Friday, March 10, 2017

Organization and Time Management Tips from Ivanka's Website

I'm learning a lot from Ivanka Trump's website, which is one of my favorites!

I love this idea!: "Every morning, when Ivanka gets to work, she writes down the top three things she wants to accomplish during the day."  

I'm going to start doing that. Then, no matter what else distracts me, I'll remember to get my three most important tasks done, and I can feel good about that at the end of the day.  So often, they get pushed to the next day, then the next... Find more of Ivanka's ideas here:  A short list of great productivity tips!

How to handle Monday mornings...

Attitude is everything

You can learn a lot about the kind of person you do and don't want to be by observing other people. Yesterday, I had two prime examples of how I do not want to be.

The first one was on my daily morning commute on the train, observing the woman seated in front of me, looking old, tired and haggard (she appears to be around my age), huffing and puffing and complaining, and walking out of the train station with low energy and a scowl on her face.

Although I feel the same way she does and I have done the same thing, watching her made me realize that I do not want to be that person.  So, I made a resolution not to complain or sigh, to smile, relax, try to get more sleep, and enjoy the ride by reading, listening to music, or catching up on Facebook. I'm also making plans to find a new job and stop the commute altogether to give me more free time to enjoy life!

By contrast, I see other people who look young, fresh, and energetic. They appear to love their lives and their jobs, and probably don't spend hours commuting. They appear to be well-rested and happy, with a spring in their step. That is the kind of person I want to be, even if my circumstances aren't ideal yet. Dragging through life feeling run down and complaining isn't going to change anything. Change whatever you can...mostly, your attitude! How you experience life has a lot to do with how you view it. Look on the bright side.

The second example was a coworker who was upset and complaining to me about having to move to a new office that is a downgrade from the beautiful one she has now. Without much else going on in her life, her work IS her life, and she is anticipating the more unpleasant environment will even ruin that. This woman also frequently complains about her marital situation and loneliness, and that nothing ever changes, but she really doesn't do anything to prompt changes. You're not going to meet someone if all you ever do is go to work and back. I also told her that she can raise the morale of the people who work for her by changing her attitude. If your boss is negative and complains, you're not going to enjoy your job as much. It made me realize how great my boss is and how she's always professional, how she rolls with the changes, and I've never heard her complain about anything.

In her situation, I would work to create more work/life balance, and make the most of my new office (bloom where you're planted!).  If it's unbearable, maybe it's time to change jobs. No one is forcing you to stay where you are.

Make sure you fill your life with some supportive, optimistic people. I was complaining to a friend one time that there aren't any social groups at our church for people my age, and being the optimistic, go-getter that she is, she told me to call the church and tell them I'd like to start a group!  I hadn't even thought of that. That's what I love about her; if she wants something, she goes for it. If it doesn't exist, she creates it herself.  I'm so thankful to have a friend, example, and supporter like her in my life.

If you can't avoid or extricate the stress from your life, here are some suggestions to help create more balance:

  • Schedule vacations - even just long weekends - to unwind. Getting away does wonders for the soul! 
  • Get massages and/or facials. Both of these will definitely help you feel and look more rested and relaxed. 
  • Take yoga classes, dance classes, or whatever you are interested in. Check out to see if there are random classes in your area. I've done calligraphy, fencing and Ayurveda classes that were a lot of fun!  It's a great way to meet new people, or just get out of the house and try something new. 
  • Take up a new hobby to get your mind on something besides work, or your stress.
  • Start doing a sport you used to love to do. My favorites are tennis, skiing and volleyball.
  • Exercise daily. I find that working up a sweat helps me release toxins and stress, gives me energy, and burns calories. Do it whether you feel like it or not. Just 20-30 minutes makes a big difference and will help you stay fit. I give myself one or two days off per week. 
  • Incorporate more culture into your life. When I traveled to France and Italy in the past, I was reminded to slow down and enjoy daily life more. I enjoy the sights, flavors, and smells more than I do at home. But, the trick is to take that feeling back home with you and enjoy your real life just as much. Pick up flowers for no reason. Enjoy a baguette. Notice the scenery around you. Go to museums, symphonies, concerts, art exhibits, art fairs, antique shops, etc. to get your mind in another place, or "change your thoughts" as my French friend used to say. 
  • Spend time with animals.  That is one of my greatest joys! Who can feel stressed out while petting an animal, or laughing at their antics? 
  • Rest one day a week. I try to keep my Sabbath holy. It helps me get things done on Saturday so I can rest on Sunday and not feel guilty about it. God tells us to rest. We need it. Going into the work week refreshed feels good! 
  • Start going for a daily walk or run. Maybe adopt a dog if you don't already have one! Put down your phone and turn off the TV and get outside in the sunlight and fresh air. Think about things that make you happy while you're out. 

Don't let your circumstances drag you down and wear you out. Either change your attitude, or change your circumstances. You are in control of how you live your life, how you view your life, and how much you enjoy your life.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Being kind to animals

Animals are my favorite people in the world! :)  I try to help them any way I can.

Ways we can help:

Any trash that you can't recycle, please cut anything with loops, such as the rings around milk jugs and plastic 8-pack pop/beer carriers, handles on bags, and long strings, to prevent animals from getting caught in them while rummaging through trash for something to eat.

Donate straw for dog houses for those poor dogs who aren't brought inside from the cold. Or, better yet, offer to take them for the winter.

Provide a kiddie pool during hot months, so they would be able to get in and cool off and always have water to drink because they often knock over their water bowls.

Keep thread away from cats! My roommate's cat fished a spool of thread out of her sewing machine pocket, and after we noticed him throwing up a lot and not eating, she took him to the vet, who after taking x-rays and having surgery discovered that he had ingested a lot of thread, which was tangled in his intestines and did a lot of damage (thread cuts!).  He survived, but now I am more aware of this danger and warn other people.

I've turned my car around to help a turtle cross the road. I've been feeding a stray cat for a year and a half after finding footprints in the snow in my back yard. I didn't want an animal to be cold and hungry, so I began putting food out morning and night, and made a warm house with blankets and straw for it to sleep in if it needed it. It comes twice a day for the food, though I think it lives somewhere else and is just working the neighborhood. :)

One time when I was picking up sticks before mowing my lawn, I found a bird in the grass beneath a tree with flies on it, panting. I tried to pick it up, but it was stuck to the ground. After getting a better look, I saw that it had a bunch of grass wrapped around it's leg tethering it to the ground! So, I cut the grass at the base and moved the bird to where I could see what was going on. It had a lot of grass wrapped around its bent leg so tightly! I cut it all away and poured peroxide on it, then rinsed with warm water. The little leg was featherless and had an open wound underneath, a tick and maggots on it. Once the bird got comfortable and could move its leg again, it began picking the bugs off itself, then hopped out of a bowl of warm water that I put it in to try to clean it up some more, jumped off my deck and ran under it before I could catch it! I think it went underneath some steps that are under the deck, and I never saw it again. I thought I could see it come out the other side of the deck, and I looked around the yard for it, but didn't find it. I think it had a good chance of healing, though. Wings and legs worked, and it was glad to be free!

Be on the lookout for animals that need your help!  Adopt and rescue whenever you can. One more animal will not change your life very much, but you will change the life of that animal forever!

Discover your purpose

How do you do that?  Think about what you love to do. What would you do for free if you had the time? What makes you happy, satisfied, and lose track of time while you are doing it?  I believe that those natural preferences are gifts from God, and they are different for each person. Those are our talents that we should be using. Thinking about what you don't enjoy will also help you narrow it down as you figure out your purpose.

I have heard it said: "Do what you love and find someone to pay you for doing it."  I have seen friends do exactly that.  One of my friends began by volunteering to make and deliver meals for a friend who had cancer, and the word spread and soon wives and mothers were asking if she could do that for them too, or at least deliver the ingredients needed to quickly put a meal together and bake it because they didn't have time.  That inspired her to go to cooking school and get her chef's license and open her own catering business. She now caters for a very large company in town, along with private dinner parties for the CEO, weddings, and other client needs.

Another friend loves horses, and began entertaining crowds at horse shows and learned to train horses, entered and won contests, made a name for himself as an expert, and he now travels the world teaching clinics and performing, and now has his own home-base farm where he offers clinics, one-on-one training, boarding, and hosts other clinicians.

They have inspired me to find my own purpose and do the same! Maybe those stories will inspire you, too. Work can be fun!