Tag Archives | focus

10 Things to Stop Caring About Today

truth-about-successWe waste so much of our lives caring about unimportant things, foolish things, and unchangeable things. So much time, energy, and stress unnecessarily squandered. There is so little of us to go around and so much out there that is worth caring about.

Some things you can feel free to stop caring about

Other people’s expectations for your life

This is your life. You are the one who has to live it. You have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make and the actions you take, so you should make them according to what you want for and from your life, not what someone else thinks you “should” do with your life. We care way too much about what other people think about us and far too little about what we think about ourselves.

How much you weigh

It’s just a number people! We live in such a weight-obsessed culture that our weight is often a measure by which we are judged and worse by which we judge ourselves. I’m not saying to stop caring about being healthy, that’s a completely different thing, and one definitely worth worrying about. Just don’t fixate on the number on the scale. Care about healthier food choices, care about how strong you are, how much exercise you’re getting, just stop attaching your value, your success, your confidence, your attractiveness and your health to this one single number.

How other people live

Let other people live their own lives, just as you’d like to be able to live yours. Stop judging what other people do and how they live. That’s their business. If it doesn’t affect you, stop caring about it. Stop comparing what you have, how you look, the money, the status, the possessions, the beauty to what you “think” others have. Don’t measure yourself against other people, measure yourself against your own yardstick.

How many Facebook friends you have

Same goes for Twitter followers. The number of social connections you have is not a good indicator of either the strength of your network or your true popularity. True connections are measured by the quality of interactions and the people you who actually care about you and what you have to say. How people respond to you and share with you is a far better indicator or your social status.

Perfection

We suffer so much anguish caring about being perfect. Perfection is nearly unattainable and our striving for it, costs us so much. Perfect is a waste of time, perfect is unreasonable, perfect is a recipe for stress. Pretty darn good is a better goal. It’s usually more than good enough and far less stressful. (Note: If you’re a brain surgeon or a pilot, please try for close to perfect, but as long as you leave my gray matter in place and get me on the ground safely, I’m good.)

Aging

You can’t stop the clock. It’s a fact, no matter how much you worry about it or how much money you spend trying to hide it, time is going to keep right on ticking and taking you along with it. Stop caring about how old you are. It’s not a good measure of the quality of life anyway. Or maybe it is…Studies have shown that people are actually happier as they age. So stop caring about your biological age and wrinkles (whether you have them or worry about getting them,) and start caring about what how you want to live the years you have left.

Fitting in

We place too much value on conformity. If you like to listen to jazz and wear purple shoes, go for it. If you are the sculptor in a family of accountants, good for you. No make-up, big jewelry, cowboy boots, bow tie, thrift store clothes, dinner on cushions, no TV…it’s all fine. You’re not hurting anyone, and though they may judge you, that’s their problem, not yours.

Star Watching

Why are we so obsessed with celebrities? From reality shows to magazines, entertainment news shows to paparazzi photos, clothing lines to hairstyles, we are so infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous. Why? Are we so unhappy in our own lives that we have to get our excitement and pleasure by watching public figures live theirs? Stop wasting your time caring about what famous people do, good, bad, crazy, sad or fabulous. It has nothing to do with you. It’s only a distraction from your own life.

Being right

We all want to be right. It must be intrinsically bred into our DNA, but more times than not, it’s very destructive. When we’re striving to be right, we’re focused on proving other people wrong. We’re grasping for power by trying to prove our infallibility. Care about finding solutions, collaborating with others to find the best answers, and cultivating relationships. Care about the result, not who is right or wrong.

Anything you can’t control

Stop caring about things you can’t control. If there’s nothing you can do to impact the person or the situation, then don’t waste your energy. There are so many important things in your life, in this world that you can affect. Focus on what you can change, where you can have the most impact, make a difference, and let the rest go.

Post originally written for lifehack.org

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10 Simple Ways to Find Balance and Get Your Life Back

1balanceLife balance seems to be the topic on everyone’s mind of late. We have discovered that maintaining a healthy life balance is not only essential for happiness and well-being; it can be a tremendous boost to your productivity and career or business success as well. A well-balanced person has a far greater ability to focus their attention and energy on attaining their goals, taking productive actions and moving forward in a meaningful way.

The big question is…What does life balance really mean? What would a balanced life look like to us? And most importantly, how do we go about achieving it in the midst of our crazy schedules?

There are steps you can take to change what isn’t working and get back some control and balance in your life. And once you start seeing results you’ll be better equipped to maintain that new-found equilibrium. The key is not to try to change everything at once, but to make small adjustments over time to determine what works for you. Eventually you will have a whole new set of positive life habits and you’ll never look back!

  • Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!
  • Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!
  • Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.
  • Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible
  • Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!
  • Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.
  • Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.
  • Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!
  • Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.
  • Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

This post originally written for Lifehack.org

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2 Words That Help Me Stay Sane in a Crazy World

toobusypeople

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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How Are You Spending Your Most Valuable Currency

The Passage of Time
Image by ToniVC via Flickr

Are you neglecting the things that matter?

Do you think you’re somehow different than the rest of us? That you have more hours in the day or can get more done miraculously if you just get organized enough?

Let me tell you right now, FORGET IT! There is only so much any one person can accomplish at one time. We’re told we can have and do it all, but that is a bold faced lie, a sales pitch of productivity system marketing.

Be honest. Where are you falling short?

Full disclosure: I am a chronic over-scheduler, over-committer and plate-overflower ( I just made that term up.) I know I am not alone in the disease to “DO MORE.” But when we try to squeeze in more we tend to neglect the things that matter most, health, family, enjoyment of life.

In some unfathomable twist of brain logic we tend to spend time on those things that don’t really matter in the long-term picture of our lives. Why do we do this? I don’t know. It’s a puzzle of the human psyche. Perhaps someone wiser than I can figure out that puzzle eventually.

Mini: Mission: My marching orders are to figure out what really matters, place a premium priority and focus on those aspects of my life and cut back or delete those that don’t.  I invite you, no; I implore you to join me.

Time is our most valuable currency, yet most of us squander it so easily. (Feel free to tweet that.)

What are the things that really matter to you?

Are you spending enough time on those things?

What are the things that really won’t matter 20 years from now?

Are you spending too much time on the things that really don’t matter that much?

Do you check your email first thing in the morning instead of taking time to exercise or eating breakfast with your family? I’m sure you’ll be glad of that when your health fails and your kids are gone.

Do you spend too much time on social media and information intake? Unless that’s your job, (and sometimes even if it is your job,) you’ll get better results if you spend your time actually producing “work.” Those things are tools.

And while we’re talking about social media…is Facebook really more important than reading with your kids or having an actual conversation with your husband?

We don’t like to think that we’re squandering our time; I know I sure don’t.

But our schedule and habits tell the real story… Take a look…if you dare.

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The Quickest Way To A Better Life…

if-the-only-prayer-you-said-in-your-whole-life-was-thank-you-that-would-suffice-400x400

Let’s talk about gratitude. A big idea and an important one.

Feeling gratitude triggers a state of mind that exudes peace and wellbeing. From this place of gratitude things just seem to flow a bit easier. Life seems a bit lighter…even if we are in the midst of difficult times.

Mini-Mission: Focus On Gratitude

Take time every day to focus on the things you are grateful for, tangible and intangible. Ideally being grateful would be a constant companion in your day, but sometimes life doesn’t lend itself to the ideal.

At the very least, take a few minutes each day to write down several things you’re grateful for…or simply contemplate them during a few minutes of quiet if you prefer.

Consider the things that you rarely stop to notice, that you typically just take for granted.

Consider the people in your life – both significant and passing – people who give your life meaning and bring joy. Sometimes I am just grateful for a pleasant cashier…

Consider experiences that you have had – both positive and challenging – that have affected your life in a positive way or perhaps have taught you lessons.

Consider the fundamental things that you would have difficultly living without, the big things that make your life livable, comfortable, that allow you to function.

Consider the things that you enjoy, that brighten your life in some way – fun, passion, hobbies, vacations, indulgences, pleasures, spiritual pursuits.

There are so many things in life to be grateful for…It shouldn’t take long to come up with a few each day. Gratitude brightens your mood, shifts your focus, lowers your stress level and puts you back in touch with your life. (Feel free to tweet that :)

Some days I am grateful to just have woken up to another day and still be breathing…but then I remember that I have a home and food and heat and people who love me and music and books and a good cup of coffee and…I am grateful.

Do you have a gratitude practice of some kind?

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