The other day, I was helping a friend move their parent’s stuff out of their 40+ years house. Twelve hours later, it seemed as though we hadn’t even dented their place. The next day, this forced me to reevaluate my own stuff throughout the rooms, closets, and crawl space. What am I holding on to that I don’t use anymore? And why am I still holding on to it? So I began to ruthlessly get rid of clothes, books, and knick-knacks that I don’t use, look at, or need.
Why do we hold on to unneeded stuff? I’m not just talking about physical stuff but emotional and psychological baggage in our lives such as anger, resentment, fear, regret, worry, pride, or jealousy. The consequences of holding on to these will eventually clutter our minds and occupy space in our emotional living room. It’s not easy getting rid of these destructive feelings because we’ve either grown accustomed to it, attached to it, or it’s too much work to get rid of. And we may even justify keeping our feelings. But at some point, we must honestly ask ourselves, ‘Why am I still holding on to this? Is it helpful, useful, or productive?’ If the answer’s no, get rid of it – it’s just weighing you down. For the sake of our wellbeing, peace of mind, and the health of our relationships, we must ruthlessly de-clutter our emotional baggage on a regular basis.
©2015 Susie Lee
It’s Friday, and you know what that means right? It’s the weekeeeeend!! Unfortunately, many of us use our weekends to either play catch up or veg out. Instead of taking a mental vacation, why not try these simple steps to reenergize your body, mind, and spirit? Here’s to a fantastic weekend that’ll rev you up for Monday!
©2015 Susie Lee
Lou’s story is heartbreaking yet compelling because I know many of us can relate to him on so many levels – fostering procrastination on a daily basis, mindlessly surfing the internet, being emotionally disconnected, compromising our dreams for financial security, or believing we’ll do it someday. The things we choose to do everyday shapes our world, thinking, and future. That’s why it’s important to be intentional with our time, talent, and energy. Despite our age, it’s never too late (or too early) but neither should we wait.
Take an honest inventory on where you’re at in life and what you want in life, and if those two don’t add up then adjust accordingly. This may mean letting go of toxic relationships or unnecessary tasks that hinders you more than helps you. Focus on what your core values in life are and manage your time according to those values. Go forward with confidence – you have the wisdom and courage to make the necessary changes within you for the life you want. Don’t let your dreams die, make them happen.
©2015 Susie Lee
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
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
There are going to be days when we’ve lost our zest for life or lack the motivation to fulfill our goals. It’ll happen to all of us at some point in our lives whether it’s in our homes, work, school, and yes, even in our play. Here are a few helpful tips on how to stay motivated during those times we feel tired and unenthusiastic. Most importantly, we need to rest along the way, take care of ourselves, and enjoy the simple things in life.
©2014 Susie Lee
Usually at the beginning of every year, I set goals. But this year, I decided I wasn’t going to set goals to accomplish but rather make commitments to strengthen my character and build my relationships.
Don’t misunderstand me, setting goals are important and have their place but I don’t want to neglect other areas in my life that need my attention and time. The most important things in life aren’t success or productivity but rather the quality of our relationships and the development of our character. This year, I want to focus on becoming a better, kinder, and more loving person – to love despite the hurt, to give without expecting anything in return, to forgive without the apology. I want to think the best of situations, not judge people by my interpretation, remain modest at all times, give kindness to those who don’t deserve it, and love where it’s not reciprocated. I want to use my time to make a lasting difference and strive to be selfless rather than selfish. Instead of pointing the finger at someone else, I’m going to work on myself, instead of blaming, I’m going to take responsibility for my actions.
This year, I’m going to make a conscious effort to live my days with gratitude, wonderment, contentment, peace and joy. I want to stop, breathe, listen, and take moments in. I want to disengage with my electronic gadgets and engage with people in person by being attentive and alert. Of course, I have goals I want to pursue but I believe they’ll naturally fall into place as I’m living out my best.
12 commitments for 2104:
- Love despite being hurt.
- Give without expecting.
- Forgive without the apology.
- Accept people or situations without judgment.
- Think, believe, and speak the best.
- Be humble and kind.
- Be true to who you are.
- Fearlessly share your feelings.
- Take risks.
- Work hard.
- Discern what’s worth fighting for and what to let go.
- Challenge yourself daily.
Welcome to a New Year and a better you!
©2014 Susie Lee