Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Reflection · Vision · Writing

Managing Mondays – Finding Inspiration and Motivation

It is another week and I am eagerly sipping coffee after a short, brisk walk before the sun was brightly shining and heating up the pavement. Although it is September and many folks are starting to see signs of fall, those of us in Phoenix are still facing high temperatures around 100°. That means getting up early to beat the heat if you want to walk outside.

I put my weekly plan together last night while watching Sunday Night Football. It took longer than usual because I couldn’t take my eyes off of the fourth quarter madness as Green Bay made their way back to claim the win. Did you know I love football? No? Well, surprise! I had so much to think about this week because I have some lofty goals. I am working my side hustle hard this week and making some time to sharpen my saw. Me time includes reading because, well, to be honest I just haven’t been doing that much lately. And I have been looking at this book for weeks. I never put it on my bookshelf. No. I keep moving it from surface to surface through the house. That tells me how much I want to read it. So, I am planning for it. One chapter a day. I deserve that much me time. I know if I don’t write it in my plan I will keep putting it off and moving the book to, yet again, another surface. What book? This one…

The book is broken into 5 parts. My goal is to read a part each day and plan to add a little Badassery into my future planning. So excited!

My plans this week are pretty loose and functional with some key goals and important activities. The most important activities are the weekend. My son turns 23 on Sunday and I aim to make any free time we have as a family about him and his special day.

It seems lately that I am on the go and running on all cylinders from the moment I wake up until I crawl back into bed. I am making a point to have quality reading time to take my mind and my eyes away from screens. When I crawl into bed I want to sleep easy knowing my plans are clear and my mind is sharpened to be the absolute best person God made me to be.

I challenge each of you to plan the following into your week:

  • Sharpen your mental saw (read a book, learn something new, meditate)
  • Celebrate something or someone
  • Love everyone

Have a great week. Back to sipping coffee.

Books · Product Review

Book Beau-A Book Lover’s Product Review

One morning a few months ago while sipping coffee I was browsing social media and saw something called a Book Beau. Have you ever heard of It? Have you seen It? Do you have one too? I felt like I was seeing it on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. I was like a fish looking at a baited hook. I needed to know more about it. I did my research. And went about my day wondering what the buzz was all about.

A few weeks later, again while sipping coffee, my social media feeds suggested Book Beau. I checked Amazon and discovered it wasn’t available there. I was hoping to read reviews. I did find some YouTube videos and as you can tell, my interest was piqued. Book Beau’s site was offering a sale on pre-order fabrics so I took the bait and decided to find out what this phenomenon is really about.

Who knew when I ordered these babies that it would take probably twice as long. I ordered them early March under the impression they would be made and delivered in time for Easter. Production issues caused a delay and they were here before May Day! Barely. The company did communicate a couple of times via email with new shipment dates and even offering a coupon on another order the second time they had to advise of the delay.

Now, were I a Beau addict, I may have jumped right on the deal. Having yet to own one, I was slightly annoyed. Perhaps in future they might consider a partial credit for first orders of at least the shipping cost. This is a young company that used kickstarter to get into the business. They honestly care about the product and customers and may not be in a profit margin that gives them much to work with. And honestly their production issues were probably so incredibly stressful for them.

But I have them now and I have been been test driving my beaus for a couple of weeks. I should really stop ranting and get to raving.

When I opened the simple packaging and pulled these too beauties out, I have to say I was nonplussed. Yes…speechless. I saw the online images and I don’t know why I was initially confused. But puzzled, I was.

Believe it or not these babies sat on the floor next to my work space for a few hours as I went to the internet checking into my sanity.

Then I decided to give them a test drive and fell in love.

We have sleeves and covers for our electronic devices and planners. Why not our books?

And they come in the right sizes for paperbacks. Do you toss paperbacks into bags and then they get contorted or damaged? Yeah. It happens.

What I love best is that my self-directed learning books also have room to have designated pens and highlighters stored together. When I am on the go everything is in a neat little package to grab from my bag to pick up right where I left off.

They also are made of water resistant fabric for rainy days and leaking bottles.

It is easy to spot your current read in progress versus your to be read books if using these sleeves too.

Needless to say, I am ready to add to my collection. They keep adding new designs and the sizes are great for mass market and Indie print size. This book lover cannot imagine life without them after only a week.

Time to rethink the budget to add more functional fun to my collection.

Watch for more fun in this space. And if you want to find out more about them or purchase one (I am not getting any perks here.) Book Beau has an easy site to browse and buy.

Have a great weekend. I am off to play with books!

Books · Family · Goals · lists · Planning · Planning · Vision · Writing

Managing Monday-Let’s Talk About Lists, Baby!

As I near the end of March, I start thinking about April. Planning does that to me. I see the next month coming as the pages turn. Ugh! My mind goes into overdrive. To control the chaos, I start thinking about monthly goals, important events and I make lists. Lists help me focus and allow me to be distracted by things in the process. My kids send me texts or come to the door of my room and interrupt. My dogs don’t care that I am in planning mode. If they want affection they get right in my face or sit on my foot. Whatever it takes. So lists are helpful because if I have written it down I won’t forget it. Well, that and it eases my mind.

What on earth do I need lists for? And why do I obsess over them? How many times have you gone to the store and forgotten something? Me? More than I care to admit. And hey, the lists on the phone work for some people but I love what I call a hybrid version of this.

Shopping lists

I have Google Home and I have my household conditioned to tell Google to add items to the shopping list. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the fact that they cannot see the list so I end up with some items repeated three or four times. That annoys me when shopping from it. Since I meal plan before shopping, I tend to start that list on paper because that is my meal planning method. Pulling up the Home app and looking at the list created through the week to add the needed items is all part of the procesd. Honestly do I need four bottles of ranch dressing? My kids might think so but my budget would argue differently if it could speak. I consolidate to my paper list and chuckle every time I look at that Google list. My kids have jokes. They come up with crazy items. This last time the mystery item was “a stick.” My daughter confessed to this little gem. I mean go in the yard for that one. Obvious right?

Fun Wish lists

All through my planner, you will see wish lists and this is one of my favorites. Concerts and Festivals. Last night after dinner I was enjoying a glass of wine with the family (the legal age drinkers had wine too) and we were all playing music from our Spotify lists and talking about shows. I grabbed my handy wish list and asked which, if any, they would be interested in. What a great time we had looking at other events and finding common artists we all knew and liked.

Why do these go on a wishlist and not right to my calendar? Well, I have to admit that I am budget conscious and won’t put it on the calendar until I bought the tickets. I just don’t like disappointing myself in the reality on that monthly spread by marking something out. I like wishlists better. How about you?

Cleaning Lists

This is a re-try at an old method. My family is ignoring the list posted on the fridge. I suspect that is partly due to everyone’s crazy schedule. When I would like to see things get done seems more like a wishlist of disappointment. The dishes get done and the trash and recycle are taken out but everything else just gets ignored until I make a fuss. So, I am putting this back in my planner and not on the fridge. And when people are home, I will ask nicely and then track who complied. Then i will settle on doing it myself if it is really bugging me. Yesterday was a day where everyone asked what I would like done. So I guess the flow is changing and I will ride the ride.

I picked this format from my stash. I got it from Natalie Rebecca Design several months ago. I think I bought this from her Amazon Store. I am excited to switch it up and see how we get along with it.

Spring Cleaning

I love fellow bloggers who share great tips and tools on cleaning. In preparing for April, I decided this would be a great checklist as I plan my spring clean. De-Clutter Challenge. I actually started some of this last weekend on my own and was frustrated because I was in perfectionist mindset and spent far too long on each task. I went in search of a new method and ran across this saved in my favorites.

Master To Do List

I use a running to do list that follows me from day to day and sometimes week to week. It isn’t always the same format or paper style. This list sits in the middle of my weekly spread where I can note items while I am on conference calls, in meetings, and in those moments of meditation when there is a lot on my mind. The only way to give my mind rest at times is simply to stop and write it down.

Reading…I make lists for this too

I love this planner that Brenda Novak sent in her January Reader’s Box. My reading Vision in 2018 has been to read more. And I set a realistic goal of 2 books per month. Now, what has actually happened is that I have gotten to about 2 per week. Rediscovering this joy makes my heart sing. If you looked all over my house, there are books and my Kindle has a vast virtual library. So I don’t have to go far to make a pile like this.

Every month I have managed to build a pile of self-directed learning and pure enjoyable fiction. Did you notice Erma Bombeck in the pile? My mother always picked up those books. They were her version of the Reader’s Digest for the bathroom quiet time. Sometimes as a mother that is the only room where you tend to spend any amount of time with no interruptions. Well…let me have this moment of fantasy. I have been thinking about these books so I picked a couple up to revisit her wit and wisdom. She was always inspirational.

Oh and plots. Those Works in Progress are eating at me. I have an itch to write chapters after chapters. I am a seat of my pants writer and know I need to find a balance with some structure so this April, I am going to study on story plotting.

Managing Mondays and every day is built on the foundation of lists. What kind of lists do you make? Daily? Weekly? Wishes? Share in the comments. I would love to see pictures and read what you put on your lists.

Have a great week!

Books · Goals · Planning · Vision

Reading Inspires and Relaxes

Are you like me? Do you have books stored in your Kindle? Is there a “to be read” list in your GoodReads account? Are hard covers stacked on a bookshelf? Are random paperbacks lying around the house or stored in boxes in a closet that still need to be unpacked? Are these books something you intend to read and never seem to get to? I have a plan for 2018 that is going to change that.

It all starts with…Why?

Why am I not reading? Why do I want to read? Why do I have books and lists about books everywhere?

As I sip coffee and get honest with myself I know why. I have been allowing myself to waste time on other activities. And one of the biggest time wasters is the ever present screen: the laptop, the television, the mobile device. I get quick reading fixes on social media and justify my lack of time to read a book by hopping in to read articles or blogs or tweets as sufficient. Reality check! Before social media I would have opened a book and read a few pages.

Coming home and turning on the television or sitting down with my teenage daughter to mirror her zombie-like stare at the big screen watching whatever she has on is almost a Pavlovian response at the end of a busy work day. And with streaming devices everywhere in my house picking something to watch that is new or an old favorite takes no time at all. Let’s face it, there is a certain instant escapism in these actions. It wasn’t so long ago that books were my friends and the characters and settings took me away from day-to-day life. How did that happen? I tried telling myself that life got in the way. Liar! I got in my way by choices I made. It was easier to watch endless hours of screens and hop from article to blog, from tweet to movie or series binge. I used to binge read books: two or three a week!

Now let’s move to How…

Sipping from my second (or maybe third) cup of coffee, I have to ask myself, the girl who always has a list or a plan in mind, how will I ever change? I love movies and T.V. I have YouTube channels that I subscribe to. My mobile devices are full of apps that quickly take me to some mindless place in cyberspace to waste time. Well, I have a planner for that and a place of accountability.

Late last year I joined the Facebook group of one of my favorite authors, Brenda Novak. This amazing community is filled with avid readers, wanna be avid readers, and lurkers. I was admittedly a lurker. I follow a lot of authors on social media and have for years. I have big dreams of getting published (that’s a story for another day) so having them in my social feeds is inspiring and educational. Brenda’s community is always buzzing because she is a genius. She hosts games, chats, a book club, and she sponsors a Book Buddy program. I decided in December that I should hop off the lurker shelf and join in the fun. I signed up to participate in the book club, checked in to accept the book reading challenge, and asked to be matched to a Book Buddy. Instant Accountability!

Are you overwhelmed by everything I agreed to do? I was too. Not for long. Brenda certainly knew someone like me might be. She offers a monthly subscription box program for readers. You can also opt in from month to month based on availability and order in advance. I am so glad I jumped in to try the January box. Her boxes always include a couple of box and some extras. January’s box was sheer perfection for this reader because it included this planner and basic supplies.

Washi tape! A pencil holder! Pencils! I was in heaven. And two very creative reminders…

She also sent these cute coasters. Readers love to enjoy beverages while they read. My cup looks great on it. Doesn’t it?

My crafty brain is already thinking of how I might repurpose a couple of them another way.

In the planner she has important events and activities already pre-printed. She included places to take notes, make lists, set goals, plan, and all the white space is just waiting for sticker, washi tape, and pen colors. As a girl who loves planners and likes to focus certain planners by purpose or life areas you know I am in love!

What next?

I am going to get the pens, washi, and stickers out today and personalize as I plan all my 2018 aspirations to be an avid reader. I want to turn off the screens more as I make choices to discover new writers, make new friends, see what inspires other readers, dust off the kindle and the shelves, unpack the boxes and ultimately….in December…see what I accomplished on this journey.

I need recommendations to fill up these pages and so I can exceed my goal of 50 books in 2018. Please post your suggestions in the comments below. Are you in a book club? Share what you and your club are reading right now. What is your reading goal? Are you part of a particular author’s group? Which one?