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Category Archives: Git ‘Er Done

Truthy Tuesday: Two Types of Stuckness & Two Ways to Get Moving Again

Truthy Tuesday with Bettie Newell

{By Guest Maven, Bettie Newell}

Its late afternoon and all is silent except for the occasional creak and groan of this old house and the satisfied sighs of the chihuahua in my lap.

Every member of the family is off doing something and I’ve got a blissful hour to myself to write about getting unstuck. I’m doodling in my journal, thinking about how to get started on this post. Ironically, I am completely at a loss. I am totally, unmistakably stuck. I resist the urge to jump online and see what everyone else is up to, what others might have said about this topic. Instead, I scribble a few words, stare out the window longingly at the sunshine, then give up, grab my camera, and head outside for a little inspiration.

When Jen asked me to be a Guest Maven this month, I was excited. I’m in the middle of a year-long photo project to get unstuck creatively so I figured it would be easy to share my story. But I’m a visual person, almost always preferring images to words and I realized, as I sat in front of a blank piece of paper, that this was going to prove harder than I thought. A week later, and I still only had a few random thoughts written down. And it was another couple of days before it started to all come together. As I put the finishing touches on this article (more than two weeks after my first brainstorming session and mere hours before it is due), I can see that the process I went through to write it was a perfect metaphor for exploring how I get unstuck.

In my experience, there are two different types of stuckness.

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Five Faves: Free iphone Apps To Simplify Your Life

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We have a brand new feature this week! It’s our five faves! Each month we’ll share with you five of our favorite things to UP the AWESOME in your life.

This week we’re talking about our five favorite free iphone apps to simplify and organize your life.

(Ps: we say iphone cause that’s what we have, but the same apps are likely available for Android and other smartphones too!)

We used to swear by writing things down by hand and carried our phone, planner, notebook and to do list everywhere. Needless to say, it can get confusing remembering to bring them all to every appointment, or we’d forget our planner and write something down in our phone calendar only to forget that we wrote it there and miss something that we’d planned on doing. Sound familiar? It’s just too many places to put your information!

In today’s Maven Minutes, we’ll help you simplify it all with some really easy to use iphone apps that will get you back on track with organizing and simplifying your life!

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Maven Minutes :: Making Your Schedule Work For YOU!

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You know the drill, you have a to-do list, you’re running from thing to thing trying to get it all done, but have you considered restructuring your time so that it works better for you?

Are you tired of feeling like your schedule is controlling you? Well, that’s exactly what we’re discussing today: how to turn it around so YOU’RE in charge of how you spend your time.

In this Maven Minutes, we share four “P’s” of how to restructure your schedule to get you thinking about where there’s room for change.

If you feel harried and haggard by your day-to-day calendar, then this video is a MUST watch. We’ll get you back on track with what matters to you and help you feel more satisfied with how you’re spending your time.

Mavens, we believe that you deserve to have a schedule that fits your lifestyle! Now let’s get down to business, so you can make some tweaks to make your time your own:

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Maven Minutes- Rocking New Habits

Jena and Jen

Ever try to start a new habit only to realize that it’s not as easy as you thought it would be to begin a new routine?

Well, if you’re like us, you’ve experienced this at least a few times. Just remember, it’s not that routines are hard, per se, it’s that you need a plan to be successful.

We know how challenging it can be to get that routine cemented into habit, so in this Maven Minutes we outline the 6 “C’s” of how to start a new routine, so your next habit sticks!

We want you to be successful this year in your goals, resolutions or whatever you’ve decided to call ‘em. This video is really a tool to get you on your way to habit success. We believe in you, Mavens. Now, go get ‘em!
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Creating Space for What Matters Most

We can get so caught up in what’s right in front of us focusing on the clutter, the things that aren’t working. Not only is it hard to get things done in a space that’s not working for you, it can also create a cycle of stress and frustration that you don’t want to get stuck in.

When we can create a space that works for us both physically and mentally, we have more room to breathe, create and space to look up and take in the beauty that surrounds us everyday.

So here’s to creating a space that works for you! Check out our Maven Chat below for tips on clearing room for more awesome in your life!

What’s one thing you can do today to create some mental space? Or to make your physical space work better for you?

Let us know in the comments below, Mavens!

Guest Maven: Shelly Kerry on Space and our Creative Spirit

Of Lightbox SF

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It sneaks up on all of us. We work incredibly hard. We play hard. We try to balance all aspects of our lives and just in a few days our creative work spaces are covered in mail, clothes and other things that don’t belong.

Then we spend five to ten minutes looking for our proper tools, our keys or our favorite paintbrush. Up to 45 minutes a day can be spent looking for misplaced things. That is almost an hour that could have been spent creating something beautiful. We could have been napping. Or we could have just been doing something silly and fun. It is really frustrating but it happens to each and every one of us.

I think the first key to changing this pattern is to understand how the state of our space affects our creative spirit, productivity and our day to day happiness. The second step is to make a promise to ourselves to make the little changes that will make our lives easier.

It is easy to look at our disorganized space and get in that cycle of beating ourselves up. We say things like “I am so lazy. Look at this mess.” I want us all to promise to remember that there is nothing less productive than guilt and self criticism. Guilt is paralyzing. It wastes time. And more than likely your inner critic is telling big fat lies.

We all create physical messes for ourselves. There are some very extreme cases but the average person is only moderately messy. It’s totally normal. We all come home from work or a busy day and just toss things in the wrong place. This is the number one complaint from everyone I have helped with my program, Creating Space. My answer to this issue is there is nothing wrong with you. Clutter happens simply from a lack of daily maintenance and awareness, lack of organizational systems and from having too much stuff. So rule number one – tell the inner critic to hush and make a promise to make some changes.

Self-awareness is very important.

The other day I was sitting on my couch trying to write text for my new website. I had been suffering from a lack of motivation and overall ickiness for a couple of days and was struggling with wanting to write. I had been working a lot both inside and outside of my home office but still I couldn’t honestly say that the long hours were what were bringing me down. So I took my own advice and asked myself to look around the space in which I was working.

It is not hard to see everything from the couch in the middle of my fairly small studio and what I saw were one or two uncompleted creative projects, a stack of mail on my workbench, fresh laundry that had not been put away and several new pieces of art that needed to be hung. It was then that I realized my space itself was not conducive to getting any work done. The nervous energy I was feeling was from the mail and laundry I was avoiding. The awesome artwork I purchased was not being celebrated while hidden in the corner. And the fun projects I had started would spice up the white bare walls across from me.

I stopped trying to write, got up and sorted the mail, put away the clothes and hung the art. I felt so much better and I wrote one of my favorite posts to date. Try this the next time you feel creatively stuck while working in your space. Stop, look around the physical space and ask yourself if anything in this room at this time could be holding you back? Is it something that you can fix quickly and move on with your work?

After awareness and understanding how certain aspects of your space make you feel, set yourself up for daily maintenance.

Create the habit of sorting through your mail every day. Set up a filing cabinet where those annoying papers can be put immediately. Put your clothes away as soon as you take them off. Then set aside a few more minutes one day a week to double check tidiness. Someone once told me to never procrastinate completing a task if it take less than a minute to do. I increased my limit to 5 minutes a few weeks later, realizing how much time I saved in the future. Doesn’t sound like fun? Well, what if I told you if you cleaned your kitchen and bathroom for just five minutes every day you can avoid the bi-weekly all day Saturday cleans we all dreaded when we were kids. That alone motivates me! One big clean a month still only takes me 45 minutes.

Your workspace is very important. It deserves to be honored and cared for too. The best way to do this is to be aware of what you need from the space. Are you inspired by bright colors or soft pastels? Do you work best in a space with a lot of energy or do you prefer quiet? Do you love the idea of walls covered in inspirations or do you like minimalist design? Take the time to ask yourself these questions and create the space you want and need. Putting time and energy into designing an area that makes you happy will be greatly rewarded by more internal space for great new ideas.

Honor yourself by asking what you want from others.

If you share your space, set some guidelines for your partners and ask them to do the same. Whether it is your husband or wife, child or business partner or studio friends it is more than ok to define a space of your own. Even if it is a little corner of the living room, it will be all yours. Offer them the same respect by giving them their own area. Together you will be making one awesome, meaningful space where great ideas can come to light and where you all enjoy being.

Creating a productive space doesn’t have to be super challenging. Get to know what helps you to be successful and respect and honor that need. You’ll be developing a better relationship with both your space and creative spirit.

Shelly Kerry is the motivation and creativity side of Lightbox SF. As a jewelry designer she has spent many years testing and honing the skills and discipline needed to run your own creative business while still having time for friends, family and fun. She puts her wealth of experience to use in the Creating Space service – healthy living advice to help you make the most out of your already busy schedule and guide you in creating a productive and happy work space. She will help you find both the physical and emotional space so you can pursue your dreams and she’ll always insist there’s time for yourself. Shelly writes guest posts on living your best life on well-known blogs such as Kanelstrand, Handmade Success and Awfully Grand and is pursuing a Core Strengths coaching certificate through San Francisco State University.

Truthy Tuesday: Creating Space for Mo’ Mojo to Come in

The idea of “creating space” has so many implications and could be thought of in so many different ways. I love that, and we mean it in every different way, really- clearing both mental & physical clutter so that clear thoughts and actions can better come thru.

Jen talks about your body as your space in her Truthy Tuesday post today. And I also think of it in the sense of creating a space where you live, and work, that’s really conducive to whatever activity you wanna do in there.

So here are some things I do to “create space” in both my home and brainscape, so there’s more room for the good stuff to come in.

Separate and define your spaces

I recently learned how important this one is, especially if you work from home where it can be so easy to fall prey to distraction- it really helps to have an established work space where all you do is work, and relaxation spaces that are for chilling out alone. They could be in the same room even- sitting at the desk = work time, sitting in the comfy chair = curl up with a book time.

When those spaces all start to overlap though and the laptop comes in bed with you, and couch downtime becomes time to catch up with emails on your phone (I’m guilty of both), then your brain starts to feel like it just can’t quit. It makes it so much harder to relax when it really comes time to, because you’re so used to also working and thinking and concocting big ideas in those same spaces.

Create designated spaces for designated activities. Setting boundaries around your spaces will give your brain a trigger that when you lay in bed, it’s time to relax and get sleepy, not turn on. When you sit down on the couch to relax it’s time to veg and read magazines, not just another chance to catch up on emails. When you’re in your craft area it’s time to get wild and creative and not worry about how messy it gets. If you create the spaces you need and use them as such, it’ll make your days flow so much better!

A place for everything

I’m the type who can stand some clutter and piles (secret: I may even prefer it that way, it feels like I’m living and getting stuff done when there’s clutter around- weird, I know) But I think one reason I can function with a little mess is because I know it all has a place to go. I’ll take 15 min to clean up and there’s a place for every paper, doodad or whatsit- and if there’s not, I make one. And if I can’t find a good place for it, I question whether I need the thing at all!

If you bring it in, take it out

My mister and I shop at thrift stores almost every weekend- that’s where most of my wardrobe comes from, so I bring home new-to-me clothes and home goodies pretty often. But it starts to build up, and I only have a tiny closet and so much dresser space. And we have a garage full of stuff we no longer need to clear out. So we’ve made a new rule- every time we visit a thrift store just to shop, we bring a bag or box of stuff to giveaway at the same time. Feels awesome to get rid of what you don’t want and bring in what you do want on a regular basis- good habit to create, I think.

Inspiration stations

So I mentioned the need to create defined spaces up top- I think it’s also important to bring inspiration into those spaces to help set the mood, set the tone, create the energy you want in that space. In my office, I have the desk where I’m typing this up from now, where I get to gettin’. And above that is an inspiration board that has reminders of all my goals and where I want to go in life. It’s basically a reminder of why I’m working so hard and helps keep me motivated.

I also have a comfy ol’ chair in the window next to my desk, and that’s where I meditate, write, read books, draw a tarot card for the day, contemplate stuff- it’s so conducive to that and helps bring that relaxed energy into the whole room.

Having little “inspiration stations” to both stimulate the brain and help calm it can help you stay clear and focused on what matters most!

Smell the air

I love candles, incense, big ol’ smudge sticks of sage (so many of my hippie tendencies coming out in this post), especially during meditation or relaxation, as it’s another way to set up a mental cue- every time you smell that scent, your brain says, “Ah, time to relax now…” And I notice now, after lighting a certain incense every time I meditated for a few months, now the smell alone can help me transition into that focused, concentrated mood. It’s a focal point really, and can help clear and calm your mental space.

I think no matter what kind of space we’re talking about, it’s about making your space work for you in your life. Your mental space, your home space, the physical space you inhabit- you have the power to create them all, to really take control of the spaces you live in!

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Check out Jen’s post about your body as a space, and clearing out the “I Cants”.

Share your thoughts/tips/struggles around creating space on your blog too, and we’ll post a link right here for our readers to check out!

Gillian from Craftzilla Conquers the World shares her ideas of space & where she’s craving more of it

Kelly from Living Apockylypse shares her plan to claim more space in her Craft Cove

Courtney from The Chakra Glow shares her thoughts on creating emotional space and letting go

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What does “creating space” mean to you? Do you need to create more space in your life, or recreate your physical spaces? What are some of your inner or outer clutter clearing tips?

6 Tips to Get you One Step Closer to the Simple Life

Our lives can be so complicated and overwhelming, plugged in all the time. We know that a simpler life could be less stressful and chaotic, but how do you get there?

Cutting the clutter, simplifying our spaces and the way we think all can have a big impacts in helping us gain a semblance of order and head towards the direction of more balance in our lives.

So in today’s Maven Chat video, we share 6 quick steps that you can take today to add more simplicity to your life!

(We referenced inbox zero in this video, the system Jena has used before to escape e-mail hell, and will be putting to use again this weekend! :)

What’s one tip from this video you’re going to act on today? Or something else you can do to simplify your day?

Take action now, mavens! It’s the best time of all! And let us know if you do, we’d love to hear!

Guest Maven: Tammy Strobel on Simple Clutter Clearing Ideas

Of Rowdy Kittens

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“If we could just have the kitchen and a bedroom, that would be all that we’d need.” ~Julia Child

“Where is the lid to the coffee mug?” Logan asked.

I looked at Logan, shrugged my shoulders and said, “I don’t know. It was on the counter a few minutes ago. Let’s look for it.”

I pulled open the drawer where we keep our forks, knives, and other cooking utensils and found the lid on the top of the forks. I looked up at Logan with a surprised look on my face and he rolled his eyes.

For the last weeks, I’ve become a clutter busting machine. If something is out of place, like a coffee cup lid, I put it away immediately. And I’m starting to get on Logan’s nerves because I’m putting things away that he’s still using.

Last year we moved into a 128 square-foot house on wheels. It’s been nine months since we moved into the house and one of the things I’ve noticed is this: If I don’t pick up my stuff the house looks like a bomb went off. I don’t have a lot of stuff, but it’s still easy to create clutter piles with my limited belongings.

My Clutter Clearing Strategies 

Typically, when I get home I unload my bike bag, which contains my camera, computer, journal, wallet, iPod, and a plethora of power cords. I’m always tempted to leave my stuff on the counter and make a cup of tea instead of putting it away. Rather than procrastinating, I use a few simple strategies to keep clutter to a minimum.

First off, when I walk in the door I immediately put my stuff away. For example, shoes aren’t allowed to be worn in the tiny house, so they either stay on the porch or sit by the heater to dry off (it’s been raining lately). The same goes for my wet rain coat. I hang up my coat above the heater to dry and then it goes into the closet.

Also, each of my belongings has a designated home. I have a spot for my computer, power cords, cameras, and other odds and ends. Putting stuff away saves me time because I don’t spend 15 minutes looking for my keys or iPod every morning.

If I don’t follow these simple steps, I can’t seem to find what I need and it’s frustrating to constantly look for the same belongings over and over again. The trick is forming a ritual of picking stuff up and putting it away.

Tammy also recorded a short 2min audio hello to you Mavens with some additional thoughts on simplifying and how she was able to clear out her stuff starting small- take a listen!

Share your clutter clearing tips in the comments section- we’d love to hear!

Tammy Strobel is a writer and photographer. She is the author of “You Can Buy Happiness (and It’s Cheap): How One Woman Radically Simplified Her Life and How You Can Too” and self-published “Smalltopia.” She lives (in a tiny house) in Portland, Oregon. She writes regularly at rowdykittens.com.

Truthy Tuesday: Can you really live a simple life?

Do you crave more simplicity in your life? Me too. So, I’m going to try to make this post about simplicity, well, simple.

There are quite a few things in my life I’d like to simplify- my writing being one of them.

I want to get down to the nitty gritty. Hone in on what’s essential. Get rid of the extraneous.

I think that applies to simplifying anything in life- home, work, relationships- bring it down to the essentials, to what matters most. But, how?

I tend to get caught up in the minutiae. I see our cluttered garage filled with things we no longer want, use or need after downsizing from a 1200 sf house to a 667 sf one. All I can see are the details: the boxes we need to get rid of, the amount of stuff to give away, every item that needs a home on a shelf or to be organized in some way.

And then I envision all the details of the after version, dream garage: the pegboard wall for our tools and big work table for the Mr, bikes hung up, room for projects and a ping pong table and a wall of organization that goes for days.

And in focusing on all those details and every incremental step its going to take to get to the dream version, it starts to feel like an excruciating project, impossible to tackle. So, we just haven’t yet.

I think living a more simple life starts with placing focus on the big picture- the why behind your wanting to simplify and declutter (to feel happier, make things easier, feel more free) rather than the how. Because, when your why is compelling enough, the hows will start to fall in place.

At a time when I felt so overwhelmed and held down by my own mind gremlins, I started to crave a simpler relationship between me and my thoughts- it had all become so dang complicated. I wanted to feel more free from the negativity in my mind.

Once I came to that realization, it was a compelling enough why for me to take action on decluttering my own mental state. I’ve been dedicated to it since, thru meditation, stillness, self-care, reflection- the hows came once I found a why I really connected with.

So now I’m going to turn my attention to my writing. I want to simplify my writing, my message and how I communicate in general. Why? Because I want to be clear. I want to be heard. I want to be understood. And those are darn compelling reasons to act.

Then I’ll move onto my closets, my pile lined garage, the stacks of magazines beside my couch, the 667 emails in my inbox marked as unread. But to keep things simple, I’m going to start with just one step.

I’m starting here, with a simple post.

Cut down. Cut out. Get to the heart of it- in your closets, and life.

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Check out Jen’s post about seeking the simple life and her plan to get there.

Share your thoughts/tips/struggles around simplifying on your blog too, and we’ll post a link right here for our readers to check out!

READERS SAY:

Kelly from Living Apockylypse shares the 3 places where she wants to add more simplicity to her life, including her schedule!

Gillian from Craftzilla Conquers the World talks about wanting to simplify, starting with her brain!

What do you have to say? Feel free to join in, you Maven, you!

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Where are you craving more simplicity in your life? Why?? What’s one step you can take to start honing in on what’s essential?