Organize Mindfully


Organize Mindfully — those are two words that individually resonate with me and together they are definitely intriguing.  I have been feeling somewhat unmotivated and that is not something I am comfortable with.  I like being energized around an idea or concept or project or something that gets me excited and enthusiastic but the last week or so I just have not been feeling that.  I have given it thought and tried to reconcile with the feeling but in truth, I like to feel excited about getting things done.  There are lots of things going on right now and all of those influence the way I feel.  One is the weather and the heat does impact my energy.   We have had several days over 100 degrees and lounging around in a cool house sounds more appealing than running around getting things done!  I’ve also been somewhat slack on using my Motivated Moms app which helps me keep the house clean and organized, and most importantly, my eating and meal planning has gone by the wayside and my digestive track feels it big time.  I think that could have something to do with my energy level too!   It is not busyness I seek but a feeling of creating an environment that is comfortable and allows space for creativity.

So, today, as I was getting ready for my morning walk, I decided to check out some different podcasts and looked at the Top Charts for Podcasts on my phone.  I looked at quite a few but two stood out for me.  The first one was Organize Mindfully (hence today’s title), and the other was Getting Things Done.  I am familiar with David Allen’s Getting Things Done concepts and have his book.  I tried to use it when I worked but wasn’t able to be consistent with it.  The idea of organizing is something I like and I always feel I am in a perpetual state of organization!  So I decided to listen to an episode from each of these podcasts as I walked.   And as a result,  I found was my project for July — organizing!  And I’m excited… which feels really good.  Following is a recap from the podcasts I listened to this morning.

  • Organize Mindfully – Be Inspired to bring organization into your life.  This is a twice a week podcast hosted by Mark Dillon who interviews organizing experts and designers as well as mindfulness experts like Joseph Goldstein and Sharon Salzberg.  I was intrigued by this idea of mindful organization as I am not seeking out organizing in a robotic way or seeking perfection and living life by a checklist.  And mindfulness is something I aspire to and practice meditation pretty consistently to become more mindful.  The first episode I listened to was called 002-Simplify your life and embrace your true self with Jennifer Ford Berry.  It was an interested 32 minute interview and the main concept I came away with was to have a vision of what you want your result to look like.  I equate that to Steven Covey’s “have the end in mind,” which helps provide direction and structure to whatever you are taking on.    I checked out Jennifer’s website and looked at some of her products.  She does have a new book on inner clutter which I think is an important concept and that one needs to work on both inner and outer clutter to really get organized.  She also focuses on the concept that organizing is liberating and ultimately can result in more energy and creativity.
  • Getting Things Done – GTD.  This podcast had a more business focus and is designed to support listeners at every stage of their GTD practice.  The episode I listened to was 05-Daily Habits with Charles Duhigg broadcast on June 17, 2015.  The episode was 25 minutes and the main thing that stuck with me was the idea that little things done consistently, good or bad, will have a huge impact. Charles Duhigg is a reporter for the New York Times and also the author of a book titled “The Power of Habit.”   Charles used the example of deciding between a salad and a hamburger everyday and that if  you consistently choose the hamburger for 365 days, it definitely makes a difference.  I know this concept is true but to hear it discussed, and to give more thought to it, it is something I will use as I make decision and prepare plans.  They used the concept with the idea of money, saving and or spending which is probably easier to grasp.  There was a lot of discussion about habits in general and the idea of routinizing things that you want to do consistently.  This made me think of my Motivated Mom’s App which helps with housework and other household chores.  He identified a trigger, a routine, and a reward as part of habit formation.   I visited his website to get more information and there is a lot of  free resource material he has offered on his site.  I’m definitely going to see if his book is in the library and also review his free materials.

I didn’t start out today thinking I was going to find my project for July, but I am glad I did.  It was just what I needed and now I feel really motivated about the month and I look forward to some of the things I will learn, or relearn this month.  This month my focus will be on learning about the concepts of organizing through listening to podcasts, reading books, and searching for information on the internet.  I would like to incorporate new habits as I go along so that at the end of the month I have a clear vision of how I want my home organized and a plan of action to make it happen!


Countdown 3, 2, 1….

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I cannot believe it is already the end of September with just a couple of days left to finish off my list.  I’m staying focused with the goal of crossing off my 27 Things although this month has been a little challenging to complete my list.

Last night, Friday evening, I was able to mark off #9, as the Unbook Club Book Club gathering was held at my house and it was a wonderful gathering of friends who enjoy books and conversation.  #9 entailed the planning and coordinating of the event which was not a single effort but because it is a somewhat informal gathering, it came together quite well.  I was tired at the end of the evening but I am very glad to have held the book gathering and will be planning another for February 2014.

There were a number of books traded last night including the following titles:  Water for Elephants, Cutting for Stone, Absolute Power, Mayflower, Frederick Douglass, Daughters Fortune, Book of Air and Shadows, Washington’s Secret War, The 5th Witness, A Reliable Wife, Suite Francoise, Sarah’s Key, The Last Man, and A Secret Kept.

We did drink a good bit of wine last night and maybe in February we can combine the book gathering with an informal wine tasting as well.

September … A New Month and a New List!

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This picture was taken this morning, September 1, 2013 on my drive to yoga class!  It was a spectacular view and I stopped to capture what I knew would be a fleeting cloud formation.   Just as fleeting was August, which is now behind me and September has rolled in to provide an opportunity for a fresh start and a new list of Twenty-seven Things!  I feel good about the things I did in August.  September’s list is similar in many ways but I’ve added a few more specific health related challenges.  Making the commitment to do something a certain number of days really helps me keep on track.  Yoga is one of those things and although I didn’t identify a specific number of my list, I do have a number of yoga classes I want to take this month and this morning’s class was a terrific start!   I also committed to a certain number of days where I plan to reach my 10,000 step goal.  Finally, because my husband has asked me to resume making smoothies in the morning, I have committed to do that for at least 12 days this month.  I think I’ll surpass that number but that is the minimum!

We will be vacationing in Washington D.C. this month and I really want to keep a travel journal and so I have put that on my list as well.   If it is on my list, I will get it done which is really the purpose of my Twenty-seven Things!

Today, September 1st is a wonderful Sunday, partly because I know I don’t have work tomorrow (holiday) and so it feels like a gift of another Saturday!  I’m relaxing, updating my blog, looking at Pinterest recipes to try, and getting ready for a golf game this afternoon with Morris and friends.   I have started a new book, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, just having finished her book, The Painted Drum this morning.  The Round House will be one of my September fiction books, along with the audio book, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.

So I am off to enjoy the rest of the day!  September holds so much promise and I am looking forward to visiting Washington D.C.  Here’s to a new list of Twenty-seven Things!  Cheers!

The Final Stretch

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.” ` Franklin D. Roosevelt

I love to share quotes that speak to me and this one captures how I am feeling at the moment.  My purpose in creating this blog was (and is) to help me identify and focus on some of the things I really want to do.  As I cross off the items on my list of twenty-seven things,  I definitely feel the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.

With my busy work schedule, and the demands of my job, my home time is often a blur of  activity trying to fit in the things I need to do and getting ready for the work week ahead.  My twenty-seven things has really helped me slow down and choose things that are important to me and anchor these potential accomplishments in my mind.   And the beautiful thing for me is I am getting things done on my list plus much, much more! It is true in a sense, at least I have found it to be true in my experience, that the more I do, the more I do!  I count relaxing in the list of accomplishments too.  This is partly because knowing when to stop, or when to take a break is really important and I find myself having those internal conversations and listening to them as well.

This last week in August is the final stretch for my twenty-seven things and I am almost at the finish line.   Last Wednesday I crossed #26 off my list after a great dinner out with two girlfriends!  We tried a new restaurant and had a very enjoyable evening of good food and good conversation.

This weekend I finished #4 which has hung out there for most of the month.  It was not something I looked forward to but something I knew would feel great once it was done.  #4 was the deep cleaning task on my list and I did deep clean the master bathroom.  It is a big room with two vanities, mirrors above the vanities, as well as on the sliding doors to the closet.  The vanity counters are a catch-all for makeup, creams, sunblock, rollers, brushes, and they desperately needed to be cleaned off.  So that is now done.  It is clean but the drawers are not organized and that will be a project for September.

I’ve just about completed #7 which is to read a non-fiction book.   I have been reading Shelter for the Spirit by Victoria Moran which is about making a house a home and although most of the ideas are things I have thought of or read of before, it is a nice review and fits nicely into some of the things I have tried to accomplish this month.

September 27th is the date of the next “Unbook Club Book Club” gathering at my house.  The first gathering (and the last one) was in February and the plan was to meet every other month or so.  I  anticipated getting together in May, then July, then August.  However,  I didn’t set a date and that is the key really to getting it done.  The date is set which means I can put a check next to #9 on my list.  I’ve communicated the date to the Unbook Club Book Club Facebook Group and I’ll actually set up an “event” for everyone’s convenience.

Yesterday I had a massage so I can cross of #16.  It was so good I laughed out loud when the masseuse was working on my feet.  My feet are not ticklish and it actually hurt a little.   The masseuse was somewhat startled when I started laughing and I had to explain that I do that sometimes, laugh when the masseuse finds a sore spot.   Yes, a little crazy but definitely a spontaneous reaction.   The laughter felt great and in conjunction with the massage, the endorphins were flowing.  I’m so glad I added #16 to my August list because I’m afraid if I hadn’t added it, another month would have passed without my getting a much needed (and much deserved) massage.

The cats got some extra TLC this weekend with a brush out and their flea treatment which means I can cross of #27.  Ronin is my big old 14 lb. cat and he has long hair which gets matted on his underbelly.  All of Ronin’s mats are gone now and I know we both feel better.  Humphrey, the grey cat is really our grandcat as she was a kitten who attended college with our daughter!  She came to live with us in 2008 and really rules the roost, not only in our household, but in the neighborhood.


Overall, the weekend was very busy.  In addition to some of my 27 things, I did all the usual things like laundry, shopping, fueling the car, cooking and some routine cleaning.  I also fertilized some of my potted plants and some of our shrubs.  There was some fun stuff thrown in there too.   I put a really nice gift package together for a friend from work who is retiring.  She likes to garden and so I put together some seed packets, garden gloves, a home-made sugar scrub, a windchime, and a hummingbird feeder.  It is in a really nice hat box which I think she will like.   Mor, my husband and I took in a movie today and saw the new Woody Allen film, Blue Jasmine which turned out to be one of the saddest movies I have ever seen.  Cate Blanchett was extraordinary in her role but the character she played was tragic.  I finished up this evening with a Chocolate Zucchini Bread that was a new recipe and was intended to use up the large zucchini my husband didn’t see until it became gigantic!  The bread was pretty good actually and I’ll take what is left to the office tomorrow.

I have until next Saturday to finish those few things that are left on my list.   Since we are going to Washington D.C. soon, I definitely need to research some of the city sites.   I’m in the final stretch and already thinking of what I want my Twenty-seven Things list to look like for September!!

Weekend End!

It is Sunday night and the end of the weekend which means it is the beginning of the work week for me!  I have enjoyed the weekend and relaxed while still getting some things on my list done!  I completed #6 – House Creative project which resulted in a succulent dish garden for our dining room table and I framed a watercolor print I picked up last year in Monterey!   I am half-way through #7, my non-fiction book for the month, and I picked up all of the supplies for #14, my craft day with friends Kathi and Deb (although I still need to set the date).   The craft plan is to make decorative coasters using tiles, decorative paper, and hodge podge!

The weekend was truly a relaxing one and I spent Saturday at the movies to see “The Millers” which was pretty funny!  After the movie, we stopped and had a nice lunch at the local brewery.  Although I have listed 27 Things I want to accomplish this month, I really believe that balance is important and I so enjoyed the time I spent with my husband yesterday.   Later in the day I made a batch of plum jam (the plums from my dads 50 year old plum trees).  The jam was amazingly good and for dessert I made pancakes and slathered each with a layer of plum jam!

So even with all that relaxation, the projects I completed this weekend brings me to 19 of my 27 things either started or completed!   Not too bad for a working girl!

Here are pictures of the #6a and #6b!