Motivational Monday: House Bound

I was feeling particularly unmotivated this Monday but as the day wore on I started to look forward to the order that Monday night brings after the general business of a w end. I’m not set on a strict Monday night routine of chores – I think it helps to schedule something exciting to look forward to every few Mondays – but sometimes its also good to just stay home and get your affairs in order. My 3 standard Monday night activities include: gym, laundry and cooking. And let’s face it, sometimes its hard to fit even as few as three chores into a night. Tonight I managed to complete only phase 2 of the butternut squash soup making process (scooping out the flesh from the skin roasted the day before in phase 1). Liquidizing remains for another day. Nonetheless, I made incremental progress towards living a tidy, well nourished life. I love cooking but it often gets sacrificed for activities that lure me out of the home. If I can do things like grocery shop and/or cook on a Monday, my entire week is set up on a healthy note. The same goes for the gym – if I manage to exercise on a Monday I’m much more likely to keep up the trend for the remainder of the week. If I don’t go on the other hand, I’m even less likely to want to go on Tuesday.

As for laundry, it’s by far the most boring task of any day of the week so you may as well just get it over with. Or, if you are as un-into laundry and house work in general as I am, here’s and idea on how to make it a bit more palatable…whether you have to hire in a houseboy or can find a willing candidate at home…

Happy homely Monday!


Motivational Monday: Do something you love

It’s Monday again. Back to work. Not everyone loves their work, but I’ve discovered a useful secret that will help you get through the week. If you do things you love outside of work, Monday to Friday becomes a lot more bearable. An alternate focus can give you perspective and something to be excited about on a daily basis, even if you’re only dedicating an hour a day or less to it.

I love lots of things outside of work but a list that has long made up some of my favourite ways to spend my non working hours includes: friends, food, traveling, reading, writing, flowers, gardening, tennis, dance.

This year, I’ve been good about deciding which of these to prioritize and it has brought me a huge amount of joy. Take flowers and gardening. A month ago I did the flowers for a friend’s wedding. I loved the creative process of working with the bride to understand what kind of experience she wanted her wedding to be and how the flowers could help create it. Then I had to conceptualize what flowers would be needed, plan where I would get them from and how to keep them alive, and finally how to put them together in a way that wouldn’t ruin THE MOST IMPORTANT day in my friend’s life to date.


                                        Keeping alive and assembling the flowers


                      Finished product – a very heavy basket for a very tiny flower girl.


        Relaxed and beautiful flowers, just like the bride.

This kind of activity is what Kevan Lee describes as a ‘side project’ as opposed to a ‘hobby’, in the Fast Company article How Creative Hobbies Make Us Better At Basically Everything. It has a defined product and outcome, whereas hobbies are more of an ongoing interest – repeatable enjoyable activities with no time pressure.

Dedicating time to a side project can be really rewarding. With the wedding flowers, the bride and groom were extremely grateful, but I really felt like the experience had done more for my happiness than for theirs.

Being able to differentiate between projects and hobbies has been really useful for me. While I loved doing the flowers, I couldn’t do something like that every week as it would be a second full time job. Before this revelation, I had a tendency to want to treat all the interests I had outside of work as side projects, instead of casual hobbies. This is way too overwhelming and you’ll end up feeling like you’ve accomplished nothing. Now, I’m happy doing larger projects, like wedding flowers, from time to time and tending to my tomatoes (my less intensive gardening hobby) on a regular basis.

What do you love outside of work? Can you make it into a side project with a mini goal? Or is it better off as a hobby? Either way, identify your list of creative loves and plan to dedicate time to them. It will be your sideline of joy during the work week, I promise!

Motivational Monday: It could be worse

Every so often on a Monday, I get the blues. I guess they are called Monday blues for a reason. Today I’m ok actually, even though work is kicking my ass. Last Monday I was blue, even though my life was great. You can’t predict it. So, for those of you who find yourself in a little slump this Monday, or may do in Mondays to come, I’m committed to sharing some coping strategies with you.

A good friend recently pointed out an obvious and miserable fact: we are born and die ALONE.  This is a great example of a depressing Monday thought but one that would be encouraged by Stoic philosophers, who believe that worst case scenarios can be extremely helpful and that we should invest time actively preparing for the inevitable miseries of life.

The two videos shared here should 1. help you better understand the stoics and 2. help you apply their wisdom.

Enjoy! Remember, tomorrow you could be dead…

The School of Life giving us a fresh perspective on how to man up!

Wise words from Tim Ferris on how to practically convert pessimism into motivation: