Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Buy Nothing

The concept of buying nothing seems so unrealistic, but the popularity of the Buy Nothing movement is growing. It started as a social experiment in 2013 by two friends on Bainbridge Island, WA. Since it's inception it has become a worldwide social movement with groups in 44 countries. The premise is local groups form gift economies that parallel and complement cash economies. People join with different motives, to save money, consume less and/or get rid of things in a more positive way that are cluttering their lives. Some Buy Nothing groups evolve to be supportive communities that give back in support and connections well beyond the free items group members may give away or receive within the community. I am not on Facebook and up to this point the Buy Nothing groups have been managed by volunteers under the Facebook umbrella. I am excited to learn that the founders are in the Beta stage of a BuyNothing app. One of the test site groups is in Alexandria and I have signed up to be a Beta user. Here is a link to find out more about the Buy Nothing movement and to get on the waitlist for the app. My spring newsletter featured a short article on Earth Day and offered ideas for recycling common items. The Buy Nothing effort sure ties in to one of the core tenants of protecting our earth - reducing. I look forward to finding out more about this movement and sorting out how to get involved.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Spring is Here!

Spring is a time of new beginnings and hope and I believe this fresh start is more welcome this year after the challenges of 2020. Even though we are still dealing with the pandemic we have hope through the vaccines. I am beyond hopeful and excited about a volunteer opportunity I heard about at a vaccination site next week whereby I may be able to receive the vaccine after a day of volunteering with a team of doctors and others who are distributing the Covid vaccine. Spring for me and a lot of people represents getting outside and digging in the dirt to get our flower and vegetable beds ready for all they will bring us in the coming months. It is restorative and meditative to be outside enjoying nature and directly see the benefits of my work. It is also an optimal time to look at our outdoor entertaining spaces and sort out how to prepare them for the coming months of outside relaxing and entertaining. This time of year is an optimal opportunity to edit rooms and give our homes a lighter, fresher look. A great way to do this is to walk through each room and remove and wash winter throws and pillows. I also tend to have some other decorations that are seasonal in each room, so I change those out. I do tend to do a deep edit of all the stuff in each room seasonally and in the spring feel this need more so. We do not realize how books, magazines, decorative items, and extra things pile up and make our rooms look cluttered and unsettled. Wishing you a beautiful, streamlined spring full of hope and possibilities.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Getting to Flow

It takes 7 minutes to get into the zone and to really focus on a task. As we are all well aware, we are constantly bombarded with distractions, especially most of us working from home. I have heard many statistics about how long it takes to get back into flow after a distraction and most recently heard it takes 10 minutes. So if we think about all of the times we are distracted in a day, we had better have a plan to deal with it if we want to get anything done. I took a virtual productivity workshop last Saturday and took away many tips, some of which I already knew, though great to get a refesher and get reinvigorated. My biggest take away is a philosophy I already embrace - to go back to basics. Here are some of the gems I picked up to become more productive and get to flow quicker.
  • Avoid Distractions - We have gotten used to managing our distractions and not being aware how they are stealing our time and productivity. A huge distraction can be our workspace. Clear away the clutter and make it as open as possible. If you are a person that keeps tabs open to all the pages you intend to go back to, embrace using One Tab to hide them though still have easy access. It is important to turn off our notifications on our phones and computers so that we aren't binged and dinged every time a text or e-mail comes through.
  • Get reacquainted with the Pomodoro Technique, a brain-based proven concept that we work best in 25 minute increments with a 5 minute break in between. This one technique alone will focus your energy and increase your productivy. There are many count down clocks on the market that support the Pomodoro Technique. Here is more information about it from my Summer 2020 newsletter.
  • Commit to your Power Hour - this hour should be devoted to a project that is important that you keep putting off. It could be a goal you want to achieve, but you never get around to focus on it. Ideally the speaker said if your schedule allows devote one power hour to personal goals and one to work.
  • Time Block - we all put appointments on our calendars and reoccuring meetings. Though most of us don't block our time for work. I'm not suggesting to get into the minutia of scheduling, however the power hour(s) should be blocked and the top 3 tasks/actions should be identified and blocked on your schedule.
Don't try to make too many changes at once. Try to sort out how to minimize the distractions and by going back to basics before long we all will be getting to flow and will enjoy our enhanced productivity.

Friday, February 12, 2021

How Focus, Gratitude and Letting Go Lead to Greater Happiness and Productivity

My kids remind me regularly that the things that make me happy sometimes don’t make sense to them. I find contentment in having a picked-up house and to two teenagers I guess I understand in a way how that may seem odd. I believe that happiness and contentment is found by recognizing and feeling the little moments of joy. A little joy I had recently was organizing my food storage container drawer! I finally let go of all the containers and lids that didn’t have a matching partner. I eliminated the frustration of not finding the proper lid, by storing the lids to most of the containers next to or under each storage container. I donated the unwanted usable containers and was left with the ones I use for all my food storage needs. Paring down gives the drawer a little room and will help it stay organized. My quick February organization project ultimately saves time and takes the hassle out of food storage. Thanks to an article I read by positivity guru, Neil Pasricha, I am trying his happiness and productivity practice which is a quick check-in each morning to identify 3 things to focus on, recognize something I’m grateful for and establish something I plan to let go of. So far I’m on week three and I find it easy to do and well worth the less than two minutes it takes. I highly recommend it!