How often do you complain?

How often do you complain that you don’t have enough time to do all the things you want/need to do? Better yet, how often do you hear others complain about it? “If only there were 29 hours in a day,” or, “I can’t seem to catch up.” Yes, some people have overextended themselves, but most people just don’t know how to organize their time.

In my life, procrastination wastes a lot of my time, and believe me, I am a master at it. I practice a trifecta of avoidance, boredom, and lack of focus.  So, two simple questions to ask as we begin the new year.  What is the one thing you do that wastes the most time your life? Is it TV, video games, eating, Facebook or Twitter browsing, cleaning? Whatever it is, it is taking time away from what you really should be doing-and only you know what that is. Shouldn’t you be writing, working, cleaning, doing paperwork, exercising, etc.   OK, once you know what you are doing to waste time, make an agreement with yourself to recognize when you are doing this and ask yourself, “Do I have something more important to do right now?” If the answer is yes…go do it.  What is the one thing you did this past year that made you happy? Was it traveling, writing, reading, spending time with friends, cooking with your kids, etc.? Promise yourself right now to make time for what makes you happy. Don’t deny yourself those little things that make you happy.   Now, I hear some of you saying, “But the thing I do that wastes time is the thing that makes me happy.” Nice try, Smartass. I’m not saying you can’t do those things anymore. I’m suggesting that you make specific time for those activities and stick to it.

For example: if you love watching TV, and it’s your time waster, then look through the TV schedule and line up your favorite shows. Then make time to watch them as a reward for getting your responsibilities taken care of. No sitting down with the remote and mindlessly channel surfing for two hours when you’ve got paperwork to take care of.  Don’t beat yourself up if you grab the remote and plop on the couch, just recognize it, think about whether you are avoiding something or really enjoying it. Avoiding something?- Get it over with and go do it. Enjoying it and have some free time?- have fun.  Sounds simple, but I know it isn’t. Nobody’s perfect, especially me. But I am going to try this year and follow my own advice. Which means less TV and Facebook scrolling and more time for what I enjoy-movies with my daughter, writing, blogging, photography, reading and art.  Good luck!

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Blogs I follow and why

I don’t follow a lot of blogs, I just don’t have the time to read them all and sometimes blogs can be a bit narcissistic (ok, maybe that’s what blogging is all about, but why read even more?) But in case you were looking for some great blogs to keep track of, here are just a few of my favorites these days:

1. Saving for Someday. On top of some great tips on saving money, bargains, and deals in stores, Sara also shares some insights into her life and daily living as a giving, caring person trying to raise a daughter in this crazy world. Follow her, you won’t be sorry.

2. Pirates and Fireflies. Vicariously travel through Europe and other parts exotic, with photos that make me say AHHHHHH so many times it may be annoying to anyone around me. The posts are short enough not to be tedious, but interesting and bucolic. You won’t regret this one, unless the jealousy eats away at you. (What? I can’t help it.)

3. Nail Your Novel. Roz Morris, author and editor, shells out some great advice and quick tips to do just what she says…Nail Your Novel.

4. TIPPR Blog. An aspiring writer/editor who blogs a bit of poetry. I’m not a huge fan of poetry, but I do enjoy it sometimes, and I like getting just a bit every so often in my inbox and these are quite nice. Give a look.

OK, that’s four. I’ll put a few more up for you soon. What blogs are you following? Let me know.

 

Standing up for two weeks in the heat

Phoenix Necessity

Phoenix Necessity

OK, I am in an air-conditioned studio, but it takes a bit for the A/C to kick in when it’s 119 degrees outside. Yeah, you heard me right. I’m standing at my desk watching the grass turn brown and all the plants in my yard burst into little flames that puff out quickly because of the lack of oxygen in the air because somehow the state of Arizona has moved closer to the sun without anyone noticing.

But seriously, I have been standing at my desk for the past two weeks (during work hours, smart aleck) and it seems to be working out pretty well. I do take breaks to read longer documents while sitting, or after a long bout of standing I’ll move the tray down and sit for a bit. But surprisingly, I find myself anxious when I sit now and I want to stand back up. Scary, huh? Who knew?

So, the experiment is a success. The best part about all this is that while standing, I don’t scrunch up my shoulders while I’m at my computer. (You know what I’m talking about, you’re doing it right now. Relax those shoulders.) I no longer reach my shoulders to my ears without thinking about it. As a result, my neck feels a lot less stressed at the end of a long editing gig. And that is a wonderful bonus for someone with a history of neck pain. So, without even asking…here are my recommendations if you’re thinking of giving this a try.

1. Make sure your forearms are at approximately a 90-degree angle from your upper arms. For instance, stand up and bend your arms at the elbow and hold your hands straight out in front of you, palms down, parallel with the floor. The desk should be under those hands. I got lucky and the tray with my laptop hit just the right mark.

2. Get a gel mat. I found one at Costco for just $14.99 rather than the $50-$100 versions I saw online. It really does make a difference.

3. Try a few different pairs of shoes to find just the right ones that you can stand in for long periods. You’d be surprised what works. I have a pair of sandals that work much better than any sneakers. And, you may want to go barefoot like a friend of mine recommended.

4. Shift around. If you get stiff or sore the first few days, shift your weight around. It helps to move a bit.

5. If possible, step one foot in front of the other and lean forward and rest the front of your thigh on the desk. That gives you a bit of a break on your back. Thanks to Sean Preuss for this recommendation. If that doesn’t work, try putting a box or book on the floor and put one foot on it to ease your back a bit.

6. Dance. No kidding, it really helps. While I’m working, I’ve got music on and I sway to it. During a break to read emails or check FB, I put on some AC/DC or even some ’70s disco (shush, no judging). It feels good to move around and you won’t realize that you’re actually exercising a bit.

7. Sit down. This is not a contest. If you are sore or tired, sit down. Most advice I got was to move from standing to sitting frequently to give your body a break. The longer you do this, the easier it becomes and the longer your standing shifts will be.

8. Don’t buy an expensive desk or chair right now. Make sure you can do this before dropping big bucks on something that may wind up on Craigslist. Just a computer tray, a strong box or two, just make sure it’s sturdy.

Go for it, and let me know how you like it. I’m loving it and keeping cool with a fan and A/C here in AZ.