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Be Happy Rule #1- Happiness Starts At Home



In my house we have a saying…If mama it isn’t happy, nobody’s happy.

And frankly, it’s true. If I am miserable, then I tend to make everybody around me miserable too. (Most people are this way.)

It’s in my nature to want to help, nurture, love, and take care of the people around me, but if I am not happy inside, there’s no way I have enough to give other people.

When my cup is full, when I am feeling happy and fulfilled then I have the ability or a greater ability to give and reach out to other people. Happiness is contagious and an overflowing cup spills over to those around you.

I desperately want to make other people feel loved and happy and worthy – Don’t we all? (or at least the mentally stable among us – but that has to start at home, with me.

And it has to start at home with you as well.

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2 Words That Help Me Stay Sane in a Crazy World


There are days, more and more the older I get, when tasks seem to be everywhere I look, piling up faster than I can even capture them; a full dishwasher, dishes in the sink, laundry to be done, an errand list as long as my arm, emails to be returned, papers to go through, posts to be written, articles to be researched, appointments to be made…

When I start feeling…hmmm. Frantic is the word I guess. The only thing I can do is keep repeating over and over “one thing,” “one thing,” a mantra of sorts to remind myself to focus on just one thing at a time. Just one thing…, then the next…, and the next. I started out whispering it in my head, but now I just say it out loud and don’t care who thinks I’m crazy. Crazy or not, it helps…a lot.

One thing…

Put away the dishes – Check

Throw in a load of laundry – Check

Answer email – Check

Write blog post – Check

Conference call – Check

Research article – Check

Brainstorm name and domain for new project – Check

Call mom – Check

Text kids – Check

Make vet appointment for dogs – Check

Do a few errands – Check

Go to son’s track meet – Check

Try not to think about work I should be doing while at track meet – Sort of check

Make dinner – Check

Walk dogs – Check

Check homework – Check

And so on…

One thing…one thing…one thing…

It works for me…Maybe it will work for you…

Repeat after me…One thing, one thing, one thing…

Let me know if it helps!

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15 Really Simple (and Inexpensive) Ways to Go a Bit Greener

In honor of Earth Day, I thought I’d share some really easy ways to “Go Greener.” It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, just a bit of commitment. If everyone did just one thing in a little bit more earth-friendly manner, we could make a huge difference in the world we are leaving to our children.

Thanks to the website The Daily Green for sharing these 15 easy ways to go green.


1. Avoid Waste: Recycle

For every trashcan of waste you put outside for the trash collector, about 70 trashcans of waste are used in order to create that trash. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, buy products in returnable and recyclable containers and recycle as much as you can.

2. Give up Paper and Plastic Bags

Twelve million barrels of oil were used to make the billions of paper and plastic bags consumed in the United States last year. The best option is reusable shopping bags made of cotton, nylon or durable, mesh-like plastic. Keep the reusable shopping bags handy so you have them on your next shopping trip.

3. Stop Buying Bottled Water

Did you know that it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater? Start using reusable water bottles instead made from materials like stainless steel or aluminum that are not likely to degrade over time. If you choose a plastic water bottle, check the number on the bottom first: Plastics numbered 3, 6 and 7 could pose a health threat to you, so look for plastics numbered 1, 2, 4 or 5.

4. Stop Receiving Unwanted Catalogs

Each year, 19 billion catalogs are mailed to American consumers. All those catalogs require more than 53 million trees and 56 billion gallons of wastewater to produce — and many of us don’t even know how we got on so many mailing lists! Save the millions of trees and billions of gallons of water by putting a stop to unwanted mail. Go online to for help.

5. Give up Conventional Detergents

Many natural detergents today are made to clean clothes just as effectively in cooler water temperatures. Choose detergents and other laundry products that are plant-based, concentrated and biodegradable.

6. Give up Hot Water in the Washer

The Daily Green says that almost 90 percent of the energy is used to heat the water, and most clothes will come clean in cold water. So switch your washing machine’s temperature setting.

7. Give up the Clothes Dryer

The second biggest household energy user, after the refrigerator, is the clothes dryer. Overdrying your clothes can end up costing you money as well. When using the dryer, clear the lint filter after each load and dry only full loads of clothes. Dry heavy fabrics separately from lighter ones, and don’t add wet clothing in the middle of the drying cycle. And remember that hanging clothing outside in the sun and air to dry is the most energy-efficient method — or use a folding indoor rack all year long.

8. Check for Leaks in Your Toilet

A leaking toilet can waste anywhere between 30 and 500 gallons of water every day, so any leak should be repaired. To see if your toilet is leaking, put a few drops of food coloring in the toilet tank. If the dye shows up in the toilet bowl after 15 minutes or so, the toilet has a leak. Leaking is usually caused by an old or poorly fitting flapper valve, which can be replaced by any amateur DIY-er!

9. Give up Conventional Toilet Paper

If every household in the United States bought just one four-pack of 260-sheet recycled bath tissue, instead of the typical tissue made from virgin fiber, it would eliminate 60,600 pounds of chlorine pollution; preserve 356 million gallons (1.35 billion liters) of fresh water and save nearly 1 million trees. The best news is that a four-pack of recycled toilet paper costs about the same as a four-pack of conventional toilet paper.

10. Give up Paper Towels

Paper towels create a lot of unnecessary waste. Instead of loading up on them, buy some reusable microfiber towels, which grip dirt and dust like a magnet, even when they get wet. When you are finished with them, toss the towels in the wash and reuse them again.

11. Run a Fully Loaded Dishwasher

Running a fully loaded dishwasher — without pre-rinsing the dishes — can use a third less water than washing the dishes by hand, saving up to 10 to 20 gallons of water a day. Simply scrape large pieces of food off your dishes and let the dishwasher handle the rest. And by using the air-dry setting (instead of heat-dry), you will consume half the amount of electricity without spending a dime.

12. Lower the Temp in Your Fridge

First, set the refrigerator thermostat to maintain a temperature between 38 and 42 degrees (F). This temperature will protect your food from spoiling while saving electricity. Twice a year, make sure to clean the condenser coil at the back of your fridge. Condenser coils tend to get dusty, making them less efficient.

13. Give up 2 Degrees

According to The Daily Green, electric power plants are the country’s largest industrial source of the pollutants that cause global warming. By snuggling under a blanket on the couch on a snowy winter night instead of turning up the heat, or enjoying the breeze from a fan in the height of summer instead of turning up the air conditioning, you can save pounds of pollution. Set your thermostat in winter to 68 degrees F (20° C) or less during the daytime and 55 degrees F (13° C) before going to sleep or when you are away for the day. And during the summer, set thermostats to 78 degrees F (26° C) or more.

14. Give up Dry Cleaning

Until recently, almost all dry cleaners used a cancer-causing chemical called perchloroethylene, also known as Perc or TCE. Traces of this toxic chemical remain on your clothes after dry cleaning and will evaporate into the air in your car or home. If you have to use a traditional dry cleaner, take your dry cleaning out of the plastic and air it outside or near a window before hanging it in your closet. To avoid the need for dry cleaning, choose fabrics that don’t require dry cleaning at all.

15. Stop Wasting Gas

You can increase your gas mileage by checking your tire pressure. More than a quarter of all cars and nearly one-third of all SUVs, vans and pickups have underinflated tires, according to a survey by the Department of Transportation. If every American kept his or her tires properly inflated, we could save 2.8 billion gallons (10.6 billion liters) of gasoline a year — and help curb global warming pollution — so inflate the tires on your car or truck and continue to do so once a month or as necessary.


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Is Life Really That Complicated?



Life is complex, but sometimes I think we make it more complicated than it has to be. (Feel free to tweet that :)

I am blessed or cursed (two-sides, same coin) with an immense curiosity about oh so many things, some very important and useful things and some trivial, nonsensical things.

For example, today I have been wondering about why some people are happy and some are not,…why some are strong-willed and some more passive…what we can do to solve our financial crisis…why my sister got all of the imagination and artistic skills while I got the head for numbers and facts…how I can make my youngest son clean his room and hand in his homework…why I can’t remember to run the dishwasher…and why we can make electronics that talk to us and think for us, but we can’t make pants that don’t collect dog hair…

I like to make sense of things, to put them in order, to pick them apart and look for answers. It’s the ultimate paradox of information – attempt to search for and ingest every piece of information on a topic available, then try to compress it all down to a simple, straightforward answer.

It often drives those around me nuts…

I want simple answers to life’s complex questions…and I think you do as well.

The point of what I do here on the Productive Life Concepts blog is not to choose the most popular keywords and to try to write the most eye-catching headlines so that I can get the most website traffic. It doesn’t provide my income (in fact it costs me money and countless hours each month.) It’s not my job…but it is my passion.

If I’m looking for better answers, I suspect others are as well. If I’m curious, I suspect others are as well. If I have an opinion, I expect others do as well. If I’m struggling, I expect others are as well.

It’s an excuse to indulge my curiosity, to ask interesting questions, to find answers that help me and that might be of use to others. And as I evolve, so will it, as will we all…one can only hope.


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The 3 E’s – What Do They Mean? Why You Should Care?

To my way of thinking there are three aspects or necessary components to growing in life, work, fulfillment, success, balance, relationships, anything really.

Explore, Expand, Evolve

This sort of sums up my philosophy of both my work and my life.

You really need all three to be your most effective, to live your best life, to have your most successful career. They work together, building on one another and circling back and forth to form an intricate web which is the foundation for all growth, in business and in life.

But what do these words mean? How do they apply to you? To your business? To your life?

Here’s the boiled-down Cliff Notes version of my understanding and my practice.

Explore = Assess

  • Look at the situation, the problem, the reality, the goal
  • Learn more about options, choices, motivations, thought and behavior patterns
  • Generate ideas, contemplate possible solutions
  • Who am I? As a person, as a professional?
  • What am I doing? Or not doing?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What is missing? Or what is not working?

Expand = Move forward

  • Be more productive
  • Formulate a plan
  • Take action
  • What do I need to do to get from A to B, or A to F?
  • Where can I get help?
  • How can I best use my time?

Evolve = Change

  • What do I need to change?
  • What isn’t working?
  • Where am I stuck?
  • Do I need to shift my focus?
  • How do I need to revise my plans and strategies?
  • Do I need to modify my behaviors?
  • Are there patterns or habits that need to change?
Your Mini-Mission for this week: How can you apply the 3E’s to your life or business?

Leave a comment or share on our Facebook page.

Just joining us… Find all of the Mini-Missions here…

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