Best Use of Time

dreamstimefree_24395It’s another new year and again I am reflecting on what I have done and what I need/want to do.  I find that over the years, my answers are changing, or maybe evolving.

A question I have frequently asked myself for decades is “What is the best use of my time?”  It has served me well and has made me more productive and more successful.

At this point in my life (semi-retired), however, I’m not sure that is the best question anymore.  Or at least not the best question to ask if I use it solely to determine how to be more productive.  I think a better question might be “What do I want to do most with my time?”

My husband has been retired for a couple of years now.  The grandkids bought him a sign for the basement: “Retired.  Don’t want to.  Don’t need to.  Can’t make me!”  It’s humorous.  The more I think about it, the more I realize there is wisdom in it as well.  If I don’t want to do something, and I don’t need to do it, the only person that is making me do it is me.  Why?  Why am I making myself do something that I don’t want and don’t need to do?

I think this year I will try to eliminate more of the things that I do out of habit or a false sense of necessity and focus more on the things that I truly want to do.

How about you?  Can you let go of things that you don’t need to do and don’t even want to do to free up time for the things that matter most?

Misplaced Anger

dreamstime_xs_76186218There seems to be a great deal of anger in the world.  Many people I know seem to be angry about a number of things, but especially angry at other people.

Granted, I never know everything about any situation, but sometimes it seems to me that at least some of this anger is misplaced.  Is the person truly angry at the other person?  Or angry at something else?  Or maybe angry at themselves?

If you are angry with a person (or persons), I suggest you ask yourself, why?  Why else?  And why else? Do this until you have all the reasons.  Then take a critical look at these reasons.  Did the person really do these things?  Or is it your perception?  Are you taking things out of context?  Did you ever tell the person how you felt so he had a chance to change?  Are these truly reasons to be angry?  Or are they excuses?

From this assessment, can you determine if it is something else that is the root cause of your anger?  Perhaps you are angry at someone, but there might be repercussions if you express your anger (such as to your supervisor) so you go home and take your anger out on someone there?  Is it possible that you are angry with yourself, but it is too painful to acknowledge so you blame someone else?

Anger ultimately does the most damage to the person who is angry.  If you are angry, it is in your best interest to resolve it.  And if it takes professional help to deal with it, then do it.  If you had a toothache, you’d go to the dentist, right?  Isn’t your mental health at least as important as your dental health?

Thoughts on Thankfulness

dreamstime_xs_102207128,retouchedAs I get older, I find that I am thankful for different things than when I was younger.  In the past I was mostly thankful for successes that I had achieved—graduating college, getting a good position with a good company, moving up the career ladder, making the money needed to live the life I wanted, that sort of thing.

Now that I’m older (and, I hope, wiser) I find that I am more thankful for things that I used to take for granted.

I am more thankful for the people in my life, for family and friends.  Part of this change is due to having lost people.  My father passed away ten years ago.  All his siblings save one have passed as well.  These are people that I am thankful I had in my life, but I wish I would have appreciated them more while they were here.

I’m more thankful for my health, now that it has started to decline a little related to aging, than I was when I was younger.  Perhaps it’s a little of “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

I’m thankful for how hard my husband and I have worked so that now we can enjoy retirement.  (I still can’t consider myself completely retired, but I’m getting closer.)  Although, I could have stressed less and enjoyed life more while we were working hard.

I am at a point in my life where I can be thankful for the journey itself and not just the journey’s end.

I am sharing these thoughts in the hope that you will look at what you are thankful for, and perhaps look at it a little differently.  What is most important in your life?  Are you truly thankful for it?  Or do you take it for granted?  Be thankful that you have it now, because some day you might not.

Just in Time Planning

dreamstime_xs_38121377As you probably know, there is such a thing as “just in time inventory.”  Rather than having lots of inventory on hand for production, which costs money for storage and ties up cash, supplies are delivered “just in time” for production.

I have noticed that some people do “just in time” planning and organizing.  The job gets done—just in time.

A disadvantage to just in time inventory is that if the supplies don’t show up on time, it can seriously delay or even stop production.  A similar disadvantage can occur in just in time planning.  If anything takes longer than planned, the project won’t be completed in time.

I prefer planning far enough in advance that if something does happen (which it usually does) it will still be possible to complete the project on time.  I like having a buffer to take care of any unforeseen issues.

Which type are you?  Which type is your supervisor?  I have a friend who is organized, but his supervisor does not think he is.  I think the issue is that his supervisor is like me and plans far in advance.  When he sees my friend finishing a project just in time, he thinks it is because my friend is not organized, which isn’t the case.  The project was finished as my friend planned—just in time.

If you are having issues with your supervisor, your employees, or even people in your personal life related to planning and organization, maybe it’s an issue of different strategies.  It could be worth discussing.

Don’t Save It, Use It

dreamstime_xs_67912497About a year ago my mother had to move from her apartment to a nursing home related to her health.  There was a limited number of things, including clothing, that she could take with her.  Although my brothers and I were able to take a few things, the vast majority went to Goodwill or had to be discarded.

She had many nice clothes that she never wore.  When I asked her why, she said she was saving them for something special or that she wanted to keep them nice.  They no longer fit her, so they went to Goodwill.  There were other items that people had gotten for her, such as purses, blankets, throws, jewelry, and decorative items that were still in the box.  Again, she said that she liked them and wanted to keep them nice.  Most of those went to Goodwill as well.

I found this incredibly sad.  She had so many nice things that she could have enjoyed and yet she never did because she was “saving” them.  Saving them to take to Goodwill?  I don’t think so.

This was a wake-up call for me, because I do much the same thing.  I have since decided to enjoy what I have and use it now.  Why save it so that years down the road someone will give it away or discard it?  I have decided it is better to use the things we like than to save them.  So what if I’m overdressed for an occasion if I like the clothes and jewelry?  So what if the cats shed on the wool blanket from Ireland?  At least the items are being used and enjoyed, not stuffed in the back of the closet.

What about you?  Is this something you do?

Poor Choices

SF_ThreeGoodChoices_COVER_121317 resizedIn my book, 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment, I discuss that in most situations we generally have these three good choices.  I also discuss how there are poor choices that we might make instead of good choices.

Poor choices are ineffective behaviors, ineffective coping strategies.  They hinder us, they do not help us.

Examples of poor choices include, but are not limited to, apathy, choosing to do nothing, complaining, denial, excessive worrying, giving up, holding a grudge, not taking responsibility, passive-aggressive behavior, and self-destructive behaviors such as drinking and drug abuse.

The one that speaks to me the most is not taking responsibility.  I am an extremely responsible person.  I understand deeply how taking responsibility gives us power and control over our lives.  It can be painful and humbling to take responsibility for our mistakes, for our sometimes messed up lives.  But when we accept that we are where we are because of the choices we have made, the actions we have taken, when we take responsibility for those choices and actions, then we also accept that we have power and control.  We got ourselves to wherever we are, so we can get ourselves out.

When we do not take responsibility, we are trying to make someone else responsible for what we have done.  First, no one else is responsible.  Second, we are giving away our power and control over our own lives.  If we give away our power and control, how are we going to change anything?  How are we going to change our self?

When we blame others for our choices, decisions, and actions, we are refusing to take responsibility.  We are trying to make them responsible, and they are not.  Not only are we giving away our power and control, we are also giving up the opportunity to learn about our self.  If we do not learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to keep repeating them.  To learn from our mistakes, we first must take responsibility that they are ours.

Taking responsibility for our self also means taking responsibility for our thoughts and beliefs.  If we have self-limiting thoughts and beliefs about our self, we will not be able to grow.  It is our responsibility to determine why we have these thoughts and beliefs and decide what we are going to do about them.

If you have not taken responsibility for your life, or portions of your life, I encourage you to do so.  It might be the most important decision you will ever make.  Stop blaming others and take control.

3 Good Choices: Leave It

SF_ThreeGoodChoices_COVER_121317 resizedSometimes we cannot, or do not want to, change or accept a situation.  Then we need to leave it.  This can be minor, or it can be one of the most major decisions we will ever make.  This video discusses some considerations in leaving a situation.

My book, 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment, provides additional items to consider and exercises to help you in deciding if leaving the situation is right for you.

As with the other videos, there is a treat for you at the very end, after the last slide.  Sometimes we need to leave work and take a nap.

This is the last video in this series on the book.  I hope you have enjoyed them, learned something, and got at least one chuckle out of the pictures.

3 Good Choices: Accept It

SF_ThreeGoodChoices_COVER_121317 resizedSometimes we can’t change a situation.  Or it is not worth the time or effort to change it.  Then we need to consider accepting the situation.  This video discusses when accepting might be the best option.

My book, 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment, provides additional details and contains exercises to assist you in deciding if accepting the situation is best for you.

There is something at the very end for you to encourage you to watch the entire, very short, video.  Accept it, you look marvelous!

I Can Survive Anything…

dreamstime_xs_38146874My second year of college was an extremely difficult one.  I had a full load of very difficult, time-consuming classes and labs with multiple projects and papers.  In addition to that, I was working 30-40 hours a week at three different jobs to pay for college.

One of the most important lessons I learned during that year was that I could survive anything, as long as it was temporary.  The class would end, the lab would end, the work shift would end, the semester would end.  Many days that was what kept me going.

At some point, I realized that it is all temporary.  Everything is temporary.  Life is temporary.

“I can survive anything, as long as it is temporary.  And it is all temporary.”  I still remind myself of this today when I feel overwhelmed and need to put things back into perspective.  Maybe it will help you, too.

3 Good Choices: Change It

SF_ThreeGoodChoices_COVER_121317 resizedIf there is something we don’t like in our life, why not try to change it?  We have nothing to lose and we might have everything to gain.  This video discusses aspects to consider in trying to change situations.

My book, 3 Good Choices: Change It, Accept It, or Leave It; A Woman’s Guide to Self-Empowerment discusses in more detail changing situations.  It also includes exercises to assist you in determining if changing the situation is the best option for you.

As with the other videos, there is a tidbit at the end.  Sometimes changing the world, or at least our little piece of it, means making it safer from rogue elements.