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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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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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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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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How to Family Meal Plan and Enjoy It

Sep 17, 2020

How to Family Meal Plan and Enjoy It

Last week things were tense in my house over taco meat.

Yep, taco meat.

It wasn’t just any taco meat.  It was the frozen taco meat I had prepared weeks ago so I could take a night off from cooking.  A frozen meal from an evening of double cooking is something worth fighting for... who’s with me here?

Hubby had pulled it out to make lunch for the kids on a random Thursday.  Bonus points for helping with lunch, but when I walked into the kitchen to see taco meat sizzling, I saw red. I’m territorial over my freezer meals.

Ok, I agree I need to be more flexible (working on it).  

There are about a million things I’d rather be doing than meal planning and grocery shopping.  BUT, I believe the taste and quality of what we eat in important.  So I have a system to get it done quickly and painlessly.

Hoping it will help you.

My Meal Plan Process

On Monday nights, we always eat leftovers.  (Or...

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6 Tips for Tracking Habits

Aug 27, 2020

Your alarm goes off, you stumble to the bathroom, and what do you do next?

Nothing for me before coffee!

What is it for you?

The act of making coffee (or insert your thing here) is a habit.  I could do it blindfolded.

Dump out yesterday’s grinds, fill up the water tank, tap the new grinds into a fresh filter, and push start without even thinking. It’s hard-wired into your brain. 

What if you could create any habit that’s as effortless as brewing coffee?  Yep, even daily exercise.

Today I’m not going to delve into how to create a habit.  James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, is the guy to go see to dive deep on this one.  

Let’s look at tracking habits because it’s the secret sauce to keeping a good habit:

Making Good Habits Stick

 

  • Secure your motivation.  Think about the last time you tried to diet.  If your motivation was to lose weight it probably failed.  However, if you wanted to lose...
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The Self Control Apps that Just Might Change You

Aug 20, 2020

Am I right to guess we’ve all spent more time indoors this year than we ever imagined we would? Did you ever think we would be here?!

It’s changed the way we work and relate to each other.  

My work requires a deep focus.  Time I need to be in my head and with my thoughts.  I’ve played around with tech that helps me get into that deep focus, but today I’m diving even deeper into the tools.  There’s some fancy stuff to get your head in the game.

Noise Cancelling Apps 

First, here’s the two I’ve been using forever:

White Noise Lite

Honestly, it’s been so long that I’ve been using this app, I forget how I stumbled across it.  I can’t sleep without the pink noise sound, and I’ve trained my family to like it too.  Bonus, when we go on vacation I can crank it up and drown out all the noises everyone makes in their sleep.  

I’ve also used their mix pad to create the...

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A Day in Quarantine with the Pomodoro 25 Minute Timer

Aug 13, 2020

Ever feel pressure to complete a task as time ticks by on a stopwatch? Our focus can be intense when you add the element of time.

In the name of research, I devoted a day to using the Pomodoro method.  Will I ever be able to finish a project again?  I work from home and thanks to coronavirus so do my husband and 2 kids.  Oh yes, and our giant Labradoodle Rudy.

Not the most productive environment.  

Here’s how my day went:

First Pomodoro 6:28 am

This was a late start.  I usually start my mornings at 6 am, but we spent the night before soaking in the last few bits of summer vacation.  And you guys know how I feel about sleep.   

The second stumbling block was my phone didn’t charge overnight.  I had planned on using Focus Keeper on my phone, but that wasn’t an option.  

A quick google search brought me to Tomato-Timer It was easy to use working for my desktop.  I loved the little countdown timer...

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The Incredible Joy You'll Find in Buffer Time

Aug 06, 2020

“Give the bike ahead of you a 30-second lead.” the guides would shout each time our group would take off for a new destination.  This space between bikes would allow the dust to settle, but it's also a precaution to prevent crashes.

We were on a downhill waterfall mountain bike tour.  If the teenager takes off right behind me, there’s no time for him to respond when I have to slow down to yell at my kids to stop arguing over goldfish crackers.

The spacing is a buffer to keep us safe.  And inhaling less dust is a BONUS!

Keep on Buffering in the Real World

Do you build 30 seconds of space into life?

You probably need more than 30 seconds because unfortunately, life is more than just chasing waterfalls.

Let’s take this blog post, for example.  I’ve been writing weekly posts for years and depending on the subject, I know it will take me about 2 hours to write a single post.

I plan on 3 hours of writing time each week as a buffer. ...

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Time Chunking Method, How Bad is It?

Jul 23, 2020

Last week I got a text inviting me to a neighbor’s 40th birthday zoom call.  Poor girl, I thought.  A milestone birthday in quarantine.  That’s not fair.

Then I read the fine details and it said to plan on staying on the call for an hour and a half.  What?  I liked this girl but spending 90 minutes of my Saturday on a Zoom call with strangers (I didn’t recognize any other number in the group text) no thank you!

I peeked at my calendar and smiled.  The call landed on the day we leave for vacation.

Saved by the calendar. (I love my digital calendar. Here's a guide on how I've set it up.)

What if that space in my calendar was free?  Have you ever said yes to something just because your calendar was empty?  Stop that!

Let me introduce you to time chunking (aka time blocking). Its a system for making appointments with yourself every day so you can focus your energy on the most important things. Divide your day into blocks forcing...

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