), I am inevitably reminded of something from this list of infinite possibilities. I often find myself wandering to satisfy whatever curiosity of the moment has stricken.

I reason with myself that I have to do whatever it is in the moment or I might forget later, or that I will just check this one little thing and get back to work. We’ve all been there. You look up and wonder where the last 15 minutes or more went. And can’t believe that you got sucked in again to that fifth YouTube video, or are wondering how you suddenly caught up on the Facebook feed since yesterday. continue…

Be Unapologetic About What You Want

I thought I wanted to be a writer. According to everything I have read, by the act of writing I am a writer. I don’t even have to be any good at writing, apparently. As long as I want to be a writer and I write, then I am a writer.

But I have apologized with every inch of my being for wanting to be a writer ever since I first was told that math and science are where the money and value are – not reading and writing. I have grown and come to terms with my writer ways over the years. But not without apology.

I often feel guilty telling people that I have a blog when asked what I do. I usually tell them the “real” thing that I do, as in the thing that actually produces an income. Then I slip in at the end (nervously) that I have a blog. Talking about myself as a writer makes me feel super apologetic. Like I haven’t earned the right to call myself a writer, or a blogger.

A Little Bit of Inspiration

I will be attending Alt Summit Summer this year. Alt Summit is a design and blogging conference held twice a year (January and June) in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have known about it for several years now but could never bring myself to attend a conference for bloggers, not feeling like a “real” blogger myself.

Fortunately one of my favorite vloggers, Jennifer Ross, pushed me over the edge this year with her vlogs and blog posts from the January conference. I am so excited to finally be going!

I received an email recently with links to the keynote speaker presentations from the January session. One was by Lisa Congdon, the other by Dallas Clayton. Both are amazing and I would definitely recommend checking them out.

Lisa Congdon talked about the path she took to get where she is as a creator of lots of different amazing things. She talked about being unapologetic about what you want, and that got me thinking. continue…

Do This next Time You Feel Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed has almost become the accepted normal state of being, unfortunately. It seems to have gotten worse in recent times.

Email (many times multiple email accounts), tasks, mundane tasks, household tasks, social media, keeping up with everything on the internet, staying fit and healthy. All that on top of trying to enjoy life and relax every once in a while. And sometimes sleep.

Self-Care First, to-Do List (and Everything Else) Second

I am reading You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson. The book is written in first person by Cheryl, but chronicles a series of meetings between Cheryl and Louise regarding how to live a peaceful life (which seems to be somewhat of an exception in our culture).

Cheryl: “For too many years I was in a perpetual battle with my to-do list, desperately racing to get things done so I could finally relax and enjoy my life. Now I relax and enjoy my life first.”

Louise: “I try to give myself two hours before I face people. I like to be able to do things in a leisurely way.”

The version of myself several years ago would have argued that I didn’t have time for self-care because I had too much to do. Now I know better. continue…

A Moment of Clarity: Seeing How the Pieces Fit Together

Have you ever done an exercise in a book where you were asked to brainstorm or choose from a list of words to capture your one word or phrase that best describes your theme for the next phase in your life?

I have seen this in several self-help books. The one that jumps out at me is SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life by Julie Morgenstern. In the past, every time I have done one of these exercises, my word or phrase has been inner peace.

Inner Peace & Transformation

In the past, I was pretty much constantly in a state of some combination of anxiety, panic, and worrying, so inner peace made sense for me as the thing that I most needed. I couldn’t imagine wanting anything else, like adventure, creativity, or any of the other theme words that were on the lists. Inner peace seemed like the best place to start.

And it was! I am so happy to now be able to say that, for the most part, I have it. After a long journey of developing a regular practice of yoga and meditation, I feel pretty peaceful most of the time. And I am starting to take back control of my own life that I used to so freely give away to the demands and whims of others. Yay!

Realizing that I have come to the place I wanted to be for so long is a great thing. I was driving the other night, and this idea came to me: what if one day I looked up to notice that my life totally transformed and I didn’t even realize it?

Isn’t that a cool idea? That your life could totally change without you even knowing it because you are so focused on feeling good in the moment? continue…

To-Do Lists & Dreams: Is There Enough Time for Everything?

I am obsessed with getting my to-do list to zero. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

I totally understand that I am not going to get my to-do list to zero and it is just going to stay like that forever. That isn’t my goal. My goal is to clear out my to-do list on a regular basis, keeping it clear to allow space for new things to come into my life without the weight of old tasks from like three months ago. Or even three weeks ago.

Reading through Ask and It Is Given by Esther and Jerry Hicks has helped me more clearly shape my perspective on clearing my to-do list while allowing ideas of new things to do to come into my life.

What My To-Do List Means To Me

My to-do list used to be a thing of complete dread, shackling me from enjoying life because I felt so behind all the time. I couldn’t see getting out from under the pile of stuff, no matter what I did. Not a good thing.

Today I am still working at chipping away at a few remaining tasks from several months ago, but I can see that my dream of having a regularly cleared to-do list is within reach. I am so excited about that every day!

I see my various to-do lists as simply a system of reminding myself what to do next, so I don’t have to store all that information in my brain. To-do lists are meant to liberate us from the constant cycle of remembering and forgetting things that still need to be done.

My goal for my to-do list is for it to eventually hold only items to do that I feel purposefully passionate about. I want my life to transform so that everything I do feels on purpose and exciting. I get all tingly just thinking about that! continue…

How Do People Keep up with Everything?

Do you ever feel totally, completely, utterly overwhelmed by…everything? This is how I used to feel. All the time. Now, I am getting better. And I would like to share what I am doing to feel excited about what I have to do rather than squished. Because who likes going around feeling squished all the time?

The Seasonal Review

The seasonal review is my process for reviewing all the things I have to and want to do in my life four times a year, at approximately three month intervals. In the past, I have done this at times that made sense to me, not necessarily coinciding with the financial quarters.

This year, I am kicking off my seasonal review with my birthday. This puts my other seasonal reviews this year at mid-April, mid-July, and mid-October. I like these times because there isn’t much out of the ordinary going on in my life in April and July, and October is a good time to gear up for the holiday season (yes, I am already thinking about the holidays…too soon?).

The seasonal review is a time to check-in and see what direction you are headed in, and if that is actually the direction you would like for your life. I get sad when I think about weeks, months, and years going by with no real progress being made. Who wants to look back and wonder what they have been doing for the past five years?

But I get excited when I think about my ideas and what I would like to see change in the future. I like to do the seasonal review to get myself motivated to take action on my ideas that might otherwise get neglected, lost to the shuffle of an overly busy lifestyle. No thank you!

I want my to-do list and days to be filled with things that make me feel joyful and peaceful. How about you? continue…

To-Do Lists Are My Life

I dream about to-do lists like I imagine people who like sports or guns dream about their hobbies. This is my thing. The thing that I get excited to get out of bed over.

I have lived somewhat oppressed by my to-do list for years; perhaps this is why I am so intrigued. It has been my challenge to conquer – “getting it all together,” or at least kinda, for the most part. Nothing is perfect, after all.

But to not be buried under 80 tasks, crushed by the weight of hundreds of things I don’t even really want to do – now that is a breath of fresh air! The fresh air that I am proud to now breathe, and I can say, with conviction, that I will NEVER allow myself to go back to that buried state. I simply refuse.

I set out yesterday with the motivation of my Birthday Eve. My own personal new year upon me, I reflected on my life over the past year and the direction I would like to take in the next. Most of the time, I feel like I am just about to have my life completely organized and to be living the lifestyle I envision, but I allow some major project that I have been avoiding to loom, holding myself back from truly moving forward.

I know this is no way to live, and I don’t want to constantly feel this way anymore. I want to really live! Looking back I don’t feel like I have made much progress on my goals over the past year. I feel like someone looking at my life would tell me to give myself a break. I do have an amazing life and I am so grateful, but I have personal goals and when I’m not making progress towards them, I feel more like I’m sinking and suffocating than fully living.

Sometimes I feel paralyzed – unable to move forward, unsure of what to do next. Yesterday around noon I decided to clear the rest of the day to “get my life together.” I started with 26 things to do on my personal to-do list, which I keep in Evernote. I was able to easily to sort the items from oldest to newest, and force myself to start with the oldest, most neglected task (from May 2014!).

My List

I want to really get my life organized, and share how I did it to help other people who struggle with stress and feeling overwhelmed. That is one of the main reasons why I have this blog.

I have read a ton of productivity and self-help books, and I want to take what I have learned and share the system I came up with that works for me with the world. And help people develop and stick to their own systems that will work for them.

I want to have a cleared to-do list at the end of each week, not having things remaining unnecessarily past one week. I want to help keep myself and my husband-to-be on target for achieving our dreams.

The only way these things will happen is if I actually do them. So I had to ask myself – do I sit down and clear the decks, doing all the little tasks that I have been putting off over the past year? It didn’t take me very long to decide that, without a doubt, yes! – I start by clearing the decks.

Letting go of the old makes room for the new, and if I want to help other people with getting their lists in order, I have to first figure out how to take control of mine. So I did. continue…

A Mantra for Greater Productivity

I’m always looking for new ways to motivate myself to get on top of everything in my life. Whether it’s more efficiently getting through email, staying on top of household chores, or getting my to-do list to zero, I am motivated by the feeling of not being bbackhind/overwhelmed. I’m going for the opposite of overwhelmed/nervous breakdown.

As I was clearing out my email on Friday for the weekend, I was about to leave five to ten in my inbox to deal with Monday morning, and then I was reminded of this phrase:

How you do anything in your life is how you do everything in your life.

I have been hearing this here and there for years (unsure of the original author), but never felt like I had enough space in my life to take the time to truly consider doing everything in my life in line with my values. I was kind of just scraping by, which isn’t exactly the picture of joy and inner peace. continue…

What’s Your Definition of Personal Freedom?

I have been thinking a lot about Personal Freedom lately, particularly since reading The Motivation Manifesto by Brendon Burchard. Personal freedom can mean many things, and the cool thing is that we each get to decide what it means to us individually. Here are a few things that come to my mind when I hear the term Personal Freedom:

Plenty of Sleep & No Alarm Clock

For me, Personal Freedom doesn’t mean sleeping in late, however, it does mean having the freedom to choose when I will get up in the morning… sans alarm clock. That might be 4 a.m., 7 a.m., or 10 a.m. It’s about having options, and responsibly choosing what is best for my life and purpose at the time, no matter what day of the week.

It’s popping up out of bed in the morning like a piece of toast from a toaster, excited about what I get to do that day, versus dragging myself out of bed in an obligatory manner.

More Space To Live Purposefully

It’s about having the time, resources, and space to live purposefully each day. It’s living in line with my core values, making choices and decisions based on these values rather than getting swept up into someone else’s (conflicting) value system or lack thereof.

Personal freedom means not having to do things, but wanting to do them. It means getting to do the things that I find exciting, that I am passionate about, and that I find purposeful.

Living Minimally To Live More Fully

It’s taking control of what I allow into my life, whether that is the stuff in my house, the food in my fridge, or the volume of email I receive, and empowering myself to let go of anything that conflicts with my core values without guilt or regret.

Another facet of personal freedom for me is the freedom from a backlog of stuff and the feeling of being behind. The freedom to simply do what I want when I want, without the crushing weight of a to-do list that never seems to let up.

There are probably many people who have no problem with a long list of stuff to do, and who wouldn’t even consider making that a component of their definition of Personal Freedom because it isn’t one of their values. I would imagine you can value being a person who gets things done on time without being obsessed with what else there is to do.

But for me, I am obsessed. Happily, I might add. I am excited to get out of bed in the morning thinking about how much closer I will get today to my dream of having a truly functional personal productivity system that works just for me, and allows me to call it quits waaaay before 11 p.m. That makes me happy, because not working late into the night means I can have time to read, take a bath, or go to bed early.

This is my version of Personal Freedom. What’s yours?

Write Tribe Pro Blogger Challenge

Ask Yourself This One Question To Beat Procrastination

The ironing piled up, the yard is an overgrown mess, and it’s tax time and none of the required documentation is in order. Or insert whatever your least favorite tasks might be.

Sometimes you just don’t feel like it. Who ever really feels like weeding the yard, ironing, or doing the taxes?

Whether the next task calling my name is unloading the dishwasher, folding the laundry,  or making a phone call to make an appointment, when “I’ll do it later” enters my mind, I ask myself one question (which I learned from reading Julie Morgenstern’s books): continue…

Stop Saying This Phrase for a More Peaceful Life

Ever catch yourself saying “I’m busy”, and wonder if there will ever be a time again that this phrase doesn’t apply to your life?

I have been thinking a lot lately about how much my thoughts contribute to the overall feel of my life, particularly the feeling that there is never enough time and always too many tasks. It is not only thoughts, but also the spoken words those thoughts generate, that are creating our realities.

The popular phrases that come to mind are:

“‘I’m busy.”

“I’m too busy for/to [blank].”

“I was too busy to get around to it.”

Sound familiar? continue…

How To Motivate Yourself to Get Things Done

With so many distractions at our fingertips, it can be a major challenge to maintain focus on any one given task for more than a few seconds. Emails are constantly knocking on the doors of our minds, the internet is beckoning us at every turn, and our tummies are frequently in need of fuel. What’s a busy girl to do?

In this post, I share how to motivate yourself to park it in one place for at least 20 minutes, no matter what email has emerged or what snack might be calling you, personally, to come join it in the kitchen. Before we start, pull out whatever to-do list you are working from at the moment. Keep it handy. continue…

Stop Right There: Do Less, Accomplish More

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.”
― Confucius

We are busy. We have bottomless to-do lists and nonstop days. How’s a girl supposed to get it all done?

Ever think about how there might be pockets of time in the day that go unaccounted for? We work so hard to get it all done and be perfectly on time, all the while appearing fabulous. But what if we didn’t have to try so hard? What if, by choosing to do fewer things, we could achieve more, and have a few minutes to spare?

 

In this post, I will share 3 things you can give yourself permission to stop doing right now, giving you more time to be the awesome, sparkling goddess you always knew you could be. continue…

Make Time to Move Forward

“Once you become consciously aware of just how powerful your thoughts are, you will realize that everything in your life is exactly how you allow it to be.” — Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

I get all bogged down by my excuses more often than I would like to admit. There are so many things I want to do in a day, and my most common complaint and excuse is that I don’t have enough time.

Not enough time to cook a low carb meal, not enough time to work on my blog, not enough time to go for a walk. I suppose the counter argument could be that I am trying to do too many things in a day, but what if I’m not? What if it is the perfect amount of activities and just letting go of my excuses and complaining would bring in that extra touch of time I needed all along to get things done?

Procrastination Battles

Things either get done or they don’t. Perhaps an over-simplification, but I am so tired of procrastinating. The worst thing in recent times is that I have somehow repackaged my procrastination as a lack of time. I tell myself I am constantly busy and just couldn’t get to it, which leaves me feeling confused and betrayed. continue…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: A New, Calm, Less Stress Approach

Over the past few weeks, I have calmed down a bit on the feeling that I am not on task with wedding planning. This is partly due to a recent revelation that we might be able to hold the wedding weekend at one location that is experienced in hosting weddings, rather than trying to coordinate multiple venues.

Last week we were contacted by the location where we got engaged. I told myself I would check into it, even though I figured it would be way too expensive.

After speaking with the catering sales manager at L’auberge, I was starting to feel much more content about the idea of working with one single location that has already crafted wedding packages, and that we know will do an over-the-top amazing job with every detail they touch based on our experience with our engagement weekend (oh, and did I mention they have free yoga?).

Planning Progress Status Update

Here are the items from my to-do list last Wedding Planning Wednesday and my progress so far: continue…

I Am Not Getting a Sabbatical Anytime Soon, & I Have to Accept That

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

I remember when I was younger thinking that older people who took sabbaticals were really boring. Ha! What I wouldn’t give for a sabbatical!

I have dreamed of taking a sabbatical for years now. I’m not even really sure what the official sabbatical duration is, but I am guessing it’s at least a few months. I actually took my own mini-sabbatical this past January.

I loved it. I loved every second of it. I took a nice long walk almost every day, I woke up early just because I was excited to have the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and I did yoga and meditated almost everyday. During the day I got to spend time reading and writing, and had the time to take care of the house and get things done. And felt relaxed!

Yesterday, I fell slightly ill and ended up sleeping for pretty much the whole day. Mostly feeling depressed about all of my nagging tasks and wondering how I would ever get them all done. Hence the first Blogust fail.

Why I Want a Sabbatical

I want to feel like I have time to write my book, make my blog a success, take walks, do yoga, meditate, and take care of all of my personal tasks (including planning a wedding). Not to mention crocheting. I love to crochet! When does a working girl have time to crochet? I would like to know? There are winter hats to be made, people! continue…

A Glass of Wine in the Bathtub and a Mid-week Pick-Me-Up

“All I want to do right now is have a glass of wine in the bathtub, pay a cleaning service to clean the kitchen, then order pizza and eat cookies all night.” – me, about ten minutes ago

The middle of the week is my Monday. I know this. I have observed it about myself in the past, yet somehow I am still blindsided by the overwhelming feeling that I will never get caught up that often hits me on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So far, I have eaten four cookies over the past two days. Um, and several handfuls of M & M’s. Not my shining moments of self-control. And I still want to order pizza. The cleaning service is a bit ridiculous, I will admit. But the glass of wine in the bathtub might win.

Taking 100% Responsibility

I am pretty sure the times I feel overwhelmed I am not taking 100% responsibility. I learned about taking 100% responsibility from chapter one of Jack Canfield’s book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Jack Canfield says to take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether or not we think we are responsible for everything in our lives is irrelevant. Take responsibility for it anyway. Taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives means we are coming from a place of being empowered rather than the place of playing the victim.

Oh and have I played the victim! In the moment, it feels easier to try to blame everyone and everything outside of myself for my present moment misery. Too many things on my to-do list? Not enough time to get it all done? Why not repeat over and over in my mind how everyone but me is responsible for it, rather than just doing it? continue…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: Where to Start?

It’s after 8 p.m. on my first Wedding Planning Wednesday, and after a long day of attempting to get things done from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., still not a single step forward on wedding planning has been made. Unless listening to my “Wedding – Pre-ceremony” playlist on Spotify counts? At least it is a relaxing list (think Relaxing Instrumental Jazz Ensamble).

Do I even want to have a wedding?

This question keeps entering my mind as it goes in circles about where to start. Yes, I definitely want to get married. But the months of planning? Not sure I am up for the challenge.

The biggest advice I seem to be getting from people is either to to get a wedding planner or to elope. The ones who recommend the planner are deadly serious, while the ones recommending eloping are (mostly…i think) joking. We aren’t interested in eloping, so hire a wedding planner it is!

My answer is yes. I do want to have a wedding…but I want someone else to make all the decisions! continue…

Moving Series: 7 Things to Do After a Move

“The middle of every successful project looks like a disaster.” – Rosabeth Moss Cantor

We moved into our new home the Friday before Memorial Day, and got engaged that same evening in Sedona, AZ. It probably isn’t surprising that it has taken almost two months to get settled into our new home, and hardly one item of wedding planning has happened.

Over the past few weeks, I have started to feel overwhelmed by the various tasks associated with moving that I wanted to have completed by now, as well as the wedding plans that I have the same feelings about. Today I am planning to wrap up my post-move tasks and to also move forward on wedding plans and other personal tasks over the next few weeks.

Ever since before we moved, I have kept a list of things to do before, during, and after our move. Looking back, I am grateful that we have accomplished so much. I tend to feel bogged down by unfinished tasks and projects, but when I look back at what has already been completed, I can remember feeling the same bogged down feeling when things that are now complete were incomplete.

For example, when we lived in a temporary apartment and were looking for a house, I was feeling slightly overwhelmed by the task of finding a home that we liked. Fast forward a few months, and here we are! I have to remind myself that projects in progress often feel uncomfortable, and become comfortable with that temporary feeling of discomfort.

Here are a few items either already complete or currently on my reminders list related to our move: continue…

Seasonal Review: Mid-Season Check-in

It’s not quite time for my summer seasonal review, but I have been thinking a lot about where I am in my goals for spring and thought it might be a good time to do a mid-season review. Spring is a great time for changes and there are certainly many good changes in my life this time around.

Shortly after I moved to Arizona I developed the daily ritual of starting to read my affirmations as soon as I get out of bed in the mornings. By the time I’m doing mouthwash, I’m wrapping them up. It takes less than three minutes to read through these 15 or 20 items, but before I hadn’t been referring to them on a daily basis. I am happy to have finally found a method that works for me. It makes sense to start the day with positive thoughts and reminders about what my goals are, and to review these before practicing yoga and meditation in the mornings.

Based on my core values, here is a brief look at where I am in my personal goals so far for spring: continue…

Mondays vs. Fridays: Which Day of the Week is the Best One?

There are seven days in the week and someday isn’t one of them.

I often wonder: how do other people do it all? I didn’t used to. I used to think everyone else had it all together and I was the only one who couldn’t figure out how to get everything done, but now I know better.

The Friday Curse

Pretty much every Friday I enter into the weekend with the hopes that this weekend will be the one that I finally get it all together. The one where I finally have a breakthrough and make actual progress towards my goals. This mentality is dangerous and has caused me to not enjoy a lot of weekend activities in the past, because I always wanted to be getting something done.

I have definitely gotten better about it, but I still hold onto a modicum of hope that This Weekend will be The Weekend. The one to beat all the others out, because it is the one where I finally figure out how to manage my life while pursuing my personal goals.

And then Sunday happens. I have gotten much better about Sundays, but there was a time when all I wanted to do was cry on Sunday around 5 p.m., because it meant Monday morning was right around the corner. And I still hadn’t figured out what to do with my life. continue…

Moving Series: How to Use Evernote to Coordinate a Move

Evernote has come to be my constant planning and idea capturing companion. When it came to all the little things that add up to the one big thing that is a household move, I immediately turned to my friend Evernote to help me manage it all.

A move is not just one day that happens and then goes away nicely. There are weeks and possibly months of planning and preparations leading up to the big day, and then more weeks and possibly months to follow filled with remaining transition-type tasks and activities.

I have written a lot previously about my hipster and how the Evernote app serves as my one single planner in life. For the move, I am using my reminders and rituals notebooks to keep track of tasks I want to make sure get done. My boyfriend Michael and I also have a few shared notebooks which are helpful for storing information we both want to be able to access.

Today I will go through each of my current Evernote notebooks that contain information related to the move, and how they are being used. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Feel Good

“I am realistic – I expect miracles.” – Wayne Dyer

When I am trying to focus during meditation, I think of the word “in” as I breathe in, and “out” as I breathe out. This helps control my thoughts. Beyond the in/out mantra, I have experimented with other simple words to focus on to overcome the monkey mind during meditation. Today, I have a new one. continue…

There is Time

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” – Earl Nightingale

If you couldn’t already tell, I am kind of obsessed with personal productivity. Ever since I read David Allen’s book Getting Things Done several years ago, I have felt hopeful that it is actually possible to get on top of things and live a calm, peaceful life, free of the burdens of running late, losing things, overdue tasks, and unrealized dreams.

I have felt “on the cusp” of this state of awesomeness for several years now. Whenever I bring it up, other people tell me there is no such thing. I don’t buy it though. I know it is possible. It just takes dedication and time.

Time

I believe that thinking there isn’t enough time is a surefire way to run out of time. I am pretty much always in a constant state of mind that there isn’t enough time.

I worry that I can never get it all done, because I have to stop working on my project to make dinner, wash the dog, or socialize, to name a few interruptions I have slightly resented for taking away the time I could work on my dream to get it all done.

I know that I can’t get everything ever all done, but I also know that I can get caught up and stay caught up for the rest of my life. I am very certain this is a possibility. continue…

Awaken, Begin, and Continue: The ABCs of Getting Things Done

Right now I have a drawer next to me filled with mail to go through, scans to process, and projects to complete, not to mention a to-do list with multiple tasks and projects I am dying to complete. I get distracted sometimes during the afternoons though, and the piles and lists seem to sit there untouched, day after day.

The Significance of Continue

The “continue” is silent in Awaken & Begin. As challenging as it is to get out of bed in the morning excited to start a new day, or to get up the motivation to work on something new or old, it is even more challenging to persist in our efforts towards our dreams or the completion of a project. continue…

This Time of Year

Christmas is upon us! Merry Christmas Eve! ‘Tis the season of joy, giving, and feeling overwhelmed and majorly stressed.

Things never seem to be just perfect at Christmastime, as much as we might like them to be. I know I do. This time last year I could not begin to get a grip on relaxation. Fast forward one year, and there is no comparison for me. I have still felt behind on my Christmas preparations, but this time I am continually reminding myself to relax and it is actually working.

Prepare to be Calm

I attribute this feeling to a few habits I have been working to develop over the past several months. This past fall I sat down and converted all of my goals and tasks into a personalized system (my hipster) that I created to suit my unique needs (based on recommendations in productivity books). For so many years I could never get a grip on my to-do lists, especially my work-related to-do lists.

Over the past few months, working from my new system and a renewed sense of self-worth, I am proud to say that I was able to truly get my work-related task lists down to zero before my month long mini-sabbatical that I am currently enjoying. It is an amazing feeling to know that I have done everything I needed to, and to be completely free from the worry that overflowing task lists and inboxes can induce.

Exactly one year ago, I had arranged to have a week off over Christmas, but ended up not enjoying the time at all because I had so many unfinished work tasks that I unfortunately spent my whole vacation worrying about. Never again! continue…

Hipster Series: Other Categories of Rituals

“Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and believe the one reason why it will.” – unknown

Just as there is a flow of stuff in our lives, there is a flow of tasks. Many tasks change hands multiple times, and while they do not require our constant attention, they often need to remain within our peripheral awareness while they are in someone else’s hands. Within my rituals lists, I am keeping track of a few additional types of information that I wanted to keep up with on a regular basis but didn’t want to have to go looking for in another separate list. continue…

Hipster Series: Turning To-Do List Items into Rituals

“It’s easier to take a small action now instead of a big action ’some day.’” – posted at Marc and Angel Hack Life

These days I have four primary lists that I track my to-do items on each day:

1. Reminders

2. Reminders – Weekday

3. Rituals

4. Rituals – Weekday

I previously explained how I use my reminders lists here. Today I am going to go into more detail about how I have come to create my rituals lists. continue…

Hipster Series: Transformation of a To-Do List

Keeping tracking of everything that has to be done is no small feat. Not having a properly functioning system to track the things I have to do has always really bothered me. I have kept to-do lists for a long time, but not until recently have I started to figured out a way to actually get the things they contain done.

From a Loooong To-Do List to a Short Reminders List

Since I started recording my recurring tasks on my rituals list, the reminders list has become super short. Right now I am maintaining two reminders lists: Reminders & Reminders – Weekday. continue…

Hipster Series: Task List Categories

The functional component of any planner is the task list. There are all kinds of things we have to do in life. After battling my need to over-categorize, I have come to realize that designating tasks as belonging to either one or the other of two major categories is the best system for me.

New vs. Recurring Tasks

It took me a long time to realize that the majority of tasks I need to get done on a daily basis are things I have already done before. New tasks that we haven’t done before can seem intimidating at first, and often overwhelming. The good news is that once something has been done once, it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. I also noticed that many new tasks become recurring tasks, so they can easily fit into an overall system of recurring activities that are familiar and not so overwhelming. continue…

Hipster Series: Paper vs. Digital Planners

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” C. JoyBell C.

I am addicted to lists. I love making them, re-writing them, and especially crossing things off of them. If you are not familiar with the hipster, I have written an overview post here. The hipster series will be a series of posts going more in-depth into the categories of lists that I keep in my hipster. First, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on paper-based vs. digitized planners. continue…

Reflections on Blogust

Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  – posted at 60 Empowering Quotes to Help You Get Things Done

Today is August 31. I am so proud to say that I made it through Blogust! I honestly have no idea what I am doing, but I have started and that is an accomplishment in itself.

For the past year, I have tried to get inspired, motivated, and disciplined enough to post to this blog everyday and get it going, but I just could find the magic formula to get myself to do it. I am so glad that I got the idea to do Blogust, because at least for the month of August, that did the trick!

I absolutely love writing, and have been writing for myself, to myself, for the past several years, but was too afraid to share my ideas. I know that I have A LOT to learn about blogging and writing in general, but I have to remind myself that just doing something puts me so far ahead of the version of myself that just did nothing. continue…

Daily Planner in Your Pocket: The Hipster

Planners have been an obsession of mine for quite some time. My first “hipster” was given to me as a birthday present a few years ago. The idea of a hipster is that you can completely customize a compact collection of information that you want to carry around with you at all times without the organizational limitations and expense of buying a planner.

I personally still like to call my system my “hipster” even though I have now transitioned to a digital platform, mostly because I think the name is cute and cool. Anyone could create their own homemade planning system and call it whatever they want. The point is to create something that you want to use, because that increases the likelihood that it will serve the purpose it intended: to make your life more simple, efficient, and peaceful.

Originally, my hipster was paper-based and had many categories. At the time that I first started using it, I did not yet have an iPhone. I had previously been using a Franklin-Covey planner system, and although I loved my planner and lived by it, my life felt extremely chaotic. Don’t get me wrong, my hipster wasn’t responsible for removing the chaos from my life, I did that after extensive personal reflection and carefully planned out choices, but the hipster now plays an even more effective role in my life now that I feel more connected to the categories it contains and the types of information I allow to get recorded in that place. continue…

Planning Projects – Part 1

Now that I have my to-do lists (which I now call my reminders lists) under control, I feel like I can really get into getting my life organized the way I have always wanted to. I have read so many books about getting organized and improving productivity, and while I liked many of the ideas they described, I never felt “with it” enough to even begin to follow their advice.

Getting organized takes a lot of time, not to mention the difficult decisions the process forces. When I was buried by a mountain of tasks, it seemed totally impossible to make progress on getting organized. How could I dedicate 4 hours to organizing some files on my computer when I had a good, oh, say, infinite amount of hours of tasks nagging at me? continue…

Clearing Out the Queues of Our Lives

“The simplification of life is one of the steps to inner peace.” – fortune cookie

I have read (or at least partially read) plenty of books on productivity, usually out of desperation for a miracle. I can’t stand the plethora of stuff that comes into my life piling up, but in recent years I have often felt powerless to even make a dent in the growing list of tasks requiring my attention.

For the past few years, I have felt like I was on the cusp of realizing my dream of having my life under control, but it was just out of reach for so long. Actually, there have been many days where I have felt absolutely buried, unable to deal with even the simple tasks as there was such a large list of big, overwhelming tasks and projects requiring my attention.

We Are Not Alone

I can’t be the only one who feels this way. But sometimes I do feel alone in my crushing to-do list mode. I look around at other people, and sometimes it seems like they all have it all together. I am sure this isn’t true, and maybe it couldn’t be farther from the truth, but it is easy to feel isolated. continue…

Hi. This is Your Real Life

“I, and I do so hope this is like most people, am certain I will be found out as not as smart or as generous or as thoughtful as I should be.” – Elizabeth Edwards, Resilience

I have fantasized about taking a sabbatical for a while now. I thought – if I could just get away from it all, my job, all the distractions, and go to a cottage somewhere to write for a month (or even just a week!) I could get so much done – maybe even write my whole book!

When I set out to begin an intense diet and exercise plan to lose weight, I came to the realization that I would never have time to exercise…until I made time. I was not going to get to check out of my real life to go lose weight without the drama and stress I had to deal with daily.

And so it is now. I live with much less stress and drama these days – I realized the other day that that is not the kind of person I want to be. Even if the people around me are bringing their drama into my life, I don’t have to allow it to affect me. But even with less stress and drama, I still have had a hard time accepting all the distractions and interruptions. continue…

The Seasons of Our Lives

As I mentioned the other day, lately I have been thinking of my life more in seasons.

There are sooo many things we do that are recurrent: brushing our teeth, showering, replacing mascara, washing the sheets, making plans for Christmas, buying birthday gifts, buying toilet paper…and on, and on, and on. I have started a list of such recurrent activities and right now, I am up to 92 items (just for my personal life).

In some ways that sounds like a lot, but in others it doesn’t even scratch the surface. This list actually doesn’t include things that are so automatic as taking a shower everyday, but I did put things like “floss” and “take vitamins”, because these are daily activities that I have struggled with getting into a solid daily habit of doing.

As with my goals and affirmations, I have created a notebook in Evernote to contain these items – one item per note. This has been one of those (crazy?) personal productivity ideas of mine for several years now, which I couldn’t quite hack because I never felt connected to the list. continue…