10 things

April 6, 2011

what are your essential elements?
this morning, i came across an article on 10 things to do every day to stay organized.

i thought it was pretty good, but her 10 things aren’t necessarily my ten things. and while my ten things may not be your ten things, it will likely provide some food for thought!

my 10 things to do every day to stay organized [and happy]
1. morning me-time: getting up early enough to eat a peaceful breakfast, catch up with some of my favorite blogs, write my own post, and generally get ready to start a new day.

the scene: unedited
2. just do it! one famous rule from the famous getting things done [if you haven’t read this yet – you should!!] is the two-minute rule, which dictates that if something will take less than 2 minutes to do, you should do it RIGHT as the task pops up because it would take longer to organize it/queue it up to tackle later.

i think this is a great rule and try to apply it to everything from confirming a dentist appointment to washing a few stray dishes in the sink. if left unfinished, i know i will just end up ruminating on those kinds of tasks later, so typically i will do them right as they come up. less mental clutter –> more clarity –> more happiness. at least in theory.

3. let go of [artificial] deadlines. i used to stress myself out every morning trying to get to work at a certain time, and then i realized that no one but me cares whether i arrive at 8:00 or 9:00 most days [exception: clinic days, as obviously i don’t want to make patients wait!]. as long as i can get my work done, it’s fine. yes, i sign onto the pager at 8:00 and may answer a few from my car, but typically i don’t get that many during that rush/commuting hour anyway.

i am convinced that if i use my time wisely and focus when i am working, that my job is doable with a reasonable number of hours [and therefore an acceptable work/life balance!]. if i ever get to a place where i find that is truly not the case . . . well, something will have to change.

4. plan out meals + workouts in advance. having these things set — and groceries shopped for — before the busy week begins? honestly, if i didn’t do this, we’d probably end up eating out [or frozen pizza] every night.

currently hanging out on our fridge
5. stick to the plan unless there’s a really good reason!

of course, sometimes life gets in the way: you have to work late, or you feel a virus coming on. but generally, i never regret following through on my plans to attend yoga class or make a healthy meal at home. the occasional off-week is okay, but there should be a good reason!

6. build in fun + time for relaxation. is it sad that if i don’t have ‘chill out on the couch’ on my list that i might not get to it? perhaps. but this works for me! in addition, setting up social engagements [dinners out, weekends away, etc] really helps to MAKE SURE i don’t get so caught up in the little day-to-day demands that i miss out on . . . actually living. i am sure some of you can relate! and i think this will become even more important once we have children someday.

7. find a level of clean you can live with. kath, you know i love you — but until we get to a place when we can hire someone to do it, my house is NEVER going to meet home clean home standards. i used to worry about this, but honestly? i’d rather have the time to chill out on the couch [see above] than have every nook and cranny sparkling. i do like things to stay organized, and therefore i do keep things reasonable most of the time . . . a level i can live with that balances my efforts and the result.

8. when in doubt, throw it out [or donate it, or sell it on ebay!]. usually. thank you for all of your thoughts [and lovely compliments] on my wedding dress! i think you have convinced me to keep it around, at least for now. but part of keeping things more manageable without a ton of effort [see #7] is to NOT allow for a huge buildup of . . . stuff.

9. smile and embrace small talk. i’m slightly embarrassed to admit it, but during residency it was not that uncommon for random strangers to take one look at me in the elevator and say, “come on, honey! it’s not so bad!”. that is because i went around with a perma-scowl, thanks to sleep deprivation and . . . well, more sleep deprivation.

now that i am better rested, i see the value in keeping a pleasant expression when i walk around at work [most of the time] — and have noticed that it’s contagious! when i talk to someone about the weather or their cute shoes in the elevator coming down from the parking garage, it feels good. it enhances the feeling of community — after all, we’re all in it together, right? this also applies to patient interactions as well. sometimes parents come in very frustrated or with very specific expectations that we may not be able to meet [ie: find an endocrine cause for my kid’s obesity/behavior issues/short stature] — but i have found that when i make a conscious effort to exude positivity during clinical interactions, it almost always bounces back, which translates to a better experience for all parties involved.

10. when you need to, break your own rules — and forgive yourself completely! so for example, in reference to #5, above? sometimes a really good reason to miss a workout or skip an errand is that you are too tired or even . . . YOU JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE IT, OKAYYYY? and as long as this doesn’t happen every day, it’s totally normal and okay. much better to practice self-love and move on than to marinate in a stew of guilt and self-pity.

it happens. and that’s okay!

any elements that you would add or change? obviously, these are not one-size-fits all, but i had fun thinking about what works for me!



workout: 75 minute power/yin yoga class at BP — a really fun class led by andrea r! it had a little of everything, from crow to headstands to a cool sequence that ended in bird of paradise.

ke$ha kasha pilaf with salmon
i didn’t know what to expect from this CE recipe — i had never made kasha before. turns out, i LOVE it! i grew up eating kasha [always with bow-tie pasta for some reason!], but sort of forgot about it over the last decade.

now, i think i will bring it back into regular rotation. i love the toasty buckwheat flavor.

note my dining partner’s elegant outfit . . . we dine in style!


  • Reply shusda March 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Loved your 10 things. Words to live by!

  • Reply marathonmaiden March 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    i will forever love that last picture of you. always.

    love this post. i love the "just do it" tip as well. for really small things, even putting it on a list to check off (and be satisfied with it) just causes stress. i don’t know why i do it!

  • Reply Kath March 10, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    My house is not as clean as it seems!!

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