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Over-scheduled? Over-acquired? Are you Over it?

watches_optPick your poison.  You could be over-acquired, over-worked, over-scheduled, or all of the above. So ask yourself, are you over-joyed or over-whelmed?

If you’ve reached your max and you have lost control, it’s imperative to re-evaluate your time-management and your acquired possessions. Moreover,  if you have increasingly less and less time for things you enjoy doing, that’s your red flag. Your wake-up call is ringing.

Over-scheduling is generally not our intention, it just kind of happens, right? It’s often a gradual process that creeps up on us.  But if we really look at it, it’s more about over-committing (fear of saying “no” and disappointing others) and under-estimating the time in which to get things done.  The fix for that is more simply said than done, but nonetheless doable.  Learn to say “no ,” graciously.  Don’t bite off more than you can chew, and always allow yourself more wiggle room in your day.  At the end of the day, both of these strategies are huge stress reducers.

Over-abundance can be both a blessing and a curse. We all love the shiny new toys, and that’s fine if we can afford it and have room for it. For some, it’s surrendering to acquiring more watches, sneakers, or technology, but how many sneakers or watches are too many? When does it become too much?  For others, it could be excessive clothing, candles, jewelry, or kid’s toys.  The conundrum is really when we can’t seem to part with the old rusty ones. No matter what the guilty pleasures are, there needs to be an incoming and an outgoing flow. One in, one out.

Continually acquiring more, without regard to letting go of the less desirable things is going to impede on more than your wallet. Compulsive shopping can overwhelm your spaces.  Consider the consequences. If there is only incoming and little or no outgoing, that’s a lot of stuff.  It’s not about the size of the house at all,  it’s about how you think about the possessions you have.

Buying something new to replace something old is sensible.  Keeping material things that you never use, is senseless.  If you don’t use them, then they are virtually of no value to you. Donate, donate, donate. There are people less fortunate that really need the stuff you’re merely storing.

To avoid  “material overload, ” make sure that your home and contents reflect who you are today. Create a home, not a museum. Surround yourself with your favorite things and live with less clutter.  Your time, your things, and your spaces should all be aligned with your current values and lifestyles. Examine your priorities carefully and strive to sync your schedule and acquisitions accordingly.

Find your balance, your own unique  life rhythm. Be over-joyed, not over-whelmed.


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Slow Down…Are you Moving too Fast?

Have you ever been in such a hurry that in an attempt to get things done faster, it results in the contrary? Often, the effort to rush to complete one’s tasks becomes nothing short of futile.  As a result, things inevitably go wrong.  Mistakes are made.  We miss appointments or forget to do important things, and in the end, it actually wastes more time.

Do you think it’s because we genuinely have too much to do with too little time? Or, is it that we intentionally take on more, because we are so driven to earn more, accomplish more, and acquire more.  There is a difference.  One suggests we really do have a lot on our plate, but the latter implies that we are indeed creating our own pressure. It’s our competitive nature that fuels us. We have willingly enrolled in life’s fast-paced rat race to the finish.  Irregardless, both scenarios have a significant time-management component and good reason to think about slowing down.

We can all can agree that there is a price to pay for that compulsive drive to do more, to be better. And if we consider the harried pace in which we attempt to accomplish it all,  we are in danger of losing control.  Productivity obviously suffers but more importantly, one’s health and finance can be at risk too. Rushing through an over-scheduled day can be suffocating. It not only breeds stress, it can impact thoughtful decision making and yield a host of other negative consequences. Can you think of a time that a hasty decision had significant financial ramifications?

Yet with our busy lives, it is increasingly difficult to be “present” for each and every activity we engage in.  We frequently do a lot of tasks by sheer rote.  How many times are we operating on auto-pilot?  Too many, I’m afraid.  All too often, we are doing one thing while thinking about another. So many of us rushing around, doing, without even thinking.  Pushing the envelope, until we can push no more.

“You can only go as fast as the slowest part of you can go,”  said Bonnie Raitt after a 7 year hiatus from the studio. Wise words to contemplate. Classic take-away…know thyself.

So if your plate is too full, avoid trying to clean it all up in a hurry.   Stop.   Slow down.   Breathe.   It’s the only way to manage the overload.  It is far easier to focus on one task at a time and give it your proper attention, than rushing through too many simultaneously.  Nothing gets done well, just a lot of mediocre.

When you’re moving too fast,  it is difficult to make a connection between yourself and your task at hand. 

Conscious doing is far more effective than unconscious doing.  It is intentional participation.  No matter what it is that you’re doing, being “in the moment” will sharpen any experience and most likely emit better results. But we need to create the time and space to concentrate and pause.  In this way, we can  control our daily pace.  Beware of the dangers in unconscious multitasking. It can be an obstacle for getting things done, rather than a quicker solution.

As one who talks fast, walks fast, and works fast, I confess to doing just about everything fast.  It is very challenging to slow myself down, but when I do, I admit I feel more balanced.  My secret is committing to Pilates classes three times a week.  It is there that I can stop, breathe and get off the merry-go-round.

We can probably all benefit from slowing down a little, taking it down a notchReally, what’s the big rush? Where’s the fire?

So if you’re moving too fast,  how do you slow down?  What’s your secret?  I don’t mean to rush you, lol,  but I look forward to your comments. Inquiry minds want to know.



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What Happened to Dinnertime?

When I was a young girl, I remember every day culminating with my family sitting around the dinner table. I was lucky enough to have my Dad home every night for dinner, 6:30 p.m sharp. The table was always pre-set, then upon my Dad’s arrival, we all sat down together with no interruptions.  It was dinnertime. That simple.

Television and phone calls were not allowed (obviously, cell phones did not exist then so “texting” wasn’t even a forbidden consideration).  Nothing fancy, no special holiday, just family dinner.  Cross- talk conversation, playful sibling banter, and repetitive prodding from Mom to clean our plates, were all common backdrops for our typical family meal.

I’m not suggesting that life was as perfect as the truly idealized families portrayed in Father Knows Best or Leave it to Beaver, but just that this setting was a big part of the American pop culture in the late 50’s. Dinnertime seemed somewhat sacred in all our homes.

Decades later, as I grew my own family, I wanted to implement these similar values into my own life.  Like my Dad, my husband was able to be home for dinner every single night, and it’s something my adult children still remember.  But let’s morph to the 80’s and the new world of Technology.  Its impact impeded a great deal on my family dinner.  For starters, there were more interruptions and distractions.  Televisions were glaring at high volume, cordless phones were ringing every 10 minutes, and my kid’s obsession with hand held video games delayed them from sitting down at the dinner table on time. Eventually, we all gathered and happy chatter ensued.  Family dinner was very important to me and I cherished it.  It was a time that the whole family would congregate and catch up.  It was a place for intimate conversation in the natural setting of our home. I can remember gazing around the table, taking it all in and knowing very well, that it was indeed a precious time; a special time that I would never get back.

And then it happened. My children got older and they were smitten by organized sports. The grueling schedules ruled us.  If that weren’t enough, my husband decided to enlist as the Basketball Coach throughout both of my children’s athletic careers.  Needless to say, you see where this is going.  My family dinner was crumbling before me.  Gone were the days of relaxing dinners, and instantly replaced with quick snacks or a slices of pizza, all in attempt to make it to early practices before the games.

So that was then, and now I fear that it is far worse today.

Busy households are a juggling act; balancing dinner meals, homework, tutors,and carpools, with too many extra-curricular activities.  As a result, a “balanced” meal, albeit a sit-down family dinner, are no longer an option.  It’s more like a sandwich on the go, a fast food stop. or sometimes just a protein bar or shake! Factor in the more advanced technology and the rise in social media mania, and you’re dealing with a whole other level of detachment.  Now we have iPhones, iPads, texting, Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, it’s encroaching on the privacy of family home life 24/7 .

So what has happened to the nuclear family? Is it breaking down?  Are we over- scheduled or disconnected?, or both? The problem is of course, it’s not that we don’t want to…but because there’s no time to.  Does it come down to a time-management issue?

Clearly the busy family of today is struggling with optimal quality time. This might suggest that we are changing priorities in our family culture. Overwhelming schedules push out valuable time to connect.  Shouldn’t we carve out the time to chow down with the family like we used to?

Now that my children are grown, I yearn for those table conversations; a cacophony of yelling, whining, teasing, story telling, and belly laughing til it hurt.  I recall it all with a sense of completeness, sweet and utter joy.  True gems came out of those family meals that I will never forget.

Children need both relationships and routines they can depend on.  Dinnertime is a great time to check in, connect, and share with your family. Dining in the privacy of your home can be intimate, even it’s noisy and chaotic. It’s a place where the family dynamics engage naturally, without outside distractions.  No television, no video games.  Just eating and talking.  Family in the raw.  Its value is truly under-rated.

Think about how often you have family dinner. Do you make the time? Is it on the schedule?

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