Minute by minute

my thoughts on making the most out of all of life's minutes…

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Tips on Tuesdays – Help us out with the jargon, PLS

Jargon – the language, especially the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular trade, profession, or group.

I know this person who speaks in jargon.  And I’m not in her industry, so consequently, I don’t always know what she is talking about.

Why do people do this?  Are they showing off?  Do they have a superiority complex that they like to see people look confused while they are talking?  Are they that wrapped up in their jobs that they can’t step out for a second and speak normally to normal people?  Are they just a little inconsiderate?

It drives me crazy!  I am constantly having to ask this person – what is that?  What does that mean?  I don’t know what that is.



I totally get it – when you use jargon and you speak it, write it, live it, eight hours a day, it might be a bit hard to turn off.

Truthfully, I like it when a person like a doctor will use a term that is an abbreviation or some sort of jargon and then follow up with a description or definition of what that term is.

It’s not that I’m anti-jargon….I’m just anti-understanding.

If  you are in a highly technical field or a specialized industry where you and your cohorts have created your own language – please share it with the lay person and don’t keep us in the dark.  Or if it is indeed a secret language – – don’t use is in front of us.  Don’t talk down to us – just speak in everyday English.

Today’s Question – do you work in an industry that is jargon filled?  Do tell – – share some of  your favorites with us!

Happy Tuesday!




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Tips on Tuesdays – Dare to daydream….

The other day I was listening to an NPR segment on what the French have on us in terms of raising kids.  We all know the Tiger Mom (who is an Amy too, BTW) – now we have French moms to compare ourselves with?   Great!

But one of the big differences this speaker/author mentioned was the fact that French parents let their kids get frustrated and bored.  They don’t fill their every waking moment with activities, crafts, playdates and noise.

I have to admit, I am a firm believer in not over extending our children – because an over extended kid means an even more over extended parents.  Who do you think is planning all those crafts, buying all the supplies, schlepping kids to all those activities?

So let’s talk about white space.  Even though it isn’t Word-Up Wednesday – the definition of white space is the portion of a page left unmarked.

In thinking of white space – it can refer to many things – but I think typically it has to do with unassigned appointment in your calendar – with no appointment there is nothing in that time slot – thus – white space.  If you color code your calendar (like I love to do) this white space is probably very noticeable.

I also think white space can come in the form of quiet in our minds.

In our society today, it is hard to embrace white space. Every person has his or her own activities and interests.  And there are tons of activities and interests to choose from.  We are coming and going all the time. We have 500+ TV channels, our cars have radios, satellite radios, DVD players. While standing in line at the bank or grocery store there is a screen showing advertisements or clips from sitcoms.  On airplanes we have our own personal monitors to keep us watching something the entire flight.  I haven’t even mentioned our iPods and smart phones that keep us plugged into something at all times.

We seek to be active all the time and we are entertained everywhere we go!!!!

And is that so bad?  Maybe – maybe not.  Staying active is good – being engaged is good.

But here’s a thought.  How can your mind be creative and come up with new ideas if your mind isn’t allowed the opportunity to think and drift and daydream.

Two quotes I love:

You get ideas from daydreaming.  You get ideas from being bored.  You get ideas all the time.  The only difference between writers and other people is we notice when we’re doing it.  ~Neil Gaiman

Television is simply automated daydreaming.  ~Lee Loevinger

Here’s a challenge to you (and me too).  Create some white space.  Be it in your head, on your calendar, throughout your day.  It might take some time get used to the quiet and the unplanned – but give it the time — see what comes out of it.

A few ways to create some white space:

  • cancel one appointment this week.
  • don’t listen to anything in the car or while you go for your run.
  • delete all the shows on your DVR.  (talk about white space – looking at an empty queue).
  • eat dinner as a family at the dinner table – without the radio or TV playing in the background, with no technology allowed.
  • take a bath – no music, no reading, just water and soaking.
  • watch a sunset or sunrise.
  • let the dog take you for a walk – stopping and go as he pleases.

Share with me your ideas and what came out of the white space – – did you gain some inspiration?

One final thought – – don’t let anyone else doing your daydreaming.

Happy Tuesday!



Tuesdays’ Tips – How to wake up!

Yesterday I posted a “what’s your biggest time challenge” question on my Just a Minute Facebook page.   A  couple of the comments were “how to get up in the morning without hitting the snooze button.”  Thanks to everyone who commented, some good ideas for future posts – but this one got me thinking right away.


Some mornings – ok – most mornings – it seems so hard to wake up and get up.  It is warm and cozy in bed and you’re still sleepy and it is so easy to say…. “please, give me just ten more minutes…..”

But yesterday’s comments made me think – how can that same old morning routine be something different?  How can we wake up with more energy and without the personal battle that we play out every morning?

Surely you’ve read all the “how to wake up” tips that are out there:

  • set your alarm thirty minutes early
  • set two or three alarms
  • wake gently to soft music
  • wake up immediately with an obnouxious ringing alarm that will also wake your neighbors
  • use a soft light to gently waken your whole mind and body
  • set the alarm across the room so you have to get out of bed to turn it off
  • use those mental alarms that make you answer a question or solve a puzzle before it shuts off.

The thing about all these sorts of systems is that – even in our sleepy state – we are smarter than they are.  Mainly because we are the ones that trying to “trick”oursleves to thinking they will work.  Have you ever noticed that you can’t tickle yourself?  Same sort of thing – you can’t trick yourself either.

Answer this – if you set your clock nine minutes fast – do you trust that is the correct time – or do you still allow yourself to realize that you still have at least nine extra minutes?

So I got to thinking – what if we don’t tackle the issue from the same angle – that of  – what tools and techniques we can use in the morning – instead – let’s tackle this issue the night before.

What is your normal bedtime routine?

This is what mine looks like – – I check email and Facebook one last time, let the dogs out, check the locks, change my clothes, brush my teeth, get into bed – maybe read or watch a little TV to unwind before shutting my eyes.  I would assume you have some sort of nightly ritual that you go through each night.

What if during this process – you also envisioned falling asleep and getting a good night’s rest and waking up energized and ready to tackle the world.

Here’s what I suggest we all try – – during that last email check of the night – also look at your “to-do list” for  the next day or the the rest of the week and take that to bed with you.


It is important to not think of this list as dread and “oh my god – look at all I have to do tomorrow.”   Don’t do that or you’ll obsess about it all night long and end up not getting a good night’s rest.

Look at your list and envision yourself make progress on your list and getting closer to your goals.  Find the passion in your list and let yourself be excited about what the tomorrow will hold for you in the form of possibilities.

Athletes do this sort of thing.  Politicians on the campaign trail do too.  People that do great things everyday fill their heads with positive thoughts and imagine themselves doing great things.  Why not use this same imagery practice in your daily routines – and it starts with:

  • I will wake up fully rested and jump into my day!
  • I am going to wake up strong and energized tomorrow!
  • I am excited about what the future holds!

Here’s one last thought – – does that extra ten minutes really help?  Do you feel better by getting those extra ten minutes – only to beat yourself up later about it?

Change the thought pattern!  Become excited that you have a new day in front of you – yours for the taking!

Go get ’em Tiger!!!







Tips on Tuesdays – Themes

If you asked me ten years ago I would say I didn’t believe in color coding and if you asked me a couple of years ago, I would tell you that I thought themes were silly.

But as I get older, my family gets busier, my job(s) become more demanding I find these simple tools are really quite helpful.

I have written many times about color coding my calendar and assigning each project or person a different color.  As I continue to do this, I now notice when I forget to assign a specific event or appointment without its color – it looks so out-of-place, that I immediately will categorize it.  And while I used to think that it looked like a confetti mess on my screen – I know could not function without my color coding system.

I recently texted my BFF from high school something.  She and I also roomed together our first semester in college and all throughout high school she never knew something about me that she only discovered once we moved in together.  She found it so odd that I color sorted my closet – from my hanging clothes to my shoes – everything had a place and they all fit in a rainbow color scheme.  I reminded her of this via text the other day when I was cleaning out my closet and she still thinks I’m a “freak” (her words)  for organizing my closet this way.

Recently, as I’ve been talking with friends, I’ve discovered and now I have worked into my own systems – THEMES!  I hope you’ve noticed my themes for my blog that I implemented this year.  So far – it is keeping me much more focused on my weekly writings and creating a deadline for me to get something out there for each assigned day.

I’m starting to see the value in these themes, where I had once poo poo’d them.

Here are a few points as to why I think Themes are helpful:

  • They take the thinking out of a situation. – for example – if you have Taco Tuesdays as part of your dinner theme for the week – your answer for Tuesday’s dinner isn’t to the question “What should I make for dinner” – it is “What sort of taco should I make”.
  • It opens room for more creativity.  Let’s go back to Taco Tuesdays – since you are confined to the restrictions of just Tacos on Tuesdays – you can get really creative with those tacos.
  • It helps others in your family, in your work groups, etc keep track of what is expected of each day.  Try wavering from Taco Tuesdays from a six and nine year old.
  • It builds stronger teams and forms a sense of connection.  Keeping everyone engaged with the theme helps builds the enthusiasm and builds a culture that is unique to just your situation.

I can see using themes in every area – business, family, household, personal, etc.

And I can see using themes for more than just daily – but weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.

Here are a few thoughts on some themes:

  • For menu planning – just like I used in the example above – Meatless Mondays, Taco Tuesdays, Sandwich night Thursdays
  • In business to keep you on track of those “other tasks” that need to be done in addition to the actual business tasks– Marketing Monday, Communication Tuesdays, Billing on Thursdays
  •  Workouts – giving yourself a theme keeps your workouts fresh and can provide more motivation – Treadmill Tuesday, Free Weights Friday and Stretching Saturdays.
  • Keeping the house clean – by tackling one task a day, you don’t have to spend on giant chunk of time cleaning, instead it is broken up into smaller jobs.  Mopping Mondays, Toilets Tuesdays, Vacuum Vednesdays (see what I did there – clever huh?)

Pick a theme for a week or month that goes along with Holidays or the seasons.  Spring cleaning in March, First week Communications, etc.

I really think the possibilities are endless and can be created to your specific needs and goals.  I can see this being a very motivational tool, one that keeps you on track of what to do for each day, week or month.

I do tend to get caught up with having to have the alliteration to make the theme work for each day or month.  But that is just a hurdle that needs to be jumped or with the help of a thesaurus – some creative can be conjured up.

I’d love to help you come up with some themes for your situations – shoot me a comment and let’s see what we can come up with together.

Happy Valentine’s Day!




Tips on Tuesdays – Sticky Calendars

Check out the following products and consider the many different ways you can implement them into your daily and weekly or yearly routine to help you keep on track and get things done.

Weekly Sticky Notes

I love these – use one for on your desk and stick it on your computer monitor, use one for the family and put appointments and field trip reminders on each appropriate day, use one for your team at work to announce meetings and deadlines and days off too.  I really love the idea of assigning days to each of your “to-do” tasks.  

Weekly Sticker Calendar:   


Same as above  – only bigger and color coded.   Assign each block to a family member for daily chores, create a menu for the week, keep track of different projects and deadlines.  I see lots of uses for this one too.


Yearly Planning

This is a great way to plan out the year and have it available all at one glance.  Great for families for gifts, vacations, home projects.  Great for work schedules and deadlines.  I love color coding of different sticky notes to represent each activity.  And how satisfying will it feel to rip off those sticky notes once the project is completed?




It’s all about the Sticky Note Love today!  Happy Tuesday!





Tips on Tuesdays – Popsicle sticks

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

Today’s Tip – Popsicle sticks?  


The other day I was volunteering in my son’s second grade classroom.  I was working off on the side of the classroom and the teacher was working on a worksheet with the entire class.  I noticed she used popsicle sticks marked with each student’s name to keep track of whom she had called on to answer her questions.  How brilliant is that?

I love this idea – by picking a popsicle stick with a kid’s name on it – she keeps it fair.  With this system, she calls on her students an equal amount of time because she simply rotates though the sticks and starts over.

It got me thinking – could this system be used in different situations?

Here’s what I came up with –

  • Write names of games and activities on sheets of paper to combat the “I’m Bored” comments that see to happen by 9:30am on Saturday mornings.   Set the rule that anytime you want your children to play a game or do an activity, they draw one of the suggestions from the bag – and then they have to do what is on the slip of paper.
  • Similar ideas for date night suggestions.  Brainstorm ideas and then pick from a jar and enjoy some special time with your Honey.
  • Keep track of your employees or clients and how you recognize and reach out to them.  Write a note of encouragement or thanks by randomly picking one each week.
  • Submit some of your favorite charities to the jar and chose one each month to read more about and possibly donate money or volunteer your time.
  • Tired of the same old workout routine?  Write different activities, classes or jogging routes – pick one at the beginning of each workout and it takes the guessing out of “what do I do today”.
  • Want to try new recipes?  Keep printed recipes in a pile and then shuffle them around like a card dealer, face down  – this randomly select your next dinner.
I love the idea of brainstorming at one time and then using this system to take the thinking and guess work out of trying to come up with an idea of what to do – when the pressure is on.  

As I think about it – the ideas for this system are endless.  And I love the idea of popsicle sticks because you can use them over and over without them getting wornout like a piece of paper would from being handled so much.

Today’s Question what other ideas could the popsicle stick system work, be it personal, professional, or other?  Today’s question has a prize – the third person to submit an idea gets an email copy of my e-book “What’s for Dinner.”  And yes – you can submit ideas – one and two and be the third person.

Happy Tuesday – ~Amy

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Tips on Tuesdays – Remembering why you are….

Do you ever get caught in what I call “Treading-along mode?”  Basically, you are just treading through jobs and events and actions to get to the next job, event or action and you don’t really know why or what you are doing it all for.

  • You show up to meetings to get through what is presented, accept the new tasks you’ve been given, and head back to your desk to get started.
  • Or you wake up in the morning to get the kids out of bed, dressed, lunches made, off to school, and then wait for them to come home so you can do it all again but in reverse?

Do you ever need a little reminder of what motivates you?

I just proposed something to the little non-profit I work for – something new to start this year.

Start each meeting with a feel good story of why we are doing what we are doing.

But I got to thinking, this idea of reminding ourselves why we are doing something can be used for any situation to help redirect our focus and motivation.

  • Why are you getting up at 515 in the morning to exercise?
  • Why are you making your child’s lunch instead of letting her buy lunch at school?
  • Why did you go into business for yourself?
  • Why are you calling this client?
  • Why do you visit your parents?

What are your motivations?  Why are you doing what you are doing?

Happy Tuesday!