Does Perfection Slow Down Accomplishment?

As I look at the early framework of my business plans for the 3rd quarter of the year, it looks exciting. When I look at the individual projects on that list and what it will take to get them done in a high quality way (perfection), I am overwhelmed! Am I crazy to think I can really do all of that and do it well, along with the rest of my life? Is accomplishment of all this possible?

Then the gift came. A Facebook friend and mentor posted a link to an article: “It’s Never Going to Be Perfect, So Just Get It Done” by Tim Herrera. I read it and feel more hopeful and confident that with this approach I can accomplish a great deal.

Of course, it’s one thing to read an article and quite another to incorporate what you read into daily thoughts and actions. This article provided some clear concepts that I can remember (probably assisted by posting them by my desk as reminders).

Tools That Move Us Forward

Herrera writes of the M.F.D. – Mostly Fine Decision which he describes as the “minimum outcome you’re willing to accept.” He notes that the approach assists us with making decisions and getting things done – and that people who practice this are generally more satisfied with their accomplishments.

Sounds appealing to me! However, how does that happen? Thankfully Herrara offers two strategies to help: the “magic of micro-progress” and “reframe how you think about things you have to do”:

“First, embrace the magic of micro-progress: Rather than looking at tasks, projects or decisions as items that must be completed, slice them into the smallest possible units of progress, then knock them out one at a time. …

“Second, reframe the way you think about the things you have to do. Focus far less on the end result, and far more on the process — this allows you to be aware of the progress you’re making, rather than obsessing over the end result of that progress.”

Although there’s still a thread of perfectionism in me, I am more and more convinced that this kind of approach is a good one. One verification of this came when I realized how quickly I consume articles, books, training, and other things. I am not looking for every detail to be exquisite – I want the main points, I want clarity, I want to be able to follow the thoughts and I want to be able to implement it if that is appropriate.

As I tack up the reminders (M.F.D., Micro-Progress, Focus on the Process More Than the End Result) near my desk, I note that this can work only if I have done the detailed planning first. I need to make sure I have goals broken down into projects into tasks, etc., for this to work. So I will tackle that first for my current top priorities.

I invite you to check out the entire article and see if the approach will work for you and your life!

 

I Celebrate Books for Opening Vistas

Reading Journal Cover

(Get your Reading Journal here: http://carolbrusegar.com/Reading Journal for Book Lovers)

I LOVE to read! Do you? Reading has always been a favorite pastime for me. As a child, I attended a rural one-room school and we had one large bookcase of books to read. What I remember best is reading each of the biographies – a series of books with orange covers. The stories of people in different situations and historical periods fascinated me. We also used the library in our nearby small town and I recall checking out books including Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, the Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and earlier the Flicka, Ricka and Dicka series. Do any of those ring a bell with you?

As I moved into high school and even more so in college and young adulthood, I read non-fiction almost exclusively. Books about current events, theology and history primarily. My interests went in those directions because I moved from living in small town/rural in southern Wisconsin into inner city communities in Chicago and Minneapolis – in the mid-1960s and beyond. With the great societal change occurring during those years, there was so much to learn about. My deep involvement in an inner city church and related social justice efforts led me to reading theology books. It wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that I began regularly reading fiction, especially historical fiction, along with an expanded variety of nonfiction books. I wish that I had written down what books I read over the years, but I didn’t. I do know that the reading I did shaped my understanding and the directions I went in my life in dramatic ways.

Have you kept lists? What kind of patterns, if any, do you see in your reading habits over the years? Can you see significance in those patterns?

Since finding Goodreads.com a few years ago, I have used it as an easy tool for recording the books I am reading. Using their Reading Challenge to set a goal for number of books I will read in a year has been both fun and motivating. Having access to reviews, ratings, suggestions a way to keep track of books I want to read is wonderful.

I still had a desire for a book in my hands where I can record other things. I wanted to identify books both that I have read and want to read by genre. And I wished to have in one volume notes, quotes and reflections on some books I especially value. This could be a reference and a treasure for me in the future.

So I designed a reading journal that met those criteria! If you see a value in such a tool and treasure, I invite you to check out my newly published Reading Journal – For Book Lovers Who Take Their Reading Seriously.
The link will take you to Amazon.com where you can read more and preview the journal.  It is a handy, portable 6″ x 9″ size.Reading Journal Cover

Happy Reading!!

How About a Midyear Check-in?

check inIf you are anything like me, you are amazed to realize that the midpoint of the year is upon us. It’s a great time to do a check-in with ourselves. It can be about personal goals and situations, family or groups in which you are involved, work, business or any other area of life. As the days, weeks and months seem to whiz past us – or we whiz through time on a roller coaster – a milestone like mid-point of the year can be a good reason to assess and refocus.

(If you are reading this at another point of the year, you will probably see that similar questions can be used at any point when you want to assess and regroup.)

I suggest a few simple questions to get started. Here they are:

What do you consider your accomplishments and high points of the first half of the year?
What attitudes, habits or practices helped those things happen?
What held you back from being at a different point at mid-year in each of the areas you are reviewing?
What needs to change so those things don’t hold you back in the second half of the year?
What are your major goals for the next six months? (or three months)
What do you need to do to make them happen?
What additional resources (of any kind) do you need?
When will you do your next check-in?

I am finding this very helpful. I am ending the first half of the year with a very productive last month. By actually writing down what contributed to that will help me build in things to maintain and accelerate my momentum. Identifying what held me back earlier in the year allows me to make sure those same things don’t sabotage me in the coming months.

Although it is easier to read through questions like this, think of some responses and move on, the impact will be so much greater if we write down answers. The resulting document can be kept where it is a visible reminder on those days and even weeks when life takes us off course.
May your second half of the year be enhanced by your thoughtful assessment and planning!

The link below will take you to a free PDF of the questions – a worksheet you can use for your check-in.

Midyear Check-in

Day Trips: Including Getaways and Mini-Vacations in Your Plans

car on highwayDay trips are often scheduled into a vacation week in a distant location – you spend one day at a location away from your primary base for the week. But day trips can be a year-round adventure right from our homes. We often have more time for them during summer when there aren’t as many regular activities scheduled on weekends. In fact, they can augment summer vacations, or even substitute for them when there are multiple people’s schedules to accommodate.

Strategically planned and scheduled day trips can provide many of the benefits of vacation: change of scenery, breaking the routine, exploring something totally new, trying out different foods or activities, and more. They also are more affordable than vacations that require greater transportation costs and hotel or motel stays.

Day trips provide a way to try out something new without committing too much time or money. For example, one person may be excited about a seven-day tour of Civil War monuments and battle fields that is available in a few months. Another person may have never visited anything of that kind and is very hesitant. A day trip to a nearby battle sight or cemetery would be a great way to assess if a seven-day tour would be enjoyable to both parties.

Regardless of your stage in life or family configuration, there are day trip options. In many cities and towns, churches, organizations for seniors, and other groups provide day trips for older people. They do all the planning and provide the bus or van transportation for a reasonable charge. It’s a great way to spend time with a friend or two and you can meet and even develop ongoing relationships with other people.

Research, Lists and Notes

Most people drive their own cars and make their own plans for each day trip. Have you ever had the impulse to get out of the house for the day (or an overnight) and then been at a loss as to what to do or where to go? You may have ended up just staying home being bored. What if you had a list of possible things to do at your fingertips from which you could choose a perfect activity or destination for that day?

Take some time to research types of day trips you would enjoy and create an ongoing list of specific destinations and activities. You can continually expand it as you discover more possibilities. This will make it much more likely that you will both take more spontaneous trips and schedule others in advance.

To get you started, here are some categories of places to go and things to do on a day trip:

Outdoor Activities and Exploration – scenic locations of all kinds, activities like fishing, horseback riding
Historic and Cultural Destinations – explore the history of your area
Museums, Zoos and Aquariums
Shopping – flea markets, antique malls, vineyards with winetasting, Amish or International Markets
Using Different Modes of Transportation – take a train ride, boat cruise, hot air balloon ride
Scheduled Events – sports, outdoor fairs, concerts

Having a designated notebook or planner to collect information and make plans can make it more likely that you will take more trips for relaxation, enjoyment and learning. It can also be fun to journal about your experiences

Perhaps you would be interested in my Planner & Journal for Day Trips: Getaways and Mini-Vacations which is available on Amazon.com as a 8×10” paperback.Cover of Planner & Journal

How About Bucket Lists for Summer?

Summer Bucket List
It’s summer!  Despite the view as we enter June that we have a long summer laying out before us, full of potential, we all know how quickly summer passes.  Before we realize it, it will time for school to resume and the regular schedule of activities with organizations in which we participate to be back in full swing. Don’t let the summer get away from you! I encourage you to consider create one or more Bucket Lists in your household that include things you really want to have done by the end of summer. You can have individual family members write lists and create a family list as well. These are the basis of making plans that will make this a great summer full of meaningful memories for all.

Although Bucket Lists are generally seen as a way to keep track of things we would like to do before the end of our lives and hopefully to move us toward actually doing them, they can be used for shorter time frames to help you prioritize what’s most important and make plans. Here’s a particular kind of Bucket List that I recommend: A 3-Part Bucket List.

A 3-part Bucket List includes:  1) “Things I Want to Learn About” 2) “Things I Want to Learn to Do” 3) “Things I Want to Do.” You may find some overlap between them; that’s okay.

The “learn about” list will probably have things about which you’ve been curious: the history of your town or neighborhood, your ancestors and family history, the newest knowledge about outer space, etc.

The “learn to do” list might include things like excel at new swimming strokes, type at a rate of at least 40 words per minute, write short stories, expand art techniques, play an instrument, take better photos, etc.

The “do” list can include simple things like “read one book per week”, “have a home vegetable garden”, explore at least one new area of town each month, etc.

Taking Next Steps

Of course, once all the lists are written – even if it’s only two – it is time to compare notes and discuss what is reasonable to accomplish in the limited weeks of the season. Perhaps that will mean each person prioritizing their own list and making plans to make sure at least those top items can happen.

Some items can likely be put on a list for another season, or even next summer. It can be a fine balance between desires and reasonable expectations, particularly as the number of people involved increases.

Make it your goal to end your list preparation, discussion and planning process with each person (as well as the whole group) having things to look forward to and confidence that they will happen.

Here’s a free 3-Part Bucket List for you to download, print and adapt for summer and get started. Happy Summer!!!

http://carolbrusegar.com/3-PartBucketList

 

Viewing Retirement – Is Fear of Boredom Keeping You on the Job?

Bored

A number of people who are close to or even past the typical age of retirement have said to me that they don’t know what they would do with their time if they retired. So they continue to work even if it is not satisfying in fear of that alternative of boredom, decline and lack of purpose. Some who do retire soon may find they are in that space – if they have not considered and planned for a satisfying, stimulating time of retirement.

In fact, the Federal Reserve published the results of a survey in 2016 which indicated that one-third of retirees eventually reconsider their decision and return to work either full time or part time. Also, the Rand Corporation study published in 2017 showed that 39 percent of those 65 and older who were currently employed had actually retired for a period of time and returned to the workplace.

Financial need can certainly be the reason or one of the reasons for this phenomenon. However, the decision for many people has as much to do with social and personal needs and issues aside from income. Gary Foster wrote about this in his article, “How to Avoid Being a ‘Bored Boomer’ in Retirement” on his website “Making Aging Work” and it was printed at NextAvenue.org: https://www.nextavenue.org/bored-boomer-in-retirement/

Foster suggests 3 things to help one avoid becoming a “bored boomer” in retirement: Unmuzzle Your ‘Essential Self’, Reintegrate Yourself, and Start a Lifestyle Business.

Reintegrate Rather Than Reinvent

One of the most intriguing things to me was Foster’s choice to recommend that boomers reintegrate rather than reinvent themselves. He credits the CEO of Encore.org Marc Freedman’s article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Dangerous Myth of Reinvention” for his choice:

He wrote: “Isn’t there something to be said for racking up decades of know-how and lessons, from failures as well as triumphs? Shouldn’t we aspire to build on that wisdom and understanding? After years studying social innovators in the second half of life — individuals who have done their greatest work after 50 —I’m convinced the most powerful pattern that emerges from their stories can be described as reintegration, not reinvention. These successful late-blooming entrepreneurs weave together accumulated knowledge with creativity, while balancing continuity with change, in crafting a new idea that’s almost always deeply rooted in earlier chapters and activities.”

It’s the difference between continuing, in most cases, doing work that you’ve been doing –  and creating something that draws from what you have observed and learned. For many people the process of figuring out what that will be is a process that will energize and excite them and inspire others to do the same.

Regardless of how close you may be to making a decision about retiring, you may find it a stimulating process to think about what you might do to reintegrate yourself for the next phase of your life.

Marc Freedman has written a few books; you may be interested in this one:   The Big Shift: Navigating the New Age Beyond Midlife

Are Seasonal Allergies Plaguing You?

sneezingSpring brings a lot of beauty into your life – you are able to enjoy the outdoors thanks to the warmer weather and get to enjoy all the new fresh flowers and produce. Unfortunately, with more time outdoors and new flower growth comes the unfortunate seasonal allergies for many people. If you suffer from spring allergies, you may have tried many over-the-counter products, even getting prescriptions from your doctor. There are also natural remedies that can help. Of course, we are all different and what works for one person doesn’t work for another. You may find something that works for you!

Use Raw Honey
Among the different natural remedies for seasonal allergies, using honey is one of the best options. The trick here is to go for raw honey, preferably local honey instead of what you find in the supermarket or health food store. If you have a farmer’s market near you, that is probably the best place to find local, raw honey. Honey can not only help you relieve your current allergy symptoms, but using it on a regular basis year-round can actually help you build up a tolerance to those pesky spring allergies.

Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Your diet may also need to change when you start experiencing allergy symptoms. Follow an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of foods like broccoli, ginger, avocado, chia seeds, beetroot, pineapples, and nuts. You want to avoid foods that tend to cause extra inflammation and might worsen seasonal allergy symptoms, including dairy, fried foods, corn oil, and processed foods. Sticking to a diet mostly of clean and fresh ingredients will make a big difference in how you feel.

Try Essential Oils
Essential oils can be very healing for you, with many of them being great for allergy symptoms. With the right oils, you can reduce your allergy symptoms, getting a break from the headaches, coughing, sneezing, and breathing issues. The best oils for springtime allergies are basil, peppermint, and eucalyptus. These have a fresh scent that is perfect for spring, just make sure you get the pure essential oils and not fragrance oils. You can use a diffuser when you are at home and explore other options for when you are not. Here’s a list of possibilities: https://oneessentialcommunity.com/25-ways-to-diffuse-essential-oils-without-a-diffuser/

Apple Cider Vinegar
If you have been reading about natural remedies, you have probably run across apple cider vinegar more than once. This seems to be a cure-all for everything from digestive issues to helping with heartburn. It also happens to be excellent when you have seasonal allergies. It is going to detox your lymphatic system and reduce mucus production, which helps with the coughing and sneezing from your spring allergies. It can be as simple as putting 2-3 tablespoons of organic apple cider vinegar into a glass of filtered water, adding local honey to taste, or your favorite juice. Drink this before each meal.

May you find a way to alleviate your spring allergies!!

Women’s History: a Window Into Our Past

Women's HistoryMarch is Women’s History Month – an encouragement to explore that vast and varied history of our gender. I recently found an article that opened up a window into the years when my mother was a young woman – early 1930s into the 1950s. It is entitled “How Marjorie Hillis Changed the Way the World Thought About Single Women With Her 1936 Book ‘Live Alone And Like It’” by Dr. Joanna Scutts. I have never heard of Marjorie Hills. Have you?

She published her first book in 1936 while working as an editor at Vogue Magazine in New York City. That book was titled Live Alone and Like It: A Guide for the Extra Woman.

Dr. Scutts describes the book in this way: “The book offered ‘old maids’ and ‘spinsters’ an enviable new identity. Instead of ‘extra women,’ surplus to society’s requirements, they could reinvent themselves as ‘Live-Aloners,’ defined by what they did, not what they lacked.” She spoke around the country on the topic and department stores did tie-in promotions.  It was quite the splash!  Ms. Hillis followed this book with others which reflected her life changes over the following 20 years. The article scans the societal changes during those years as well and how they impacted women’s lives and expectations.

The last paragraph of Dr. Scutts article is a statement for all of us to ponder:

Yet there is still something subversive in Hillis’s call for women to live exactly as they chose — to “be a Communist, be a stamp collector, or a Ladies’ Aid worker, if you must, but for heaven’s sake be something!” She was radical in her awareness that singleness was not just the happy, voluntary, temporary state of the young but that older women, widows, and divorcées had a right to their own pleasure and needed to defend it throughout their lives. Even today, it’s hard for a woman to declare that she has made her choice to live alone, and not have people assume it’s a fallback option, or denial, or just what she’s doing until she meets someone. There are still limited ways of talking about happiness, fulfillment, and a good life outside of the model of the nuclear family. As Marjorie Hillis preached, exercising the right to live your life as you choose is still a political act.

There is great value in knowing our history. It gives us perspective, appreciation, and a challenge to reflect on who we are and who we can be.
In addition to reading the article, you may be interested in Dr. Scutts 2017 book: The Extra Woman: How Marjorie Hillis Led a Generation of Women to Live Alone and Like It.

What are Elderberries and What Can They do for Me?


Elderberries for Health
Elderberries are one of the “hot” nutritional items these days. Perhaps you haven’t even heard of this plant until recently. I have great childhood memories of picking elderberries off roadside bushes in rural southern Wisconsin. The berries, after being painstakingly stripped off the stems were made into wonderful pies and jelly by my grandmother and mother. The bushes slowly disappeared as roads were widened and other factors affected them. I always loved the flavor and was thrilled to find the jelly at farmers’ markets in more recent years. I had no idea of the health benefits as I spread the delicacy on toast and biscuits!

Elderberries are seen as beneficial to health in many ways and are now cultivated widely. The focus of this article is on how elderberries boost immunity and can alleviate cold and flu symptoms.

Everyone wants more antioxidants in their body, and during flu and cold system this is especially important. Elderberry, like many other fruits and herbs, provides an exceptional amount of antioxidants. Antioxidants work to keep you from getting illnesses and fight off infections since they protect your cells from free radicals. These free radicals can do a lot of damage to your body, lowering your immune system, and making you susceptible to illness.

Elderberry also has vitamin C, which is another great way to raise your immunity and keep you from getting illnesses and chronic diseases. Elderberry has about the same amount of antioxidants as other berries, including goji berries, blackberries, and blueberries, also with a high amount of flavonoids. Additional immune-strengthening compounds also exist in elderberry, another great bonus.

Taking a dosage daily of one of the elderberry syrups or juices on the market can be a preventative measure during flu and cold season. If you feel symptoms coming on, up your intake of the handy medicinal elderberry syrup.

Research has shown that elderberry syrup works wonders for various symptoms related to these illnesses, including congestion and headaches from both the cold and flu, inflammation, and digestive issues as the result of the influenza (flu). You can try a little elderberry syrup alternating with traditional cold medicine, or try just the elderberry with other natural remedies for a day or two to see if you notice any changes.

I have found elderberry syrup quite effective in fighting off the first symptoms and diminishing the time of a cold if I wait too long to start taking elderberry syrup.

As always, consult your doctor before trying any natural remedies. With a flu, if you have a high fever or dehydration, get medical attention right away.

There is an incredible amount of information available for your perusal. In the meantime, I suggest a couple of products that I have tried and which have been helpful. (These are my affiliate links; as always, you never pay more to use them.)

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry Extract  –  Not as sweet as the syrup

Elderberry Lozenges

There are also dried elderberries available for you to use in teas and to make your own syrup, etc.

Dried Elderberries

 

WHAT WE LOVE – A free Kindle Book for you

What We LoveWHAT WE LOVE describes relationships with children, spouses, pets, nature, travel and more. Over 100 writers contributed to this great collection.

We are pleased to share the results with you in this book celebrating love: the inspirational essays, narratives and insights. The intention of this book is to empower and uplift you, too, to notice what’s around you that’s ready for love from you.

http://bit.ly/WhatWeLoveBook