Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Power of Being Intentional: A Tech-Lite Update

Delicate via The Berry
{via The Berry}

Last week I told you all about the Information Diet, and how exceedingly simple it was. How I felt incredible, couldn’t believe I hadn’t made these tech-lite changes sooner… blah, blah, blah.

As it turns out, my dear friends, all of that is true. With just one small caveat…

You have to work at it.

If you want to cut back on the mindless social media time, the useless information gathering, the pointless surfing – you have to work at it.

And the first week of the Tech-Lite Challenge, I did work at it. And I saw awesome benefits. Worthwhile benefits.

The past week, though, I slipped.

It wasn’t a catastrophic slip, mind you, but slip I did. I found myself back on familiar ground:

  • carrying the iPhone in my pocket
  • laptop open throughout the day
  • stress levels were higher – I felt pulled in too many directions
  • my patience with the kids was much lower
  • checking in on social media more often than necessary, with no specific purpose in mind
  • reading blogs on my phone when I was putting off a task, like cleaning or ironing
  • looking at email first thing in the morning, before I got out of bed, but not answering it

 

Sometimes It’s Good to Take A Fall.

Slipping up has been good for me.

And even better is knowing that I was aware of it almost straightaway. I was mindful of how I felt. I was paying attention.

So now I can re-focus and concentrate on breaking these habits for good.

 

It’s Not All Bad…

In fact, lots more has been getting done since I started the Challenge:

I’ve started going to the gym most mornings (at 5:00am – because I’m an idiot) 

When I’m there I listen to podcasts or audio books, and feel like I’ve achieved something before breakfast. Not only have I exercised, but I also feel like I’ve learnt something that day.

For me, that means I am far less likely to browse online during the day, looking for information to satisfy my curious brain.

I’ve been writing far more.

The mornings I don’t go to the gym, I get up to write. And when I do that, I keep my social media tabs closed, emails turned off and some quiet, distraction-free music playing on Spotify.

I’ve knocked out 5 guest posts for various blogs, as well as 10 more for Slow Your Home.

{Speaking of which, did you see my recent post on Life…Your Way? “What’s the One Thing Every Home Needs? White Space.”}

 

This Tech-Lite Challenge is teaching me things. Lots of things. Good things. Things I am not so happy to admit about myself. But things I need to know if I want to slow down and live a simpler, happier life. Which I do, of course.

 

Have you been going Tech-Lite in August? How are you finding it? Any challenges you’ve found difficult to overcome? Has it been easier than you expected? Head on over to Crash Test Mummy and let us know how you’re going.

4 Common Happiness Traps – Are You Falling For Them?

Four Common Happiness Traps You Could be Falling in to
Act Happy. Bee Happy.

 

We all chase happiness. Sometimes it’s elusive, sometimes it leaps out at us, full-force. Overwhelming us.

We’re told we need to be happy. Search for happiness. Accept nothing less than joy.

But do you know what?

I think it’s completely normal not to be happy all the time. Preferable, even. Because, really, happiness wouldn’t be so wonderful if we felt it constantly. It would just be…normal.

But there are times when you should try to boost your happiness. Times when you’re feeling low, lack-lustre, lethargic. These are the times you should seek out your happiness.

And I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. But did you know that you could actually be sabotaging your chances of finding happiness by falling into one of these four happiness traps:

 

1. You’re waiting to feel happiness, so you can be happy.

So often we assume the way we feel comes first, and the way we act comes second.

A person who is exceedingly confident must have sky-high self esteem. Or an outwardly happy person is certain to be full of inward joy. How we act simply reflects how we feel.

But the opposite is true. We feel how we act.

So the exceedingly confident person may be feeling insecure, but has decided to change that by acting with confidence. Or the happy person is battling with an inner sadness, and will defeat it by acting in the way she wishes to feel. That is, she acts happy to help herself feel happy.

Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to feel good before acting that way. Sometimes you have to fake it till you make it.

2. A day vegging out on the lounge is what you really need.

Don’t get me wrong – I love a good day spent vegging out at home. Wearing comfy clothes, no make-up, watching movies, the kids in pyjamas. When I do it at the right time, it’s the mini-break I need.

But if you’re feeling down, sad, frustrated or just plain unhappy, a day spent on the lounge, feeling sorry for yourself, could make you feel much, much worse.

When I was going through the peak of my post-natal depression therapies, I was told by a very wise woman that if I really, really, desparately didn’t want to go out and socialise (which was 90% of the time) that was a sign that I absolutely needed to.

Often we resist what it is that we most need.

Don’t fall into the trap of waiting to feel energetic before you can feel happy. Sometimes you just have to get up, get moving, get out of the house.

 

3. Letting yourself off the hook because you’re feeling down/sad/angry.

You may feel like being kind to yourself when you’re feeling down. And by all means, show yourself gentleness, but letting yourself off the hook is letting yourself down.

  • If you have an appointment, keep it.
  • If you’ve organised to have coffee with a friend, go.
  • If you go to the gym, go today – even if you want to give yourself the morning off. Especially if you want to give yourself the morning off.

When you go, regardless of how much you don’t want to, you will feel as though you’ve achieved something and your happiness will actually take a boost.

Don’t fall into the trap of skipping out on a committment – the guilt is greater than the pleasure of not going – making you feel worse, not better.

 

4. Making yourself “feel better” with a treat.

(Are you listening to this one, Brooke??)

The reason we call them treats is because they aren’t something we have every day. They are a sometimes food. Not an “I’m having a terrible day and feel sad and angry and want to be happy so I’ll eat this chocolate” food.

In fact, we need to learn to take the emotions away from food all together. But that’s a whole other post.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking junk food will bring a boost of happiness. Do yourself a kindness and try a healthier option, drink a glass of water or have a cup of coffee.

 

So four different ways you can sabotage your own happiness. Tell me, do you fall into any of these happiness traps?

The Information Diet – Tech-Lite Challenge

{via Crash Test Mummy}

Laney is having a stupendous time in NYC, naturally, so I’m keeping the homefires burning for the Tech-Lite Challenge while she’s away.

Week One of the challenge has been a revelation, let me tell you.

And I can sum it up for you in one simple idea:

Put yourself on the Information Diet.

The objective of the Tech Lite Challenge is not to cut ourselves off from the online world we’re part of. It is, instead, to learn to be more mindful of what we’re actually doing when we’re online, and not being content just to drift around, following the rabbithole to wherever it may lead.

The beauty of the Information Diet is in its simplicity. You ask yourself two questions whenever you find yourself online, but know you could be spending your time more wisely somewhere else:

 

1. Do I REALLY care about this?

Often, I find myself reading an article or a blog post simply because it’s been recommended to me on Twitter, or the headline is catchy, or there was a link to it from something I was reading earlier.

You know the feeling. You will say to a friend, “I can’t even remember how I found this website/article/blog but…”

You know, chasing shiny things. I am as guilty of this as anyone…

This week, when I found myself reading an article or blog post that I didn’t intend to read, I asked myself, “Do I really care about this?”

Often (depressingly often, actually) the answer was no. And yet, there I was, giving up my time and energy for it. This topic I didn’t care about.

Kim Kardashian, for example. Or the inner workings of the Church of Scientology, as explained by Jason Lee’s ex-wife. Or the warped reasoning behind a British cyclist faking a crash in the Olympics. I don’t care. And yet, there I was.

So this week, as part of the Tech Lite Challenge, I made a significant change. When I discovered that the answer was, “No, I don’t care about this piece of information,” I closed the browser tab immediately.

I used to hate not finishing an article, even if was boring the shit out of me, or was poorly written, or was a cut and paste job from an article I’d already read. I’d still finish it out of some ridiculous notion of “doing a job well”. What an idiot.

But there are many things I do care about…

Sometimes, the answer is “Yes, I do care about this.”

It may be dealing with a subject I’m passionate about – writing, for example. Or simple living. Or intentionality. Or building blogs, business tips and technical advice.

And that’s when the second question kicks in:

2. Do I need to know about this right now?

Did I come online to find this information specifically?

Or is this something I am interested in, and will need to know further down the track?

If the answer is the former, then fantastic. Read away, get informed, take note of what you need and then get off the damn computer, go do what you need to do.

If the answer is the latter, then come up with a system for filing this information away until you do need it.

You could try Evernote (I don’t use it, but apparently it is a fantastic way of keeping track of those need-to-know-eventually pieces of information). Or, if you have an iPhone, add the link to your Reading List or Bookmarks, filed under the specific topic.

For example, I have Bookmark folders titled: Writing, Blogging, Simplifying, Technical, Recipes, Kids, etc. It helps to know where to look when I do need to know how to write a email newsletter, or make an easy chocolate cake.

 

If I learn nothing else from this Tech Lite Challenge, I already think it’s been a success. Just to learn those two questions means I have something to refer back to when I’m being sucked down the rabbithole.

 

This coming week I’m tackling the idea of mindfulness when I’m working on the computer. The automatic switching over to Twitter/YouTube/Pinterest/email when what I am working on gets boring or difficult.

In other words: digital procrastination.

 

Are you taking the Tech Lite Challenge too? Head over to Laney at Crash Test Mummy and let us know how you’re going. Do you have any fantastic tips or particular problems?

There’s no doubt life can be fast. Often too fast. Too much. Too stressful. Too overwhelming. On days like that we will tell ourselves there’s no time to slow down.
But there’s always time for a little slow, even on the busiest day. Join us for 365 Days of Slow and commit to a moment of slow, every day for a year. Learn more and sign up right here.

The Pep Talk.

life is beautiful - Banksy
{via Clerget Blog}

I got up at 4:30am today to get my writing done.

I did everything “they” say I should do. Everything that should allow me to write uninterrupted for at least an hour.

  • I didn’t check my email
  • I didn’t get on Twitter, or Facebook, or Pinterest
  • I didn’t spend my time doing “busy” work

And guess what?

The world didn’t give a shit.

Toby woke up approximately 35 seconds after I sat down at my laptop, and the day began. And I wanted to cry.

 

As parents, what we do is hard. Really bloody hard.

No, we’re not brain surgeons or rocket scientists (unless you are – then well done, ma’am, and can I just say, I really like your multiple degrees) but what we do is important.

We’re cultivating people. Helping them to grow, to love, to be loved. And if we do it right most of the time, we’re nurturing good, strong, healthy, happy people.

 

When your full-time job is caring for young kids, the reality is that your passions will take a back seat at times.

I am insanely passionate about my writing. Spending time in my own head, crafting words, wrangling sentences – it’s a super-sized injection of fulfillment straight to my soul and something I look forward to every day. (Why the hell else would I wake up at 4:30am?!)

But something I need to work on is patience. If I spend my days frustrated that I can’t write/exercise/sleep to 7am then I can’t possibly enjoy what is happening right in front of me.

Every season of life – easy and challenging – will pass:

  • the falling in love season
  • the heartbreak season
  • the living young and free season
  • the newborn baby season
  • the sleepless nights season
  • the “Mum, where are you?” season
  • the going to the toilet unaccompanied season

These will all pass.

And there will be time for everything you dream of.

You just need to be patient, live for the moment and keep sight of your passions.

 

And this weekend, take time to do something you love. Because there is a season for you too – it’s just broken up into hundreds of mini-seasons…

What are you passionate about?

 

 

There’s no doubt life can be fast. Often too fast. Too much. Too stressful. Too overwhelming. On days like that we will tell ourselves there’s no time to slow down.
But there’s always time for a little slow, even on the busiest day. Join us for 365 Days of Slow and commit to a moment of slow, every day for a year. Learn more and sign up right here.