Could you use some help being more productive?

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Sometimes I’m amazed at how distracted I can get.

Even two years after reading Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (my favorite book of 2015), I still tend to have too many plates spinning in the air.

Michael Hyatt's free Personal Productivity Assessment

I’ve learned to say no to a lot of things. In fact, I’ve used my tip sheet “8 Tips for Saying No Graciously” as my subscriber freebie for the past couple of years because I want you to understand the importance of saying NO to the nonessentials and YES to what moves the needle in finding your purpose and living it out.

If you’ve hung around To Well With You (or me personally) for any length of time, you know that I follow Michael Hyatt and have learned a lot from him. He bills himself as “your virtual mentor,” and that really fits. His courses, books, podcasts, blog posts and other resources have taught me so much – it’s like a college major! In fact, he’s where I first heard about the book Essentialism.

Despite learning the importance of saying no, I still need occasional reminders to focus on what’s important. (I’m a WIP – a work in progress!) And I strive to pass along what I’ve learned and provide tools to help you do that, too.

PRODUCTIVITY ASSESSMENT

Michael Hyatt has created a Personal Productivity Assessment that takes just a couple of minutes to click through.

He created the short quiz to give you (and me) clarity in nine areas of your life, identify the areas that need improvement and help you get to the next level.

Take the assessment by clicking here, then come back and tell me how you did and what NEXT STEP you’re going to take to move the needle in the area(s) you need to focus on.

Wanna know how I came out in the productivity quiz?

Visit the To Well With You Facebook page, where I’ll start a conversation and share my results.

Also, please SHARE this post with a friend and invite her/him to take the short assessment and join the conversation. Remember, it’s FREE. 🙂 

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Tips for clearing clutter and being more productive

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How well did you do on your homework assignment last week?

What? You forgot all about it?

OK, refresher: We talked about creating margin. Your assignment was to take 10 minutes (plus a few seconds) to pause, breathe and think about how you could create some space in your schedule … in your head … to cut back on the crazy. And then write it down.

If you didn’t do the assignment, here’s your second chance. Go on; we’ll wait.

The next thing is a bit different but still gets us toward our goal.

Your goal may not be exactly what mine is, but maybe they will align, because my ultimate goal is this:

To help you live to your fullest potential, to figure out your purpose (if you don’t know it already) and to live the life that God intended when He created you. Your life has meaning, and He does have a purpose and a plan for you. And when you figure that out (and live it out), it brings Him glory.

I can’t tell you what your exact purpose is, but I’m here to help you figure it out.

And let me repeat this, in case you skimmed past it:

YOUR LIFE HAS MEANING.

It has meaning, but sometimes we’re too distracted by stuff to remember that.

So we need to do something about it.

Today’s assignment is to establish a time each day – just 10 minutes – that you can do something productive. Ten minutes, people. You can do it.

Maybe your inbox is bursting at the seams. Maybe your desk is piled with crap*. Do you need to make a couple of quick phone calls? Is there moldy food in the fridge? Do you have a gazillion photos on your phone that are gobbling space and slowing things down (and maybe causing you to pay for extra storage)? Is the countertop in the bathroom so cluttered it stresses you out every morning?

So that you won’t think I can’t feel your pain, here’s the right half of my bathroom counter:

declutter
Don’t tell my Mary Kay director I have a L’Oreal lipstick (it’s so hard to find a good red!) And where the heck did that Superball come from?

Yes, it stresses me out, and decrapifying it is on my to-do list.

What do YOU need to decrapify this weekend?

Homework assignment: Spend 10 minutes decluttering, organizing, purging or in some other way tackling something that has been on your to-do list for too long.

Go ahead. Put down the internet and do it now.

After 10 minutes, stop, even if you’re not finished. That’s enough for now. (Besides, I want you to finish reading this post.)

Now pause for a moment: Doesn’t that 10 minutes of productivity feel GOOD?

That’s what I call a baby step. And if you’ll do that every day for the next week, you’ll be well on the road to establishing a habit.

You’re in the habit of checking Facebook, watching TV or playing [insert addictive phone-app game] for well over 10 minutes a day, no?

So consider this Step 1 toward PRODUCTIVITY.

Next: Post a victory comment and/or share a productivity tip or resource of your own (a few of mine are below), then share this post with a friend who needs to decrapify something and spend a few moments being GRATEFUL that you have more than enough to be happy.

*DISCLAIMER: My mother did not teach me to use the word crap or any variation. In fact, she maintains that if I say “crap,” I might as well use the S word. (She has a point, so pardon my French.)

Resources for decrapifying your life:

Now, go have an awesome and productive week!

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Does your life have margin? (And what the heck is margin?)

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I’ve been reading about margin the past couple of years.

Anyone who follows Michael Hyatt will read about margin of some sort (and anyone who follows me will hear about Michael Hyatt occasionally). Michael’s a big advocate of creating space in your life for what truly matters, and I’ve been getting increasingly on board with that concept. You’ll see it sprinkled throughout To Well With You because it’s such an important theme here.

Two years ago, Michael had Greg McKeown as a guest on his podcast. Mr. McKeown (pronounced muh-kyoo-un) wrote my favorite book of 2015, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. If you’ve been around me much – online or in person – you’ve heard me mention it several times. I tell everyone they should read it. (I’m annoying that way.)

In the disciplined pursuit of less, I’ve:

  • Learned to say NO to almost everything. (Jury’s still out on how well I’m doing there … it’s a journey, not a destination.) I wrote about the N word a couple of years ago. In fact, when you subscribe to this blog, you get a free PDF called “8 tips for saying no graciously.” I’m helping you practice what I preach!
  • Worked on getting my husband to say no more often (not to me, of course! 🙂 ).
  • Become single-minded in my pursuit of getting organized – in my office space, my home, my brain. Bruce is coming along on that journey with me, albeit a little less single-mindedly. 🙂  I’m creating more space for doing what’s truly important … essentialism.

This has been a fun(ish) journey, because a lot of it plays along with my natural bent toward “being organized.” I’ve been astounded, though, at how out-of-whack things have gotten. (It’s embarrassing, actually.)

So I figured it was time to get serious about it. I’m dedicating the entire year (if it takes that long) to making the spaces in my home, head and heart free of distracting clutter. Once I have more structured systems in place, I won’t spend half my time looking for items, stepping over things and being COMPLETELY STRESSED OUT about stuff whose main purpose is to serve me, not have me serve it!

https://momismore.com/SO … WHAT IS YOUR FORM OF LIFE CLUTTER?

I started To Well With You as a way to help others live their best lives, and sometimes that means being brutally honest about where I fall short.

I want this to be a safe place for you to come clean about what you need to work on, too.

Right now, I want you to pause long enough to be honest with yourself (and post a comment about it if you’re brave enough!). If you have enough margin in your life for what’s really, truly important, stop reading now. Go on, hop on over to Pinterest or Facebook and waste a couple of hours reading about cupcakes in a jar or commenting on your friends’ perfect children.

If not …

Here’s your homework assignment. It will take 10 minutes and 10 seconds (maybe longer if you have to spend extra time looking for a sticky note 🙂 ).

  1. Sit still and relax for five minutes. Just 5 stinkin’ minutes – you can do that. Close your eyes if you want to. Do nothing but RELAX YOUR MIND and BREATHE. Next …
  2. Spend five minutes thinking about ONE area of your life where you need to create margin. Do you need to declutter a physical space, take a couple of extracurricular activities off your schedule, stop watching so much TV so you can spend more time with your family, pause to write in a journal? You decide.
  3. Write it down (10 seconds). Also feel free to share it in the comments here or on the Facebook page. Here’s an example from my list of 2017 goals:


Next week we’re going to talk about ONE AREA you’ve decided to work on, and I’m going to talk about 10-minute microbursts of productivity. I’ll also tell you about the book I’m reading and share some other resources.

We have only so much time to live our best lives. Do you want to spend your years running around in stress mode every day, or do you want to get intentional about making a difference in the lives of your loved ones and others around you?

It’s up to you, my friend. Time to decide.

 

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Want to make meaningful changes in 2017?

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I wrote this to my email subscribers this morning before I left for work, and I thought I should share it here, too. (In fact, I thought it was so important that I just couldn’t go to work without pausing to write it. I was almost late, y’all!If you want to be sure you don’t miss any important announcements (or blog posts), please subscribe by filling out your name and email address in the “Subscribe to” box. (On a computer, it’s at the top right; on mobile, it’s probably below this post.)

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Just a quick heads-up this morning, my friends.

We’ve been talking about goals for the past few weeks, right?

OK, I’ve been talking about goals, and you’ve been listening.

You’ve been listening, right?

So here’s the deal.

Michael Hyatt’s course “5 Days to Your Best Year Ever” is the best way I’ve found to set goals and actually achieve them.

The course, available now, is something you want to consider if you’ve ever wanted to make a MEANINGFUL change in how you go about living your life.

It’s an online course that takes just 5 days to complete (yes, only five 45-minute sessions). It includes videos and a downloadable workbook and action plan to guide you.

If you’re still not convinced that Michael Hyatt totally rocks the goal setting (and achieving) arena, sign up for one of his FREE webinars. It will be worth your time – I promise. Or listen to this special edition of his podcast where Michael and COO Megan Hyatt Miller (his daughter) discuss The Top 10 Mistakes Derailing Your Goals.

I have to be honest here: I did some serious soul searching about sending this email.

Why? If you buy Michael’s “Best Year Ever” course, I get a commission.

So I felt like it would be 100 percent selfish of me to tell you about it and persuade you to sign up. I literally lost sleep over it last night.

Then I had another chat with myself. If I kept this information to myself, then I truly would be 100 percent selfish. (And I should have sent this email 2 days ago, when the course first opened.)

Yes, the course will cost you some bucks (but there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee). And, yes, I’ll profit from that.

BUT … my goal with To Well With You, in starting the website last year, in getting a coaching certification (two, actually), is to help you craft the life that God intended for you to live.

To live your life with MEANING, PURPOSE and DIRECTION.

Jesus is my compass. Yours may be something else. But God created you with a plan and a purpose.

If your life is a mess, even just a little bit, it’s time to get some clarity and start sorting it out. Set some goals (notice I didn’t say New Year’s resolutions).

Take the course (EARLY-BIRD PRICING ENDS TONIGHT) … or at least start with the free webinar.

We’re all in this together, my friends.

As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats.

Let’s lift each other up.

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What is your ‘life score’?

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michael-hyatt-quote-progress-only-starts-when-you-get-clear-on-where-you-are-right-nowDo you sometimes have trouble seeing the forest for the trees?

I seem to be in that state of mind a lot more often than I’d like.

I’ve set many goals over the years (physical, spiritual, financial, business and otherwise), but sometimes I get so caught up in the overwhelm of life that I have trouble moving forward.

Sometimes I need help to gain clarity on where I stand so I can get to where I want to go.

Most of life is a journey, not a destination, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t set goals, work toward outcomes and assess our progress along the way. (That’s the journey.)

Progress, not perfection, is a phrase I’ve had to cling to when I catch myself falling back into my perfectionistic tendencies.

For nearly two years, Michael Hyatt, his team and their resources have helped me have more clarity as I work toward a more effective, confident version of myself. (I want to use my own little corner of the internet – here at To Well With You – to help you on the journey toward being the person God intends for you to be, as well.)

As Michael says, “What you don’t measure, you can’t improve.”

If you’re not already in the habit of assessing where you are, Michael’s free LifeScore Assessment will help you get started. It’s a measure of 10 interconnected areas of your life.

I just took the assessment and scored 70.

This simple tool, where I was asked to rank myself on a scale of 1-4 in 10 categories, pointed out areas where I’m doing great and areas I might need to put some more thought and time into developing (such as physical health and finances).

The results were very encouraging, because they gave me a base from which to work.

I’d love it if you’d take this quick assessment and share your results and any thoughts with me (either in the comment section of this post, or in private by emailing me).

If you’re honest with your self-assessment, you might just be pleasantly surprised at where you are, or maybe you’ll decide to reach out for more tools (accountability buddy, perhaps?) to nudge you toward making some needed changes.

We’re just four weeks (FOUR WEEKS!) from a new year, a time when many people like to start fresh and move with greater focus toward self-improvement.

Personally, I look forward to 2017 as a year to #focus and #bebrave.

What are you looking forward to in 2017 – or for the next four weeks? If you need some ideas, take the assessment and share your thoughts.

And, as always,

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3 tools to help you find your purpose

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hamlet quotes shakespeareWelcome to a new week! It’s been a challenging one in my family and circle of loved ones – including an epic ER visit (nine hours), multiple illnesses, physical therapy and two funerals – but we have survived and it’s a brand new day.

Before our ER visit with Mom, I had started writing a post with the famous Nietzsche quote “That which does not kill us makes us stronger,” but I decided to move in a different direction with today’s post. (I’ll still get to that one – because I truly believe adversity makes us stronger and allows us to help others through what we’ve learned – but not today.)

Last week we talked about apps that help us find margin in our lives. This week I’d like to share some less-tangible (but arguably more important) applications to move us along on the journey to well-being. These are things that are going to require you to think about what you want out of life, so warm up your brain.

The first one is a book, and I’ve talked about it before, but it bears repeating because it’s the best nonfiction book I read in 2015. Then a short video from a pastor with a different perspective on volunteering. And, third, a post from my favorite “virtual mentor,” Michael Hyatt, whom I’ve written about before.

Here are your three thought-provoking applications for this week:

essentialism_cover

  • Boil everything down to essential vs. nonessential. I’ve mentioned a particular book several times on my two blogs: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (the best nonfiction book I read in 2015). I learned of Mr. McKeown on Michael Hyatt’s podcast, then I bought his book and devoured it. He gives a formula for how he decides what’s essential and what isn’t in his own life. I also wrote a post called “The art of saying no” (on my other blog), which wasn’t a direct result of the book but has the same goal: margin. Subscribers to To Well With You get the free PDF “8 tips for saying no graciously” as my thank you gift. (That PDF is a modified version of the one that accompanies my “saying no” post.)

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As you serve Him, you’re likely to find the greatest work God is doing is not through you, but it’s in you.” – Cory Lebovitz

  • Why is volunteering important, and what is its purpose in a Christian’s life? A pastor named Cory Lebovitz. followed me on Twitter last month, and I followed him back after viewing his recent Tweets and his website (I don’t follow back without checking out someone’s posts). Today I viewed his 3-minute video on volunteering, and it made me stop and think about why I volunteer and what it means. I hope this gives you something to ponder.

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Few things in life are more rewarding than marketable work fueled by passion and competence.” – Michael Hyatt

  • How to find satisfaction in your work. Pastor Cory’s video addresses volunteer work, and Michael Hyatt’s post is about finding meaning and fulfillment in the paid work you do. I’ve followed Michael for about a year and a half, and I’m so grateful to my friend Rusty for recommending that I check out his site. Michael has resources, wisdom and insight on so many topics, and I find myself seeking info from him on the regular. I subscribe to his blog and his podcast, I’ve read some of his books (still making my way through the list) and I’ve taken a few of his online courses. (More on that in a future post.) This week, you need to read his post on “The 3 Components of Job Satisfaction.” He has a podcast episode on this topic, too, and it goes into more depth than the blog post. It’s called “How to Discern Your Calling.” (It’s 36 minutes long.)

Your turn: Which of these three areas do you need to work on this week? Share with us in the comments, then schedule some dedicated time to think about it, even if it’s for just 15 minutes.

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Time to get organized – let’s do it together

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Time to get organized – let's do it together
This gives me the illusion of being organized. The blank grid in the No. 1 position means I finished something!

I used to think I was organized.

People would say to me things like, “You’re so organized.”

Proof, right?

Ha!

That was before I was juggling a full-time job, two blogs, freelance work, several social media accounts, two dogs, a husband with a chronic illness (and recent surgery for a fractured collarbone – no relation to the illness), laundry, dishes, lawn mowing, household repairs, budget maintenance (ha!), piles of paper, digital to-do lists, electronic calendars …

OK, OK, you get it.

You get it, because your list is as long as mine, if not longer. (And, trust me, that paragraph contains just a fraction of the balls I’m juggling these days.)

But pretending to be organized, and giving others the impression I’m organized, is not the same thing as actually being organized.

WHY DOES IT MATTER?

What’s the purpose of “being organized,” anyway? For me, as I assume is the case for you, it’s so that I can have a bit of “margin” in my life.

Margin. Space between all the obligations, commitments, buzzers, alarms, demands, dog barks, appointments, meetings …

Margin allows us to spend more time with loved ones, relax once in a while, have a measure of control over our schedules.

So … it’s time to do something about it.

To get serious.

I’ve been researching productivity and timesaving tools this year. I’m really good at research. (If you call reading and half-hearted implementation good.)

So I’m going to start testing – in earnest – some of those tools, tips, tricks and time-honored habits.

For each one of the things I’ve downloaded already, I’m going to keep using it (more regularly, in a lot of cases) until I’m convinced it’s either a thumbs-up or a thumbs-down. And I’ll share with you the results – the good, the bad and the ugly.

I’ll do the detective work for you.

I may download more tools, but not until I’m convinced that what I already have isn’t going to work well and get me (and you) farther down the road to margin.

If you’d like to join me on this journey, subscribe (see box at upper right if you’re on a computer and at the bottom of the page if you’re on a mobile device) and you’ll get to help me decide what works and what doesn’t. We’ll figure it out together. Subscribers not only get a notification every time I post here, they get content that I don’t always include on the blog. (Private tips via email.) That may be just a quick heads-up about something I’ve learned that week or a timely notification about something that’s coming up.

WHAT ALREADY WORKS

I already have a few tools I use, love, and love recommending. Here are three you should check out:

  • For keeping track of practically everything: Evernote. It allows you to dump everything in and forget about it, because there are so many ways to find it later. (The beauty of Evernote is in its tagging system.) I keep all kinds of notes in it: articles saved from the internet, to-do lists, shopping lists, blog ideas, freelance tips … I even created my own calendar from scratch when I couldn’t find an acceptable calendar tool to integrate into other apps and sync across all my devices. Jury’s still out on my calendar, and we’ll explore that later, but here’s a screen shot of the rudimentary one I made a few weeks ago (I didn’t make links from any of the calendar items, but you can totally do that – make a link from a piece of text in Evernote to another item saved in Evernote, sort of like creating your own index). The free version is awesome, but the paid versions have features such as sharing. I created a shared notebook in my premium version with a shopping/to-do list that my husband can access (and edit) in his free account. Sweet! Free for Basic, plus three paid tiers – Plus, Premium and Business – that you can pay for monthly or annually.

organized productivity apps

  • For tracking habits you want to establish (or break): the Way of Life app. It’s the best habit tracker I’ve tried, and it’s easy to keep it up to date. It’s customizable (you get three habits, or “journals,” in the free version and unlimited in the paid version). In the screen shot below, you can see that I didn’t do yoga or strength training on any of the seven days pictured; I shredded junk mail every day except Tuesday (Tuesday is in red for No, and the other days are green for Yes); I ran only one 🙁 of my intended five days that week (the two light gray days are when I didn’t intend to run, so they don’t count as No – they count as Skipped); and I flossed five out of seven days. My longest streak is in flossing, and on those streaks I get a sweet little celebratory sound and a dot in the middle of the day tracked. (A few weeks ago, I told my hygienist I had flossed more in the previous month than I ever had. She was impressed and wanted to know more about the app!) Free for three journals, $4.99 for unlimited.

wayoflifescreenshot

  • For drowning out distracting sounds: the White Noise app. I’m an extremely light sleeper. My dad once commented to my mom, “She could hear a mouse pee on a cotton ball.” Noise-canceling devices have been my friends since my first job out of college: at a daily newspaper at which I worked until 2 a.m., I never – and I mean never – got enough sleep during those newspaper years. (Did I mention I’m also a “morning person”?) With that first job, I bought a floor fan and kept it turned on the highest setting next to my bed. Eventually I bought a little fan to take with me when I travel. I had a good one until a couple of years ago, when it wore out and I got one that is the wimpiest excuse for white noise that I’ve ever (not) heard. So when Michael Hyatt gave me the idea for White Noise (he’s also where I got the idea for Way of Life, and he’s an Evernote fanatic), I jumped on it. I use White Noise when I travel, instead of having to pack a fan in my luggage, and also when I’m at home trying to concentrate and there’s some distraction (such as two barking dogs or Bruce eating crunchy food 🙂 ). White Noise is a lifesaver, my friends. Free, with upgrades that I don’t use or know much about.

whitenoisescreenshot

Now it’s your turn. Please answer one or both of these questions:

1) Have you found a tool, tip, app or habit that makes your life better, even just a little bit? If so, please share it with the rest of us in the comments. We want to know! 2) Do you have a problem or dilemma that an app or a life hack – or maybe just a little info – could solve? Tell us what it is, and I’ll do the detective work to help you solve it.

NEXT UP: I have more tips for saving time, being more productive and having a better life (margin) – and one or two of them may surprise you.

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Well, Well, Well: tips & tools 07/13/15

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wellwellwell3 - tips & toolsEach week I bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

SOCIAL

This item could fall under several categories. When I wrote about it last week on Suzy & Spice, I headlined it “A step outside my comfort zone.” So it could be mental, emotional, spiritual or … who knows?

What is “it”? I was given a survey to complete online, and it included the opportunity to record audio (or video) comments about the topic (buying flowers). At first I cringed, but I quickly realized it was right in line with my philosophy of personal-growth-by-discomfort.

I opted for audio only, because I wasn’t wearing makeup and my hair was dirty and flat (I’m not that brave!). I recorded several takes, but I finally got a workable file out of it. Once I finished the survey, I posted the audio file online and asked for critiques. As I told another of the Arkansas Women Bloggers who had completed the survey but wasn’t happy about the audio requirement, “What’s the worst that can happen?”

I can’t say whether I would be so blasé if this were a bigger production (larger venue, more serious topic, etc.). If and when I ever have to (er, I mean, have the opportunity to) go onstage in front of a crowd, I will be all butterflies and jelly-legs. But these smaller steps outside the “zone” are what help me work toward the bigger one(s).

Baby steps.

Now you try it. Do something brave this week, then come back here and tell us what it was. It doesn’t have to be huge. Just … something. And tell us what you learned from it. Here’s mine:

Check it out: A step outside my comfort zone

APPS

YogiBerraQuoteI come from a long line of baseball lovers, and it has always been my favorite sport. It never fails to bring up happy family memories: of my Grandpa Ben listening to one game on the transistor radio, earbud firmly in place, while he watched another on TV; of me, my best friend and my parents sitting in the stands eating sunflower seeds while we watched my brother’s Little League team in central California; of the 1978 World Series between the Dodgers and their archrivals the Yankees (I had a big Steve Garvey poster on my wall). My husband and I don’t have TV at home, so we have to go to Mom’s to watch baseball, and it’s always when the Cards play. The only time I get to see the Dodgers is when they play St. Louis. But never fear; MLB.com At Bat is here.

The free version of the app has live updates, schedules, rosters, the latest news, standings, player bios, stats and, with the premium version ($2.99 monthly or $19.99 yearly), live audio and game of the day on MLB.TV. I opt for the free version until the playoffs, then I pay for a month or two; since I’ve been using the app, the Dodgers and/or the Cards have been in the playoffs (and the Series!); otherwise I probably wouldn’t buy premium (I’m cheap). MLB.com At Bat is the official app of Major League Baseball. If you’re a fan of the greatest show on dirt and you don’t have ESPN or another way to get your fix …

Check it out: MLB.com At Bat

PRODUCTIVITY

A wise and wonderful woman I follow has launched a Facebook group called Create Content Every Day in 2015. She’s aiming to get us off our duffs and producing something daily throughout the second half of the year.

This wise woman, whom I’ll call Jacqueline Wolven – because that’s her name – set me on the path I’m on today with my blogs. I attended both of her sessions on branding at Arkansas Women Bloggers University last September, and her talks rocked my world. I had never thought much about “branding” as it relates to a personal blog or freelancing or other individual pursuits, but I’ve learned a lot since then. “Branding” is not just for major retailers; it’s about how you want to present yourself to the world – that is, if you have something important you’d like to say or do. You don’t have to be a rock star; you just have to want something badly enough to go for it.

The new Facebook group is about creating whatever “content” you want to create (blog posts, Instagram photos, arts or crafts, podcasts, a video clip, audio files, a chapter in your novel, whatever). Here’s the description:

“Each day just post the link or what content you created if you aren’t able to link it. Consistency is the key to growing an audience. Let’s cheer each other on!”

The group will be public through July and then go private. (That means you should join now!)

Here’s your chance. It’s a safe place. So go ahead: Get off’n your duff’n (that’s German for Just do it).

Check it out: Create Content Every Day in 2015 #DoGoodWork

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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Introducing Well, Well, Well

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WellWellWellLogoBruceRGBThis week I’m introducing a new weekly feature: Well, Well, Well (hats off, as usual, to my hubby for coming up with the name). In it, I’ll bring you three tools, tips, articles, recipes or other resources that I find useful or interesting on the journey to wellness. Feel free to suggest your own helpful hints and tips by leaving a comment (see Comment link above).

Here are this week’s three:

PRODUCTIVITY

One of my fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers posted a cry for help on Facebook last week:

“I need a way to organize important emails I want to keep, screenshots of important info, etc. Basically, I need a ‘file cabinet’ that is easy to access, easy to use.”

Holy cow — we Evernote lovers jumped all over that. (In fact, folks who’ve been using Evernote for years and know all the ways to harness its superpowers are called “Evernote ninjas.” I am not one of them — yet.)

If you aren’t using Evernote, you’re missing out. It’s probably the most useful productivity tool I’ve ever used, although I’m still learning all its capabilities and I’m not as productive or proficient with it as I know I will be as I keep using it.

Evernote is an electronic filing cabinet but not just for your emails. It uses a notebook and tag system that allows you to sort and find things easily later. But I’m a newbie. A couple of others with more experience can convince you:

In a recap of her AWB conference presentation last year, she says:

“I’m accustomed to the look on someone’s face during an Evernote session at the exact moment where they realize what it is capable of and how it is applicable in their lives.  At the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference, however, I mistook the perplexed looks on the faces of attendees as an indication that I was missing the mark or doing a poor job of representing the complete fabulousness of Evernote.  It turns out all those furrowed brows and the silence in the room were actually indicative of their brains simultaneously exploding.

“And hey, what can I say?  That’s exactly what I’m looking for when I introduce someone to Evernote.”

Check it out: Evernote.com


SPIRITUAL

If you’re like me and would like to read the Bible every day, let me encourage you: It can happen, and there’s never been a better time than now with better tools than ever. I have fallen in love with the Bible App, and this is the second year I’ve done my through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan electronically rather than using my physical Bible (which is a reference Bible, has a ton of footnotes and weighs a gazillion pounds). I carry my “Bible” around with me everywhere, because I can access it just about anywhere: my laptop, my smart phone or my iPad.

You can browse devotional plans as short as three days or as long as several weeks, and they’re searchable by topic (say you want devotions for Lent or Advent or marriage, they’ve got you covered). It’s available in several languages, several translations of the Bible (so you can read a different version each year if you like) and different versions of the one-year plan (I’m doing chronological this year). They added a Bible App for Kids a few months ago, and if I had small kids I’d jump all over that! I use the Bible App now at church and take sermon notes inside the app. There are translations that you can view only online (with an Internet connection) and some you can download for offline reading.

Probably my favorite feature of the Bible App: audio! Yes, some translations (including the one I’m currently using, the New Living Translation) can be read to you out loud. When I’m slogging through the “less interesting” chapters of the Bible (say, most of Leviticus), it’s nice to listen while I get ready for work. Obviously this isn’t for in-depth study, which I would do sitting down with the visual version or a hard copy of the Bible. But it does help for getting to know the culture and commands of the biblical texts. The audio reinforces what I read.

The YouVersion folks just keep adding features, making it better and better. This is another tool that I could go on and on about, but you should just …

Check it out: Bible.com


FINANCIAL

I’ve been following Mary Hunt of Debt Proof Living for more than 20 years, since her little black-and-white newsletter (then called Cheapskate Monthly) was about 12 pages and arrived each month via snail mail.

I love Mary because she’s down to earth, practical and wise.

Here’s an excerpt of a post I wrote about Mary two months ago on my other blog, Suzy & Spice:

“By the time I met Mary, she had gotten her family into $100,000 of unsecured debt … and back out.

“She scratched and clawed (and prayed) her way out of the hole.

“And, because she has been to the bottom of the pit and climbed her way back out, dirt under her fingernails, sweat on her brow, wisdom under her cap, she has built an organization out of helping the rest of us do the same – or, better yet, not digging that pit in the first place.”

And heres a link to a recent post, Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do, in her Everyday Cheapskate column.

Maybe you’re not in debt but need to begin saving and just don’t know how to get started and stay motivated. Mary can help. (I can help, too, as I’m a certified budget coach and volunteer for a financial stewardship ministry; I know some of the tips and tricks of getting and staying on track.)

Or maybe you have a family member or friend who could use the kind of gentle kick in the pants that Mary provides. (That kick in the pants probably shouldn’t come from you — let Mary do it; she has the expertise and the objectivity!)

Mary has written lots of books and has a great website, daily column and newsletter.

Check it out: DebtProofLiving.com

That’s it for this week, kids. I hope you found something useful or at least interesting. Until next time …

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