Change your Lifestyle

  • Working It Out
  • Overcoming Procrastination
  • Time Management and Achieving Goals
  • Managing Time at the Office
  • Have Fun In The Summer Time
  • Travel with Confidence and Comfort
  • The "Disease" To Please

Working It Out

Here's  some advice about putting more exercise in our lives each day. Exercise  helps us to think more clearly, feel better physically, and once done,  gives us a great sense of accomplishment which carries through to other  activities. Looking and feeling great helps our self-esteem too.  Although  the article is reprinted from the July/August, 2006, MomSense  Magazine  and is geared toward young mothers, I thought the  time-management tips  and help to overcome obstacles would be applicable  to anyone!

Working It Out - Health Matters - by Carrie Carter, M.D.

  • Q:  With my busy "mom" schedule, I can't always find the time to  exercise.  And when I do work out, I often feel bored with my routine.  Do you have  any suggestions?
  • A:  Moms everywhere can relate to your exercise dilemma, since  motherhood  can consume every minute you have, and the last thing we  want to do when  exhausted is take time to fit in boring exercise!

Why Find the Time?

But   there are big reasons why exercise is beneficial. If you spend even a   few minutes doing exercise you enjoy, you will relive stress,  strengthen  your body, bones and heart and likely get a "second wind"  after an  exhausting day. Want to lose weight? Exercise burns calories,  revs up  your metabolism and builds lean muscle mass. The more muscle  you have,  the more calories you burn even when you are asleep. Plus,  many other  remarkable benefits await you that only exercise can  provide.

Clear the Roadblocks and Myths

With   these benefits to motivate us, what keeps us from exercising whenever   we can? Here are many roadblocks and myths that block the way:

  • No time - Commit to workout for just one minute each day. Then add more.
  • It's expensive or complicated - It's as simple as a 10-minute walk or dancing at home.
  • Ineffective unless exercise is 20-30 minutes straight - False! Short sessions combined are just as effective.
  • Have health problems - Work with your doctor to find what you can do in bed or a chair when ill, pregnant or disabled.
  • Too out of shape - It's not too late if you're still conscious and breathing! ANY bit of exercise helps.

Enjoy Exercise

What   about "Exercise is boring?" If this is your belief, it means you've  not  yet found the exercise that you enjoy! Exercise isn't supposed to  be a  life sentence to do activities you hate. The key is to find what   activities you love to do and make these your exercise. You're on the   right track if while exercising you think more about the fun or  activity  and less about your exertion.

Your Exercise Personality

What activities did you enjoy before motherhood? Were you a dancer?
 Liked rollerblading, swimming or bicycling? Did you play team sports or
 individual sports?

Honor your exercise personality: If you're competitive and run, train for a
 10K race. If you're social and love dance, enroll in tap or ballroom dance
 classes with your spouse or a girlfriend. If you're low-key and social, try
 bicycle outings with friends. Check with your local recreation department
 or YMCA for various classes and team sports. Also, with DVDs/videos of
 everything from calming Pilates and Salsa workout to kickboxing, you can
 choose your fun and work out at home.

Gym Dandy?

Beware the lure of joining an expensive gym unless you know it will work
 for you. Perhaps it's the perfect retreat for you. Many have day care available.
 If gyms are new to you, ask about a free trial membership. Also consider lower-cost community gyms.


Similarly,   before buying expensive home exercise equipment, be certain you'll use   it. Inexpensive home equipment that I highly recommend to help you   strength train includes: 5-pound hand barbells, resistance bands and a   large exercise ball. Put the barbells where you'll see them and pick   them up one to three times a day and do a set of arm exercise. The   benefit will add up quickly.

You Can Do It!

There are plenty of valid excuses why many of us don't exercise regularly, but you can wipe most of them away if you:

  • Do something that you love/enjoy when you exercise.
  • Start where you are and add one little nugget of fun exercise to your daily routine, then expand from there.
  • Break up exercise into short sessions throughout the day, and it'll add up to significant movement.
  • Honor the fact that your health is important enough to make exercise a priority. (As your husband or friend to watch the kids.)
  • Now let's go play!

Note: Please check with your doctor before starting a strenuous exercise program or if you have health problems.

Dr.   Carrie Carter is a mother and national speaker on health issues. She   served as a pediatrician for more than 10 years in San Diego,  California  and wrote A Woman's Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle  (Spire/Revell, 2006)


Overcoming Procrastination

Reprinted from the Fresno Bee, July 24, 2017 commentary by Harvey Mackay

Procrastination is a thief. It robs you of the one commodity that you just can’t buy back: time. It throws off schedules. It replaces accomplishment with inaction. It turns dreams into nightmares.

When faced with a task that you just don’t want to do, many of us simply put it off until tomorrow. That’s why tomorrow is often the busiest day of the week. And one of these days becomes none of these days.

Putting off an unpleasant task until tomorrow simply gives you more time for your imagination to make a mountain out of a possible molehill…more time for anxiety to sap your self-confidence.

Most of us can relate to occasional bouts of procrastination—the phone call you have been dreading to place, the project that you just can’t get excited about, the meeting that you should have scheduled two weeks ago. But why can’t we just get in gear?

Thomas A. Harris, in his famous book “I’m OK, You’re OK”, wrote: “There are three things that give people the “wantivation” to change: They must hurt sufficiently, they must experience despair or boredom, or they must suddenly discover they can change.”

Dr. Gail Saltz, author of “Becoming Real: Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back”, says that 20 percent of Americans are considered “chronic procrastinators”. But it’s not about laziness, it’s about fear, she says. Among the reasons:

  • Fear of failure -- Are you so paralyzed by the fear of failure that you’d rather just not try at all?
  • Fear of success -- Do you think that if you succeed at something then the bar will be set so high that you will never reach it again? Or are you afraid that you don’t deserve success?
  • A need to be defiant -- Is life generally a battle for control? Are you taking a passive-aggressive approach to control by procrastinating?
  • A thrill-seeker procrastinator -- Are you trying to avoid the boredom of daily tasks? Does boredom terrify you? Do you need to create a crisis to keep things interesting? Understanding procrastination will help you break the paralyzing habit of putting off what you need to do. Then you can begin to make the changes that will help you tackle your work with more determination.

Start prioritizing so you won’t get overwhelmed. Create to-do lists and figure out what’s important. As the old saying goes, “Well begun is half done.” Knowing what you need to do is not enough. You need to plan to track your progress. 

Then do just one step. Gather some preliminary information, call one person or figure out what tools you need. Once you’ve completed that task, give yourself permission to do something else. In many cases, once you’ve begun, you’ll be more inclined to keep on working. Even if you aren’t, you’ll be one step closer to success when you come back to the task later.

I find it helpful to set a deadline, even when the project isn’t time-sensitive. That way, there’s nothing hanging over my head that is cluttering up the rest of my workload. I also write down my to-do list so that I can focus on one item at a time.

Procrastination is a problem at all levels. Charles M. Schwab, who founded Bethlehem Steel Company in 1904, was a master of his schedule. He made it a practice of investing five minutes each day analyzing the problems he should tackle the next day. He would write down those tasks in the order of priority.

When he arrived at his office the next morning, he would start with the top issue on his list and move on in order.  “This is the most practical lesson I’ve ever learned,” he claimed, and shared this example to prove his point: “I had put off a phone call for nine months, so I decided to list it as my No. 1 task on my next day’s agenda. That call netted a $2 million order.”

I’m not sure what that would translate to in today’s economy, but I’d be happy with a $2 million order any day! Make the call!

Mackay’s Moral: Overcoming procrastination helps your to-do list become your all-done list.


Time Management and Achieving Goals

When  we take the time to set yearly, monthly,  daily goals we save time,  energy, and money in the long run. Much of  my information comes from  several books on time management: "The Time Trap", by Alec Mackenzie, "The Unofficial Guide to Managing Time", by Dawn  E. Reno, "Conquering Chaos at Work", by Harriet Schechter, and "Ordering Your Private World", by Gordon  MacDonald

The  real purpose of time  management is to allow us to live less stressful  lives, have a balance  between work and home life, to increase  productivity, and to make  progress toward goals. Just hearing the words  "goal setting" makes some  people uncomfortable. As Alec Mackenzie says  in his classic book on  time management, The Time Trap: "Setting goals  for significant  accomplishments you want to achieve in your life, both  personal and  professional accomplishments, costs you nothing. Failure to  set them  can cost you plenty."

Goals  may be set for you as  outlined in your job description. You also have new goals set in a performance evaluation process. Let's define a  goal and flesh it out.  Webster defines "goal" as "the mark set as a  limit to a race. An aim or  purpose." Goals are an end result-what you  want to accomplish. They  are defined by objectives that then set  priorities that affect daily  activities and decisions. But it all starts  with a goal.

A goal must be:

  • Demanding-it motivates us to do our best.
  • Achievable-don't make your goals unrealistically high.
  • Specific and measurable-a way to know if you've achieved it.
  • Must have a deadline.
  • Agreed to by those who must achieve it.
  • Should be written down.
  • Should  be flexible. Re-examine your goal and make adjustments  upward or  downward. Don't be quick to lower your goals without first  learning how  to work smarter. What we're most interested in here is the  practical  application of goal setting. If we set goals, how does that  fact affect  our daily lives?

Let's take a very simplistic example:

The  Director of Dining Services  at a university has a long term goal to  daily serve nutritional,  taste-conscious, visually appealing, timely and  cost-effective meals to  the faculty and students. This basically  becomes his or her mission  statement. It will determine how he or she  will spend time. The  Director will then set objectives or intermediate  targets to achieve  that goal:

  • Speaking with the dietician or nutritionist
  • Learning about and purchasing the best equipment
  • Researching low cost, yet good quality food sources
  • Learning about presentation and color appeal
  • Hiring experienced cooks and line personnel
  • Training servers and wait staff
  • Getting feedback from people as to how he's doing in achieving his goals.

Then  he or she will set up  monthly or daily priorities from those  objectives. These priorities  will determine his or her activities. When  some activity is presented  to him or her that will NOT help achieve this  goal it can be  eliminated, disregarded without guilt or dilemma. An  activity that will  not help achieve the goal should not be an activity  at all.

Let's review:

  • Start with long range goals and objectives.
  • Relate the days' activities to those goals.
  • Assign priorities to the days' tasks according to their contribution to your overall goals.
  • Schedule tasks according to priority and to the degree of concentration required.
  • Stay on track, using your goals to guide you through crises and interruptions and help you make daily activity choices.

Managing Time At The Office

Need some help managing your time at the office?

  • Set goals
  • Track your time for one week. Are you meeting your goals?
  • Are your activities are vital, important, or trivial? Levels
      should be determined by your goals.
  • Eliminate or delegate those actions that deter you from
      your goals.
  • Need more time for strategic activities? Delegate the details
      - phone calls, meetings, filing, reading.
     a. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.
     b. Describe the task you are to delegate
     c. Train the person to do the task
     d. Let the person do the task
     e. Follow-up and evaluate
  • Interruptions
     a.  Schedule time into your day when your door is closed: Rearrange  your  office so your desk is not in plain view as people walk by; put a  sign  on your door that you are not to be disturbed.
     b.  Simplify communications - limit the ways people can contact you.   Install a system outside your office for papers to be dropped off. Wall   pockets labeled and color keyed with different forms to be returned,   picked up, etc.
     c.  Use your phone to take notes or carry paper and pen with you if you must travel in the complex,  write  down the comments, problems, etc. but do not try to solve them on  the  spot. Say you will get back to them within a reasonable amount of  time.
  • E-mails: Check e-mails twice a day, and combine as many responses as possible to eliminate extra mail.
  • Phone calls:
     a.  Have your assistant get all pertinent information (not just who  called  and when) BEFORE you return the call. This eliminates much phone  tag.
     b. Tell the person "I've got 5 minutes to talk." in the beginning of the conversation.
     c. Keep to the facts.
  • Desk  dumping: To eliminate your big pile at the end of the day,  have color  keyed files on/near your desk so people do pre-sorting for  you.
  • Meetings: Combine meetings, delegate leadership at meetings, and eliminate meetings-use e-mail or memos
  • Maintenance time
     a.  This is important because if something isn't maintained it may stop   working or become unsightly. (Think of your garden weeds.)
     b. 10 minutes once a day eliminates one hour after 6 days.
  • Evaluate your current filing system. Can you find things quickly enough?
  • Are you using your assistant to your best advantage?
  • Energy levels can be helped by eating lunch and including a late afternoon protein snack.


Healthy Fun In The Summer Time

Here's a few tips from "Real Simple" magazine (realsimple.com) to help make your summer fun, healthy, and great!

  • Cool  down: During hot summer months, pop your skincare  products-face and  body lotions, eye creams, cleanser-in the  refrigerator before hopping  into the shower. They'll feel even more  refreshing after you step out.
  • Prolong  your manicure: Stay away from heavily pigmented browns  and beiges that  tend to chip faster because of high levels of iron  oxide and titanium  dioxide. And always apply a new topcoat to nails  every other day.
  • Exercise  anytime: No time to get to the gym? Lunges, which  tighten the glutes,  can be done just about anywhere. Do a walking lunge  down the hallway in  your home. Or lunge in place when you're picking  up toys and books.
  • Soothe  your burn: Repurpose ice trays you haven't used since you  bought the  new refrigerator with the ice maker. Freeze aloe vera gel  into  single-serving sunburn relief. The ice cools the skin instantly,  and the  aloe helps soothe the burn.
  • Chill  out: Freeze berries in an ice-cube tray to use in place of  ice. They  look stunning in fizzy beverages, won't water down drinks,  and provide a  burst of flavor-not to mention a dose of antioxidants.
  • Make  a slushie: Set up your ice cream maker according to the  manufacturer's  directions. Pour in one 12-ounce can of cola and start  the machine. When  a thick slush has formed (after 10-15 minutes), scoop  it into 2 glasses  and serve.
  • Upgrade  your drink: Freeze slices of lemon, lime, and orange,  then use them to  add a cold blast of citrus to your iced tea, lemonade,  or plain old  glass of water. Slide a piece of plastic wrap between  slices to keep  them from sticking. They'll stay fresh for up to two  months when stored  in an airtight container in your freezer.
  • Keep  flowers upright: Extend the stems of roses to fit a vase.  Place the  bottom of each stem inside a straw, then arrange the flowers  as you  normally would. Your blooms will stand up tall, even if you've  been  overzealous with the trimming.
  • Refresh  your flowers: To revive a tired-looking arrangement,  submerge the  flowers completely in a sinkful of cold water for an hour.  And to  prolong the lives of delicate flowers, stick them in the  refrigerator at  night.
  • Preserve  guacamole: Squeeze a little lemon into your avocado dip  and give it a  stir. The lemon eliminates the browning that occurs when  guacamole sits.
  • Perk  up dessert: Fruit salad is healthy but ho-hum. But you can  fill a  waffle cone with fruit salad, and you've got an instant party  dessert.  Bonus: no bowls to wash.
  • Grill  smart: Really hot grill bars equal dramatic grill marks on  your  porterhouse. To concentrate the heat and keep it from escaping,  lay a  sheet of foil over the grill for 10 minutes. Peel the foil off  before  cooking (it cools fast), scrunch it into a ball and use it to  scrape any  reside or ash from the bars.
  • Set  a summer table: Worried your dinner table will look like a   four-year-old's birthday party if you use paper plates and plastic   utensils? Elevate the simple to the sophisticated-literally-by placing   fruit and just-picked blossoms on shoe or small gift boxes that have   been covered in white gift wrapping.
  • Keep  tissues dry: A peppermint tin is perfect for keeping tissues  clean and  dry in your purse or beach bag. Just fold over the  pocket-pack size and  pop them in. You'll always have a supply of fresh  tissues, minus all the  lint, dirt, sand, and rumples they usually  attract at the bottom of  your bag.
  • Save  your summer memories: Many photo websites (like  shutterfly.com) will  put digital photos into an album for you, and  Together Book  (togetherbook.com) will take photos you send them and  bind them into a  hardcover linen album.
  • Plan  a party: If you have to entertain guests but don't have time  to plan an  elaborate party, assemble a memorable cheese spread. It  takes just one  trip to the store, and everything can be purchased and  set out in under  an hour.
  • Create  instant atmosphere: To set a cool mood at a party the easy  way, use  pinking shears to cut strips of blue paper long enough to fit  around the  outside of thick glass votives, then attach with  double-sided tape.
  • Get  a perfect scoop: Before digging into the ice cream carton,  wet the  scoop, then shake off the excess. Too much water can turn into  ice  crystals and make ice cream crumbly.
  • Serve  something special: What dessert could be easier than a  cupcake? But  easy doesn't have to mean boring. Votive holders make  perfect containers  for bite-size cupcakes. Bake the batter in  mini-muffin tins, dust the  cakes with confectioners' sugar, and insert  candles. Then just make a  wish.
  • Put  the world on hold: Take some time to recharge in your own  home. Turn  off the ringers on your phones. Stop the newspaper. Stash  all your  clocks in a dresser drawer. Eliminating reminders of time  helps wipe  away the stress of the daily grind.
  • Protect  with style: A basic white cotton T-shirt gives you the  equivalent of  only about SPF5. The key to sun protection is the  fabric's weave: the  tighter the weave, the better it blocks UV rays.  Color also plays a  role: darker shades absorb UV light, so less  radiation makes it through  the fabric to the skin.
  • Warm  up: When preparing your body for an activity this summer, do  a similar  activity that's slower and gentler. So, if you're going for a  run, start  with a walk, then gradually increase your intensity. Leave  stretching  until you cool down to avoid the risk of injury.
  • Condition  your hair: Run out of conditioner and need something in  a hurry to  smooth your summer hair? Use a mashed avocado or ½ cup of  whole milk.  They contain fats and oils that will coat and moisturize  your hair.
  • Pack  light: When packing makeup, save room by using a  days-of-the-week  vitamin holder to hold several different cosmetics.  And use clear travel  pots for moisturizer, facial cleanser, and hair  products.

Travel With Confidence And Comfort

Did you know that the Thanksgiving holiday is the most heavily traveled weekend
 of the year? Whether you are flying, driving, taking the bus or train, you may
 experience disruptions and delays in your schedule. Power blackouts in airports,
 vehicle breakdowns, and other unexpected surprises can be less upsetting if you
 are prepared for them physically and emotionally. Here are some tips adapted
 from Barbara Hemphill's "Tips for Travel Disaster Preparedness."

  • Carry a paper printout of your travel reservations. Computer systems may be down and you may have no way of substantiating your reservation. Having documentation with a reservation number on it may be used to get your boarding pass.
  • Travel  with cash. Cash machines and credit cards require  electricity. If the  power is out your ability to buy food directly  relates to the amount of  cash you have available.
  • Keep  your cell phone charged and a calling card handy. Although  cellular  service at best can be sketchy, without a battery you have no  chance at  all. Payphones may work intermittently. Also, you'll need  coins to pay  for the calls when you get the chance to use the phone.
  • Carry a flashlight.
  • Pack some snacks such as protein bars. Even if there is no disaster, never rely on the airlines to feed you.
  • Wear  comfortable clothes and shoes. Keep in mind that  temperatures vary  widely - the airport may be incredibly hot and the  airplane freezing.  Walking long distances and up and down staircases in  heels is not only  exhausting but could be dangerous. Carry wet wipes.  Running water requires electricity.
  • Keep physically fit. You may have to climb up escalators that aren't working while carrying your luggage.
  • Take an extra battery for your laptop. In spite of the chaos you may actually be able to get some work done.
  • Carry a good book.
  • Be gracious. Getting upset won't solve any problems and it may create more.
  • Whenever  you think you've got problems, just look around. Other  travelers may be  sick, elderly, physically or mentally handicapped or  traveling with  children. Help others whenever you can.


The "Disease" To Please

"Everyday Cheapskate," Newspaper Enterprise Association, Mary Hunt, 7/27/05

This "disease" can certainly be costly…

I could never be a medical transcriptionist. My problem would be the symptoms and medical conditions. I'd have all of them.

Knowing  this about myself, I   wasn't all that surprised to end up with yet  another condition after   watching a recent episode of "Oprah" - the  disease to please. I passed   their little "Do You Have the Disease to  Please?" self-diagnosis quiz   with flying colors. Actually, I wouldn't  expect anything less from   myself.

The  first questions: "Do you ever   say YES when what you really want to say  is NO?" Well of course I   do-doesn't everyone? Or how about this one: "Is  it extremely important   to me to be liked by nearly everyone in my  life?" Don't we all want  to  be liked? I whipped through that quiz in  about 10 seconds flat,   answering every question "yes," "yes," "yes," and  "yes"!

I  have to admit this need to   please played a huge role in my own  experiences with getting deeply   into debt. I rarely spent for myself. I  was forever buying for others,   picking up the tab, giving the best gift.  I wanted recognition,   approval and acceptance. That can create a lot of  pressure.

I  am learning that this "disease"   starts with wanting to be a good  person. You want to be liked. You   want to be chosen first, never last.  You respond to everyone's  requests  and just keep doing more and more  with promptness and  perfection.

After  all, aren't we called to   generosity out of hearts of gratitude and  service? Isn't it selfish to   always say "no"? Yes, but there is a huge  difference between  authentic  service and using it as an opportunity to  manipulate. The  test is to  ask "What's my motivation? Is my action pure,  or is it a  sneaky way to  get something in return?"

Analyze  your motivation. Before   you say "yes" to anything, do a quick  self-analysis. What am I doing   this? Why am I buying this? What am I  expecting in return? If you can   answer "nothing in return," then your  motivation is pure. If there's   another answer, it's probably some form  of manipulation.

Experts  say that time is the best   antidote for the disease to please, whether  that's five minutes or   five months. Never answer on the spot. Nothing is  so urgent you cannot   take time to think about it. Acting to please can  be noble and   gratifying as long as the decision to do so for the joy it  brings, not   for what you expect to get in return.