To Be You or Not To Be You

…That is the question.

When I first began this blog, I followed a wonderful blog written by Kathy Sierra. It was called Creating Passionate Users, and had the most amazingly creative articles I’d ever seen. And then something happened to her I could hardly believe. She was viciously attacked, threatened, and harassed, to the point she had to shut down the blog. I still find it difficult to understand why the people behind it would do this. To be honest, it really scared me. I’m by nature a pretty cautious person, so I was very reluctant to share personal information on my blog anyway. What happened to Kathy served to reinforce this decision. Something equally awful could really happen to anyone.

But now I keep hearing about the importance of sharing your own personal story. I was touched when I watched Brene Brown’s TED Talk on being authentic. People want to connect with real people, who are authentically being themselves. My friend Phil Gerbyshak wrote about this in an article about advice he received: “Be More You” at Speakermagazine.com. Has the time come to come forth, be brave and be me?

As I worked on developing a story for creating a movement to build strengths through personal development, I channeled a character named Arty. She is very strong, a little bit of a rebel, and courageously fights against the forces that are robbing the earth of light. She is the person I’d like to be, the alter-ego to my real life Clark Kent persona of mild mannered former librarian. So here, in an unprecedented leap of faith and act of bravery, is the first ever photo on this blog of the real me-Rosemary Rice. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for being here.

Me@desk

Be You Part Deux

Some time ago my local newspaper did a survey asking readers what they liked best about the paper. I was surprised to discover that my responses were nothing at all like the majority. That was one of my first clues that I was just a little, well, different.

Then there was the time when my co-workers convinced me to join their team for Walk Kansas. Walking was something I frequently did and enjoyed, so I thought “why not?” I quickly discovered because I *had* to do it, all the joy was completely sucked out of it! I think that’s why I have never taken dancing lessons. I like to dance, but I like to do it my own way. So I actually do have that subtle streak of rebelliousness in me.

Gretchen Rubin discovers during her Happiness Project, that what’s right for her is different than what’s right for lots of other people. And that’s okay. “Be Gretchen” she says. Be You. And I’ll be me. Our differences are what makes the world an interesting place.

To stand out, is to be a little bit different in your own unique way. Unless you want to be “Just Another Girl.” (or guy). The answer is yes…be you, the best you, the most authentic you.

The Angst Guide to Motivation

aNG(k)st,äNG(k)st/
noun Anxiety about life

Angst is often experienced during our teen years, sometimes at times of crisis, in mid-life or as we are nearing the end of life. There may be confusion and questions about who we are, what we are here for, what it’s all about. Can anxiety about not getting done the things we want to get done, provide motivation to act?

Life is Short

We all know someone who died way too young. None of us know how much time we will have. As this video tribute to Robin Williams says, “None of us have very long on this earth, life is fleeting.” To realize we all face the ultimate deadline, is to realize the time to use our time well is now.

TED Talks:

The Top 10 Regrets of the Dying point the way to what we should spend our time doing.

Movies

  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • If I Stay
  • The Bucket List
  • 50/50
  • Funny People

Angst Music Playlist at the Daily PlanIt Youtube channel:

  • Bon Jovi “It’s My Life”
  • RENT “No Day But Today”
  • John Mayer “Say What you Need to Say”
  • New Radicals “You Get What You Give”
  • Chumbawamba “Tubthumping…(and more)

Life Can Be Hard…But We Can Overcome

Fear Can Hold Us Back…Be Brave -Overcoming Fear at Psychology Today

State of Confusion

Start here: Figure out What You Are Passionate About. Set Some Goals. And Get Busy.

Our life would be what we made of it.  Nothing more, nothing less. – The Pigman by Paul Zindel

 

What are You Passionate About?

meryl

Do you know what you are passionate about?  Some people seem to just know, while for others it’s more of a struggle to figure it out. I’ve seen some things that help to get a clue, but this week I learned a new way to think about this.

 

TennisBallWhat is Your Tennis Ball?

“The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, said this in an MIT commencement speech, and it’s a very good way to identify what you are passionate about. Here’s your clue:

What is it that you are always chasing?

I also watched the video Living an Extraordinary Life by Stever Robbins, also known as the Get-It-Done Guy. He is the author of the book Get-it-Done Guy’s 9 Steps to Work Less and Do More, and the Get-It-Done-Guy podcast.
Here is Living an Extraordinary Life by Stever Robbins

I recently saw a picture of a t-shirt…

from the open house at Flying Bike Cooperative Brewery in Seattle (two of my nieces are supporters)

…which inspired me to create this logo:

LogoBecause, as I think about what I want to do, it starts with this:

I want to help people find their “it”…the thing that lights them up and makes them shine. This is the ultimate renewable energy resource, and when people connect with what they are passionate about they shine.

What if your passions and talents don’t intersect?

If this is truly what is “it” for me, do I have the talents and strengths that will be required to accomplish it? Can a low-energy introvert overcome fears of public speaking and actually get something done? Stay tuned as the story unfolds! What is “it’ for you?

Author Cal Newport, author of “So Good They Can’t Ignore You,” contends  you should *not* follow your passion at Barking Up The Wrong Tree. Here’s his tips to Stop Being Lazy and Get Stuff Done. What do you think? Pop on over to the Daily PlanIt on Facebook and let me know.

 

Run Your Day Like an Athlete

runnerHere is how to apply the techniques that runners use for an effective daily routine.

WARM UP

Start slowly and do what it takes to wake up your mind and body.

Begin the day with gratitude, meditation or prayer.

Stretch, breathe deeply, do some exercises.

Briefly check weather, news, email.

Get inspired with a motivational quote or music.

PICK UP THE PACE & RUN IN THE ZONE

Get to work-review your calendar and to-do list for top priority items. Choose tasks that require thought or creativity in the morning when most of us have the most energy.

Start with important work: first a high priority task you want to do, followed by a high priority task you don’t want to do. (I prefer this sandwich method, but there is also the worst first aka the Eat That Frog method)

Focus-don’t get distracted. Give yourself encouraging self-talk.

Be Aware-add incoming tasks to your system and adjust as needed. In any extra time available, add tasks for goals and projects, plan or learn something.

Pace Yourself-maintain a rhythm, remember to breathe deeply.

Be Disciplined-push yourself a little. Be strong and tackle the difficult tasks you would rather avoid.

Stay Hydrated-drink plenty of water.

COOL DOWN

Regroup & Refresh-slow down and do easier tasks like phone calls and errands in the afternoon, when energy is usually lower. Stay motivated by reviewing progress and lists.

Review & Plan-review the day and plan for tomorrow. Clear your desk, know where to begin tomorrow, and assemble anything you will need.

Visualize-think about how the next day will look so you can hit the ground running.

Recharge-relax and enjoy the evening. Connect with people you love. Get the rest you need and let your subconscious solve problems while you sleep.

DailyRoutine

Free Printable Daily Routine List (pdf)

More on Daily Routines:

DailyRoutines

How Are Your Energy Levels?

EinsteinQuoteIt’s taken me awhile, but I’ve come to the same conclusion as Einstein!  Productivity is about managing energy, not just about managing time. Personal Development is about increasing energy in lots of areas.

Everything is energy, and energy is everything.

Most of us know what it takes to increase our physical energy. We know the importance of taking care of our bodies and gaining strength with exercise. But how awesome it would be if we could amp up energy levels in all dimensions! I’m certain we can increase the power of our potential by developing strengths in other areas as well. There are some very practical actions we can take to increase our wattage and the activities for a Year of Personal Development are a good starting point.

See where your energy levels are with this gauge. For each area, check a square for every statement you can answer with “yes” or “usually.” If you can mark all four levels in each area, your energy levels are probably pretty high! If there are a few “no” or “sometimes” answers, you know those are areas to develop strengths.

Energy Level Gauge

EnergyLevels

Purpose

  • You know what your talents are and how you will use them to add value
  • You know your values and have created a manifesto or mission statement
  • You have a specific Unique Selling Proposition that describes the special benefit you provide
  • You have practiced an elevator speech or verbal business card to communicate what you do and why

Mind

  • You learn something daily
  • You plan and review regularly
  • You set goals
  • You use time productively

Body

  • You drink 8 glasses of water a day
  • You eat healthy food
  • You exercise at least 3 times a week
  • You get enough sleep

Spirit

  • You feel gratitude daily
  • You know your beliefs and practice them
  • You pray/meditate daily
  • You act with integrity and kindness to others

Emotion

  • You identify emotions
  • You understand emotions
  • You manage emotions
  • You express emotions well

Relationships

  • You are happy with your partner or singleness
  • You have a circle of good friends
  • You invest time with people you care about
  • You practice good listening skills

Social

  • You communicate well
  • You meet new people & make connections
  • You volunteer for a cause you believe in
  • You entertain or interact with others regularly

Career

  • You know what work you find fulfilling
  • You are fully engaged in the work you do
  • You contribute with your work & accomplish what you plan
  • You earn as much as you need/desire

Financial

  • You have a bill paying system
  • You spend wisely
  • You have savings &/or investments
  • You carry no credit card debt

Organizational

  • Your spaces are not cluttered
  • You have systems for storage
  • You have a Household Notebook
  • You have a system for repeating tasks

Recreational

  • You laugh & smile every day
  • You invest time in activities that are truly enjoyable
  • You monitor and manage the amount of screen time you spend each day
  • You expand your comfort zone by trying something new at least once a month

Character

  • You act and speak authentically
  • You have strong self-esteem
  • You choose responsibly
  • You act creatively

Free Printable Energy Level Gauge (pdf)

The one thing that is most critical to increase energy is to identify our talents and know how we will add value with them.

Now, I’m no energy expert. In fact, I’ve always thought of myself as a low-energy person. But I think it would be great to have more energy. Can you think of more ways to increase energy ? Let me know on the Daily PlanIt Facebook page.

Flea Market Booth Ideas

On July 1st, we moved into a booth at the Fleamart in Independence, Missouri. We had been on the waiting list awhile until one became open, and I spent the time planning and getting as ready as possible before the big day. I looked for display ideas and added Flea Market Booth Ideas on a Pinterest board. We investigated prices of things, which were surprising sometimes. Who knew a Tater Twister would be worth so much?! (It makes great curly French Fries, but no longer fits our now low carb diet.) We found the hutch cabinet at a garage sale, and after cleaning it up and refreshing the stain it looks pretty good! We added a light and my husband put a lock on the door. We got extra keys made and were ready to go.

The booth we got has a column in it which turned out to be challenging to work around. Some of the ideas I had for setting up the display didn’t work out, but I’m still pleased with what we came up with.

Flea Market Booth

I really enjoy adding value to something, like the jars I made into solar lights or filled with peppermint bath salts.

jars

…and the rose candle holders I made from glassware.

rosecandles

What kind of things do people actually want to have or give as gifts? What makes you say, “I want that!”? I think people are probably looking for something unique. Yesterday I took some time studying other booths to see what they are selling and how they’ve arranged things. It’ll be a continuous process to add to and improve the booth.

Our main goal has been to declutter and get rid of stuff we don’t need or use. Will this turn out to be a profitable venture? Will it be worth all the time and effort? It remains to be seen! Hopefully this will turn out to be a fun hobby that generates a stream of revenue.

Your Inner Adult

Ah, Independence. I remember the excitement of moving out on my own after high school. I lived at home the first year of college, and then a friend and I found an apartment to rent. Finally, I could do what I wanted to, when I wanted to. I was independent, in charge of my life! Yet with freedom comes responsibility. I had been working part time since my first job as a dishwasher at Camp Wood the summer I turned 16. While things cost a bit less then, pay was less too, and the reality of paying bills must be faced. We laugh at Cliff Huxtable’s illustration of how life works to his son on the Cosby Show, but there is much truth in it.

On one birthday I received a card that said “Age is mandatory, Maturity is optional!” While it made me smile, sometimes I think I need to connect more with my inner adult. We hear a lot about our inner child, and connecting with imagination, playfulness and other child-like characteristics can be a good thing at times. But I’ve been thinking about adult characteristics like responsibility and courage.

Your Inner Adult:

An adult is responsible and thoughtful. An adult stands up and speaks out for the things they believe in. An adult handles tough situations and acts with courage. An adult acts with integrity and is kind yet firm.

Here is Ann Lander’s definition of Maturity.

Your Inner Child:

Calvin and Hobbes Original.png

A child finds joy in simple things, plays spontaneously, and has fun. A child is in touch with imagination and innovative ideas.

The book “Compelling People,” talks about a balance of strength and warmth.  Next I read the book “Making Ideas Happen,” which shows the importance of being able to switch between dreaming and doing.

“Is the ability to switch a key skill in life?”

Being able to access and switch between inner adult and inner child could be a great skill to have. Maybe we need a little of both, depending on the situation.

Making Ideas Happen (Book Notes)

Why is it so hard to finish what we start? I don’t know about you, but I have an incomplete project or two around. The initial enthusiasm begins to fade as the work goes on and difficulties occur. Distractions crop up to take us off in different directions, and sometimes we never get back on course. I was so pleased to find a book that explores this topic. Here are my notes inspired by reading the book “Making Ideas Happen” by Scott Belsky.

Getting ideas is usually not the problem. Actually acting on an idea to create something is the hard part. It’s especially challenging when working with creative teams. How this can be accomplished is the subject of the book “Making Ideas Happen,” by Scott Belsky, founder and CEO of the Behance Network, a leading platform for creative professionals.

START

Capture the idea. Choose ideas wisely. Evaluate the idea.

GET ORGANIZED

Set up a system to manage your projects. Learn more about the Action Method at 99u. Organize visually. Create a work space that allows shifting between creativity and productivity.

EXECUTE

Act with persistence. Focus. Have a follow-up system. Set a target date.

FINISH

Follow through to completion. Commit to shipping. Overcome resistance. Know when it is time to release.

Create COMMUNITY

Creative ideas are best served when people communicate and interact. Fresh perspectives add to the outcome. Request input on ideas and get feedback. Pitch your idea to others and market yourself.

Be a LEADER

Inspire others with your vision. Motivate yourself and others. Think like an entrepreneur. Encourage engagement with playfulness and recognition as rewards.

Watch Scott Belsky talk about making ideas happen in his TED Talk:

See Also

A Look at My System and Workspace

As part of my system reboot, I’ve been adding pictures to show how it all fits together. To choose a system that works well, we have to learn if we prefer computer based systems or paper, or a combination. As I try new things and make changes, my system has been continuously evolving. It’s still not perfect, but works pretty well for me.

My system relies heavily on Google. I use Google Calendar, Google Tasks (plus some apps) and Google Drive.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar

For my To Do List, I use a combination of Google Tasks (for repeating tasks) plus GTasks and Google Tasks Taskary. I can add tasks in Google Calendar when I’m at my computer, or in Taskary with my tablet. Taskary is an Android app I’ve been using for awhile now, and I like it a lot. You can create subtasks for projects, set reminders, and it syncs with Google.

 

Google Tasks, To-do - Taskary - screenshot

Taskary

Combination: I send myself an email of my to do list from Taskary to print out as part of the weekly review process. This could be done more frequently if needed. I keep it in a leather index card holder inside a cut-down plastic project file. Blank index cards to capture notes are in the back pocket of the holder.

To Do List

To Do List

Check out the Free Tools page for paper forms and read more about possibilities for a To Do list here. There’s a free printable set of a weekly planning form plus five daily planning forms (pdf). I previously used these with the portable gtd mini system, and a Mead pocket calendar.

Desktop Action Files

The three front files are essential to my bill paying system: Checkbook, Bills, and To File. The files after that either are for idea capture or ones I refer to frequently. I keep two yellow legal pads in front of this file: 1) ideas and notes, 2) project planning.

Action File Headings

Project Files

My Project Files are in a wire step folder holder, and in front of that is a plastic folder that holds my value statement and an outline of what I do, why I do it, and the features and benefits of each project. See Also: Files.

Project File

Project File

Project Planning

I use a yellow legal pad for planning projects, with a list of projects down the left side, and the next step on the right side. I also keep a Project Master List in Google Drive and print out a copy for the paper planner tool for the weekly review. There’s a free printable Project Master List (pdf) too.

Project Planning

Project Planning

Project Evaluation

More in-depth about evaluating projects, with a free printable Project Evaluation form (pdf)

Project Evaluation

Project Evaluation

Weekly Review

The Paper Planner Tool for the Weekly Review contains printed information for the process, and Day Runner slash pockets for frequently changing lists printed out from Google Drive.

Paper Planner Tool for the Weekly Review

Paper Planner Tool for the Weekly Review

Desk

My desk consists of a table with a printer on one end, and a rolling computer cart for my laptop. For many years I worked in a much smaller space, and I love being able to spread out now! Here’s what it looks like when I’m deeply into a project.

Desk and computer cart

Desk and computer cart

Files

My desktop Action and Project Files are on top of a microwave cart within reach but off to the side of my desk. I discuss these and other files here. A four drawer file cabinet and binders, including my Household Notebook, are also important elements of my workspace.

Desktop Files

Desktop Action and Project Files

Workspace

The ideal workspace helps us engage with both creativity and productivity. It can be challenging to find tools that help us accomplish our work effectively. That wraps up what it looks like here at the Daily PlanIt. Maybe there are some helpful ideas, but choices about systems and workspaces are very personal. May you find the tools that work for you!

 

System Reboot

Earlier this week, my laptop started to act like it was possessed. The cursor began crazily jerking across the screen on a path of it’s own choosing, definitely not in the direction I wished to go. I tried some troubleshooting tactics. I updated my virus checker and did a scan. I did a defrag. I attempted a system restore. And then it seemed okay. I thought I had fixed it, until I plugged it into the outlet in the kitchen, the same outlet I was plugged into when the problem began. Then the difficulty returned, apparently only occurring in those conditions. One of my friends advised me, “Don’t plug it into the kitchen outlet!” That’s pretty good advice, I’d say.

While my computer was unavailable (it took hours to defrag) I spent some time reviewing the process and systems I use to manage tasks and projects. Some updating was definitely in order. It reminded me of the importance of reviewing, and made me think about how it should be done regularly. If the thought of doing an in-depth review is daunting, I have found that even a quick review can be beneficial. If only a small amount of time is dedicated to glancing back and then forward, it still provides a good return for the investment.  I also ran across a fantastic free tool for an annual review from The Art of Non-Conformity.

Things I learned from a system reboot

When facing a problem:

1. If certain conditions cause problems, and those conditions are not essential, avoid them! This is kind of a derivative of “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

2. Experiment to eliminate possible causes.

3. Don’t forget to perform routine maintenance.

4. If you’re stuck, review your system, your projects and goals.

More problems I ran into this week:

spamI reached the limit of my endurance for Spam. Frankly, I never have had much appreciation for any kind of spam. Lately spammers have gotten quite tricky in their methods for getting through spam filters. A genuine comment on a post has become increasingly rare. I resolved to turn off comments, although I invite genuine interaction on the Daily PlanIt Facebook page. They came to this conclusion at Copyblogger back in March. (I’ve seen spam in commments on other Facebook pages, so we’ll see how that goes.)  Once the decision was made, I discovered there isn’t just one simple switch to throw. To truly turn them all off would require going to every single post, and there are lots of them here. My hope is that turning off comments on this and future posts and the pages will deter most of the spammers. Talk about time wasters, spam is on my hit list. dislike

Awhile back, an employee at Office Depot persuaded me to purchase several printer cartridges of their brand rather than genuine HP printer cartridges. I knew better than to do that, but allowed myself to be swayed. The first one perked along well, but eventually my printer revolted. When I replaced the cartridge with the real deal, my printer was once again happy. So I attempted to return the other Office Depot cartridges, but was refused a refund. I’m not mad, but I AM going to spread the word, and I’ll never buy another cartridge there. I’m just saying.

Do you do regular maintenance and a weekly review? An annual review? Let me know on the Daily PlanIt Facebook page!