The 8-week Sprint

A friend at work recommended a blog by creative guru Jessica Abel. I checked out her site and read through a long, long, long post about why I should pay her to help guide me through an 8-week sprint to get a creative project done. I read – and read, and read – and thought, “I don’t need a coach. I just need to do the work.”

Here’s the plan I came up with for my 8-week sprint. Continue reading

The Food Revolution Summit starts on 4-28!

Every spring for the past 7 years, the folks at the Food Revolution Network have presented a free 8-day Summit that’s completely accessible on-line. I have learned so much at past Summits and highly recommend this as a great use of your time. When you’re healthy and feeling good, it’s easier to stay focused and get organized!

The Food Revolution Summit runs from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM EST from 4/28-5/6. When you sign up, you get a daily link via email to “attend.” If you can’t tune in when the presentation is live, you have up to 24 hours afterward to listen for free. The Network will try to tempt you throughout to buy all the sessions to share with your friends. Unless you decide to be an evangelist about food, you don’t need to do that. Just listen when you can and learn, learn, learn. Continue reading

All roads lead to decluttering

When I give talks on Organizational Zen and ask attendees why they’re there, the #1 thing I hear is that they have clutter problems. Yes, nearly everyone you know has a clutter problem! Just knowing that kind of helps, doesn’t it? 🙂

But here’s the thing. In class, I save my thoughts and tips about decluttering for last. Why? It’s not that I’m being mean. It’s just that decluttering to me is a symptom of so many other things and my wish is that at the end of our time together, folks will realize that simply tidying up isn’t going to solve their problem.

What will? Figuring out how to nip clutter in the bud. Or deciding that clutter is not actually that big of a deal. And let’s start with that. Continue reading

“Never take chaos personally”

If you’re a planner, like me, you like linear patterns. If you do A, B happens. If you get a good education, you’ll get a good job. If you eat good food and exercise, you’ll be healthy. If you do work you’re called to, you’ll be successful. Life is logical and fair.

Except when it isn’t.

The Universe actually prefers chaos to straight lines. How many straight lines do you see in nature?! You tidy up; things get messy. Sidewalks crack. People age. The most natural thing on earth is that things we build up break down. Continue reading

Starting a Kindness Ritual

I’m listening to an excellent audiobook called The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, by Michael Puett. This is one of those books I’m going to have to read as well because there is so much content I want to digest.

Here’s the thought for today. We know that much of what we do is based on habit. What time we get up. What we eat. When we eat. How we get to work or school. How we function there.

Habit even shapes many conversations. I say this. You say that. And on we go with our day.

If you want to make changes to your world, you have to think of inventive ways to break habits because they are powerfully engrained in our day-to-day life because you repeat them over and over!

I think of habits as functional tasks. Michael Puett looks at them as ritual. For him, a ritual is something you do and repeat until it becomes the norm. And you mark it in some special way to treat it as unique each time.

And here’s his question: Can you make a ritual of being kind? You could also think of this as a “kindness habit” but the idea of ritual carries sanctity and reverence. This isn’t a kind gesture; it’s a new norm. Continue reading

Two tricks to stop procrastinating

I run the adult programs at our town library, and one of my favorites is a new Songwriting Workshop. The leader, Jud Caswell, has mad skills at being able to hear what someone plays and sings, then offering bits of advice that seem small but that help immensely.

Last week, Jud offered this advice to stop procrastination in its tracks:

(1) Make a shorter deadline
Jud told a great story about a friend he was coaching who just couldn’t make time to write, so Jud asked him to turn in a song by the end of the week. The guy said there was no way he could write a song in a week, so Jud said fine, then get it to me tomorrow.

“Write a song in a day? No way!”

“Fine then, write a song now. What’s knocking around in your head?”

The guy sat down and wrote his first song.

(2) Lower your standards
We all want to do wonderful, terrific work, but if your goal is to only do wonderful, terrific work you may never get started. Taking action gets you moving – and it almost doesn’t matter what direction you move in. Once you start, you get in the flow and can edit later.  Mark Twain famously wrote, “Write drunk. Edit sober.” In his case, it was probably literal, but I love the concept of writing, or painting, or learning anything new with great abandon. We’re generally our greatest critic. The thought here is to get started and trust that you’ll clean up the mess later.

Jud also mentioned a writer who was asked if he wrote on a schedule or only if he was inspired. The guy replied, “Only when I’m inspired! So it’s a good thing I’m always inspired at about 9:00 every morning.”

I sincerely hope you’re inspired to try something new this spring. Doing work that comes from your heart makes all the stuff you have to get done so much more interesting.

Cheers.

Here’s a shot from a local Pub where I meet with other writers to talk about writing show tunes. As we build our tribe, we’ll take tips anywhere we can find them 🙂

 

 

The huge impact of cutting back on the time you eat

A fundamental step to getting organized is to take care of your precious self. If you’ve gained weight, aren’t exercising, or aren’t sleeping well,  your #1 task is to take care of yourself before you attempt anything else. You have one body for this lifetime, and the sooner you feel better, the better off you’ll be as you age.

Think of your health as a foundation rock. If you get that right, you can build all sorts of things on top of it.

One of the trickiest things many of us deal with is gaining weight as we age. Stats tell us that two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese. And as the years tick by, the pounds seem to come out of nowhere. Right? And once they’re on your body, they feel impossible to lose, and they affect everything – from blood sugar, to blood pressure, to good knees. Continue reading