7 Tips (plus 1 bonus) To Make Your Wait Times More Productive

Are you good at waiting? Not me. I have been known to abandon my handful of stuff rather than stand in a long line at the grocery store.  Redbox pains me. Even when I reserve online there is always a couple in front of me browsing and contemplating like it was a major decision. C’mon people – this is Redbox.  Aren’t there only like two movies worth seeing?

Thank goodness for Amazon Prime.

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As I write this I am waiting with more than fifty other women (yes I got up and counted) to get a mammogram.  I wait to get it, then wait to have it read, then I usually get called back for more images. Wait again for second reading. Three hours later…I’m home.

I get that waiting is a part of life.  I am prepared for today’s wait.  I can take it. Otherwise, waiting for me is torture.

Restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, drive-through banks, 1-800 customer service, airports, free delivery option, slow Internet, amusement park lines, traffic – we are always waiting for something.  Instead of  complaining or leaving, why not put that wait time to good use?

According to Ask.com,

wait times

My fellow Impatienatos, I give you

7 tips to make your wait time more productive.

  • Play cards. Keep a standard deck of cards handy. This is my secret for making restaurant waiting tolerable. There are so many quick, fun games to play you may be disappointed to see your food finally arrive.
  • Read. A magazine, book, or newspaper. Truly, there is nothing like leafing through the latest issue of Forbes or People. Or reading a chapter of that book you never have time to read. Perfect for airports, doctors office, car shop.
  • Learn a new language. Try Duolingo. You can do this in traffic, in line, really anywhere.

Aprender un nuevo idioma es bueno para el cerebro.

  • Clean out your wallet. Throw out old coupons, organize your cards, and find that loose change at the bottom of your purse.
  • Strike up a conversation. You’re both in the same predicament, why not chitchat and maybe make a new friend?
  • Write.  If I didn’t have to wait, I wouldn’t have written this post. Write a letter, a poem, an essay, or a list of things you need to do.

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  • Relax, breathe and just wait. Finally, an opportunity to do nothing.  Waiting can be a beautiful experience if you think of it as a welcomed time to slow down, put away your stuff and just be present.

I have a busy life and I know I’m impatient.  But waiting doesn’t need to be a chore.  It can be a welcomed change of pace.

Well, my wait here is over. Just under three hours and I almost (remember where I am) enjoyed myself. At the very least, I was productive and I did something good for my health. I am happy to say I got a normal result.

Do you have any suggestions that can help make waiting more tolerable, or productive?

I didn’t forget…here’s the bonus.

Bonus tip: Feed your brain with useless knowledge. This will come in handy for a game show or the next trivia game night.

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8 Zombie Inspired Habits That Lead To Happiness

Zombies are repulsive and terrifying.  They have decaying flesh, disgusting teeth, and no social skills. But they can teach us how to be happy.

Happiness is defined as a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

The zombie has no emotions, so he is neither happy nor unhappy,

he just is.

He takes each day as it comes and doesn’t worry about tomorrow. If I could pick one key to being happy, it would be the zombies way of being fully present in the moment with no worries. If you can make that a habit, you can kiss discontent goodbye.

8 zombie inspired habits that lead to happiness

  • stick together
  • don’t whine, gossip, or say mean things
  • share
  • be patient
  • don’t sweat the small stuff
  • get plenty of exercise
  • adapt to your surroundings
  • don’t be a picky eater

Happiness is always a choice. The only ones who I excuse from not being able to choose happiness are the clinically depressed individuals who are thick in the illness, not yet being treated, not responsive to treatment, or in a state of anhedonia.

Let the little aggravating inconveniences that are bound to happen to you be exactly what they are: small annoyances that are insignificant, not worthy of your time or emotional investment.

You can be unattractive, have rotten teeth, and nothing but the clothes on your back, and still be happy. In pursuit of happiness, look to the zombie.

Just don’t eat anybody.

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3 Ways To Get Noticed

You can write a better than great blog post, but if you only get a handful of readers, are you ok with that? Of course not. The point of blogging is to share your opinions, experiences, and knowledge with the world.

With a potential 3 billion people audience and 150 million bloggers worldwide, getting people to read your content is a challenge.

It starts with an intriguing headline.

Ask a question. Solve a problem. State a claim. Make a list.

Your reader has clicked in, now you need to deliver what you promised.

BAM! Get to the point.

We all scroll and skim. Trim the fat and get to the meat or we are off to the next headline before you can say, Tic-Tac Sir?

Dumb-and-Dumber

Next,

Give me eye candy.

Break up your text with cool-with-attitude pictures and images that invoke my emotions and make me want to stay awhile.

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Then,

Teach me.

Life-hack me. Tell me something I didn’t know. Give me a short cut or a brilliantly unique perspective.

Make me come away with thinking, finally, after so much digital time suck, I have found you.

There you are!
There you are!

Plus!

Give me a bonus.

Something I wasn’t expecting whether it be a tip on free stock photos or a link to Starbucks secret menu.

Most of us bloggers are small satellites in cyberspace.

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To get noticed don’t be run-of-the-mill average. Stand out even once, and your audience will keep coming back for more.

How To Tell The Difference Between a Poser and a Real Friend

Mark Twain
Mark Twain

Do you agree with Mark? So do I. Then why would you or I, or anyone else seek out people who belittle their ambitions?

That’s the five hundred and seven thousand dollar question.  Maybe because you didn’t realize until now that a certain person was making you feel small. There are many passive-aggressive and other damaged individuals in our lives that pose as our friends.

How do you know if you have a poser verses a genuine friend?

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How do you feel after you spend time with this person? Lifted up or crushed down? Posers use you to make themselves feel better.  They don’t care about you because they are the center of the universe. Fake friends say things like,

You always. You never. What’s wrong with you? What’s wrong with me?Nothing. Oh, something came up. Of course you can trust me. I won’t tell a soul, cross my heart. Who’s side are you on? I can’t stand her (Oh hi Angela, we were just talking about you! How have you been?!) 

I know you didn’t seek out this person who makes you feel small.  It just happens sometimes. And you certainly don’t deserve to have your nose rubbed in your mistakes or your flaws constantly pointed out. We are all flawed.  We all make mistakes.  We are the same. We all have thoughts that would shame the devil.  No one gets away with I’m better than you attitude cause it ‘aint true.

You are a nice person, and that’s why you haven’t said sayonara to this freak yet. Life is short even when you don’t think it is. Free yourself of toxicity! If it’s family, free yourself emotionally and learn how to deal with these difficult people.

Now seek out people who build you up, who make you feel important. Genuine friends don’t place conditions on your relationship and they definitely don’t pack a knife for stabbing you in the back.  You know the pure of heart because of how you feel when you’re around them. Do you feel loved? Encouraged? Happy? Accepted for who you are?  If you do, then that’s evidence you have got yourself a real friend, and a treasure!

friends

As the philosopher Balastar Gracián once said, True friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. Strive to have friends, for life without friends is like life on a desert island… to find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune; to keep him is a blessing.

As you travel through life may you know the difference between the impostors and the real deal. And in turn find good fortune, and be blessed.

My Thoughts on Social Media

Everyday I ask my self why do I bother with social media?  Why am I on Twitter? I’m not a rockstar.  Why do I write for LinkedIn? I can’t compete with the influencers. I am an amateur photographer  with less than 20 followers on Instagram and have a no frills WordPress blog. I do everything the gurus tell me to do.

  • Retweet
  • Engage
  • Converse
  • Use hooks
  • Blog regularly
  • Follow back
  • Tweet links, photos, have a Paper.li,
        and so on.
and so on.

Still, I am so small. Pale blue dot kind of small.

I think social media has been bad for my self-esteem.

Unless you are in the camp of the gurus, big star musicians/artists, famous founders/ entrepreneurs of successful companies, high Klout score tweeps- whatever that means…

Social media might be bad for your self esteem too.

How do I know this? Because I just do. I work in psychiatry. A long time ago I was a teenager in public school. I was the tallest girl in my class. No one asked me to the prom.  I’ve raised three kids. I blog. I get self-esteem.

P1130608Do you feel alone, faceless, passed over?  Have you hurt inside when a troll directed an opprobrious comment at you?  Have you felt dejected because your favorite band, artist, author, colleague, influencer never acknowledges, retweets, likes, or follows you?

Maybe it seems like all your followers or connections are eggs, fake celebrities, f-bomb droppers, spammers, or tweeps who don’t speak your language.

I say social media is a self-esteem mutilator and reminds me of high school. A place I tried so hard to fit in, but never could. God, it was brutal.  And life in the digitalsphere can be brutal – if you let it.

So don’t let it.

Get your self-esteem boosts by living in the real world, not the digital one.  Post with the intent to lift up others, and you’ll find yourself lifted too.

Surround yourself with those you love, who love you.  Be in the presence of real people. Get out, enjoy your life. It’s a vapor that is fleeting.

If you find a real friend or connection on social media, consider yourself lucky.  I am lucky.  I now realize social media is what it is and I’ll use it my way: to share nuggets of truth, inspiration, beautiful, fun things with you. If someone doesn’t like what I share, oh well.  I won’t let it crush my spirit.

I won’t pretend to fit in.  Because I don’t.  And I can honestly say, I’m fine with that.

6 Places I Find Inspiration for Writing

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All the top social media blogs I read tell me where to find ideas for hot blogging content.  So off I go browsing Amazon’s top sellers for my niche, check out Drudge, and see what’s trending on Twitter.  Next stop: Copyblogger and time suck some more, and then I notice the clock has tick-tocked to dinner hour and I’ve got nothing written.

What is wrong with me? Do I have writer’s block? Am I a procrastinator? Or am I trying too hard and discouraged because I’m such a teensy fish in a multitudinous ocean.

If I don’t come up with a killer headline, or a list of how-to’s and secrets that will change your life – I am DOOMED.  You will leave me to read a better scripted blog post by a social media rock star who has the content that delivers what YOU want.

The influencers’ advice isn’t working for me.

Truth? I want to write what I want to write in the way that I write.  I know there are at least three people who read my blog and come back faithfully. Thousands would be cool. But three is enough. Instead of being a me-too writer I’m a come-alive writer.  And I will write for three.

Where I Find Inspiration for Writing:

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  • Conversations: I talk to people and listen with the intent to learn.  I find out who they are, what they’ve been through, what they like, what their dreams and aspirations are. I ask, “Tell me your story.”  That’s the best content you are ever going to find.  Real life, real people.
  • Museums: I took the above picture at the Rochester MAG one sunday afternoon.  That’s my son off to the side listening to the pipe organ concert.  It was transcendent, holy.  I was moved to reflect and consider the lilies.  As I stroll the museum halls I take notes of ideas, my feelings, and memories invoked by a work of art.
  • Nature: It is vital to be quiet and escape from the constant connection to the digital world.  Whether it be sitting on a hillside, playing in the snow, walking through the woods – some of my best writing comes from being still and listening to the heartbeat of nature.
  • Family: Past, present, and future. Aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, parents, grandparents, pets. I read old letters or journals from those who have passed. I talk to my boys and ask about their day.  They are my muse. I’m blown away when they tell me they liked what I wrote. I’m euphoric when I see them write, read their words, and consider maybe I inspired them, just a little?
  • Music: I will often listen to an album and either write by hand or type on a blank page unedited, freely, continuously until I’m satisfied I’ve emptied my creative bucket.
  • Experience: Crazy things have happened to me. I have cheated death. I have teetered on the edge of cliffs and have had rocks thrown at me. I could fill a thousand journals with knowledge, wisdom, thoughts, fears, truth.

There is inspiration everywhere, we just have to keep the internal critic away and use whatever inspires us.

Here’s a nugget of truth: write what you like, in your voice.  Don’t try to fit the mold, break the mold. And in the end, be you. The world wants to hear what you have to say.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Thurman

Do You Really Want to Know What Your Doctor Thinks of You?

Did you know you have a right to see your medical record? And if you find a mistake you can request it to be corrected, or if you disagree with something your provider noted, you also have a right to write your own note stating that.

So why do we feel like we are snooping when we steal a glance at our “chart”? It’s our record, our right. Or are we afraid of what we might find out?

Health Information Privacy rules of protection has been around since 1996.  Along with the right to view your chart, you have the right to:

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I hope you want to know what your doctor thinks of you – your relationship with your provider should be one that is based on mutual respect and trust.  If you find out otherwise, it’s time to find a new health care partner.

Beat the Winter Blues with These 10 Proven Ways

Frigid temps, overcast skies with no hint of sun for days in a row can make even the hardiest person feel gloomy.  Don’t become a victim of the winter blues! I have already field tested these 10 interventions and stand behind my word: try one, or kick it up a notch and do them all! You’ll be surprised at how quickly your mood will brighten. 

#Exercise: bundle up and take a walk. The hardest part is finding the oomph to get outside, but once you’re out it’s quite pleasant. 

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#Let there be light, and lots of it.  Turn up the lamps, and splurge on a Light Box. I’ve got mine on as I type. It’s called “Happy Light”. And yes, it makes me happy.

happy me

#Have a tropical theme party.  Guests come dressed in loud hawaiian shirts.  Do the limbo, play some calypso, and have a white elephant gift exchange.

lua

#Spruce up a dingy room.  Add some new color and a few funky pieces of furniture to liven the area.  Go to second hand shops for good deals.

 

 

 

 

#Change your diet.  Add as many super-foods as your wallet allows for a natural body boost.

 

 

 

 

#Host a book discussion group.  Why not turn it into a pot-luck dinner? Try immersing yourself in the book through role playing. Stay in character through the dinner.  We did this with the Crucible. Kept it clean- nobody got hung for being a witch.

#Embrace the winter.  Take the kids (or borrow the neighbor’s) and go sledding or skiing.  Bring the camera.  Hot cocoa, s’mores and a roaring fire once you are home.

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#Vacation. Overnite at a B&B, ski resort, or if you can afford it, go where the weather is hot and escape for a week. Sign up for price alerts on Kayak, you just might find a deal that can’t be beat.

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#Write.  An e-book, a novel, poetry, music.  The world needs to hear what you have to say.

#Square Dance wif callers. Went t’one be4 an’ ah had so much fun, as enny fool kin plainly see.  Ev’ryone fum th’ old folks t’th’ li’l kids had a whoopin’ an’ hollerin’ time of fun an’ fellership wif friends, kin’t wait t’do it agin. fine fo’ th’ heart an’ is sho’nuff sumpin yo’ will nevah fo’git. YEEHAW!

Author’s note: I originally posted this list on January 24, 2013. I freshened it up with some new pics.  For me, winter in Western NY gets the toughest in mid February.  2015 shall go down in my weather memory banks as the most cruel, bone-chilling, treacherously gnarlsome and poorly plowed roads I have endured.  But remember this: we are all in this together and regular exposure to mild cold may provide a healthy and sustainable alternative strategy for increasing energy expenditure. That means more chocolate.

The Top 6 Traits of Likable People

We all want to be liked.  It feels great to see likes on a blog post (hint), and even better to hear someone say, “I really like you!”

Hearts

But what really makes people more likable than others? Is it attractiveness, wealth, tone of voice, style of dress, mannerisms, or standard of hygiene?

Research tells us that our qualities such as level of success, fame, and good looks might initially interest others,

but by far, we like people who have good personalities.

The top character traits of likable people are trustworthinesswarmth, kindness, intelligence, sense of humor, and empathy.

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Think about it. Do the people you like the most have “good” personalities?  Do they make you smile, make you feel important and good about yourself? Do their eyes sparkle when they smile at you?  I bet when they ask, “How are you?”, you are certain they really want to know.

We like to be heard, to be noticed, to be recognized.  A warm hug, eye to eye contact, a kind word, the feeling that we are not being taken for granted, made fun of, judged, or criticized – but accepted and respected is what makes us feel liked.

Have you doubted your likability, or wondered why certain folks are a people magnet?

Pause and consider these six traits.  How many do you have? How many do “they” have? It’s not a worthy goal to seek popularity for an ego boost.  But it is a honorable one to be trustworthy, warm, kind, and empathetic: you will become more likable and in so doing,  will make yourself happier in the process.

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Self-esteem: Is Yours Healthy?

We all want to be liked. It’s part of being human.  We are social beings who need to belong, to be accepted by others.  Our self-esteem and success are intricately woven to what others think about us.  It is rare to meet someone who is not hurt by a rude comment, a bad review, or an insult that was neither provoked nor justified.

Just look at social media –  there’s like buttons on every platform. People buy followers so they look rock star popular. I stopped following new folks because I don’t know who’s real and who’s not.

I don’t know why I did it, but I joined Instagram.  I have 7 followers and I am fine with that.  I am a minnow in an ocean of sharks, and it’s ok.  My self-esteem is not dependent on how many followers, likes, shares, retweets,  comments, or views I get.  And I’m learning to not let the mean people I encounter on my day to day adventures have a say in my self worth.

What about you? Do you find yourself feeling dejected if you don’t get likes or retweets? Are you overly critical of yourself,  fail to speak up for yourself or avoid expressing your opinion?

Self esteem is your sense of self-worth or personal value.  In Maslow’s hierarchy he put it towards the top of  the pyramid.

MaslowsHierarchyOfNeeds

If you are hungry, sleepless, homeless or your life is threatened, you aren’t concerned about belonging and self-esteem until your basic needs are secure.  Once those are taken care of we can pay more attention to and develop our self esteem.

Is your self esteem healthy?  Try the Rosenberg Self Esteem quiz for starters. Click here and take the quiz, note your score, and then bounce back here and I’ll explain more.

If you didn’t score in the healthy range, don’t put too much stock into this simple 10 question quiz. It isn’t an end-all-be-all-carved-in-stone result.  It is a tool that can be useful in determining where you’re at.

Our self-esteem can fluctuate.  Everyone has low times, high times, and in betweens.  However, if you, or someone you care about consistently voice self depreciating comments,  or exhibit other behaviors that suggest poor self worth, it is important to recognize it  and work towards improving it.

It’s nice to be liked and wonderful to be noticed. But that can’t be the basis for how you value yourself.  Being momentarily hurt by a rogue comment or a two-faced acquaintance is normal.  Have a one minute pityfest, and then let it go. Brush it off your shoulders like lint and watch it fly away.  Those people don’t matter.

You matter. Be kind, do your best work, make your corner of the world a better place and love yourself – embrace your gifts, your flaws, and enjoy who you are. That’s a healthy self-esteem.

It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.             ~W.C. Fields