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

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

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

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

Getting things done by adding levels

“Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action.”
Dan and Chip Heath, The Power of Moments

In The Power of Moments, the Heath brothers have some great ideas about breaking big goals into small parts – and rewarding yourself along the way. They compare this to video games where you feel accomplished each time to go up a level.

Let’s say you’ve always wanted to learn to play that guitar you’ve had hanging around for years. In a standard scenario, you know to break big goals into small parts so you make a plan to:

  • Tune up the guitar.
  • Find a great book on how to play.
  • Find some online class options.
  • Commit to practicing for a half-hour, 3x a week.
  • Block out time this week and get to work.

This plan works great for the first week or two, but then it gets a little boring and you start to skip practice time. And before you know it, the guitar is banished to its case, collecting dust at the back of the closet. Continue reading

Creating Moments

You want to use your time wisely, to be buttoned up and efficient, to be trusted for your consistency. AND along with getting things done, you want to have memorable days where you feel engaged, joyful, amazed and motivated.

I’m reading the Heath brother’s new book, The Power of Moments. A key part of powerful moments comes when you feel elevated, when your senses are amped up with food, lighting, movement, and joy. These are out-of-the-ordinary times like weddings, sporting events, graduations, and musical events where you feel energy and joy around you. They’re moments that break the script, that you remember over days, weeks, years, and even decades. Continue reading

The importance of showing up

Like any business, you have a brand. If your brand is strong, it might be “100% guaranteed.” Or “Always on time.” You may be known for having an open heart. A generous soul. A guaranteed laugh.

If your brand is feeling a little tarnished, you have the power to change that simply by showing up – physically and mentally. When you show up to a conversation, you listen with intent. When you show up to a function, you show up on time and fully take part. You make promises only when you know you can keep them. Continue reading