All posts by Deanna Ritchie

8 Rainy-Day Initiatives to Add to Your Online Calendar

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Rainy-Day Activities for Your Online Calendar

There’s no need to wish for the rain to go away — especially right now — we need it so desperately right now. Not only is any precipitation great for the planet — but it gives you an excuse to tackle some indoor projects. The sun will be back soon, and you’ll have plenty of time for those outdoor activities.

Unsure of what to do with your rainy days? If you look around, you’ll always find something. It’s just a matter of finding a spot in your online Calendar. I like to have a rainy day list, so there is no decision to be made — just grab out your list, and you’re in business. Get your list ready now — have your tools in a to-go tote or to-go book bag — and you’ll be excited and ready to grab your supplies (which are always on hand) and go to work.

BTW — I also have a Windy and Snowy day Calendar list. It’s not that you’re stuck indoors, exactly — it’s that you can take a moment to think differently on your Rainy, Windy and Snowy days. You can vary your thinking process to keep your life interesting and supple — and add some deep joy on Rainy, Windy, and Snowy Days.

Rainy Day Ideas for Your Calendar

These eight indoor projects are great additions to your Calendar when rain is in the forecast:

1. Clean Up the House

No matter how hard you try, your home will never be entirely clean. So a rainy day is the perfect opportunity to catch up on house cleaning.

Plan a “spring cleaning” (or fall cleaning) in your online Calendar for the next rainy day in the forecast. Clean the countertops, dust the furniture, move the furniture and vacuum the carpets — and generally give your whole home a polish.

Home improvement projects are also great for a rainy day. Take this opportunity to do some painting or remodeling inside with the time you might’ve spent out in the yard.

2. Read a Book

Is there a book you’ve sworn to read that’s collecting dust on your shelf? Now’s your chance to finally crack it open. For one — if you really want to read a book, read it — don’t wait for a rainy day. But sometimes I find something wonderful in a book — and I save it for this type of opportunity.

There are so many great reads out there to choose from, from creative fiction novels to inspiring self-help books. Scheduling reading time in your online Calendar will make sure you capitalize on a rainy day opportunity.

Reading isn’t just an enjoyable pastime; it’s also incredibly beneficial for your health. Regular reading strengthens your mind, reduces stress, and may even help you live longer. That’s not to mention the lessons we can learn from the greatest minds around the world.

3. Have Some DIY Fun

Taking charge of a project and seeing it to completion can be incredibly gratifying. In addition, tackling a do-it-yourself (DIY) project allows you to develop your skills, discover new hobbies, and refresh your home.

There are countless DIY projects you can tackle. I like to watch for these projects at the quilt store and the hardware store — like watch for some crazy, wild creative pursuit. One time I took pieces of scrap metal (I cut it up) and threw the metal pieces against a piece of pine — then glued the metal on the board where it would have stuck in if I’d tossed hard enough.

It was a blast. When else would I feel I could just relax and do something free like that? Not with the hustle of work — no way — but a rainy day weekend was great. Perhaps you want to try your hand at woodworking to add some handmade decor to the house, or maybe you want to put together a craft to do with your kids. The possibilities are endless.

4. Prepare Next Week’s Meals

Meal preparation helps you eat better throughout the week. Put together a grocery list, put meals on the Calendar, and prepare them as a batch. With meal planning, you can control everything you eat, limiting the amount of fast food, snacks, and junk food you put into your body.

Not only will meal planning improve your health, but it will also save you money. Cooking from home is less expensive than eating out, although it does take some more time and effort. That’s why those rainy days are the perfect time to buckle down and get it done. Having meals ready for the rest of the week is worth it.

While you’re thinking about it, you can clean out the kitchen drawers and under the sink. If you’re low on sponges and disinfecting sprays, be sure you make a note on your grocery list.

4. Hold a Planning Marathon

This is where your online Calendar really comes in handy. When a rainy day disrupts your plans, take the time to make some new ones.

Your weekly and monthly plans can be as detailed as you’d like. When you hold a planning session, you’re able to fit more into your Calendar earlier so that other non-essentials take over your essentials. If you struggle with balancing your activities and responsibilities, then this is the perfect rainy day project for you

5. Clean Out Your Inbox

Managing your email can take a lot of time. If you run a business or work at one that relies heavily on email communication, you’ve experienced the overload and unanswered emails firsthand.

When a rainy day slows things down, take the time to clean out your inbox. Respond to all necessary emails and delete anything that’s not needed. You can even create some folders, such as “read” and “responded to,” to keep your inbox more organized for the future.

6. Make All Your Calls

Got a list of people you’ve needed to talk to? Give them a call while the rain pours down. You can reach out to partners or clients, but don’t forget to give grandma a call as well.

To avoid dropping in without warning on those who wouldn’t appreciate it, you can send scheduling links asking them if they are available for a call that day. Professionals like salespeople and investors can’t always take calls on a whim. You can schedule calls and get many people contacted, as you blast through your home cleaning if you put people on a Calendar schedule and keep calls to about 30 minutes.

7. Purge Your Paperwork.

If your filing system is full of old bank statements and mailers, take a rainy day and toss the junk. Keeping things organized saves you a lot of time and effort in the long run.

When the rain hits, block off time in your Calendar to go through your documents. Remember to save tax forms for at least three years. Shred or burn anything sensitive, so the information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

Conclusion

You may not be able to take off work on a rainy day — but learn to appreciate rainy days as your friend. If you live by the ocean — it looks overcast every day, and it’s not rainy. You can get so much done during a rainy day if you put your mind to it. To hold yourself accountable, schedule your activities in your online Calendar.

I also have a windy day schedule and a snowy day schedule on my Calendar. Windy and Snowy days look somewhat like my Rainy day schedule. I used to sell paintings — but I don’t anymore (It’s hard to make a living in visual arts). On Snowy days, I pull out my artwork tools and force myself to begin a new piece. Maybe this piece will be for someone for the holidays or for a client. On Windy days — I try to write a piece of music or practice the piano in a deeper way.

The main point is — use these days as a reminder: rainy, windy, snowy — and catapult your beloved work to a new level. You’ll be amazed at how much richer your life will be — and how much you can accomplish in a few hours spent differently on those days.

7 Ways Your Business Strategy Needs to Evolve in 2022

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7 Ways Your Business Strategy Needs to Evolve in 2022

The market is becoming choppier, travel is slowing down, and businesses like Lyft, Google, and Apple are postponing their return-to-office plans. How, in the midst of so much chaos, can companies expect to be able to form and cohere to a single business strategy?

The short, unsatisfying answer is that they can’t. A business strategy composed in January was probably in need of serious revision by the time July came around. This is poised to be just as true for next year as it has been for this one: COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and uncertainties continue to abound. It’s time to call an audible on your business strategy in order to respond to current trends.

Here’s how you can do just that by evolving your business strategy:

1. Keep up with COVID.

This is the big, no-exceptions mantra that should ring out whenever it’s time to make a decision regarding business strategy. While major economies are unlikely to return to the harsh lockdowns of early 2020, the future trajectory of COVID-19 is something a lot of consumers are watching vigilantly. According to an ongoing survey conducted by Deloitte, some 51% of customers are concerned about their physical wellbeing when it comes to their activities, up from 47% a month prior.

Far too many businesses have been on the back foot when it comes to COVID-19, waiting for trends to appear before responding to them. Significant portions of your consumer base are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to COVID safety; if cases start to spike, they may be more hesitant to travel or perform business in person. Instead of working to accommodate those preferences as they arise, closely monitor your local and national situation and adjust your practices accordingly. If you’re not willing to take the steps necessary to make your customers feel safe and protected, they will find another business that is.

2. Complete your digital transformation.

Plenty of companies were transitioning to the cloud before 2020, but the events of that year just added more fuel to the fire. For most of the past year, developments like the rise of remote or hybrid working and virtual communication have been front and center of most companies’ business strategies. The reopening of the economy in 2021, however, has seen some businesses put a pause on their digital transformation for the time being — that’s a big mistake.

While the world may seem to be “returning to normal” for now, the future is all but certain to be one that happens online. Businesses need to transition to the cloud if they want to be ready for the next stage of digital commerce. For example, smart home and small business solutions provider Plume estimates that there will be 8.4 billion digital voice assistants in the world by 2024 — if your business is still married to brick-and-mortar operations, how effectively are you going to be able to respond to a consumer base whose primary method of purchase and research is digital voice assistants? The transitions that occurred in 2020 need to be accelerated, not halted, as 2022 approaches.

3. Don’t bet on rosy markets.

When the stock market plummeted in March and April of 2020, it seemed like the global economy was going to be in the dregs for some time. Little could anyone anticipate just how untrue that would end up being: the recession of 2020 ultimately lasted just 2 months, the shortest in US history. Growth since then has been on a sharply upward trend, and plenty of business leaders are getting ahead of themselves in expecting this growth to continue unabated for years to come.

Predicting the trajectory of the economy and the markets that comprise it is almost impossible, and there’s reason to be skeptical of those who forecast halcyon years ahead. Legendary Boston-based money management firm GMO recently predicted that the S&P 500 will have lost half of its inflation-adjusted value by 2028, for example. Don’t build a business strategy on a foundation of optimism alone. Create workflows and operating principles that can work in both good and bad times, and your business will be able to ride both the crests and troughs of whatever waves may come your way.

4. Meet your customers where they are.

In 2020, businesses had to be able to reach their customers at home if they wanted their attention. In 2021, customers were more eager than ever to get out of the house and head to businesses directly. Which of these routes is more likely for 2022? What about the 2020s in general? How can businesses expect to cope with the uncertainty of consumer behavior?

Sticking to your storefront may ultimately cause more trouble than it’s worth. Indeed, Bloomberg reports that the e-commerce industry could be worth over $16 billion by the year 2027, with few signs of slowing down in growth thereafter. There’s nothing wrong with returning to normal for a while in the next few quarters. However, don’t bet too much on brick-and-mortar making a long-term comeback. Make your way to the cloud; your customers will be waiting for you there.

Consider offering a hybrid option. You would be accommodating both customers who want a traditional in-person experience, and those who prefer to do things virtually. Be sure not to neglect the latter in favor of the former, though. Doing so is equivalent to adopting a business strategy far too near-sighted for long-term success.

5. Adjust to new social media practices.

Social media usage is booming across all platforms. However, that doesn’t mean you can just post-traditional content and expect higher levels of engagement than before. As users grow, social media trends and practices evolve. The posts that accrued big engagement in 2018 will probably not make the same kind of splash in 2021.

This is perhaps most true in the ever-growing world of social media influencers. Just a few years ago, they were objects of fascination or derision in most marketing departments. But, businesses dismiss them at their own peril. A Google-commissioned survey from Ipsos found that 40% of millennial YouTube subscribers say that their favorite creator understands them better than their friends — that level of trust and engagement is way more likely to get a customer’s attention than promoted tweets ever will. Don’t let a dynamic business strategy become sclerotic when it comes to social media.

6. Respond to changing employee priorities.

It’s not just consumers and markets who have had their trajectories changed by the past year. Your employees have likely undergone a few changes themselves. Quality of life is increasingly privileged over big salaries and flexible work over traditional office setups.

In fact, attempting to quickly re-transition to the way things were before may cause quite a bit of consternation among your team. A recent survey from The Morning Consult found that 39% of workers would consider quitting if their bosses forced them to give up remote work and return to the office. This isn’t just true for your current employees either. Prospective hires will also be expecting accommodations when it comes to remote and flexible working options. Businesses too set in their ways when it comes to cubicles and the 40-hour, 5-day workweek risk creating business strategies already out of date.

7. Think global, stay local.

It’s an oft-employed maxim that the world is constantly getting flattered, and not in the literal sense. It’s becoming easier all the time to communicate and do business across borders. At least, it was before COVID-19 struck. Disruptions to travel and international shipping meant that businesses once again needed to refocus their efforts on local and domestic markets.

What about 2022? Should companies bank on the reopening of borders and flourishing of international business or play it safe with nearer markets? Unsurprisingly, the answer is a bit of both.

Don’t abandon your local operations in the hopes that your business’s horizons will broaden in the near future. Instead, continue to nurture any and all existing customer relationships. And, do so while waiting for a good time to begin expansion further afield.

Make sure your business strategy reflects this by emphasizing operations you know can be sustained into the future while probing for potential opportunities down the line.

Anyone who tells you that they know what 2022 will look like is lying. The uncertainty that plagued 2020 and 2021 isn’t going anywhere, and your business strategy needs to be composed accordingly. Prepare your company against whatever may come, and expect solid growth in return.

Just Start — Reducing Anxiety

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Just Start — Reducing Anxiety

Did you know that anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.? In fact, anxiety affects 40 million adults in the United States each year, aged 18 and older. Or, to put it another way, 18.1% of the population each year. And, the COVID-19 pandemic has only further impacted our mental health.

There is some good news, however. And, that’s that anxiety disorders are highly treatable. For some, there may even be strategies that you can use right now that will offer immediate relief. But, for others, you may have to speak to a mental health professional.

In either case, if you want to reduce anxiety, then your first step is just to start. As tennis legend Arthur Ashe once said, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Anxiety; Know your enemy.

Before getting too far ahead of ourselves, let’s quickly run down what anxiety is and why it shouldn’t be ignored.

I don’t like to even talk about mental health — and many people feel the same. My feelings are not because I don’t get anxious — but rather the fact that talking about it makes me feel worse. And — why do we have to use the word “mental?” Seriously, these things are as much physical as anything.

“Anxiety is our body’s normal reaction to stress,” explains the staff at McLean Hospital. “When we’re presented with potential danger, our bodies respond to that stress.”

A similar emotional response is fear. When our body responds to an actual or perceived threat, the result is anxiety. And, this is caused by anticipating what will happen in the future.

Examples include waiting to hear back from your doctor, preparing for a job interview, or speaking in front of a crowd. It’s completely normal to feel anxious. However, this can become a problem when anxiety is more than a temporary fear or worry.

“A person who has an anxiety disorder may always be anxious or may easily become anxious about many things,” explains McLean. “Temporary fear or worry is normal, but if the feelings associated with anxiety disorders linger, they can continue to get worse over time.”

Research has found that anxiety disorders can be caused by genetic and environmental factors. For example, being exposed to stressful events as a child. When left untreated, this can lead to a wide range of symptoms, including;

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Restlessness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Feeling easily fatigued
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty contracting
  • Substance abuse

Overall, anxiety can have a negative impact on all areas of your life. As such, it should be addressed ASAP. And, you can use the following eleven techniques to get started.

1. Stay in your time zone.

Anxiety is a future-oriented emotion. To combat the worry of what might happen, “reel yourself back to the present,” says Tamar Chansky, Ph.D., a psychologist and author of Freeing Yourself from Anxiety. Ask yourself the following questions;

  • What’s happening right now?
  • Am I safe?
  • Is there something I need to do right now?

What helps me the most is asking, “What are you saying to yourself.” When I first learned about this technique, I had to tune into my inner voice. When I tuned in — I found I was feeling “imposter syndrome” and saying terrible things to myself. The inner convo was something like this: “You’re a piece of shit and don’t forget it,” and “you are nothing and never will be,” “you can’t do this job; you always let people down.”

You wouldn’t say any of those things to your worst enemy — so WHY would you say that to yourself?? Be aware of what you say to yourself.

If there is something you need to do for yourself — schedule another time to revisit your worries. Preferably, your revisiting plan and what you can do should be later in the day so those distant scenarios won’t throw you off track too much.

2. Just breathe.

Slow, deliberate belly breathing can help you calm your body almost instantly. What’s more, it’s easy to implement, free, and can be done anywhere. To get started, follow these five steps:

  • Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and breathe naturally
  • Put one hand on your belly, the other on your chest. As you breathe in deeply, count to four. Count to three as you hold your breath and four as you exhale. As you inhale, move your hand inward; while exhaling, move it outward.
  • Focus only on the sensation of your breath.
  • If your mind begins to wander, refocus on your breathing.
  • Repeat as necessary.

The reason why this is so effective is that breathing exercises encourage you to focus on the present. And it has the ability to slow down your heart rate.

Think about getting better at breathing and maybe turn this into a meditation.

3. Try the 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique.

The 5-4-3-2-1 coping technique is another easy and fast way to help calm your anxiety whenever you feel overwhelmed.

It works like this:

  • Five. Name five things that you see. It can be anything from a bird outside your window to the artwork on your wall.
  • Four. Next, name four objects that you’re able to touch. Everything from a knickknack on your desk, hair, or the floor that your feet are touching is fair game.
  • Three. Pick out three things that you can hear. This could be birds chirping, a running air conditioner, or your breathing.
  • Two. Notice two things that you can smell, like the brewing coffee or your perfume or cologne.
  • One. Finally, take note of a taste, like the flavor of the gum you’re chewing.

When paired with deep, slow breathing, this technique works best.

4. Use power language.

“Mind-body research shows that the words you use can have a powerful effect on how you feel,” says Deanne Repich, Director: National Institute of Anxiety and Stress. “Most anxiety sufferers use negative words that destroy their self-esteem and promote a sense of loss of control,” aka “victim” words.

“Victim words perpetuate your anxiety and fear,” adds Repich. “They create a negative self-fulfilling prophecy that results in anxious thoughts and physical symptoms.”

How can you defeat victim words? Replace them with “power” language. These are words that promote your sense of self-worth.

As an example, converting “I can’t control my anxiety” into “I can control my anxiety, and I’m learning skills to conquer it.” Another would be rephasing “I shouldn’t be late for dinner” to “I may be late for dinner. It’s unfortunate, but it’s OK.”

“Think of your inner power like a muscle, just like any other muscle,” Repich says. “The more you use it, the more toned it becomes and the more you can accomplish.” And, with practice, you’ll be able to eliminate anxiety.

5. The throwback hack.

Georgia Foster and Virginia Alexandra, co-authors of “The 3 Minute Anxiety Fix.” suggest that you look at photos whenever you feel anxious or have anxiety. Ideally, it’s stored on your phone or the cloud so that it can be accessed whenever you need it. This is effective since it sparks a great memory.

They also say that your favorite songs and inspirational quotes can help transport you to a better place.

6. Download a relaxation app.

Mindfulness apps, such as Headspace and Calm, offer guided meditations to help release tension, focus, and sleep. Best of all? Most of these apps feature meditations that last only one to five minutes.

Believe it or not, it only takes a couple of minutes of mindfulness to reduce anxiety. I use Calm religiously because of the wide range of offerings on the app for varying moods and situations (yo! even storytime to listen to while you go to sleep).

7. File it.

Have you ever lied awake at night worrying about everything that needs to get done? If so, you can use the “File It” technique to keep track of these items while putting your mind to ease.

To perform this exercise, follow these steps:

  • Close your eyes and imagine folders on a table. But, there’s also a file cabinet on it.
  • Next, pick up each file and label it. For example, if you need to make a phone call put that in the right folder.
  • After naming the file, acknowledge the racing, why it’s important, and then file it away.
  • Repeat this process whenever a thought pops into your mind.

The idea behind this is that you’re acknowledging and naming your triggers. More importantly, you’re examining them, filing them by importance. As a result, you’re not ignoring your feelings. Instead, you’re developing a plan to deal with them at a better time.

8. Be mindful of what you’re eating and drinking.

If you consume too much caffeine, you may experience heart palpitations. Additionally, caffeine can trigger panic or anxiety attacks — especially if you suffer from an anxiety disorder. Palpitations can also be caused by hypoglycemia or low blood sugar.

Furthermore, it can also cause anxiety or panic attacks because sugar is an adrenal stimulant. For some — it’s paying attention to foods containing refined flour products and even wheat that may cause inflammation as well. And aside from caffeine and sugar, food allergies can also contribute to an overactive nervous system.

Basically, don’t worry too much about anything. My mantra — Eat right, sleep right, and exercise; and most things in your life will go much better. You’ll be better able to handle things.

9. Bring laughter into your life.

“It’s true: laughter is strong medicine. It draws people together in ways that trigger healthy physical and emotional changes in the body,” writes Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith, M.A., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. “Laughter strengthens your immune system, boosts mood, diminishes pain, and protects you from the damaging effects of stress.”

Also, there’s nothing that “works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh,” they add. “Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hope, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert. It also helps you release anger and forgive sooner.”

When you feel a wave of anxiety, the authors recommend that you find opportunities to laugh, such as;

  • Watching a funny movie, sitcom, or YouTube video.
  • Reading the funny pages.
  • Remembering a moment that made you laugh.
  • Spending time with people who make you smile.
  • Playing with children or a pet.
  • Engaging in fun activities like mini-golf.

10. Get your body moving.

A study from 2017 showed that 77 percent of the participants were inactive for 12 hours a day. In addition to being physically unhealthy, being sedentary most of the day can also affect your mental health. And, thanks to the pandemic, this has only gotten worse.

If you begin to feel anxious, get up and move. Preferably, you want to elevate your heart rate for five minutes through vigorous exercises. I’ve gotten out of bed and zoomed around and around the block — fast, and it kicks off the anxiety — gone. Like the restless leg thing — with an around the block two or three times — gone –. Better if you can exercise well enough during the day, but hey, “we can’t always get what we want, right?”

11. Do something.

Do something, anything. Clean or organize your workspace. Grab a glass of water. Talk a short stroll outside. Start working. Just diving in and working (even if it’s working again at night is helpful for me).

Taking any sort of action will interrupt your thought pattern. And that action will distract you from worrying. Remember, self-care is the most important thing to do for yourself. The AA and NA use another mantra I always use — “Grant me the Serenity” and the NCBI — “HALT” — don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.

Please take care of yourself and you’ll start reducing anxiety — just start!

How Does Procrastination and Perfectionism Reduce Productivity?

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How Does Procrastination and Perfectionism Reduce Productivity?

The legendary comic book artist, writer, and editor Jack Kirby once said, “Perfectionists are their own devils.” And, it’s 100% spot on — just like his indispensable contributions to the comic industry.

Note that the reason why that quote resonates with you is that when you’re a perfectionist, you’re actually a procrastinator in disguise. Yeah. You might be in denial — but it’s true.

How Does Procrastination and Perfectionism Reduce Productivity?

Despite the misconception that procrastinators are slackers, the reality is that you may be caught in the procrastination-perfectionism loop.

  • Starting a project or assignment is too frightening because you feel that it won’t be good enough.
  • You devote too much time in the planning phase instead of getting to work. As a result, you wait until the last minuted to work on the actual task since it won’t align with your “grand vision.”
  • Your emotions drive your actions, such as not starting a project because you’re not in the right headspace.
  • You prioritize easier and less intimidating tasks. In turn, this prevents you from focusing on more important responsibilities.

Once you’re in this loop of procrastination and perfectionism — you can expect dire consequences.

“The symptoms of procrastination commonly reflect the inability to finish tasks, meet deadlines, arrive on time, and keep promises,” writes Dr. Bill Cloke. “Poor concentration, negative internal messages, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to organize and work constructively are present with procrastination.”

Obviously, all of the above will hinder your productivity. However, in addition to chronic procrastination, being a perfectionist can also destroy your productivity in the following ways.

1. Causes anxiety and depression.

Is anxiety the cause of perfectionism? Or is perfectionism the cause of anxiety? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t always clear. However, multiple studies have found that perfectionism can lead to a myriad of problems, such as anxiety and depression.

“It’s something that cuts across everything, in terms of psychological problems,” says Sarah Egan, a senior research fellow at the Curtin University in Perth who specializes in perfectionism, eating disorders, and anxiety. “There aren’t that many other things that do that.

“There are studies that suggest that the higher the perfectionism is, the more psychological disorders you’re going to suffer.”

2. Lowers self-esteem.

Since perfectionists set impossibly high standards, they feel awful when they don’t meet those standards. As a consequence, this casts a shadow of self-doubt over them. And, eventually, this causes them to engage in negative self-talk.

This might sound like hyperbole. But, because perfectionists never live up to the bar they’ve set, they view themselves as failures. Without that confidence, you aren’t able to succeed and forge forward.

3. Impedes innovation.

Perfectionism often kills innovation. So, it’s not surprising that this would also impact your productivity. After all, as Calendar Co-Founder and CEO John Rampton previously wrote, innovation “encourages you to continually improves and stay on top of trends so that you’ll remain relevant.”

Here’s the problem, though. You dedicate a lot of time to brainstorm ideas. But, since you’re consumed by perfection, you toss those ideas into the trash like last week’s leftovers. And, that might mean that you’re leaving some excellent ideas on the cutting room floor.

As if that weren’t enough, this can also affect your self-confidence. The reason? Because you’re rejecting possible opportunities that can make you smarter, faster, better.

4. Causes health problems.

Several studies have found that perfectionism can shorten an individual’s lifespan.

The reason? It’s simple. Perfectionism can negatively influence an individual’s physical health.

Perfectionists may suffer from chronic headaches, fatigue, insomnia, and heartburn. Perfectionism can also lead to high levels of chronic stress, which are known to be linked to cardiovascular problems. It’s also possible for perfectionists to develop eating disorders.

More concerning? Perfectionism is causing more suicides.

5. Reluctantacy to make decisions.

“There’s an argument that, for unimportant decisions, you should either decide quickly or outsource the decision,” writes Alice Boyles for HBR.

“But perfectionists have a hard time designating decisions as unimportant,” she adds. “They like to be in control of everything.”

Why is this the case? “Because imperfections bother them more than they do other people. If something goes wrong, perfectionists might feel explosive frustration or a niggling sense of irritation that’s hard to ignore, and they don’t want to take that risk.”

“Sometimes, perfectionists are so accustomed to micromanaging that it doesn’t even occur to them that any decision is unimportant,” states Boyles. “They’re blind to it. So instead, they habitually and automatically classify everything as worthy of their full effort.”

6. Difficulty achieving goals.

Perfection may also make it more difficult to achieve your goals. The reason being is that the fear of failure freezes you in place. Obviously, this prevents you from progressing and moving forward.

Furthermore, that nagging negative self-talk occupies the back of your mind. And, that’s not exactly the best way to inspire and motivate you to pursue your goals.

And, since perfectionists have a tendency to quit easily, they often throw in the towel before the going gets tough.

7. Strains relationships.

Getting along with perfectionists isn’t for the faint of heart. Perfectionists may doubt their worth as they’ve convinced themselves that they’re failures. Additionally, perfectionists have difficulty being honest and transparent since they hide their mistakes and vulnerabilities. Eventually, this kind of behavior can be detrimental to relationships.

Also, some perfectionists expect others to live up to the unreasonably high expectations that they’ve set for themselves. And, when not reached, this causes disappointment and conflict when others do not meet these expectations.

8. Limits opportunities.

Finally, perfectionists are obsessed with failure and chasing unattainable expectations, preventing them from trying new things and meeting new people. As a consequence, they can miss out on new and exciting opportunities that can make them more productive.

How to Beat Procrastination and Perfectionism

There is a silver ling, though. It’s absolutely possible to break the dreaded procrastination and perfectionism loop. And, here are some pointers on how to make this possible;

  • Lower the bar. This is a process that won’t happen overnight. But, you lower standards by starting small, like not making your bed in the morning or proofreading an email.
  • Keep your tasks bite-sized. As the joke goes, “How do you eat an elephant?” By eating one bite at a time. Breaking large projects into smaller ones makes it feel not as daunting. And take these small steps helps build momentum.
  • Stop multitasking. As a reminder, the human brain wasn’t designed for multitasking. To fight back against this, try strategies like time blocking, eliminating distractions, and seeking feedback.
  • Practice self-compassion. When you need a pep talk, go back and review what you actually accomplished in the day.
  • Surround yourself with positive support. Remove toxic relationships and spend more time with those who are supportive.
  • Incorporate mindfulness. By being present and not busy, you can stay grounded and reduce anxiety.
  • Reduce your commitments. Practice the art of saying no so that you aren’t overextending yourself. In turn, this encourages you to focus on what’s important.
  • Reward yourself. When your complete a part of a large task, treat yourself to a walk or your favorite beverage from Starbucks.
  • Track your time. This lets you determine when you’re most productive. Knowing this, you can schedule your most important or challenging tasks at this time.

The most important takeaway? Know that you’re not alone. If procrastination and perfectionism interfere with your health and well-being, reach out to a mental health professional.

Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

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Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

Remember going camping as a kid? Even if it was only a few times growing up, camping trips make for enjoyable summer memories for the whole family. So invite friends and family — and have a blast!

Your Calendar Will Help Make Your Camping Trip a Success

Unfortunately, many people don’t have great memories of camping — but everyone needs to say they’ve camped at least once in their lives. I call it “life lessons and learning.” And, yes, I laugh when I say that. But, whether the former camping trip was boring, got rained on, or someone was eaten alive by mosquitos — some things can get in the way of a good time. Prevent catastrophe from striking your camping trip by organizing your efforts with your Calendar. Here’s how:

Choosing Dates

Hey, you only have about six weeks before the kids are back in school — so get cracking! First things first, you must select the dates of your camping trip in advance. Very rarely will an impromptu trip work out well, especially for larger families and all of their different schedules. However, some of our impromptu trips ended up the best ever —  so don’t discount that possibility.

Using your Calendar allows you to view all of these conflicting schedules and find free days for everyone. Then, once the date is chosen — create a Calendar event and share it with everyone who plans to attend so that they don’t end up booking something for the dates selected.

Remembering to Pack

Nothing is worse than arriving at your location and realizing you forgot to pack something important. Don’t let that happen to you by setting one or several reminders in your online Calendar. I, for one, always have camping specifics in a packed bag so I can just look through the items and make sure they aren’t out of date.

You can set a reminder for virtually anything you think you might forget. For example, a Calendar notification will help you get out the door at the right time. Another event will remind you to make a trip to the store to get all the snacks and supplies you need.

You will also find it useful to set a reminder to make sure you double-check your home, set the lock, turn the camera on, check the auto sprinklers, let the neighbor know to pick up mail. I keep this same list for trips on my Calendar, so I don’t have to write a new list each time we go somewhere. That puts everything in order before leaving town for a few days. I also have a “before you go cleaning list” to not be overwhelmed when I return home.

Planning the Road Trip

The best camping spots are usually a long-distance away. Those drives can get pretty grueling, especially for young kids and big families. Your Calendar will come in handy for planning the upcoming road trip and making it as painless as possible.

Most National Parks have a number you can call and select your date and reserve your spot. You have to be there by a certain time (usually 6:00 PM) or give them a late check-in time. If you aren’t there on time — the park will give away your spot.

Looking for a spot to camp at midnight, especially if you’ve brought a baby along, is not a pretty sight. And sleeping in the car because you lost your camping spot tends to be the memory that sticks with your fam and friends forever.

Thanks to GPS technology, you don’t have to plan your route as extensively as in generations past. However, it may be worth your time to plan some stops along the way. For example, optimize your bathroom and lunch breaks or scope out some roadside attractions that are worth checking out.

Plan these out in advance, and you can make the drive more enjoyable while still making it to your campsite at a reasonable hour.

Creating an Itinerary

Camping is so much more than sleeping in a tent on the hard ground. What makes camping worth it is all the activities you plan throughout the day. Your Calendar will help you create the perfect itinerary to fill your days with plenty of activities.

Do you want to go on a family hike? You want to plan water activities when it’s the warmest and plan everything else around it. We like to take our bikes and have a big long bike trip around the lake early while it’s still cool and then have lake time to cool off around noon or 1:00 PM. You could also check to see if the park rents bikes, paddle boats, or canoes. That way you don’t have to bring your own. But all these types of activities and questions can be answered by making an itinerary for your trip.

There’s also some merit in making time to do nothing but relax and get lost in your surroundings. Feel free to include your personal “away” time on your Calendar as well. Especially if it’s a high priority to you. If you’re an adventurous type, you can also freestyle the trip and see where it takes you.

As a footnote, your Calendar doesn’t always have to be online in order to be helpful. While traveling, you can still access the itinerary in offline mode. Thankfully there are fewer places where you won’t have cell service. But be aware no cell service does occur. Sometimes I take a screenshot of my Calendar so I have it in my photos if cell service is not to be had.

Getting Work Done

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean the work has stopped. If you’re taking a weekday trip, you’ll need to ask for time off and might need to get some extra work done before you embark. Even a weekend outing can be a little stressful if you get home late Sunday night and need to get things ready to go to the office the following morning.

This is the perfect opportunity to use your Calendar for what it does best; time management. Leading up to your trip, try using time blocking or experiment with the Pomodoro Technique to get as much work done as possible so that you can take a camping trip without stressing about missing work.

Your Calendar will help you make a seamless return as well. You can organize all of your meetings and deadlines ahead of time to arrange your entire schedule before you even leave for your trip. Then, once you make it back home, all you have to do is check your Calendar for everything that needs to be done next.

Recording Memories

Just as was mentioned from the start, the goal of a camping trip is to have fun and make memories. Therefore, every event and note you add to your Calendar will serve as a reminder of the fun you had even long after the trip has finished.

You can also use your online Calendar to plan out a scrapbook or photo album of all the camping trips you ever take. This is a more visual and organized way to preserve memories for a very long time.

You can have a lot of fun roughing it if you come prepared. Before you leave to come home from a trip (camping or otherwise), get everyone to share photos from your phones. I put a reminder in my Calendar because sharing photos has become such a staple of our adventures and the highlight of our trips now.

Create a Summer Reading Program for Your Kids

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Create a Summer Reading Program for Your Kids

School’s out for summer, but that doesn’t mean the learning should stop. Parents will be looking for ways to keep their children mentally engaged with some of the extra time they have off. Of course, reading isn’t an on-off sport. Reading is year-round fun, relaxation and enjoyment.

Reading is one of the best academic activities your kids can participate in throughout their entire lives. In fact, reading is an essential component of child development, so you’ll be setting your kids up for future success by getting them to read during their offseason and all year round.

The Three B’s

I’ve always said that the three main components for good readers are the three B’s. Books, Bookshelf, and Bedlamp. Have these three available and your child will be a reader.

Create a Summer Reading Program for Your Kids

A great way to get your kids’ reading organized is with an online calendar. The following tips will help you make this summer a summer of reading while still balancing the rest of your fun in the sun.

Take a Trip to the Library

Kick things off by taking a trip to your local library. The library will contain all of the books your kids could ever dream of. Sign them up for library cards and browse through all of the books until they find one they like. There will be many options (and opinions) at the library that are not available at home, providing a greater chance for each child to find a book they’re interested in.

Additionally, most libraries will host learning activities throughout the summer that your kids can attend. While at the library, ask for a schedule containing all of the events and activities that are planned for the coming months. Add the books you’re interested in, onto your online calendar so your kids can participate.

The library also has lists of Cauldacot Book Awards and other Award-Winning Books that can be enjoyed.

They also have reading level lists that can guide the parent. I sometimes have my kids (grandkids) read a level or two lower so that they can speed through stacks of books. It’s a blast. “Yeah, I read 250 books this summer.”

Speeding through stacks of books cements little concepts that the children have missed in reading. It also helps kids gain a deeper concept of remembering content. Be sure and have conversations, “tell me what this book was about,” and “what was your favorite part of this book?”

Be sure to add your own reading schedule on your Calendar also so that the kids can see that you have your own personal reading goals. Yesterday I said, “Well, I finished the Oprah book, “What Happened to You?” My grandchild said, “What was your favorite part, grammy?” “I saw you cry.” Wow! I thought. Then I remarked candidly, “It was a hard book to read, but I learned many things, and I think maybe I was hurt as a kid.” It was a solemn talk.

What book talks are you having with your kids?

Plan Reading Times

Many kids are taking the initiative to do some reading on their own time. If your kids fall under that category, you are lucky to be able to guide them into exciting adventures in reading. Scheduling specific times for reading is great. My mom would let us read together as a child if we had showered and were ready for bed at 8:00 PM. We ran to the living room to get the best seat and read whatever we wanted for an hour.

Ask your kids when they would prefer their reading time to be. Do they like reading right before bed or in the afternoon when it’s too hot to bear going outside? Or both? Set those reading times into your online calendar and resist the urge to assign anything else at that time for your kids. Let them relax and unwind with a book.

Add Some Incentives

When pushing your kids to be more productive this summer, don’t be afraid to use incentives as encouragement. Make sure reading isn’t used as a chore. Reading is fun — free time. Always provide wonderful books for the family trip. Occasionally have a special treat. We’ve done the read at the park, read in the balls at McDonald’s, read at the mall, read on stairs outside the capitol, the lawn of the museum, on the bike trail — and many other “kids’ choice” reading spots. (At midnight on the lake with flashlights.) Epic!

Work to make reading an experience — a great experience.

Some schools have reading requirements that your kids will have to meet this summer. For this type of reading — I try always to support the schools — and I try not to show the “bad face” about it. For example, an hour of reading can qualify them for an hour of video game time or a chance to go hang out with a friend. This way, your kids will know that before they can participate in other activities of choice — they have to give some time to clear off the school reading assignments.

Being read to can be just as good as private reading for young kids, especially those just learning how to string words together. Reading to your kids can become a daily tradition that everyone looks forward to and will make a happy addition to your online calendar.

Favorite childhood stories

This summer might be a good time to introduce your favorite childhood stories to your own kids. A recurring event set for each night can mark the time everyone snuggles together to listen to Mom or Dad read aloud.

As a child, whoever got to the living room first got to sit on the back of the sofa and brush mother’s hair while others read. This was a singular event each night because mother’s hair was perfect and never out of place, and her hair was not touched at any other time.

Try something unusual. Reading and how well you read will affect an entire lifetime — you can give this profound gift to a child.

Make sure to answer any questions your kids might have about the story or words they don’t recognize.

Put Together a Movie Night

We know that books are always better than movies based on them. Luckily, kids aren’t typically as harsh of film critics. In fact, it can be quite exciting to watch the cinematic version of the book they just finished reading.

Set a goal with each child to finish their chosen book by a certain date. When that day comes, plan a movie night together in your online calendar to enjoy the plot of the story on the big screen. Grab some popcorn and dim the lights and watch the tale unfold like never before. I love to have neighborhood kids over for these events.

Bring the Stories to Life

Besides the silver screen, you can bring stories to life with other activities that bring reading to life. For example, let’s say one of your kids finished reading a nature book. Plan a day in your online calendar to go bird watching or go to the zoo to see real-life examples of what they read.

Adventure and fantasy books have a lot of potential for creative activities for your kids. Spend some time creating the perfect Harry Potter wand or drawing pictures of dragons together to spend a summer afternoon.

The last couple of weeks, my granddaughter went to a pirate and ocean summer camp. They read about oceans and spiked the kids’ interest with pirate things. She made an aquarium, a bed of coral (out of pipe cleaners), sea kelp and they made a wonderful spyglass. Interactive stuff, when reading, helps your kids exercise other aspects of creative thinking and expression.

Stay Consistent

Don’t be the parent that enforces a strict reading schedule — just enjoy the experience. For summer reading to have a lasting impact — don’t just enjoy — feel joy. Your Calendar will be your weapon of choice when developing an at-home reading program, and it will help you be consistent so that you don’t have to do all of the rememberings yourself. What a great time to live with all of the tech-helps to make it easier.

Set up all your reading times and events in your online calendar. Then, your reminders can prompt you to take action on your plans. Soon, your schedule will turn into a reading habit that no longer needs an online calendar to hold you accountable (it will still help, however).

This will be a summer for the books as you incorporate reading into every day.

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

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Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

From the moment your alarm jolts you from a dream to when your head hits the pillow at night — your day is non-stop. Between all of your work and personal responsibilities — you somehow have to squeeze in one day, you’re “busy.”

Take a second to think — this may not be the way to live. It’s an idea that Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard explored in his 1843 treatise Either/Or: A Fragment of Life by writing, “Of all ridiculous things the most ridiculous seems to me, to be busy — to be someone who is brisk about their food and work.”

“Therefore, whenever I see a fly settling, in the decisive moment, on the nose of such a person of affairs, or if he is spattered with mud from a carriage which drives past him in still greater haste, he adds. “Or the drawbridge opens up before him, or a tile falls down and knocks him dead, then I laugh heartily.”

In short, Kierkegaard’s response to the “busy” individual was to laugh at them. That may sound mean-spirited. But he may have been on to something here.

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present.

To be busy and productive feels great, but people who have to fill every waking moment with something — anything — even if it’s unimportant are the ones who are not present. For some, frantic busyness provides an escape. Others, however, seem to belong to a cult of busyness.

Interested in this phenomenon, researchers from Columbia University, Harvard, and Georgetown explored why we’re so impressed with being busy.

“In general, we found that the busy person is perceived as high status, and interestingly, these status attributions are heavily influenced by our own beliefs about social mobility,” wrote the authors Silvia Bellezza, Neeru Paharia, and Anat Keinan. “In other words, the more we believe that one has the opportunity for success based on hard work, the more we tend to think that people who skip leisure and work all the time are of higher standing.”

The problems with being too busy.

Are there obligations that must be met? Absolutely. But that doesn’t mean you have to be doing something constantly.

It’s been found that being a member of “the cult of busy” creates a chronic stress response in your body and mind. As a consequence, you might experience symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, headaches, and gastrointestinal discomforts. You’re also asking for possible cardiac issues as well.

But, it’s not merely our physical well-being that we’re putting in harm’s way. There’s also a link between stress and depression. Additionally, relationships and work performance suffer too.

Specifically, when you’re busy, you’re;

  • Not giving essential tasks and relationships you’re undivided attention.
  • Missing out on new opportunities
  • Not effectively prioritizing your time.
  • Making excuses for actual problems.
  • Forgetting about your “why” and self-care.
  • Aren’t working to your full potential.
  • Failing to set healthy boundaries which can lead to burnout.
  • Not giving yourself time to think, reflect, and dream.

In other words, being busy negatively affects every part of your life. As such, it’s time to leave this cult. And, you can make that possible by focusing on the present instead.

Don’t ignore the past and future.

Let’s be real here. Living in the moment is a formidable force. And, you can thank evolution for that.

“Human psychology is evolutionarily hard-wired to live in the past and the future,” explains Eyal Winter Ph.D. “Other species have instincts and reflexes to help with their survival, but human survival relies very much on learning and planning.”

“You can’t learn without living in the past,” adds Dr. Winter. And “you can’t plan without living in the future.”

Rather than trying to shut out the past or future completely, find a healthy balance. For example, you could reflect on a past accomplishment or mistake during your morning or evening routine. If you’re worried or anxious about a future event, jot it down and develop a plan of action.

Most importantly, take and do these new actions in small steps and small doses. Personally, I allocate no more than 15-minutes of worrying time per day. During this time, I get all of these thoughts out of my head and organize them for later so that I can focus on the task at hand. You may need a little longer — but too much time worrying can easily overwhelm some people.

Fewer, but better.

As I’ve already said. There are responsibilities that you must follow through with. However, most of the items on your to-do lists could probably be removed. Maybe that’s why 41% of to­-do items are never completed.

The fix? Do less.

That may sound easier said than done. But, it’s possible to use techniques like the Pareto Principle, aka the 80/20 Rule.

“The Pareto Principle is a concept that suggests two out of ten items, on any general to-do list, will turn out to be worth more than the other eight items put together,” clarifies Brian Tracy.

“The sad fact is that most people procrastinate on the top 10 or 20 percent of items that are the most valuable and important,” which is known as the “vital few. Instead, they “busy themselves” with the least important 80 percent, aka the “trivial many.”

You can encourage this by;

  • Simplifying your to-do lists with the Eisenhower Matrix. You can also try mapping out your main priority, 3 medium priorities, and 5 smaller to-dos.
  • Tracking your time so that you dedicate the right amount of time to complete your most important tasks.
  • Restructuring your routine so that you’re working on your MITs when you’re most productive.
  • Training yourself to bolster skills like concentration.
  • Thinking beyond work. Following the 80/20 Rule will allow you to pursue other interests outside of the workplace that can make you healthier and happier.

Consider the opportunity cost.

The opportunity cost is often used when making a financial or investment decision. In a nutshell, it’s determining the return you’ll receive from each option you’re weighing.

For example, you decide to spend $2000 on a new Macbook. While you now have a new laptop, you also can’t put that money towards something more beneficial in the long run — such as making sure your emergency fund is full.

You can also use this concept when it comes to how you want to spend your time. You could accept that meeting invite. But, it’s an hour-long and doesn’t have a clear purpose.

Instead, you may determine that that block of time could be better spent finishing an important task so that you can leave early to spend time with your family.

Let go of the narrative so that you can focus.

“If you are feeling fear, shame, overwhelm, anxiety, worry … this is completely natural,” writes Leo Babauta from Zen Habits. “Let yourself feel it fully for a moment.” From there, “see if you can let go of the narrative that’s causing the fear.”

“What narrative are you playing in your head that’s making you afraid?” he asks. Are you concerned about not meeting a deadline you set or being perfect? “These are not necessarily false narratives, but they’re hurting you no matter how true they are.”

Narratives, like the examples above, “keep us from being present, pulling us instead to thinking about other things,” states Babauta. They also “add fear and worry to our experience, which makes it harder to focus.”

“So think of the narrative as a soap bubble that you can just pop,” he advises. “Pop! And it’s gone.”

Bring more mindfulness into your life.

Well, you know that this was eventually going to pop up.

“According to thousands of years of tradition, Buddhists meditate to understand themselves and their connections to all beings,” writes Jill Suttie, Psy.D. in Greater Good. “By doing so, they hope to be released from suffering and ultimately gain enlightenment.”

Research, however, also shows that “mindfulness affects many aspects of our psychological well-being,” adds Dr. Suttie. These “include improving our mood, increasing positive emotions, and decreasing our anxiety, emotional reactivity, and job burnout.” Moreover, mindfulness is good for our hearts, improves immune response, and decreases cognitive decline.

Even better? You can introduce mindfulness into your daily life via;

  • Start each day on the right foot. Rather than jumping directly on your phone, ask, “What is my intention for today?”
  • Visualize your goals.
  • Practice peaceful eating and savory every bite.
  • Conduct body scans throughout the day.
  • Take frequent mindful breaks, such as going for a 20-minute walk outside.
  • Activate the “slow brain” by creating new patterns, such as a series of “If this, then that” messages.
  • Be more clear about the aim of your physical activity.
  • Drive yourself calm during your commute. For instance, before turning over the engine, engage in breathing exercises and checking for any body tension.
  • Review your day and practice gratitude.

Stop overscheduling yourself.

There’s a rule that I’ve followed for years when you feel over-committed and need to decide where to trim the fat. “If you’re not saying ‘HELL YEAH!’ about something, say ‘no,’” recommends Derek Sivers.

“When deciding whether to do something, if you feel anything less than ‘Wow! That would be amazing! Absolutely! Hell yeah!’ — then say ‘no.’”

“When you say no to most things, you leave room in your life to really throw yourself completely into that rare thing that makes you say ‘HELL YEAH!’”

Whatever you’re invited to, regardless if it’s a meeting or social function, if you’re not 100% into it, politely say “no.” And use this thinking with any other time requests that come your way as well.

Connect with people — in real life.

“In many Muslim cultures, when you want to ask how they’re doing, you ask: in Arabic, Kayf haal-ik? Or, in Persian, Haal-e shomaa chetoreh? How is your haal?” writes Omid Safi.

“What is this haal that you inquire about?” Safi asks. It’s “the transient state of one’s heart.” That means that you’re genuinely asking, “How is your heart doing at this very moment, at this breath?”

“I am not asking how many items are on your to-do list, nor asking how many items are in your inbox,” he states. “I want to know how your heart is doing at this very moment.” Whether it’s filled with sadness or joy, this builds a stronger connection with others.

“Tell me you remember you are still a human being, not just a human doing,” adds Safi. “Tell me you’re more than just a machine, checking off items from your to-do list. Have that conversation, that glance, that touch.”

“Be a healing conversation, one filled with grace and presence,” he advises.

Make everything negotiable.

“You will never find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it.” — Charles Buxto

I can’t stress this enough. You are the gatekeeper of your time. Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be disrespectful of others. For instance, when you get paid to do a job on an agreed-upon deadline, then you have to see that through. On the flip side, if you’re at full capacity, don’t commit to anything new until you have the availability.

The key is to be transparent and flexible upfront. Sharing your calendar, in my opinion, is the easiest way around the stress of being transparent and flexible. As opposed to role-playing as Tom and Jerry, they can see when you’re free to have a conference call, meet for lunch, or start a new project.

Establish tech-free zones.

While you can’t completely go-off-the grid, you do need to establish boundaries with technology. Your phone, as an example, has a knack for distracting and pulling you from the present. Just think about how many times you’re in the zone or relaxing only for a text to transport you to some future event.

While turning off notifications or blocking apps/websites at certain times can help, there’s always the temptation to look at our phones. In fact, there’s even a phenomenon known as phantom vibration syndrome where we think that our phone is ringing or vibrating when it’s not.

The best way to counter this? Go on a tech detox by designating tech-free zones.

When it’s time to eat dinner, leave your phone in the living room. Have your family do the same is that everyone is fully engaged in conversation. When it’s bedtime, turn your phone off and keep it somewhere else in your home — even if it’s just across the room.

While leaving your phone in another room may be uncomfortable initially, it will get easier over time. Eventually, you’ll realize that you don’t always have your phone beside you 24/7. And, that will improve your relationships, encourage a better night’s sleep, and make you in-tune with your surroundings.

How Your Calendar Can Save the World

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How Your Calendar Can Save the World

Is it ambitious to want to save the world? Sure. But, as Eddie Vedder sings on one of my all-time favorite Pearl Jam tunes, “Sometimes.”

Seek my part, devote myself

My small self

Like a book amongst the many on a shelf

Whatever you truly care about, spending any amount of time championing it can make the world a better place — even if it’s just in your small pocket of the world. After all, if we all made a little effort, we could have the power to impact our little third rock from the Sun positively.

Of course, time restraints are always holding us back from making a difference. But, thanks to your trusted calendar, that’s no longer an excuse. In fact, thanks to the calendar, we can all participate in saving the world in our own unique ways.

1. Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

“In the event of a sudden drop in pressure, an oxygen mask will drop from above. Secure your own mask first before assisting others.”

If you’ve ever flown, then you’re familiar with that announcement. But, why? It’s straightforward.

If you don’t put your oxygen mask on first, then how can you assist those who can not? After all, the lack of oxygen will cause you to pass out. As such, this will leave others in a precarious situation.

The same is true in your daily life. If you don’t carve out time to attend to your own health and wellbeing, then you aren’t in the best spot to make a positive impact. For example, if you’re too burned out from work, then you aren’t going to have the energy to help struggling employees or volunteer in the community.

What’s the best way to help yourself first? By adding self-care to your calendar.

Self-care, as explained  in a previous Calendar article, “is when you regularly engage in activities and practices that make you feel calm and re-energized.”

“Some might consider this being on the selfish side,” adds Deanna. “But, self-care is a proven way to reduce stress. It’s also key in maintaining our own mental, emotional, and even physical health.” Because of this, self-care is “vital in protecting and enhancing our short- and long-term health and wellbeing.”

While you may think that you don’t have the time for self-care, you can use your calendar to make this possible by:

  • Following a routine that at least “encourages a consistent sleep-wake cycle, meal schedule, and workflow. If possible, try to base these around your circadian rhythms,” Deanna states.
  • “Regularly scheduling 2-3 nutrient-rich meals per day.” To make this easier, schedule deliveries from companies like Misfits Market or SnackNation.
  • Blocking out periods of time for physical activity and setting reminders to stand up and stretch.
  • Setting office hours so that you can actually unplug and detach from work. You should also share your calendar with others so that they know when you’re available and when you’re not.
  • Scheduling social activities.
  • Reducing screen. Instead of being glued to your phone, replace that with other activities like walking or reading a book.
  • Penciling in alone-time so that you can reflect and engage in self-talk.
  • Leave blank spaces in your calendar so that you can spend that time however you please.

2. Cultivate Gratitude

Looking for an uncomplicated activity that can lower stress, improve sleep, and strengthen your relationship ships. Look no further than practicing gratitude. In particular, try the GIFT Technique, as suggested by Anna Hennings, MA, a mental performance coach in sport psychology:

  • Growth: personal growth, such as learning a new skill
  • Inspiration: whatever has inspired you
  • Friends/family: those who are supportive and enrich your life
  • Tranquility: those small and meaningful moments, like sipping on your morning tea
  • Surprise: acknowledging unexpected surprises

Keep that acronym when identifying what you’re grateful for. After that, jot these items down in your journal during your morning or evening routine.

In addition to writing in a gratitude journal, actually show others how much you appreciate them. Examples include greeting your employees when they come into work or sending handwritten “thank you” cards. Other recommendations would be to publicly acknowledge others, offering thoughtful gifts/rewards, and being respectful of their time.

3. Volunteer Your Time

“When you volunteer your time, you are helping others in need while also spending your time in an excellent way,” note the folks over at Wheels For Wishes. “Not only are you making others happy, but you will also feel great about yourself.” However, since there are so many organizations where you could volunteer, where can you start?

Thankfully, the Wheels For Wishes put together the following list to help you get on your way:

  • Walk dogs at an animal shelter
  • Adopt or foster a pet
  • Volunteer at a wildlife rehabilitation
  • Give blood
  • Serve food at a soup kitchen
  • Organize a fundraising event
  • Volunteer at a children’s summer camp
  • Donate your hair
  • Adopt a highway and keep it clean
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood
  • Spend time at a nursing home
  • Organize a food or coat drive
  • Tutor or mentor
  • Run errands for the elderly
  • Knit hats for those going through chemotherapy

Go through your calendar to check your availability. For example, since my calendar is wide open next weekend, and the weather is supposed to be pleasant, I’m going to collect the trash along the side of my road. By adding this to my calendar, I’m committing to it and not letting anything else take its place.

4. Offer Your Services

What skills or knowledge do you possess? Put them to good use by offering them up for free.

For instance, if you’re a doctor, you could spend your downtime at a free clinic. Are you a lawyer or accountant? Offer free advice at community or senior centers when needed, like right before tax season. Do you know how to code? Build or update the website for a nonprofit.

5. Make a Donation

Don’t have the availability to volunteer or offer your services? No problem. You can still give back to others through donations. For instance, you could go through your kitchen and donate perishable food items. Go through your closet and donate blankets, coats, or hats you no longer wear.

But, what’s there’s more! Animal shelters could use old towels, cleaning supplies, or unopened pet food and treats. Nurseries could take baby blankets off your hands, while daycares might be interested in books or art supplies.

You could also donate your vehicle. And, you can never go wrong with a cash donation.

6. Commit to a Regular Contribution

Is there a cause that you’re passionate about? Then why not become a regular contributor? It’s pretty setting-and-forgetting your contributions. For instance, you could make an automated monthly donation to NPR or The Adventure Project — just put a reminder in your calendar so that you keep your bank account in good order.

$10 a month may not be much to you. But, it can truly make all the difference in the world for those in need.

7. Be Informed

What are you passionate about? Whatever it is, learn as much about the topic as possible during your downtime.

Let’s say that this is climate change. You should keep informed via sources like Nature Climate Change; the “Ask NASA” website, CleanTechnica. You could also listen to podcasts, watch TED Talks, or attend online events.

The more you know, the more you can educate others or find ways to make a difference.

8. Get Involved Politically

No matter your political affiliation, always go out and vote both locally and naturally. I would search for election dates in your neck of the woods so that you can mark your calendar to prevent forgetting. Remember, there are way more elections out there than the Presidential Election that takes place every four years.

But, there’s more you can do besides casting your ballot. You could volunteer for a campaign, like phone banking, knocking on doors, or registering new voters. And, keep politicians accountable by contacting them or attending town hall events.

9. Use Your Voice

Do you disagree with how a brand treats its employees? Send them an email voicing your concerns. Is a company polluting the environment or abusing animals? Let others know through social media and in-person conversations.

You might think that this is time-consuming. These are all actions you could take when batching tasks like cleaning out your inbox or updating your social channels.

10. Conduct an Energy Audit

An energy audit is pretty self-explanatory. It’s when you go through your home or workplace to find out where it’s losing energy so that you can correct this problem. While there are professionals who can do this, you can schedule to do this on your own by:

  • Finding and sealing air leaks coming through doors, windows, or gaps along the baseboard.
  • Checking insulation levels in the ceiling and walls.
  • Annually inspecting heating and cooling equipment.
  • Estimating the energy use of your appliances.
  • Switching to more energy-efficient appliances.
  • Replacing your old bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

11. Create Reminders to Power Down

“All things plugged in will bleed some energy,” writes Vanessa Vadim for Treehugger. “Called ‘standby’ electricity loss because it’s so often associated with electronics in standby or idle mode, it’s also known as ‘phantom’ or ‘vampire” electricity.’”

But, what if you turn off all of your appliances. Doesn’t matter. They’re still drawing power.

“The Natural Resources Defense Council says the cost of plugged-in but not used devices is about $165 per household or $19 billion across the U.S.,” adds Vadim. “That amounts to about 44 million tons of carbon dioxide, or 4.6% of the country’s total residential electricity generation, points out The New York Times.”

One way to resolve this would be powering down and unplugging the electronics you use at work before leaving. If you usually “clock-out” by 5 p.m., then spend the last 30-minutes organizing your workspace and flipping off your power strip. And, you can do the same thing before bed in your home.

Suppose you know that you won’t be home or in the office for an extended period, add a calendar reminder. For instance, if you’re leaving at 9 a.m., then receive a reminder 15-minutes before so that you can turn off the lights and unplug unnecessary appliances.

12. Set the Ideal Temperature

Thermostat wars are fairly commonplace at both home and the workplace. However, constantly fiddling with the temperature doesn’t just cause rifts between family members and colleagues. It can also impact everything from your sleep to productivity. And, it’s also detrimental to the environment.

The answer? Install an automatic thermostat and set it at the right temperature at the right time. For example, the Helsinki University of Technology’s Laboratory for Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning state that the ideal temperature for the “typical” office is around 71.6 F. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), however, recommends keeping the thermostat between 68 and 76 F.

Regardless of your exact preference, keep the workplace comfortable so that you aren’t shivering or sweating. At the end of the day, though, crank down the heat or turn up the air so that you aren’t wasting energy when no one is around.

Better yet? Invest in a smart thermostat. It will learn your patterns and adjust accordingly. You can also sync these devices with your calendar. For instance, you can connect your Google Calendar with Google Home/Nest to control the temperature of your residence or workplace from anywhere.

Moreover, Project Drawdown anticipates that “smart thermostats could grow from 3 percent to 58-63 percent of households with Internet access by 2050.” If so, this means “1,453-1,589 million homes would have them,” and it could avoid 7.0-7.4 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions.

13. Reduce Unnecessary Mail

41 pounds. That’s how much junk mail the average American receives each year. In order to produce that much requires the cutting down of between 80 and 100 million trees annually!

Besides the environmental impact, junk mail is annoying and sometimes time-consuming if you happen to the type of person who reads every correspondence they receive. To stop this, you can:

  • Opt-out of credit card and insurance offers via OptOutPrescreen.com.
  • To stop receiving unwanted direct mail, register on the National Do Not Mail List.
  • Opt-out of catalogs and magazine subscriptions by contacting Catalog Choice, CoxTarget, or Publishers Clearing House (800.645.9242 or [email protected]) and Readers Digest (800.310.6261).
  • Directly ask for your name to be removed from the mailing lists of companies or nonprofits.
  • Download the PaperKarma app. Just snap a pic of the piece of mail, select the name or address you want removed, and press unsubscribe. Easy peasy.

And, even though it’s not junk mail, make sure that you go paperless. As opposed to receiving monthly statements and mailing payments, you can do all of this online.

14. Prepare Your Meals

“Today, an estimated one-third of all the food produced in the world goes to waste,” notes the World Wildlife Fund. “That’s equal to about 1.3 billion tons of fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy, seafood, and grains that either never leave the farm, get lost or spoiled during distribution, or are thrown away in hotels, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, or home kitchens.” That’s “enough calories to feed every undernourished person on the planet.”

“But wasted food isn’t just a social or humanitarian concern—it’s an environmental one,” adds the WWF. “When we waste food, we also waste all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package it. And if food goes to the landfill and rots, it produces methane—a greenhouse gas even more potent than carbon dioxide.”

It’s actually estimated that roughly “11% of all the greenhouse gas emissions that come from the food system could be reduced if we stop wasting food. In the US alone, the production of lost or wasted food generates the equivalent of 37 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions.”

To prevent food waste, plan your meal ahead. For example, you could spend Sundaymorning coming up with a menu for the week. When you go to the store, this ensures that you’ll only buy what you need. And, then you can actually prepare your meals.

I’ve gotten into the habit of this. And, I’m a fan. It’s a type of batching where I don’t have to do much cooking throughout the week. Even though I enjoy cooking, this saves me time, money and even has reduced the packing waste.

As for leftovers? I either freeze them or get creative. For instance, if I’m on day three of veggie chili, I make chili quesadillas out of them to have something different. The rest is in my freezer, ready to be thawed on one of those cold and dreary days we tend to have in the Northeast during the winter.

Bonus points if you make a weekly trip to a local farmer’s market. If that’s not an option, most markets are seasonal around me, look into produce subscription boxes like Misfits Market, Imperfect Foods, Farm Fresh to You, Farmbox Direct, and Farm to People.

15. Regularly Eat Together as a Family (or Team)

Growing up, my family ate together—6 o’clock sharp. No exceptions. As we got older, this became less frequent. But, we still had Sunday dinner.

As a kid, this might have been frustrating. Why would I want to sit down to eat when I could be playing outside or hanging out with my friends. Little did I know, eating together as a family was key in keeping us connected.

It turns out that throughout the years, research backs this assertion up.

While it doesn’t have to be dinner, having meals together is beneficial as it:

  • Teaches children better eating habits. In fact, teens ate more fruits and veggies, and less fast food and sugary beverages, if they ate with their family.
  • It can prevent psychosocial issues. These include eating disorders, substance abuse, and depression.
  • Curtails weight problems later in life. Even just gathering once or twice a week can help protect children from weight problems as adults.
  • Improves children’s self-esteem. During meals, children can talk about themselves, which in turn, makes them feel more self-confident.
  • Bolsters communication skills. Between socialization and conversations, children can become better communicators.
  • It helps kids bounce back from cyberbullying. With more guidance from their parents, kids experience setbacks from cyberbullying like anxiety.
  • It can be used to supplement family therapy. If a family is seeing a therapist, meals provide an opportunity to share the lessons learned.

Before it gets filled up, schedule regular mealtimes with your family in your calendar. It’s a surefire way to avoid conflicts. Plus, it makes planning easier since you can build your schedule around family time.

Moreover, if you’re leading a team, try to have regular lunches together — even if they’re virtual. Studies have found that groups who have lunches together have higher morale and productivity.

16. Shop Locally

What happens when you shop locally? Well, here are 10 positive outcomes courtesy of Independent We Stand:

  • “For every $100 you spend at locally owned businesses, $68 will stay in the community.” That’s only $43 at a national chain.
  • You’re embracing what makes your community unique.
  • You’re creating “jobs for teachers, firemen, police officers, and many other essential professions.”
  • “Buying from a locally owned business conserves energy and resources in the form of less fuel for transportation and less packaging.”
  • It nurtures the community since it’s been found that “local businesses donate to community causes at more than twice the rate of chains.”
  • You’re reinvesting your tax-dollars back into the community.
  • There are more products and services geared for your specific area.
  • You can actually get friendly, expert advice.
  • You’re supporting local entrepreneurship.
  • It helps make your community become a destination.

Where’ your calendar come into play? Well, you could mark it for dates like Small Business Saturday or when there will be sales events throughout the year. Or, you could build this into your schedule. If your farmer’s market is only open on the weekend, then do all of your local shopping on Saturday or Sunday.

17. Run Errands At Once

Piggybacking off that last point, reduce your carbon footprint by doing all of your errands in one shot. Let’s say that you have Tuesday afternoon wide open. Since you have the availability, block that timeframe out so that you can buy groceries, pick-up your dry cleaning, or fill your car up with gas — as opposed to running back-and-forth throughout the week.

As an additional perk, you’ll also save valuable time. And, this could be a chance to spend quality time with a family member or friend — which can help you achieve work-life integration.

18. Walk or Bike

Getting outside and getting the blood pumping is a win-win for your overall health and wellbeing. But, if you have spare time and the weather is cooperating, leave your car at home when running errands. While not always possible if you have a car full of groceries, if you need to pick-up items at a farm stand, this is beneficial for you, the local economy, and the environment.

19. Extend the Life of Your Lithium Battery

“One of the biggest environmental problems caused by our endless hunger for the latest and smartest devices is a growing mineral crisis, particularly those needed to make our batteries,” Christina Valimaki, an analyst at Elsevier, told Wired. Consequently, mining operations are impacting local communities, such as those who grow quinoa and herd llamas in Chile.

What’s more, this process can “scar the landscape” and cause toxic chemicals to bleed into water supplies. As if that weren’t bad enough, some mining operations rely on child labor.

Since it’s futile to give-up our lithium battery addiction, we can at least extend the life of our current batteries so that we aren’t constantly replacing them. The easiest way? Not letting your battery completely drain.

“Try to keep batteries charged at an average 50% or above most of the time — at the very least somewhere between 40% and 80% — to preserve an optimal life span,” suggests Jackie Dove and Paula Beaton for Digital Trends. “Even though your charger can control electronic input to prevent damage, you should unplug the phone when power hits 100% and, if possible, avoid overnight charging.”

You can achieve this by putting your phone on airplane mode when you’re working, eating, or sleeping. Other recommendations are keeping your apps up-to-date, removing apps/widgets you don’t use, dimming your screen, using dark wallpaper, and disabling location services.

20. Frequently Check-In With Others

During your morning or evening routine, check-in with a family member, friend, or colleague. It doesn’t have to be much. It could be a simple text message or a quick phone call letting them know that they’re on your mind.

Just checking in on others strengthens relationships, improves your health, and can help you become more comfortable opening up. Most importantly, this can help them overcome any issues that they’re struggling with. Or, at the very least, it can provide a healthy distraction.

The good people over at I Don’t Mind have ten questions you should ask during your check-in. And, after you’ve opened up the lines of communication, schedule a video call and put it in your calendar for a more in-depth convo.

21. Take a Vacation

Vacations are a proven way to improve your life satisfaction, productivity, and both your mental and physical health. It can spark creativity, give you new perspectives, and allows you to bond with others.

While that’s great for you and your relationships, traveling could also support local economies — especially those that have suffered from events like natural disasters. You could also volunteer while abroad. And, there are even options from companies like Responsible Travel that support communities and preserve nature.

If you can’t get away because of COVID or your schedule won’t allow it, plan a staycation. It may not be the same. But, this still gives you a chance to unwind, spend time with those closest to you, and back to your local community.

22. Add Holidays and Observances

Finally, open up your calendar and add lesser-known holidays and observations. Why? Because this allows you to observe and spread awareness on worthwhile causes thoughtfully. Some suggestions are:

Beware of Toxic Productivity

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Beware of Toxic Productivity

It may seem like a modern concept — but we’ve been striving for productivity for centuries. For example, one of the earliest mentions of productivity can be found in the classic economics text Wealth of Nations, written by Adam Smith in 1776.

What’s more, Benjamin Franklin came up with the first to-do-list in 1791. Even the day planner has been around since 1850. But, in the 21st Century, technology has almost made us obsessed with productivity.

Don’t believe me? Google “productivity” for the heck of it. You’ll get around 561,000,000 results!

On a daily basis, we’re bombarded with tools and hacks that promise to make us more productive. The problem is that eventually, we get burned out.

Then, the pandemic hit. For many of us, that meant we had “extra” time on our hands. With a scrapped daily commute, blank social calendar, and nothing else to do, we could be even more productive.

To make matters worse, this is what we were advised to by experts. Our social feeds were filled to the brim with people who suddenly became bakers, musicians, or contractors. There was no longer an excuse not to get things done.

What is toxic productivity?

“It’s tough enough to be productive in the best of times, let alone when we’re in a global crisis,” Chris Bailey, a productivity consultant and the author of “Hyperfocus: How to Manage Your Attention in a World of Distraction.” told The New York Times.

“The idea that we have so much time available during the day now is fantastic, but these days it’s the opposite of luxury,” he said. “We’re home because we have to be home, and we have much less attention because we’re living through so much.”

Next thing you know, you have new responsibilities and obligations. Eventually, you feel so overwhelmed that it’s like your underwater. And, you actually have less time to kick back and relax.

Even worse? You might have felt like a failure if you weren’t making the most of every minute in lockdown.

“It’s called toxic productivity,” explains expert nurse Emma Selby, clinical lead at health & fitness brand Results Wellness Lifestyle. “It can be defined as an obsession with radical self-improvement above all else.”

“Ultimately, it’s an unachievable goal,” adds Selby. Regardless “matter how productive you are, the result you are left with is a feeling of guilt for not having done ‘more.’”

Obviously, that’s counterproductive. More concerning is that this can impact your health and wellbeing during these uncertain times.

The signs of toxic productivity.

Not all productivity is toxic. Throughout the pandemic, a lot of us figured out how to get more done in less time. How so? By finally identifying our priorities and not dealing with distractions like in-person meetings.

A study from Prodoscore actually found that calendar time had dropped almost 23% vs. the year prior. However, from May to August 2020, productivity levels were up 5% when compared to 2019.

The downside? People were working through the weekend. The study reports that “year over year from May through August, employees are working 42% more on Saturdays and 24% more on Sundays in 2020 than in 2019.”

And, the latter is an example of toxic productivity. But, since this is different for everyone, here are some common red flags to determine if your productivity is toxic.

  • It’s impacted your mental health. You feel more anxious, depressed, or restless.
  • You’ve forgotten obligations and personal responsibilities. Examples include not remembering a family member’s birthday or skipping your workout, a healthy meal, or a good night’s sleep.
  • Your relationships have become stained. Are you not fully “present” when interacting with others? Have you been told that you’re working too much? Have you alienated those closest to you, like not responding to texts or making time for them?
  • You have unrealistic expectations. For instance, putting in a normal 8-day for work when you also have to homeschool your kids.
  • Feeling like you’re on the verge of burnout. Usually, this involves feeling less energetic and focused.
  • Attaching self-worth to hours worked. Just because you worked for 8-hours doesn’t mean you were productive. In fact, if you work more than 55 hours per week, productivity begins to drop sharply.

How to avoid toxic productivity.

Have you noticed any of the toxic productivity signs listed above? If you answered yes, don’t fret. There are simple ways to put a stop to toxic productivity before it interferes with your health, work performance, and relationships.

1. Don’t be productive, be smart.

Productivity is focusing on things that matter most to you. It’s those baby steps you’re taking to reach a goal. And, certainly not trying to keep with what you’re friends are posting on social media.

In short, don’t be productive just for the sake of being productive. Instead, be smarter and do more in less time by;

  • Scheduling your most important work about your internal clock.
  • Use Parkinson’s Law to your advantage, like cutting deadlines in half or gamifying tasks.
  • Follow the 80/20 rule so that you’re focusing on the vital few.
  • Manage your energy, not your time.
  • Stop chasing perfection and think done.
  • Re-use previous materials.
  • Keep tabs on your emotional exhaustion.
  • Keep your saw sharp by taking breaks and enhancing your skills.
  • Set your ideal schedule and then work backward.

2. Adjust your goals and expectations.

I’ve enjoyed working from home — and for some people, they’re actually mote productive without commuting, meetings, and talkative co-workers.

At the same time, there also days when you aren’t going to get as much done at home. You may have children to take care of or catch-up on household chores. There will be certain tasks that you literally can not do at home since you don’t have the right tools or equipment.

Additionally, there’s only so much you can actually do in one day. Don’t overcommit yourself. And, be honest about what you can realistically accomplish.

3. Redefine what breaks are.

Taking breaks doesn’t mean that slacking off. These are vital if you want to stay fresh and rejuvenated. Besides, there are perks to being lazy every now and then.

Besides taking frequent breaks throughout the day, disconnect on the weekend. And, if you feel like you need a personal day, go ahead and take it.

4. Embrace simplicity.

“Whether you call it minimalism, Kondo-ing, or simple living, there are certainly benefits to this type of lifestyle,” writes Calendar Co-Founder John Hall. “Mainly, saving time and money. But, it’s also good for your health and productivity.”

Rather than adding more to your life, scale things back. When you do, you’ll enjoy the following perks;

  • Having blank spots in your calendar allows time for self-reflection.
  • You’ll reduce decision fatigue.
  • You’ll finally have the chance to engage in self-care.
  • There will be fewer misplaced items.
  • It removes friction and conflicts from your life.
  • It strengthens relationships, focus, and effectiveness.
  • You’ll have a clean and organized home and workspace.

5. Establish clearly defined boundaries.

It’s not always possible. But, try to stick to a routine where you have a clear working and non-working hours. Even if your schedule is flexible or changing, leave work at work when you’re done.

Of course, this is a challenge. However, it’s not impossible. You could designate tech-free zones in your home, put your phone on “do not disturb,” set time limits on email, or ask a family member to hold you accountable.

6. Focus on positive self-talk.

“Do you define your sense of self-worth by how productive you are?” asks Dr. Therese Mascardo, Founder of the L.A. Digital Nomads, and CEO and founder of Exploring Therapy. “If so, you may find yourself caught in a cycle of chasing accomplishments that give you a temporary sense of worth until that wears off and you need yet another accomplishment to make you feel valuable.”

“To heal your self-talk, start seeing that your value is not in what you produce or accomplish, but in who you are,” advises Dr. Mascardo.

“Ask yourself, ‘Would I have these same expectations for someone I care for deeply?’” No? “Then you shouldn’t have these expectations for yourself, either.”

In fact, get into the habit of talking to yourself like you would a friend. And, if you’re really struggling with self-talk, get support from a therapist. They can help “you heal toxic narratives that have kept you stuck in a cycle of addiction to productivity.”

7. Don’t compare yourselves to others.

Social media is always a two-edged weapon,” writes business analyst Man To Ip. “On one hand, social media like LinkedIn allow us to explore opportunities like never before. With the help of these tools, it is way easier nowadays to expand our network and get the latest information from companies.”

On the other hand? “These platforms promote a kind of competition among peers or even among strangers.”

“During this lockdown period, it is common to see that many people posting what online courses they have finished, what skills they have picked up, or generally ‘how they have used this period wisely,’” he adds. “Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that we should not equip ourselves with various skills or we should not give advice to other people.”

“Overall, these feeds have no problem at all, but toxic productivity comes in when we over-compare ourselves with others because of this information. It is, of course, good to have done five online courses in a month, but by no means you are a ‘loser’ simply because you have just done three courses instead of five.”

164 February Holidays and Observances

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164 February Holidays and Observances

Isn’t February the worst? Well, unless you can zoom to the Rockies for a couple of good ski days…

I know that there are some notable happenings like Black History Month, the long President’s Day Weekend, the Super Bowl, and multiple viewings of Groundhog Day. Overall though? You’re still coming down for the holidays, you’ve already broken your New Year’s Resolutions, and the weather is atrocious.

The good news? You can make the shortest month of the year more tolerable by celebrating the following holidays and observances.

February 1

  • Baked Alaska Day: Also known as omelette norvégienne. This decadent dessert is said to have originated at Delmonico’s Restaurant in New York City in 1876 to honor the newly acquired territory of Alaska.
  • Dark Chocolate Day: Do we really need a reason to celebrate dark chocolate? Not really. But, if you do, just know that dark chocolate contains nutrients that can improve your health and lower the risk of heart disease.
  • Freedom Day: It was on this historic day in 1865 when President Lincoln and a joint House and Senate resolution signed a resolution that would become the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which outlawed slavery.
  • Get Up Day: Following National Skating Month (January), the Get Up Campaign was launched in 2017 “to help skaters and non-skaters alike to recognize the grit, passion, and perseverance needed to Get Up in the rink and life every day.
  • Serpent Day: Personally, I’m terrified of snakes. But, I’m also a realist and realize how beneficial they are to the ecosystem.
  • No Politics Day: It’s normal to feel exhausted after an election. But, the 2020 Presidential Election, and the last four years overall, have been brutal. We all deserve a much-needed break from politics, even if it’s just for one day.
  • Texas Day: Back on February 1, 1863, a group of Texas delegates declared the Lone Star state’s secession from the Union. However, this wasn’t granted until February 23, 1861.

February 2

  • Candlemas: As defined by Britannica, this is a “Christian festival on February 2 commemorating the occasion when the Virgin Mary, in obedience to Jewish law, went to the Temple in Jerusalem both to be purified 40 days after the birth of her son, Jesus, and to present him to God as her firstborn (Luke 2:22–38).”
  • Groundhog Day: Did you know that Groundhog Day has its roots tied to Candlemas? Via History, on this day, the “clergy would bless and distribute candles needed for winter. The candles represented how long and cold the winter would be. Germans expanded on this concept by selecting an animal–the hedgehog–as a means of predicting the weather. Once they came to America, German settlers in Pennsylvania continued the tradition, although they switched from hedgehogs to groundhogs, which were plentiful in the Keystone State.”
  • Heavenly Hash Day: What the heck is a heavenly hash? It’s not what you think despite its title. Depending on the region, it can be a fruit salad, candy, or ice cream. The common ingredient, though, is marshmallows, marshmallow creme, or whip.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day: According to the CDC, arthritis affects roughly one in four adults overall — which comes out to over 54 million Americans. To raise awareness, visit the Arthritis National Research Foundation.
  • Tater Tot Day: This tasty kitchen staple was invented back in 1953. We can thank F. Nephi Grigg and Golden Grigg, founders of Ore-Ida, who got creative with leftover pieces of potatoes.
  • Ukulele Day: Did you know that the Hawaiian nickname ukuleletranslates to “jumping flea” in English?
  • World Wetlands Day: This environmentally-related celebration dates back to 1971. For ideas on how to observe and spread awareness, head over to www.worldwetlandsday.org.

February 3

  • Carrot Cake Day: While this may seem like a more recent dessert, carrot cake can be traced back to a Medieval favorite simply known as carrot pudding.
  • Doggy Date Night: As a dog owner, I can proclaim that dogs are the best things on Earth. So, on this day, spend a little extra time with your best friend by taking them to the park. You could also take them on a long car ride or to get groomed.
  • Feed the Birds Day: To help birds survive the winter, fill-up a feeder with seeds and pick-up a new hobby like bird watching.
  • Girls and Women in Sports Day: 2021 marks the 35th Annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day (NGWSD). “Every year, this celebration inspires girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full power. ”
  • Missing Person’s Day: Approximately 2,300 Americans, both children, and adults, are reported missing daily. Visit sites like National Missing and Unidentified Persons System on how you can help.
  • The Day the Music Died Day: It was on this day in 1959 that Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” passed away tragically in a plane crash.
  • Women Physicians Day: February 3rd is the birthday of Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, who was the first woman to obtain a medical degree in the United States in 1849. 2021 will be her 200th birthday.

February 4

  • Create a Vacuum Day: The exact origins of this holiday are unknown, but you can celebrate it by learning more about the science of vacuums and/or sucking up those dust bunnies you’ve been neglecting.
  • Hemp Day: Fun fact, it used to be illegal not to grow hemp. For example, because it was such a valuable crop, the Assembly of Jamestown Colony in Virginia passed legislation in 1619 that required all farmers to grow Indian hemp seed.
  • Homemade Soup Day: Soups have been warming us from the inside for around 9000 years! Celebrate this day by making your favorite homemade soup.
  • Stuffed Mushroom Day: Stuffed mushrooms didn’t become featured at restaurants until the 1940s or 1950s. Back then, they were a delicacy.
  • Thank a Mail Carrier Day: Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster General? That’s an awesome fact. But, now more than over, show your carrier how much you appreciate everything they do.
  • USO Day: The United Service Organizations was established on February 4, 1941, and has provided live entertainment and programs to members of the United States Armed Forces and their families since.
  • World Cancer Day: Created in 2000, this global initiative aims to reduce “the number of premature deaths from cancer and non-communicable diseases by one third by 2030.”

February 5

  • Bubble Gum Day: The first commercial bubble gum, Dubble Bubble, was invented in 1928 by Walter Diemer in Philadelphia.
  • Chocolate Fondue Day: Although fondue was billed as a national dish of Switzerland in 1875, chocolate fondue wasn’t invented until the early 1960s in New York City — by a Swiss, of course.
  • Give Kids A Smile Day: Launched in 2003 nationally by the American Dental Association, the Give Kids A Smile program has given more than 5 million underserved children free oral health services.
  • Shower with a Friend Day: You don’t have to literally do this; that would be awkward. In reality, this was a marketing ploy by a company that makes water filters “to encourage people to shower in filtered water that is free of chlorine.”
  • Wear Red Day: Celebrated on the first Friday in February, it’s suggested that you wear red to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease.
  • Weatherperson’s Day: “The day commemorated the birth of John Jeffries in 1744. Jeffries, one of America’s first weather observers, began taking daily weather observations in Boston in 1774, and he took the first balloon observation in 1784,” explainsthe National Weather Service.
  • World Nutella Day: I love this hazelnut cocoa spread, which has been around since 1964. Apparently, I’m not the only avid fan since the American blogger Sara Rosso established the first World Nutella Day on February 5, 2007.

February 6

  • Chopsticks Day: Here’s an interesting fact, cooks in China began using chopsticks to prepare food way back around 1200 B.V.
  • Frozen Yogurt Day: Believe it or not, yogurt has been around for about 5,000 years. However, frozen yogurt wasn’t a thing until H.P. Hood introduced “frogurt” in the 1970s.
  • Ice Cream for Breakfast Day: To entertain her children on a snowy day in the 1960s, Florence Rappaport in Rochester, New York, came up with this activity that has since become a global celebration.
  • Lame Duck Day: This day recognizes the ratification of the 20th Amendment, aka the Lame Duck Amendment.
  • Pay a Compliment Day: Created by Adrienne Koopersmith, on February 6, 1995, this day is all about giving “genuine and soulful compliments” to others.
  • Play Outside Day: Celebrated on the first Saturday of every month, you should spend the day outside as much as possible. It will do wonders for your health and wellbeing.
  • Take Your Child to the Library Day: 2021 marks the 10th Anniversary of the holiday where you and your family should, well, visit and support your local library.

February 7

  • Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: “The first National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD) was marked in 1999 as a grassroots-education effort to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS prevention, care, and treatment in communities of color,” explains HIV.gov.
  • Dump Your Significant Jerk Day: How can you observe this day? It’s simple. Finally, end that toxic relationship you’ve been once and for all.
  • Fettuccine Alfredo Day: Fettuccine with butter has been a recipe in Italy since the 15th-century. However, the dish that we’re more familiar with was invented by Alfredo di Lelio in Rome in 1892.
  • Periodic Table Day: Why celebrate the Periodic Table on this day? Well, it’s the publication date of the first table of elements.
  • Send a Card to a Friend Day: If we’ve learned anything from COVID-19, it’s how important staying in touch with others has been. So, why not sit down and write a handwritten letter to a friend, family member, or co-worker just for the heck of it.
  • Super Bowl LV (55): The big game will be a little different this year, but you’re probably going to be close to one of the 100 million watching when it goes down at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa at 6:30 p.m. ET.
  • Wave All Your Fingers at Your Neighbor Day: Even if you don’t have the best relationship with all of your neighbors, greet them with a big wave to show your appreciation or to just put a smile on their face.

February 8

  • Boy Scout Anniversary Day: On this day in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America were incorporated.
  • Clean Out Your Computer Day: Falling on the second Monday in February, the Institute of Business Technology started this in 2000 to remind people to organize and declutter their computer, as well as backup all of your programs.
  • Football Hangover Day: While relatively newer, it became official in 2019; this has been observed since 1967, football fans are encouraged to recover if they overindulged the night before.
  • Iowa Day: Spend the day learning about the Hawkeye State, which became the 29th state back in 1846.
  • Kite Flying Day: Did you know that kites date back to China in 470 B.C.?
  • Laugh and Get Rich Day: Laughter truly is the best medicine as it boosts your immune system, improves cardiac health, increases endorphins, and strengthens relationships. As such, find ways to laugh as much as possible on this day.

February 9

  • Bagels and Lox Day: A perfect excuse to enjoy this Jewish-American tradition by devouring a bagel topped with cream cheese, lox, red onion, and capers.
  • Cut the Cord Day: Sling, a live TV streaming service, introduced the first-ever, official National Cut the Cord Day in 2020 to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
  • Extraterrestrial Culture/Visitor Day: Recognizes the UFO incident that occurred in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947 by celebrating past, present, and future relationships with extraterrestrial visitors.
  • Pizza Day: Since pizza is my favorite food, I already have this marked on my calendar. But, did you know that pizza can be traced back to the 10th Century in Naples, Italy?
  • National Toothache Day: Definitely a weird and unusual holiday. It’s meant to remind you to book an appointment with your dentist.
  • Read in the Bathtub Day: We could all use a little self-care these days. And, what better way to do that than by enjoying a good book while soaking in a bathtub?
  • Safer Internet Day U.S.: This day is meant to promote safe, positive, and responsible technology use. After the last couple of years, this is a must. Head over to https://saferinternetday.us/ for more information.

February 10

  • All The News That’s Fit To Print Day: In 1897, Adolph S. Ochs, owner of the New York Times, first printed the newspaper’s famous motto, “All the news that’s fit to print.”
  • Cream Cheese Brownie Day: Brownies have been around since the 1800s. However, the first documented recipe in 1906 in The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.
  • Flannel Day: I’m a big fan of flannel here. So, I did a little digging and found out that the fabric originated in Wales around the 16th Century.
  • Home Warranty Day: Homeowners have been observing this holiday since 2016. Adding it to your calendar will remind them to review their policies. And to make sure that they have the appropriate coverage.
  • Teddy Day: In 1902, a political cartoon by Clifford Berryman lampooned Theodore Roosevelt’s bear hunting trip — here refused to shot a bear that was tied to a tree. This inspired Morris Michtom, a Brooklyn candy shop owner, to create a stuffed animal known as “Teddy’s Bear.”
  • Umbrella Day: Did you know that umbrellas have been around for 4000 years? They were first discovered in the historical Mesopotamia region in Western Asia.
  • World Pulses Day: “World Pulses Day is a designated United Nations global event to recognize the importance of pulses (chickpeas, dry beans, lentils, dry peas and lupins among others) as a global food,” states the Global Pulse Confederation. “It has been proclaimed on February 10 of each year since 2019 by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 20, 2018.”

February 11

  • Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day: The jest behind this holiday is to stop fussing over things that can’t be undone. As such, it’s the perfect day to let go of regrets and learn from past mistakes.
  • Get Out Your Guitar Day: It’s believed that the guitar originated in Spain sometime in the 16th century deriving from a late-medieval instrument with a waisted body and four strings known as the guitarra latina.
  • Inventors’ Day: First proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983, this event takes place on the birthday of Thomas Edison.
  • Make a Friend Day: The key to health, happiness, and a long life? Friendships. So, go out and make some new friends on this day!
  • Peppermint Patty Day: These minty and tasty treats have been around since 1940, thanks to the York Cone Company based in Pennsylvania. The company merged with Hershey in 1988.
  • Shut-In Visitation Day: Over the last year, I would say that many of us have become shut-ins. And, that type of isolation isn’t good for our health and wellbeing. Spend the day contacting others or stopping by — even if you’re socially distancing and wearing masks.
  • White Shirt Day: Why observe this holiday? It commemorates the historic auto worker strike that ended on February 11, 1937, resulting in GM recognizing the United Autoworkers Union.

February 12

  • Chinese New Year: For the uninitiated, the Chinese New Year is a festival celebrating the beginning of a new year based on the traditional lunar calendar. Also, in 2021, it is the year of the Ox.
  • Darwin Day: Did you know that Charles Darwin was born on the same day as Abraham Lincoln on February 12, 1809?
  • Georgia Day: It was on this day in 1733 that the Province of Georgia was founded. The Peach State would become the 13th Colony and 4th state to enter the Union.
  • Lost One Penny Day: Pennies don’t get much love these days. But, they have a long history. In fact, it was Benjamin Franklin who designed the first penny and introduced it in 1787.
  • NAACP Day: Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the oldest and largest civil rights organization in the United States
  • Plum Pudding Day: Not really sure why we celebrate Christmas pudding in February, but if you’re feeling festive, give this English plum pudding recipe a try.

February 13

  • Break Up With Your Carrier Day: Made official by T-Mobile, the company promises to make it as painless as possible to break-up with your current wireless provider.
  • Cheddar Day: This holiday was created in 2019 by cheese manufacturer Tillamook. It celebrates one of the most famous cheeses in the States.
  • Galentine’s Day: As Parks and Recs fans know, this holiday was created by Leslie Knope. “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style,” Leslie explained in the “Galentine’s Day” episode. “Ladies celebrating, ladies.”
  • Tortellini Day: While disputed, both Bologna and Modena, located in Italy’s Emilia-Romagna region, claim to be the birthplace of tortellini. Regardless, celebrate the day by whipping up this delish homemade recipe.
  • World Radio Day: Proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of UNESCO and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day, it’s encouraged that we learn about the evolution, innovation, and connection of radio.

February 14

  • Cream-Filled Chocolate Day: Would it be easier to just buy these at the store? Probably. But, you think if you make your own homemade filled chocolates, you’ll definitely be earning some brownie points.
  • Douglass Day: As explained over at douglassday.org, this “is a holiday that began around the turn of the 20th century. After the passing of Frederick Douglass in 1895, Black communities across the U.S. gathered to celebrate his birthday every year on February 14th.” It’s believed that this would serve as the inspiration for Black History Month.
  • Ferris Wheel Day: Did you know that the world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Las Vegas. Appropriately known as the High Roller, it stands at 550 ft. (168 m)?
  • Organ Donor Day: If you haven’t done so yet, add this to your calendar so that you can register to become an organ donor.
  • Quirkyalone Day: Despite the misconception, this isn’t an anti-Valentine’s Day. Rather, Quirkyalone Day is all about celebrating self-love regardless if you’re single or not.
  • Valentines Day: Before he was known as Cupid, he was known to the ancient Greeks as Eros, the god of love.

February 15

  • Angelman Syndrome Day: Via the Angelman Syndrome Foundation, “(AS) is a rare neuro-genetic disorder that occurs in one in 15,000 live births or 500,000 people worldwide. It is caused by a loss of function of the UBE3A gene in the 15th chromosome derived from the mother.”
  • Gumdrop Day: Purportedly, Percy Trusdale invented gumdrops in 1801.
  • Presidents Day: Fun fact, President’s Days doesn’t fall on the birthday of Washing or Lincoln — or William Henry Harrison or Regan, who also have birthdays this month. Instead, it’s celebrated on the third Monday of the month thanks to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act.
  • Singles Awareness Day: Were you alone on the 14th? No worries. Today is the day for singles to celebrate.
  • Susan B. Anthony Day: Born on this day in 1820, Susan B. Anthony is remembered for her role in the women’s suffrage movement — which paved the way for the 19th Amendment. But, were you aware that she was arrested for illegally voting in the 1872 presidential election.
  • Wisconsin Day: The Badger State became the 30th state in 1848 but the first European. French explorer Jean Nicolet visited back in 1634.

February 16

  • Almond Day: Although originally from central and southwest Asia, 80 percent of the world’s almonds are now grown in California.
  • Do A Grouch a Favor Day: Sure. Big Bird might have come up with this idea on “Sesame Street.” But, if there’s an Oscar in your life, do something nice for them.
  • Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras: Falling on the day before Ash Wednesday, Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday and is the culmination of Carnival.
  • Paczki Day: Our friends in the Midwest may be familiar with this holiday. But, if you’re not, it’s a Polish-style pastry that is traditionally filled with prunes. It falls on the same day as Fat Tuesday, so that you can splurge before fasting for Lent.
  • Pancake Day: Also known as Shrive Tuesday in the UK, it’s another traditional feast day prior to Lent.

February 17

  • Ash Wednesday: In the scheme of things, Ash Wednesday is relatively new, with the first ceremonies taking place sometime in the 11th Century CE. Also, here in the U.S., it didn’t gain mainstream popularity with Christians until the 1970s.
  • Cabbage Day: Did you know that there are more than 400 varieties of cabbage? Time to start trying them out since cabbage is loaded with Vitamin C, proven to be a cancer determent, and provides headache relief.
  • My Way Day: Today is the day that you tap into your inner Frank Sinatra and do things your way.
  • Random Acts of Kindness Day: Doing and witnessing kindness gives us hope, increases happiness, and can make the world a slightly better place. If you need some inspiration, visit the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation.
  • World Human Day: Started in 2003 by Michael Levy of Point of Life, everyone is encouraged to meditate for two minutes at 3 pm Eastern Time to find the true spirit of freedom and peace that lives within us all.

February 18

  • Battery Day: My man Ben Franklin has popped up several times already. And, here he is again. After all, he coined the term “battery in 1748. However, it referred to “charged glass plates.”
  • Crab Stuffed Flounder Day: Did you know that there are 100 different species of flatfish known as flounder. Celebrate the day by making this crab-stuffed flounder recipe from the Food Network.
  • Cow Milked While Flying In An Airplane Day: What’s this obscure holiday about? Well, on February 18, 1931, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly and be milked in flight during the International Air Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • Drink Wine Day: Drink Wine Day has been taking place for over 8,000 years, originating in the Eurasian region — this is in modern-day Georgia — the country, not the state.
  • Pluto Day: Discovered in 1930, the ninth planet has been on quite the journey. In 1992, its planet status was questioned. And, then in 2004, it was degraded to a dwarf planet.

February 19

  • Chocolate Mint Day: Here’s a fun fact for all my fellow chocolate mint lovers out there, the Girl Scouts began selling their most popular cookies, Thin Mint, in 1953.
  • Caregiver’s Day: Since 2016, the third Friday of February is reserved to give props to selfless professional caregivers.
  • Lashes Day: Did you know that people have focused on eyelashes since around 4000 BCE?
  • Tug of War Day: Tug of war has been practiced worldwide, particularly in Cambodia, ancient Egypt, Greece, India, and China. for centuries. And, it was even a part of the Olympic Games from 1900 until 1920.
  • Vet Girls RISE Day: Founded in 2019, this day aims to bring awareness and provide opportunities to the contributions of women veterans — which they’ve been doing since the Revolutionary War.

February 20

  • Cherry Pie Day: While Morello cherries are preferred when making pies, you can also use black or Montmorency cherries as well. To see for yourself, try out this classic cherry pie recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.
  • Love Your Pet Day: Those of us who have a pet typically have lower stress, are more active, and happier. Return the favor on this day by going on an extra-long walk, giving them a special treat, taking them to the groomer, and making sure that their vaccines are up-to-do-date.
  • Muffin Day: In print, the word muffin first appeared in 1703 and was spelled moofin. But, enough with the history. Here are 60 muffin recipes you can put to good use on this day.
  • World Day for Social Justice: First observed in 2009, the UN General Assembly has named February 20 as the annual World Day of Social Justice. Spend the day educating yourself and discussing issues like gender equality, human rights, poverty, and social protection.
  • World Whale Day: Whales, they’re just like us! These majestic mammals breathe, have warm-blood, feed their young, play, sing, grieve, and cooperate with each other.

February 21

  • Card Reading Day: No, this isn’t about Tarot card reading. Instead, it’s getting sentimental and reading any greeting cards that you’ve saved.
  • Grain-Free Day: For some, a grain-free diet has health benefitslike reducing inflammation, enhancing weight loss, and lower blood pressure. And, it’s a must for those who are allergic to wheat or have celiac disease.
  • International Mother Language Day: First announced on November 17, 1999, by UNESCO, this annual observance is meant to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity, as well as multilingualism.
  • Sticky Bun Day: Originally known as “Schnecken,” a German word. It’s not surprising that it’s believed that these tasty treats were brought to Pennsylvania by German settlers.

February 22

  • Be Humble Day: ” Don’t be humble. You’re not that great.” — Golda Meir
  • Cook a Sweet Potato Day: Despite their name, sweet potatoes are not potatoes. They’re a root vegetable in the morning glory family.
  • Margarita Day: While there are several variations of this refreshing drink, “the basic recipe is Blanco Tequila (though reposado is a popular and delicious variation), mixed with lime juice and orange liqueur, often served in a glass with a salted rim,” writes Kara Newman for Wine Enthusiast.
  • Recreational Sports & Fitness Day: In honor of the 50th Anniversary of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, the first-ever Recreational Sports & Fitness Day began on February 22, 1999.
  • Walking the Dog Day: Here’s something to share with your fellow dog owners when walking your four-legged best friend. Jim Buck is credited as the first professional dog walker in New York City in 1960.
  • World Thinking Day: Since 1926, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS), along with Girl Scouts of the USA and the other WAGGGS member organizations, have celebrated what it means to be a peacebuilder.

February 23

February 24

  • Inconvenience Yourself Day: You might assume that this an odd holiday where you put yourself into precarious situations. In actuality, it’s about helping others, like shoveling the snow from your elderly neighbor’s walkway.
  • Tortilla Chip Day: If you’re a devourer of tortilla chips, like yours truly, today is the day to overindulge. And, if you’re curious, it’s believed that Rebecca Webb Carranza invented tortilla chips in Los Angeles in the 1940s.
  • World Bartender Day: You might not have patronized your favorite watering hole lately, but you can still support your bartender on this day however you see fit. After all, bartending is one of the oldest professions going back to the 1400s!

February 25

  • Chili Day: The first written recipe for chili con carne dates back to 1519! Head over to National Chili Day for more trivia and recipes to try on this day.
  • Chocolate Covered Nut Day: Goobers are believed to be the first chocolate-covered peanut candy in 1925.
  • Clam Chowder Day: The debate between New England and Manhattan clam chowders has been so heated that in “1939, a Maine legislator introduced a bill outlawing the use of tomatoes in chowder.”
  • Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day: Engineers Week has been going strong since 1951. On this particular day, however, the focus is on inspiring girls to get into engineering.
  • Toast Day: On the last Thursday of the month, enjoy a slice of toast with jam, Avocado, or cinnamon and sugar.

February 26

  • For Pete’s Sake Day: The idiom, “For Pete’s sake,” originated as a substitute for “for Christ’s sake. Since the early 1900s, though, it’s been used as a replacement for any profane expression.
  • Pistachio Day: I have no problem finding an excuse to crack open some pistachios or consume pistachio ice cream or gelato. After all, they’re delicious and packed with antioxidants and nutrients like potassium and B6.
  • Skip the Straw Day: On average, we use 1.6 straws per day. If you weren’t aware, that’s terrible for the environment and wildlife, ranging from birds, fish, and turtles. On this day, avoid using plastic straws and purchase more sustainable options. You could also ask local eateries to not automatically provide plastic straws.
  • Tell a Fairy Tale Day: Researchers have found tales that date back to the Bronze Age!
  • Yukon Heritage Day: Since 1976, people in the territory spend the day celebrating with activities like the Sourdough Rendezvous. There’s also a fiddle contest, snow sculptures, and air show. It falls on the Friday before the last Sunday in February.

February 27

  • Anosmia Awareness Day: Launched in 2012, this day is meant to spread awareness about the loss of smell. Since this is a symptom of COVID, there may be more attention to this condition than in previous years.
  • International Polar Bear Day: PBI “founded the day to coincide with the time period when polar bear moms and cubs are snug in their dens. As part of our celebration, we focus on the need to protect denning families across the Arctic.”
  • No Brainer Day: This fun and made-up holiday encourages all of us to stop overanalyzing, do less, and take it easy.
  • Pokémon Day: It was on this day in 1995 when the world was first introduced to Pokémon. At the time, this was a game on the original Game Boy.
  • Retro Day: The jest behind this holiday is to revisit a time when we weren’t glued to our phones and internet. It also gives us a reason to dust off our favorite clothing, gadgets, music, and movies from back-in-the-day. However, you don’t need to wait until February 27 to do this if you frequently use these 10 strategies to reduce screen time.
  • Strawberry Day: Did you know that strawberries are the only fruit that has their seeds on the outside?

February 28

  • Chocolate Souffle Day: Vincent La Chapelle authored the recipe for omelette soufflée in Le Cuisinier Moderne in 1742. If you want to attempt to make your own chocolate souffle day to honor this day, check out this instructional video.
  • Floral Design Day: This day celebrates the birthday of Carl Rittner. He was the founder of the Rittner School of Floral Design in Boston. In 1995 Massachusetts governor William F. Weld proclaimed it an official holiday.
  • Golden Globes: Hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the fourth time. You can watch the 78th Golden Globes on NBC.
  • Public Sleeping Day: Naps can restore alertness and provide an energy boost to get through the rest of the day. If only this was encouraged every day and not just once a year. Sigh.
  • Rare Disease Day: Did you know that 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life? That’s why this day is so important to spread awareness about rare diseases.
  • Tooth Fairy Day: The Tooth Fairy that we’re familiar with can be credited to Esther Watkins Arnold. She wrote a playlet for children in 1927. However, myths involving baby teeth have been around for centuries.
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