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Are you up for the 168 hour challenge?

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Check this out.   A new book, blog, and challenge by Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 hours: You have more time than you think.  I shudder at the thought of taking on another thing to do, like a time log, yet the promised benefit is soooo compelling.  Oh why must we have just 24 hours in a day?!


Her latest blog post (below) was particularly powerful for me as I realized last Sunday, as I was feeling a bit run down and asked my husband to take the kids out of the house for awhile, that I simply could not relax.  In order to allow myself to sit on the couch and watch a movie, I had to sit and fold the laundry at the same time.  Otherwise, I felt guilty that my husband was out with the kids and I was just sitting on my rear, not taking advantage of the time.  I knew it was nonsense at the time, and yet, I couldn’t stop.


I am very inspired by the idea, below, of scheduling time to sit in a coffee shop.  How I love to do that, yet never do.  Can I actually make that happen?



…the reality is that if you want to enjoy hours of indolence as a parent, you’re going to have to understand your schedule very well, and then schedule them in. You are going to have to create space for indolence, because otherwise it will simply get buried under the joys and needs of small children, under the demands and triumphs of making a living, or it will steal away in the arms of (as Keats writes in his poem) “Love, Ambition and that demon Poesy.”

How do you create this space? For me, it’s a two step approach. This week, I’m keeping a log of my time. I find that by understanding exactly how I spend the 168 hours we all have each week, I can start to see where I do have space for daydreaming. And then, I can start to honor this time rather than just checking email, picking up the toy flotsam (loved that phrase from The Happiness Project) that floats through our living areas or reading the Pottery Barn catalog. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron talks of setting artist’s dates, and there’s something to this. I carved out an hour this morning to run outside (which I find relaxing). Some weekday afternoons, I block out an hour to sit in a coffee shop and jot down thoughts. If my husband takes the kids on a Saturday afternoon, I resist the urge to clean the house, and instead work on cleaning out the cobwebs in my head. I don’t think these activities are an unproductive use of my time, because I log my time and I know I’m spending plenty of hours interacting with my kids and working on more concrete projects.

But it is because I know where my time is going that I’m able to have lethargic, joyfully indolent hours. An “Ode to a Time Log” may not sound as enticing as an ode on indolence, but there is great freedom in logging time in our distracted age. Being aware of our time helps to create “evenings steep’d in honied indolence” to quote Keats, and time to lie “cool-bedded in the flowery grass.”


What do you think of time log idea?  Are you going to do it?  Do you have TIME to do it? It seems to me that we all better make that time, before we either go crazy, burn out, or get really, really sick.  Your thoughts?

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Summer by Design

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I got a big wakeup call today when I read Renee Trudeau’s post on creating an intentional summer on her blog, The Journey.  She asks a simple question – what do you want your summer to be like? 

That’s when it hit me.  The summer?  Is it summer already?  Good grief!  I am a business owner, master of my own destiny and manager of my own calendar… right?  So what’s with all these hectic days and crammed schedules?  Do I even have time to figure out what I want?

Luckily, for me, my kids, and my hubby, Renee’s post really hit me.  I CAN decided what I want and create a summer of intent.  I will be working on my list of things I want from this summer – not a to-do list, mind you, but what I want to create – this evening.  It’s going to be filled with SLOW times with my kids, reconnecting with friends, and enjoying this wonderful place where I live.  It will also consciously plan out what I need to do these next couple of months to make the rest of the year truly successful for my book, My Mommy’s on a Business Trip, and it’s soon-to-be-released partner, My Daddy’s on a Business Trip.  What can I do in the next week to kick-start this summer of intention?  I’ll let you know.  What about you?  How are you going to design your summer?


Help your man stay out of the doghouse

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When I came across this “in the doghouse” video from JC Penny on Mary Dean’s great blog I laughed my head off (Mary is the CEO of KickSkirt, an agency that helps companies market to women – the right way).  As marketer, I was also duly impressed my how well it was produced an the creative concept.  Wives and girlfriends everywhere are going to love this one!  Hats off to JC Penny for having a management team with minds open enough to give this a try.

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The Power of Nothing

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Awhile back I received a stunning invitation – attend a weekend retreat for mothers, for absolutely free.  The idea was wonderful and the price was unbeatable!  Was there a catch? No.  Really.  I mean it.  The wonderful woman who created the idea, Elaine St. Marie, and the women who helped her pull it off, especially Marianne MacKenzie, simply did it because they felt it was the right thing to do.

So as they set to work, they found a retreat center willing to donate the space.  They did the food shopping, AND the cooking and cleaning.  The mothers invited to the retreat couldn’t help themselves and the very first night asked how they could help contribute – either with money or labor.  Everyone was so grateful for this peaceful, loving space that was created that they just couldn’t help but want to help. 

At the end, the costs were covered, even though the organizers had planned to pay for any remaining expenses out of their own pockets.  More importantly, each mother went home relaxed and rejuvenated, a bit more in touch with her “inner Goddess”.  In a time of such scarcity and constant talk of recession and job loss, it was truly amazing to see what bounty we have when a community comes together and shares from the heart.  Thank you, Elaine, Marianne, and all the other retreat volunteers for a weekend I will always remember!

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The following is from guest blogger, Angela Ploetz, organizer extraordinairre and owner of the her firm, The Posh Space – Productive Office, Stylish Home.  Any tips that can save me from making multiple trips to the grocery store in one week and I’m all ears (eyes!).  Thanks, Angela!

Meal Planning Makes Life Simple

Monday marks the start of a new week and with it comes the infamous question “what’s for dinner tonight”?  Planning dinner on the spot can be stressful and can result in a lot of time back and forth to the grocery store.  So what can you do to save time, sanity, and keep from making so many unnecessary trips?


Start by creating a list of all the meals that you know how to prepare or prepare on a regular basis.  Having a go to list of everything that you know how to cook is a great way to spark your memory when you have no idea what to make.  A good place to start is to divide the list into categories like:  chicken, beef, turkey, fish, vegetarian, and side dishes.


Keep the list in the kitchen in a handy location.  On Saturday or Sunday before you do your weekly shopping go through the list and decide what you will have for each day that week.  Write it down so you don’t forget.  Trust me; I’ve made that mistake before!  Then make your shopping list checking the recipes so you don’t miss any ingredients and you’re off to the store!


Just remember there may be some ingredients that will not hold until the end of the week so you may have to make a list of items to purchase later in the week. 


Already knowing what to make for dinner each night can help reduce your stress at dinner time and help make your night run smoothly.  I’m getting more relaxed just thinking about it!


A stunning success story – HARO

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I am so happy to have started my day reading the latest post from Peter Shankman on the one year anniversary of the launch of HARO.  What Peter has done with a simple email list amazes me.  We can all learn a lot from him.  I hope his business model and huge success spawns many more services that are just as valuable – from Peter and others.

I admire Peter not just for his creativity and success but also for finding a way to live the lifestyle he wants.  It’s possible for all of us when we have the guts to go for it.  What’s so inspiring about HARO is it’s a beautiful union of simplicity and an untapped need from both experts and reporters.  Win-Win-Win! (The third “Win”, of course, is Peter.  Or perhaps it’s the readers/viewers/listeners of the articles, books, TV segments, etc. that eventually are published.) 

Do you love HARO as much as I do?

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