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Put It Back! Adopt This Surprisingly Simple Life Truth Now

Book shelf


It’s a deceptively simple, yet surprisingly comprehensive rule that we should all subscribe to. Life would certainly be better if we all did.

Put it back!

It’s just that simple. I try…never perfectly…but I try to live by this mantra. I think this is one of those rules that we either learn at an early age…or we don’t. But it’s never too late to adopt, try it on, see how it feels. I promise it really does make your life easier and more pleasant for everyone around you as well. A better life all around.

It’s a good and wise philosophy. Whether it’s a stapler you’ve used, a coat you’ve worn, or peanut butter you’ve taken out of the cupboard. Whether it’s money you’ve borrowed or the last piece of copy paper you’ve used. The philosophy is still the same.

Put it back. Put it away. Hang it up. Return it. Replace it. Refill it.

If you’ve never thought about it this way before…I’m suggesting that you start thinking about it now.

Your thoughts?

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A Year Ago on PLC: 11/9

Some things are relevant year after year… I borrowed this idea from Unclutterer…and I think it’s a good one, so, lets see what we can find in the archives that’s still meaningful and useful…and it’s interesting to see how my writing has changed and grown over time…


Tackle the Time Wasters - Identify 5 time wasters that eat up your time, your focus or your energy.

Productivity Challenge - Though it may seem counter-intuitive, our biggest gains often do not come through expansion.


Do You Have a Supply Strategy - Do you know when to order and when to wait? How you can make the most of your limited dollars without sacrificing in other areas?

Change Gives Us Branches - Life is all about change, continuous change really. Without it we are a stagnant, stale shell of a human being.

Lessons Learned Month 4 - Lessons learned from a military spouse.

51 Tips for Saving Money – Readers of Small Business Trends contribute their best real-world tips and advice for how small businesses can save money.

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What We Can Learn from Good Ol Ben


Autograph of Benjamin Franklin

Autograph of Benjamin Franklin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently came across a copy of Ben Franklin’s Virtues list. Though some of the terminology is a bit outdated, most of the concepts are sound. I took the liberty of modernizing and combining to boil his wisdom down to something that I find relevant and useful in today’s world.

My interpretation of Ben Franklin’s Modern virtues…

1. Use moderation – Moderation is still the best policy – Eat in moderation, drink in moderation, play in moderation, and most importantly today…work in moderation.

2. Silence is often wise – Use your words wisely. Speak when its useful, helpful or necessary – Dont use words to harm, criticize or blame and don’t squander your words on mindless chatter.

3. Order is important – Let things have a right place, events have a right time and life have a sense of order.

4. Be resolute – Know what you want, decide what you need to do and be determined to follow through.

5. Waste nothing – Frugality is not old-fashioned. Spend wisely. Buy what you need. Take what you must. Use what you have. Give what you can.

6. Make the most of your time – Strive to be productive. Be efficient with your time and effective with your actions. Dont squander your precious time and effort on mindless, useless or wasteful activities.

7. Be sincere – Be kind and considerate, thoughtful and honest.

8. Be fair – Be responsible and just. Keep your word and do your part.

9. Strive for calm – Dont take things personally. Let go of what you cannot control. Worry doesn’t solve anything.

10. Embrace humility – Life is not all about you. Understand your place in the bigger scheme. Everyone is important and valuable in their own way.

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Hardship is a Wise Teacher

Hardship is a good teacher. When we face challenges that test our limits, we learn valuable lessons. I came across this journal entry I made while my husband was deployed in 2010 and I found it to be as applicable now as it was then. And I believe it is applicable to your life as well.

This month has a been a whirlwind of late nights, restless sleep, an endless task list, chores forgotten, frequent frustration and yes, a few tears along the way. It has also been a time of tremendous personal growth, increased confidence, support from family and friends and a heightened appreciation for the beauty of an imperfect life.

Lessons Learned:

  • It’s the small everyday comforts that make all the difference – my constant canine companions, my children, the aroma of morning coffee, the soothing taste of freshly brewed tea, a home that I feel comfortable in, scented candles, stirring music, flowers in bloom, wildlife outside my window and supportive family and friends.
  • I need to ask for help – support is available, but people won’t know what I need until I am willing to ask.
  • I cannot do everything – it is physically impossible with the 24 hours each day maintain current responsibilities while adding new ones. I have withdrawn from some volunteer activities and paired down my load.
  • I must lower my expectations – it’s all right if the floor isn’t vacuumed every day, if the windows don’t get cleaned this month, if the cabinets don’t shine, if the cars don’t get washed and if the dogs didn’t get their bath. Cereal can be an acceptable dinner as long as it is high in fiber and you add fruit. Life is too short to beat myself up over being unable to meet unrealistic standards.
  • I need to be gentle with myself and my kids – I really need to take time to be with friends and family. I need to be loving and engaged in their lives. Connection is like ambrosia for the soul. But time alone  is a must for me. Making time to be alone with my thoughts and get comfortable with my inner self is not a luxury, it’s crucial. 
  • I am capable of so much more than I believe – I have always been a fairly strong and independent woman, but I have surprised myself by stretching in so many ways that I never imagined possible. 

Stepping outside of my comfort zone when my world in turmoil is a very scary concept, but it is in that space of uncertainty where I will grow the most and where my best life resides. I wonder what else life has in store for me.

What wise lessons have you learned during times of hardship? How has facing challenge helped you grow?


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Knowledge for Knowledge’s Sake Is a Waste of Time

Are you an information junkie like me?

I confess, I’m a knowledge addict. I read books, magazine articles, numerous blogs, listen to podcasts and watch videos like a sponge hoping to soak up every pearl of wisdom that might make me happier, more successful, smarter, healthier, and calmer. OK, full-disclosure, wealthier too.

We can’t help it. I think we’re programmed that way, to be constantly seeking to improve ourselves. That isn’t a bad thing, unless we become obsessed with it.

The problem

The problem as my wise husband pointed out to me in a recent conversation, is that we keep seeking and acquiring the knowledge, but rarely do we actually apply it. Instead, we keep seeking more and more, until we have a wealth of knowledge, but nothing to show for it, other than a stack of books and some conversation starters.

Better solution

Better to acquire a bit of knowledge, a few tools, and one blinding flash of insight and put our effort into applying this new understanding to improve our lives right now. There will always be time to go back to knowledge seeking later.

As my husband so eloquently put it, “Stop preparing and practicing for the game, GET IN THE GAME.” Did I mention my husband is military? He would have made a great drill sergeant, don’t you think?

Since I am the writer in the family, I’ll put it this way:

The value of knowledge is not simply in the acquiring of it, but in the application of it and the effect it has on our lives and the lives of others.

Though I suspect my husband’s version may have more impact.

Your turn

What are your thoughts on this?

Are you a knowledge junkie too? Or maybe you’re on the other end, a forge ahead type who doesn’t bother looking for new knowledge? Maybe you’re one of the elite few, who’s more evolved than the rest of us and has already perfected this system?

Care to share?

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