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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This summer, make memories that are just yours.

i can't take your callEvery once in a while, I like to leave my phone at home or take a day off from it. Being disconnected from my gadget helps me to be in the moment and be present to those around me. It’s easier to be fully present as I’m not distracted to check my phone or be interrupted by a beep of a text or the ring of an incoming call.

This summer, I challenge you to put your phone away for a few days and to make memories that no one else knows about – memories you don’t have to capture, tag, or post… memories that are just yours. Experience things for what they are rather than losing the moment by trying to take the perfect picture. If you must take a picture, then take it with the lens of your eye rather than with the lens of your camera. Embrace and enjoy the moment.

I leave you with this challenging and creative video by Gary Turk: LOOK UP

Have a great summer!

©2014 Susie Lee

20 signs you’re succeeding in life even when you don’t feel like it.

success 2Some days, it’s tempting to look at ourselves and think we haven’t amounted to much, haven’t gotten very far, or haven’t accomplished very much in life. Yes, I guarantee those days will come when we feel defeated in the midst of pursuing our goals and feel the weight of our failures behind us. In the big scheme of life, success isn’t often what we imagine it to be – it doesn’t always have to be tangible like being the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company, earning a six-figure income, or even having a family of 10. Sometimes, success is in who we’ve become, and who we’re becoming. It’s our outlook, attitude, and reactions to life that’ll define who we are and ultimately, determine our success in life.

©2014 Susie Lee

20 signs you’re succeeding in life even when you don’t feel like it:

1. Your relationships are less dramatic than they used to be.
Drama is not maturity. As we age, we should develop maturity. So maybe your relationships were drama-filled in your past, but if you have moved beyond that, then you are successful.

2. You are not afraid to ask for help and support any more.
Asking for help does not equal weakness. In fact, it is strength. No person has ever succeeded in isolation. It takes teamwork to accomplish goals. Asking or help is a sign that you have grown as a person.

3. You have raised your standards.
You don’t tolerate bad behavior any more – from other people, or even yourself. You hold people accountable for their actions. You don’t spend time with the “energy vampires” in your life anymore.

4. You let go of things that don’t make you feel good.
No, this is not narcissistic even though it might seem like it. Self-love is success.

5. You have moments where you appreciate who you see in the mirror.
Ideally, you should appreciate who you see in the mirror at every moment. But even if that doesn’t happen, if you do it more than you used to, then that is success. Love yourself. You are awesome.

6. You have learned that setbacks and failure are part of self-growth.
Not everyone can have success 100% of the time. That’s just not realistic. Life is about victories and losses. So look at your setbacks as stepping-stones to something better. In reality, there really is no such thing as setback. It’s all just part of a wondrous journey.

7. You have a support system that includes people who would do anything for you.
If you have figured out the people who “have your back” and recognized the ones who only pretend that they do, then you have succeeded. This is a painful realization, but once you learn to see the signs of betrayal, you can stay away from those people.

8. You don’t complain much.
Because you know there really is nothing to complain about. Unless you really have gone through some horrific life experience and had unimaginable losses, most of what we all experience on a day-to-day basis is just mundane. And successful people know that. And they live in a space of gratitude.

9. You can celebrate others’ successes.
Just because other people succeed, that doesn’t make you a failure. Applaud the people who rise to the top. The more positive energy you give to other people’s victories, the more you will create your own.

10. You have passions that you pursue.
You are not stagnant. You know you have something wonderful to contribute to the world. You have unique talents and gifts. Not only do you know that, you pursue it.

11. You have things to look forward to.
If you don’t have exciting things going on in your life that you are eagerly anticipating, then you are slowly dying inside. Successful people create goals that they are passionate about pursuing. They let this excitement drive their life.

12. You have goals that have come true.
Even though “failures” are a part of life, you have stuck to your goals and dreams long enough to make them come to fruition. You have some tastes of victory. It fuels you.

13. You have empathy for others.
A person without empathy is dead inside. Empathy equals spreading love and positive energy into the world. Successful people know this. They love others as if they are family.

14. You love deeply and open yourself up to be loved by others.
Love is risky, and sometimes scary for people. It’s the one thing we all strive for, but it’s also intimately tied to the one thing we fear the most – rejection. If you open your heart enough to love and be loved, then you are successful.

15. You refuse to be a victim.
You know that life doesn’t always happen to you. Many times, you are a co-creator of your life experiences. Successful people know this and refuse to be kept down by life experiences. The rise up and conquer anyway.

16. You don’t care what other people think.
You know you can’t please everyone. You know that the standard with which society judges people is many times unrealistic. So you just keep true to yourself and love the person you are.

17. You always look on the bright side.
Life can be full of disappointments – if you choose to see them that way. Otherwise, they are learning opportunities. No negative experience is ever wasted as long as you learn from it.

18. You accept what you can’t change.
Let’s face it – there many things you can’t change in life. All you can change is how you view what happens. If you can change your negative perspective on situations to a positive one, then you are successful.

19. You change what you can.
And let’s face it again – there are many things you can change in life. Successful people don’t sit around accepting the negatives that are changeable. They get out there and do something about it!!

20. You are happy.
To me, this is the ultimate definition of success. It doesn’t matter what the balance is in your bank account, how big your house is, or how many fancy vacations you take. If you are happy, then you are succeeding in life. Even if you don’t see yourself in many of these 20 things, don’t fret. It’s okay. Be happy that you see yourself in just a few. In time, the rest will come. You just need to keep moving onward and upward.

Written by Carol Morgan

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