Bird by bird

I have a lot going on that’s pushing me to the limits of my organizational skills. I got divorced in December, we’re selling the house this month, and I moved my stuff out last weekend to store it at my daughter’s house while I travel through next October. Oh, and I quit my job. Things that have been in place for a long time are very much out of place and I feel chaos looming around every corner.

Then, at a Songwriting Workshop last week, our leader Jud Caswell, talked about taking small steps to get started on something new, and mentioned Anne Lamott’s book, Bird by Bird. The title comes from a time when Anne’s brother was procrastinating writing a big report on birds. The dad’s advice was to go bird by bird. And finally the report was done. Continue reading

Can you become a Morning Person?

Here’s something I would not think possible: That you can turn an evening person into a morning person. In the research I’ve done and through personal observations I’ve made over several decades, I deeply believe that each of us has a sweet spot of time in the day where we’re productive. We have other times when we’re creative . And we all have base times where we need to chill and get some sleep.

To meet work demands, many try to make a change, but it doesn’t seem to be all that successful without a lot of caffeine!

But last week I read an article in the New York Times by Harry Guinness, a writer who swears he made the switch from Night Owl to Morning Dove. I’d love a follow-up from him at some point to see how this is going, but here are his tips for how he made the switch in case you’re interested. Continue reading

Make Time

I’m always on the lookout for new ways to get and stay organized. My latest inspiration is Make Time by Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky. These two Silicon Valley fellows found themselves swamped with work and while they had interesting careers, were unhappy with the amount of time they had left in the day to do work they loved. Part of the work they loved, of course, was writing a book about doing the work they loved… :).

Here are their four big take-aways: Continue reading

10 tips for healthy eating

What you eat is at the core of how you feel. And how you feel has a direct impact on your ability to get good work done.

As we head into the first of the big holiday feasts next week, food is going to be coming at you fast and furious. You can’t fight it, but if you want to survive the holidays and still feel healthy and clear-headed, to have energy and not gain 10 pounds, practice mindfulness. Be sensible. Be picky. And use your head over your gut to make decisions.

Here are 10 healthy eating tips I originally posted in 2017. Today seemed like a good time to pass them on again as a reminder to me, and to you, to stay on a healthy-eating path as delicious smells start to fill the house next week. Continue reading

Honoring synchronicity

Don’t you love when you ask the Universe a question and you get a clear answer? It doesn’t happen all the time. When it does it reminds you of a few things.

  1. It’s cool when mysterious stuff happens.
  2. We have guides everywhere. Some we know; many we do not.
  3. There is a plan for us even if we have no idea what that plan is.
  4. When cool stuff happens, it’s a reminder to be aware and be grateful.
  5. When you ask for help, help is there.

As you may know, I’m headed off on a big writing trip at the end of February and that decision has stirred up all sorts of other changes. This has made the world feel a bit tilted and chaotic for me. I love the high energy of the decision but it’s honestly been hard keeping the organizational challenges of this from feeling like an impending tidal wave. I have a few questions! Continue reading

Are you a Stranger in the Woods?

I just finished listening to The Stranger in the Woods; the Extraordinary Life of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. This is a non-fiction account of Christopher Knight. At age 20, Chris ditched his car and walked away from an apartment and a dead-end job, preferring to live by himself in the Maine woods rather than conform to the demands of a society he did not feel part of. When Chris fled to the woods it was out of a desperate need to be alone. To have the quiet to contemplate. To be outside. Twenty-seven years later, he was arrested for burglary and sent to jail.

There is so much interesting thinking here for anyone trying to craft a life that fits with who you are. And the book reminds us that we are all different, that what works for one person does not work for all. This includes a conventional education path, climbing a ladder, to-do lists, and that ever-present push to “succeed.” If that makes you happy, great. But if it doesn’t, what then? Continue reading

Regrets of the dying

Getting organized isn’t just about being efficient with your time, following up on details, and doing a great job. Although that’s all really good stuff, getting organized is also about finding an inner calm, an inner peace knowing that you’re doing work that is true to who you are and that shares your unique gifts with the world.

In The Power of Moments, Chip and Dan Heath write about Bonnie Ware, a palliative care nurse who served patients in their final weeks of life. Here’s what Bonnie heard as her patients’ five most common regrets. Continue reading

A well-organized miracle

I just wrapped up production of the musical Brigadoon in Freeport, Maine. I have loved this musical since I was in it in high school and jumped at the chance to direct it for the theater group I run. We pulled together a cast that included some of the best singers in the area, and put on a wonderful, mysterious show. I hope being in Brigadoon provides awesome lasting memories for the cast and crew, and know we touched the hearts of our audiences.

Toward the end of the run, I kept hearing one line from the show run over and over in my head: that the mystery of Brigadoon is a “well-organized miracle.” I have decided to carry that line with me as I head out next February to travel and write. I want to get everything as organized as possible – thinking through where I’m going and what I’ll need and won’t need in the car, to make order out of chaos so I use my time well. And I’m going to trust that along the route, I will encounter miracles that shape the direction I go and the words I write. Continue reading

Dissolving into the core of YOU!

This beautiful chrysalis, hanging from a birdbath in one of our gardens, got me thinking about how magical it is when ideas grow and flourish.

We’re letting more and more wild milkweed grow in our yard to give the monarch butterflies a place to lay their eggs and to give the emerging caterpillars a place to eat. And we grow a ton of flowers for the butterflies to dine on in between. We’ve seen lots of butterflies and caterpillars over the past few months, but this is the first chrysalis I’ve spotted.

So how does this tie to organization? Continue reading