All posts by Deanna Ritchie

Don’t Be Busy. Be Present

By | Time Management | No Comments
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

By | Scheduling | No Comments
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

By | Appointment | No Comments
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

By | Scheduling | No Comments
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.
Register Now & Get a 30 Day Trial Register Now