20 Prompts for Reflection on 2020

Jan 07, 2021

Pull out your phone and compare the pictures you took on NYE 2019 to NYE 2020.

 

If the visual alone isn’t enough for you, think about the people you see in those photos.  How has 2020 changed them?

 

Nobody could have predicted a year of a global pandemic, a polarizing presidential election, and a spotlight on racial injustice.  And that’s a shortlist.

 

New Year goals and resolutions are all the rage every January. Last year I jumped on the “one word” bandwagon.

 

This year feels different.

 

We make resolutions to break a bad habit or to change something we don’t like about ourselves.  According to US News and World Reports, 80% of resolutions failed in 2015. I bet 2020 blew that stat away.

 

The sense of hope going into the New Year is strong, but it’s calling for a higher level of commitment. Try taking a different approach to this fresh start. Try reflection.  

 

What is a...

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4 Ways to Create Productivity Improvements for Female Creatives

Dec 31, 2020

Managing your to-do list should never take more time than checking those boxes.

 

This is the wasteland of productivity. I have waded through it too.  

 

We all want a system that’s effortless.  Something that supports the way our brains work rather than drag down our productivity.

 

The ideal is to find a system that works with you and then make productivity improvements.

 

Remember when you tested a hypothesis in junior high school science class?  Memories of the egg drop experiment are rushing to me.  You designed a vessel to protect an egg when dropped and then tweaked it until it worked.

 

Let’s use the same approach with your productivity.  Test these changes and see what works for you:

 

Email Monster

Can you believe about 28 percent of the workweek is managing e-mail?  That’s over a quarter of your time spent on someone else’s priorities. Some reasons we spend so much time on email...

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How to Make "Plan for Happiness" Work for You

Dec 10, 2020

You know that friend that has it all together.  AND she’s always beaming.  You look at her and think, “that’s a level of happy I just can’t reach.”  

 

Or is it?

 

What if I told you that a little time spent with your calendar could improve your happiness?

 

Yes, even if you aren’t a planner.

 

Before I get into the details, let’s define happiness.  Happy is a feel-good word. Another way to look at this is emotional health.  

 

Not everyone is happy all the time.  Even Mr. Rogers had his bad days.  

 

He helped kids identify their feelings.  Take the lyrics to this song of his for example:

 

What do you do? Do you punch a bag?

Do you pound some clay or some dough?

Do you round up friends for a game of tag?

Or see how fast you go?

 

Mr. Rogers was onto something.  It’s how we handle the darker emotions that’s the true sign of our...

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Why a Fulfilling Life is Unique for Everyone

Nov 05, 2020

How’s life?  You answer that question almost every day and “I’m fine” slips out without thought.

 

What does that mean? It’s different for everyone.

 

It’s our privilege as humans to pursue a life of fulfillment.  But that is such a subjective idea.  What seems to be a fulfilling life as a teenager is entirely different than a busy mom in her 30s.

 

I recently listened to an interview with Nastia Liukin.  A five-time Olympic Gold medalist.  As a kid, she felt blessed to pursue her dreams at the highest levels, but the career of an Olympic gymnast has a short lifespan.  She had to redefine herself in her mid-twenties.

 

You may not have the desire to go for the gold but we can all relate to having to redefine our dreams.

 

Let’s look at the factors that make up a fulfilled life.

 

Making Time for Everything

This is impossible. Or is it?

 

Life balance is a joke.  If you...

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The Magic Power of Learning to Say NO

Oct 29, 2020

Two little letters, able to transform. NO.

 

Rosa Parks’s refusal to give up her seat sparked a movement to end racial segregation.  

 

Today, coronavirus lockdown protesters are making headlines saying NO.

 

Tomorrow, your refusal to take on that collaboration project will give the time you need to reconnect with your teen suffering from isolation.

 

Saying no is a special power you can use to make things happen that might seem impossible.

 

Plenty of pieces have been written on how to say no.

 

Today I want to show you why it’s worth the effort.

 

A No is a Yes to Something Else

We’ve all heard this before, but it bears repeating because when we face rejecting an invitation, it’s easy to forget. (Dare I say it warrants a Post It Note on your bathroom mirror.)

 

To decrease your busy burden, get comfortable saying no.

 

A no to that invitation to speak at the local networking event is a yes to the time...

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Here's the Deal with Sitting too Much

Oct 22, 2020

Gripping tightly to my mom’s shoulders, I hobbled from the car to my daughter’s first-grade classroom.  I had just celebrated my 40th birthday, but no doubt I moved like a 90-year-old

I was using my mom as a makeshift walker.     

Looking back on it now, I have no clue how I maneuvered my broken body into a tiny wooden first-grade desk.  After the Back to School presentation wrapped up, one of the other moms put her arm around me to ask what was wrong.

“I’ve got scoliosis,” I sighed, “and this just happens every once in a while.”

She offered to come to my house and rub magic oil on to relax my spasming muscles. Kinda creepy but desperate for any relief, I agreed.

The oil didn’t save me.  

Had I reached a new low in my desperation to stop the back pain?  

After I regained the ability to stand upright, my mission was to sit less.

Sitting is the New Smoking

This phrase caught on like...

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5 Ways to Plan for Tomorrow

Oct 15, 2020

Note the word PLAN, not Schedule in the headline.

The difference is subtle but significant.

Your schedule is an execution of your plan.

Beware of your schedule filling up with little thought.  That free email marketing you’re signed up for tomorrow.  Is that working towards your most important goal?

Planning takes more effort.  You need to protect your time.  Not give it away.

Plan Your Day

Taking a few minutes at the end of each day will ensure you spend more time in planning mode.

Review your day.  Open your calendar, whether it’s paper or digital.  This is where you review what’s on your schedule.  Take the time to prepare for meetings or appointments.  Is there a spirit day in your son’s class?  Pull out the outfit tonight before you tuck him in.

Chose your top 3 priorities for tomorrow.  This is the planning part.  Don’t start working off an endless to-do list.  You need to prioritize...

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Why Should I Have a Morning Ritual?

Oct 08, 2020

Getting up before the sun never gets easy.  Honestly, most days, I want to roll over and go back to sleep. 

Here’s why you need to fight the urge to hit snooze.

Reason #1: Connection 

Before sunrise is my time to connect with myself.  To work on the person I want to be.  Reflect on the directions my life has taken and rejoice in those moments or learn from those failures.  

I unpack what’s on my mind.  First, by silencing it through meditation and then by journaling.

Reason #2: Habit

It’s the perfect time to build a habit.  Say you want to work on drinking more water, make it the first thing you do each morning.  It doesn’t have to happen at 5 am.  Just guzzle down as much water as soon as you hop out of bed.

Reason #3: Willpower

Willpower is stronger in the morning. 

Remember the last time you had friends over for dinner and you bought a dessert for the kids?  You bought those extra chocolatey...

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Everyday Self-Care Strategies for Real Life

Oct 01, 2020

Last year burnout was classified as an official medical diagnosis.  No doubt that 2020 confirmed this decision.

Not surprising, but still alarming.

I’m no doctor, but the logical treatment for burnout is the often overused term self-care.  

I’m not talking about an extravagant spa retreat.  That’s amazing if you can make it happen. But you need something that can fit into your everyday.  A moment to notice the fall leaves on the tree out front.   Time to silence all of your devices.  

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Everyday Self-Care Strategies to Prevent Burnout

  • Create boundaries between home and work. This has become a challenge for everyone as we all work from home. Set a firm time on when you will be “leaving work” and don’t let it creep into your downtime.  Differentiate between work time and downtime.
  • Take a bath. Not to make it an Instagram...
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How to Enjoy the Seasons of Life and Do Hard Things

Sep 24, 2020

My phone lit up again at 3:33 am.  I set it to do not disturb, but somehow my mom’s spirit sent me a message in the middle of the night.  As I type these words, I realize how crazy this sounds, but I’m not sure how else to explain it.

When mom passed away a year ago the 3 am wake-up calls began.  At first, the wake-up call came often, but today it doesn’t happen so much.

Taking an awkward step deeper into the spirit world, I’ll share that the 3 is a significant number. My mom left behind 3 of us in our immediate family.  It’s my reminder to carry on her legacy of holding the 3 of us together.

Don’t worry.  I’m not turning this piece into a discussion of mediums and tarot cards (although those fascinate me at Halloween parties).

Today I’m pondering legacy and the seasons of life.  These became very real to me when I had to say goodbye to mom.  Each stage presents unique opportunities and challenges if...

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