One super simple way to make every day delightful

I make no secret of the fact that I love Fridays but just last week I noticed something kinda funny … Fridays are both delightful, and I usually get shed loads done. Which, if you think about it, is really weird, because my goal for a Friday is to have fun and schedule as little work stuff as humanly possible.

Sure, there are things that have to get done (yes, I totally almost wrote ‘should’ then – for shame!) but those things always get done, no matter what, so they never see light of day on a to-do list or anything like that. (For the record, I despise to-do lists with a passion, but that’s a story for another time.)

So how is it possible that I could get sooo much done, when I’ve planned so little, and still have it be the best day of the week?

I pick one important thing that I choose to do.

Yes, just one, and yes, it’s an important one, and yes, I totally make a game of choosing.

That’s super useful for so many reasons. Choosing is empowering and motivating and removes all of the ‘have tos’ and ‘got tos’ from a day.

Doing something because you’ve chosen to do it is delightful!

But even more important is choosing just one thing.

We spend far too much of our time chasing our tails feeling rushed and stressed because we’re running out of time to get everything done. What if we chose to do less? What if we only had to do that one thing, and anything after that was just a bonus?

And even if we only got that one thing done, we could call the day brilliant?

Sounds delightful!

There’s a catch of course, because even as we’re saying we’re going to choose to do just one thing, secretly we’re all hoping that it’ll be the spring board for loads more. And, can we really be content with only getting that one thing done and nothing more?

It takes practice, for sure. You know that cliche about something being simple but not easy? Yeah, that. But it does get easier with practice. You just need to give it a try.

Are you ready to upset the status quo?

Do you know how sometimes something happens and it’s like the exact opposite of what you were expecting? Or maybe it’s something that seems so left of field, you wouldn’t have even considered it as an option?

OK, so yeah, that was yesterday.

I was driving toward the (green) traffic lights, on my way to pick the kids up from school when an older lady, probably in her late 70s, decided to cross the road.

To give you a bit of context, this is a road with a pedestrian crossing, except that she didn’t press the button and wait for the green man. She just stepped into the road and proceeded to cross it, incredibly slowly.

Now I would love to tell you that I slowed down and waited patiently, without grumbling in my head about how she should have just waited for the crossing.

I’d love to be able to tell you that but that would be a lie. I did of course slow down and I had no choice but to wait, but I can’t say that I didn’t grumble a little bit! πŸ˜‰

And then the unexpected happened.

As the lady got across the road and onto the pavement and I was driving past where she was walking, she gave me a little thumbs up. I wish I could have captured that moment on film because it was incredible and made me smile. And yes, it also made me feel guilty for having grumbled, even if it was only in my head πŸ™‚

And it also got me to thinking about how you and I could upset the status quo today. Create the unexpected. Bring a smile to a place where it might not otherwise be.

Sometimes it’s as simple as being open to the smile inducing stuff and other times it might mean being the one who brings the sunshine of a kind word but there’s no doubt in my mind that this world needs you and I to act as conduits of cheer.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22

And so your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it πŸ˜‰ Keep your eyes open today for an opportunity to do something so unexpected, it makes someone else smile.

Use your imagination. Get creative. And when you’ve done it send me a tweet and tell me all about it. Making people smile is my favourite thing to do so I’d love to hear you got on πŸ™‚

How to survive in a culture that celebrates burnout

I was reading my friend LaVone’s blog post yesterday and she described herself as a watcher.

If you don’t know LaVonne, she’s a sixty something years young adventurer, travelling around the US in her home on wheels, cutely named ‘LaVanne’. She’s an inspiration and you should hear the stories she has to tell.

But that’s not why I’m mentioning her today.

At the end of her post she said, β€œI like to watch. Is that so wrong?” and, much like one of the commentators, I wanted to rush and tell her, no, of course it’s not wrong. You’re delightful and wonderful, just the way you are.

Thankfully for us though, LaVonne’s totally at peace with being a watcher. It’s all good πŸ™‚

But as I was pondering on today and what I might share with you (between you and I, I never know from one day to the next!) it did get me to thinking.

As I write this it’s Monday, a brand new week. I love new things. New weeks. New months. New stuff. New ideas. There is this temptation though to feel like we need to go big with the new.

We give lip service to the importance of rest and stillness but all the while living in a culture that celebrates burnout. Don’t believe me? When was the last time you saw anyone receive an award for sitting still and doing nothing?!?

If we do manage to stop for just a little while we feel like we have to provide an explanation as to why it is we feel justified in so doing. We seem incapable of doing nothing.

But what if we didn’t live like this? What if we stopped pushing and striving and contorting ourselves to fit in? What might that look like?

There’s a time for action and a time to be still, a time to reap and a time to sow, a time for tears and a time to celebrate. There is a time for everything.

But that everything has it’s time means, logically, some of the time we have to stop. Be still. Do nothing. Otherwise it’s all just out of balance.

Does the idea of doing nothing freak you out a little bit? Maybe you fear you’ll getting nothing done? Ruin your life? Waste your days?

But what if you could simply trust that those small, consistent daily actions you’re taking, mixed in with periods of still and quiet nothing, were actually the perfect antidote to theΒ burnout loving culture that we live in?

God did loads of cool stuff, made the world, and then rested. He didn’t first send a memo explaining that he’d worked jolly hard and now was his time to chill out.Β Instead, he set that day of rest as part of the rules for living for Moses and all the people after him.

We live in a post-Jesus world where much of the rules and guidelines of the Old Testament don’t apply any more (you should see the mixed fabrics I’m wearing today, for example) but some things, if we chose to hang on to them, would be great for us.

And that includes resting. Being still.

And so your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it πŸ˜‰ is to take 5 minutes today to just be, yes, even though it’s Monday!

Are you ready?
Get to it! πŸ™‚

Read this if you’ve ever had to start over …

Do you remember the challenge we started on Monday? How are you getting on with that? Did you totally forget to do your one small thing yesterday? Or maybe that was just me?!? πŸ˜‰

So between donating blood and talking to clients and, I dunno, life happening, I totally forgot to write out my goals yesterday. (That was my one small, new thing. If you have noooo idea what I’m talking about, click here, you’ll catch up. I’ll wait.)

And I didn’t even remember that I had forgotten until I was tucked up in bed ready to go to sleep again. Bother!

As I was drifting off to sleep though, I remembered that it was almost FridayΒ (did I ever tell you how much I love Fridays??)Β which got me to thinking about how we could turn this ‘missing a day’ thing around.

Because we all do it, maybe it really was just me this time, but I’m pretty sure you’ve experienced this … that thing that happens when you commit to change and it’s all gung-ho and fabulous for a few days, and then you slip up, miss a day, snarl at someone you love when you’d promised yourself you were all about love and sweet thoughts.

What if we didn’t have to start over?

What if this brand new day was already a fresh start, a clean slate, ready for you to doodle on today?

And what if you were given the gift of a new doodle, every single day? Because you know what? You are.

Do you remember that really old song you used to sing in school when you were a kid?

This is the day that the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

It turns out that that was lifted straight from the bible (Psalm 118, in case you were wondering) and it is the perfect antidote to “starting over” thinking.

Here’s to lots of delightful, imperfect, gloriously messy doodles today. Are you in?

What do you say when you don’t know what to say?

September 11th. The one day of the year, above almost all others, when I don’t really know what to say. Days like Remembrance Sunday are easier because, for most people, the events are so far off, it doesn’t hurt any more.

Plus, well, it’s a Sunday and I don’t publish the daily dose on a Sunday πŸ˜‰

For a moment I considered saying nothing. Skipping a day and coming back tomorrow. It’s been less than a fortnight since the daily dose restarted so it’s not like I’ve been all that consistent.

But that felt a bit icky.

But then this thought popped in my head … love.

What do you say or do when you don’t know what to say or do?

What one thing has the ability to cover over a multitude of sins?

What’s that command that Jesus gave, the one that knocked all the others out of the ring?

Love.

Whatever that looks like for you today. Love.

It’s not the kinda magic that can bring back loved ones or remove hurt from your memory, but the world starts to look a whole lot kinder from the other side of a hug and a smile. Don’t you think?

Love as a verb, a doing word. Here’s to doing love today πŸ™‚

Read this if it’s already been a long week

This is for those days when you feel like you’ve woken up the day after running three marathons.

This is for those days when every, single, single, step feels like one step too many.

This is for those days when you’re forcing yourself to smile and keep on going but all you really want to do is cwtch up on the sofa with a coffee and watch Doctor Who and Donna escape The Library, again.

This is for those days when you need a reminder that you a brilliant and wonderful and stupendous, and you don’t have to speed along full throttle to make that any more so.

This is for those days when you need to be reminded just how loved and treasured and adored you are.

Actually, that last one is for every day πŸ˜‰

Your challenge for today – if you choose to accept it πŸ˜‰ is to take some time to slow down and just be, even if you’re having a fairly excellent day and you’re speeding along like the energiser bunny.

In fact, especially if you’re speeding along like the energiser bunny! πŸ˜‰

Stop. Open your eyes and take a really good look around you. This day is a gift. You are a treasure. Smile πŸ™‚

What if it was ok to tweak and adjust as you went?

If you’re a heart surgeon this is terrible advice but for the rest of us mere mortals, there’s something to be said for having a target in mind and then allowing for adjustments along the way.

As an aside, if you are a heart surgeon, send me a tweet and tell me. If you’re also a massive Doctor Who fan, you get double points, ok? πŸ˜‰

OK, so yes, I am still thinking about that challenge that we started yesterday. If you need to play catch up, click here. By the power of the Internet, I’ll be here waiting for you when you get back.

See? Told you didn’t I. Wasn’t that neat.

So anyway, yesterday was the very first day of a brand new mini-challenge that I’m calling the “one new thing” challenge and you may remember that I told you that my one new thing, for the next 21 days only (because it feels kinda silly and pointless) is to write my 3 major goals down, every morning.

What I didn’t tell you was how. Or where.

Because yesterday I wrote them on my white board in plain view of my desk, or so I thought.

Can you guess how many times I walked past that white board yesterday? Probably, I dunno, maybe fifty times.

Guess how many times I looked at and remembered and reflected on those goals I’d written down. You’ve guessed it …. zero!

So today I’m adjusting and tweaking, just slightly, and I now have a piece of paper stuck on the wall in front of me. Not very pretty or subtle, but that’s kinda the idea πŸ˜‰

All of which got me to thinking …

Whether it be in relation to the “one new thing” challenge or something else in your day to day life, here’s your challenge for today – if you choose to accept it πŸ˜‰

Take a look at the things in your life that are “business as usual”. What might today look like if you took one of those things and tweaked it, just slightly? How might it make you smile more? Love more? Have a little more faith?

Think about it, but then, when you’re ready, give it a try.

OK? Excellent! Get to it! πŸ™‚

Are you ready to try one new thing?

Just one. Maybe something small and seemingly insignificant. But new.

Accordingly to clever old brain box Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

And if we’re doing the same thing over and over and over and over again, day after day after week after month, that’s almost certainly true.

But you know what’s also true? You’ve got to give stuff time to stick.

I’m all for trying new stuff, new ways of doing things, hacking daily life to make it more fun, more loving, more productive, more profitable, but the one thing I’ve learned from trying lots and lots (and lots!) of different ways at doing life, is that some things take time.

It’s sooo ridiculously easy to try something for three or four days and then, because we’re not immediately seeing the results we expected, give up and try something new.

That’s not what today is about. If you love the feeling of trying new stuff only to give up and switch to another new thing after a small handful of days, keep moving. I have nothing for you today. You can come back tomorrow πŸ™‚

For everyone else, I give you the “one new thing challenge”. Are you ready?

Here’s how it’s going to work …

Today, and only today, pick one small thing, one small new thing, that you’re willing to commit to, for today and the next 21 days.

Not sure what to pick? Don’t sweat it! For the purposes of this experiment, pick any one new thing that feels right for you and give that a go.Β The fun thing about this is that it’s only for 21 days and, probably most importantly, it doesn’t need to be something massive.

Are you ready? Get to it! πŸ™‚

 

Read this if you feel like you don’t make a difference.

It’s really easy to look around at all the cool stuff going on in the world and feel like you’re not quite there yet, that there’s soooo much more your could or should be doing, and why are you such a slacker?!?

Or maybe that’s just me πŸ˜‰

I woke up today not really knowing what I was going to share in today’s blog post. One of the things I love most about writing these each day is the way random thoughts and stories and ideas pop in my head (no prizes for guessing who I give credit to for those!)

And I get to share them with you in a way which sees the both of us skipping off happily into the new day. (That’s the plan at least!)

And so as I was walking back from dropping the kids home from school, I still had nothing.Β No stress, it’ll happen, I thought. I wait until I’m inspired to write but I make sure I always get inspired by 9.30am πŸ˜‰

So I’m chatting with one of the mums at school when suddenly, out of nowhere, a bug lands on my back and makes me jump! Except, it wasn’t a bug, it was the old guy from across the road sneaking up behind me while I’m chatting. He made me jump a mile!

This gent is a lovely guy. I only usually see him when the sun is out and he’s tidying up his garden at about the time the children come out. We had a quick chat and on we all went with our respective days.

Fast forward a few minutes and I was just up the road from my house when I caught up to another older chap who I say hello to whenever I see him. Apparently I say hello to lots of people πŸ˜‰

And we too stopped for a quick hello and a chat and then, finally, I got home.

And it was as I walked into the house that this thought popped into my head:

Never underestimate the difference you make each day, just by being you.

It’s really easy to look around at the massive things people are putting out into the world and feel like we’re not enough. And, yes, sometimes, we might be part of something huge, but for the rest of the time there’s just real life.

Showing up. Being yourself.

Even the big things that people do, when you break them down and actually look at them, are made up ofΒ smaller parts, daily actions, showing up and doing the work.

A smile. Eye contact. A conversation with a random stranger while you’re waiting in line. Holding a door open for someone. Saying “thank you” and actually meaning it.

Teeny tiny things that we oh so easily take for granted.

Never underestimate the difference you make each day, just by being you.

Until next time, keep being the wonderful you that you are! πŸ™‚

If something’s not working, try changing the view.

Creatures of habit that we are, it’s all too easy to slip into the same old same old each day. Days turn to weeks turn to months and before you know it, it’s Christmas, again.

And that’s fine (actually, that’s great. I love Christmas!) but if we’re wanting to build a life that we can look back on and smile about, sometimes we need to fight against the same old, same old.

This morning, after dropping the children off at school, I tried something just a little bit different. Instead of sitting at my desk to write this email, I grabbed a couple of boxes and set up my ad hoc standing desk. A really teeny tiny tweak but you know what? It feels fabulous!

I can feel my feet firmly on the floor, bare toes wiggling.

Every now and then I move a little, roll my shoulders, enjoy the sensation of a good back stretch.

And with each movement I feel a little breeze as my dress dances with me. Summer is back in my corner of the world today and, right here, right now, I feel a little more alive and connected with the planet.

All that from three boxes!

And it got me thinking … routine is great. We all need varying degrees of certainty in our day to day lives and without it, our brains would probably implode (and that would get very messy!)

But, for those times when things are feeling a little bit less than stellar, when things aren’t quite rolling along as we’d like, how might things be different if we changed the view?

One of the things I love digging intoΒ is the impact upgrading our environment can have on day to day life. And just like my teeny tiny tweak today, sometimes the smallest of changes can make a massive difference.

And so to your challenge for today, if you choose to accept it … πŸ˜‰

How might you change your view today?

This might be a literal change of perspective (things look a lot different from where I’m standing!) or, for you, we might be talking metaphors and brain gymnastics.

Whatever it means for you, remember, our God is a creator God, and you were made in his image, which makes you naturally creative too. Allow that clever brain of yours to mull over today’s challenge and see what ideas rise to the surface.

And then give those ideas a try, if only for one day. Try stuff out and see what fits πŸ™‚

And when you’re done, let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear about it πŸ™‚

Until then, keep smiling πŸ™‚