Declutter Your Life!

Declutter Your Life!

I’ve been on a bit of a personal quest to find ways to increase my energy and focus this year.  I’ve gotten on a better track with exercising and eating healthier foods.  I’ve started taking yoga classes at least once a week. I’ve tried to be more intentional about scheduling some downtime so I could recharge.  And, I’ve been reading some great books like Micro-Resilience, by Bonnie St. John and Allen P. Haines.  And then as a follow-up,  hosted a virtual book club to engage with several of you in a conversation about how the book’s numerous strategies could be put into practice in our everyday life.  All of these strategies combined have really served to elevate my personal energy and focus!

Recently,  I spent the better part of a weekend decluttering my home. And, unexpectedly realized that the decluttering process itself also brought with it a huge focus and energy boost for me.  My home isn’t messy but it seems that when I get busy, my house sometimes looks like it could use a little organization love.  And the change of the seasons always feels like an especially good time to figure out what needs to go and what needs to stay in closets and drawers, etc.  As I got more organized, my focus and energy also increased, making me feel happier overall.  Releasing that clutter, even though it was not an overwhelming amount, really brought such a sense of peacefulness to my life.  I am no longer trying to get something done while also being distracted by a pile of paperwork on the side of a desk, wondering what all is in there!  I bet some of you may be able to relate to that feeling of being distracted by uncompleted projects sabotaging the things you really need to focus on right now.

As I decluttered, I thought about how this process of decluttering can be applied to my whole life, not just my physical surroundings.  Perhaps I could “declutter” my thoughts, my words, my relationships, my schedule – you get the idea!   I like to look at my life as as a design project, the same way an interior designer views a renovation project with a client.  And, just as it’s usually not practical to renovate your entire home at one time, it’s also not reasonable to think we could declutter our whole life overnight.  Here are a few observations I made about decluttering my physical surroundings.  I believe that the same thoughts can be applied to decluttering one’s whole life.

Make sure that you are ready to dive into the process so you can give it the time and energy it needs.

Decluttering takes time, but it always feels worth it to me when I see the end result.

Start decluttering with clear intention.

Before I started decluttering in my home, I walked around from room to room and decided where my focus was needed.   I set clear intentions of what I was going to tackle first, and when, and then gave that my full attention to that, even though other areas were also crying out for some help as well.

Be willing to make some tough choices.

I probably have a few things in my home, whether it’s clothing or something else, that probably does not really serve me well any longer. And, yet, year after year, I continue to hold onto it.  Sometimes keeping it is just a habit.  Many of those things, I decided to donate,  so someone else could benefit from them more.

Celebrate the small successes rather than focus on all that still needs to be done.

I told myself I was going to celebrate each small step of progress in each room, rather than allow myself to get distracted or frustrated by the work that still needed to be done.

Put some new practices in place to support the newly organized space.

Once I felt satisfied with the decluttering process, I decided I needed to revise some of my day-to-day habits to ensure that I could keep those areas decluttered with minimal upkeep.

If you are also in the fall clean out mode, perhaps you may want to give some thought to whether there could be areas of your life, other than your physical surroundings, that could benefit from some decluttering.   Here’s to more focus, energy, and the true sense of calm that comes from the process!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Virtual Book Clubs…A Fun Way to Experience Meaningful Connections

Virtual Book Clubs…A Fun Way to Experience Meaningful Connections

We’re always hearing about the benefits of exercise, hydration, and healthy eating.  I think we can all agree that these are some of the key ingredients in a healthy life.  I also believe that fun and meaningful connections are key ingredients as well.  They are food for the soul and help us lead our best lives.

When life gets busy, finding time for fun and meaningful connections become even more important.  These are not optional ingredients… they are key ingredients! When we don’t have enough, we can feel sad, lonely, overwhelmed and isolated.  Sometimes it’s the small pleasures that keep moving us forward each day.

Being part of a book club is one of those small pleasures for me.  I love to read and enjoy it, even more, when I can share the joy of a well written, insightful book with others who have also read it.  It’s like a delicious meal or a really amazing movie – they’re always better enjoyed with others!

I especially like to read non-fiction personal growth books.  The non-fiction book clubs that I’ve been a part of have helped hold me accountable for putting what I’ve read into action.  I also really enjoy gaining insights from what the other book club members have to say.  Different perspectives are always enlightening.

I’ve recently discovered the benefits of virtual book clubs.  These are groups that meet through technology instead of in person.  A VIRTUAL book club  is a great option when life is busy or geography is an issue – you can join your book club Zoom call easily and from anywhere at all, including your vacation, with your comfy clothes on, sipping a cool drink on your deck, make-up off, and hair pulled up in a ponytail, if you’d like!  All you have to do is connect on your laptop or your phone and you have an instant book club community! That definitely meets my criteria of a small pleasure!

#1 HAVE SOME FUN!… It’s always enjoyable to get together in a casual setting and talk about a great book!

#2  GAIN NEW INSIGHTS… Book clubs expand your personal views and allow you to gain new insights that you may not have considered on your own.

#3 COMMUNITY AND CONNECTION… Book clubs offer you an opportunity to connect and get to know other women better in your community and beyond

#4  ACCOUNTABILITY… I often buy books that I don’t get around to reading as quickly as I would like.  A book club can create some accountability to finally read the whole book!

Sound like something you would enjoy?  Then you are in luck!

I am excited to announce that Kettell Coaching will be partnering with Wholistic Woman Retreats to launch a Summer Virtual Book Club, beginning Monday, July 29 based on the book, Micro-Resilience by Bonnie St. John and Allen P. Haines.  

Click here for details and registration information

Here’s to a summer of fun, meaningful connections, and simple pleasures!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).


Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Be Resilient – A Life Design Accessory

Do you ever wake up and plan to accomplish a lot, only to find yourself completely exhausted midway through the day?  Some days feel like we are in the midst of a whirlwind and I am sure I am not the only one that feels that I could dial up the healthy choices when those days occur.  For me, that usually means that I need to get on a track that feels more balanced and calmer.  At those times, we often think about improving our nutrition or carving out more time for an exercise routine, which are great ideas and bring a long term payoff.

However, have you ever considered a resilience makeover?  What do I mean by that?  When I think of the word resilience, I think about the ability to bounce back from all that life throws at us.  What’s a makeover?  Well, have you ever had a makeover of a room in your home?  It might involve hanging a beautiful new picture, or just simply rearranging your furniture.  The purpose of any kind of makeover is to refresh and bring you a new sense of joy… A resilience makeover is similar to a makeover in one of the rooms of your home.  The room is probably fairly functional as it is, but it could use some new life breathed into it!   Typically a makeover doesn’t have to take much time or money but quickly changes the way you feel about that room.

The same could be true with a resilience makeover.  We can redesign our lives the same way we redesign our homes.  And, resilience is what I like to refer to as a life accessory.  Just like great artwork or fun throw pillows are accessories in a room of your home, resilience is an accessory that makes life easier, more fulfilling, and joyful.  And, I think we are all always on the search for anything that brings those things our way!

You may already feel that you are a pretty resilient person. Perhaps you have been through a tough health scare, the death of a loved one, issues surrounding your children, marriage, or job that have caused you to be tested and stretched.  And, perhaps you have come through those very difficult situations, rising about the challenges to return back to normal again.  That is the traditional definition of resilience.  Webster defines resilience as the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”.  Think of someone you know who is really resilient, and my guess is that you will think of someone who has gracefully come through an experience that has been fairly life-changing.

I’ve always considered myself to be a resilient person.  My friend Patrice once told me that she admires that I don’t get stuck in the muck.  That was her way of saying that she feels that I don’t tend to allow life’s challenges to make me feel stuck for too long.  However, after reading Bonnie St. James’ and Allen P. Haines’ book, Micro-Resilience, I came to realize that resilience is a muscle we can build every moment of every day, not just in times of life’s greatest challenges.  In fact, the word “micro” refers to small changes, small shifts in our behavior.   And, the book proposes that even very small changes can make a huge difference in one’s focus and energy throughout each day.

If you are like me, there are days that I just don’t feel that I am effectively focusing on the things I want to get done, or lack the energy to do all the things on that to do list.  In fact, some days, I start out feeling motivated and then something happens that takes the wind out of my sails, and it’s challenging to get that ball rolling again.  Sound familiar at all?  The concept of micro-resilience addresses this exact issue.

Micro-resilience strategies are easy techniques that can assist you in recovering more quickly from the seemingly small challenges that inevitably come our way throughout each day.  Daily small challenges may seem insignificant individually, like a dishwasher that breaks unexpectedly, or the frustration of sitting in traffic as you barely make your appointment on time. However these small things can add up over the day causing us to feel completely exhausted, asking ourselves, why am I so tired right now? It’s just a  “normal” day today.

If this sounds familiar, you may find yourself ready to tackle a resilience makeover!  On Wednesday, May 29th, I’ll be facilitating our Be Resilient event.  I’ll be sharing several quick, practical science-based strategies which, when used, can immediately combat the daily energy drains that zap your energy and leave you feeling exhausted.   We’ll discuss strategies to avoid mental exhaustion, and increase your brain’s effectiveness, including the use of laser focus rather than multitasking.  We’ll talk about tips to combat worry and anxiety, and techniques for embracing more positivity.  We’ll talk about ways to refuel and refresh your body for peak performance, and we’ll touch on renewing your spirit by tapping into your purpose and a state of “flow”, a concept made popular by author Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, in his book entitled, Flow.

I have been trying out many of the 21 different strategies outlined in the book Micro-Resilience over this past year and can tell you confidently, that they are improving my ability to tap into a high level of energy and focus each day.  Each day gives me new opportunities to fine tune my new approaches, and I have been enjoying the journey. I look forward to sharing more about these powerful strategies with you on Wednesday, May 29 so you might begin a resilience makeover of your own!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Multi-tasking or Laser Focus?

Multi-tasking or Laser Focus?

Have you heard about the current research that states that the practice of multi-tasking is not the best way to get things done?

When I heard this, I initially thought, wow, where would I be without multitasking?  Don’t we all take pride in the fact that we can do 10 things at once? And, we are busy, busy, busy, yet juggling it all!  I remember in my first job out of college my manager gave me a coffee mug that showed a woman with about 20 arms doing all kinds of things at once, looking completely calm in the process!  She and I both enjoyed thinking of ourselves as talented multi-taskers! And, my guess is, you might too!

Recent studies such as the one by scientist, Daniel Kahneman, have shown that the human brain can only focus on a certain amount of information at one time.  And, an article in Forbes actually alleges that multitasking damages your brain, lowering your IQ and EQ.

Imagine that you are watching the news while chatting on the phone with a friend, and folding the laundry.  That may feel reasonable enough but those tasks are all pretty basic and don’t require a lot of attention.  However, what if you were driving a car in a snowstorm, while talking to a distraught teenager, and reciting the alphabet backward?  Well, I know that is a bit of an extreme example, but you get the idea!  The more critical or challenging the task, the more important that you be present and focus on that one task, versus multitasking.

Until now, I had always viewed multi-tasking as a required skill to get through life productively.  However, I’m starting to rethink that and I’m discovering the power of concentrated focus on one thing at a time.  In fact, I had the television on in the background as I was writing this blog, and just laughed at loud, realizing that I would probably think more clearly without it!

As I have been paying closer attention to the impact of my multitasking, here are a few discoveries that I have made.

First, it occurred to me that concentrating my focus vs. multi-tasking is similar to the concept of the One Word tool.  Many of us have been using the One Word for years and for me, the power of the One Word is in its simplicity of focus.  That One Word becomes a priority and we intentionally think about it each day for 365 days, and we see the impact that this focus can make in our lives by the time that the year is over.

Second, I have always loved a good to do list.  And, now I have taken that list a step or two further to enhance my focus. I take my long to do list and think about the 2-3 top priorities that must get done today.  Then, I think about how long it will take me to tackle each task, and here’s the key – I assign a specific timeframe, to get them done.  This has become an impactful step because it helps diffuse the feeling of being overwhelmed.  It may be a task I am not excited to dive into, but once I realize that it should only take an hour, I feel more committed to getting it done.  Then, I plug that hour into the calendar.  If something should take an hour, I might plug it into my 9-10 a.m. timeframe.  Then, I set an alarm on my phone for 60 minutes and create a bit of a challenge for myself to get the task done.  It may sound silly, but it has really worked for me!

Last, I have discovered that things take less time than you believe it will when you can give it your undivided attention.   When I was multitasking, it felt like I was working on the same task or project for weeks at a time.  I think that was because it was more difficult to get a whole task off my to-do list, I just chipped away a little at a time by doing so many other things at the same time.  When I decide to tackle a task (or part of a project), and put a realistic time frame on it with intense focus, it has been a pleasant surprise to see something that felt overwhelming become very manageable.

I must admit that some days I am more successful with my laser-focused approach than other days. However, the new approach does give me a greater sense of accomplishment, and also tends to be much more energizing than the frequent chaotic feeling of trying to juggle a million things at once!

It may be interesting for you to try a little experiment of your own.  See if you find that laser focus is more productive and energizing for you, and you may just keep your brain healthier in the long run!

oday’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe…Which Holiday To Do List Items to Let Go!

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe…Which Holiday To Do List Items to Let Go!

If you’re like me, you have a very long, optimistic holiday to do list. My list looks something like this:

  • Rake all the leaves in the yard before it snows.
  • Decorate the inside and outside of my home.
  • Decorate the tree.
  • Help my parents decorate their home.
  • Buy super special gifts that are meaningful to each person on my list.
  • Wrap all gifts in a fun and wonderful way.
  • Send out Christmas cards with a lovely personalized note to each friend
  • Bake dozens and dozens of a variety of cookies and truffles.
  • Watch lots of fun Christmas movies with a cup of hot cocoa, snuggled up by the Christmas tree.
  • Get a group together to go to The Nutcracker.
  • Volunteer to help others in need.
  • Invite friends over for a nice relaxing holiday dinner.
  • Visit Longwood Gardens to see their holiday display.
  • Go to Williamsburg to the Grand Illumination.
  • Try out some yummy new recipes for Christmas Eve and Christmas dinners.
  • Say yes to any fun invitation.
  • Take time to breath and relax so the holidays will be enjoyable and stress free!

Well, if your list is anything like mine, you’ll probably agree with me when I say that each year I start with the hope of being Superwoman, and then come to the realization that I am still human, even during the holidays, and might just have to make some adjustments to my expectations of myself and the time I have to accomplish my list.  Each year, I have to prioritize and make some choices about the things that matter the most, and give myself permission to let the other items on the list fall off, without guilt.

This process of making tough choices about what’s really important got me thinking ahead to the new year. I wondered what I have on my 2019 list that I should let go of, that does not serve me well any longer, or should be replaced by a goal with a more fulfilling outcome?  I always get introspective as the year comes to a close, and start thinking about what the new year might hold.  It can be very liberating to focus on a few key things that truly spark joy in your life!

So, this holiday, as I make my way through my long list of to do’s for the season, I’m going to remind myself to breathe, live in the present moment, and give myself permission to enjoy the holidays with friends and family without the expectation of doing everything on that list perfectly.

Happy Holidays, everyone! May your list be short, and your fun be overflowing! And, may you truly design a holiday season that brings you joy!

Today’s blog was written by WWR Partner Coach, Donna Kettell.  Donna is a certified professional coach (CPC) and a master practitioner in energy leadership (ELI-MP). Her certifications were earned through The Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC), which is accredited by the International Coaching Federation (ICF).