February 28, 2007

March 2007 - Make your life easy with systems

Hi everybody


The March newsletter's out and you can go read it here.

Unfortunately, it is the end of Feb so the special goals programme is now over. However, 12 days to goal-setting success is still for sale. While you're over there, also check out the Dream Life Journal and the Household Organising File.

But wait... there is good news. There is still place on the From Drab to Fab workshop on Saturday 24 March. Don’t forget to book your place so you can step into style with a healthy dose of self-esteem. Bookings close on Thursday 15 March. Read more about the workshop here and book your place here.

I'm also launching an e-course like you asked on a burning topic for most of you - how to simplify your life. Go read some more here.

Have a great month, everybody.

February 27, 2007

Why I blog...

I was tagged by Beth and ... Oh My Word, it’s my first tag, so *blush*

Well, I blog for many reasons. It couldn't just be straightforward with me, now could it?

I blog because
  1. It's fun. And highly addictive.
  2. Hardly any South Africans do it (this is the most popular SA blog) and I like to be different. Hey - I'm being honest. Although it is now getting a bit much when people say, "what? what's a blog?" Grrr
  3. It gives me a writing outlet. Now imagine what my head would be like, swirling with all the stuff I thought about, and couldn't give a voice to. Not only that, but my writing has improved, just through the regular practice of putting thoughts to paper/ keyboard. And since one of my goals is to write a "proper" book one day, I have to keep writing.
  4. It's a place I can be accountable, like with the goals challenges. And not only that, I can see my progress.
  5. I find that because I'm blogging regularly, I tend to look at the world in a more focussed way. I pay more attention to things because I know I want to tell you about them. And of course, I've always been weird with looking for coaching examples in normal, everyday life situations, but blogging has definitely made it worse/ better (depends how you see it).
  6. I love sharing things. When I find a good book, good recipe, good blog, free stuff, I like to share.
  7. It's a central place to store articles, pictures, etc.
  8. It's a great way to meet like-minded people who also hear things saying "buy me, buy me". Over on my organising blog, I am meeting stacks of people through menu plan Monday, tackle it Tuesday (for the procrastinators amongst us) and Works for me Wednesday.
  9. I'm learning techno-stuff. Now all the real techies are laughing out loud but for me, this is techno-stuff!
If I think of any more things, I'll add them but that's enough for now!

Potholes of life

I drive fairly fast but am always careful (or so, I think anyway) with my driving.

On my way to work, on one straight stretch of road, I tend to go quite fast (about 70km), especially if there are no other cars.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, there was a bit of a pothole in the road. I’d always realise too late so I’d fly over it and barely even feel the bump.

But one day, there were a couple of other cars on the road which slowed me down. Grrr. As a result, I was slower and still didn’t see the pothole so I drove nice and slow over it and the car really bumped a lot.

Which got me thinking about life. (I can’t help it if I’m weird like that).

When we have problems or challenges in life, if we just carry on doing the right things, get over it and move on, it doesn’t affect us that much. We barely even feel the bump.

However, if we slow down and really analyse everything to death, and start the “woe is me” and “why do all the bad things always happen to me?”, we tend to really feel the bump in a BIG way.

I’ve always been the type of person who, when something “not-so-nice” happens, says, “okay fine, this has happened. What can I do to fix it and how can I move on?”

How do you deal with life’s problems or challenges? And do you agree with me or not?

February 25, 2007

Do you know your passion?

All kids are gifted; some just open their packages earlier than others.
-Michael Carr



If you need help on discovering your passion, purpose in life or life mission, contact me for individual coaching.

Otherwise, if you do know your passion, I have some coaching questions for you:

Are you living it out, loud and proud?
Are you impacting people around you?
Are you leaving your legacy?


My challenge to you
Make the time to express your passion for at least two hours in the next month.

February 23, 2007

Health & fitness goals - week 3

This is my weekly check-in on my health and fitness goals

_________________
Fitness
_________________

February is almost done and I have STILL not met my fitness goals this week. I made it for the two cardio classes but did absolutely no toning/ weights.

Why? The cardio classes are my dance classes, which are FUN for me so it’s not an effort to go. The toning class on the other hand involves a hectic dash through peak hour traffic to try and make it (I’ve always been 5 minutes late) and I hate driving with my shoulders up near my ears from all the stress. I’m funny that way.

________________
Nutrition
_________________

My goal is to stick to my weigh-less programme at least 90% of the time. I decided to go totally back to basics so I have been planning all my meals to fit into the Weigh-Less formula. This week, I did very well sticking to the programme but this is my hormonal week so the scale is not kind!

I didn’t officially weigh but the scale was up 0.4kg! I say officially because I sneaked/ snuck into the Weigh-Less class and quickly stepped on the scale while the group leader was out of the room. We have a new leader who is very harsh and doesn’t even consider a 0.2 – 0.4 kg loss to be a loss. And this week, being hormonal, I did not feel up to having my self-esteem swept out from under me. Hence me not officially weighing in.

Those of you who have been reading my newsletters for some years know that I don’t believe in sticking around people who diminish you and knock your self-esteem. It is just not healthy. So that is exactly what I did here – I protected myself.

_________________
Sleep
_________________

Again, no problems here. This is easy, easy, easy for me. I told Dion I sleep like a baby and he says nooo, there has never been a baby in history who sleeps as much as you do. LOL

_________________
Water
_________________

Again, this is easy for me to do. Not only is it scorching hot here in Johannesburg (up in the 30’s every day), but it is also a habit.

One of my goals in 1998 was to start drinking 2 litres of water daily. Well, the first two weeks were terrible. I really just forced it down. But after that, once your body gets used to it, it’s so easy to keep it up.

If you battle to drink water, fill up a litre bottle every morning before you have breakfast and make sure you get through it by around 4 o’clock (glass with breakfast and lunch, another one at 11.00 and at 3.00). Then have a glass of water while you’re preparing supper and one with supper. And you’re done with the minimum of 6 glasses. If you exercise, have another 500ml and as easy as that, you are done!


That’s where I’m at this week. I’m realizing that I’m not Superwoman and I can’t make my body produce exactly the results I want, when I want. And that’s hard.


But enough about me, how are you doing? (As always, I’m going to post this on the blog so you can post your successes/ challenges/ comments on your own goals).

February 18, 2007

Weekend cooking - chicken lentil curry



Be warned - this is a low-fat, healthy version.


Ingredients
200g onions, diced
400g chicken, cubed
400g cooked lentils (you can use sugar beans/ kidney beans/ in fact, any legumes will do)
1 can tomato, chilli & onion mix
Curry powder, tumeric & breyani masala (I buy this, readymade, at the Indian shops)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Garlic & ginger
Salt & pepper



Method
Brown onion in oil.
Add chicken pieces, curry powders and cook until the chicken is done.





(I would normally add a potato, cubed, if I wasn’t on weigh-less but that is now a thing of the past)
Add can of tomato mix and let cook through
Add lentils last otherwise they get mushier (is this a word?).

Enjoy!



Since we're only having this for supper tomorrow, my apologies that it is not nicely presented on a plate!


Serves 4
On weigh-less, 1 serve equals
1 medium fat protein
1 low fat protein
2 vegetable portions
1/3rd fat

February 16, 2007

Health & fitness goals - week 2

Two weeks down and I must admit, I don't feel like I'm progressing much. I do know that this is how this particular area of life often goes, so I've got to be persistent.

Although, with Valentine's...

_________________
Fitness
_________________

Remember, my aim is 2 cardio classes every week with another 60 minutes of toning/ weights thrown in.

So far this week, I did two cardio classes (my salsa dance teacher is back - yay!!!) and 10 mins of weights. I plan to do some weights tomorrow afternoon and Saturday too.

________________
Nutrition
_________________

My goal is to stick to my weigh-less programme at least 90% of the time.

This week, I weigh exactly the same as last week which I'm pleased about. Remember the Valentine's supper? And also last night, Dion got takeaways for us and set the table beautifully with candles and such for when I got home from gym.

I stuck to the programme mostly except for those two dinners and a couple of my vanilla and chocolate muffins!

_________________
Sleep
_________________

There is no problem in this area whatsoever. In fact, my goal for the coming week will be to go to bed earlier so that it doesn't take me a full hour to wake up!

_________________
Water
_________________

Again, no problems whatsoever. I love water - it honestly is my favourite drink - so I easily get in my 2 litres every day.


That’s where I’m at this week. How about you?

February 15, 2007

Book review – If you could see me now – Cecelia Ahern

I first heard about this author on a flight from Melbourne to Singapore in 2004. I was in the middle seat and I had a lovely Irish lady on the left in the window seat with Dion on the aisle.

We got chatting (as I usually do) and I don’t quite know how it came up but she mentioned that Cecelia’s first book was causing quite an uproar in Ireland because people were saying that she couldn’t write – the only reason she was famous was because her dad was the Prime Minister.

Now I’m a bit rebellious so I immediately made a mental note to keep my eye out for that novel. I like to think about these things for myself, see?

Well, nearly a whole year passed before a friend at work lent it to me and…I loved it.

I read the next one too and loved it.

So when I saw this one at the library I immediately grabbed it and added it to my pile. By this time I can barely see over the pile of books in front of me (no jokes here – they have to allow me extra books so I can take the 10 or 11 I always seem to gather).

I started reading and to be honest, it took me about 2 – 3 chapters to get past the weirdness. (Almost like James Patterson’s “When the Wind Blow”) You may be surprised to know this about me (!) but I’m not into weird stuff; I’m a very practical sort of person.

But. And this is a big but. Once I got my mind around the differentness of the novel, I loved it and couldn’t put it down. I think I read up til 1am in the morning on the weekend finishing it.

You see, she really is a born story-teller. And amazing to think she’s only 25 – 26! This girl published her first book when she was a mere 21!

It is a beautifully written, unusual story of finding love in different places. That’s all I’m going to say in case I spoil it for some of you.

Now even if you don’t like reading or Cecelia Ahern, let this blog post inspire you to do something out of the ordinary. Something to stretch you, to challenge you, to make you step out of your box.

And if you’ve read this book, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below.

February 14, 2007

Top Ten Personal Productivity New Years Resolutions for 2007 - Laura Stack

Guest article by Laura Stack

I know many of you want to set some New Years Resolutions, but you're resisting, because you don't have the space of time or mind to add things to your to-do list. So let me propose some things you might consider to resolve in 2007 that aren't tasks but MINDSETS and BEHAVIORS of personal productivity.

1. Seek to be a person of your word. Are you reliable? Can people count on you to do what you say you're going to do? Do you have integrity and keep the deadlines you promise? What's others' perception of you? Do you live out what you affirm? Do you do what you complain about in others? What things do people "jokingly" say about you and your behavior?

2. Seek to model productivity. Do you have a reputation of exceptional organization, follow-up, and time management? Are people afraid to send you email, because you never respond to them? Is your desk a virtual black hole, where something coming in never goes out? Does it take you thirty minutes to find something, and do you complain when someone else can't find it in thirty seconds?

3. Seek to control your technology. Don't be a slave to the Send/Receive button. Discipline yourself to get work done, rather than allowing yourself to be sucked into the email vortex for four hours. Be willing to turn off your Blackberry (gasp!) for two hours to focus on a project. Forward your voice mail when you need some time to concentrate. Set your IM on "do not disturb" while you finish up an article. People are not going to die if they can't reach you for an hour. Those are expectations you are placing on yourself, rather than others placing them on you.

4. Seek to be proactive. Wrap the present days before the birthday party (not in th car on the way). Refill your prescription several days before you take the last pill (not when you're out of medication, forcing you to wait at the pharmacy 30 minutes before work). Find your tax receipts a month before taxes are due (not when you're forced to file an extension). Buy greeting cards before your card box is empty (not when you have to make a special trip to the store to purchase a single card). You get the picture.

5. Seek to live in the moment. You’ve passed that magazine twenty times—you know, the one that has a great article for your dad—and keep telling yourself, “I need to send that article.” Do it now. Decide that, whenever possible, you will dispatch routine tasks immediately. If it takes less than three minutes, do it right then. Avoid saying “I’ll do that later,” as in I’ll take that off the wall later. Just walk down, get a screwdriver, and do it. Strive for NOW.

6. Seek to control yourself. If you say to yourself, "I probably shouldn't be doing this right now," you're probably right. Are you checking your ebay listings incessantly? Are you surfing the Internet, shopping for personal affects, when you should be posting to your blog? Are you watching several hours of television a day? Do you stare out the window and space out when you're disinterested in a task? Do you spend too much time gossiping when grabbing a "quick" cup of coffee in the break room? If you're honest with yourself, how many hours could you save every day by being more disciplined? And could you leave the office earlier with that saved time?

7. Seek to plug time leaks. Where do you experience frustration throughout the day? Are your staff meetings a waste of time? Does a certain co-worker pop in and bother you several times a day about nothing in particular? Have you stopped delegating a task to an assistant because it hasn't been done correctly in the past? Have you provided the appropriate training? Do you say anything about things that waste your time? Many people seethe in silence about the things that are bothering them the most. Decide this year you are going to be proactive and try to influence changes in others or processes.

8. Seek to value yourself. Your body is the most prized possession you own. Are you taking care of it with proper exercise? Do you get enough sleep? What kind of food are you putting into this priceless treasure? Do you hold rigidly to every appointment with others but cancel your own doctor, dentist, and eye appointments when someone wants that slot? Have you had an annual physical and received the proper tests and checkups? Are you a physically active role model for your children? Drink water. Stop smoking. You know exactly what you're doing to yourself that is lowering your personal productivity.

9. Seek to walk your talk. You say your family is important to you. Can people tell you value them by the way you spend your time? You say your significant other is the most important thing in the world. How much time have you spent spending time with them versus spending time working? You say your spirituality is important, but how much time do you spend praying, reading, meditating, attending services, volunteering, or whatever reflects your beliefs? Is it merely an outside facade? If you say your health is important, how do you feel when you eat an entire pizza by yourself and watch five straight hours of television---consistently? Say and do the same thing. Be congruent. Or just stop saying it and be yourself.

10. Seek a positive attitude. If your life is filled with turbulence, challenge yourself to change your perception. Are you playing to a self-induced drama? Life isn’t as crazy as some people make it out to be. What might happen if you refocus your attention to positive, proactive experiences and open your thoughts to opportunities instead of problems? You are where your attention is. If working late is a habit, you might tend to slack off your pace. You know there’s no rush, you’re not as focused, and you don’t push yourself or prioritize your work as well. You waste time on things that don’t need to be done and convince yourself that you need to work all those hours, and then complain about it to others. We can create our own self-fulfilling prophecies, so watch the stinking thinking.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, and productive 2007!

Laura Stack, the Productivity Pro
http://www.productivitypro.typepad.com/

What did you think of this article?

February 11, 2007

Some more love goodies...


If you've ever looked at my website, you'll notice that I have Mr Romantic on my Recommended page.

Well, just thought I'd highlight some of his great books for couples. What better time than the month for love...

1000 Questions for Couples

Secrets of Blissful Relationships

300 Date Ideas

101 Proposal Ideas

A Better Way to Date

World's Largest Relationship Collection

500 Lovemaking Tips

100 Bedroom Games

Go have a look and enjoy!

Valentine's Day in our household


For about 7 or 8 years now (shows you how long we've been married!), we've had our Valentine's Day supper on another day since it is impossible to even feel the least bit romantic in a Jhb restaurant.

Usually there are two shifts to accommodate all the people and they pack in so many tables. Not only that, but the service is terrible too (and I'm a stickler for good service).

So we went to a place called Soi in Mellville on Saturday night. It is a mixture of Thai, Vietnamese and Japanese food and of course, you know we love Thai food.

The service was excellent and according to Dion, so was the food. The portions weren't very generous but you won't go hungry. If pressed, I will admit that for South African Thai food, it was very good but I longed for the meals at Kata Kitchen in Thailand.

But the place was SO noisy and very, very dimly lit so I don't think I'll be back. A really cute thing that they did was present the bill with a little dish of coconut ice. Do you remember coconut ice? The last time I had any was probably 15 - 20 years ago!!!

If you like Thai food, try Chai Yo in Randburg. We've been there three times and it is outstanding!


One of the subscribers to my mailing list sent me this link with this nice article:

Ways To Enrich Your Marriage
By Bob Gass


"Live in… harmony… each with the attitude of Christ toward the other." Romans 15:5 TLB

Somebody said the difference between courtship and marriage is like the difference between the pictures in a seed catalogue and what actually comes up! But it doesn't have to be that way.

Author Steve Stephens offers this advice: "Start each day with a kiss… always wear your wedding ring [it was placed there to cut off your circulation!)… go on regular 'dates' with your spouse… accept your differences… be polite… be gentle… give little gifts… smile often… touch… talk about your dreams… adopt a song as 'your song'… give back rubs… laugh together… send cards for no reason… do what your partner wants before they ask… and learn to listen for what isn't being said… encourage one another… do it his or her way… compliment one another daily… call during the day… slow down… .hold hands… cuddle… ask for your mate's opinion… be respectful… always welcome your spouse when he or she comes home at the end of the day… make an effort to always look your best… wink at each other… celebrate special events… learn to apologise… forgive quickly… set up regular romantic getaways… ask, 'What can I do to make you happier?'… be positive… be kind… be vulnerable… respond quickly to your spouse's requests… talk about your love… reminisce about favourite times together… treat each other's friends and relatives with courtesy… send flowers on Valentine's Day and anniversaries… when you're wrong, admit it… be sensitive to your spouse's sexual needs… watch sunsets together… say 'I love you' often… never go to sleep angry… end every day with a hug… get professional help when you need it… and above all, pray daily for (and with) each other."

February 09, 2007

Coaching and coffee shops



Two of my favourite things!

Here's a picture of me with a client at the House of Coffees in the Killarney Mall.

I swear those people should give me commission because it's become one of my favourite coffee shop coaching spots.

Health & fitness goals - week 1

Well, it’s been a week since my new goal of increased health and fitness and I thought I’d let you know how it’s been going.

_________________
Fitness
_________________

My aim is 2 cardio classes every week with another 60 minutes of toning/ weights thrown in.

This week, I did one cardio and 1 weights class. The salsa dance teacher is back next week though and I can’t wait for the fun to begin again!!! So I should meet my goal next week.

________________
Nutrition
_________________

My goal is to stick to my weigh-less programme at least 90% of the time.

This week, I stuck to the programme but also had some lasagna and brownies at work one day (not together, of course) and some of my favourite chocolate (Cadbury’s) so the scale reflected those poor choices in a 0.2kg gain.

_________________
Sleep
_________________

I have been getting my 8 hours sleep easily this week. Can you believe I even slept 12 hours straight one day on the weekend?!

_________________
Water
_________________

This is not a problem for me as I easily get in my 2 litres every day, especially now that we’ve been having those scorchers here in Johannesburg.


So that’s where I’m at this week.

How are you doing? Please post your comments.

February 07, 2007

Date night

Hi there

Check out my Works for me Wednesday post on DATE NIGHT on the organising blog.

Let me know your ideas too!

February 04, 2007

Weekend cooking - Pizza sandwiches


If you didn't know by now, I don't like spending a lot of time in the kitchen. After all, there are more important things in life like....reading and organising!

Anyway, so this is one of my favourite things to make on the weekend and it takes all of 2 minutes to prepare.


Ingredients
Any bread - I use Slim Slice bread
30g lowfat cheese
Tomatoes
Mushrooms


Toast bread. I usually toast them a little harder than I'd normally do. You'll see why later.
Slice tomatoes and place on bread.
Divide cheese between slices.
Place sliced mushrooms on top
Sprinkle with spices - I put Italian pasta seasoning but plain old salt and pepper will do nicely



Zap in microwave for 30 seconds. This is when the bread softens and why I said toast more than usual.



Enjoy!

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