#212 Make a “Before I Die” List

Our thoughts are always running away in short fantasy about how we’ll live our lives and then we get caught up in the day-to-day living things, claiming that there aren’t enough hours in a day.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#212

Make a ‘Before I Die’ list

What kind of things are on your bucket list? Who do you want to settle things with? What do you want to learn before you die? No matter how much time you have in front of you, it’s possible you have a long list of things you want to do before your time on this Earth runs out. Put it in writing.

Topics

I recommend that the list be divided into categories such as travel, people, learning, achievements, and good will as well as any other header that you deem appropriate. It doesn’t matter how outrageous it seems today as we never know what our future holds. Disregard – in the moment at least – the money  needed to achieve any list item; this is just a ‘master’ list; a dream list.

I suggest that one of the lists is ‘little’ things – regardless of topic – so that while you plan for the bigger, perhaps more expensive things, you are still accomplishing items from your list and generating a sense of satisfaction. I know someone that simply wants to “keep a houseplant alive” on her list.

Prioritize

Because we never know what tomorrow may bring, go back to each topic and prioritize the items there. If you want to travel to London, Quebec, and Fiji before you die, which one is most important? Second? Third? Which topic is most important to you? Is learning more important to you now than travel? Does good will tug at your heartstrings more than accomplishment? Since you’ll feel good about mastering the things that are important to you, you’ll need to identify them.

Begin

For many, this may be the hard part. Our thoughts are always running away in short fantasy about how we’ll live our lives and then we get caught up in the day-to-day living things, claiming that there aren’t enough hours in a day. Life needs balance and it is important to foster a sense of anticipation, excitement, and achievement. In order to feel those things, we have to step up and ‘just do it’. So… think about what’s important to you, what brings you joy, and what is happening when you feel satisfied. Then, with pen in hand…

Make a ‘Before I Die’ list.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#220 Make Ice Cream

What wouldn’t taste good if it is mostly heavy cream, sugar, and half & half?? We don’t want to calculate the calories in this recipe of course – just grab a spoonful and enjoy.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#220

Make Ice cream

I know it’s super easy to reach into your freezer or stop by your local ice cream store but there’s something about making your own ice cream on a hot summer evening that evokes pleasure in a way that the other options cannot.

DIY Satisfaction

Sometimes, it’s the experience of ‘doing it yourself’ that adds to the fun and satisfaction we enjoy during and after an activity. The sense of accomplishment increases our confidence and overall esteem but perhaps more importantly, we become empowered.

Tools

Of course, an ice cream ‘maker’ is one of the easiest ways to complete this task – most of them come with recipe books for unending motivation but for a simple vanilla flavor, making ice cream at home is super easy with a few basic supplies. You need large zip lock plastic bags, coarse salt, and some arm muscle.

Recipe

I am recommending this recipe from The Stay at Home Chef blog because it worked well and tasted great! It took a little longer than the suggested 5 minutes to get the consistency that I preferred but it only meant a better arm workout (shaking is super important). What wouldn’t taste good if it is mostly heavy cream, sugar, and half & half?? We don’t want to calculate the calories in this recipe of course – just grab a spoonful and enjoy.

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup half and half

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 gallon sized resealable plastic bags

2 cups ice cubes

½ cup salt

Instructions

Pour cream, half and half, sugar, and vanilla extract into a gallon sized resealable plastic bag. Seal well. Squish it around to combine until sugar is dissolved.

Place ice cubes and salt into another gallon sized resealable plastic bag.

Place the bag with the ice cream mixture into the bag with the ice. Seal the larger bag.

Shake until mixture freezes, about 5 to 7 minutes.

 

The next time you need a little inspiration to liven up a hot summer day, remember to pull out this recipe and …

Make homemade ice cream.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#249 Nurture a Houseplant

Instead of investing a lot of money of large mature plants, start small and enjoy the satisfaction of watching them grow. If a plant starts to drop leaves…

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#249

Nurture a houseplant

Do you have a green thumb? I know some people who have such a prolific way with plants that their home resembles a greenhouse. However, I often find myself talking to people who profess that they can’t grow anything at all. In truth, the whole concept of a ‘green thumb’ is a myth. Growing plants is simple science and with the internet at our fingertips – information on how to keep anything alive is right at our fingertips.

Why houseplants?

The presence of houseplants in our home increases the amount of oxygen available for us to breathe. Plants use the carbon-dioxide we exhale and create oxygen for us to use. Additionally, they produce a bit of humidity, making the air we breathe soothing on our airways.

Plants clean air of toxins and make a home ‘homier’. In research studies, people in hospitals healed faster when plants were part of their environment. In another, workers in office environments that included plants demonstrated higher levels of concentration and proficiency. Plants, it seems, are good for our health in more ways than one.

Easy Options

Time published an article this spring detailing the 15 most common houseplants and easy care tips. Watering too much or too little is really the key and keeping track of which plant takes how much and how often.

Look through the list and pick a few that require similar care. I’ve made the mistake of having some that need water weekly and others that need to dry out completely in between waterings. I would walk around and water them all at the same time not paying attention to what they really needed. There was a bit of self selection… those that didn’t get what they needed – or too much of it… died off.

Start Small

Instead of investing a lot of money of large mature plants, start small and enjoy the satisfaction of watching them grow. If a plant starts to drop leaves, use the internet to determine an appropriate course of action. Experiment a little with water and sunlight based on the conditions in your own home. There’s a tremendous sense of satisfaction in keeping something alive for an extended period. Some of the plants listed in the Time article will send off ‘baby’ plants (as in the Spider plant) when mature; offering you the opportunity to have grandbaby plants. ; )

Go ahead and get your hands dirty; grab a pot, fill it with dirt, and …

Nurture a houseplant.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

Photo by Amanda Mocci on Unsplash

#263 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

I’ve heard it argued that cleaning house and pulling weeds are also ‘me time’ for those who absolutely love those activities and/or those whose sense of satisfaction are so high afterwards, they bask in the completed results

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#263

Follow a Self Care Plan

When a battery runs out of juice, the object that it powers cannot not operate. When a plant doesn’t get watered, it dies. When our automobiles run out of gasoline, they will not move. Quite simply, when something is not cared for, it will not be able to function properly. There is a concrete reason that we adults must place the oxygen masks on our face FIRST and then, our children even though it seems to go against our caregiving nature.

You see, in order for us to function in the world we must have the energy, the stamina, the drive, and the desire … to keep going. It doesn’t matter if our role is motherhood, boss, nurse, postal worker, farmer, delivery driver, or trash collector. Unless we have taken care of ourselves, we are unable to properly serve in the capacities to which we have otherwise committed.

Using this simplistic line of reasoning – self care is not selfish, it is a necessity.

What is self care? It is anything that charges your batteries, waters your soul, gasses your tank, etc.  It could be a bubble bath, reading a book in a hammock, a round of golf, a girls night out, crafting time, veggin’ out for a bit or any similar activity that feels nourishing to YOU. It’s classic ‘me time’.

I’ve heard it argued that cleaning house and pulling weeds are also ‘me time’ for those who absolutely love those activities and/or those whose sense of satisfaction are so high afterwards, they bask in the completed results – so o.k…. It’s not the outlet for my energy but that’s the key behind self care; it personal and unique to each individual. The only requirement is that you establish and…

Follow a self care plan.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#265 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

People have asked me if there really are 365 ways to brighten your day; to increase esteem; promote self care; and/or be more productive…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#265

Do something for 100 days.

Today is the 100th consecutive post for this blog project. Yay for me! I’ve promised 265 more so we’re not even a third of the way in but the accomplishment is that it’s been 100 days! I’ve written one hundred ways to promote happiness, well-being, and production in our lives.

I’m not sure I’ve ever done another thing for such a consistent stretch and this feat feels good. If I’m being honest, there have been days when sitting down with my laptop felt cumbersome, another chore that needed scratched off the list. There were a couple of days that I knew I could not write at all and so I had to prepare in advance and write ahead although I’ve been driven by the goal of posting each day and so the act of making the post was daily.

People have asked me if there really are 365 ways to brighten your day; to increase esteem; promote self care; and/or be more productive. I contend that there are that many ways and so I hope you’ll stay tuned. If you are thinking of something that I haven’t covered, please share in the comments.

Perhaps more importantly, what is something that you can do for 100 consecutive days? Are you thinking about writing, or dieting, or working out? Are you on a journey of gratitude or benevolence? Think about committing to your project, yourself and …

Do something for 100 days.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

 

#293 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#293

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

One of my daughters recently offered to help me get rid of all my turn of the century necklaces; an offer I refused because I’ve been around long enough to know that they’ll eventually come back in style. However, there are items in my jewelry box that definitely need to be discarded.

When was the last time you ventured to weed out your jewelry stash? Do you still have Holiday pins that are now tarnished? How many serpentine necklaces are there that were broken due to their delicacy? Would you be willing to take a bet on how many single earrings are in your jewelry box cemetery? In addition to many of those pieces, I know mine is large enough to contain some of the trinkets and treasures that my children bought at ‘Santa Sack’ while in elementary school; you know, the adjustable rings and pop bead necklaces they were so proud to present.  Something has prevented me from disposing of them until now.

Keeping a few key pieces and of course, the valuable or treasured items is a must but the rest can go. In some cases, there may be enough to create a different kind of treasure… Pinterest has a plethora of ideas.

Dudes have the same issue at times with ties. My dad’s tie collection grew annually and only a few of them were actually in style or matched his taste. Seemingly, ties are the gift given when we just can’t figure out what else works. Cheap ties tend to be wider and thicker than the good ones; meaning that they collect dust faster and end up in the back of the heap – forgotten.

My grandfather kept his ties (much to my grandmother’s chagrin) so long that he had a few classic tucked away in the back of his closet when Paisley made a comeback. That’s not to say we shouldn’t wean down the collection. Again, keeping some of the ‘classics’ is appropriate, or the one that only gets worn on St. Patrick’s Day each year. Maybe there’s even vindication for keeping the one he proposed in – assuming that someday there will be a re-creation photo session to celebrate a big anniversary. Other than that – keep only the ones that are clean and in-style.

This is one of those productive tasks that takes minutes but offers great satisfaction each time we open the jewelry box or each time we reach for a tie. Go ahead, put it on your master list

Clean out / go through your jewelry or ties.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#319 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

Each time I sat in that room I could hear a faint rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I am woman, hear me Roar” and smiled a grin of pure satisfaction. I built something I wanted …

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#319

Build something

If fixing something offers a sense of accomplishment, then building something magnifies that tenfold. Starting from scratch is satisfying in so many arenas and construction is no exception. I’m not suggesting that you get all motivated and decide to build yourself a house – you may want to try something basic like a birdhouse – to make sure that something you build is inhabitable. Frankly, even birds wouldn’t nest in the first birdhouse I attempted; but it looked cute and rustic in my flower garden.

I was fortunate enough to have a dad that could fix almost anything and allowed me to get comfortable with a hammer at a young age. My little brother was so good, he took out part of a wall with nothing more than a Fisher Price plastic one. It made caused Dad to be more discerning about what he was teaching us!

As a joke, I received a tool belt one Christmas because I was apt to place a nail with my shoe or a stapler; whatever hard object was close at hand. It worked – but no doubt, jobs are easier when you have the proper tools. A tool belt kept everything I needed reasonably handy.

Once I was comfortable, I decided on a big project – a wall of built-in bookcases. I wasn’t overly anal about how square they were but at least I made sure they were level!  A talented carpenter I know once told me that “a little caulk and a little paint – make a carpenter what he ain’t” – so I knew that the imperfections of those shelves would be hidden away; mostly.

Each time I sat in that room I could hear a faint rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I am woman, hear me Roar” and smiled a grin of pure satisfaction. I built something I wanted and it looked and performed the way I hoped it would. I haven’t been as successful with other projects, but more than anything I have the sense of accomplishment that comes from trying.

What would you build if you were to …

Build something?

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.