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Monday, January 21, 2013

Tech Sabbath/Media Fast - Can I Do it? Can You?

This past month, a recurring theme has shown up in my world, the idea of taking a break from tech. This is a bit of an ironic for me because I work in IT (information technology) for a living.

However, I'm curious especially after this idea has shown up not once but three times THIS month. First, I saw "media fast" mentioned in the Apartment Therapy (www.apartmenttherapy.com) January Cure. Today, I was reading the January issue of Sunset Magazine (www.sunset.com), and came across an article about a tech free family and it included the theme of tech sabbath. Finally, a few weekends ago, I was driving through a neighborhood where Jewish people were observing the Sabbath by walking to temple and I assume if they were walking to temple I'm sure they were not using any form of electricity, thus taking a break from tech.

It got me thinking, could I totally turn off the tech? More importantly, do I want to? My magazines and some of my books are now on my iPad. The alarm clock that gets me up in the morning is on my iPhone. I'm writing this blog post online. My calendars (yes, I have many) are all online. I record all of my TV on my DVR. I am on a year-long project to scan all of my photos and letting go of the stacks and boxes of photo albums and pictures. I keep in touch with my friends and family via text, email and yes, Facebook.

Maybe there is something to taking a break from tech. It's certainly something I'll need to schedule and prepare for. Part of me is scared to try it. The other part of me is afraid I might like it.

Will you take a tech sabbath/media fast? Have you ever taken one? Share in the comments below.

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Commercial Break Game

I love my DVR. I love design shows on HGTV even more. Unfortunately, I found that I was spending more time watching design shows than tending to the my home. The joy I felt seeing the breathtaking reveals was clouded by guilt for not folding my clean laundry or neglecting the stack, ok stacks, of paperwork.

The past week the guilt has lessened and things are actually getting done since I started playing the "Commercial Break Game."

When the commercials start, I stop my show (who watches live TV these days?) and let the Coffehouse Rock channel play in the back ground while I get a load of laundry started or unload the dishwasher or file a few papers etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

I return to my show for more design eye candy feeling a little less guilty and a bit more proud.

Commercials start, the game begins again.

Now you try it. Share, in the comments, your experience playing the Commercial Break Game.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Paperwork Dragons & Elephants

A New Year is upon us and we all know what that means: weight loss ads, white sales and New Year’s resolutions to "get more organized."

This "get more organized" resolution usually involves trips to Home Depot or, better yet, the Container Store for organizing supplies.

STOP!!! Don't do it! 

I'm not saying don't ever go to these great places again. I'm a fan and customer of both businesses. What I am going to suggest today and always is that you take on your organization FIRST instead of just throwing on a Band-Aid in the form of storage boxes and folder systems and such. 

“Where do I start?” is probably your first question. I say start with your paperwork, 15 minutes at time.

I know what you are thinking, "Are you nuts? Have you seen my papers?" My answer is, "No." But I have certainly seen mine. 

You have probably attempted to slay the "paper dragon" in many a marathon session only to be burnt out and angry at yourself for not handling all of the paperwork. Then you avoid paperwork for a very, very, very long time and the dragon grows larger.

I suggest that you treat your paperwork as less of a dragon and more of an elephant. Dragons are scary. They fly and they breathe fire. Elephants may be large bit they are docile (unless you mess with one of their babies) and move very slow.

And how do you eat an elephant? You eat it one bite at a time.

You are going to "bite" your paperwork elephant by taking ONLY 15 minutes out of each day to deal with one piece of paper at a time.

Yes, you read it correctly, 15 minutes at a time. No more. No less.

I don't care if you are on a roll after the 15-minutes are up. Stop after 15 minutes.

Yes, yes, I still haven't seen your piles of papers and I don't have to.

ONLY 15 minutes a day. 

Now let's do the math. Multiply 15 minutes by 7 and you have 1 hour and 45 minutes of paperwork handled in 1 week. After a month, you are looking at 7.5 hours spent on paperwork, in bite-size, sanity-saving chunks.

What are you waiting for? Go and eat your paper elephant!!!