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Archive | June, 2007

Help Me Choose a Smart Phone


I Love Gadgets! Do You?

I currently have a Palm Treo 600 that is 2+ years old. I would like to get a new smartphone that has WiFi capability and a QWERTY keys. I’m open in terms of these features:

  • Palm vs. Windows Mobile vs. Other OS
  • Edit attachment documents capability vs. View only
  • Touchscreen vs. Non-Touchscreen

What’s In It For You?

Here’s your chance to share your knowledge. For sharing your comments you will receive a link to your website. (As long as it is in line with my comment policy.) This will probably be a popular post in which visitors will read the comments section, so hopefully you’ll get more than a few visits in return for sharing your knowlege.

Which Smartphone Do You Recommend?

  1. Which smartphone do you recommend?
  2. Which features do you love/hate about the phone?
  3. Which features do you wish you had?
  4. Which features do you hardly ever use?
  5. Which OS do you prefer and why? (Palm or Windows Mobile or Other)
  6. Which cell phone service provider do you prefer and why?
  7. Any special hacks or add-ons that you love?
  8. Other comments?

If you can answer any/all of these questions, I will be very grateful! After a week I will post the summary results and link to the top reviews.

Please Share!

Thank You in advance for sharing!

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9

Simplifying Your Goals

Life Goals Simplify
Do You Have Goal Clutter?

If you’ve taken any time to set your goals or manage your goals you may have found that you’ve created too many goals! Is it possible to have too many goals? Yes, it is. Especially if you’re trying to work on them all at once. This article will help you pare down your list of goals to a manageable amount so that you can focus, have peace of mind, and actually accomplish your goals.


Paring Down Your List of Goals

Take your list of goals that you set using the Life Goals Worksheet. (For instructions check the Goal Setting Guide.) Go through each of your goals and ask yourself, “Can I live without this goal or must I have it right now?” A helpful way to do this is to take all your goals and write each one on a yellow sticky. You want to get your list down to your top 10, then top 5, then top 3 goals. The top 3 goals will be your list to work on. And if this adds too much to your plate, then simply work on one of these at a time.

What to Do with the Other Goals

The goals that are not in your top 5-10 goals, can be placed in a “maybe” or “someday” category. If you find ones that are not that important, you might want to delete them. If they are still a dream you want to hold onto, then leave them on your list, but note that they are a “someday/maybe” category. When you do periodic reviews of your goal list they’ll be there if it’s time for them to graduate to your top list. For the purposes of clearing your mind and establishing focus, leave them behind mentally while you focus on your top goals.

Top 3 Goals as Time Management Tool

When you have your goal list pared down and de-cluttered, you are now ready to handle the dizzying amount of demands for your attention, time, and energy. Your top 3 goals list becomes a time management tool. It becomes a filter through which every request must pass. If a new request doesn’t relate to your top 3 goals, then it must wait in line behind all tasks that do relate to your top 3 goals.

I’m “Too Busy”

Contrast this with how most of us operate daily: wake up, dress, eat while commuting or just drink coffee, arrive work, check email, respond to emails as we read them regardless of priority, get caught up in someone else’s “firedrill” simply because it seemed easier than figuring out the best plan for our own day, late lunch, post lunch slump, no energy to tackle anything big, dive into email again, more busy work, 4pm think to self “I’m never going to get anything done today. Why does this always happen to me?” 5pm still working on low priority tasks, 6pm leave work exhausted, get take out, eat, watch the news, watch TV until too late, fall asleep wishing you had time to write that novel. Oh well.

Less “Busy,” More Productive

If you use your top 3 goals as a time management filter then you will gain more control of your time. You’ll be more focused and less “busy.” You can then spend larger chunks of time working towards the things that are most important to you.

To do this successfully, you must be disciplined and make the tasks associated with your top 3 goals your first priority of the day each day. This means not even looking at email in the morning unless it relates to your top 3 goals. And if you do look at email you should only open those that relate to moving your top 3 goals forward.

After you have accomplished your big tasks for the day, then you can move onto lesser priority tasks and feel good about what you’ve accomplished for the day. What you’ll notice is that “firedrills” get handled by other people if you’re not available. Also, you need to learn to say “No” to certain requests, ignore others, and delegate tasks that are more appropriately or more cost-effectively handled by someone else.

Small Investment, Big Return

Simplifying your goals, planning your day, and being disciplined in your implementation doesn’t take a lot of time. It just takes focus. And it actually frees up time for what you really want. That’s the big return. You will feel so good about your accomplishments. What are you waiting for? Start today!

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9

So You Want to Be a Writer

I am a writer.

Make Your Dream Come True

Becoming a writer is a dream that many of us share. I’ve always loved writing and only recently realized that I became a writer by the simple act of writing. No one bestows this title on you. To acquire the title of “writer” all you need to do is write! And the good news is no one can take it away from you. This article will give you all the resources you’ll need to become a writer, outlining the various ways you can express yourself, with helpful resources for digging in. This guide is intended for writers at every stage: dreamer, newbie, explorer, and old-hat.

1) Journaling

Let’s start with the easiest form of writing, journaling. At it’s most basic, grab any notebook and start with these words “Dear Diary…” If you want to get fancy you can buy yourself a nice leather bound Moleskine notebook and maybe a nice pen which you use for the ritual of writing. The only thing that matters is that you follow your inspiration. What should you write about? Your dreams, your problems, other people’s problems, solutions, anything. It’s a great tool for understanding yourself so that you can grow and improve your life. And it’s really fun to go back in time and read what you wrote last year…or even 5,10 years ago!

2) Blogging

When you’re ready to share your writing with the world the easiest way to do this is with blogging. Blog is short for “Weblog.” It is a place where you can post material to the internet which is stamped with the date and with whatever labels or categories you’d like. You can have a blog that is a diary or it can be used to entertain people, teach, create controversy, or promote your beliefs be they political, spiritual, philosophical or otherwise. If you want to make money from your blog you can add advertising to your blog, such as with Adsense (see link in right sidebar.) Here are some resources for getting started with blogging:

  1. Blogger – this is the easiest one to start with. It’s free and very advertising friendly. Owned by Google. You can have a blog created in about 10 minutes or less. If you are planning to build a “professional” blog over time, you may want to give yourself more flexibility with WordPress unhosted.
  2. WordPress hosted – this one is free but is not easy to use with advertising.
  3. WordPress unhosted – this is the platform I use. It is more complex, but you have more flexibility with layout, design, and functionality. The platform itself is free, but you’ll need to pay for a hosted server such as AnHosting, which is what I use.
  4. Typepad – this is the 3rd most popular blogging platform after WordPress and Blogger. There is a 14 day trial period. After that prices start at $4.95 per month. Has a nice professional look and feel.
  5. Squarespace – If you don’t want to bother with coding but want a professional look and feel, squarespace has some very high-design templates. 30 Day free trial. Prices start at $7 per month.


3) Magazine Writing

Want to see your name and writing published? Magazine writing may be for you. There are two ways to approach this. 1) Write your articles first and then pitch them to magazine editors. 2) Write your pitch query letter to magazine editors and only write the article when you are contracted to do so. Each method has pros and cons. This is a great work from home business. However, to make a real living from it you must be organized, disciplined, and persistent. There is a lot that goes into this process so I will refer you to a couple good references:

WritersWeekly.com  This is a free weekly ezine. There are new updated markets listed each week that are looking for writers. They also have an ebook titled “QUERY LETTERS THAT WORKED! Real Queries That Landed $2K+ Writing Assignments” which costs $19.95.
Writer’s Digest Handbook Of Magazine Article Writing is a 5-Star rated (Amazon) book that teaches you how to brainstorm ideas, write articles, craft query letters, and maintain good relationships with editors for repeat contracts.

4) Online Article Writing for Cash
If you don’t want to set up a blog or do magazine writing, but you still want to get paid, online article writing is an quick way to get paid for your writing. The pay is low, but the articles that are needed are generally short, so if you can write fast you can make some side income. Payment depends on the the demand for the content. Payment can run anywhere from $3-20 per article. Many bloggers do this to supplement their income and to build name recognition. It’s also good writing practice. Here are the two largest and most often recommended, although, there are others:

5) Writing a Book
Who hasn’t dreamed of writing a book? Well, you can do it! Check out my Ultimate Guide to Writing a Book in Less than 60 Days right here on this blog. This guide has many free writing resources as well as book recommendations and writing program recommendations.

If you want to join a community of writers check out NaNoWriMo in the fall when they sponsor a free online community project where everyone attempts to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November!

Want to publish a book that you’ve already written? The Well-Fed Publisher is the ultimate resource on publishing your non-fiction or fiction book!

6) Short Story Writing

This is a great warm up for writing a novel. It’s less of a commitment and it can always turn into a longer story later on. Contests are a great way to get you humming along on a story right away. Here are some contest resources that I can recommend:

WritersWeekly quarterly writing contest only $5 to enter. Cash and ebook prizes. (I actually won an honorable mention in one of their contests last year. That was fun!)
Writers Digest Writing Contests cash prizes. Many different categories. Legitimate sponsor you can trust.

If you are looking for some creative writing prompts here are 3 books I like a lot:

  • The 3 A.M. Epiphany: Uncommon Writing Exercises That Transform Your Fiction
  • The Write-Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing
  • Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspirations for Writing


7) Flash Fiction: Ultra Short Micro Stories

This is a newly popular genre of writing where the whole story is generally between 250-1000 words. It is also known as sudden fiction, microfiction, micro-story, postcard fiction, and short short story. This is really fun to play around with and it is an excellent way for novel and short story writers to develop the discipline to eliminate extraneous words from your writing.
Magazines:

Contests:

  • Whim’s Place Flash Fiction Contest– quarterly contest. $5 entry fee. Cash prizes $50-$250. Guest Judge Deborah Ng is a blogger for Darren Rowse’s b5Media blog “Simply Thrifty.”

Stories to read online:

  • Fish Publishing – an online sampling of flash fiction that takes, well, only a flash to read!


8 ) Freelance Corporate Writing

If you are a good writer and know something about sales, then you can make a very good living writing business content for corporations, small businesses, and non-profits. This is a huge topic that I will write about more in the future. For now, let me refer you to the ultimate resource book this topic: The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman. If you want to start this lucrative home-based business, this is really the only book you will need! It is the book I used as a guide when I launched my freelance writing business. (Tip: You only need the updated “Back for Seconds” version of this book which has a summary of the first book in it.)

If you do go this route, Freelance Success is an excellent professional online group where you can ask questions from people in the business. It does cost $89 for a year subscription, but it is well worth it, especially if you are just starting out. You can “listen in” on the forum discussions by email subscribing to them. It’s a tax deductible business expense. I personally found it to be worthwhile. As a writer you can post your profile for free and companies that have work for freelance writers can see your profile there.

9) Technical Writing
This is the business of writing manuals and technical instruction information for companies, usually technology and manufacturing companies. It can help if you have an engineering degree or experience, but it’s not a requirement. Just like Corporate Writing, technical writing can be lucrative. Here are a couple of highly recommended books to check out:

  • Technical Writing 101: A Real-World Guide to Planning and Writing Technical Documentation
  • The Well Fed Writer:Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman also covers technical writing.

10) Grant Writing
A grant is money that is given to non-profit organizations such as universities for a project such as studying or researching a particular topic. In order to be awarded the funds, a request for proposal is written by the applicant stating why the organization deserves to win or receive the grant. Grant writers write these proposals for the non-profit organizations. Sometimes these writers are employed in-house and other times they are contracted as freelance grant writers. Grant writers are in high demand, so this is a good work-at-home writing business if you are interested in this kind of writing. Here are a couple of highly rated books on grant writing:

  • The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need: Top Grant Writers and Grant Givers Share Their Secrets
  • Grant Writing For Dummies


Other Writing Resources:
Websites

  • Writers.com offers online classes, tips, newsletter, and other services.
  • Writing.com offers groups, forums, reviews, polls, blogs and much more.
  • WritersRow freelance writing jobs and more.


Books

  • Writer’s Market  – This is a big book that is very handy to writers who are doing magazine writing and/or writing a book. From the Amazon review: ” The 2008 Writer’s Market features all the great information writers have to come to expect for more than 80 years and then some. This edition takes Writer’s Market to a new level of excellence with high profile author interviews and five new market sections. Of course, it’s still packed with all the information writers rely on year after year including the keys to successful query letters, advice on how much to charge, articles from successful writers, as well as listings for book publishers, magazines, lierary agents and more! Features more than 3,500 completely updated listings. Includes five new sections (Newspapers, Syndicates, Screenwriting, Playwriting, Greeting Cards). Features exclusive articles and interviews with successful writers.”

Please Share!

 

Please share your writing with a link to your blog or website!

 

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46

The Two F-Words You Should Love

Intrigued?

Check out my guest post today at Lifehack.org. If you like it please consider voting for it on Delicious, Stumble, or Digg. Thank you!

The article has a dose of inspiration for those of us who have hit the wall.

Lifehack.org: The Two F-Words You Should Love

Abraham Lincoln

Please Share!

Please share your comments on how you handle hitting the wall. All comments big and small are very welcomed!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon through my “Books� page at the top of this page. Thank you!

 

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3

Break These Rules for Success!

break some rules

Rules Schmules

Rules have their place in this world. But if they are stopping you from succeeding then you should look for a way around them. I’m not talking about breaking the law, but breaking the rules that say you need to do A,B, and C before you can achieve X. These rules may be good for the masses who are happy with slow progress, and who are looking. But if you want to rise to the top more quickly, see where you can bend or break the rules.

Rules That Are Waiting For You to Break Them

1) Needing a Masters Degree to teach. If you have work experience, this can be better than a masters degree. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t feel like you have to spend a ton of money and time on another degree (unless you want to.) This is especially true for programs from online schools. If you want to start teaching, then start looking for job openings and sell your skills! A masters degree may be required, but rules can always be broken for the right person. Maybe that’s you! If you are short on experience, look for teaching opportunities where teachers are in short supply. Essentially put yourself into an arena where you have an advantage.

2) You need experience to get the job. Bull! I used to hire a lot of people at a financial services firm. There was always an experience requirement. But experience doesn’t always have to be formal or job-specific. The bottom line is, the person’s attitude was by far the most important element in whether I hired someone. I turned down plenty of people with experience who had poor attitude or who had no enthusiasm. Focus on your experience. Be creative in relating it to the job requirements of the job for which you are applying. And be enthusiastic. Go for it!

3) You need to be young, beautiful, and talented to be a movie, rock star. Nope. What you need is drive and persistence. Having one or more of the other things can certainly help, but there are people who have made it on drive alone. You can learn the rest. If you really want it, go for it. You’ll probably want to keep your day job for a while. And you don’t have to be a star to make a living as an entertainer. If it’s your dream, go after it. Don’t let “the rules” keep you from trying. You may not make it big, but you’ll be living out your dream!

4) It takes money to make money. Not necessarily. Having money can help, but it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll make money. You can start many businesses with a small amount of money. But whether you have big money or small money, you’ll need to implement smart business strategy. If you have a good business plan, you can always use other people’s money. Of course you’ll need to sell your idea well. But it can be done. What business have you been wanting to start? What small steps can you take today to start?

5) You need a degree in English, Journalism, or Writing to be a good writer. I think we all know this is not true, right? Right? OK, maybe not everyone knows this, but now you do. If you’ve dreamed all your life of becoming a writer, it’s never too late to start. Just start talking on paper. The more you write the better you’ll get. Seek out critiques from people who can and will give you honest and knowledgeable feedback.

6) You need a lot of time to write a book. Yes and no. Lot of time, yes. All at once, no. By being disciplined each day, you could have a book written within 6 months to a year. If you are very motivated, you could have a book written in 60 days or less.

7) You need an MBA to be successful in business. This is just not true. There are so many examples of this. You do need to be a life long learner though. You should keep up with the cutting edge of your field. And you must take action on what you learn. Set a course to read a cross section of books in varying fields of business, learn as much as you can from colleagues and competitors and you’ll have the equivalent of an MBA. If you want to get a formal MBA, that’s fine. But just don’t feel like you have to.

8 ) Everyone who loses weight gains it back. Not everyone. A lot do, but that doesn’t have to be you. Don’t let that stop you from trying to lose weight. That’s bad excuse. You can do it! Keep it off for your health and for your loved ones! And do it today. Father time keeps ticking away. The time to do it is now for future health. A great book on losing weight is The Fat Flush Plan by Louise Gittleman. She is a dietitian and her weight loss method stems from a biological perspective.

9) I can’t eat healthy because I don’t like vegetables. That’s rule you need to get rid of! The real problem is you just haven’t had vegetables that are cooked right. Here is a great book on cooking vegetables with creativity so that they taste yummy! by Patricia Wells.

10) You need to make a lot of money to save for retirement. This is not true. You need to save more money than you spend to save for retirement. It’s simple math. Total your income, figure out how much you need to save for retirement, and then cut your expenses as much as possible to leave enough left over for your monthly savings goal. Best bet is to automate it. Have the savings direct deposited into a separate savings account that you don’t touch. What’s left over is what you are allowed to spend.

11) Investing is for rich people with secret knowledge. No. Investing is for everyone who wants to earn a better return on their money than a savings account. Check out my free Guide to Investing and begin to have success of your own. Just start small, build each month, and you’ll be on your way!

12) Only good looking people can find someone to love them. This is not true. Bash this rule from your head. Haven’t you seen ? People love you for what’s on the inside. You don’t want the people who only love the packaging because they won’t be with you for the long run. Love yourself and others will love you. Be the person you would want to hang out with. Plus everyone is good looking in their own way when they smile and when they are good to others.

13) People can’t change and therefore my marriage can never improve. Baaahnt. Not. This may be true for many people who have given up. But if you really want things to improve, they can! The basic steps: envision a better future, identify what YOU need to do, develop and express gratitude for positive aspects of your spouse, and keep repeating over time. Start small. Look for, recognize, and record in a journal the small successes. If you do this they will build. Good luck!

Some Famous Rulebreakers

Bill Gates dropped out of college to start a little company called Microsoft.
John Grisham wrote his first book over the course of many months on his commuter train to and from work.
Blogging Pro Wendy Piersall had a major turnaround in her marriage to an alcoholic. Today her marriage is fantastic.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling had no experience and was an unemployed single mom, when she started writing her first blockbuster book in a coffee shop.
Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee lost and kept off over 100 pounds with simple diet and exercise.
Richard Simmons not only lost weight a long time ago and kept it off, but he also helps millions to do the same.

Please Share!

What Rules Will You Break to Reach Your Dreams?

Who are your favorite inspirational Rulebreakers?

 

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19

Wrestling with Your Goals?


I Don’t Know Where to Start

My brother in law recently made a comment to me saying that he’d read my Life Goals Guide, but that he was still struggling with how to manage them all, and could I address this. So this article will give you a method/process for working your way through your goals in a way that allows you to feel at ease, even if your list is long! Do this exercise and I guarantee you will find tackling a long goal list much easier!

Assemble Your List of Goals

Use the Life Goals Worksheet (free safe excel download) to list out all your goals. You can either jump right in on the worksheet or if you’d like some basic instruction head over to the Life Goals Guide. (Skip the Personal Values section if you are short on time.) The thing to remember with setting Life Goals is that it is a constant work in progress so don’t worry about making it too perfect or complete. Try to limit yourself to 15-30 minutes to put your first draft together.  You can find an online stopwatch here if that helps you.

Juggle Only One Ball at a Time

Here is where you must get tough with yourself, but I promise you it’s not that hard. It’s simply a mental shifting. Most of us when we view our list of goals we become overwhelmed because we look at them all and thing how can I do all of these at once? The answer is, YOU CAN’T! At least not while staying sane and still being able to sleep. I’ll show you how to tackle these one at a time.

Do You Want to Succeed and Reach These Goals? Really?

OK. If you answered yes, then you must only take on one at a time. You might say: “Wait a minute. That won’t work for me. I need to be doing several of these right now!” If you’re already successfully working towards some of these goals then great. Keep it up. What I’m talking about is introducing new goals. Tackle them one at a time.

The Process

1. Assemble your goals using the Life Goals Worksheet.

2. Order your goals. The easiest way to do this is to put each goal on a small yellow sticky. I recommend actual sticky notes vs. online stickies* because it is much faster! Put your most urgent and important goals first and work your way down. You will keep these stickies to refer to at each Weekly Review. See below for pictures.

3. Write in the priorities next to each yellow sticky on a piece of paper, preferably in your capture notebook using whatever numbering system you like, such as 1,2,3, etc or 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 3A. (see picture below) Optionally you can also write in the priority on your Life Goals Worksheet.

4. Write out the Next Action Steps for your #1 Goal. See the Action Plan Template in the Life Goals Worksheet. You can do this online in the worksheet or on a printed version of the template.

5. Schedule in the Next Action Steps into your calendar.

6. Capture ideas for other goals during the week in your GTD (Getting Things Done) notebook. You’ll only be working on one goal, but you may come up with ideas for your other goals. Capture them in your notebook and leave your mind clear to stay focused on your current goal. You’ll address these in the Weekly Review.

7. Do a Weekly Review of your Goals to see if you need to add, delete, re-order, mark as completed or start your next goal. This is also where you will take all the ideas you captured in your notebook and add them to the action sheets for your other goals. Once Goal #1 is firmly in process or completed, then move onto Goal #2 and so on. (Write out Next Action Steps and schedule them into your calendar.)

Just Do It

Sometimes we psyche ourselves out. We think we need to be working on all our goals at once. That’s a recipe for failure. Take one goal at a time. Make a pact with yourself that you will not worry about the other goals. Each week at your Weekly Review you’ll be able to reorder your goals if needed. Over the course of 6 months to a year, you’ll be amazed how much you will accomplish by using this “slow and steady” method.

Pictures

List of Goals in Life Goals template (below)

List of Goals Example

Goals Written on Yellow Stickies (below)

goals yellow stickies



Goals Organized by Priority (below)

Goals Prioritized



Action Steps for Current Goal (below)

Action Steps Towards Your Goal


Online Resource

*You can also use online versions like OnlineStickyNotes and Google Notebook.These are cool applications, but I highly recommend using paper for this exercise.

Please Share!

Please share your comments on Goal Setting. Was this helpful? Do you have a method you’d like to share? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

 

If you found this post valuable, please SHARE THIS below with a Stumble or Delicious bookmark. Votes are always appreciated!

If you want to Support Life Learning Today, you can visit one of my sponsors, make a donation, or visit Amazon through my “Books” page at the top of this page. Thank you!

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13

Letting Go of Control


Feeling Overwhelmed?

Like many people, I spend a great deal of my life trying to control outcomes. I want to get my work done well and on time. I want to be the best parent so my child will be happy, appreciate the value of hard work, be kind, develop good character, be safe, healthy and so on. I want to keep on top of developments in my field. I want to keep myself healthy. We just moved, so I wanted to make sure everything went smooth. If we go on an outing I try to remember everything the family will need while we are out. There’s a lot of work and stress involved in trying to control all these things in life. It’s good to work hard and to try to make life the best it can be for you and your family.

And then there are times when it is best to Turn Control Over to a power beyond yourself.

When to Turn It Over

  • When you’ve done all you can.
  • When circumstances are out of your control.
  • When you are tired and exhausted.
  • When you’re taking on more than you need to, especially a lot of little things that are not your real priorties.


Turn It Over to Whom?

  • Turn It Over to God
  • Turn It Over to Fate
  • Turn It Over to the Universe
  • Turn It Over to Science
  • Turn it Over to Other People

Allow yourself to be comforted by a belief that good will prevail in the end. Expect the best. Know that you can handle anything that comes your way. Take each day, and each moment one at a time. Truly. Try to live just in this moment. A good book to check out is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. If you’ve done all you can and you can no longer influence the outcome, then let it go. If you’re trying to control too many little things and it’s wearing you out, focus just on what’s really important, and let go of the rest. Put it in a higher power’s hands. What have you got to lose? Only worry. It’s not about giving up or not trying anymore, but allowing ourselves to let go of our grip of control when it doesn’t serve us well.

Stop Trying to Control Everything

How do you do this?

  • Imagine a higher power that cares about you. (If you reject this, ask yourself why you do and what do you have to lose by trying?)
  • Imagine your intentions carrying good results your way.
  • Believe in good outcomes. Meditate on this and then imagine actually handing over your worries to this higher power. You can do this in combination with a Meditation Nap.
  • Let go of fear. Allow your body to rest and relax. As the body goes, so goes the mind. Release your muscle tension and you can release the tension in your mind.
  • With your eyes closed, try a series of tensing and then releasing of your muscles. Start with the face, eyes, jaws, neck, then upper back, arms, hands & fingers, lower back, abdomen, legs, and feet.
  • After doing this either rest if it’s night time or if it’s during the day the best thing might be to focus on other work that you can control and that needs to be done. Or if you can afford to do it, take some time off with something fun to distract your mind, further cementing the habit of letting go. For workaholics it can be a great lesson to learn that the world doesn’t fall apart when you take some time off. Go ahead. Give yourself permission to feel good.


Feel the Relief

If you are truly letting go, you should feel a sense of relief and also a sense of release as your muscles begin to let go of tension. Where do you feel the release? Your jaw? Neck? Shoulders? Your mind? You may feel it in your heart. And don’t be surprised if when you let go that you feel a cry coming on. That’s good. That’s part of the release. Let it out and you will feel much better. The thing with letting go is that it is tricky – the task is essentially to try “not trying” – and it can also be fleeting. One moment you’ve got it, you’re relaxed. And the next, you’re clinging to control again, worrying. But letting go is a habit that can be developed and strengthened. Take your time. Be easy on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Believe in good outcomes, even if it means going through a challenge to get there. You can do it!

Wishing you good luck and peace of mind!

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Please share how you let go of control! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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7

Involve Your Kids in Housework for Major Benefits

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Do you ever find yourself in this scenario: you have many things to get done around the house, the kids are restless, and you feel overwhelmed? You feel like you have to be in two places at once. You need to get the kids occupied and do all the household chores. Then there’s the guilt of letting the TV be the babysitter. And to top it off, at the end of the day, when it’s bedtime for the kids you feel bad because you didn’t really spend any time with them. Well there’s a solution.
toddler vacuuming
Involve the Kids!

If you involve your children in some household chores you and your children will reap many benefits:

  • spending time together
  • learning life skills
  • learning that work can be fun
  • training to be lifelong helpers around the house
  • work builds character, self-confidence, and self-esteem
  • laugh and talk time
  • housework completed
  • everyone will feel good at the end of the day


Ideas for Involving the Kids

1) Start Young. It’s never too early to start. And it’s never too late either. Just start small. Don’t expect perfection. Don’t expect speed. Expect to take your time and enjoy the time together. Add some music. Foster an fun environment. Let the goal be small successes and then build on them.

2) Cooking. Kids really love to help with cooking. It’s good to do a lot of talking and explaining. Even young babies and toddlers understand a lot more than we give them credit for. Ask them questions to let them show you how much they are learning. And give lots of praise. You’re looking for effort not perfection. Bonus: Kids who cook, will eat more healthy and varied foods!

Babies : Sit them in their high chair next to you. Talk to them and explain each thing you are doing. Give them fruit they can “wash” with a damp cloth or give them a small container of water that they can “stir” to be involved.
Toddlers: You can stand them on a chair next to you. (Don’t leave unattended) Give them small finite age appropriate tasks they can handle. Examples: washing fruits/vegetables in a bowl of water in the sink, drying off the produce, holding things, handing you things, pouring (with assistance if needed), and stirring. Keep in mind that the tasks you give them may be small for you, but for them, it is very exciting to be a part of this important grown-up task!
Older Kids: If needed, bring over a chair or have them work at the kitchen table. With older children, they’ll be doing a lot of the same things, but the difference is they can be more helpful. You can teach more complex ideas like measuring, temperature, timing and so on.

3) Cleaning, Tidying, and Gardening.

Babies : Before babies can walk it is a little harder, but there are things you can do. You can put them into a sling or baby carrier while you tidy and clean. Or you can put them into a bouncy seat, high chair or play yard. The key with this age group is to talk to them while you are working. As silly as it may seem, tell them what you are doing. The best thing you can do for your baby’s brain development is to talk to them a lot.
Toddlers: Once a child can walk they can: carry things from one place to another, throw things in the garbage (way fun for them!), hold a dust pan for you, sweep or push a Swiffer/dustmop (let the goal be “good enough” not perfection), wiping dust with damp cloth, pulling bed covers up, putting toys in toyboxes, pulling up weeds, etc. Safety tip: It’s a good idea to keep kids away from harsh cleaning chemicals.
Older Kids: Again, they can do the same things as toddlers, but you can expect a little better job. Praise for effort and give even more praise for improvements. Add music to make things fun. Make up silly songs, rhymes or raps along the way.

4) Laundry

Babies :  The main thing is to talk to your baby. Talk about what you’re doing and about anything. Sing songs. Play peekaboo as you fold.
Toddlers: Give small tasks such as: hand me the next piece to fold, or show them how to do basic folding and piling. They may only fold 3 things while you fold all the rest, but that’s OK!
Older Kids: The key with older kids, especially if this is new for them, is to make it fun. Let it be a time to talk about things. Let them guide the conversation by asking them open ended questions. Ask them about things that interest them. Then show enthusiastic and genuine interest in the topics they like and they’ll open up. Singing and music can make it fun too. (Try to keep the TV off. Let this be together time!)

5) Groceries and Errands

On the Road: Most of the time the kids come along for the ride, but are they “involved?” How can you do this? Let them be in charge of the list of errands or the grocery list. Let them cross things off the list. Let them have the important job of letting you know what’s the next place we’re going to. For young kids, they can memorize this by repeating it and asking them “What’s next?” (Bring water bottles and easy snacks in case energy gets low for you and kids: apple wedges, cheerios, etc)

When you get home, let them help you put things away. Toddlers and bigger kids can carry things into the bathroom or other parts of the house. They can carry light bags in and they can help unload the bags. Then they can organize things into categories – cans, produce, cold things, boxes, etc. All the while, talk about the things, where they go, and your plans for cooking them! Be excited and the kids will be excited too. Instead of framing the task as a chore, frame it as how important they are to the household and to you, and how much you appreciate all their help!


Compensation?

Should you pay children for helping? That’s up to you and you may choose different methods for different circumstances. This is what I do and it works for me. I try to develop a desire in my child to be “mommy’s helper” by encouraging and praising for this. I reinforce this a lot. The reward is the praise.

For other tasks that are harder to get my child to do, I put together a reward chart where he’ll get stars or stickers for completing the task. He gets very excited about that. Once he has gotten a certain amount of stars then he’ll get a reward. I leave the “reward” open and vague. Rewards can be going to the park, going to the library, going to a favorite place, maybe a special treat from the grocery store or whatever fits in easily with what we’re doing. The main idea is that it doesn’t have to be a toy, cost money, or be big.

End of the Day

Rest together and talk about the all the great things you accomplished together. Tell them how proud you are, how grateful you are, and ask them how they feel? Are they proud of themselves? Did they have fun? Are they glad they helped mommy and/or daddy who works so hard for them all week? How about you? Be proud of yourself and smile!

Good luck!


Please Share!

Please share how you involve your kids around the house! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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11

Friday Is A Good Day To….

Friday Is A Good Day To….










  • Travel! – which is what I’ll be doing today. Please enjoy one of my past posts that you haven’t read yet. See you tomorrow with a new post.


  • Say Thank You! Thank you Life Learning Today subscribers!! I’m so honored to have the privilege of writing for you! If you’ve made a comment recently, thank you! I will respond as soon as my move is over, this weekend. Wishing everyone a great Friday! 

Please Share!

Please share how you’ll be spending your Friday! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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2

Solutions for 7 Annoying Problems



Solutions for 7 Annoying Problems

I have a guest post over at Lifehack.org today.

It gives solutions and handy references for 7 annoying problems of modern day life including:

  • Cell Phone Contracts – How to Get out without the penalty.
  • Rebate Runaround – How to get your money without a hassle.
  • Expensive Tech Support – Several Free Solutions.
  • Unused Airline Miles and Reward Points – How to Get the Most out of them.
  • Get a Live Customer Service Person on the Phone
  • Spyware and Viruses
  • Identity Theft

Check it out here:

Lifehack.org: Solutions for 7 Annoying Modern Day Problems

Please Share!

Please share how you overcome annoying problems! All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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4

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