We have a choice everyday – let’s make the choice to be present.

dadThis is one of the most powerful videos I’ve seen that reflects my sentiments on social media and on our electronic gadgets: Can We Auto-Correct Humanity? by Prince Ea .

The message is clear: We have a choice everyday – let’s make the choice to be present.

©2014 Susie Lee

You are what you eat – so don’t be fast, cheap, and easy.

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I’m not a dietician but neither am I a rocket scientist to know that what we eat on the inside will show on the outside. One of the ways to living our best is feeling our best. And a part of that is taking care of our bodies through exercise and what we put into it. Fact is, eating healthy takes work – it takes time, energy, planning, and preparation. That’s why it’s tempting to eat out or heat up already-made processed foods. Eventually what we eat will catch up to us, for better or for worse.

A general rule of thumb to eating healthy is to consume food in it’s simplest form of being unprocessed, and if you do consume processed foods, make sure it has very few ingredients in it, ones that you can pronounce. Every little bit helps, so try not to add unnecessary salt to dishes or sugar in beverages but if you need to, a tasty substitute sweetener would be honey (or agave) and a good substitute for salt would be salsa. Another way to cut needless calories from your diet is to replace your soda and juice with water and non-caffeinated tea. And unless you’re an athlete in training, I’d stay away from energy drinks and protein shakes, all of which have an absorbent amount of calories. A little always goes a long way, this applies to both losing and putting on the pounds.

Another way to watch what you eat is to make your own meals and desserts. This way you can control what ingredients you’d like to put into it. Yes, this takes time and who knows, you might find you have a natural knack for cooking and baking. In my spare time, I enjoy baking as it helps me to decompress and I’m electronic-free for a few hours. The plus side is that I’ll have delicious treats on hand for the rest of the week. Yes, baking and cooking takes time and effort but the health benefits far outweigh the work.

I guarantee you’ll have those days where you’re going to want to sink your teeth into sweets or into the deep-fried food with a gulp of pop, and that’s ok, the key is moderation. Actually, this can apply to all aspects of our lives. It’s fine to have a cheat day, just don’t make that everyday. In the beginning, it’s mind over matter – you have to discipline your mind to re-condition your body but as the weeks and months go by, it’ll become second nature.

Along with watching our diet, it’s also important to take our vitamins and get plenty of exercise daily. Overtime, even our work out routine can become a bore and our bodies can become stagnant. So don’t be afraid to change it up. Sign up for a dance class with a friend, or take advantage of the free swim or skate sessions at your local community centre. The trick is to make exercise fun, so go for a hike, run, or bike in the great outdoors with some buddies. If you can’t find the time in your schedule to sign up for a class or get a gym pass, then move your body in simple ways like parking the car further from your final destination, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or taking the bus instead of the car. I’m not saying we should be obsessed with the health of our bodies but we do need to take care of them because it’s the only one we’ve got. Taking these simple steps will make us feel better. And ironically, energy begets more energy.

On top of eating healthy and regular exercise, it’s important to increase the happiness, decrease the stress, and get plenty of sleep. We need to take care of our bodies now, so our bodies will take care of us later. This applies to any age.

©2014 Susie Lee

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Most Valuable Lesson We Can Learn In Life

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One of the most valuable lessons we can learn in life is how to love other people unconditionally. This doesn’t mean we condone a destructive behaviour but it does mean loving them with no strings attached – it means seeing them beyond their actions. So instead of being frustrated by their behaviour, or hurt by their actions, or offended by how they are, we’d save ourselves a lot of heartache by learning to love them where they’re at – happy, sad, upset, and even angry. Being hurt or offended by how they are will only cause more pain, misery, misunderstanding, and create distance.

We’re all a work in progress and are in desperate need of a daily transformation – to grow and live beyond our mistakes, hangups, and pain. We need each other to reach our full potential, see beyond the present, and discover how to love one another. When we feel genuine acceptance and compassion, true transformation begins to take work within us, and so with them. We need to envelop ourselves with love and then extend that grace to others, especially to those who are hurting, frustrated, angry, and lonely.

©2014 Susie Lee

27 Ways to Get More Sh!t Done

I admit there are a lot of things I use to do more of: I use to write in my journal daily, write weekly articles, play my guitar, practice my singing, read books, garden, bake, and have time to create crafty things. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have time for them anymore, or if it’s because I’m distracted by social media, or if I’m just being down right lazy. Either way, there’s no doubt that we were designed to create, discover, and reach our full potential. But this won’t magically happen by wishing, hoping, and dreaming – it takes work, discipline, focus, and sacrifice. Here are some simple tips on how to streamline our time, discipline ourselves, and reduce the distractions around us.

©2014 Susie Lee

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27 Ways to Get More Sh!t Done

1. Get enough sleep. Whoever coined the phrase “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” didn’t have all the facts straight. Not getting enough Zzz’s could hinder productivity at work, so try to get those recommended seven to nine hours of snooze time!

2. Create routines. Make a habit of, well, sticking to habits. Schedule actions like writing emails at a certain time or hitting the gym after work, and try to do them daily. Soon that routine will happen on autopilot.

3. Wake up earlier. As long as you’re still able to squeeze in enough sleep, try extending the day by getting up an hour earlier—when it’s still quiet and there are fewer distractions.

4. Step away from the inbox. Incoming emails can be a nuisance. Make a habit to only check the inbox at certain times of the day to avoid getting sidetracked with requests and responses.

5. Make a daily to-do list. Stay away from huge to-do lists. Instead, create a daily list of realistic jobs to tackle, like folding laundry, scheduling a doctor’s appointment, or paying the cable bill. Break up big goals into micro-tasks, like going to a yoga class over getting six-pack abs, or writing a page over completing a thesis. Soon, the small things will add up to big accomplishments.

6. Take a midday workout break. Got writers’ block? Can’t fathom cleaning the bathroom? Try hitting the pavement. Working out during the day could actually boost productivity, so the time spent exercising could actually help us get more done later.

7. Don’t multitask. Our brains aren’t wired to juggle too much at once, and we can work nearly twice as fast if we do only one thing at a time. (And nope, we’re not talking LOST time-travel). So remember those childhood manners and finish tasks one at a time.

8. Silence the phone. When it comes to getting stuff done, sometimes silence is key. Turn off email alerts and the cell phone ringer—that’s what voicemail is for!

9. Make a to-don’t list. Bad habits are just as significant as good ones. So make a list of things not to do because they make you unproductive (we’re staring at you, Netflix), and stick to it.

10. Brainstorm. Take some time to sit and get those creative juices flowing. Without distractions, brainstorming may be the way to come up with killer ideas in record time. Bonus: Creativity can make you happier.

11. Do those MITs. Nope, this isn’t college talk. MIT stands for Most Important Tasks, and it’s a way to highlight the items that matter most on that to-do list. At the start of each day, write down a few things that must get done. Commit to tackling those tasks, and let the rest of the chips fall where they may.

12. Hit inbox zero. Sort every email once that inbox is open. Respond, file, draft, or delete. Keeping the inbox clean is key to staying organized and on point. (Just remember not to keep the inbox open when you aren’t organizing it).

13. Stay healthy. Just like… don’t get sick. (It may be easier said than done). But health and productivity go hand in hand, so be sure to maintain good health habits, like eating well and washing up after hitting the gym!

14. Keep a pen and pad on hand. Make like Richard Branson and carry pen and paper (or your smartphone) to catch any useful thought that may come to mind. Up the creativity ante and make your own moleskin DIY style.

15. Shut off social media. Sayonara, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Social media can be a huge time suck. Studies have found that it can take up a significant chunk of time at the office, and may even predict lower grades in school. Make it a habit to unplug whenever you need to get something done.

16. “Eat the frogs.” We swear it’s a real term. Each day, once you’ve figured out your Most Important Tasks, do the task you’re least looking forward to first. That way, you’ll get it out of the way early and feel super productive, to boot. (No guarantees Prince Charming will emerge).

17. Slow down. Read. This. Slowly. Getting stuff done isn’t always a matter of making it to the finish line first. Take time to reflect, brainstorm, and recharge. The added energy will make you that much more productive when you put your nose back to the grindstone.

18. Track time. Take a day to record how much time is spent writing emails, reading blogs, texting, etc. You may be surprised at how much time certain activities (ahem, browsing Pinterest) take up every day. Once you’ve figured out how your time is being used up, make it a point to prioritize what really matters to you (and cut out what doesn’t).

19. Don’t bounce around. Box off a specific amount of time for every task on your to-do list each day. Assign a chunk of the day for one project, and stay focused on that project during its designated time. Once that time is up, move on to the next mission.

20. Tune out. Those headphones will help tune out any distractions. Plus, coworkers and friends may be less likely to interrupt if they see we’re tuned in.

21. Look back. Schedule some time toward the end of each week to reflect on what you accomplished and make any necessary schedule tweaks for the following week.

22. Set triggers. Leave reminders around your workspace and home to help you remember what needs to get done. Place bills that need to be paid or books to be read out in the open, and stick post-it reminders on the fridge!

23. Eat well. What we scarf down for lunch may do more than satisfy hunger. Certain foods, like salmon, almonds, and carrots, can give us a much-needed boost of energy. So forgo the take-out and be picky at the cafeteria!

24. De-clutter. Get rid of anything that may cause distractions. Put away the dishes, fold clothes, and get rid of excess papers on the desk so you’re less likely to get sidetracked. Up the ante by implementing some Feng Shui principles in your workspace.

25. Say no. Don’t stretch yourself too thin. Learning to say no—to going out for drinks when you’re tired, to extra projects when you’re swamped—keeps us focused, prevents overwhelm, and may even ward off sickness.

26. Take a break. Carve out some quality “you” time each day to keep a balance between the busy world and your own inner life.

27. Download help. Still need to get sh!t done? Luckily there’s an app for that.

Written by Laura Schwecherl

7-Day Smartphone Detox

I admit having a smart phone is convenient to have and to hold. It captures, receives, sends, entertains, and informs within seconds. It fits in the palm of our hands and nestles in the pockets of our clothes. But I also know how addictive it can be. I challenge us to take this 7-day smartphone detox in order to be more present to life. Overtime, our handheld gadgets will no longer grip our hearts or consume our undivided attention. May this detox help us to be present to those around us and open to the beauty that surrounds us everyday!

©2014 Susie Lee

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Happiness is an Inside Job.

Happiness is something most people want in life. Many have tried to find it in relationships or tried to buy it in stores. Unfortunately, true lasting happiness can’t be purchased or earned but rather it’s an attitude we create and carry within us. It starts by approaching life with gratitude and appreciating the beauty around us. Our thoughts and attitude will determine the level of our happiness. No matter where you’re at in life, I encourage you to take this 30-Day No Fail Happiness Challenge! If you do, I’d love to hear how it’s going!

©2014 Susie Lee

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The Effects of Stress & What We Can Do About It

Life can be hard and stressful. There are expectations and demands from all fronts from home to work. The daily pressures of performing, giving, and coping can just make it seem as though we’re just surviving rather than thriving in life. Overtime, the accumulating pressures of life can have devastating fallouts to our relationships and negative repercussions to our health and overall well-being. May we have the courage to take proactive steps to minimize the stress in our lives and live life to the fullest.

©2014 Susie Leestressstress3

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And lastly, here’s a self care assessment for preventative measures:

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