time management

Wellness Wednesday: Healthy Stuff 

Wellness includes how you feel as you function in everyday life. How you function greatly influences how well you are. How you handle your material belongings in your home and workspace influences all of this. Today’s post is devoted to introducing the topic of  healthy relationship with your material belongings. 

The developed world has an unhealthy relationship with stuff. Many of us have more than we need. Our collective patterns of consumption strain the environment.  Our individual patterns of consumption strain our personal finances. Excessive objects clutter our spaces andmakes us miserable. 

How can all this be stopped ? Two fairly recent books have addressed this challenge. The first was written by two friends of mine, Joshua Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It is titled, “Everything that Remains”.  I met these two fine fellows at TEDxWhitefish where they gave a beautiful and clever presentation on Minimalism, or the art of mindfully curating one’s things and one's life down to that which is necessary and desirable. You can access their work HERE: 


and their TEDx HERE: 


The second is a really trendy and fascinating set of books by a Japanese women named Marie Kondo. She has written The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up and its companion volume, Spark Joy. These books go into the concrete details of tidying up. However it is not done for its own sake. She makes it clear that it is to enhance quality of life and effectiveness in life. Ms. Kondo draws a clear connection from this tidying practice to clarity of mind and clarity of purpose. She speaks of improving relationships and clarifying life goals as by products of removing one’s clutter, and systematically determining which of one’s possessions “ spark’s joy”. Sparking joy is, in fact, her inclusion criteria. One should only keep an item if it “ sparks joy". Granted, joy is broadly defined to include traits like beauty or utility. She states quite plainly that curating and decluttering your space is a prerequisite to clarifying what is one’s own unique ideal lifestyle. 

I am no minimalist. In fact I derive great joy from textiles, colors, and various materials. I continually acquire new books. But I have come to understand that I should go through my things periodically, and that if I do there will be things which I can let go. Thus the quality of my items increases as their quantity decreases. 

I have also come to utilize alternatives to “ things”  more often. In particular, I am a magazine addict. My office overflows with them. I do not like the piles, even though I derive great joy from the individual issues. My solution ? I have gotten an app called Textile. For a small subscription fee, I can get many of the magazines I want in digital form. Additionally, I consume more and more material by Kindle or Audible. There are still some things, like cookbooks, which I like to have in paper, but this is the case less and less. 

I am interested in gaining mastery over my things so they are not master of me. I would like to edit and organize my things so they do not take up so much of my time. I am beginning to see time as a more tangible commodity. I am becoming more and more selective about how I spend this “ thing” called time. Your material possessions, you time, your lifestyle choices and your wellness are intimately related. Check out these two books, their insightful authors, and give a little more thought to how the space you inhabit influences the life you live. 


Wellness Wednesday: Time and Goals

We each have goals. What would it be like to accomplish them ? What would it be like to accomplish a lot of them ? Some people do. These are people with good time management. 

It occurred to me that before I discuss exercise on this Wellness Wednesday blog, I should discuss the one thing my patients say they need before they can exercise: more time. We all have one lifetime of time. What matters is how we use it. Everyone knows this, so what is the problem ? 

Most people are not fully aware of how they spend their own time.

They are not as factually familiar with how they spend each hour as the think they are. I have found that everyone thinks they’re busy, and everyone thinks they're active. People are less sure if they are efficient in their day. This is the territory I suggest we explore at this point in the New Year. 

We are talking about time management. Have you ever had a class in this ? Few people have. It seems like it would be a good idea right at the beginning of high school. Or how about right now, in the blog post ? 

Here is your mini class on time management, complete with some handouts and homework. 

  • Obtain a notebook to document this process. 
  • Record your present schedule, down to the hour, for one week. Include everything from housework to Facebook. Wear a watch all week so you will have realistic estimates of time. 
  • Make a list of goals, for the week, month, quarter, year and five years. 
  • Order the goals by priority.
  • Assess your week long log and see where you are misdirecting or wasting your time. 
  • Realign your schedule with your priorities. Include a spot for 30 minutes of exercise 6 days per week. 
  • Record what happens the next week and repeat. 

Now this is a VERY simplified version of a time management class. It is, however, the essence of the process. It only works however, if you are absolutely truthful with yourself about how you spend you day’s time and absolutely truthful about what you really want. 

I hear so much about not “ having enough time” to exercise, or to shop for healthy food, or to prepare healthy meals, that I decided to address it head on. 

For those interested in more, there are really so many great resources on the web, from Lifehack.org, to books by Harvard Business Review. 

Here is a one page handout on the subject. Click on the title below to download. 

"Time Management" from the Stanford Center for Teaching and Learning

For extra credit, here is an awesome self assessment and time management tool from University of Kentucky. Click on the title to download. 


"The Successful Person's Guide to Time Management"

This should be be printed, filled out and used. 

Class is dismissed. Homework is due next week! I’d love to hear how you do. 










Structure Sunday: The Structure of Time

For life to be good, we need a rhythm in the day, the week, the month, the season and the year. These circles within circles allow us to feel accomplishment, and to look forward to celebration. These finite periods allow what is overwhelming to become manageable. Structuring time helps us take the one lifetime that is ours, and fill it mindfully. 

I need to feel I am making progress on my long term goals every year. I use the annual holidays like Thanksgiving and New Years for self assessment. I can look back at the same time one year back and see the changes. 

The seasons hold a different joy. Each time I am sad to see the leaves fall, I am, shortly thereafter, shocked by the beauty of frost and snow. I am reminded that all seasons hold beautiful surprises, and that I am foolish to imagine that nothing exciting is around the corner. 

My business cycle is the month. This is how bills are paid, and accounts are balanced. Accountability is examined month by month. Actual money is one representation of work and effort, and as such it is a useful tool to use in gauging how we are meeting our responsibilities. 

My work cycle is the week. I want a chance to get stuff done, and I want to be creative in that work. I try to pace myself all week long, with a lighter day midweek, then forge on to the weekend, when I would hope to be creative. 

My personal cycle is the day. I believe we all thrive with a good day's work. However, in my opinion, this includes some important health and productivity features. Consider the basics:  sleep , nutrition and exercise. Most people need at least 7 hours of sleep. With this, you will have more concentration, stamina and productivity. You might even have a better mood. Life is just more fun and you will be more successful with a modicum of sleep. 

Food is so important! It is your fuel. You should frontload your day with a healthy breakfast of protein, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. That will turn on your metabolism and your brain. Later in the day, food can give you several healthful recharges: your midmorning snack, your lunch, and your afternoon snack. This way you will not tank your metabolism, feel sluggish, or hardly be able to think. Eating three meals and three snacks per day is a foundational principle of nutrition, and will help you feel better and perform better. 

Somewhere in the course of the day you must carve out at least a half an hour for exercise. It is best to schedule this formally, just like a meeting or an appointment, and to take it just as seriously. The magic of routines will reward you if you persevere. The more you do it, the easier it will be. 

 Everyone from a teen mom to the CEO of a large corporation needs a schedule. To achieve mastery over your time, you must invest in either a paper or electronic system. Smartphones generally come with everything you need in this regard, but the old school day runners can do just as well. But these alone won't do the trick. You must develop a routine of sitting down with the schedule to look it over and fill it in mindfully. I recommend looking at your schedule every Sunday to assess the coming week, and also looking every evening to prep for the next day. Make your schedule check a routine. The habit will stick better if you do it at the same time and place every day. 

Routine lowers stress. Breaking up goals and plotting them over time encourages success. These are among some of the most important things I want for my patients. The particulars I teach them about disease conditions and health maintenance will not help them unless they can follow through on the recommended treatment or prevention steps. Fostering patient success will continue to be a big thrust of this blog and the website in general. 

For more information, please see the hyperlinks in the text. Have a great week !