Inspiration Kindled

Reading, Writing, Living. Inspire each day!

Category: Lifestyle (page 1 of 3)

inspiring this week: slow down – a few simple resources to improve your life!

I’ve always looked forward to Sundays.  I treasure them as the traditional “day of rest”.   After church, I either a) go out to eat with my family, or b) come home for a lazy lunch and a nice long nap.  What’s not to love?

Where do you fit in your time of rest?  Your daily/weekly nourishment?  I’ve been reminded lately in more ways than one how important it is to slow down.  We’re all in a hurry, but as Alabama sang in their classic song, “all I really gotta do is live and die.”  Sometimes I have to remind myself to do just that… and trust God with the rest.  Maybe you do too <3.

slow down

Inspiring this week:

  1. Tim Denning’s Slow Down: Life Is Not A Race – a read I especially recommend if you’re struggling with the above!
  2. This week I’ve been binge watching a YouTube channel I just discovered called Mind Over Munch.  Check it out if you’re interested in meal planning and/or real-world nutritional advice.
  3. 37 Simple Daily Behaviors That Will Immediately Free up Hours in Your Weekly Schedule from Thomas Oppong- You’re sure to find something here that can help you out!
  4. Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds – Having watched this, I think the common denominator in these peoples’ lives is positivity.  They found good and happiness in everything they experienced, even things like war and the loss of children.
  5. Niklas Goeke’s The Perfect Schedule: A Simple Exercise In Life Design suggests a fun and enlightening exercise – what does your perfect day look like?

From Inspiration Kindled

Get your FREE daily checklist!  Read my article, the productivity tool that’s revamped my life, and sign up at the bottom to get your checklist delivered to your inbox!

Or check me out on Medium:

Quote of the Week

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

Wishing you an inspiring week!

the productivity tool that’s revamped my life: introducing the daily checklist!

Overwhelmed? Try the daily checklist!

Up until a month ago, I was overwhelmed and in a rut. I was trying to develop a new business and simultaneously take my blog to the next level. I had a toddler and a husband who was out-of-work and always home. On top of that, I’m constantly taking on new side-projects — switching our household to natural, homemade cleaners and beauty products, writing a novel, learning computer code and improving my Spanish, to name a few! Suffice to say, every day I had a massive to-do list.

No matter how many productivity tools I tried to employ, I inevitably found myself sitting at my computer with my daughter trying to crawl on my lap and thinking, what next? I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t focus on what needed to be done. Little things and big things alike regularly slipped through the cracks.

As a student of productivity, I’ve read many, many theories and tried countless tools. Planner after planner, list after list, time-blocking and day-assigning and habit-tracking. Then one day, it occurred to me to try something new. I put my system into place fairly quickly and got started.

To my surpise, it actually worked.

Gone were my days of wondering what I should be working on, sleepless nights with my busy mind running through fifteen-or-so critical things that I’d missed out on that day. While I still felt overwhelmed at times, the system I’m about to introduce breaks things down into such manageable chunks that it’s easy to accomplish the majority of my responsibilities every day.

It All Starts With One Little Sheet

the daily checklist

This system is not re-inventing the wheel. It was inspired by techniques like habit-tracking and time blocking, plus Mommy Income’s 15-minute hustle. Instead of only tracking small behaviors, like exercising, the daily checklist system involves breaking down your entire day, including large tasks, into 15-to-20 minute chunks.

Let’s take a look at how this might work. Say, for instance, you want to clean your kitchen today. Cleaning the kitchen is among my least-favorite chores because it typically takes me over an hour and involves so many different tasks. How do I make this easier? Instead of writing “clean kitchen” on my to-do list for the day, I might write “wipe down appliances, cabinets, and countertops”, “clean out fridge”, “clean sink”, and “sweep and mop kitchen floor”.

Not only does this break a large, daunting chore into more manageable tasks, it’s also motivating and convenient. If I get around to cleaning the sink and wiping everything down but don’t have time to tackle the fridge or the floor, I can still check off the tasks that I have done and transfer the rest to the next day. Instead of failing to clean the entire kitchen — again — I’ve made notable progress.

Get Your Own Daily Checklist For FREE

 

This system has made a huge difference in my life and what I’m able to accomplish. It’s helped me to finally establish a daily writing habit and stay on top of my business. I hope it will do amazing things for you, too! To get your daily checklist for FREE, sign up below! I’ll deliver the checklist — in two versions, a categorized option and one big list, including tips on how to use it — straight to your inbox!

Once you get the hang of it, I’d love to hear back from you on how the checklist has made a difference in your life, or any suggestions for improvement you have to offer!

 

inspiring this week: science, dystopia, avocados, groceries, & writing

This week, I’ve been attempting all the things.  Expanding this blog (I also published this week’s post on Medium, to no acclaim,) chugging along at the 1000 Day MFA, sourcing for my FBA business, visiting family, trying my daughter + the potty for the first time (this was not a good equation,)  and of course keeping my house clean.

So how has it all gone?  Pretty well, actually, aside from the potty training.  I have a new productivity system I’ve been trying out.  You’ll probably be hearing about it soon ;=).

For now, here’s my inspiring picks for the week:

Can Bill Nye Save The World?

An honest and thorough critique of Bill Nye’s new Netflix show.  Michael Schulson discusses fairly both the good and the problematic.  If you’re still on the fence about whether to watch, this may be the article for you.

I Grew Up In a Fundamentalist Cult – ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Was My Reality

This is so much more than another cult story.  It’s a frightening analysis of the current state of America, and a history of how we got here.

Avocado Mayo

My love of avocados is relatively new, but strong!  I can’t wait to try this recipe.

I Cut My Food Budget by 80% For 30 Days

The title of this article immediately caught my eye.  Though our family has a much smaller grocery budget than most, I still actively seek new tips to cut back.  But 80%?  80%!  Kate Jones offers a fresh perspective on typical grocery and restaurant spending as well as a great reflection on life and minimalism.

Dear Writer,

Art vs. Content, and why you need both.  Refreshingly honest.  Check it out here.

Now you can subscribe!

Also, I have some great news!  I finally have an email list, and I’d love it if you subscribed.  Starting soon, I’m going to be transitioning inspiring this week into a newsletter that includes an inspirational quote plus links to any blog posts I’ve published in the past week, and I want to make sure you still have access!  You can sign up at the bottom of the post <3

Wishing you an inspiring week!

three simple rules to encourage positivity every day

beautiful, orderly desk

It’s easy these days to find advice on positivity and how to achieve it, and a lot of what’s out there is excellent.  Many sources, however, boil down to one key concept: willpower.  With the magic of willpower, you can decide to be happy and optimistic, or power through the steps to getting there!  The conundrum?  Recent research has revealed a few unfavorable facts about willpower: how much you’ve got appears to stay stable from childhood, and willpower regularly depletes.

Mood isn’t something that can easily be imposed.  We all want to be happy, but sometimes we’re simply not.  For me, the “off” days tend to yield little accomplishment, which only leads to further stress and unhappiness.  It’s a vicious cycle.

Allow me to now embrace a cliche: it doesn’t have to be that way!  Here are a few simple habits that will help you achieve a positive mindset – however you’re feeling today – and reap the rewards that follow.

Read (or watch or listen to) Something Inspirational

In my experience, the best way to switch off the glum is to seek inspiration.  Fortunately, it’s all around us. In our modern time, a pick-me-up is as close as the nearest Wifi or bookshelf.  Or, you know, you could go outside.

My high school psychology teacher once delivered a rant lecture I’ll never forget.  Here’s a summary: Depressed teenagers (basically the entire class) seek out depressing music when they’re depressed (basically all the time.)  And that’s stupid.  If depressed teenagers were smart enough to listen to upbeat music when depressed, they would be happier!

Harsh, but so true.

Note that you don’t need to wait until something bad happens to seek a dose of positivity.  I find it helpful to read something inspirational first thing every morning.  Some other options: turn on uplifting music while you get ready, have an inspirational quote delivered to your inbox, or start the day with scripture or a favorite devotional.  You’ll be surprised what a difference it makes!

Make 11 AM Your Most Important Deadline

This is one of my favorite tips from Tim Ferris’s book, The 4-Hour Workweek.  He recommends that to optimize productivity while decreasing work time, deadlines should not be at four or five in the afternoon but rather at eleven in the morning.  This is accompanied by advice to eliminate or delegate as many tasks as possible, leaving only what you yourself absolutely must do.

With this in mind, I personally only apply this deadline to my highest-priority task of the day.  To do the same, follow these steps:

  1. Determine your 3 highest-priority tasks for a given day.
  2. Rank these tasks in order of importance.
  3. If possible, assign an 11 AM deadline to your #1 task.

If you’re like me and your highest-priority task is something you’ve been putting off forever because you loathe doing it, this is remarkably similar to the popular adage “swallow the frog.”  The point is that once you’ve gotten it out of the way, the burden is no longer there.  No matter how you spend the rest of your day, you’ve already accomplished what’s most important (or dreadful).  How’s that for positivity?

Create and Maintain a Positive Environment

“We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.”

~ Orison Swett Marden

It’s no secret that environment has a huge impact on both mood and behavior.  Personally, I find a cluttered, chaotic space skyrockets my stress.  When my space is perfectly clean and ordered, I’m actually bored.  Believe me: bored is a novel feeling when you have a toddler!

The trouble is, maintaining a clean, organized space takes work.  Sure, there are fancy gadgets and boxes that can help, but there’s no shortcut for keeping things tidy.  The best method is often to tidy as you go along, whether that means putting things away and tackling messes as you work or doing a quick clean-up at the end of each day.  You’ll thank yourself when the massive clutter pile never comes, because who needs to deal with that before they can tackle their daily to-dos?

Aside from keeping things neat, I’m a big believer in designing space to suit its purpose.   Pay attention to colors and the moods they evoke.  Is there a certain kind of art that inspires you?  Hang it in your office.  Do you enjoy listening to soft music to lull you to sleep?  Make sure your bedroom is equipped.

I painted the office I share with my husband light green, a shade I find both uplifting and serene.   My side of the room also features several colorful butterflies on the wall, because I like them and they inspire me.  Do whatever you need to make your space work for you.

Finally, I’m also a big believer in simplicity and minimalism.  Figure out what you really need and love and toss the rest.  You’ll be surprised by how smoothly your life will function… and how much easier it is to keep the positivity alive!

inspiring this week: reading fiction, inspirational people, and changing your default

 

book coming to life

My birthday was this past week.  I had a truly lovely day, spent lounging around the house and eating too much delicious food. I have a feeling that this year, wonderful things are going to happen in my life.  Optimism is better than any present!

I know this blog is still a fledgling, but I’m committed to growing it into something incredible.  I truly appreciate my readers and want you to be a part of that growth!   Please stop by my new contact page and let me know what you like about Inspiration Kindled, what I can change, and what you’d like to read about.  You’ll have my eternal gratitude for the feedback!

Without further ado, here are my inspiration picks for the week:

7 Fiction Books That Change The Way You Think

I collect a lot of book lists, which is an easy thing to do when you subscribe to Medium.  The vast majority of these lists are composed of nonfiction books.  The inclusion of fiction books is rare, and those that are mentioned are usually classics.  That’s why I was so excited to stumble across 7 Fiction Books That Change The Way You Think.  As a writer and voracious reader, I deeply believe that works of fiction can be just as inspiring and life-changing as non-fiction, if not more so.  After all: non-fiction may feed your brain, but fiction nurtures the heart!

The DO Lectures

This week I discovered The DO Lectures.  The site boasts a large collection of videos featuring various inspirational people discussing what they do.  Kind of like a more laid-back version of TED talks.  Poke around and you’re bound to find a topic of interest!

Reset Your Default

Ben Hardy’s How To Make Immediate Behavior Changes introduces some fresh ideas that are at least worth a read.  My favorite is “change your default option.”  What are your go-to free time activities?  Instead of checking your phone for the millionth time or re-watching that episode of Friends, could you be writing or reading or brainstorming new ideas?

I’ve also been reading recently about the value of taking advantage of all those bits of downtime scattered throughout the day.  Five minutes here or ten there doesn’t sound like a lot, but what if you used that time to work on something meaningful?  It could add up.  And over time, it could add up to a lot of accomplishment.  Reportedly, this is how Stephen King reads for five hours a day!

Until next time – wishing you an inspiring week!

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