Be the Dog—3 steps to take control

Don't push the button yet!

I opened my laptop and panic struck. I had 23% power remaining on my battery. Only minutes earlier had I recovered from noticing my iphone battery was at 50%. It dawned on me that, daily; I am plagued with this new stressor—technology.

I had several appointments today with the first scheduled for late morning. It is just past noon now.

My first stop was to pick up a package for a client. It was on the way of my second appointment. You know—do unto others… I was taking a new route and it was raining. I plugged in my phone GPS to make sure I didn’t miss the exit.

The second appointment was for my daughter. Although at a medical center we’ve been to numerous times, it was a new route. Again, I used my GPS to make sure I chose the right path. Her appointment would last a couple hours. Instead of waiting there, as I typically do, I decided to run a couple errands and then visit a little park I had seen, only blocks away. The rain was now only a drizzle and what I saved in parking fees could be invested in a latte.

I could write, enjoy the brisk winter day and savor my latte. And there, my story begins. I parked. Upon discovering that GPS use had drained my battery, I plugged into the car charger. I should’ve brought the auxiliary charger on my desk—should’ve, would’ve, could’ve.

As I open my laptop, I say out loud, “What a great little park”! I glance at the menu bar—23% battery remains. My thoughts start racing. How did I let this happen? I could go back to the coffee shop and plug in. I wonder how much time I’ll really have?  Did I even pack my charger? Wait, maybe I could finish an article before the 23% runs out! What a dunce! Anyway, you can picture the play by play.

After a few deep breathes, I decide to write about the experience instead of the article I had planned to work on. I think they call it…writing therapy.

It dawned on me that these tools that are supposed to make us so much more efficient often times only add to the too busy days we tend to carve out for ourselves. For years, though, I have been a firm believer that things happen for a reason.

The moral of my story is this—minds are easily influenced by the moment. One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is to find balance and train our minds to be part Boy Scout, part Zen master and lastly, the dog. Let me elaborate.

  1. The Boy Scout is always prepared. I have decided to always carry auxiliary chargers. I always have a pen, a credit card, cash and my lip liner (what can I say, this boy scout looks better with defined lips). Bottom line; don’t set yourself up for failure.
  2. The Zen Master demonstrates control in all types of situations. Many years ago, I discovered the irreplaceable value of a breath. Whenever I am feeling stressed and take note, my breathing is shallow. Several long deep breaths can move your mind to a better place.
  3. Lastly, let’s look at the Dog. I did not say, a dog, but the Dog. A friend of mine often tells his employs to ask themselves if they are letting the tail wag the dog. The desired answer, of course, is a resounding no. So be the Dog and take control of your tail. In other words, don’t let outside influences control your mind.

By the way, I finished my writing therapy session with battery power to spare. I also discovered a lovely new sanctuary I will visit again and found the time to converse with you. It’s been far too long. I’ll see you again soon!


The Art of Traveling Well

Tips that will help whether you're travel one night or twenty

Tips that will help whether you're travel one night or twenty

Tips for carefree travel

Over the years, I’ve spent more and more time traveling—frequent short trips back and forth across the state and other more distant jaunts spanning the globe. Whether you travel occasionally or frequently for business or pleasure, these tips should help you feel on top of your game.

Wheels, wheels, wheels If your luggage doesn’t have wheels, give it away. This includes your computer/shoulder bag. This is especially critical, as airlines have made the switch to the one bag only rule. Get a computer bag with wheels and a little extra space. Many times it has saved the day when my too full suitcase was over the weight limit.

Pack light  Be creative Think double duty. Don’t even attempt to cover every possible situation. You never have as much time to do everything you thought you would. Think layers and coordinating, interchangeable items. Accessorize up and down. The same camisole can work on the beach and dressed up for dinner later that evening. Choose shoes that transition well between casual and dressy.

Even if you travel just a few times a year, keep a fully stocked ready to roll toiletry bag. It’s inevitable you will forget things if you try gather what you need just before departing. It’s worth the investment to buy a second set of the things you use daily. You can also pick up some small travel containers and fill those for your second set to save some money. Check and refill anything that needs attention when you return and you’ll be set for the next trip. has Q10 Facial Film Soap (paper thin tiny sheets of face cleanser) that is oh so portable and feels great on your skin.

On a side note, I’ve become a sunscreen fanatic. When you’re traveling, the sun is sure to find you. As I gain on the big 5-0, I admit, it’s sheer vanity as much as a concern for battling the health hazards of the sun that I am not without my protection. For both reasons, though, I encourage you to always use sunscreen. There are small handy dandy sunscreen sticks that look like giant lip balm and Peter Thomas Roth makes a great SPF 30 self-contained brush and mineral powder.

A computer in your pocket The popularity of the iPhone, Blackberry and likes is not without reason. I can do many of the tasks on my iPhone that I usually do on my computer. I have access to my email, twitter and facebook accounts. I can check the weather, the tides and the status of my flight. I can look for a nearby restaurant. The list is endless. Good or bad—productivity need never stop.

The virtual world Recently, I did a post about our virtual receptionist. Any of us can be anywhere and the phone system will find us (what’s that saying?…you can run but you can’t hide). I also recently switched to a virtual merchant account. No longer does anyone need to be in the office, at the terminal, to process credit cards. Bills are now paid online saving time, paper and stamps. Newspaper delivery can be stopped and started online. Look for ways to manage mundane tasks better.

Entertainment at your fingertips Watching movies is in my top five to-dos. I tried Netflix when it first hit the market but quickly tired of the wait time between DVD deliveries (usually no fault of Netflix but more my failure to drop the DVD in the mail). The new and improved version of this convenient movie and more service fills the wait voids with unlimited use of its streaming video library. Yep, that’s right; picture Masterpiece Theatre on one side of your screen with a spreadsheet on the other.

Amazon’s Kindle deserves a mention here, also. This wonderful, lightweight little gem lets you download books and magazines from any location. I have to admit, I didn’t think I’d like giving up the feeling of turning the pages of a book but I love my Kindle.

You gotta eat Speaking of Amazon, I am a frequent visitor and customer. One of my favorite food items, and many others, are now available on a subscription basis. My case of GoGo Steamed Rice Bowls (scrumptious little containers that produce two servings of perfectly cooked organic brown rice in a mere 90 seconds ala microwave!) arrives on schedule every other month. Not only does it save me the trouble of remembering to reorder but it also lowers my cost and awards me with free shipping. And yes, my shelf safe (kind of a scary term but sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do when the rice cooker has to stay behind) rice often travels with me.

Eating out is always one of the delights of travel. It’s fun to try new places. Its also all too easy to skip meals or on the other end of the spectrum, eat too much of the wrong things at the wrong times. I used to feel a little vegetable deprived when I was on the road but have found that most restaurants will gladly substitute veggies for part of your dish—even at breakfast!

Another good idea is to make your own trail mix packets. Keep these will you always and you’ll never get to the hunger point that will have you grabbing a candy bar to chug with your fifth cup of coffee. Much of the trail mix you find on the store shelves has a high percentage of dried fruit that often contains other preservatives. Nuts are a great source of protein and a satisfying snack. Opt for fresh fruit instead. And, lastly, stay hydrated. Use a water bottle for not only easy portability but to remind yourself that you need another twelve ounces.

I could go on but this post has grown rather long and there’s always another day!  Happy travels. For my closing thought…

No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow. ~Lin Yutang