Category Archives: Life List

Time Well Spent

4th January 2017

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How we spend our time, and by extension our lives, is one of my favorite subjects. Tim Urban’s essay, The Tail End, changed how I think about time. He makes visual charts of a 90-year human life in years, months, weeks, and days. Then he walks through how many more ocean swims he’ll likely have, how many more slices of pizza.

Two things got my attention:

You’ll read a finite number of books in your lifetime. For some reason, this had never occurred to me. Reading an average of twelve books a year, I have 688 books left. It sounds like a lot, and also not enough.

If your kids don’t live near you as adults, by the time they move out you’ve spent 90 percent of the time you’ll have with them. Aaaaaaag! Urban concludes that it’s key to build a life near the people you love. Truth.

Anyway, go read this. It will give you that self-helpy kick where you savor things more acutely for a few weeks afterward. And then maybe read it again.

Resolved, 2017

3rd January 2017

Man, 2017. I’m glad to see you.

You’re a sandwich in the bathtub. You’re a warm cup of coffee and a wool blanket on the deck. You’re the empty chair off to the side, where I can sit and watch everyone dance. Let’s hold hands, and decide what to do with all this time.

Resolved:

Leave the country. The baby is old enough. It’s time for red wine on a 6-inch hotel balcony, and toilets that flush in unexpected ways. Time to let the boys stay up all night, playing under the cafe table with plastic breakables we bought from a street vendor. We need some $3 sun glasses with palm tree frames because we forgot our fancy sunglasses and the sun is prominent. Let’s make photo albums of us with sunburns, and gelato cones, and palm-tree sunglasses. Blow this joint, 2017.

Let good enough be good enough. Sometimes I run fifteen minutes late, I forget to pack the thing, something rots in the fridge while we’re away. A year from now, no one will remember any of this happened. Except me, over and over again, on a repeat loop that needlessly plays in my mind. What is that? I’m meditating that crap all the way out of my brain-place. The baby does not need to wear pants full time. This will work, 2017.

Spend more time in craft stores. They have cordless glue guns now. Did you know this? I know this only because my mother-in-law has one, as I have not been spending enough time in craft stores. Is there a more-sparklier glitter I don’t know about? Advanced styrofoam ball technologies? To start, I’m getting myself that cordless glue gun, and I’m going to glue everything together in artistic and irreversible ways. Affixed, 2017.

Be polite. Less “telling it like it is,” more “telling it as I would hope we can all agree it should be” in the civilization we’ve joined forces to create. I’m gonna call people what they want to be called, wave at people who let me in their lane, go mum on politics and religion while we’re breaking bread together, disagree in a polite manner when we’re not at the dinner table, catch up on my thank you notes, say please and thank you, teach my kids to say please and thank you, and refuse to reward people whose main tactic for getting what they want is escalation. Weaponized kindness, 2017.

Dance more. My ankles have mostly healed, and I miss dancing. This is the year to spin with strangers who know how to dip without dropping you, waltz awkwardly at someone’s wedding, start with a shot of tequila and wake up with a sore neck. Boogie oogie oogie, 2017.

Happy New Year, sweet people. Good things for everyone this year. Especially you.

Resolutions Past: Resolved, 2012, Resolved, 2013, Resolved, 2014, Resolved, 2016, My Life List on Go Mighty, One way to organize your thoughts around goal setting

Spiced Pumpkin Rum Toddy

14th October 2016

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You’re warm, you’re cozy, you need to stand up more slowly from your chair. You can’t really tell these have booze in them, so pace yourself.

• Good Earth Original Sweet and Spicy Tea
• Kraken Rum
• Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage

Brew a half-mug of tea, add a shot of rum, top off with Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice Almond Beverage. It’s not an exact science but you can’t really go wrong here.

Here’s to the smell of dirt under the leaves you waited too long to rake, oversize cable-knit sweaters with sleeves you can pull your hands up inside, rain beads on the window.

This is my 20th cocktail toward my Life List goal to create 100 cocktails. A fifth of the way there baby.

Apps that Help Me with Habits and To Do Lists

12th September 2016

My perfect daily schedule would be a glass of wine every night and an otherwise open calendar. But I’m pretty into my kids, and my husband, and my work, and my health too — and all of that requires some day-to-day maintenance.

I’m terrible at it.

One of my goals for this year was to get better at life maintenance by sticking to a routine 80 percent of the time. I’m already a list maker, but I finally figured out that I feel a greater sense of accomplishment, and am more willing to do repetitive tasks, if I break my lists up into categories. Otherwise my tasks never end, and neither does my work day.

For the last few months, I’ve tried dozens of habit and to-do apps, and hoooo-eee! Most of them are ugly and frustrating. Here are a handful I’ve found that are pretty and functional, and how I’m using them.

STREAKS

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I start my day with my most crucial health habits, because those are the most likely to fall by the wayside. Streaks tracks how many days in a row you’ve done something, and how often you do it. It only lets you have six goals, and once you’ve checked all of them off for the day, the icons turn gold. So satisfying.

MINIMALIST

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I’m ramping back up with work, so MinimaList is where I keep internal projects I want to check in with every day. It lets you schedule repeat tasks, and set a timer that blocks you from phone distractions while you’re working on one.

TEUXDEUX

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Teuxdeux is my priority list for non-habit tasks, stuff I need to finish in the next few days. I try to limit myself to five tasks here and work through them before I add more. I’ve been using Teux Deux for years, it’s a super simple, pretty to do list. I find it’s really flexible and can be hacked for whatever type of list I want to keep there.

BALANCED and PRODUCTIVE

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I’ve mentioned Balanced before. This is where I put life-maintenance and repetitive tasks for personal goals, like learning French. You choose your icon and color, how often you’d like to complete a task, and list as many tasks as you like. It also tracks how often you complete things.

Productive looks and works exactly like Balanced, it’s pretty much a clone, but it lets me keep a second list that’s more oriented toward my life after work. This is where I put tasks that help me maintain relationships, like playing games with the boys, or making plans with friends, and reminders to do some of the things that make me happy, like reading or doing something on my Life List.

THINGS

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Things is a to do list based on the Getting Things Done methodology, which is a great organization system for all the ideas and work you want to record. You can use it on your phone or desktop, and it has all the list making functionality I’ve ever needed. It offers an Inbox for collecting tasks before you organize them, lists for Today, Next, Scheduled, and Someday, plus a Projects list that allows for sub-tasks that step you toward project completion.

I mostly love Things for the projects feature, but this app is where I do my thinking and planning, and how I save ideas for later. I don’t necessarily interact with it every day anymore.

If you use and love an app I didn’t mention, please let me know. I’m always tweaking, and I find that using a fresh app can keep me motivated to do things I was procrastinating over before.

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