Here we are in the homestretch. With only TEN days until Christmas.
If you’re anything like me you might have a little love/hate relationship with the month of December.
On the one hand – there’s CHRISTMAS!!! There are so many awesome things about this – the most wonderful time of the year. Much more family time. Opportunities to celebrate with friends. Wearing a little extra sparkle. Aunt Betty’s homemade fudge. A beautifully decorated house with lots of twinkly lights.
Unfortunately the rest of the world doesn’t stop so that we can enjoy the amazing ride that is the winter holidays. There are still bills to pay, lunches to make, work to do. Not only do regular chores NOT get suspended for the month of December but we get extra chores like shopping and (at least here in the midwest) raking leaves!
It is rare that I actually enjoy December very much, even though I really love everything about the holidays. So this week I’m going to share with you a couple of great ideas that I’ve run across to help you slow down and enjoy as well as reasons to do so!
Oh, be sure to keep doing your Minute Movement exercises so you can handle the extra load this month!
I won’t normally share links to slideshows since they usually don’t keep my attention long enough for me to finish them. But I did finish this one (because I’m ALWAYS looking for ways to save time) and there were a couple of great tips that I hadn’t heard. So, since Minute Movement is all about helping you find ways to get more accomplished in less time. I thought I’d share. The list includes ideas for keeping paper clutter under control, and deciding which clothes to pass on to your favorite charity.
I was especially interested in number 16, which says ‘always load the dishwasher in an organized way. So instead of throwing all of the silverware into the utensil box, put the forks in one area, the spoons in another, and the knives in another, and then when you’re unloading you just grab all the spoons and put them in the drawer’. I LOVE it – now I just need to get the family on board!
Some people reject organization as being too restrictive but I’ve found that being organized as much as possible actually gives me more space and time to have fun and be spontaneous (or go for a walk). Did you see anything in this list that you might want to try or was it missing something big? Let us know on our Facebook page!
Make Your Minutes Matter!
As the year winds down my thoughts always turn to the the improvements I want to make in my life. I’ve found that grand resolutions at the beginning of the year don’t typically work well for me because I end up feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of ‘never again’ and sabotage my own plans. You know what works best for me? I set smaller goals for myself (throughout the year) instead of making huge, sweeping resolutions.
For example, I really want to improve my nutrition but I haven’t found a magic diet that works for longer than a few weeks – tops. The extreme deprivation, the innumerable salads stretching into my future, the stress of never having chocolate again. It doesn’t take very long for it to destroy my good intentions. Instead, I like to break down the larger goal – of ‘good nutrition’ – into more manageable steps like drinking 64 ounces of water daily or eating 7-9 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. I track my progress and celebrate my successes (but NOT with food – usually). And before I know it I REALLY AM eating better – without feeling deprived!
So maybe you’re a fan of the grand resolution at the beginning of the year -lots of people are. But if you feel like that’s not been working well for you why don’t you try setting small, manageable goals instead?
Make Your Minutes Matter!
The past couple of days I’ve been exploring the impact of which activities we choose to spend our time pursuing on effectiveness. Now I’m gonna put on my Minute Movement hat.
Personally (and I’m sure for a lot of you can relate) when I feel overwhelmed one of the first things that I give up is exercise. When I stop being intentional about living healthfully I find myself caught in internet rabbit-holes, watching more television, and eating too much (especially snacking on high carb garbage late at night when I should just go to bed). Those indiscretions make my energy drop and I get less done and before I know it I’m stuck in a vicious cycle of ineffectiveness (yet again).
When Aaron first came up with the concept of Minute Movement I wasn’t exactly a willing participant. Even though I could see that his shape was changing drastically while he still got to sleep in and get things done, I felt that I was too busy to interrupt MY tasks every hour to exercise. I insisted that my way of doing things was to put on my blinders and focus completely on one task until I was finished and that even one minute’s deviation would drastically damage my effectiveness. Don’t even get me started on how many times I told Aaron that I would NOT stop in the middle of the grocery store to do one minute of squats (seriously, sometimes I don’t know how he puts up with me). Every time my timer sounded I’d simply dismiss it with mounting irritation.
Then one day Aaron and I were running errands together and his timer sounded (I’d deactivated mine by that point) and Aaron invited me to take one minute for myself.
A minute for myself.
Could I DO that?
what if I did that?
So I did the exercise with him, sitting in the car, before we ran into our next appointment (envisioning a mini beach vacation for some reason). And from that point on I looked at Minute Movement differently. Instead of piling it with all of the other things that I should do (but didn’t) I could just do this one thing little to improve my life (well, two things actually, one was opening my mind a little bit).
If you don’t actually do your movements – that’s okay (I hope you start doing them at some point but it’s okay today) but please take care of yourself. Walk around the block, play with the kids, take the stairs, whatever it takes to move your body.
Doing that one vital thing will change your life.
Make Your Minutes Matter!
After reading Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People several years ago (I highly recommend it) I really attempt to consider his four quadrants for time management as I attempt to organize my life. Covey proposes that all activities fall into one of four categories – Urgent and Important, Not Urgent but Important, Urgent but Not Important, or Not Urgent and Not Important – and that how much time we spend in each quadrant impacts our effectiveness.
Of course we tend to focus on things that are urgent (because they’re urgent)– and often those things, the ‘fires’ really ARE important. But they also keep us running around frenzied and disorganized. Covey recommends taking the time to focus on important things before they become urgent and completing activities that help you do things in a way that’s faster and easier. That covers the first two quadrants.
It’s probably quite normal and understandable that many people have a tendency to spend more time than they should in the last two quadrants, but it’s not effective. The third quadrant (Urgent but Not Important) can feel so important sometimes – things like long phone calls, answering emails, and doing things for other people – it’s difficult to pass those things up and if you do you risk feeling guilty.
Then there’s the fourth quadrant, things that are almost unquestionably time wasters. They’re usually anything that you do without conscious thought – eating, watching TV, surfing the internet. In my experience I spend more time in the fourth quadrant when I spend less time in the second. I have significantly less energy when I don’t take care of my health and spirit properly and end up wasting time with things that drain me at a soul level.
It may even be possible that the ‘fires’ in Quadrant One are simply an indication that you are spending too much time in Quadrants Three and Four and that the best way to prevent them is by spending a lot more time in Quadrant number Two.
PS: I keep a copy of the quadrants in my office to help me remember where I should spend my time.
Make Your Minutes Matter!