I am not a fan of post it notes for to do’s. Layering them on desks, computer monitors and planners seems scattered. I like having my todo’s in one space. (Even if I change up the space once in awhile).

But, I love post its to keep on track.

One of my clients is in a job where answering the phone is a must. So every time she was done with a phone call, she spent precious minutes getting back into her work.

Now before she answers the phone, she jots a quick note of the next step and sticks it on her file folder. After the call is done, she picks up her note and starts working right away.

These work for any interruptions. If someone comes in, hold up a finger and say just a sec as you finish your thought on a post it with your next action. Then you can give them your full attention.

Before your next break, write down the action you need to do when you get back so after your break you can get to work easier.

And for project files, when you are done for the day write down what you need to do when you next work on the project. You are less likely to get stuck with where to start.

Photo Credit:  Adactio

"Don’t dwell on what you lack; dwell on what you have and use it to the fullest with gratitude. Don’t dwell on your failures-learn from them and move on. Don’t dwell on your fears or sorrows-dwell on your hopes."

Marian Wright Edelman, founder of Children’s Defense Fund (from Guideposts magazine)

If you did this most days this year, what kind of life would you have in Dec 2009?

 

 

1. Write thank you notes.
2. Label your holiday decorations so they are easier to find next
year.
3. Declutter holiday decorations as you put them into storage.
4. Simple Planning.
5. List your top 5 goals so you can see them regularly.
6. Update your calendars for birthdays, anniversary, etc.
7. Let go of one thing, unhelpful belief, or time sucker.

***

Have you made past resolutions only to have the same ones this year?

Do you find all those goal setting guides complicated and not realistic for your full life?

Do you want to find a practical way to achieve a year you love?

You want to say this is the year I will __________!

Visit: Simple Annual Planning

 

***
The 2009 Declutter Calendar is here!

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/decluttercalendar.htm

One of the biggest reasons for simplifying the holidays is to have more time to spend with those you love.

When you aren’t shopping, you can bake together, play games together or view the lights.

When you aren’t being a perfectionistic, control freak with the decorations, it can be a fun time of music and laughter with the whole family.

When you invite others the share with cooking holiday dinners, you can take more time to talk with people instead of playing the martyr.

This year, really connect. Stay present in conversations. Think about what you would love to know about someone and ask the deeper questions. Don’t settle for superficial conversations.

conversation

Here is a list of great questions to ask.

Instead of gathering around the TV, gather around the piano. Or gather in the living room for conversation.

Put a limit to the handheld games and cell phone use by the kids. Get out the old boardgames instead or go outside for skiing or snowshoeing.

Think about different ways you can connect deeper with those you love.

Photo Credit: Chip Griffin

 

1. Enjoy a cup of hot cocoa.

2. Watch your expectations.

3. Get up early for quiet time before it gets busy.

4. Merry Christmas!

5. Listen to family stories.

6. One in and one out for your gifts.

7. Write your thank you cards to some beautiful music.

***

Have you made past resolutions only to have the same ones this year?

Do you find all those goal setting guides complicated and not realistic for your full life?

Do you want to find a practical way to achieve a year you love?

You want to say this is the year I will __________!

Visit: Simple Annual Planning

 

***
The 2009 Declutter Calendar is here!

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/decluttercalendar.htm

An overwhelmed life can feel like a one way street – cramped, no way out, frustrating, shut in.

Simple living gives you freedom. Without being weighed down by debt you have the freedom to take more opportunities. With margin in your day you are free to choose to eat lunch with a friend that calls you out of the blue. With less stuff you have the freedom to do more fun activities and less maintenance.

A person living a simpler life knows they have the freedom in what they choose to do. They don’t yield to the over busy pressure of society, friends or family. They know how to say no to what is not their purpose and say yes to what calls to them.

Without the overwhelming pressure to do, do, do you can become what you were meant to be, taking flight and expressing yourself fully. You see things from a higher view, rather than day to day minutia.

 

When you slow down, you connect with what you need. You can nurture and renew yourself so you are ready for whatever is next.

You have the freedom to be totally present without the worry of what you aren’t doing. You can be fully engaged in your life – exploring each moment.

What in your life is stifling and overwhelming you? What is one action you can take to gain more freedom in that area?

(renegotiating a deadline, returning those clothes and paying down debt instead, taking a quiet time first thing in the morning, splitting responsibility with someone)

Photo credit: Aussiegall

 

1. Relax. It’s just one day – if it doesn’t all get done, it doesn’t all get done.

2. What are you going to do with these next 24 hours?

3. Add a ‘to bring’ section to your to do list so you don’t forget the library books, bank deposit or gym bag.

4.Your short term memory only holds 7 things at a time. Write to dos down.

5. Finish an almost complete project.

6. If you haven’t done your cards yet and want to, why not wait and send New Year’s cards?

7. Call or write an old friend you’ve lost touch with.

***

Have you made past resolutions only to have the same ones this year?

Do you find all those goal setting guides complicated and not realistic for your full life?

Do you want to find a practical way to achieve a year you love?

You want to say this is the year I will __________!

Visit: Simple Annual Planning

 

***
The 2009 Declutter Calendar is here!

http://www.mysimplerlife.com/decluttercalendar.htm

Visit Peggy’s for more daybooks

FOR TODAY Dec. 15, 08…

Outside My Window… Black squirrels trying to get into the bird feeder in the snow

I am thinking… of a peaceful day

I am thankful for…  lunch with a friend, creative wrappings

From the kitchen… a lovely cherry pie

I am wearing… a soft cream shirt, jean and maroon and gold earrings

I am creating…  presents, and laughter and joy

I am going… to try to stay peaceful and present all day

I am reading… The First Assistant

I am hoping… my friend’s surgery goes well

I am hearing… the washer and dryer going, and have been enjoying the Nutcracker Suite

Around the house… decluttered the living room, the kids did a wonderful job cleaning the bathroom. This week I want to clear off my piano bench so I can play the piano.

One of my favorite things… It’s a Wonderful Life

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week: mentoring, wrapping present as they arrive, going to a comedian with a friend and our kids

A picture thought for you…

Christmas Lights

A Christmas light show with music we saw this week in Grand Haven

 

I was standing out in the glittering snow this morning and marveling at its beauty. Last night our tree, lit up in the night, made me smile. I love the silver and the gold wrapping on the presents that reflect the tree’s light. 

My son has been driving us around as he prepares to get his license and I like being able to look at the twinkling white lights and evergreen decorations on the houses.

Then there is the smell of apple spices and cinnamon, almond banket, and roasted chesnut soy candle.

I am playing classical Christmas music, like the Nutcracker Suite, in the car as I drive. And the Salvation Army bells always put me in a giving mood.

It only takes a few seconds to pause. To notice. To enjoy. And your heart will feel lighter and more grateful for much longer.

Christmas rose

Photo by tanakawho

You are barely getting things done, feeling a little behind, but then you get sick, or your kids gets sick or the car breaks down. All of the sudden you are panicking.

When there are no margins in your life, if the unexpected happens it feels like things are falling apart.

We tend to think life should go smoothly. We can make a terrific plan that will fit what we need to get done.

But have you ever noticed that something unexpected happens just about every day. You may realize you are almost out of gas, or the cat needs to go to the vet, or you can’t find your keys or the printer won’t work or a friend needs to talk or your computer gets a virus or you get a distressing call.

In reality, the unexpected is to be expected.

Things are more likely not to go as planned than to go as planned. And you are kidding yourself if you think a scheduled day with no room will go just how you want it to.

So what can you do about it?

Margin

Do you have margin in your life? When you map out your day, do you add time for traffic, uncooperative kids and the "unexpected?"

Do you have space in between your tasks to re-evaluate your priorities or just check in with yourself?

Are you being realistic with what you can accomplish each day?

When there is no margin, you feel rushed and frazzled. One snag and anxiety rules.

Urgent Hour

One of my clients added an urgent hour to her work day after keeping track of her time for a week. She discovered about an hour of her day was handling urgent tasks that came in. If she had planned every minute of her day, she would be behind just about every day. Now whenever something urgent comes up, she moves what she had originally planned to her urgent hour.

Lateness

Traffic is always a big unexpected. So, how about leaving 10 minutes early for all your appointments? And stop what you are doing in time to gather what you need, get your shoes and coat on and grab your keys. Picture how relaxed you will feel if you know you are getting someplace on time.

Dinner Time

Meltdown time for many families. People are hungry and tired. You can try to start preparing dinner earlier instead of after sorting mail, etc. Make a menu plan for the week, so you know what you are going to eat and whether you have the food on hand. Defrost the meat the night before. 

Activities

If you can’t find any extra space in your schedule, you can either continue to rush and feel strained or you can eliminate activities. Let go of a class, duty, meeting, leadership position, TV watching or kid sport. Your health and well-being is worth it.

Not only do margins create less stress, they allow you to be more present in your life and connect more with the people in your life.

How will you create more margin in your life?

Photo credit: Lepiaf Geo