So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love books. No, that’s an understatement. Books for me have been a lifelong addiction.

I read everything–histories, romance, detective, classics, biographies–and I cannot catch up on all the things I want to read.

I have lists of books I’ve read, and books I want to read.  It’s quite the dirty little secret.

While I have never (ever!) stood in line late at night or in the early wee hours for concert tickets to any band or singer, I confess that I have stood in line–at midnight–at the local Barnes & Noble to purchase the next installment in the Harry Potter series.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to read all that I want to read and I get very invested in certain authors or series of books.

As the technology evolved and ebooks made their debut I was vehemently against them. I thought reading would not be as enjoyable as holding a book and turning the pages myself.

Then I received my first  Kindle as a gift. I learned how to connect it to Amazon books and my local library.  I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and the obsession continued.

Having a whole library in my pocket gives me access to my books whenever I have downtime–in line at the grocery store, waiting for my oil change, or on my coffee break.

But here is an idea to get more reading time in, if you have the reading addiction like I do:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Download the Overdrive App on your mobile phone.  This will give you access to audiobooks for free.
  3. Electronically check out the books you would like to listen to–and you can listen to books during times that you must spend your time attending to something else.

I listen to my books in the car as I drive to work and back, to run errands, or on weekend trips to other cities.

I listen to my books while I cook and meal prep and do my laundry and while I am on exercise machines or walking in my neighborhood.

This is not the same as reading the written word and turning pages, swiping left or scrolling up, but it is fascinating to listen to books read to you as your brain conjures the pictures in your mind–and it allows you to get a few more books in….

So many books, so little time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Hours a Day

24 Hours a Day

Each one of us is blessed to have the same amount of time each day–24 hours.

Yet some of us get so much more done in the same amount of time than others. And I am noticing that people who can accomplish more in the same amount of time that we are all given are happier people.

It all comes down to organization, focus and work ethic.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your day.

1. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

Some people say this is boring. Ok then I am boring. I go to bed by 8:30pm, 9:00pm at the latest, everyday. I wake up at 5:00 am every “workday” and 6:00am on weekends.

As a teacher, even on my holidays off, I follow the same schedule. If my husband and I are traveling we do so also.

This helps our body have the sufficient energy levels each day for whatever is planned.

If we stay up late for a special occasion we still keep to the same schedule and in a few days our bodies have “caught up” the hours of rest needed to continue whatever our lifestyle dictates.

2. Be organized in everything you do.

Being organized is a tremendous time saver. If you know me or have been reading my blog for even a short time you will know I am a planner.

I plan everything from the chores of the day–and the days of the week certain chores get done– to our meals, our workdays, family activities and events.

For example, grocery shopping happens once a week, we follow a list and we don’t go back to the grocery store that week. If we forget something we just work around it until the next time.

If you are organized in everything, less time is wasted and more is accomplished.

3. Keep your focus.

It is great to have lots and lots of dreams of what you want to do with your life and how you want to spend your days–but without focus you will spend days and years going from one thing to the next and never accomplishing anything.

Keeping your focus on beginning and finishing your tasks–whether it is an obligation (like your career)–or something recreational like a hobby or project–is the only way things get done.

Think of all the things you began but have not finished yet…you have lost your focus for those things.

If you feel you have lost your focus because you don’t have enough time see tip # 2.

4. A strong work ethic will help you accomplish anything.

If you want to live a full life with days packed with accomplishments and successes a strong work ethic will get you there.

Whether it is washing dishes, or building a successful company, raising intelligent resourceful children, or being the best you can be at whatever it is you want to do, you have to have a stick-with-it-ness that only comes from a good work ethic.

Here’s the good news–if you don’t already have a work ethic you can get one–they are free!

4 easy steps to a happy and productive life…remember we are all given the same 24 hours a day–how are you choosing to take advantage of them?

Of Weddings and Funerals

Of Weddings and Funerals

Nothing seems to mark the passage of time more than the weddings and funerals in our lives.

The weddings are always happy occasions when we have the chance to get together with family and friends to celebrate the beginning of a couple’s life together. At least for me.

It doesn’t matter what age the happy couple is or if this is their first or second (or third) marriage. It is a beginning, a fresh start with the expectation and promise that it holds. It is a celebration of life.

It is the clock of life that ticks off to these moments. We often think of our own lives at weddings–sometimes remembering our own weddings or those of others. The life lived before and after such events. The choices we have made and how that defines us–in reference to time passed and time yet to come.

As we get older, funerals also give us an opportunity to see friends and family although for a more somber occasion. This too is a celebration of life.

This is a time when again we hope for that new beginning with the promise of everlasting life in heaven.

But it is also a reminder of our mortality, of the fact that our time on earth is limited.

When a friend or family member passes away, regardless of their age, we think about the impact they had in our lives–sometimes big and sometimes small–but an impact nonetheless.

And we think of our lives at funerals, before that moment, and what it will be after that moment. It is a time to be grateful, to appreciate and to take advantage of the time we have left.

So always remember to celebrate life–those of others–and your own! These milestones, weddings and funerals, help us remember to slow down from our hurry up run around life and enjoy everything we can.

I hope your life is full of joy and rich memories!

Me Time

Me Time

One of my favorite parts of summer is that I can disconnect–from work, from certain responsibilities, and from the laundry–at least for a little while.

I took last week “off”.  I did not travel anywhere but I did take a vacation from everyday routines.

As some of you noticed (and commented) I took time away from my writing and from most of my house chores. I stopped organizing and planning to organize.  I just sat back and relaxed.

I spent some time in my backyard, admiring the plants and the breeze. I caught up on some global news.  I did some reading, a lot of relaxing, and I did a fair amount of Netflix binging.

I painted my fingernails and toenails. I gave myself a facial. And I learned a few new yoga moves.

Me time.  

Most important of all I let go of worrying about things that are out of my control anyway. And I came to this realization:

It was a very good week!

So now I am back, in my regular routine, and I am loving it–again!  The planning, organizing, thinking, writing, spending time with my family.

I am a simple person.  And I am happy being a simple person and enjoying simple pleasures like clean sheets, home cooked meals, organized drawers.

We fail ourselves sometimes by getting too wrapped up trying to be all the things others want us to be. Because we don’t want to let people down.

We forget that what is important in our lives are the people around us and the things that are important to us.

Having a little “me time” gives you a moment, a day, or a week to step back, take a breath and see things for what they really are. To understand your intentions about things and sometimes to understand the intentions of others in relation to you.

It is a very powerful tool–me time.

I recommend me time for everyone! Carve out a little time from our run around lifestyles and just give yourself the time to:

  1. Think about the things that you are grateful for
  2. Enjoy the people you love and that love you
  3. Clarify what is important to you
  4. Let go of things that are not important to you

Keeping life simple helps us live better, getting things done smarter, to reach goals faster. That’s my objective–what’s yours?

How would you use some me time?  Would you use it to get other chores done from the never ending list or would you look inside yourself to find what is important to you?
Leave me a comment below–or send me an email with your comments at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

Time For Health

Time For Health

Being healthy-the stage of health you want to be in–is whatever you define it as. For some people that may be to lose those last 10 pounds we have been carrying around for the last decade. (Guilty)  For others, a health goal may be getting stronger, more flexible or more physically fit. Still others may want to rid themselves of headaches, allergies or digestive disorders.

Whatever your final objective, being healthy is going to depend on what your definition of health is for you. Getting to your healthiest self though, will take commitment and time.  Once you reach your healthiest self–staying that way also takes commitment and time.

So where do you find the time in our busy run around lives to “get healthy”?  As with anything we truly want–once we decide we TRULY want it–you have to make it happen!

Positive thoughts are beautiful and I recommend them highly, but we must follow them up with action. We need to give something up that is taking up our time to create this health we want.

Don’t worry–it’s not as bad as it sounds because usually we are really not “giving up” anything–we are just changing our priorities–and habits.

The first thing I did when I was looking for extra time was I pulled out my calendar.  I committed appointments to myself for the next six months to go to the gym and work out at least 45 minutes every other day. If my “gym appointment” landed on a weekday–the workout would have to be after work. On weekends I could be more flexible–depending what other plans were already in the works and to accommodate for Church on Sundays.

Either way–I made a commitment to myself. And having it on my calendar helps me honor my own time–my own goals and my own priorities.  

Another plus of putting these “gym appointments” on my calendar was an unexpected one: when a colleague asked me to attend an additional work function one evening, I could honestly say: “Thank you for thinking of me, but I already have a previous engagement that evening.”

So not only did I “find” the time to add in these workouts–but it helped me not “lose” time attending a function that would not add value to my life.

How many times have you left a meeting thinking: “That’s 40 minutes of my life I will never get back!”

Another way that I am finding time for my health is to get organized. We all have a multitude of tasks we have to complete to survive ie. live this busy run around life of ours: grocery shopping, paying the bills, scheduling doctors and dentist and hairdresser appointments and tasks that are required to maintain our homes.

I am learning ways that I can automate some of these so it frees up some of my time. Other things–you guessed it–go on my calendar.

So if I forgot an ingredient for a recipe or we run out of milk–we just do without until our next scheduled trip to the grocery store. Bingo! More time.

I think for a long time I kept very “busy” to avoid looking at my health goals in the face. After all, “I don’t have enough time” is a plausible excuse right? Not really–not for us who have decided to value our health.

And for those who are telling us they have no time to exercise–well we nod and smile and accept that they are just not in the same place we are right now and that is okay. Someday they will remove that barrier for themselves. Hopefully.

What time constraints do you find yourself with? Is the television or the internet eating up your clock? Comment below and share with me some of the time obstacles you are facing. I would love to hear from you!

As always remember–we all have the same 24 hours each day–have fun with them!

Of Stuff and Money

Of Stuff and Money

A funny thing happened on my way to the trash bin…I started having “declutterer’s remorse”.  I started thinking about all the money we have spent on the things we were now giving away, throwing away or selling at a VERY reduced price.

I had to take a step back, take a deep breath and remind myself of the reason I am doing this…and it felt so good.

My main reason–is to have more!  Not more stuff!  But as I’ve mentioned before…more space, time, money and happiness.

I am so excited as I already see some of my spaces open up–and how I am thinking each day of ways to organize better, and keep those spaces clean and beautiful.  So the more space is really coming along!

And I did not realize how freeing decluttering would be in finding more time for myself.  I mean really, we all have the same 24 hours a day–but if I’m not searching for my car keys for 15 minutes just to find them under the pile of mail I brought in last night, I’ve gotten 15 minutes of my life back!  

Not to mention that an uncluttered house is easier to clean: more time for me.  Simplifying all my stuff makes my routines shorter and quicker: more time for me. And I don’t have to worry about maintaining, storing, searching through or finding new places for my unused or unusable stuff: more time for me!

I really like more time for me!

The money concept is a little harder because obviously unless it was a gift–we spent money on all this “stuff” we are now calling “clutter”. Ouch!  Yes we have bought useless stuff, I accept that!

For all the stuff we bought and enjoyed, well, we can call that an entertainment expense.  And for all the things that are still good and we are donating–they will live on, hopefully, with someone that can get good use out of it.

When I think of my goal of more money–decluttering and the decision to be stronger and wiser in future buying decisions–could mean more money.  And certainly all the hours I have spent decluttering and thinking about decluttering and not cluttering again are hours (and money) I did not spend on Amazon!

Pretty sad when the UPS guy knows you by name!  

More happiness?  Absolutely!  Decluttering is a way to open you up for all the good things you have coming your way.  All the new opportunities, something better that you have been planning for your life, or even just more peace in your surroundings will contribute to a healthier life.  

What dreams or plans have you been putting on hold because there is just no room for them in your life right now?  How does the thought of decluttering make you feel about the money you have spent on stuff?  Look at your future goals, can doing some decluttering put you on a path to reaching them?  Comment below to share your experiences!

And as usual check out my Facebook page and the ideas I have pinned on Pinterest! And have fun!