CD players and computer comfort numbers

My twins are now 2 years 8 months and have been falling asleep to their sleep CD for about 2 years 6 months :)

If conditions are right, they’re off to dreamland after about 1 – 2 tracks.

Well, the CD player in their room broke. From somebody’s enthusiastic handling of the machine.

We just put them to sleep without it but it’s been a lot harder. As in an hour’s chit chat accompanied by lots of giggles and other sounds of naughtiness.

Last weekend I really needed them to sleep quickly without all the shenanigans.

So I took my laptop to their bedroom to play the CD.

Because the laptop was with them and I have a self-imposed no iPad when I’m at home rule, I was forced to do something else whereas normally during their naps, I read a little and then veg, reading blogs on the computer.

This time, I tackled some organising in my study, finished some crafts, got birthday gifts ready, took pics for the blog, etc.

All this in two hours.

This is what happened to the felt placemat – I think it’s very cute!

In other words, I was super productive. All because I wasn’t on the computer.

Even I couldn’t believe it.

I used to have another rule – no more than two hours on the computer a day. That’s once I get home from work, of course.

I’m not sure when that one fell by the wayside… but I need to bring it back so that I have more time for reading, cooking, baking, taking photos and creating.

 

It’s tough but I know I can do it.

How about you?

What is your computer time comfort number?

PS the sleeping baby pic was taken this weekend. He never even stays still long enough to be held, let alone to fall asleep so I had to get a pic :)

My word for 2012

Happy New Year!

First, a quick reflection on my 2011 word of the year, courage.

That word served me very well.

I spoke up, stepped out, emailed more, made myself more vulnerable, asked for help more (although still not enough), shared more of myself and found my courage again.

It helped having little reminders like a print on my desk, my courage necklace and a card from a friend.

Before I go into this year’s word, let me share briefly why I think everyone should have one word for the year:

1. Even if you don’t “do goals”, your word will guide you in your decisions and actions
2. It’s easier than a laundry list of to dos
3. It creates intention for your year.

E.g.
* If I was dilly-dallying, I’d say, “what would a person of courage do?” and then write the email or go speak to someone or deal with the confrontation. It wasn’t always easy but it was always satisfying afterwards.

I make my clients go through this process too. It helps them as I can look objectively at their situations and ask them, “is this going to achieve _____ in your life?” :)

I find that some people know immediately what their word will be and others need to let it sit for awhile.

Don’t rush the process – take your time.

So…. my word for 2012 is create.

Yes, to Create things with my hands – pretty things that let me have a creative outlet but also

1. Create a legacy for my kids, create fun times for us together
2. Create an awesome marriage
3. Create a fun and productive work environment
4. Create moments of happiness and smiles for friends and people I bump into
5. create meaningful relationships with friends
6. create a book… or two
7. create products in my business again

Basically, I want to go about my days thinking, what will I create today? and what am I creating in this moment?

It’s about being purposeful and intentional in every area of my life.

What about you? What is your one word for 2012?

Set yourself up for 2012 with these free printables

Look what I found for you.

A gorgeous 2012 calendar over at Creative Mamma. I seriously love it :)

Print out on card or paper, punch two holes on the top, hang by a ribbon on binder rings or through the punched holes just as is, if your ribbon is thin enough.

There are other calendar formats on that same page if this one doesn’t suit your style – it’s my favourite though because there’s enough space to write notes.

(if you’ve got a few minutes, go browse her archives – she has tons of free and gorgeous things. I’ve used her handmade circle stickers for months.)

And now… my contribution to setting up your year for success…

I set goals every month – no surprise there.

For 2012 I decided to make a cute goals page for every month. There are two forms on the one page – one page with all the goals listed (I’ve restricted them to 15 and I think even 15 is PLENTY) and another with the goals separated into categories.

This free download will be available to all the subscribers of my list as I’ll be sending them out in the last week of the month, for the month ahead.

Go here to sign up and get your January pages.

The idea is to print, write and stick it up somewhere. If you see it, you’re more likely to do it :)

What are your top 3 goals for 2012?

PS If you’re already on my list, you’ll get an email from me later today :)

 

An unexpected gift

 

The price for Spring into Organising goes up tomorrow – get your ticket now.

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We had an arrangement with friends of ours to see them on Saturday for lunch.

We’re both very active socially (I prefer this to “busy”) so we plan these things months in advance.

Last Thursday she emailed me to cancel our plans.

For a few seconds, I’ll admit I was a bit annoyed because I knew it would be months before we could see them again. And… it messed up my plans :)

But then a feeling of peace came over me.

I actually started looking forward to a weekend of doing nothing but church on the Sunday.

We had a wonderful Saturday – I pottered around the house, cleaning, organising, and after the kids were in bed, even got to sort out a whole month’s worth of photos.

That free time turned out to be an unexpected gift.

I’m going to keep looking for these unexpected gifts in things not going according to my plans.

Has anything happened in your life recently that may be an unexpected gift?

Maybe being a little under the weather gave you much-needed time to relax?

 

How I get it all done

 

Do you live in Gauteng?

Do you need some time out?

Bookings are now open for the live workshop I’ll be holding on Saturday morning, 13 August.

Click here to find out the full scoop and see how you can join me.

 

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I had so very many questions in the recent survey from readers wanting to know how I manage to do it all.

I’m not sure if I should be flattered that you think I do it all because I really don’t.

Yes, I probably do a lot because I’ve always had quite a bit of energy but there’s much more I don’t do.

Let me explain:

 

1. I’m very clear on my life purpose

I have a life mission typed out (not pretty or cute, just typed out) and I know my definition of success in life.

I also know my values. A quick secret – one of those values is not to have the laundry perfectly done (far from it), but it is to take consistent action.

Are you clear on your life purpose?

2. I’m best friends with “good enough”

For me, it’s better to have something done than have it perfect.

If you’re cringing at that sentence, let me tell you that I used to be you. Until I got coached on the fact that trying to get the last 20% of any project perfect usually takes more time than it took to do the previous 80%.

E.g. if I think of something that’s completely out of my comfort zone, making a picture collage in Picasa, it literally takes a few minutes to select some pics and group them in a collage. The playing with it to get the best configuration with the best background and font, etc, etc takes about 3 – 5 times longer than just the collage.

Of course, there is a time and place for prettying something up – maybe for your children’s birthday party *ahem* but for general sending out of occasional pics to family, it’s not necessary to be perfect. Good enough is more than fine.

Do you know when 80% is enough, or are you still stuck on perfect?

3. I have a To Not Do list

We all know there are 24 hours in a day and there is not enough time to do everything.

So it is key to know which things to leave on the To Not Do list.

In my business, I do only things that need my “essence” (for lack of a better word) and delegate the rest.

My virtual assistant, Patricia, uploads my articles to the directories and does everything on my to Not do list.

In my personal life, it’s important for me to cook from scratch (I like knowing what the “babies” eat) but I don’t peel and chop the veggies myself, the nanny and Pick & Pay help with that.

Can you see the difference?

4. I decide where I want to use my time and I don’t feel guilty about the other areas

Be intentional about your time usage. I watch (it’s on in the background) about 20 minutes of TV Mon – Fri as I change from work clothes, pack gym clothes and work bag, etc.

That’s it.

If you spend more time watching TV because it’s your relaxation, have at it. Don’t feel guilty.

I’ve chosen to do otherwise. Neither is right or wrong.

I do spend about 3 – 3.5 hours on the computer in the evenings, working on the business and connecting with friends through email/ Facebook.

I don’t feel guilty about that time because I know why I’m doing it.

Of course I procrastinate sometimes by surfing blogs too much but since I generally get things done, occasionally if I slip up, I don’t beat myself up about it.

How about you?

Where do you want to be spending your time and why? Are you intentional about it?

5. I take consistent action

Unfortunately getting things done is not going to just happen so you’ve got to take action all the time.

Whether it’s doing just one big forward leap or lots of little leaps, I try to take some action every day.

I’m fairly good at constantly reviewing where I am in relation to my goals – I don’t know if it’s because that’s just who I am or because I coach.

Confession – when I feel like I’m getting stuck (which happens about two – three times a year), I get specific coaching to help get me unstuck. There is nothing worse for me than that feeling of not moving forward.

I’ve been working with a new coach and one of my key goals for the next 3 months is to start and finish my book. So far so good.

Do you take enough regular action? Do you have a plan when you get stuck?

To end off, let me leave you with one of my favourite quotes:

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.

-Lin Yutang

 

{Chloe} on Simplify your life – week 1

I was very excited when I received the first e-mail for the Simplify Your Live e-course. Reading the summary, I already knew this week would be all about vision: what does a simplified life look like. I was already convinced this would be a very important part of the project, the foundation for the rest of it, and the actual lesson confirmed this.

I have to be honest: when I first read very quickly the pages I had just printed and saw “What is your life purpose?”, I completely freaked out: how was I supposed to answer that question?? ;)

Then I thought that Marcia would never give me such a deep question without making me ready to answer it, and I read more throughly.

I was right, the lesson and the article provide great starting points to fuel your thinking. Of course, if you expect one of those “one size fits all” kind of course that will give you answers without you having to reflect and dig a bit deeper, you’ll be disappointed.

I started by reading the documents a couple times during the first two days, and I always had the questions and articles in a small corner of my head, sometimes without noticing it.

Unconsciously, it matured and after a couple days I was ready to grab my pen and start filling the forms. The point was to reflect on why I want to simplify my life and what is the goal, what it’ll look like one the process is complete (if such a process can ever be “complete”!).

To me, “simple” is another word for “peaceful“.

I want my life to be easy, to “flow” smoothly, I want to feel comfortable with the people, the things, the activities that are in my life and how they make me feel. My simplified life would be balanced, with a good mix of lightness, of ease and deep relationships (including with myself).

Some things that are blocking me to get this simple life are mainly some character traits, like my (quite frightening) ability to create drama, my taste for arguing and wanting to always be right, laziness that makes me waste myself (my time, my energy), gossiping, negativity.

To fight against those traits I basically have to be more conscious, more mindful of what I do, what I say, how I think. I must make purposeful goals and remind them to myself often, so that I stay focused on those. Baby steps, daily actions (maintenance is a big issue for me) and visual reminders will be powerful tools, I think.

Pfew, what a novel!! Thanks if you read all along! ;)

Take care!
Chloé

Wow, wow, wow!

What fantastic insights and it’s only week 1!!!!

I’m so, SO proud of you already – so glad you’re really digging in and asking yourself the hard questions.

Do you have any questions for Chloe? Or did any of her insights resonate with you?

And…. winter is here

 

I love, love, LOVE winter.

Cold, grey, rainy days are just my best days ever.

Today is day 2 of a lovely cold spell. Every other time over the last month when I’ve got my hopes up, the cold has lasted only a day so I think it autumn might actually be here to stay.

And I’m smiling.

Aside from all the soup, hot mugs of tea, warm casseroles, curries, jackets, gloves and scarves and all the other good things that come along with winter, I simply am more energised.

 

I become more creative, more enthusiastic, more passionate the colder it becomes. I also enjoy cooking and baking, and trying out new recipes.

But everybody is not like me and that’s okay.

One way isn’t better than another; it’s just different.

The trick is to know your energy triggers and play to them.

 

Knowing that I’m more energetic during cooler weather, I purposefully plan to do nesting-type work in the colder months.

 

In years past, I’d develop content for e-books, teleseminars, workshops, etc. aside from coaching clients. This winter I’m going to write a book.

 

When are you most energetic?

If you’re like me, what are you going to do during the cooler months?

Which are the best organising tools?

I was on a course today and got out my bits and pieces to ready myself.

If you’re interested, I like to have a highlighter ready and a notepad with a pen.

I also keep a separate place in my notepad for action steps once I get back to the office.

Anyway, my colleague next to me observed all my preparations and asked me what the best organising tools are. He knows I coach people to be more productive so it wasn’t totally random :)

I gave him the short answer but I thought I’d write a blog about it since I get asked this question quite a bit.

So, the short answer is I don’t believe there are any tools that are the best.

The long answer is:

We are all different, our styles are different and therefore our needs are different.

Which means the tools we need will differ from the next person.

I also think we need to be purposeful about what we want to achieve before buying a single thing.

There’s a myth going around that the latest greatest gadgets will “magically” make you more organised and productive.

That is SOOOO not true.

All the gadgets, phones, etc. in the world will not create order and organisation if you don’t first decide what your organising goals are and how you best want to achieve them.

You also still have to actually use that tool.

There are people all over the world who buy beautiful planners each and every year in the hope that the planner will make them organised.

It will… IF they write their appointments, to-dos and priorities in there, actually look at them and then take action.

I still believe a good old notebook and pen can help organise 90% of the population.

Often people get so carried away with the tool that they forget the tool is there to help them become more productive.

If you’re playing around with the tool all the time, then you’re not being very productive, now are you?

Sometimes all we need is a tiny piece of paper where we write down the top 3 things we need to get done, and then do them.

That’s it.

So, do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to know what you think.

Here are all my favourite organising tools.

P.S. Don’t forget the giveaway.

QOTW – what does purposeful living mean to you?

Today I have a question for you – what does purposeful living mean to you?

For me it means being conscious about how I spend my time, making sure that the activities I choose to do contribute towards my life goals and mission, and re-evaluating it all constantly to make the necessary changes.

So share – what does it mean for you?

P.S. Have you seen my new website?

There’s a Time Management Purpose Pack waiting for you :)

How do you start your week off purposefully?

I’ve been on leave from my full-time job for the last two weeks and I go back on Tuesday.

That has been all the incentive I’ve needed to get our home sorted to start our week purposefully.

Today I

  1. cooked a meal, enough for 8 portions (4 meals for us)
  2. made my weekly menu plan, both for us and for the kids, and made notes about when I have to actually cook (I don’t cook every day)
  3. decluttered my fridge and freezer (is it just me or is there something so satisfying about finishing bits of food, throwing away old foods and organising it all nicely?!)
  4. threw a load of laundry in the machine, ready to go first thing when I wake tomorrow
  5. tidied the kitchen and laundry

Even though everything isn’t as clean or as organised as I’d like it to be (don’t even think about peeking into my laundry), I feel calm, organised in my mind and ready to tackle the week.

We women are the home managers (in most cases) and if we’re prepared and organised, the whole tone of the home is peaceful, calm and in order – just like I like it!

How do you start your week off purposefully?

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