Archives for August 2010

Can't Keep Up? 3 Ways to Simplify Your Life

from Martineric on flickr

from Martineric on flickr

Feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do or want to do? Can’t keep up?

Here are seven ways to simplify your life, reduce the stress and increase your happiness in the process.

1. Stop trying to keep up and keep sane instead.

Take stock of your life right now.

What is overwhelming you? Does your to-do list stretch to two pages? Did you give up on a to-do list? Did you overcommit to meetings and tasks for others?

Chances are you’ve stacked up more activities than are humanly doable in a day or even a week or more. Add to that the fact that some things aren’t negotiable like feeding the kids, doing the work that pays the bills and you can build up enough stress to blow a dike.

Carefully go through your list and identify 3 things that must be done today or there will be dire consequences to your personal or business life.  These are things like ignoring that leak coming from the area of the washer or neglecting to return a call from an important client.

Just do those things for now.

2. Drop out of, cancel or postpone activities that don’t further your goals or happiness.

It may not have seemed like much to do when you promised to bring cookies to the meeting, but if you piled that on top of offering to pick up the neighbor’s kid from swimming, swing by the cleaners to drop off your suit for next week’s meeting and a string of not-so-big-tasks you just set yourself up for exhaustion and what’s worse–resentment.

Instead of running to do individual errands, group them by location and ease of travel and do those on one day.

And by all means, learn to say no to things you can’t add to your life without overflowing.

3. Lower your standards.

In spite of what professional organizers tell you, your house will not fall apart if it’s not in perfect order . But you will fall apart or get sick if you insist on every dish, towel and throw pillow being in place before you go to bed every night.

If you are raising kids this is even more important. Spend time on what counts most.

I favor spending time with helping the kids with homework, practicing music or sports, or talking to them about their day over working at fastidiousness.

If there are tasks that must be done, maybe you don’t have to do them.  Somewhere along the way of my professional life, I promised myself there was no point working if I couldn’t budget money for at least an occasional housekeeper.

Tomorrow I’ll share four more ways to simplify your life.

5 Reasons Some People Don’t Like The Secret

Kitchen near completion 8-10-06Mention the movie, “The Secret,” and you get one of three responses:

  • “Oh, that was the most powerful movie I’ve ever seen. It changed my life.”
  • “That was a lot of malarkey. The law of attraction doesn’t work.”
  • What’s “The Secret?”

When the movie “The Secret” first appeared, everyone urged me to see it. I already believed in the Law of Attraction and the power of believing is the key to getting what you want. So I enjoyed the movie as a reminder of what I already knew to be true.

But while there were many who were inspired by it, a lot of people believe “The Secret”  is bogus, drivel, and downright useless.

Rhonda Byrne, the television producer who is the author of the book and creator of the DVD, must surely have cried all the way to the bank over all the negative responses.

After all, this 90-minute movie was a huge success not just because millions of people viewed it, but because it  took the nontraditional route. It was never shown in movie theaters, but it was so popularized by word of mouth (better known as viral marketing) that it caught Oprah’s attention.

Why are some folks unimpressed with “The Secret?”

1. Makes manifesting good sound magical and doesn’t admit that success takes hard work

I don’t recall that the movie indicated that there would be no work involved in going after your dreams, but that’s the message some received. This view is likely that of a very literal person who prefers step-by-step directions.

I certainly had much research to do and had to pay the contractor to do the kitchen remodel I had done a few years ago. But before any of that started, I visualized and deeply felt how my new kitchen would look and how wonderful it would feel cooking and entertaining there. I especially had to believe I would get the loan to pay for it or perhaps I wouldn’t have even applied for it.

2. Promotes idea that success means accumulating wealth and things

It certainly may seem that way since the examples focused a lot on material possessions. But in our world the only way some people can visualize success is through possessions.

The truth is that we want what possessions provide, not the possessions themselves.

Owning a car enables me to get where I’m going faster than walking, and at times that is important to keeping appointments. It’s the convenience that the car provides that’s important.

While I’m attracting that car, however, why not make it a model and color I like?

3. Doesn’t go far enough to explain feelings and emotions that are behind our thoughts

I agree that the movie didn’t tell us about the energy that we create when we dwell on something in our minds and how our feelings and emotions generate that energy.

But every movie or piece of literature can be found guilty of assuming certain knowledge.

4. Disregards the random events, disasters and other things outside of us that affect our lives

My take on this was that the movie stressed that it is our reactions to the outside events that determines our reality. I don’t think it was disregarding that these things occur.

5. What was so secret about that movie? It was just rehashed stuff we’ve heard before.

Every movie, song, or story is based on something that went before. It’s the particular mix or extension of what already exists that makes the difference. Besides, we need to hear things many times before we get it.

There are many paths to getting the life you want. For some this movie tapped into one of them. How about you? What’s your take on “The Secret.”

Are You Unhappy with Your Workout? Check the Color

exercisingonmountainEvery morning when I’m out walking with my neighbor and her dog, we greet joggers dashing past us on the walking trail and bicyclists whizzing down the street.

All of these activities qualify as exercise, and yet each of us prefers one over the other.

Recognizing that we each have different exercise styles based on our personalities, Suzanne Brue wrote The 8 Colors of Fitness: Discover Your Color-Coded Fitness Personality and Create an Exercise Program You’ll Never Quit! combining her love of fitness and personality type. Based on her years of working with the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, Brue created an 8-minute quiz that will identify the exercise workout best suited to your personality.

When I took the quiz I placed in the Silvers. We are energized by new ideas and possibilities. ready to reset our sights to embrace novel concepts and opportunities. It’s no surprise that silver is the compared to mercury, shiny, fluid and changeable.

The beginning of my assessment evaluation says

Energized by new ideas and possibilities, Silvers eagerly embrace novel concepts and respond to a world of opportunity. Silvers find little that doesn’t interest them. They’re quick to see connections and build on ideas. Silvers enjoy being with people who share their enthusiasm and can contribute to their projects and activities. With so many interests, exercise for its own sake can be boring. It’s best when taken out of the context of pure exercise and wrapped in the guise of something else, such as a challenge, adventure, and exploration, or spending time with people.

My assessment continues by breaking my group into two parts, those who make exercise central in their lives and those who do not. It identify exercise settings for both types and even suggests the kind of relationships each prefers with a trainer.

Brue says that while fitness centers have many elements and benefits, you don’t need to join one to benefit from her book. She offers a wide variety of exercise recommendations.

So, if you’ve been frustrated by not being able to stick with a workout program, it may be that it’s not a match for your fitness personality.

Three Ways Pretty Papers and Stories Can Brighten Your Life

1355For those of us who remember the days before the Internet, it’s absolutely magical what you can learn and do on many places in cyberspace. When looking for ways to brighten your day, start with these three.

Count from 1 to 10

Sage advice has told us we can dispel anger and upset by counting to 10. That’s because it gives us time to reflect and pause before taking any hasty action.

But counting from 1 to 10 doesn’t have to be just a cure for upset, it can be way to reflect on the things in your life that bring you joy. This activity increases your joy and keeps you focused on the positive things in life.

As a member of A-List Blogging Club I encountered  a wonderfully refreshing and uplifting blog created by Shimelle, master at storytelling through scrapbooking.  Because of her success with growing her online courses, she was asked to submit a case study on the member site.

I was delighted to learn that Shimelle has been able to make a career out of following her passion, gently and consistently. This weekend on her blog she set up a challenge that goes like this:

Ready to count to ten or sing your ABCs? For the next scrapbooking challenge, you get to pick your poison: numbers or letters.

Create a page with a list that includes the numbers 1 to 10 (or more) or the letters A to Z. Journal ten things you love (or ten things that really frustrate you!) or make an alphabet-themed minibook or anything else you fancy with numbers or letters.

Upload your project and leave a link in the comments on this post to enter. See this post for details and deadlines for this weekend.

Those of you who know me know that I love challenges. (It’s amazing that I didn’t get into even more trouble growing up than I did every time I heard the words “I dare you!)

To learn more about Shimelle’s challenge, online courses and other fun activities, visit her at

Keep a simple journal

Happy people often report keeping a journal citing their events of the day, but especially things for which  they are grateful.

If you’ve longed to do this, but have trouble pulling yourself away from the computer to write in a journal, perhaps you would enjoy, the website that makes it easy for you to write your life story. Check it out.

Help write a story

If you’ve always longed to write fiction, but have hesitated to get rolling, here is your chance.

Get over to where writers and readers collaborate to create a continuous story. It’s free to participate, and the fishing metaphor upon which this site is created is just plain fun.

Sign up and you become an angler. Troll the hooks and storylines, Open Water and Captain’s Blog. To submit a story you cast a line. When you vote for the submitted hooks and storylines, called live bait, you weigh in. There are many story categories, so don’t wait any longer, dive in.

There you have it, three ways to lighten and brighten your life, free and easy. Have fun!

When Things Get Tough, Brace for Impact

womanathleteEvery year at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena, CA, an individual of  distinction is selected to be the Grand Marshal.

On January 1, 2010,  the 121st Parade Grand Marshal was Captain Chesley “Sully”  Sullenberger III, the celebrated hero who landed the U.S. Airways Flight  1549 in the icy waters of the Hudson River in New York, NY in January  2009.

His ride in the Rose Bowl Parade leading thousands of  flower-bedecked floats was a lot more fun and stress-free than when he  safely landed in full view of many New Yorkers, saving the lives of 155  passengers and crew.

In one of many interviews, Sullenberger admitted that  he had always wanted to see the Rose Bowl Parade in person.

He certainly  got his wish, and how!

What makes Sullenberger an overnight hero is not just that he made a  successful landing and averted a disastrous crash. He is celebrated  because when faced with a startling dilemma, he assessed the situation,  made a decision and braced himself and his crew for impact.

The ending could have been very different, of course, but Sullenberger could not hesitate while he pondered indefinitely.

Most of us will never be faced with the heart-pounding scare that  must have gripped Sullenberger that day, but we will all be faced with  some situations that require us to brace for impact.

Like Rosa Parks whose refusal to surrender her bus seat to a white  passenger in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955 unwittingly sparked the civil  rights movement, you may one day discover yourself in a new role that  you never expected.

Most of us, of course, are not faced with tough situations that are  as dramatic and far-reaching as those faced by Sullenberger and Parks.  But our crises can be devastating, nonetheless.

You may have lost your job, your life savings or your hope. To  survive these you must take similar actions to the heroes mentioned  above.

Assess your situation, determine what you can do right now, then use  immediate tools and resources that can help you and take bold action.

You may never be called upon to save a nation or a plane load of  people, but if you can brace for the impact of your personal adversity,  you can emerge successful.
This article appeared in an issue of the Color Your Life Happy Newsletter that goes out every week to subscribers. If you’d like to get more encouragement and uplift like this, subscribe to the newsletter here or in the signup box on the top left of this page under Get Weekly Encouragement and your first issue will be on its way.