Thursday, May 31, 2012

Organizing your Email Inbox

I came across this interesting and well-written article from  I thought you might be interested in it.

I'm pretty Type A when it comes to personal and work emails, so I generally don't have a huge problem with an overflowing email inbox.  But, I do know some people who are inbox hoarders.  Admittedly, I do sometimes get busy and my inbox gets unruly, much like a neglected lawn will tend to get pretty scraggly if you don't mow it for a few weeks.

This article is pretty minimalist on the approach to email.  It definitely encourages you to delete each email as soon as you identify the action item.  This is a bit radical for me, but I think something to aspire to, or at least find a happy balance.  If I'm being honest, I'll admit that of the emails I do save in subfolders thinking they'll come in handly some day, only 1-3% of those emails are ever referred to again.

My biggest take home from the article was the use of Evernote.  Although, I could see someone moving their hoarding habit from email to Evernote.  Still, it's a thoughtful way to stay more organized and in a "doing" mode.

Take a read and then let me know what you think in the comments below.  Is it too extreme or sound advice?  How do you manage your email inbox?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Personal Mission Statement

I was trying to get some resources for my Mission Statement and of course went to Google.  I came across a really helpful tool from Franklin Covey and encourage you to check it out and see what happens when you create a Personal Mission Statement.  I did one for myself first before I did one for this blog and it really was a very cool experience.  It helped me focus on what's most important and it gave form to some goals and thoughts I've had running through my mind off and on for the past few years.  Most importantly, I felt it allowed me to believe in the possibility my deepest, darkest dream of being a novelist could be a reality if I choose to pursue it.

It only takes 5-10 minutes, so don't be intimidated by all the steps.

Here is my personal mission statement:

I am at my best when I am challenged.
I will try to prevent times when I am underutilized.
I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can create and organize.
I will find enjoyment in my personal life through trying new things.
I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as listening to others, empathizing, and teaching.
I can do anything I set my mind to. I will be a novelist.
My life's journey is searching for my passion so that I can leave the world a little better than I found it, and helping others along the way, so that I may die in peace.
I will be a person who has my friends and family with me. The sum is bigger than it's parts, and I am who I am because of each of them.
My most important future contribution to others will be making them feel like the most important person in the room.

I will stop procrastinating and start working on:
  • being less introverted and shy,
  • wasting less time watching TV, and
  • spending more time visiting and communicating with the people I care about.

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:
  • making others feel special and important,
  • being more exuberant, and
  • loving everyone.

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:
  • committing to exercising daily by not sleeping in late,
  • studying the scriptures with greater purpose,
  • continuing to seek for knowledge-informally or in a school setting, and
  • becoming more confident.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Beggars: To Give or Not to Give? That is My Question

Photo from

I was waiting outside my husband's office a few months ago, reading a book, when a homeless looking guy walks up to me and just stands there. "Hello," I say. He mumbles something unintelligible. His mouth is full of granola, which makes sense since he's holding a plastic baggie with granola. "You're hungry?" I attempt to translate. He shakes his head yes. "I'm sorry, I don't have any food on me," I tell him. "Come up the street and buy me some rice," he responds. "I'm sorry, I don't have money to spare." He starts walking away mumbling at me something that sounds like "eight years," and that I don't mean "sorry" because it doesn't come from my heart, then calls me a b#%*+.  I felt a angry - I did mean sorry from my heart!

In fact, the subject of the "right" response to beggars has been on my mind a lot lately.  Especially after reading The Jungle by Upton Sinclair.  The book is famous for portraying the grisly reality of the Chicago meat packing district in the early 1900s, but I thought more disturbing was the plight of the immigrant family and their seemingly futile struggle to make ends meet.  They suffered hunger, cold, and death, despite working hard and being good, moral people.  The descriptions of starvation hit home to me, reminding me of the beggars I see daily.  I started to think how if they are hungry, like the characters in this book are hungry, and if I am repulsed by the inaction by the people the immigrant family meets - then shouldn't I feel compelled to provide the beggars with something.  So, why don't I?

This inner struggle becomes more real as I ponder the idea that if I presume to be Christian, which I do, then I should be acting as Christ would, if he were here.  Of course he's perfect and he would be able to tell the scam artist from the person in genuine need.  But, what does he ask of me who can't make that judgement?  I think he asks me to give to anyone who asks (Luke 6:30) and that when I do good to others, I am doing good to my Savior (Matthew 25:35-40).

Around this time I had heard a story of a friend who had shared a simple granola bar from her bag with a beggar.  I thought, hey, that would allow me to help people without just giving them money.  So, I tried that the next time I came across a beggar who said he was hungry.  I offered him the granola bar and he said no!  He told me he had a ton of granola bars, but what he really needed was-  And I just cut him off there and walked away, I didn't want to hear the rest of the sentence.  Apparently he was hungry, but just wanted cash.  It validated my earlier concerns, and I haven't offered a beggar anything since.  I feel so jaded after that experience.

I am just as conflicted about how to respond to beggars as I was before.  My heart goes out to anyone who is in need.  Yet, if I give to one beggar, really shouldn't I be giving to each beggar - because how can I judge who needs it and who doesn't?  But, I can't afford to give to each beggar.  But, can I spiritually afford to do nothing?

What are your thoughts on this issue?  What do you think and do when you encounter a beggar?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Favorite Friday: Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber

Photo from
 A long time ago, I used to do a weekly Favorite Friday post about a product I really liked and wanted to share.  I stopped because I was running out of things that I absolutely loved, until now.  So, here's a brand new Favorite Friday for you.

Back in college I cleaned houses to help pay the bills.  I used lots of different products to clean bath tubs and showers, which I hated cleaning even more than toilets.  First of all, it's really awkward to clean and rinse without actually getting in the shower and getting wet.  Second, soap scum is really difficult to clean.  There were a lot of decent and good products I used, but nothing that I was super happy with all around.

(Disclaimer: I'm sure if you're on Pinterest you've doubtless come across a million home remedies for magical cleaners.  I can't speak to those - I've always been curious to try them but have never taken the time.  Oh, and I'm sure there are more economical and environmentally friendly products, but again, I'm not going to speak to those options.)

I bought Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber and thought for once there's truth in advertising - it really worked like "magic."  In the past I'd used the regular Magic Eraser and was pretty happy with it, so I was curious about the Bath Scrubber.  In the pack I bought at Target I got two white scrubber pads with some grooves in it.  They are about the size and thickness of a regular sponge.  The directions tell you to get it wet and squeeze it a few times to get the cleanser activated and it foams a little bit to let you know it's ready to go.  Then you scrub away and rinse the soap scum down the drain.  Simple as that.  For tougher soap scum, I had to go over certain areas to get through all the layers.  It took some patience, but it worked, and was worth the extra effort.

To know if this is a product that will work for you, I think you should know my cleaning routine.  I have a tile shower tub with glass doors.  Every day after showering we squeegie the glass doors, and about once a week I take Soft Scrub and an old rag and go over all the surfaces.  This weekly maintenance does a pretty good job.  But, after a month or so, I can notice the build up on the floor and the glass.  That's when I break out the Bath Scrubber.

Be warned, this is pretty much a one-use product.  Maybe you can get away with two uses if you're starting out with a tub that's in good shape.  You'll find the scrubber starts breaking apart, and without the built in cleanser, it doesn't do nearly as good a job at getting the soap scum.

Have you tried the Bath Scrubber?  What do you think?  Comments below.