Archive for Technology

Habit of the Month

One of the most annoying things about making changes, trying to declutter and simplify is often we only see what still needs to be done.

And, boy, it can feel overwhelming.

If there is so much to do, how can we ever get to our goal?

One way to counteract this feeling is to notice your progress daily.

Some ideas for noticing progress:

  • Check off your box on your declutter calendar.
  • Whenever you finish a task, pause, look at what you did and smile.
  • In the evening look at everything you completed on your to do list and add a few more than you finished. If you finished more than you didn’t it’s a win!
  • Take before and after pictures.
  • Concentrate on one area at a time until complete, rather than hopping all over.
  • Make your expectations of how much you can do, be about a regular day, not an ideal day. If you never finish your list, put less on it each day.
  • Use an app or program like Joe’s Goals.

How do you keep track of your progress?

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Tools for Simpler Living

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As with anything else, having good tools makes simpler living easier as well.

  • Calendar – I prefer Google calendar, but one you can take with you is ideal. But, that doesn’t mean you schedule something immediately. You still want to think before saying yes.
  • The Declutter Calendar so you can take care of one small area at a time
  • Quiet time space daily for silence and centering
  • A labeler so everything is neatly labeled. Feels better than my messy scrawl.
  • A money program that tracks your spending and updates at a click of a button. is good.
  • Automatic savings from your bank that moves money every paycheck
  • A journal to uncover your needs and discover what is important to you
  • Routines – so you don’t have to re-decide when to clean, pay bills, etc.
Categories : Simplicity, Technology
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I’ve been using Workflowy for a few months now. It’s a to do list, project list and note list in one.

And it’s very simple.

You type. And if you want another level you tab over.

Here is what part of my workflowy looks like:


You can use this sign # to create tags. Most of my tags are days of the week. But, you can tag subject lines and other things for easy searching. So if I want to know what to do Monday I search #Mon and all those tags show up.

You don’t have to see everything at once. Clicking the plus sign next to the bullet let’s you see more of the tree. Clicking the minus next to a bullet, collapses the tree. As you can see with many of the bullets above, a grey circle surrounds the bullet. That means there is more to see if you click the plus sign. Hovering over the bullet lets you complete the task, add a note, share, export, duplicate or delete.

You can drag and drop bullets for easy re-organizing.

I love being able to break down a project into smaller steps. And then collapsing the project so I don’t have to see all the steps all the time. And it’s flexible. I can use it how my mind works.

Under Vision I have my goals and my planning checklists like weekly planning, monthly planning and seasonal planning.

I include someday lists under each category for projects I may want to do in the future. I only have a few projects going at once or none will get completed.

It runs in a browser, so anywhere you get the web you can get your Workflowy. There is also an iPhone app.

Here’s a little video on it:

It’s free for up to 500 items a month and $49 a year for the pro version.

You can check it out here: Workflowy


Categories : Technology
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Leaving work before vacation

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It’s easy now to stay connected to work on your vacation. More and more people work when they are on vacation. It’s the anxiety, that if they don’t check in they will be overwhelmed by the time they get home. Or they will miss something.

What would it take for you to take a vacation and leave work at work?

It’s great to have a list of current projects and where you are at with them. Any documents or any other person that knows about the documents can be out so you don’t have to be called.

Let key people know you are going to be on vacation ahead of time so you can do imperative things before you leave. And keep reminding them you will be gone.

Ask your boss what is most important for you to get done before you leave for vacation.

In your email vacation autoresponder share who else they can email while you are gone. Set that person up before you leave.

Make sure work knows to call you only in an emergency. Don’t give your cell phone to everyone.

Have a list of what you need to do when you get back that you make before your vacation.

If you can, leave the laptop at home. If you aren’t there yet with your electronic addiction, set 15 minutes in the evening to check your email. Don’t play with it on and off during the day. That makes it difficult to relax. Same with your phone. Return calls only at a certain time in the day.

Then relax and have fun in your vacation!

Categories : Technology
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According to a recent study, Smartphone users check their phones every 6.5 minutes. That astounded me.

It means most phone users, not just a few annoying people, are checking their phones as they talk with people, as they eat, as they do most activities.

That means most  aren’t concentrating on something longer than 6.5 minutes before they need to relieve their boredom by checking their phone.

If that is the average, how much are the power users checking their phones?

Should we be concerned if we can’t go through a meal or a conversation plugging back into our technology?

After reading those stats, I am going to be more aware of how much I am checking my phone. How about you?

Categories : Technology
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Technology Creep

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You don’t just start using the phone every waking minute. Technology creeps in. You start by having it in your purse. Then your desk. Next you get it out while waiting in the car or the doctor’s office. Soon it’s in the house during commercials. Or a quick text when you are out and about. Next thing you know you are one of those who spends all your time on the phone while out to eat with your family or visiting friends and relatives. Or walking with a friend while on the phone with someone else. You’ve lost all eye contact with people.

Or maybe it’s a tablet that was only to make life easier and now you can’t even watch TV or go to the bathroom without being connected. The cat tries to sit on it to get your attention.

It could be TV, video games or internet surfing. They began at an hour a day and now has grown to most of your evening.

Being so attached to the technology makes you more unattached to your body, people and your surroundings. We know why we like technology. It’s entertaining. It makes us feel connected. It gives us an adrenaline rush. In most cases it’s easier than dealing with people in your life, a messy home or a situation you are unhappy in. And since it is easy, we don’t realize when we have been spending way too much time with it.

Where has technology creeped for you that you haven’t noticed?

You can test your attachment, by going an hour without touching technology. Next week try 2 hours. What about half a day? Or scheduling a whole day?

Perhaps you decide once a week you will not go online. Or keeping your phone off the whole day. Maybe you will schedule your internet surfing or video gaming for a certain timed, time period.

It’s time to be intentional with how we allow technology into our lives.


Photo by Gustav H


Categories : Technology
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Email Folders

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I cleaned up my email folders last week. This felt so freeing. Most of us have way too many folders and filters set up in email. If your email has a good search feature like gmail does, you don’t need all the folders. It’s rare you look into the folders unless they are action folders. It’s faster to search "Anne policy" rather than search in the Anne folder for that policy email.

I deleted folders of old projects or people I used to work with ages ago. Instead of having reference folders of all different kinds I have only a few.

My smaller folder list now. (A means action, R is reference):

  • 3 Project folders for current projects headed by P for project
  • A/Listen to – for audios I want to hear, usually on a break
  • A/Waiting For – things I need a response from. I look at it weekly to see if there is anything I need to follow up on
  • A/To Read – articles, newsletters, etc. that aren’t urgent. I have newsletters filtered there bypassing my inbox
  • A/Action – for anything I need to do once it is on my to do list. Usually only if it will take more than a day to get to it.
  • R/Accounting – for all my bookkeeping emails, important for tax season
  • R/Clients – I use this to check up on old clients and keep in contact
  • R/Registrations – logins and registrations for various sites
  • R/Smily – emails that make me smile for when I need a boost

What email folders do you never look into that are cluttering up your email box?

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Simplicity Desktop Wallpaper

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To help you remember to simplify, my daughter created this desktop wallpaper for you. Click the picture to get the full size, then set as wallpaper.


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Mummy, Look at Me!

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"Mummy, look at me!" "Mummy, look at me!"

I was swimming at a pool in Charlotte after having a wonderful weekend with Marcia and two other moms I met. There was only a little girl of about 4 or 5 and her mom with me.

The English mum was playing on her phone in a chair while her daughter swam. And chanted, "Mummy, look at me!" every other minute. Mummy didn’t glance up, only made an affirmative noise while nodding. "Watch, Mummy. Watch!" 

I remember this time and it seemed like the kids drain your energy and always want you. But, when you spend all your time trying to run from the attention, the kids chase harder.

I can see Mummy playing in the pool with the child for part of the time. Then letting the girl play in the pool without her for a little bit. She probably would hear, "Mummy, look at me!" less often.

Technology is sneaking. You don’t even realize when it starts taking over. Especially if you are trying to anesthetize yourself from the overwhelming attention it seems your kids need.

I was talking to a mother who noticed when she left her laptop open, a quick check at email might turn into a much longer tech session. Now she keeps her laptop closed during the day, so she can spend that time with her kids.

We have to be aware because it can become an addiction. We get a little adrenal rush every time we get a new email or text message. So, we have to be conscious about our tech use.

Last week, I noticed I was checking facebook and my email in between almost every task. This is unusual for me, so I checked in with myself. Turns out I was nervous about my trip and the checking kept my mind busy so I wouldn’t feel. Not the healthiest way to live.

Look at when you reach out for technology this week. Could you be using it to anesthetize yourself from something? Or to get that adrenaline rush? Or maybe it’s become an unconscious habit?



Photo by Andrew Eick



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Flying Against the Wind

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Today is a very windy day here in Michigan. As I drove my daughter to school, I saw a seagull flying against the wind. And going nowhere. That picture reminded me of my day yesterday.

Photo by Brea Dargis

The day began with a tech emergency. Then another one. Various computer problems, simple tasks didn’t even go smoothly. My frustration kept rising all day. But, I kept pushing.

When my husband came home from work, he found me yelling at the computer.

"I don’t think that’s going to help anything."

Pausing before yelling at him, I realized he was right. Sigh.

I stopped my work which wasn’t going anywhere. And we went for a walk instead.

One of the things I tell my coaching clients, is you need to get in a great mindset before you do the work. Otherwise things are much harder. Much slower.

When nothing is flowing & everything stops working it’s probably a good time to take a break. You don’t want to be that bird going against the wind.



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