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Surviving the Holidays at the Office


The holidays can be a fun and frustrating time at work. There is so much to do, and on top of everything, here comes the holidays. Well do not despair, there are some ways you can make the holidays fun and festive without falling apart.

First, be reasonable. Do not take on more than you can handle. Learn to say no when you cannot or do not want to participate, donate, or coordinate. Saying no to things you do not want to do will leave more time for those things you do want to do.

You do not have to give a gift to everyone that works for the company. If gifts are given in the office, suggest a gift exchange where everyone picks a name and buys just one gift. Or perhaps even a Secret Santa drawing where no one knows who has whose name and gifts are given everyday for one to two weeks before Christmas. This can be a fun way to spread the cheer and create a festive mood. If you want to give gifts to the secretary’s, receptionist, people in the mailroom, or your team, make the gifts small tokens of your appreciation. Things such as homemade goodies and crafts, certificates for coffee at a favorite coffee shop, or even a small potted plant will be appreciated and not break the bank. If you want to give gifts to your customers or outside vendors, check and see what the policy and procedures are with your company and theirs. Some companies only allow small token gifts, while others will accept something worth a larger monetary amount. So not do disappoint or do something that is not politically correct, check first and give second.

Remember that although the majority of people in the United States celebrate Christmas, not everyone does. Be considerate of those that are celebrating other holidays or not celebrating at all. One way to create an atmosphere of mutual respect is to have a pot luck and ask everyone to share how they celebrate their holiday. If someone does not celebrate a holiday during this time of year, ask him or her to share a special occasion that they do celebrate. This way everyone will have a chance to share what is important to him or her and everyone will understand better what is important to members of their team. Once everyone has a better understanding of why somebody is doing what they do, it is easier to respect and appreciate the differences.

Things tend to slow down between Christmas and New Year’s. This can be a great time to do some chores around the office. Clean out files and bookcases. Refill calendars and catch up on correspondence and any backlog from the year. This can even be a great time to do some strategic planning for the New Year. What new projects would you like to work on, what career goals would be interesting to pursue this year, and how what would you like to see happen in the New Year that was missing in last year. Taking time to think about and plan what you want to happen in the New Year gives you a great frame work in which to turn those plans into actions.

With everything else you have to do at work, the Holidays can just be another thing to do. Or you can give yourself permission not to be caught up in all the hustle and bustle, do what you can do, and pace yourself. Keep in mind what the holidays are all about for you and simply enjoy the festive spirit that comes with the season.


The Unstuffed Project Continues


Well I didn’t get stuffed on Thanksgiving, actually had a wonderful meal but didn’t over do it. I think this whole concept of getting unstuffed is affecting all areas of my life.

However as far as the pile goes, it is going. I am pleased to say I am making great progress.

As you can see just a tad bit more to go. Now one of the projects in there will take me some time as I have to address envelopes and get them stuffed but it won’t be that bad. I feel like a couple more days and it will be gone!

What is great about this project is I am getting excited to get unstuffed in other areas of my home as well. Not that anything is piled up like what I had in the office but I have a few areas that could use some attention. What I have learned from my naturally organized friends is if you stay in maintenance mode you never get to the point where you have to dig your way out. That is where I want to be, where I am managing my stuff and not where it is managing me.

How are you getting Unstuffed?


Feng Shui For Thanksgiving and the Holidays


Starting this week we are offically into the Holiday season. I know some people start with Halloween, but lets just say we are in full swing at this point. My friend and feng shui go to gal Kathryn Weber shared some valuable tips in her recent e-zine about how to feng shui the holidays.

Holiday Feng Shui — Make Your Holidays More Auspicious

Well, it’s that time of year: Thanksgiving. In America, we celebrate all our blessings and bounty with a holiday that features food and family. For some families, this is only the first, or maybe, second time they have eaten in the dining room this year. Regardless of whether you dine in there regularly or not — or whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not — there are some simple feng shui rules about the dining room that you will want to observe anytime.

DO display your china and crystal. The dining room is a place of wealth, and for that reason, it is always auspicious to display your family crystal, china, or silver. Consider adding mirrors to the back of a china cabinet to “double” the amount of crystal and china you have.

DO have bright, beautiful lighting. A beautiful chandelier is a wonderful addition to the dining room. If yours isn’t bright enough or attractive to you, replace it with another fixture. Lighting is very auspicious.

DO hang mirrors here. Mirrors are stimulating and they double the good times by doubling the food and company in the room.

DON’T have clocks in the dining room. Clocks in the dining room bring bad energy. Remember, the passage of time is not important while you are enjoying a meal and the company of those closest to you. Take clocks out of the dining room.

DON’T eat with the dead. So many people have pictures of deceased relatives in the dining room. Avoid doing this because it creates an extremely yin dining experience — and that can create health problems.

DON’T eat with animals. It is better not to have animals in the dining room, real or otherwise. If you have pictures of birds or statues of animals — or even your dog, Spot — take them out of there. Animals symbollically eat your food. Better to put them in another location.

Feng Shui for the Holidays — and the Winter
This year the holidays will be right in the middle of a Mercury Retrograde, which can create all kinds of travel delays, snafus with mailing packages, and greeting cards getting lost. The Retrograde begins November 30th and goes until December 20th. For this reason, do consider planning and shopping early for gifts.

Be prepared this holiday season by getting your gift list together early, shopping early, and preparing the house so that when the holidays roll around, you’ll be all set — and AHEAD of schedule! Won’t THAT feel nice?

Prepare the house for the holidays
The holidays are coming and they’re bringing winter with them. This year, be ready for winter by doing a thorough FALL cleaning. Remember, you are going to be shut up with all the dust that has accumulated all during the year. You don’t want that do you? Dust is very yin and it creates a negative environment. Cleaning the house makes it brighter, lighter, and more energetic — just perfect for holiday gatherings and enjoying being indoors.

Here are more ideas for preparing the house for the holidays:

Have the carpets and upholstery cleaned. Steam clean upholstery and carpets (don’t use carpet cleaners that use soaps…these only make your carpet and furniture get dirty FASTER). Don’t forget: a clean house is a lucky house!

Take bedspreads and comforters to the dry cleaner. This is usually inexpensive to do and would be nice to have fresh bedding for the winter.

Vacuum blinds and lampshades. Make sure all these dust-catchers are clean.

De-clutter and donate unwanted, unused items to charity. Before all the holiday bounty comes through the doors, try to take some things OUT of the house first.

Clean out the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. Have popsicles from the summer still in the freezer? Pitch them. Make a clean pantry, fridge, and freezer your goal. It will help when it comes to adding room for storing all the extra food for the holidays and entertaining.

Get rid of unused decorations. Tired of hauling that set of lights that don’t work in and out of the attic? This year resolve to pitch the decorations you no longer use.

Happy Thanksgiving!

©Kathryn Weber

Related articles and information
Is Your House a Downer — How to Improve a Yin House

Start Fresh with Feng Shui — Removing the Blocks to Successful Living

©Kathryn Weber. Kathryn Weber is the author of the ebook Applied Feng Shui and the publisher of the Red Lotus Letter Feng Shui E-zine with tips and information for abundant living. For more information or to subscribe to her popular Red Lotus Letter feng shui e-zine, log on to and get her FRÉE Special Report, 16 Feng Shui Tips for Greater Prosperity.

The Unstuffed Project


Okay I have decided to call the Pile Project the Unstuffed Project. After thinking about what happens during Thanksgiving, people stuffing themselves until they are overstuffed, uncomfortable and listless, I thought it was a good theme. Clutter is much like Thanksgiving dinner, it tends to be way over the top, too much and excessive. Being stuffed on the inside is just like being stuffed on the outside. It doesn’t feel good.

For me staying unstuffed, or at least uncluttered, isn’t easy. I just wasn’t born with the gene. But that doesn’t mean I can’t manage my stuff and not let it manage me. I remember going to my mom’s office and seeing her desk. My mom was the office manager and her desk was the only one in the office that looked like it had been blown up. She had a sign hanging over her desk that said, “An uncluttered desk is a sign of a sick mind.” Whenever I would go to her office I would feel embarrassed by her mess but it never seemed to bother her. What was perplexing was the fact that our home was as neat as it could be. It wasn’t cluttered or overstuffed. It wasn’t until my mom died that I realized why growing up the house was always in perfect order. My Grandma lived with us and she was an organized person by nature. Her favorite saying was, “Everything has a place and everything in its place.”

When I was growing up I shared a room with my sister. It was if there was a magical line down the middle of it. My sister’s side of the room was always neat and tidy while mine looked like a bomb had been set off. My grandmother was always on me to clean my side of the room but it just didn’t seem to matter to me. I knew it would be messy again so why bother.

It has taken me years to appreciate the ability to stay organized and be able to find things when you need them. I always prided myself in the fact that I never lost anything, it just might take me weeks if not years to find it.

When I became a coach the concept of creating structures and organization in ones life was stressed. It was then that I began to embrace the concept and have been working on it ever since. What I have found that works the best for me is structures. One of the ways I keep my house neat and tidy is I have a cleaning person come in every two weeks. She does an okay job with the cleaning, but what she does more than anything is force me to keep things picked up. Cleaning people don’t pick up, they simply clean. If the house is a mess they can’t clean. I once had a cleaning lady that refused to clean my home because it wasn’t picked up. I vowed to never let that happen again. I have forced myself to keep the house in order so that the cleaning lady can do her job. It is a structure that works really well for me.

So how am I doing with the piles. Well yesterday I worked my fifteen minutes as planned and I felt like I made little to no progress. However I actually did. For one thing I made the rule that everything I touched had to be dealt with immediately. I couldn’t just do the pile shuffle, which means take everything from the pile on the right and create a pile on the left. I actually am pretty good at that but it isn’t very effective. So the first rule was I had to handle everything to completion. The top of the pile had several things that required action so although the pile didn’t go down much, at least a dozen things got handled.

One funny thing that I found in my pile was The Clutter Busting Handbook by Live the Day Radio expert Rita Emmett. Rita and I have talked about my challenges with clutter and I think she would find it amusing that I found her book in my pile of stuff. I found it to be ironic.

Okay day two went faster, wasn’t as much to deal with. A lot of the stuff could be tossed or filed, didn’t have to take any other action. The pile is way down but not even close to being gone. And that is okay. Although I gave myself a week to get it cleaned up I actually thought that a week would be way too much time. I figured I could knock it out in a day or two. That type of over estimation is what gets us in trouble. Being realistic is important. Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day but some parts of it were. Meaning the pile was built piece by piece overtime, this pile took several months or more to accumulate. I actually don’t know how long it has been there. But longer than fifteen minutes. So thinking that I would make it disappear in fifteen minutes, thirty at tops, was not dealing with reality. I decided to take a Michael Angelo attitude and know “that it will be done when it is done.”

Actually today was fun, the pile seemed to go faster and I kept finding fun cool things in the pile. Recipes I couldn’t remember where I had put them, a couple sweepstakes entries and oh yea, some business related things that were fun as well. I actually had to make myself stop working on the pile and move onto other work I needed to get done.

So how are you doing. I would love to hear how you are going to get unstuffed during the week of Thanksgiving.

Take Action Now


PS – Here are just a couple simple rules to keep you on track.

Touch each piece of paper or item in the pile only once. When you touch it you have to decide right then what to do with it, do it and be done with it.

Set your timer for 15 minutes at a time. Doing more if you want to is fine but I found much more was way too overwhelming.

Keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day but parts of it were. You will unstuff piece by piece, not the whole pile at once.

Stay positive about it. You are not a bad person because you have clutter, you simple need to manage it so it doesn’t manage you.

The Wonders of Giving Thanks


I love this time of year, the weather is changing and I just can’t help but feel Thankful for all that I have been blessed with. I received a great newsletter today, Monday Morning Coffee with Cookie from Cookie Tuminello, a long time member of 365 Days of Coaching, a dear friend and an amazing business woman. This story really touched my heart. How often do we overlook the simple wonders of life!
Thanksgiving comes all year long. Open your eyes!

“Each day comes bearing it’s own gifts. Untie the ribbons.”
Author Unknown

Wonders of the World

A group of students were asked to list what they thought were the present “Seven Wonders of the World.” Though there were some disagreements, the following received the most votes:

1. Egypt’s Great Pyramids
2. Taj Mahal
3. Grand Canyon
4. Panama Canal
5. Empire State Building
6. St. Peter’s Basilica
7. China’s Great Wall

While gathering the votes, the teacher noted that one student had not finished her paper yet. She asked the girl if she was having trouble with her list.

The girl replied, “Yes, a little. I couldn’t quite make up my mind because there were so many.”

The teacher said, “Well, tell us what you have, and maybe we can help.”

The girl hesitated, then read, “I think the “Seven Wonders of the World” are:

1. To see
2. To hear
3. To touch
4. To taste
5. To feel
6. To laugh
7. and To Love.”

The room was so quite you could have heard a pin drop. The things we overlook as simple and ordinary and that we take for granted are truly wondrous!

A gentle reminder – that the most precious things in life cannot be built by hand or bought by man.

Cookie Tuminello, Personal Power Mentor, is creator of the People Pleaser No More System™, the proven step-by-step program to get you out of the overwhelm of everyday business life and into the ease and success you want and deserve. To receive your FREE weekly inspiration, humor, and life strategies that can transform your life immediately, sign up for Monday Morning Coffee with Cookie, visit

What a great reminder of the real wonders of the world!

Live the Day


The Pile Challenge


Okay I have a challenge for you, and I am including myself. I have a pile on my desk that I just haven’t been able to get rid of. The rest of my office is in pretty good shape, but this pile won’t go away. So I have decided to take matters into my own hands and get rid of it once and for all. I am giving myself one week in which to dispense with the pile. I have a timer and will set it for 15 minutes a day. That might not sound like much but it makes it more manageable and not so overwhelming. I think one reason this pile has gotten so out of hand is I am not sure what is in there and it just looks like a lot of work! So I am breaking it down to bite size pieces.

So here is your challenge. Find an organizing project you have been putting off and tackle it this week. You only have to spend 15 minutes a day! Within a week you will have it done or at least a good start on it. So you up for it? Post on the blog what challenge you selected and how it is going. May the force be with you!

Live the Day


The adventure continues


I have written many Days on creating an adventure and trying new things. And I have mentioned that the grocery store is one of the best places around to have an adventure. You simply never know what you are going to find.

My new favorite Tea is Celestial Seasonings Tea House Chai Honey Vanilla White Tea. It is just a great full flavor. According to the box,

“If traditional chai, black teas combined with exotic East Indian spices, has piqued your interest, this imaginative take on perfection may further expand your horizons. Honey Vanilla White TeaHouse Chai balances the delicacy of white tea with full-bodied black tea, then sweetens the elixir with natural honey and a hint of vanilla. Imbued with antioxidants from both white and black teas, a steaming cup or a tall, icy glass may be your ticket to momentary enlightenment.”

And you thought it was just a tea.

I do have to say that this tea does goes wonderfully with my morning meditations. Every morning I take about 15 minutes to just sit by my big front window and watch the birds and just be. The steaming cup of tea just helps me to get in that quiet place. Love it.

I also just adore the box that the tea comes in. Celestial Seasonings does a wonderful job of creating a beautiful and inspiring package. I also loved that the box of tea I have has a saying from Ralph Waldo Emerson entitled “Each Day.” I thought that was appropriate.

“Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities crept in – forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old mistakes and nonsense.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Great advice I believe.

The other new discovery I made this week at the grocery store were the Honeycrisp apples, my new fave. They are sweet as one might assume from the name and also crisp, also one might assume so from the name. They also have a great texture. I used them to make my famous (just with me) baked apples. Instead of using honey or sugar I use Madhava Agave Nectar to sweeten the apples and stuff them with walnuts and raisins. According to the Honeycrisp site (which is where I got that great picture),

“Honeycrisp Apples were developed at the University of Minnesota. Honeycrisp apple is a cross between Macoun apple and Honey Gold apples and is extraordinarily crisp and juicy with a wonderful aroma and flavor.”

Life is full of amazing things if only you are willing to seek them out. I find a world of adventure in the grocery store where others might only find food. If you keep an open mind you can have an adventure anywhere.

Live the Day


A different perspective on gossip


Okay I am the first to admit that I don’t really think gossip is a good thing. However it isn’t good to cut yourself off from it either. If you want to be in the loop and find out what is happening staying connected to the grape vine is essential. I once worked with a VP that started out every meeting by asking, “Heard any good gossip lately.” It was amazing what people would share. The good news is all he had to do was listen, he never shared his own gossip and usually had no comment on the gossip that was shared. He simply wanted to know what the buzz was.

I have written several days about the negative aspects of gossip, but even I have to admit that gossip has its place. I am not saying you should gossip, however you might want to listen to what is being said around the water cooler. Gossip usually has a grain of truth and always will give you a read on what the general mood of the work group is.

When I read this article on FSO Advisor’s Weekly I must say that I hadn’t looked at gossip quite like this before. However the author makes some good points and provides a different perspective on gossip.


Gossip is good? There’s a startling thought!

In offices, schools, communities, and families everywhere, we insist that gossip is bad: don’t listen to it, don’t pass it on, and don’t admit to being curious about who’s saying what.

I’m taking a stand here to say that gossip is good. I’m not even going to qualify that with a disclaimer. Nor am I going to dress it up in party clothes by pretending that rumors are different from gossip (they’re not). Instead, here are four reasons why gossip is good.

1. Learn who trusts you — and whom you can trust

People who come to you with rumors and gossip will often request confidentiality — and of course you’ll honor that. And you’ll quickly learn who’s a habitual gossip and who isn’t. If people who don’t have a reputation for gossip and rumor mongering are talking to you, that’s great. It means you’re reliable, they trust you to care for their reputations, and your opinion matters to them.

In learning the gossip styles of your co-workers, you’ll also learn whether they are trustworthy in turn. The things they tell you, the words they choose, and their reasons for talking will give you insight into their values and motivations.

2. Find out what’s worrying people

The rumors that surface in a company are key indicators of what’s bothering the employees. If you’re hooked into the rumor mill and gossip grapevine, you’ll learn what people are worrying about. Then you can respond, with your actions and words, to control rumors and help people feel more secure, appreciated, and valued.

3. Discover people’s perceptions

What are the company’s chances for success, what project or department is hot and, yes, who got drunk at happy hour?

The “wisdom of crowds” says that groups of people are more accurate than you might think at predicting outcomes. When the group is just five or even ten folks in your grapevine, that may or may not be true. However, if even some of those five or ten people are on the same team and their casual comments indicate a real winner of a project, it could be time to buy stock in the company.

On the other hand, if they’re unanimous that the project is behind schedule and in trouble, you know to clear your team’s calendar to prepare for whatever assistance you may be called on to provide.

4. Know who the “opinion-setters” are

I’ve put “opinion-setters” in quotes because these are the people who spread the bad stories. Sadly, every office has its backstabbers, and these are the star players of the group.

You can count yourself fortunate indeed if these people like you, because you surely don’t want to be on the wrong end of their opinions. At the same time, you even more emphatically do not want to be associated with them; their reputation will rub off on you, probably sooner than later.

These people are often surprisingly influential. They dress their negativity up in business attire by claiming (and often believing) that they are being responsible corporate citizens. If senior management is out of touch, they may believe what they hear from the opinion-setter. And there’s nothing the opinion-setter likes better than feeling important, so they love the idea that they’ve got the ear of someone in the corner office.

Therefore, as much as you may feel squeamish about this, you need to know what they’re saying. Eventually, it will be something about you, your department, or one of your staff. And when it is, you not only want to know about it, you need to know so you can be ready to respond. It’s all about what you can learn.

Just because it’s gossip doesn’t mean it’s not valuable information. When you know what people are muttering to each other around the department’s printer, whispering about in their cubicles, and discussing over a happy-hour beer, then you know where your attention should be focused. Whether you use the knowledge to know when and how to jump on an opportunity, to clue a co-worker in to be more careful about getting to work on time, or to pick the right words in a meeting to help people feel valued and secure, it’s all good stuff.

It’s NOT about what others learn from you

You’ve no doubt noticed that these four reasons all involve listening, not talking.

Enough said.

Grace L. Judson

So heard any good gossip lately? I would love to hear what you think about gossip. Leave a comment on the blog.

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Oxygen makes my clothes fall off


I have been doing a lot of traveling recently and I have to tell you one of my favorite things in the world are lay overs. I know crazy but I love to stop at airports and stay a couple of hours and then continue my travels. My favorite airport to have a layover at is Chicago O’Hare. It has to do with the Chicago Hot Dogs which I won’t be eating anymore but in the day that was something I really looked forward to.

My most recent lay over was in Las Vegas. I was just in Las Vegas and discovered the Oxygen Bar. If you have never been it is quite the treat. They actually have bottles of flavored liquid (I believe it is water but can’t prove it) which they run Oxygen through. One sits in front of one of the stations that has four bottles (all different flavors) and puts an Oxygen tube on very similar to the one they use in the hospital. You pay for different amounts of time, I usually just do 10 minutes and I sit there and inhale fresh pure Oxygen. It really is amazing how it can clear my head and relax me. I had the starts of a migraine during my lay over in Vegas and sitting at the Oxygen bar cleared it right up. Oh and during the time I am sucking in Oxygen there is someone massaging my back with little gadgets that they then try to sell me.

Okay what does this have to do with my clothes falling off? Well a take off from the Joe Nichols song, Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off, I lost my jacket at the Oxygen bar. I took it off while getting my treatment and was so relaxed when I was done I simply walked away from the Oxygen bar without my jacket. I had no time to go back and get it because when I got to my gate I was late for boarding and had to rush on. The truth is that I didn’t even miss it until I was half way to California. That Oxygen is really good stuff!

The point of the story and there is one, enjoy yourself. I love lay overs because it gives me a chance to explore, relax and have new experiences. I make it fun. I don’t get stressed or upset because I have a lay over, I look for ways to enjoy myself and have an experience. Relax a little and have more fun in your life. You will only enjoy life as much as you let yourself.

Hey if you have experienced the Oxygen bar or know where one is besides Las Vegas I would love for you to leave a comment on the blog. It seems a shame that all the Oxygen is being kept in Las Vegas.

Live the Day


The post it note process


I have recently been taught an amazing, and very easy, process that is helping me stay on track and get things done. My friend, Katie Weber (Red Letter Lotus Letter) taught me this concept when we were in Las Vegas. How it works is you buy the large size Post It Notes Easel Pad. Then you take one of the sheets and on the top write the name of your project, then underneath it the steps you need to take to accomplish the project. You then hang it in your office where you will clearly see it, or in your bathroom or living room or wherever to remind you of what you are working on and the steps you need to take. I have found this is making it so simple for me because I just look up at the Post It Note and see what the next step is that I need to take. I also check off the steps as I get them completed. That makes me so happy!

Live The Day