Category Archives for "Keep It Simple"

Jun 04

The Benefits Of Having Time And Space

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

In good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death do us part. These are vows that are taken when two lives are joined in marriage, but living through the bad times, living with sickness and through the death of a loved one can be devastating. There is something that can make life more manageable during difficult times, it’s having time, space and boundaries built in.

I worked full time outside of our home when my dad passed away. There was nothing I wanted more than to have more time and space to work through my own grief, take care of myself, as well as love and support my mom. It was heartbreaking to give my mom my leftover time, which wasn’t much. It was also exhausting to work long hours while my body and soul needed more rest. 

Things were completely different a few years later when I received a phone call from my husband, John, when he was having chest pains and was being brought to the hospital by ambulance. I was working at home at the time, focusing on taking care of my home, family and writing on the side. I had time, space and boundaries built into my life. When I received the call, I had time to prioritize John. Not just for a few hours, or a few days, but for the months of recovery that was required. I had time to walk with him every morning as he rebuilt strength. I had time to prepare meals, help him eat better, lose weight and regain his health. I was there to talk to him when we felt good and when he felt bad. Having time, space and boundaries built into our lives made our challenging times more manageable.

I have been talking more about “the simple life at home” lately. What does that mean? I define the simple life as “being intentional about setting aside time, space and establishing boundaries in order to put your family first at home”.

The lockdown we all have been experiencing over the past few months has allowed many of us to live this simple life at home. It has given us a glimpse of how good life can be at home, with those we love. Meals together as a family instead of picking up fast food. Eating healthier because we had time and energy for preparation. Activities together instead of running in different directions each night of the week. Down time that we did not know what to do with at first. Meaningful connections enhanced. The attitude of taking care of each other and working towards a greater good. 

Now that you have gotten a glimpse of the simple life at home, how can you be intentional about continuing to set aside time, space and establish boundaries in order to keep that simple life a priority forever? Yes, I said forever.

It will look different for each of us and it will more than likely require a bunch of baby steps to get there, but I want you to know that it is possible if you set your mind and heart to it.

It may require some financial changes that are big and hard. One thing that has allowed John and I flexibility through the years has been the fact that we purchased a smaller home that was well under what the bank would allow us to borrow. This smaller home has kept our mortgage payment low, our utilities lower, the cost of upkeep lower and we have bought less possession because we just don’t have room for them. 

Would a job change allow you to better set aside time, space and establish boundaries at home? I recently talked to a single young woman who has come to realize over the past few months that she has been working outside of her strengths in the past. She said “I did not have any energy left when I came home from work. No wonder I struggled with balancing work and life.” She is now pursuing other options for her work.

If you are already home, it might be time for a perspective change. In the past I have felt extremely guilty when I have not been working full time and bringing home a paycheck. I have seen my work at home as less important, even though deep down I knew better. The work we all do at home to prioritize our loved ones is so very important. Don’t let your mind or anyone else make you feel less important. You’ve got it right!

The simple life at home. Is it something you want to pursue? If so, what do you need to do to start moving in that direction? What are your first few baby steps?

My Daily Walk With Jesus: Pray/talk to Jesus, read His Word and Godly devotions, listen for His voice, do what He tells me too, repeat. It’s far from perfect, but it is good!

Photo by Emma Bauso from Pexels
May 21

Struggling With The Simple Life At Home

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

I was once informed that I was a workaholic. I loved my job. I loved what I did. I loved the team I worked with. I loved getting things done and being appreciated for it. On one particular day, I was frustrated with my husband, John, because he wanted me to come home and spend time with him, but I wanted to finish a few more things at work. I received a timely phone call from a woman I looked up to greatly. I shared with her my frustration with John, sure that she would take my side. Nope. She lovingly shared with me that if my job was interfering with my time and relationship with John, I needed to make some changes at work. I did not want to hear it, but she was right.

I cannot tell you how long it was from that phone call to the time I took action on the wisdom of that friend, but it sent me on a journey of simplifying my life in order to prioritize my family. I started by transitioning to part-time work, and boy, was that hard. I spent less time in the place I felt valued for my hard work and spent more time taking care of my home where I did not get as many pats on the back. Why is it that we don’t get a pat on the back for cleaning the toilets? Why is it that it is just expected that there is food in the house? However, that is life at home. 

I remember taking a walk one day because I simply had to get out of the house. I did not understand the feelings I was having. On one hand, I felt so blessed to have had the opportunity to work part time and stay on top of more things for my family, but on the other hand, I was sad. I realized, on that walk, that it really did come down to the fact that I was addicted to getting value from other people for the work I did. It is not a bad thing all together, but I was going to have to make some mental changes if I was going to make this simplified life at home work.

One mental shift I made, and still have to remind myself of, is that the work I do at home does make the lives of my loved ones better. I made it my mission to make my home a sanctuary for John to come home to after a long day of work. I never had children, but I learned the needs of my sweet puppy as she grew older and did all I could to make her life better.

I also knew that everything at home did not have to fall on my shoulders. We need the help of everyone, but, as you know, that does not automatically happen. We hold a leadership role in our homes. We keep it running smoothly with the help of a team. I heard someone once describe the job of a homemaker as a management position, and it really is. The role we hold at home is essential.

Today, we are all finding ourselves in different roles at home more than we have had in the past. Let’s see ourselves as leaders in our homes. Know that the work we do, day in and day out, is very valuable. Rally the team, so that everyone can do their part. Celebrate the big and small wins we have along the way.

Life at home can be a simpler life, and it can be one that is savored and enjoyed. Here’s to living your best life at home with those you love.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: Many times we see certain jobs as “spiritual jobs” and others as not. I have learned that everything we do in our day is part of God’s plan and will for our lives. Mowing the lawn is part of His plan for our lives. Folding laundry is too. Knowing all of the simple things I do at home is part of His plan, helps me see them in a new light. It helps me see them as important and valuable.

Photo by August de Richelieu from Pexels
Apr 30

Enjoyment Right Now

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

I have always been an advocate for making sure we add things in our calendars that we can look forward to. I have a friend that schedules camping trips for the entire summer so that she looks forward to getting away from the hustle and bustle of life. I have registered for bike ride events in the past to have something to train towards and the event to look forward to. But adding things to look forward to, like we have in the past, is not our current reality. How, then, do we add enjoyment to our lives right now?

Earlier this week I was struggling, and feeling very ho-hum. My inner dialog kept saying “I have nothing to look forward to right now.” I have no trips on the horizon, and no bike rides to train for. Sure, I have ordered some craft supplies to work on, but it all feels like “work”, nothing feels like FUN!

I had to find a solution. I like to live my BEST. I don’t like to live a ho-hum life, even through a down day here and there is okay. I started to think about life as a whole. It really consists of about 95% “everyday” type work. 

  • Getting ready in the morning.

  • Making and cleaning up from meals.

  • Work that brings home income to provide for our needs.

  • Work that needs to be done around the house to keep it running smoothly.

  • More meals and clean up.

  • Mowing the lawn and pulling weeds.

  • Helping others in our world.

The majority of our time in the past and today is spent in “everyday” kind of work. 

I had to come to grips with that and turn my feeling of BLAH into feeling of peace and acceptance. Our lives actually don’t need to be “exciting” all the time. Our everyday work is good stuff and is part of an amazing life, our BEST life. It does not feel glamorous, but I realized the glamorous life I thought I wanted was something that marketers have filled my mind with to buy their products. 

I am actually starting to realize that my everyday, simple life is pretty amazing. I am starting to enjoy things that I rushed by in the past. 

  • Today is a beautiful rainy day. We have a gentle rain that sounds amazing as it hits the new leaves that are blooming on the trees. 

  • Today, we sit next to loved ones, maybe doing “common” things, but we are together, like we have not been able to be in the past.

  • Today, we all try to do our part to make the world a better place. For some that means going out of our homes to work, for some that means staying inside and away from others, for some that means making face masks to protect each other, and yet for others it’s taking the time to call someone who lives by themselves to let them know you are thinking of them.

  • Today we cut our lawn and enjoy the scent of freshly cut grass. We love the look of it when it is all done. 

  • Today we take a walk to keep our bodies moving and healthy.

These are the simple things that our everyday lives are filled with. I am trying to embrace them as significant, because they are. They used to be after thoughts, sometimes even annoyances, but now they are the things that will bring joy into our lives, if we allow them to.

Let’s live our BEST lives, ENJOYING the things that come our way in EVERYDAY life.

My Daily Walk With Jesus: The concept of enjoying the simple things was brought forward for me in a Joyce Meyer Podcast that I listened to as well as my morning devotion with Oswald Chambers. Joyce shared that God is teaching her that she can hear His voice clearer when life is simpler. I can see how that is true. When life is hectic, we can barely hear ourselves think much less hear clearly from God. Oswald Chambers said in April 28th devotion in My Utmost For His Highest “God has got you absolutely and has given you your life. If you are not there, it is either because of disobedience or a refusal to be simple enough.” I read this devotion at a time where I did not feel like “simple” was enough. In the days since, I have worked to embrace the simpler things. God is working in me to find peace and joy in my everyday simple life.

Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels
Nov 07

I Wish I Had Time To Be Bored!

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

This week’s blog post is the third of five blog posts that were inspired by hearing Dr. Tim Elmore at a recent conference. He is an Author and President of  an organization called Growing Leaders. He has the exciting job of growing the future generations into amazing leaders. As I have shared in my previous two blog posts, our world has some amazing things going on, but there are some unintended consequences to some of these amazing things. Today we are going to touch on the fact that our world today is filled with entertainment that we have at our fingertips. At any given moment, we can, and do pull up something to read, watch or play on our smartphones. We are constantly being entertained. What, then, is the unintended consequence to our entertaining world? We, and our next generation can see boredom as bad.

I think all of us would joke “I wish I had time to be bored!” because our lives seem so nonstop most of the time. I think if most of us were truthful though, we are the first to try to fill our time if we have a spare moment. It is what we do, but there are actually benefits to having mental downtime. 

Do you know our brains actually do some amazing things when we take time to turn them off? Why is it that we remember things when we are in the shower? It’s because our minds start to relax. It’s when they start to relax that they start to do some cool stuff.

When our minds have time to relax, we open our minds up to creativity. Many great leaders in our history books prioritized time to go out on a walk to allow their minds to wonder. It was during these mind wondering, boring times that they both found refreshment of body, refreshment of mind and refreshment of their thoughts.

If today we, and our kids, feel the need for constant stimulation and entertainment, I have to wonder if we are all starting to miss out on some really good stuff that “boredom” can give us. Are we missing out on the physical and mental refreshment that we need to truly have good health? Are we missing out on creativity in our lives because we rarely allow our minds the time to “wonder” and utilize that different part of our mind?

We all want to be in the best health we can possibly be in. Would you enjoy a little bit more creativity in your life? The ability to find new and creative answers to the concerns of your day to day life? I don’t know about you, but I am going to try to allow myself  a little bit more bored.

  • I am going to start with trying not to pull out my phone when I have a few minutes to wait. I am going to try to just sit and let my mind relax.

  • I am going to try to take a walk or ride my bike without listening to music, but allow my mind to wander.

  • Try cooking or baking with the TV off. Enjoy talking to your loved ones or just being in the moment.

  • When driving, take a period of time with no music or podcasts playing. See what interesting thoughts come your way.

I don’t know about you, but it will take some time to train myself to enjoy being bored. I am excited to see how it benefits my overall health and my creativity.

Let’s do it together! Let me, and all of those reading today, know what experiences you have had or if you are willing to give this a try with me. If you have a friend who is working through a particularly difficult challenge in life right now, suggest some boredom to allow them time to rest. You never know, a creative idea may come their way as well.

Have a great week! Enjoy the fun entertainment our world has to offer and enjoy turning it off for a while and enjoy the benefits of boredom too!

Oct 10

Does It Feel Wrong To Go Slow?

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

Our world today values speed. One or two day delivery with Amazon Prime, faster computers and smartphones, instant access to maps. Music, apps and friends. I love every single one of these things and utilize them daily, but there can be an unintended side effect if we are not careful. In our world of speed, do we start to see moving slow as a bad thing?

I have heard countless women express tremendous guilt when having a “slower” day. We feel so much better and valuable when we are busy from start to finish. It can feel exhilarating to check a ton of items off our “to-do” list, and worthless when we don’t.

This feeling of guilt is compounded in our fast paced world when something in life like a health issue gives you no choice but to slow down. It can make us feel guilty, useless and with no energy to keep up.

Stress management is listed as part of the remedy for many medical conditions. Stress management and the speed of our  world don’t blend well together. Stress management usually means it’s time to slow some things down.

Today is a great day to try to see the beauty in the slower things in life.

  • The beauty in people

  • The beauty of nature

  • The beauty of family and friends

  • The beauty found in unexpected moments and places.

There are so many wonderful things about the speed of our lives today, but let’s not forget the beauty of living slowly too.

Do you see the value in the slow beauty of life?

If your life has forced you to slow down, are you willing to try to embrace it and see the beauty in it?

I encourage all of us, in our fast paced world, to form the habit of embracing “slow” and enjoying its beauty that would have rushed by otherwise.

Today’s blog post was inspired by Dr. Tim Elmore who I recently heard at a conference I attended. Dr. Elmore is the founder and president of an organization called Growing Leaders. Our next generation of kids (Generation Z) are growing up in a crazy fast world. An unintended consequence of the fast pace is that kids can believe that slow is bad. As we live life together, let’s love our kids and grandkids by helping them to experience the beauty of slow, along with the fast.

Join me the next 4 weeks to look at 4 more unintended consequences of our world today. See you next week!

Photo by Lucas França from Pexels
Aug 08

How To Increase Your Enjoyment And Be Present In All You Do

By Jen Regan | Baby Steps , Keep It Simple , Planning

You are an amazing woman, working hard each day to take care of those you love, give your all to the work you perform and do your best to take care of yourself in the process. Your day is packed to the gills and sometimes as the day comes to a close, you are simply glad the day is over. Your day was not characterized by enjoyment and being present. The questions is, how can you change that in the midst of your already busy life?

I want to live the best possible life I can live. For some reason, I feel that everything in life should go smoothly all of the time. As you may suspect, this belief has caused me a lot of grief, because, that is simply not how life works. There is something deep inside of me that strives for it every single day though. It is a blessing and a curse all at the same time. But because of it, I am always asking myself “what can I do to make my day and life better?”

Like many of you, I am a planner and kind of addicted to checking things off my “to do” list. This is great, but it does cause some other issues. When my focus is on the completion of a task, my focus is not on enjoying the process and being present in the moment. Can you relate? So, as I always do, I ask myself if this is something I want to change, and it is. Then I start to figure out how to make it happen. Here is what I have found:

  • Start with a plan. Start your day with a well formed, realistic plan, which includes your “to do” list. This may require some organization and planning ahead of time. At the end of each day, I take a few minutes to plan out my next day. What this plan does is it allows me to “work my plan” the next day.

  • Focus solely on each of your tasks or appointments. While you are doing dishes, train your mind to think only about that. It’s a great time to be grateful for the food you have been blessed with. When you are at an appointment, give the other person all of your attention. Really listen and engage. If you are like me, this takes some training, because my mind likes to wander on to what is next. Keep bringing your mind back to what you are doing right then.

  • Increase enjoyment by recognizing the positive things in each moment and task. We all have a choice whether to focus on the positive things or the negative ones. I understand, there are some days when it feels like EVERYTHING has gone wrong. On most days though, we can find some positive things to focus on. The beautiful sunrise when we are stuck in traffic. Reminding yourself that you are getting stronger when you are sore after a workout. Spending a little extra time at home with your little one when they are not feeling well.

Once you invest in these principles, you can apply them to your every day and every moment. Enjoyment and being present usually doesn’t “just happen”. We can add more into our lives by thinking and planning ahead, working our plan, then enjoying one project at a time.

Here’s to focusing on one thing at a time to increase our enjoyment and presents.

Photo by Jopwell from Pexels
Jul 25

How Constant Distractions Mess With Your Mojo, And What You Can Do About It

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple , What's Most Important

Have you ever had a day where you were constantly interrupted? Just as you were getting going on something important, someone or something popped up to pull you away from it? You just got some good mojo going and KAPOW! You get pulled off course.

I have known for a long time that I do not work well with distractions. I worked for a not-for-profit where we utilized volunteers in as many roles as we could to get the most accomplished. One of the HUGE blessings we had was a number of retired ladies who would come in and answer the phones for us. Having them remove the constant interruption of the phone ringing allowed me to dive in a get a lot of work done.

Just recently I started to notice myself easily distracted again, and because of it, not staying focused on my work. The culprit was the phone again, but instead of phone calls breaking my concentration, it was my need to constantly check to see if someone messaged me to “liked” my post.

About the same time, I came across a book that sounded intriguing. It is called Digital Minimalism, Choose a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport. I love the concept of minimalism in my life, and I loved the definition he gave in the description of the book. “Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough.” I love that definition because it means we each decide what works best and what amount of anything we want in our lives. How much is just enough for you?

In the book, Cal walks the reader through a process of figuring out what amount is just enough, but then challenges them to remove the rest. He suggests going on a 30 days “digital diet” (my description) to see what you are fine living without and what you might like to add back in.

After just a few weeks on my digital diet, I have been blown away by the results. 

  • First, I have been more relaxed than I have been in a long time.

  • Second, I have gotten to the point where I started to feel bored, but then an amazing thing happened. I looked around at all of the things I always wanted to get done but never have time, and I started to work on them.

  • Third, I have been able to accomplish some amazing things at work, things that I have been dreaming about doing for years. 

There are so many VERY IMPORTANT people and areas of our lives that deserve so much of our focus. In our busy lives, it is hard to find time for all of them. We ask ourselves, how can I fit it all in? How can I take care of others, my job, my home and my own health? It is hard to fit it all in. 

One of the solutions is to always look at the non-essentials that we can remove to fit in the essentials. My eyes were opened by my experiment with cutting back on my phone checking.

If you are asking yourself “how can I find more time to focus on what is most important to me?” I highly recommend Digital Minimalism, Choose a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport. I do not get any kickbacks for recommending this book. He has simply made me a believer that minimalism works just as well for my smartphone as it does in the rest of my life.

Here’s to living an AMAZING life FOCUSED on all that is important to you!

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Registration Closes This Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - Register TODAY!

Live Your Life On Track - Module 3

How To Achieve Your Ideal Life

Work At Your Own Pace Online Course

This online course will:

  • Provide direction and more focus in the areas of life that are most important to you.
  • Help you define what you want your future to look like, not allowing others to define it for you.
  • Create a plan that will get you from here to there, even when the twists and turns of life try to get you off course.
  • Establish Small Action Steps that will fit into your busy day and keep you moving in the right direction.

The Details:

  • This online course contains 4 time released Lessons, one published each Thursday, on the first four Thursday of August 2019. (1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd)
  • Each Lesson will contain a quick Video Lesson with Action Step Instructions and Worksheets for you to work on before you move on to the next lesson.
  • You will have access to the course for 4 MONTHS which will allow you to work at your own pace! I believe in a NO STRESS ZONE! (Access from August 1, 2019 - November 30, 2019)

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Apr 04

Utilize This Everyday Tool To Free Up Time!

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple , Planning

We could all use a little bit of free time! You may ask “what is this mysterious thing you call free time, Jen?” I know right? Free time can be rare in our lives and feel impossible to achieve at times. Recently, I needed to make some changes to my schedule because it was simply not working well. I employed one tool, that we already use every day, to freshen up my schedule and do some much needed Spring Cleaning.

I never understood the big deal about Spring Cleaning. Yes, the weather is warmer, it’s great to open up the windows and get some fresh air, but why do we need to go ALL OUT when it comes to cleaning each spring? The answer was revealed to me one day in February when the sun popped out after it had not shown for days. Up until that point, I thought my house was plenty clean, but the sun revealed an entirely different picture when it streamed through my windows onto my dusty floors. Holy Cow! Where did all of that dust come from? It sure did accumulate fast and was in desperate need of some sprucing up!

The same accumulation can be true for our calendars. Slowly, we feel busier and busier and find that we have less and less free time. Today is the day to open the curtains and shed some light on how we spend our time. If you are like me, you get into routines that sometimes turn into ruts. I have found one simple, but very effective, tool to make space on my busy calendar. It’s called batching!

Batching is lumping appointments and tasks together on your calendar to then free up time somewhere else for the areas that are most important to you. The goal of batching is not to do more, it’s to have time to do more of the right stuff!

As busy women, I can guarantee that you already do some batching. You run by the pharmacy on your way to pick up the kids. You put in a load of laundry, get dinner going, open the mail and write out your grocery list before the garage door closed on your way in after work. But I want you to consider looking at your everyday schedule through the lenses of batching. Batching with intentionality can make a huge difference!

  • The key to batching successfully is to place items on your calendars at times that work best for you. That sounds obvious, but how many times do we “make a time work” even when it puts strain on our schedule. I know that I used to do it all the time. When you call to set up an appointment, take a minute or two to think about how you can batch it together with something else. Don’t accept the first appointment time they offer if it really does not work well for you. Think intentionally about how you can batch it with something else. You will be able to effectively batch items together when you work hard at accepting appointments at times that work best for you.
  • Batching also requires plan ahead. If we are living in “emergency mode” which is dealing with everything at the last minute when we “just gotta get it done”, it is very hard to batch intentionally. When we are in “emergency mode” we are willing to make appointments whenever THEY can fit us in. Appointments that are spread out all over your schedule can be a HUGE waste of time.
  • Batching helps with focus! Before I intentionally batched my schedule, I felt scattered. I was constantly having to start and stop what I was doing. Once I started batching items on my schedule I had time to focus on the task at hand. When the time would come for my batched appointments, I was off and running to get those all done one after another. I felt so much more clear minded!
  • We can find the same benefits in batching tasks at home and at work. Find the groove that works for you, but taking control of your time and schedule is key. If someone calls or walks into your office and wants something that is not essential at that moment, it is within your control to tell them that “I’m in the middle of something right now, can we talk in 30 minutes?” Constant interruptions take away our focus. Let’s take the control back! It’s also a good reminder that we do not have to drop everything when our kids or significant other asks something of us during the day. We love to help and serve others, but setting boundaries will help us to stay focused.

Batching is not an new concept in your life, but it is great habit worth revisiting. Always look at your calendar through the lenses of batching. Small changes in your calendar can make a big difference! Remember the  goal with batching is to free up time so that you can spend that time on what is most important to you. The goal is not to just fit more “stuff” in. We want to add more of what we love and remove the unnecessary clutter.

Make It Happen Action Step: Sometime this weekend, sit down with your calendar for the month of April and start to think about it in terms of batching. Place a post-it-note on your calendar as a reminder to batch, until it becomes a habit. Next time you set up an appointment, agree to a time that works best for YOU. At work, put a post-it-note somewhere to remind yourself to start to set boundaries with the people who “pop” into your office and want your immediate time and focus.

Here’s to making small changes in our calendars that will free up time for the things we LOVE!

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Dec 06

Add the Habit of Subtraction!

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple

We are in the midst of a very fun and festive time of year. It is a time to enjoy parties with co-workers and see family and friends that we don’t get to see every day. We get to go shopping to try to find just the right gift for the people we care about. Some very enjoyable things are added to our calendars this time of year, but one thing we rarely consider is subtraction.

Just recently, I spent time talking to an amazing women who’s schedule had become crazy busy. She had a family member who was dealing with some health issues, and therefore, was very dependent on her. She had to add many things to her schedule for a few months and she was starting to feel the stress. We talked about this idea of subtracting something during this time to alleviate some of the pressure she was feeling. When she gave herself permission to subtract, she felt immediate relief.

Life is always demanding more of us, wouldn’t you agree? It is rare that someone says to you “you have done so much, I want to give you a break from doing more.” That statement almost made me laugh out loud! No, the opposite is true. More than likely, if you have been successful in an area of your life, people are more than likely to ask you to do more, and more, and more, not less. While that is a nice complement to your hard work and abilities, there has to be a point where we stop adding. We all want to live a great life, and we have all been in that place where we were so busy that life was far from great.

I want to not only give you permission to start subtracting things out of your schedule, I want to tell you that it is right and healthy. Just as we accept more responsibility when asked, my heart for all of us is to get in the habit of saying “I have agreed to add, now what am I going to subtract?” It would be even better to get into the habit of subtracting before we commit to something new. To say to ourselves “In order for me to take on this new project, what will I need to subtract to allow myself to continue to live a great life?”

During the holidays we do not think twice about adding more, it’s the hustle and bustle of December right? Yes, it is. I encourage you to take a few minutes to look at your calendar and ask yourself where there are a few places you can subtract. Can you take off a half day from work? Can you postpone an evening meeting, giving yourself and everyone else involved a break? Can you block off a “snow day” one of your weekends allowing you and your family to have time together? Whatever it is, an amazing habit to add to your life is to learn how to subtract.

Here’s to trying our best to live a great life, adding amazing things, and subtracting the others!

Aug 09

Take A Break? Are You Kidding Me!?!

By Jen Regan | Keep It Simple , Prioritizing Yourself

You start your day and get dialed in to what you need to accomplish that day. Your “to-do” list expands faster than you can remove items from it and you have not even pulled out of the driveway. Whether you work inside your home or outside of your home, the demands on your time are never-ending. How could you even consider taking a few minutes to do nothing? To take a break?

One of my summer reads challenged me to start to take breaks in my day and in my life. The book Peak Performance by Brad Stulberg and Steve Magness shared sound evidence stating that I would actually come out ahead if I took a few short breaks in my day.

This is counter-intuitive to the way my mind works. I feel like I will get more done if I keep plugging away, with no stops. Okay, maybe a bathroom break every once in a while, but only when it is an emergency! Brad and Steve were very convincing in their argument and their research. Convincing enough to motivate me to give it a try. It unexpectedly turned into my own personal experiment.

I started by setting the alarm on my phone for a morning and afternoon break. Once the alarm went off, I would find a natural stopping point in my work and take a ten minute break. One thing I have learned, before I get too much farther, is the longer I wait to take my break after may alarm sounds, the more likely I am to keep working and forget my break entirely.

Once my alarm sounds I head to the back steps of our office building for my break. The recommendations of this break is to allow your mind to wander and relax, not strategize your work for the rest of your day. There has been evidence shown that going outside is beneficial, and walking or adding in some sort of movement, is great too. I have heard of individuals going up and down the staircases at their work. Wow, what great exercise that would be. Each one of us work in completely different environments, so we do the best with what we have. The key is to allow our minds to wander during this time.

Here is what my experiment has revealed. The days I take my morning and afternoon break, along with my lunch break, I feel less “brain fried” at the end of the day. No joke! I have found dramatic results. The days I forget to take my breaks, I drive home like a zombie. My brain is wasted. I find that when I take my breaks during the day, I can work well all the way until the end of the day. When I forget a break,  I start to slow down by the end of my work day. When I take my breaks, I feel better and have more energy left for my evenings.

I have to tell you that I did not expect these results when I start taking breaks. The results are unmistakable. Breaks make a HUGE difference. I work better and I have more left over at the end of the day.

Two ten minute breaks and a lunch break is what I challenge you to try. Don’t beat yourself up if you miss one, because I still forget one here and there. Give it a few weeks and pay attention to the difference it makes. I know, for me, this is a lifelong habit that I want to create.

Here’s to trying something new, creating a habit that is great for you and those you love!

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