25 Ways To Be A Good Neighbor

Tomorrow, September 28th, is Good Neighbor Day (#goodneighborday).

If you want to be a good neighbor, it may take a bit of effort and creativity. Even so, you’ll find it rewarding to strive to become a neighbor that is cherished and loved by all who live nearby.

Here are some simple strategies:

25-Ways-to-Be-a-Good-Neighbor

  1. Always greet your neighbors. Regardless of how busy you are, a simple acknowledgement of a neighbor’s presence is important.
  2. Make eye contact when a neighbor is nearby. It only takes seconds, but it speaks volumes.
  3. Demonstrate your attention to your neighbor by remarking on something relevant. “Looks like you’ve been fishing” or “You’ve got the friendliest dog ever” shows you’re paying attention.
  4. Notice changes in your neighbor’s appearance. “I like your new haircut” or “You look nice today” always brings a lift.
  5. Take a genuine interest. When you say, “Hi,” show real interest. “I’ve been wondering how you’re doing since I hadn’t seen you lately.”
  6. Be kind. When you get in a rush or aren’t in the best mood, remind yourself to be kind to your neighbors.
  7. Show courtesy. Opening a door for your neighbor when his hands are full or helping him carry in bags of groceries demonstrates that caring side of you.
  8. Say, ‘thank you.’ When your neighbor does something for you, remember to let him know that you’re grateful.
  9. Find time to chat. You can most likely tell when someone is interested in spending a few minutes to “chew the fat” with you.
  10. Make an effort to get to know your neighbors. You’ll find that you live near some pretty fascinating people if you attempt to discover more about your neighbors.
  11. Be open to becoming friends with your neighbors. You’ve probably made at least 1 good friend in the past from getting to know your neighbors. How about adding a couple more? There’s no such thing as too many true friends!
  12. Offer to help whenever a neighbor needs a ride or other assistance. Look at it from the other side—if you needed a hand, wouldn’t it be nice (and convenient) to receive aid from your neighbors?
  13. Invite a neighbor over for coffee, drinks, or dinner. When you discover neighbors who peak your curiosity and interest, invite them to share a beverage or meal with you.
  14. Keep it simple. Most people get a little anxious when things look overly planned or perfect. When you ask a friend over, just have some beverages available (and a simple meal if you’re having dinner). Keep it casual, relaxed, and easy. Neighbors really appreciate those things.
  15. Just pitch in. If your neighbor just pulled up in a truck with a heavy chair in the back, rather than asking, “Do you need help,” just walk over and say, “I can carry this end.” If, for some reason, the neighbor doesn’t prefer for you to help, he’ll let you know.
  16. Behave naturally. Everyone appreciates and is attracted to a person who doesn’t put on airs. Be yourself and your neighbors will love you.
  17. Be dependable. If you offer to drive your neighbor to work tomorrow because her car is in the shop, ensure you arrive in plenty of time to get her to work on time.
  18. Communicate effectively. If your neighbor asks for help and you simply can’t do it, let them know right away so they can make other arrangements. Rather than say, “I might be able to work it out,” be honest about how the timing will not work for you this time. However, you can offer another time you can do it, in the event your neighbor is in a position to be flexible.
  19. Have a sense of humor. It’s always fun to be around entertaining people.
  20. Show vigilance when it comes to the neighborhood. Keeping an eye out for out-of-place vehicles or strangers on the street illustrates that you care about your neighbors. Plus, paying attention to unusual happenings protects you and your family as well.
  21. Share information. If you heard that the store around the corner is having a going-out-of-business sale, let your neighbors know about it. If the tables were turned, you’d appreciate being informed.
  22. Take over soup or a hot meal just to help out. If your neighbor just got out of the hospital, for example, why not cook up a pot of chili or a meatloaf to take to her family for dinner? At the very least, consider dropping off some take-out food items to lend a hand during your neighbor’s difficult time. People are thrilled when provided for in this simple, caring way.
  23. Notice if a neighbor isn’t all that interested in developing a close friendship. Some neighbors prefer to say, “Hi” and that’s it. If you’re observant, you’ll pick up on the type of relationship your neighbors prefer to have with you.
  24. Avoid being “pushy.” Very few people enjoy a neighbor who’s overly demanding or insistent about spending time together.
  25. Recognize different priorities. For example, you may be settled and have lots of free time to hang out. Your neighbor, however, may be trying to get ahead at work and have 2 young kids to deal with when he gets home. Being sensitive to your neighbor’s life is an important aspect of being a good neighbor.

If you want to be a good neighbor, there are plenty of friendly and supportive actions you can take. Try some of these helpful ideas to become the best neighbor on the block!

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for being a great neighbor, listen to the Audio Affirmation here. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

13 Ways to Romance Your Partner in a Digital Age

Today, September 26th, is Love Note Day (#lovenoteday, #nationallovenoteday). In today’s digital age, we’re talking about how best to romance your partner.

Dating apps and social media have changed the way love looks, but romance is still alive. Think of technology as giving you more opportunities to let your partner know how much you appreciate them.

Today, you can enjoy the convenience of digital communications and rediscover the beauty of more traditional courtship methods.

Consider these ideas for connecting with your partner online and off.

Sharing Romantic Gestures Online

Put technology to work to deepen your relationship. Wi-fi makes it fast and easy to stay in touch even when your busy schedules keep you apart.

Use technology for these techniques:

  • Send a card. Email cards are free, so you don’t need to wait for birthdays and holidays. Plus, you can customize digital cards with your own images and text so the message will be more meaningful.
  • Listen to music. Put together a playlist of songs you both love, and download it to your phones. You can imagine dancing together whenever you hear those tunes.
  • Play games. Studies show that video games can make you happier, healthier, and sharpen your cognitive skills. Enjoy the benefits together with a few rounds of Super Mario or HQ Trivia.
  • Research activities. Browse for ideas about your next vacation, workout programs, or home improvement projects. Focusing on your future will draw you closer together.
  • Agree on boundaries. Keep in mind that happy couples actually post about their relationship less often than average. Ask your partner for approval before you post photos and personal information, and avoid oversharing. Negotiate a schedule that keeps you both updated without feeling overwhelmed.
Sharing Romantic Gestures Offline

Of course, you want to be in the same room for certain conversations. Just like you’d probably propose marriage only when you’re face to face, some interactions benefit from a more personal touch.

Consider these ideas:

  • Write a letter. Handwritten messages make a deeper impression than emails. Pick up a pen and put your feelings down on paper. Hand deliver it to your partner or put it someplace where they’re sure to find it.
  • Buy flowers. Call your local florist to arrange a bouquet for your partner. Choose their favorite flowers or ask for recommendations based on their personality or the season.
  • Dress up. Do you live in sweatpants when you’re not at the office? Surprise your partner by putting on a jacket or dress.
  • Plan a date. Go a step beyond just hanging out. Make dinner reservations at a cozy restaurant or pick up theater tickets for the next evening you both have free. Remember to book a babysitter too if you have children.
  • Cook dinner. For an evening at home, volunteer to do the cooking or share the work. Try a new recipe or prepare something that brings back happy memories of past vacations or memorable dates.
  • Read poetry together. If writing your own poetry sounds a little too intimidating, start out by reading selections from other great writers. Ask your friends or a librarian for suggestions. You may be inspired to create your own sonnets soon.
  • Take a walk. Motivate each other to get more exercise. Go for a walk each evening after dinner or sign up for a couples or family membership at a nearby gym.
  • Help with the housework. Pitching in with household responsibilities is a practical way to express your affection and appreciation. Volunteer for the chores you excel at, or take turns cleaning the bathroom.

You can romance your partner even if you’re more likely to exchange texts and tweets rather than love letters and lockets. Caring gestures are a fun and effective way to strengthen your relationship.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for romancing your partner, listen to the Audio Affirmation here. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

New Research Suggests that Meditation Can Alter Your Brain for the Better

September 21st is International Day of Peace (#peaceday). So, we’re talking meditation and how it can alter your brain… for the better!

Meditation is life-changing and affirming for the millions of people who practice it. Recently, there’s been some fascinating research into how practicing meditation can actually make positive changes to your brain’s structure.

The academic journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging recently published a study about meditation. This study, completed by Massachusetts General Hospital clinicians, looked at a small number of subjects and used brain imaging equipment to look at their brains before and after an 8-week meditation class.

The results were astonishing: for meditators, the areas of the brain that focus on being compassionate toward others and being self-aware got larger and the brain areas devoted to stress actually got smaller. Experts are so sure of the positive mind-altering benefits of meditation that it’s beginning to be taught in some grade schools.

For vibrant health, it seems that meditation should rank up there with your diet and exercise goals!

Follow these tips to get started with meditation so you, too, can enjoy its positive benefits:

  1. Find 1 or 2 times a day you can meditate. Before breakfast is great. Just before dinner also works.
  2. Initially, plan to spend 10 minutes for each meditation session. You’ll gradually increase your time by 5 minutes every other week or so, until you reach 30 minutes.
  3. Find a quiet space. If you have your own den or study, that’s probably a good place to meditate. Your bedroom might be another. If you have a quiet space in nature, that would be a fabulous meditation site. There must be silence or as little noise as possible in your surroundings.
  4. Ensure you’ll have no interruptions. Meditating before your kids or spouse arise might work for you. If that’s not possible, ask family members not to disturb you during meditation.
  5. Cover or move clocks. Ensure you can’t see them from where you’re sitting. You want to de-focus from everything around you, particularly from watching the clock.
  6. Wear comfortable clothing. Stretchy or baggy clothing like athletic wear often works fine. Shoes or socks are not necessary. However, if you think your feet are going to get cool, go ahead and wear socks.
  7. Get into a comfortable position. Most people find that sitting on carpeting, a soft rug, or a yoga mat works best. If you feel you need to lean against something, try sitting on the floor while leaning against your bed or sofa.
    1. Cross your legs Indian-style if it’s comfortable for you. Either clasp your hands loosely in your lap or extend your arms to balance the top of your wrists on your knees, with your hands gently cupped upward.
  8. Use a gentle-sounding timer. Many people like an external stimulus to signal the end of their meditation session. However, avoid startling yourself after you meditate since it defeats the purpose of meditating in the first place. Most cell phones these days have a wide variety of timer sounds with a few of them on the gentler side.
    1. For example, sounds like a harp, sonar alarm, gong, or xylophone are particularly helpful to use when emerging from meditation.
  9. Meditate. The scene is set. Get comfortable. Close your eyes. You can also stare at a spot on the wall or an object of beauty, like a vase of flowers or picture of a sunset or the beach, if you prefer. Breathe. Listen to the sound of your breath and clear your mind. Should your mind wander, just re-focus on your breathing.
    1. After some practice, you’ll find yourself going into an altered state, almost like sleeping. You’ll experience feelings of tranquility. When your timer sounds, take some seconds before gently arising and going about your day.

If you get into the habit of practicing meditation twice a day for 10 minutes, every day, you’ll soon be amazed at the results you achieve. Alter your brain by meditating each day. You’ll live a more enriched life and have healthier relationships with your inner self and others.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for meditation, listen to the Audio Affirmation here. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

3 Ways to Encourage Your Kids to Spring Clean

September 19th is National Clean Up Day (#nationalcleanupday and #cleanupday), so even though it’s the fall, we’re talking about Spring Cleaning and ways to get your kids to pitch in.

Spring cleaning is an annual task that almost everyone dreads – and it can happen any time of the year. Sometimes a good Fall Cleaning is the best time to clean out unwanted junk. Fortunately, spring (or fall) cleaning can be the perfect time to help your kids develop a good work ethic and enlist extra hands for the job.

Try these ideas to get your kids involved in your spring cleaning efforts and teach them the importance of hard work:

  1. Play an Easter Game. It would be rather cruel to enlist the help of your kids on Easter Sunday. However, you can use the day prior to Easter or the day after Easter to entice them into spring cleaning by playing an Easter themed game.
    1. Hide a few chocolate Easter eggs under piles of clothes and shoe boxes in their closets and tell them that if they can neatly pass folded clothes to you to put into the storage bins, they’ll find several Easter chocolates to munch on.
    2. To your kids, it will be an Easter egg hunt. To you, it’ll simply be a way to start a new spring cleaning tradition while creating a mutually beneficial situation for both you and your children. Ensure that all the candy is accounted for, lest you have a surprise during next year’s cleaning.
  2. Be honest. Older children, especially teens, won’t be tempted by a few pieces of chocolate. Rather than dressing the day up as an Easter egg hunt, be honest. Tell the older kids that you need help getting some spring cleaning done and offer a fun ending to your busy day of cleaning.
    1. Offer to end the day by getting their choice of takeout and renting a movie of their choosing. Not only will this give your family time to bond, but you’ll also get some spring cleaning done. In all aspects, this is a winning situation!
    2. Refrain from approaching your teens the day of your spring cleaning. They may already have plans. Approach them a few days in advance and set up a day that is convenient for everyone involved.
    3. Older children can handle bigger tasks. It’s best to let them choose a task (from a list that you’ve created) and tackle it on their own. By doing so, they’ll feel as if they had a say in the task at hand.
  3. Rewards. Kids of all ages respond well to rewards. As mentioned above, a piece of chocolate or a slice of pizza will help entice your kids into spring cleaning. However, a larger reward will have your kids jumping for joy on the day of your spring cleaning adventure.
    1. Offer to purchase your child a game for their gaming system if they help you spring clean the house and keep their room clean for a month thereafter.
    2. Sweeten the deal for yourself by offering them a subscription to GameFly, a game delivery service which operates much like Netflix. Offer the subscription in exchange for spring cleaning, and offer to keep the subscription active as long as their room is kept tidy and their chores are done.
    3. A subscription to GameFly can cost as little as $5.95 per month. Younger kids may enjoy a subscription to Pogo.com (also $5.95 per month) or even a personal subscription to Netflix ($7.99 per month).

Remember, there’s a difference between bribing and incentivizing. Incentivizing consists of providing a reward as motivation for completing a safe and beneficial task.

Kids respond tremendously well to all types of rewards and only you can judge what rewards will properly motivate yours. Treat your kid to a reward and earn yourself an extra set of hands for spring cleaning.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for clean living, listen to the Audio Affirmation here. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

Top 10 Habits That Ensure You’ll Have a Great Day

Today, September 11, is a day the United States will never forget. Nor will the world, for that matter. Please take a moment today to remember what happened and all those who were affected. While I don’t want to seem disrespectful or callous, I will not be focusing on the events of that fateful day in 2001 in this blog. There are other outlets and media that are more appropriate places and will do a better job sharing the importance of that day.

Today also happens to be Make Your Bed Day (#makeyourbedday). Yes, this may seem like a bit of a light-hearted topic for a solemn day like today. However, it’s a good opportunity to think about some good habits to get into to start your day off right.

Your habits can make or break your day. Imagine getting up late, only drinking soda, and spending your entire evening watching TV. You’re bound to have a bad day, especially if these things are habitual. You can create a set of habits that will all but ensure that you consistently have a great day.

Some of the most effective habits to reach that goal might surprise you!

Your habits shape the quality of your day:

  1. Get up on time. Once you’re running late, it seems like you never get caught back up. One of most important steps to having a good day is to start the day on time. Ensure that you have enough time to do what needs to be done before work.
  2. Drink only water for as long as possible. After sleeping all night, you’re dehydrated. Give your body some water! Water is good for you, so limit your beverages to just water for as long as you can hold out. Wean your body off caffeine and sugared drinks. Water isn’t very exciting to drink, but you’ll feel and perform better.
  3. Meditate. Many successful people meditate daily. Many of those same people claim that meditation is largely responsible for their success. Ten minutes of meditation can make a big difference in your life.
  4. Communicate with one new person. That person might become your client, friend, employee, employer, spouse, or best friend. Your life doesn’t change much if the people in your life never change.
  5. Walk. Daily exercise is a great idea, but few people do it reliably. Think smaller. A daily walk provides excellent health benefits and relaxes your mind and body. It won’t take long before you look forward to your daily walk. You might even want to try two walks each day. One before work and one after.
  6. Stay positive. Keep positive thoughts in your mind and you’ll have better days. Your thoughts influence your perceptions. When you think and feel positively, good things happen.
  7. Learn something new. Read a book, research topics on the internet, or peruse cultural or scientific attractions.
  8. Be prepared. Make a list of your most important tasks to do the following day. There’s no reason to waste the first few hours of your day trying to get your bearings. You’ll be getting things done while everyone else is still dazed and confused.
  9. Journal. Spend a few minutes to record your life in your journal. You’ll learn more about yourself. You’ll also find your life becomes more interesting, because you’ll want to have something interesting to write about. Keep a journal and live a life worthy of recording.
  10. Sleep. Get enough sleep. Your brain and body require a certain amount of sleep each night. Try to have a set time you go to bed each night. It’s tough to have a good day when you’re exhausted.

How many of these habits do you currently have? Think about your life and where your sticking points exist. Can you create habits that address those issues and potentially avoid them? For example, you might have a report that’s due each morning by noon. You might create a habit of working on that report first thing in the morning.

Your habits determine much of your life. You can greatly increase the odds of having a good or bad day with your habits. Introduce a few helpful habits into your daily routine and note the effect on your life.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for getting into some great habits to start your day, listen to the Audio Affirmation here. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

How To Be Open-Minded To New Ideas

Today, September 10, is Swap Ideas Day (#swapideasday, #NationalSwapIdeasDay, #swapideas). So, let’s talk about being open-minded to new ideas, something we all need to get better at, as a country.

If you have definite ideas about how things are or how they should be, you’ve probably had someone tell you to “keep an open mind.” Having an open mind is important to succeed in life. Embracing, or at least considering, new ideas and technologies is vital to our personal growth.

Are you willing to consider someone else’s opinion? Can you look at facts that may seem suspect and analyze them without bias? If you’re open-minded, you can be flexible when met with new ideas. It means you can adapt to new experiences.

Being able to think critically is a vital component of being open-minded. In our quickly changing technological world, it’s important to keep an open mind in order to keep up and stay current, rather than missing out on all the new things around us.

It’s also important to be willing to change your views when you’re given new facts. This could prove crucial depending on your chosen profession. For example, as a police officer or lawyer, being willing to see things from a different perspective could help you achieve greater successes.

Here are some ways to learn how to be open-minded to new ideas:

  1. Decide now that you don’t have to be right all the time. While it’s not unusual for some people to be obsessed with being right, it’s not something that’s looked favorably upon. No one can be right all the time, not even you!
    • Try to be relaxed when discussing new ideas rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to be right.
  2. Recognize that there are many reasons why people have certain beliefs. They may be from a different country or have different life experiences that have shaped those beliefs. Someone born at an earlier time would also see things differently than you.
  3. Learn to listen carefully. Rather than jumping in with your opinion, let the other person finish speaking. Then use active, or reflective, listening to understand and clarify their ideas:
    • Repeat back to them what you understood. Respectfully ask questions when you don’t understand or agree with their standpoint.
  4. Look at things from a different perspective. Before deciding that a new idea doesn’t have merit, consider doing some research to understand the concept better. Consider the way the other person explained the idea and see if it makes more sense after you’ve researched it.
  5. “Walk a mile” in someone else’s shoes. Spend some time volunteering in your community. This will allow you to see things from a different perspective and with certain limitations.
  6. Take time to try something new. There’s no better way to open your mind to new ideas than to attempt a new task. Learning new skills or taking up a new hobby can open your mind in ways that nothing else will. Give it a try; you may be pleasantly surprised!

It’s true that being open-minded can be an advantage in many aspects of life, however, don’t be too quick to become open-minded about everything. There may be some deeply held beliefs that you don’t want to leave by the wayside in order to embrace openness. That’s okay!

While you’re learning to be open-minded to new ideas, remember that it’s fine and good to hold onto some beliefs and stand up for what you believe in.

Just because an idea is new to you doesn’t mean you must agree with it in order to be open-minded. Having an open mind will strengthen your skills to evaluate new ideas intelligently and choose truth in your life.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for being open-minded, listen to the latest Audio Affirmation. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

What Do Pediatricians Say About Screen Time for Kids?

Today, September 8, is International Literacy Day (#internationalliteracyday). And last Sunday was Read a Book Day (#readabookday). So, in honor of both holidays, let’s talk about getting our kids to read.

First, I’d like to focus on what pediatricians are saying about screen time, though. More and more, our kids are using screens for school and their personal life, which often pushes reading an actual book by the wayside.

The American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recently revised its guidelines on screen time for kids. The new recommendations offer helpful advice for parents trying to keep up with a world that has gone from Saturday morning cartoons to nonstop digital media exposure.

For years, the AAP advised a 2 hour limit on screen time for children over 2, and no screen time for younger children. Today, they’re recommending no digital media for infants up to 18 months, and one hour for children 2 to 5. Parents of older kids are encouraged to consider what works in their individual circumstances.

Learn more about how to monitor your child’s use of digital media, and address issues of content and context. You’ll find answers to many of your questions in the new AAP statement.

Screen Time Guidelines for Any Age
  1. Manage entertainment. The limits apply to digital entertainment. Other activities like online homework and video calls with grandparents don’t count as screen time here.
  2. Fill up on healthy activities. Streaming TV shows and playing video games are for the hours left over after more important priorities. These include physical exercise, academics, socializing, and sleep.
  3. Create quiet zones. Set aside times and spaces free from electronic devices. Keep the phones off at the dinner table and in the bedroom.
  4. Be a positive role model. Your kids will copy what you do. Spend more time offline and be courteous when you’re online.
Screen Time Guidelines for Infants up to 18 Months
  1. Understand brain development. Some studies show that screen time can interfere with babies’ language development, memory formation, and sleep. The light and sounds are overstimulating even if they seem to like them.
  2. Bond together. What babies need is eye contact and interaction. When you’re on the phone, you’re talking and looking at your baby less.
  3. Communicate two ways. Children learn through interaction. Talk with your child or play a game together.
Screen Time Guidelines for Children 2 to 5
  1. Curate content. There are lots of apps and programs for kids, but little evidence behind some of those claims. The AAP recommends providers parents can trust, like Sesame Workshop and PBS Kids.
  2. Avoid cartoons. You might be surprised to learn that small children have trouble understanding animation. Wait until they’re old enough to tell the difference between a cartoon character and a real one.
  3. Explain ads. Similarly, your toddler is likely to confuse paid ads with the rest of the content. Limit their exposure and talk about the ads they do see. Make a game out of picking healthy snacks instead of junk food.
  4. Accelerate learning. Education products are ideal for children starting at about age 2. Find something you child enjoys to make learning fun.
Screen Time Guidelines for Children 6 and Older
  1. Teach safety. As kids grow older, you’ll need to help them understand the consequences of cyberbullying, sexting, and posting personal information. Establish ground rules, spend time together online, and check out the tools your kids use.
  2. Be creative. Encourage your children to develop and share their talents online. Maybe they’re interested in taking photos, showcasing their crafts, or recording music.
  3. Avoid overuse injuries. Online activities can sometimes affect your child’s physical and mental health. Too much TV has been associated with depression, and gamer’s thumb and text neck have become common conditions. Set sensible limits and talk with your doctor for more ideas.

Help your kids enjoy age-appropriate screen time at each stage in their development. Input from pediatricians and other experts can guide you towards finding the right balance for you and your family.

How To Read To Your Kids

I recently read an Inc. magainze article from 2017 about a particular way to read to your kids, and I found it interesting. The article was called “Want to Raise Successful Kids? Neuroscience Says Read to Them Like This (But Most Parents Don’t)”. I think most people reading this blog will agree that reading to your child is one of the best things you can do for them. I would argue it’s THE most important thing you can do for them (aside from feeding, clothing, bathing, and loving them, of course).

But I never gave any thought to HOW I was reading to my two kids. In the article, neuroscientists caution against reading before bed becoming a rote, mindless activity, which they say is no better than watching television. The key is to interact with your child while reading. Pausing, for example, to ask them what they would do in a situation a character is facing. Or, asking them what they think will happen next. Maybe you do this already, and I’m pretty sure I do too. However, I had never given it any thought. Now I will.

So, next time you are reading to your child, encourage them to not only be part of the story, but to put themselves in the shoes of the characters and help them understand what others may be thinking and feeling.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for literacy and education, listen to this Audio Affirmation. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

Create a Better Work Life Balance and Get Your Life Back

Today is September 7, 2020, Labor Day in the United States. Since we have the day off, let’s take a look at some ways to strike the right work life balance.

photo of woman wearing eyeglasses

Do you feel like you’re so busy that you don’t have time for a life? Do you feel as if you’re constantly running behind? Is your work life balance out of whack?

There are ways you can learn to negotiate your work life so you become more productive.

Once you become more organized at work, you can more fully enjoy your time away from work as well. If you’re not stressing about your job, you can relax when you’re at home and live a more balanced life.

How can you be more productive? What can you do to improve the quality of your life?

Here are a few ideas to find work-life balance:

  • Slow Down. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and it seems like you’re running in circles, sometimes the best thing you can do is to slow down.
    • Take the time to prioritize. Going faster doesn’t mean you’re more productive or that you accomplish more things. Doing things right the first time will save time in the long run.
  • Stop Procrastinating. There are certain things about any job that are mundane. If you take the time to do the tedious parts of your job, you can breathe a sigh of relief sooner.
    • Schedule an afternoon to finish those pesky tasks so you can move on to more interesting (or even fun!) things.
  • Share The Work. You don’t have to do everything! Recruit some help from your fellow employees or family members.
    • Delegate responsibilities, and you’ll get everything done in a timely manner. This facilitates teamwork and makes everyone feel like they’ve made a contribution. It also gives you some relief while your helpers gain a sense of accomplishment.
  • Simplify. Don’t make things complicated. As humans, we tend to make extra work for ourselves even if it’s unnecessary.
    • Why reinvent the wheel?
    • If something works, don’t try to fix it.
    • Always remember the KISS method: Keep It Simple Silly.
  • De-clutter. Streamlining your workspace helps you focus on your work.
    • Arrange your desk so you can reach what you need the moment you need it. Sifting through multiple piles costs you valuable time, causes frustration, and can even prevent you from completing important tasks!
  • Learn To Say No. When your workload is maxed out, be assertive about saying no. Help your boss understand that your plate is full and you’re not being insubordinate.
    • Stay within your scheduled hours. Once you’ve learned to keep work from cutting into your personal time, you will become more empowered to enjoy life outside the office walls.
  • Implement Technology. Use technology to your advantage. A small time investment in entering information, such as addresses and other contact information, into a computer system can save volumes of time later.
    • Once you’ve implemented a system, it’s much easier to make changes to information and stay current. It also makes it easier to keep up with detailed customer information.
  • Eliminate Distractions. If your personal life interferes with your job, set some boundaries. Be firm when you have work to finish.
    • Leave your cell phone in the car or switch it off during work hours.
    • Discourage frequent personal calls or visits.
    • Delay socializing with co-workers until your work is done.

Once you’ve learned to streamline your workday, you’ll find that you no longer dread going to work and bringing it all home! Imagine knowing that you’re ready to start your day instead of playing catch up from yesterday.

Be sure to start using these ideas today to enjoy a great work-life balance and a more fulfilling life!

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for striking the right balance of work and life, listen to this Audio Affirmation. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

The Surprising Link between Planning and Procrastination

Yesterday I wrote about being late for something. Today, September 6 is Fight Procrastination Day (#fightprocrastinationday). So, let’s look at the surprising link between planning and procrastination.

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When it comes to procrastination, planning can be the solution or the obstacle. Managing your time sometimes helps you to stop putting things off. On the other hand, if you have trouble moving beyond the planning stage, you may wind up bogged down in analysis paralysis.

Maybe you already have signs of over-planning in your life. You read the latest bestselling diet books, but put off cutting calories and going to the gym. You want to start a business, but you do so much research that conditions change before you’re ready to launch.

Learn how to turn your dreams into reality. Use these tips to help you move from thinking to doing.

Tackling the Underlying Causes of Excess Planning:
  1. Accept uncertainty. It’s impossible to predict the future. Embracing change is more effective than resisting it. Being adaptable creates more security than trying to rely on a false sense of control.
  2. Make an effort. Talking about something usually requires less energy than actually doing it. On the other hand, you’re going to have to put down the how-to books and pick up a hammer if you want to renovate your kitchen.
  3. Learn from experience. There’s no reason to fear mistakes when you turn them into lessons on what to do next time. You’re making progress regardless of the immediate outcomes.
  4. Look at the big picture. Planning goes awry if you start obsessing about small details. Take a step back and focus on your major goals.
  5. Live in the present. While it’s helpful to imagine how your actions will affect your future self, you can miss out on life if you ignore the here and now. Live mindfully and celebrate where you are today.
  6. Build up your confidence. Doubting your abilities can cause procrastination. Use your self-talk to motivate yourself. Remind yourself of your past accomplishments and choose activities that leverage your personal strengths.
Practical Strategies to Fight Excess Planning:
  1. Set a time limit. Decide in advance how long you’ll spend on planning. Take 10 or 15 minutes to map out your day instead of letting it consume much of your morning.
  2. Proceed in reverse. When you arrange a wedding or a dinner party, you probably work backwards from the final date. Apply the same strategy to other projects to keep yourself on track.
  3. Break things down. Studying Russian or preparing your taxes is less daunting when you identify the individual tasks involved. Cut monster projects down to size.
  4. Take a first step. Pick out at least one thing you can do today. Look for something that’s feasible in terms of your current resources. Ensure you can live with the level of risk involved.
  5. Enlist support. You can accomplish more when you team up with others. Surround yourself with colleagues and loved ones who encourage you and give you valuable feedback. Seek out a partner who complements your workstyle.
  6. Review your progress. Midcourse adjustments increase your chances of ultimate success. Develop milestones and target dates when you’ll evaluate your performance and refine your plans.
  7. Be flexible. True fulfillment has more to do with spending your time engaged in meaningful activities rather than sticking to any rigid plan. Keep your purpose and core values in sight.

Make planning work to your advantage. While there are many good reasons to think before taking action, you need to do something if you’re going to reach your goals. Let your plans give you a sense of direction instead of holding you back.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for fighting procrastination, listen to this Audio Affirmation. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!

Slow Down and Get More Done in Less Time

September 5 is “Be Late for Something Day” (#belateforsomethingday #NationalBeLateForSomethingDay) In honor of this day, let’s talk about how to get more done by slowing down.

011 – 25 Ways To Be A Good Neighbor The Dadvice Podcast from The Voice of America’s Dad

Tomorrow, September 28th, is Good Neighbor Day (#goodneighborday). If you want to be a good neighbor, it may take a bit of effort and creativity. Even so, you’ll find it rewarding to strive to become a neighbor that is cherished and loved by all who live nearby. — This episode is sponsored by · Anchor: The easiest way to make a podcast. https://anchor.fm/app
  1. 011 – 25 Ways To Be A Good Neighbor
  2. 010 – 13 Ways to Romance Your Partner in a Digital Age
  3. 009 – New Research Suggests that Meditation Can Alter Your Brain for the Better
  4. 008 – 3 Ways To Encourage Your Kids To Spring Clean
  5. 007 – Top 10 Habits That Will Ensure You Have A Great Day
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Are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Maybe that’s because you’re pushing yourself too hard. Being in a constant rush lowers your energy levels and deprives you of satisfaction. You’re ticking off boxes on your task list instead of engaging in meaningful activities.

It’s time to start accomplishing more with greater ease. Consider these 3 steps the next time you’re straining to hurry up.

Do Less
  1. Set priorities. Figure out your definition of success. Devote as much time and energy as possible to the activities that matter to you. Cut back on making commitments that are irrelevant to your goals. Learn to tactfully say no to distractions.
  2. Budget your time. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a single day. If you’re frequently falling behind schedule, track how much time some of your routine tasks really take. Block out your time and give yourself a buffer between engagements.
  3. Adjust your standards. Know when good enough is acceptable. Maybe you want to aim for an A plus when it comes to parenting, but you can live with a B minus on washing your car.
Be Mindful
  1. Plan your day. Know where your time is going. Act deliberately instead of drifting from one external demand to the next.
  2. Live in the present. Give your full attention to what you’re currently doing. Silence your phone and resist the urge to check for messages. Notice your surroundings and savor your experiences.
  3. Remember your purpose. Stir up your enthusiasm by remembering the reasoning behind your choices. Does your job enable you to help others? Do you take pleasure in volunteering for a good cause or spending time with friends?
  4. Work out. A fit body supports a strong mind. Keep time in your schedule to exercise regularly. Incorporate more physical activity into your day. You’ll feel more peppy and alert.
  5. Rest and relax. A few minutes of meditation, stretching, or repeating affirmations can help you pace yourself. Learn to be comfortable with taking a break.
Ask for help
  1. Divide chores. Sharing household responsibilities is good for your marriage and your children. Talk with your partner about how you can work as a team to complement each other’s strengths. Praise your kids for taking on age-appropriate chores. Even small children can set the table or put away their toys.
  2. Be a good neighbor. Each family on the block could buy and maintain a snow blower or you could pool your funds to share one so it costs less time and money to prepare for an occasional blizzard. Join a neighborhood committee or browse for apps that help busy neighbors support each other.
  3. Consult an expert. You may want to hire a professional who can clean your house or fix your dish washer faster than you can. If you prefer doing things yourself, you can still seek advice on time-saving tips and techniques.
  4. Follow up. Maybe you already have family and friends who’ve offered to assist you when you need a little help. Accept their generosity instead of clinging to your pride or feeling like you have to do it all on your own. Be prepared to return the favor.
  5. Be specific. Wherever you turn for help, it pays to be precise. Let others know what you need done.

Slow down and get more done. When you’re feeling under pressure, change your strategy instead of speeding up. Take a few deep breaths and count your blessings. Your to-do list will look less daunting, and you’ll be more productive.

Affirmation

If you want to get into the right mindset for helping others, listen to this Audio Affirmation. You can listen in the car or before bed. However you listen, it’s sure to help get your head in the right space.

Podcast

If you’d rather listen to this blog, be sure to subscribe my podcast HERE. Look for it wherever you listen to podcasts. If it’s not there, it’s coming soon!