What’s the best part of your day?

I love this exercise from Designing Your Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. You do stuff everyday. Some of it you choose to do. A lot of it you have to do. Each day your energy flows around your tasks, sometimes up and sometimes down.

If you want to have more up-energy, try tracking your energy flow for a week. You can either set up an activity log, or better yet, just mark up your planner. At the end of the day, look at each thing you did and check off or highlight things that raised your energy.

What’s cool about us is that we’re all different. A high-energy part of your day could be: Continue reading

Start where you are

How’s this for a premise: “If a problem isn’t actionable, it’s not a problem. It’s reality.”

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans develop this idea in their new book, Designing Your Life; How To Build a Well-lived, Joyful Life as they apply “design thinking” to making important life choices.

When you’re organized, you don’t like to waste time. And what’s a huge waste of time? Worrying – especially when you worry about stuff you can’t change. This doesn’t mean you don’t have stuff you wish you could change – a grouchy boss, a noisy neighbor, an obnoxious family member. But if you can’t change them, then they aren’t a problem – they are reality. And you can’t outsmart reality or bend it to your will. It’s still reality. Continue reading

Tripping over the truth

In Chip and Dan Heath’s The Power of MomentsI love the concept of “tripping over the truth.” There are some truths in our lives we choose to not see. Then we trip over them and the pain of the stumble brings us insight we’d rather not acknowledge. But there it is. You didn’t see it coming but now that you’ve stumbled over it you recognize it as a truth that’s probably part of a larger pattern. Continue reading

Relaxing into a schedule

If you’ve been thinking about doing something cool, set a deadline and put together a schedule. A deadline is effective even if it’s something only you know about; when you write a due date on a calendar you’re making a written commitment to yourself to get something done.

A cool benefit of having a schedule, besides meeting deadlines and getting stuff done, is the peace that comes from deciding what you’re working on and when you’re going to do it. You may feel like a schedule limits you. I would counter that when you schedule something, you quiet your brain and the idea stops nagging at you.

“Are you going to work on me now? Now? Now?”

Continue reading

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

“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