Freedom From Busy Work

Busy Work

Lately, I have been thinking a great deal about busy work. It seems our lives are filled with it these days. You might even say we are consumed by it.

What do I mean by busy work? Let me start by what it is NOT. Busy work is not the repetitive things we do in life that are necessary or make our life better. For example, cleaning our home is not busy work because it is beneficial to our health to have a clean living space, not to mention the mental benefits of living in a comfortable, organized home.

Rather, busy work is comprised of the many thoughtless, meaningless activities that fill our lives and do not make our lives, or anyone else’s, better.  This would include mounds of paperwork that are sometimes required in our jobs (some of that is just ridiculous), the endless meetings our bosses require us to attend, moving piles of “stuff” around our house because we can’t make the decision to part with them, or the countless hours spent on social media. (Yes, I count count social media as busy work because we are using up valuable hours of our lives that we will never get back again.)

I realize that we sometimes have little or no control over the demands of our jobs, but we can definitely exert more power over our personal lives. And, actually, we control our working environment more than we think. Maybe you could make some suggests for streamlining tasks or other improvements (you are probably not the only one who hates all the paperwork and meetings). Or maybe it is time to pursue a different job or start your own business.

It is beneficial to loosely plan your schedule for the day, then examine it to see if you are using your time wisely. If not, find ways to cut out the meaningless activities that offer your life no added value. When doing this, be sure to think about ways to simplify tasks in the future in order to spend more quality time with family and friends.

My sister in law has undergone a metamorphosis that has allowed her to downsize her life in many ways. Her house is smaller than some apartments I have lived in. She made the decision to downsize to this degree because she wanted to spend more time with her children and grandchildren instead of cleaning, organizing, and maintaining her home. Incidentally, her smaller home also came with a smaller lawn, which she now pays someone else to maintain. She simplified her life, and she also gave a nice young man some paying work. It’s a win/win situation.

I, too, have been working on the journey to freedom from busy work. It can be easier said than done in practical daily life, but here are a few things I have done around my home that simplified things tremendously.

  • I bought this jewelry organizer that is so large it holds everything I own and also doubles as a pretty, full length mirror.

 

  • I added this jewelry organizer to my dresser for the things I wear most days so I never need to hunt for them.

 

  • I got some shoe organizers to get all of my shoes up off the floor of my closet.  Amazon no longer carries the ones I bought, but this shoe organizer looks good according to the reviews.

 

  • We installed wall to wall wire shelving in our pantry. This allowed for lots of light to filter through the shelves and also cut way down on how dusty the shelves could get.

 

  • We bought these bamboo trays and now use them in three of our kitchen drawers so we have stopped having to rummage for everything we needed.

 

  • We bought two magnetic knife strips from Harbor Freight (much cheaper than most on Amazon and designed for heavier objects). We installed one in our kitchen and also one over the range in our camper.

 

  • Last Christmas I ordered these organizing hooks for my car and put them in my own stocking. I use them for countless things including my purse. Just love them!

We are still working on ways to organize and simplify our home and our lives. I have found that as our children get older it gets much easier, but I believe it is a process that’s never really completed. Luckily, I really enjoy streamlining and organizing, so this is not a problem for me.

Remember that you are the captain of your ship and life is a journey that we only take once. Don’t allow the precious minutes of your life to be spent on meaningless tasks and busy work. Live your life intentionally instead of blindly being lead around by circumstances.

Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For  

American Perceptions and Lack of Happiness

Happiness

Americans have a perception problem. In fact, Americans have SO MANY perception problems that you are probably considering which one I mean.

So here it is: happiness.

It does not come with a new job, house, car or vacation. It also doesn’t come with having more stuff than your family/friends/neighbors. And it doesn’t matter how many reality shows or Instagram posts tell you so.

I could say that I was a bird 200 times a day, but that simply won’t make it true.

One of the strangest things about this is the news. Media outlets of all types seem to push this mentality with their attempt to grab our attention with headlines. Since when did this sort of thing become news? And lifestyle sections….don’t get me started. Who cares what dress someone wore to an awards ceremony when there are hurricanes and starving people on this planet?

We think we know what will bring us happiness. Most of us are wrong. Including me.

It is a perception thing.  All my life have been taught to achieve and acquire.  Now, don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with either of those things – as long as the pursuit of them doesn’t get in the way of being happy.

The recipe for a happy life (in my opinion) can be summed up with the following bits:

  1. Having friends & family I love and who love me
  2. Enjoying freedom in life to do what I love
  3. Being financially secure (out of debt & with savings) to sleep well at night
  4. Feeling as healthy as possible

Most of us would agree with the above list in theory, but I have found it can be difficult to implement in my life. There are two books that helped me to drastically change my perceptions about money and success. I love these books so much that I reread them often. I find these keep me grounded and my head clear.

Here they are: The Millionaire Next Door and The Millionaire Mind. I recommend reading the Millionaire Mind first. It contains more of the straight forward information. The Millionaire Mind builds on those concepts and give more statistical information. Both are incredibly interesting if you are into money, human behavior, or any combination of the two.

While these books deal mostly with money, each also touches on the other things that make life worth living. The millionaires are not always who you think they are. They are usually hiding in plain site. This book proves it.

People want to take control of their finances and their lives again. This is a good place to start. I found that when I switched over to a saving mentality instead of a spending mentality, that was the biggest step. Everything after that was easier. And I have never found a better tool to motivate me to change gears more than these two books.  It’s difficult to dispute the numbers when they are right in front of you.

This worked for me. It will work for you.

More happiness is right around the corner waiting for you. Today is a great day to go after it.

“Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For”  

Angela Christian PopeAngela Christian Pope is a teacher, author and creator of Happiosity.org. Check out more on Twitter and Facebook.

Are We Too Politically Correct? (a.k.a. Where’s the Duct Tape When You Need It?)

are we too politically correctI realize this question is a hot button, but hear me out.

Many things have contributed to the mess we have today such as politics, the media, popular culture, the internet, changing demographics, and a general shift in society, just to name a few.  However, I believe the biggest culprit is social media. Everyone seems to have an opinion on wheat everyone else is saying or doing. People criticize the thoughts and actions of complete strangers.

Then others applaud them for doing so.

People will say things on social media that they would never say to someone’s face. I have seen some celebrities crucified for some off the most mundane things. I’m talking about things like what they wore and what they fed their children. How is that anyone else’s business? Would those people like for someone to come to their homes and tell them what to wear and what to feed their children?

It just doesn’t make sense.

We are obviously to involved in the intimate details of others people’s lives.

I believe that a great deal of the problem is that children are no longer raised with basic manners. Shows like Bad Girls (and other reality shows) glamorize bad behavior and promote the idea that being selfish and mean will bring big rewards in life. This has become so prevalent in our culture that it is the new “normal” for societal behavior. And all it does is make those production companies rich and break down our society.

Then the media often picks up on the story and slams the person even further. This is also done for ratings to make them money. The media should be there to inform us of what’s going on, not to take sides, and certainly not to make news where there really is none. Some media outlets are shameless in the stories they report as “news”.

So really, we are giving

This is supposedly the land of the free, but more and more it is becoming the land of the censored since no one is allowed to share anything or have an opinion about anything without being publicly attacked.

It sometimes make you wonder why people want to be on social media at all, and many of us actually don’t. According to Marketing Dive, 34 percent of Gen Zers are leaving social media permanently. I don’t see how that could be a bad thing.

Am I saying that all social media is bad? Not at all. But I think people can easily get carried away in a tidal wave ill will without realizing they are part of the problem, not the solution.

So lets make a pact to only say positive things and act in positive ways from now until the end of the year. Hopefully, it will become a new, wonderful habit.

The old saying, “If you can’t say something good, don’t say anything at all” still stands. We should all embrace it.

 

You Are What You Desire

You Are What You Desire

Desire is a strong emotion that can pull at us mentally, emotionally – even physically. As living, breathing creatures we are often at the mercy of our wants and needs, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

In our hyper connected society we are often spoon fed the things we should want or need in order to be happy, productive individuals in this world.  A curious thing happens when you follow the crowd and allow yourself to be tricked into believing the advertisers and corporations. You become more and more unhappy each day.

The sheer act of trying to keep up with everyone around you is exhausting. And it’s not just the stuff you must accumulate to keep up. Now you must also have meaningful, Instagram worthy experiences to feel normal. You are judged by the vacations you take, the concerts you attend, the innovative couple weekends you contrive – it is never ending.

One of the best things I have ever done was sit down and make a list of the things I truly desired in my life. Then I worked toward the things in life that would bring those desires to me the quickest.  Here are a few of the things on my list:

  1. Have happy, healthy, well-adjusted children
  2. Be financially comfortable
  3. Have fewer responsibilities
  4. Take more family vacations that are simple and relaxing

I took specific steps for each desire and felt energized because my time and efforts were being laser focused on the desired outcome.

When I looked at the list I made I realized the person who achieves those desires is a happy, calm person – and isn’t that what we all crave?

All the material things and accomplishments we all chase are trying to achieve that perceived happiness at the end, right? Why not take a shortcut on the road to happiness and pursue the quickest route to true joy?

Our desires define us, whether we like it or not. Do we want to be people who chase materialism or meaningful things in life?

You are what you desire.

Crystal Deodorant Review

crystal deodorant review

Lately, I have become more serious about finding healthier products for my body.  Over the past few years the variety and quality of the offerings have definitely improved. For the past two weeks I have been using Crystal Deodorant in Vanilla Jasmine scent (invisible solid).

I had been using Green Tidings Deodorant (Unscented) just before that, and I thought it worked okay. I did feel like I got slightly smelly a couple of times, but that might have been in my head since it was one of my first attempts at using natural deodorant. My main issue with it was the consistency. If I swiped it on, then went on very thick and sometime left globs under my arms. I learned to slightly swipe it, then dab it around to cover the whole area. Since it is a beige colored pasty consistency, it was easy to apply too much. I frequently had to dab my underarms with a tissue to remove the excess. With that being said, the stick didn’t last as long as I expected. Having to remove the excess felt wasteful since this deodorant was not cheap to begin with. See the complete review here.

Crystal deodorant is a little different. It is made from mineral salts, is a solid, and it glides on smoothly. I have found that three side by side swipes under each arm does the trick. I get an evenly applied film of deodorant on each side. So far, none of it has noticeably streaked any of my shirts. And best of all, I have not smelled bad one time yet.

Here are the ingredients:

Propanediol, Water Aqua, Polyglyceryl-10 Caprylate Caprate, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexlglycerin, Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Hydroxide, Citric Acid, Hydroxycitronellal, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Extract, Mimosa Tenuiflora Leaf Extract, Viola Odorata Flower Leaf Extract, Nelumbo Nucifera (Lotus Blossom), Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Fragrance (parfum)

It also comes in many scents: Freshly Minted, Mountain Fresh, Chamomile & Green Tea, Lavender & White Tea, Pomegranate, Vanilla Jasmine, and unscented. It also comes in various forms of application such as mineral enriched, roll on, mineral stick + stone, spray and invisible solid stick.

But this is where I must put in my disclaimer. I live in the South. It get REALLY hot and humid here, and at the moment we are at the end of April. With our unpredictable weather, we already have had several days when the temps reached 80 degrees or above, but that is nothing compared to what’s coming in July and August.

I will need to test this deodorant further into the summer months before I can make a final decision on it, but for right now I love it!

See complete information for Crystal Deodorant here.