Stop the Stupidity!

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013 at 1:02 PM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 2 comments

football 300x230 Stop the Stupidity!I grew up playing all kinds of sports even football. The flag kind, but it was still football. You name it … I tried it at least once. Dang! How did you come up with hockey? In all fairness, hockey didn’t have many fans in Texas unless they were transplants. So youth hockey was nonexistent until the Stars moved to Dallas from Minnesota.

Because of sports, I developed a habit of exercising as a kid. Eventually, team sports faded and I relied on boring cardio machines and dumbbells to put the heart through the paces and keep the muscles from melting away. Really, I don’t mind because it’s guilt-free TV time.

Workout time is around the 1 – 2 pm zone. The time works great in that it provides the boost I need to end the workday strong yet early enough to finish before my youngest comes home from work at the company called school.

The stairmaster has a bent book holder that holds water and a remote without them falling off. (Thanks, kids!) It’s easy to access the remote as I often do. Not just to crack through the commercials but also to back up a whole conversation that I failed to grasp. Sometimes I can’t help think about client work that my eyes glaze while reading the closed-captions on the TV. I read the words, but the brain doesn’t compute that I lose track of the story.

Study says …

It’s easy to see why multitasking is dangerous when you’re driving a car and talking on a hands-free phone. And more so with texting and driving. Then how come many people still do it? According to Multitasking Is Making You Stupid:

“A study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an average of 10 points on an IQ test. It was five points for women, and fifteen points for men. This effect is similar to missing a night’s sleep. For men, it’s around three times more than the effect of smoking cannabis. While this fact might make an interesting dinner party topic, it’s really not that amusing that one of the most common ‘productivity tools’ can make one as dumb as a stoner.”

Whoa.

In my situation and at the office, multitasking is harmless … mostly. Staying focused on one thing — not talking and emailing, not chatting and working on a document or any other dual-activity — you do the task more effectively. The little interruptions like email notifications can disrupt the harmony of your focus.

As I write this, I’ve shut out everything around me. I’ve turned off my cochlear implant because one of the neighbors has construction going on. The hammering is distracting. My second monitor is blank so I’m less tempted to look at something like Gmail or Twitter.

When something else gnaws on your mind, it pulls away your focus on whatever task you’re doing. Bet many of you can relate to Avil Beckford‘s situation. I can. “I started to read a book, but I have been distracted, and to be honest, I cannot focus on the story,” Avil wrote. “The book is not boring, but for a few days, my attention has to be placed elsewhere.”

Stop the stupid-fying!

So how do you stop multitasking? Time Management Ninja lists eight ways:

  1. Do one thing at a time. (You’re just reading this, right? Nothing else?)
  2. Be present. (See comment in #1.)
  3. Finish before you start. (A challenge for … ooh … shiny.)
  4. Don’t let the small tasks interrupt the big ones. (Are you looking at your inbox thinking about answering the quick email?)
  5. Put down the tech. (The mouse or keyboard is OK, so you can scroll down.)
  6. Clean your workspace. (Mine is clean 98 percent of the time. A cluttered space always feels like a cluttered mind.)
  7. Make an appointment with your work. (My husband has to do this otherwise he’d be in meetings 10 hours straight.)
  8. Eliminate interruptions. (Email notifications, for example.)

Multitasking is OK when you’re using less brain power. That’s why I love to fold laundry. It means more guilt-free TV! So what if a shirt isn’t crease-free because of yet another jaw-dropping moment on “Scandal”?

When do you multitask? How do you avoid it when you need to focus?

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Be Accepting, Be Present, Be Calmer

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 at 9:27 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 11 comments

roaring rapids 249x300 Be Accepting, Be Present, Be CalmerAlmost every year when May comes, I fretted about how I’ll get work done without the steady, reliable school schedule. So I dreaded the long summer months. Right on schedule, it happened last year. Except, instead of fighting it, I accepted it. And you know what? It was one of the best summers I ever had. No trips. No special events. Nothing.

What was different? Other than my attitude, not much really. I spent most weekends reading great books by the pool while my sons swam. (Faves: “Ready Player One,” “The Night Circus” and “Gone Girl” – affiliate links) I took a day off to go to an amusement park with my family. Instead of dwelling on high amusement park prices, I lived in the moment. The moment of being on a ride. The moment of snapping a picture of my younger son’s big smiling face. (Yes, that there is the photo.) The moment of seeing a cool light show. (This was a group that appeared on “America’s Got Talent.”)

Recognizing family changes

Did I dread it when summer came to a close? No. I was ready for the school year to begin again. Everything has its time. It’s a matter of accepting it and making the most of it. Hard to believe that just 14 years ago, I had only one child and a less complex life. Now, she’s finishing up her first year of college and my younger son has only one year left in elementary school. When he finishes, we’ll have been at this elementary school 14 years! Right now, the thought of leaving the school makes me sad because I’ll miss the staff and the school being a regular part of my life. It also means not having any more elementary-aged kids.

Maybe I’ll be ready by the time fifth grade graduation rolls around. Last year, people asked me if I was sad about my daughter going off to college. I wasn’t. She was ready just like she was also ready for middle school and high school when the time came. Those changes weren’t hard. Even watching my older son as he prepares to leave behind a wonderful middle school program and enter high school this fall isn’t hard either.

However, he has some challenges, so I’m more nervous about him handling a more challenging class schedule in a much larger environment. I need to remind myself to accept it. Just let it be. If something comes up, I’ll handle it when it comes. I’ve done all I can to help him right now.

Maybe this being my youngest of three makes it different. I’m also the youngest of three. My dad called me — a mom of his three grandchildren — his baby right up until his death. In the meantime, I’m in the present. He’s still in fourth grade, still in elementary school, still losing teeth. He did just turn 10, so no more single digit aged kids. I’ve accepted it, but it didn’t stop me from joking about it and pretending to be all pouty.

Quashing the Sunday afternoon or Monday blues

This approach works well with the Monday blues. I don’t hate Mondays. I think of them as the start of getting back to our regularly scheduled programming. Actually, I struggled more with Sunday late afternoons / early evenings than with Monday. (Hey, “The Good Wife” is on Sunday nights.) It meant winding down the weekend and preparing for the upcoming work and school week. That changed when I flipped my perspective.

The downside of being a one-person business is the guilt that comes whenever I find myself not working at any time during the work week. No work = no earning. Weekends give me respite from that. Thus, Sunday became a time when I get a break from feeling like this. Be accepting. I debated whether to sign up to volunteer to go on a field trip with my son’s fourth grade class. Miss a whole day of work? How many more field trips does my son have left? I went. Now I have another great memory.

Time flies. Soon, Monday morning will be Monday evening. Then it’ll be Hump Day and then Friday all over again. Monday is going to come back. So might as well be present and make the most of it.

We have enough stress that dealing with times of the year we don’t like is wasteful. Be accepting. It feels better and calmer. Sounds simple, but sometimes it works.

May has rolled around again. Summer will be here when it gets here. The plan? Read great books, swim some and ride my bike. (I’m weird. I only like to swim and bike in warm weather. Yes, even with indoor swimming pools.)

How do you handle things you don’t like that are coming up? What great books do you recommend?

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Crazy Busy or Fake Busy?

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 at 10:01 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 6 comments

baby blues electronics 300x158 Crazy Busy or Fake Busy?From the first job out of college, I’ve worked for organizations where we could choose our hours as long as we were there between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. By 7 a.m., you’d find me at my desk tackling my first tasks of the day. In one company, two of us had an unspoken competition going to see who would arrive first. The guy, an hourly worker, did everything he could to work long hours. Yet whenever I arrived after he did, I’d find him sleeping and I’d dream of crazy pranks to pull on him during his zzz moments.

The fake busy

I’ve also seen people faking their busyness when I walked past their cubicles at the end of the day. They may think they looked busy, but most of us knew they wanted to stretched their hours so they’d look good and outstay the boss.

Sometimes the problem was their inability to end a phone conversation. It didn’t take long to learn that being deaf — among other things — made me a more efficient worker. My phone calls required a third party (the relay operator), so folks were less tempted to call me or have a friendly conversation.

The crazy busy

Then there are those who are truly crazy busy as described in “The ‘Busy’ Trap” from the New York Times by Tim Kreider. Gini Dietrich also shares her experience in “Always ‘crazy busy’?” How many times have you know parents who report some variation of this? “My seven-year-old does scouts, baseball, soccer, basketball, religious school and youth group.”

In the old days, playing three sports wasn’t a big deal because each lasted for one season per year. Soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and baseball in the spring. Now, these sports have two or three seasons a year. Players who try to stick to a sport once a year may not be able to get back on the team, so they play every season to avoid losing their spot.

I also used to work a lot on the weekends writing content for my websites and handling whatever remained from the week or jump ahead for the next. That changed when I injured my thumb. I could barely work at all, so I broke the habit of not working weekends.

Taking back weekends

By the time my thumb worked again, I struggled to work on weekends. I decided that weekend work would no longer be the norm. Because of this, my family and I went to the State Fair, International Festival, the amusement park. We don’t do something every weekend or even once a month, but we do more than we did in the past.

We’re a low key family of homebodies. (Daughter is the exception and she’s living it up as a college freshman.) But still, I look for experiences for us to do together. With first born in college, I know how quickly a childhood fleets. With my dad’s passing, I know how quickly life fleets.

The one thing I sacrificed? My blog. I’d write blog posts on weekends because I devoted my weekdays to clients. It may have hurt this website’s search engine standings and traffic, but there’s more to life and finding business than satisfying Google Panda, Penguin or whatever search engine best practices has us riled up. People say if you want something, make time for it. I don’t believe that. Instead, it’s about prioritizing your life, starting with the top items and stopping before you fill up your slots. This ensures you have room for the unexpected (and they ALWAYS come up) and taking it easy.

Here’s a great excerpt from Tim Kreider’s article:

Like most writers, I feel like a reprobate who does not deserve to live on any day that I do not write, but I also feel that four or five hours is enough to earn my stay on the planet for one more day. On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day. And if you call me up and ask whether I won’t maybe blow off work and check out the new American Wing at the Met or ogle girls in Central Park or just drink chilled pink minty cocktails all day long, I will say, what time?

You know what? I look at my life and remind myself I have what I wanted: family, home, flexibility and the time to enjoy the little things and exercise. For the most part, I’m happy. And when I’m happy, I do a better job of keeping my family and clients happy. So it’s critical — not selfish — to take care of yourself first and keep your busyness under control.

How’s your schedule? Are you the right kind of busy? Do you leave room to breathe?

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Are You Memorable?

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012 at 7:40 AM | Category: Business, Customer Service, Life Tips, Marketing, Meryl's Notes Blog 3 comments

donald duck clock Are You Memorable?Ask anyone between the ages of 13 and 30 who knew my dad to share something they remember about him. Most will reply with “talking like Donald Duck.” Walk in to the office in my mother’s house and Donald Duck greets you from every direction beginning with the large bright yellow latch-hook picture of Donald Duck on the wall.

I don’t know how Dad started this Donald Duck talk business, but it’s one of those things many people remember about him. His wife, three kids, and friends showered him with Donald Duck gifts for years.

Accidentally Memorable

I also have one thing that makes me memorable. No, I don’t imitate any famous characters. No, I don’t perform magic tricks. This one came with the package that the doctor delivered to my mother when I arrived. I was born deaf only no one knew the little secret until around my first birthday.

Despite years of speech therapy and repeating nonsensical sounds, I have a deaf accent . Whenever I met a new teacher or professor, I often introduced myself in the first class explaining that I read lips and will sit in the best place where I can see the teacher. I joked that I could never skip class because the professors would notice the deaf one didn’t show up.

In eighth grade, my drama teacher asked me if I was Michael’s little sister. This may not sound shocking … until you hear that we’re 10 years apart. Imagine all the students in 10 years who came through her door before I did. When she taught my brother, I was just three years old — not exactly recognizable from a photo. Michael showed her a photo of three-year-old me when I wore the clunky hearing aid in a box on my chest. Would she have remembered me without it?

What makes you or your company memorable?

You don’t need to run off and take lessons on how to imitate a famous character. As outgoing as my dad was, I can’t imagine him pulling out the Donald Duck trick in a business meeting. It could be a a clothing accessory that stands out, a company mascot, smashing customer service or a well-written email newsletter.

What helps you remember a company? How does your stand out?

 

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Documenting Life

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012 at 3:29 PM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 5 comments

dear shelby book Documenting LifeEvery year since her birth, I’ve written a letter to my daughter on her birthday reflecting on the past year. Her baby book had a page for “Letter from Mom” and I filled it with the usual corny thoughts of hopes for my daughter. Somehow, I continued the tradition of writing a letter every year since then, and did the same for her younger brothers.

Originally, I wrote the letters by hand. Then I got lazy and switched to typing. It may not be as cool and personal as my handwriting, but it turned out to be a good thing. Some of the handwritten letters were harder to read and didn’t scan well.

I decided to write them until the kids turned 18, and my daughter hit that milestone in February. I had planned to give her the letters, but then an article sparked the idea of turning the letters into a book. Brilliant. A book would keep the letters in one place and make it easier to read. I’ll keep the originals in a safe place as the kids will be going to college, moving and so on.

I’ve been documenting my life in journals since my freshman year of college. Thank goodness! (Of course, I wish I had started earlier.) The journals came in handy when I needed dates or specifics of things that happened in my family’s life.

Documenting your life isn’t just for your personal life and family. It also works well for business.

Early in my career, I ran into a tip to document the work I did and how it contributed to the bigger picture. It was helpful for updating the resume, supporting performance review meetings and remembering things, such as what training I took. The document also provided an overview of my progress toward with business and career goals.

George Angus wrote a post on documenting your writing work in a writing journal. Here’s his suggestion of what could go in the journal:

Your writing journal could have entries for the date, type of writing (blog post, SEO article, novel chapter) word count and even a brief description of what inspired the article. I think it would make for a very interesting read at some point in the future.

Indeed, it makes for a great read in the future. Documenting your work doesn’t have to be time consuming. My career documentation simply consisted of a table with four columns: project, task, accomplishment and date.

Long after you’ve left the position and surpassed those goals, reading about your past work years later can boost your confidence and make you feel proud.

How can you use a journal or documentation of your life? What would you track? How would you use the information? Have you tracked your life or work? What’s your experience?

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Get Organized: Folder Naming Tip

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012 at 8:20 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog, Tech 2 comments

meryl office Get Organized: Folder Naming TipI’m a neat-aholic. When I enter a kid’s messy room, my mind overloads and my body stiffens. Though I’ve trained myself to accept a little messiness in my home, the exception to the rule is my office space.

My youngest occasionally came into my office to color, play with toys or do projects. That was fine with me as long as his stuff goes with him when he left the office.

The neatness thing carries over into my cyber space. I organize my documents and emails into folders and subfolders. It lets me find things quickly. This way I don’t feel overwhelmed by all the files in one folder. Searching is an option, but finding files in organized folders is faster.

I ran into a new problem. In backing up my files and accessing the backup from another device, I’d see two folders with the same name.

For example, I have a top level folder for Clients and a subfolder for Others. I have another top level folder for Contacts and a subfolder for Others. In running a search, Others pops up and it isn’t clear where the file I need lives.

In another case, I needed to backup two folders with the same name and they appear as top level folders in the backup system.

The trick. Add another keyword to separate the generic names, such as others-clients and others-contacts. Beware this won’t always be possible as several folders are system folders. At least, you’ll cut down the confusion.

What tips do you have for managing your documents? How do you organize your cyber properties?

More tips and resources available on my Facebook page. Hope to see you there.

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Turning Fear into a Memorable Experience

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 at 10:22 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog 3 comments

lane torah 300x200 Turning Fear into a Memorable ExperienceOver a year ago, my family debated whether my older son should have a regular bar mitzvah or a smaller one that doesn’t involve the full three hour Saturday morning service. He has a few challenges and we feared adding another one in preparing for this rite of passage.

We did a lot of back-and-forthing before we decided to do the whole shebang. Yes, it meant practicing twice a day for nine months. Yes, it meant attending tutoring sessions once a week. Yes, it meant practicing even after coming home late from a football practice or game and still having homework to do.

In nine months, he only missed five practice sessions not counting the time he was away at camp. During football season, this guy made an effort to do one practice session in the morning before catching the bus to school.

The long-awaited day came. His part came later in the service. Thankfully, I had lots going on (you know, waving to family and friends and quietly catching up with folks) to keep my mind occupied without worrying about him making it through. His big moment arrived. My body froze. I listened and watched hard.

He was getting through it. Just one brief stumble and instant correction. Almost over … stomach stirs … candy in hand … when will this end??? Silence. Men’s chorus erupted in song and candy flew.

If a ginormous sigh of relief and the swelling of pride made a sound, everyone would be looking at me. I don’t remember feeling overwhelmed with these emotions. Not even at my daughter’s bat mitzvah. (She did great and of course, I was proud.) This accomplishment meant more because of the screams, nags and tears that went into it to make it happen. “At first, I was unsure that I could complete this daring task, but now I see that I will accomplish this goal,” said my son in his speech.

What does this have to do with fear? Sometimes we’re afraid to take on a new project or client thinking we can’t deliver. There’s a difference between a challenge that stretches you and one that goes beyond your qualifications. A client asked if I would be interested in working with him. At first, the technical topic scared me and I balked in spite of having worked in the client’s industry.

I stepped back and studied the situation. This was the kind of work that would help me grow. I had the qualifications. My experience in the industry helped me ask the right questions to get the information to complete my tasks. When I finished the project, I felt like I accomplished something big. Not bar mitzvah big, but work big.

When I work on a project that comes easy, I react in the same way I did with my daughter’s bat mitzvah. Simply proud. Completing a challenging brings a bigger and more memorable sense of accomplishment like it did for me with my son. It also reminds me I can step out of my comfort zone and excel. The next time a challenge comes, I remember these moments. If my son says he can’t do something, I’ll remind him of that day on February 4, 2012 when he read one of the longest portions.

I had another opportunity to work on a project that was in the same technical industry. However, it relied on a lot of phone calls and interviews. Thanks to the relay service, I can make phone calls. But they’re a time sink and stressful. I don’t mind making calls, but not when it dominates the project.

Yes, I enjoyed every bit of the bar mitzvah. Yet, I’m glad IT’S OVER. No more practicing. No more fretting over the little details.

Have you accomplished something that felt impossible? How did it feel? How did it help?

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Assumptions

Thursday, January 19th, 2012 at 9:39 AM | Category: Business, Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

darth sm AssumptionsOne Halloween while helping my mom pass out candy, I saw a kid in a cute Bugs Bunny costume. The costume was made out of nice material instead of the weird smelling plastic mask and the stiff vinyl bodysuit. See Exhibit A for an lovely example of a vinyl Darth Vader costume. What’s up with my reaction in the photo? I wasn’t happy someone took my picture before I could get my mask on.

I can’t recall exactly how the cute Bugs Bunny costume looked except that it wasn’t the vinyl most of us wore those days unless we were lucky enough to have a parent who could sew or pull pieces together into a clever costume. It was probably some variation of these bunnies.

That costume stuck with me. When it came time to pick a costume for the following Halloween, I told my mom I wanted to be Bugs Bunny. I smiled as I pictured myself wearing that awesome costume instead of the plastic vinyl mashup.

What did I get?

This:

bugs 300x231 Assumptions

Think I was a happy wabbit?

Mom and I both understood what “Bugs Bunny” meant. The problem stemmed from her not knowing about the costume I saw the year before. And I didn’t provide more details because I assumed she’d find the right one. The costume I wanted was probably not available in any store. There I go again with an assumption that it was a homemade costume. The only way to find out was to ask the girl about her costume.

Assumptions lead to disappointment. How do we know what to communicate to a coworker, client or colleague? We’re stuck in our heads that we forget the other person doesn’t know XYZ. Learn to over-communicate and remember the other person may not have all the facts you do. Another helpful tool is to share examples. For a web design project, for example, clients can make a list of websites they like and explain why they like each one. Maybe it’s the color scheme in one design, the layout in another, the writing in another.

Sometimes it takes practice and experience. One client has a unique way of communicating his wants. He’s not a poor communicator, but a different type of thinker than I am. Not good or bad. Just is. That’s where understanding personality types helps. When he hired an intern, she confided that she had trouble understanding what he wanted. I admit feeling relieved knowing it wasn’t me and helped her learn from my experience.

Overcoming assumptions sounds simple. However, some folks think you’re not a self-starter if you keep asking questions and talking about it instead of running with it. Some fear asking too many questions reflects poorly on their abilities. Which would you rather have? Someone who erases assumptions with conversation and gets it right the first time, or someone who gets right to work and produces plastic vinyl results?

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden.

How can you communicate better to avoid assumptions?

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Journaling for Documentation

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011 at 9:15 AM | Category: Life Tips, Meryl's Notes Blog, Writing 5 comments

Welcome to meryl’s notes blog (this here place you’re lookin’ at) in Plano, Texas. We’re honored to be a stop in Mari McCarthy’s WOW! Women On Writing Blog tour. We’re giving away a prize of the winner’s choice! Read on to see how you can win.mari mccarthy piano Journaling for Documentation

About Mari McCarthy: Mari L. McCarthy is The Journaling Therapy Specialist, founder of Create Write Now and Journaling for the Health of It™.  Mari offers guidance, counseling and encouragement to writers through her many journaling eBooks and in private Journaling Jumpstart consultations. Mari’s hosting the next Peace of Mind and Body: 27 Days of Journaling Challenge starting January 2, 2012. Please join her!

Her new Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook compiles the journaling journeys of 17 journalers who have shared their stories on Create Write Now’s Journal Writing Transforms You blog. Reading these stories is both comforting and enlightening, sort of like dark chocolate, a food that is good for your health despite being sinfully delicious!

Journaling for Documentation by Mari McCarthy

There are innumerable reasons why keeping a journal is beneficial. From dreaming to scheming to moaning and groaning, filling the pages of your journal with your various states of being is the most direct route I know to personal achievement, resolution and inner peace.

However, probably the oldest and most fundamental purpose of journaling is its use as a documentary. Surely the caveman’s wall paintings were a kind of journal, to share with posterity his achievements and the details of his days. And ever since, people have kept diaries for the simple reason that they wish to document their lives: what happens, who they meet, where they are and all the minutiae of their experience.

Nowadays, we tend to think our time is far too pre-occupied for such pursuits. But if we read the journals of predecessors, we can quickly see what a great gift such writings can be. Despite the rush and roar of 21st century life, keeping a journal will benefit not only our own peace of mind, but also that of our descendants.

If you have experienced the death of an elder in your family, you know that such passing away is always shocking, no matter how expected it may have been. And in so many cases, we regret that we did not know the deceased as well as we might have wished. Moreover, our children and their children may later on become curious about their ancestors. Isn’t it appropriate, then, that we take pains to prepare for this eventuality by documenting our lives in a journal?

So the diary-kind of journaling is precious and obviously important. But note that there are many other kinds of journaling for documentation, as well.

  • Keeping a travel journal is a great way not only to maintain a record for the future but also to heighten your enjoyment of the experience as it is happening. Jotting down notes, describing places and scenes in detail, reflecting on the meaning of what you see and recording your personal reactions gives you a more well-rounded awareness of your journey.
  • You might want to keep a journal that documents your progress on a project, something that you create over time. This could be professional or personal. You might document your work with underprivileged children; or your participation in a mastermind group; or your process of learning to paint landscapes.
  • A journal documentary of your commitment to weight loss, or to stopping an unhealthy habit or building a healthy one, or to a new personal relationship can be powerfully helpful in achieving your goals, in addition to providing a record of progress that will give you much satisfaction when you re-read your entries later on.
  • Another kind of documentary journaling may focus on a certain area of your life. Try journaling about what you cook and eat each day, about your child’s growth and learning, about your garden, or about your spiritual experiences. Remember that while most journals involve writing, they can also (or alternatively) include drawings or scrapbooked items pasted into the pages.

There are endless ways to document the details of your consciousness in a journal. Never think this is a vain pursuit or waste of time. By journaling your experiences, you deepen your own life and potentially enrich the lives of many others in the process.

Comment and win: The prize: winner gets to pick one of three prizes, which are Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul ebook, a Dark Chocolate for the Journaler’s Soul T-shirt or Mari’s Most Musefull Journaling Tips (8 1/2 x 11 Spiral Bound).

dark chocolate for journalers soul ebook 150x150 Journaling for Documentationdark chocolate for journalers soul shirt 150x150 Journaling for Documentationmari mccarthy tips 150x150 Journaling for Documentation

For a chance to win, please leave a comment about journaling, documentation or whatever comes to mind after reading this post (other than you wanna win!). You have until 11:59pm on December 14, 2011 to qualify for the drawing. The unbiased and robotic Random.org has the honor of picking the winner.

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Big Bad Wolf, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Halloween and Clutter

Friday, October 28th, 2011 at 3:42 PM | Category: Life Tips, Links, Meryl's Notes Blog No comments

wolf0 31 00b Big Bad Wolf, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Halloween and ClutterMy quest for a nice costume without the cheap material and plastic proved challenging as gal who loves Halloween. This isn’t a one-time costume, but one to use whenever I needed it. I visited the Disney website and found the Big Bad Wolf costume on sale. PERFECT for my 6’4″ husband. Not the best photo, but you get the idea.

Then I found Daisy on sale. (Unfortunately, no picture of me as Daisy Duck.) It clicked. My dad was popular with the kids because he could talk like Donald Duck. It didn’t take long before my mom and siblings showered him with Donald Duck toys, art and knickknacks that his home office looked like a Donald Duck shrine with a few Betty Boops thrown in. (Mom’s thing that we all started bopping her with Boop gifts.)

One thing about collections — it made it easier to shop for people who had everything they needed. My thing was Broadway and dreidels (spinning tops). Broadway didn’t happen by accident, but dreidels did. I had a couple of them and somehow Paul (aka Big Bad Wolf) decided to add a new one — sometimes two — to my collection every year.

donald duck clock Big Bad Wolf, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, Halloween and ClutterThen Dad died in 2007. This left — among other things, of course — Mom stuck with a massive Donald Duck collection. She kept the more meaningful ones like the Donald Duck latch hook I did. She also gave one Donald Duck item to each of us kids that we had given him. I have the 65th anniversary clock.

Between Dad’s death and tightening belts, I decided to stop collecting dreidels because we didn’t need so much stuff. (I had stopped collecting Broadway stuff ages ago.) Stuff piles up creating more upkeep work. Besides, they just sit on a shelf only to be admired whenever company comes over.

Except for gadgets, I cut buying needless things and spent more time on every buying decision. I still make mistakes and experience buyer’s remorse (Viewsonic gTablet).

I cleared a lot of clutter giving up books I didn’t need and items I hadn’t touched in over a year. Yes, I thought “But what if I need it later? I don’t want to spend money on another one.” Well, later has yet to come and it feels great to be rid of the item.

Do you have stuff you’d like to clear out? What makes it hard to get rid of them?

And now for this week’s links.

Brain food …

  • Best Tweeps for Writers. Great list that I already followed over half and added the rest without question. Yes, I’m on the list — but it’s hard to question it when it has a lot of folks I enjoying conversing with in social media. Not a popularity contest. I never win those.
  • 16 Useful Twitter Plugins for WordPress. Enhance your website / blog with these plugins. I don’t recommend automating posts unless you can make it look like a good tweet instead of a cut-off one. Those are the worst.
  • 280 Must Read Books for Entrepreneurs. Of course, you shouldn’t read them all. It’s more important to glean what you read than how many you read. Great list.

For fun because we’re allowed …

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