While sheltering-in-place we’ve been spending a lot more time baking. And wouldn’t you know: Stressed Spelled Backwards is: Desserts!
I saw that catchy phrase after delivering my 5th batch of muffins in April. To avoid gaining the dreaded Covid-15 (think Freshman-15) I delivered Tupperwares to my neighbor, who appreciates my zero-sugar recipes.
With my last delivery of cranberry-sweetened pumpkin millet muffins, I wrote “sorry for dumping my stress-baked goodies on your doorstep.” She texted back “TY” with a link to “Stress-baking is a real thing!”
My 3 favorite therapeutic benefits to baking:
This “proof of progress” is where I want to focus.
I don’t know about you, but I am:
• losing a sense of what day it is
• not as productive as I was before Covid-19
• feeling less accomplished despite feeling almost as busy
So I reflected on the tools I used before Covid-19:
Here’s why I’m returning to these habits:
I can’t take credit for figuring out…stressed spelled backwards is desserts!
First and foremost, our thoughts and prayers are with those who have contracted this virus. We wish you a speedy recovery. For the rest of us, we face several weeks of home confinement. I don’t know about you but when I stay home for longer than one day, I tend to become lethargic and unmotivated. This time I’m determined not to let that happen. Here’s my plan of action:
Let’s face it, there’s a lot of stuff we just don’t want to do. My list includes anything to do with car maintenance, housekeeping, yard work—come to think of it, my list is pretty extensive. And yet, these things have to get done. We gravitate to activities we enjoy doing and procrastinate on the other stuff. Sound familiar? Here’s my top five anti-procrastination tricks:
Wishing you the most productive year!
*If you work at a desk, I highly recommend using a second monitor screen. This has significantly increased my productivity.
Here are some strategies that can help. The example we’ll use applies them to paper clutter, but they can help you get moving on any clutter-busting project.
Often, seeing something concrete will get you moving, especially if you’re a visual person.
Life in the 21st century is anything but simple. Our world feeds us countless messages defining what we need in order to be happy, successful, and fulfilled. We’ve all heard these messages, either directly or indirectly, and we’ve all bought into at least some of the hopeful promises that our lives can improve…if only we [you fill in the blank].
But the true result of our modern life, trying to keep up with our packed schedules, overflowing to-do lists, and material abundance is sadly, not satisfaction and peace. Rather, we have stress, anxiety, broken relationships, and a LOT of stuff.
So, in the complexity of our technological age, what does it mean to simplify? What does a simpler life look like for an ordinary family keeping up with work, school, and countless demands? Regardless of the season of life—a young couple, family with children, or empty nesters—how can any of us find a greater level of simplicity in our noisy, chaotic, energetic world?
The beautiful truth is that the concept of “living simply” looks different for each person and every family. What I deem a simpler, less complicated life for my family will undoubtedly look different from your ideal. The challenge is that it takes effort to figure out how to step out of a cluttered and demanding lifestyle to pursue a more balanced and satisfying experience of daily life.
I want to highlight the two qualities that define a simpler life, according to Deborah DeFord in her book, The Simpler Life (The Readers Digest Association, Inc, 1998). These are integrity and intentionality.
Integrity is defined as a state of being whole and undivided. This ideal means I need to look at what is important to me, and then live according to those goals and values. If I believe physical fitness is important but never make time in my week to get up and move, then I am not living an integrated life. Rather, to live according to what I value, I will commit to walking 3 times each week and schedule it on my calendar. It’s as simple as that: Live in accordance with what is important to you.
Intentionality means we act with purpose. We consciously decide the choices we make throughout our day. Thus, to be intentional requires a certain mindfulness. If we are always “going with the flow,” we may feel spontaneous, but we are not in control of our day. We are reacting rather than being proactive. I must admit that I sometimes fell prey to impulse purchases, buying things because they were on sale, even though they were not items on my list. The result was I spent money I hadn’t planned to spend, brought home things I might not actually use, and then had to find a place to store my latest bargains. Learning to live with intention means pausing to evaluate my true needs.
How will pursuing integrity and intentionality help you lead a simpler life?
Only you can decide what is most important to you. Only you can be in control of the way you spend your time, the things you buy, and the relationships you pursue. When you proactively make decisions on what you need in your life and shut out the noise of what others are proclaiming, you will have the ability to pursue only those people, activities and things that give meaning to your life. Saying “no” to the unnecessary is saying “yes” to what is most valuable—which leads to true satisfaction, contentment, and peace.
These past few weeks, I have been grappling with a kind of spiritual awareness which continues to unearth and challenge the way I perceive life. I find myself reflecting on the way I think and feel, and also upon the actions I do or don’t do.
In wanting to explore this new era of enlightenment, I took Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now off my shelf. Its content is unwaveringly dense, often leaving me exhausted by concepts too thick to conquer. Though the pages have barely been touched, the title, “The Power of Now” remains ever present to me: challenging me, questioning me, and inspiring me.
Life lived NOW means being present to the opportunity of this moment in time. This moment is the opportunity to experience exactly what is happening, and not what I/we should or could be doing…nor the eight tasks work expects done simultaneously and seamlessly. On the other hand, the familiar sentiment, life lived “Someday, One Day” clouds being present to the gifts of now. A “Someday, One Day” attitude often creates log jams and stagnation in our physical, emotional, and spiritual space. Procrastination goes hand-in-hand with life lived from a “Someday, One Day” perspective.
Being present to NOW fosters gratitude, calmness, peace and stillness…much like the breath we are asked to be present to in our meditation or yoga practices. And in this state of NOW, life flows. Action is second-nature; it is real, purposeful, and natural. It is not sabotaged by “Someday, One Day’s” indecisions, doubts and postponements. Lightness, awakenings, and insights are encouraged by the presence of “NOW” thinking. Fear of change, the unknown, or something different, keeps the “Someday, One Day” card in our hip pocket ready to be played when life feels uncomfortable.
Eckhardt Tolle said, “Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in our life for something new to emerge.” I see this played out time and time again in my own life and in the lives of my clients. Taking on “Someday, One Day’s” mantra of “later, later, later” and actually getting started now creates oceans of energy. Physical spaces are transformed uncorking the damned up to-do’s, intentions, goals and aspirations allowing life’s energies to flow again. Frequently, at the end of a session, clients feel lighter, freed up and elated as the stagnate piles and clutter dissolve into organizational bliss.
Eunice S. Carpitella, Executive Coach & Leadership Development Consultant of Transformative Dynamics, said, “LATER” is the enemy to living a fulfilled, satisfying and rewarding life. It’s always convincing you that whatever needs to be done will somehow be improved by waiting.”
Werner Erhard lightened up this dilemma for me saying, “Thinking about ‘it’ leaves you with more thoughts and older.”
Life is passing by and with it, those precious moments of NOW’s gifts. Moments are accumulating into days, months and even years. We yearn to live our dreams, not the reasons why not. “Someday, One Day” is the status quo and “later, later, later” its hypnotic song. Overcoming “later’s” mantra takes motivation, drive, a push, and support fuelled by a vision to let go of “Someday, One Day.”
Bringing order to chaos and freedom and ease to life is what Professional Organizers love to do. Call an organizer when you need a gentle nudge, a kick start, a fresh set of eyes or a partner to drive away the “Someday, One Day” blues.
Cause a life you love, lived joyously in the presence of NOW — moment by moment.
Embrace The Power of NOW!