Monday, February 25, 2013

How To: Weekly Planning in My Filofax


Hi there!

Not long ago I posted a YouTube video on my weekly planning process in my Filofax.  Since then, several folks have asked for the list of my weekly planning steps.

So, here's the list of things I do for my weekly planning each Sunday:

  • Add important events of the week to the monthly index page.
  • Clean out my planner and move old items to the archive.
  • Review goals, update the status and schedule the next steps.
  • Journaling:  Where am I in my goals?  What new ideas have come up?  What decisions need to be made?
  • Write out tasks for the coming week.
  • Review the past week to be sure no tasks have been left unaddressed.
  • Review monthly list of things to do and schedule one or more for the coming week.
  • Review planner setup things to do and schedule for the coming week.
  • Review master task list and schedule one or more for the coming week.
  • Add appointments in my Filofax to my Google Calendar so my husband can see them.  Put a check mark next to the appointment in the Filofax to show that it was added to Google Calendar.
There you have it.  It seems like a lot, but it really doesn't take too long.  I probably spend about an hour on my weekly planning each Sunday.  I think that's a small price to pay to make sure that I'm organized for the coming week.

Do you have a ritual for your weekly planning?

Observe Physical Sensations. Day Two of My Meditation Journey


This post is part of a series chronicling my meditation journey. You can find a list of the whole series here.

My meditation tonight began a little bit differently than last time.  I sat on the bed with my back against the wall instead of on the floor, and I didn't burn a candle.  The room was still dimly lit, and I still listened to my Meditation music.

In this exercise I was to focus on the physical sensations of my body.  What was I feeling in my body, and where?  Was I experiencing pain or numbness?  What did my mind do to try to distract me?

I think that sitting on the bed was more comfortable than sitting on the floor, because I had very little discomfort this time.  I had a hard time finding any physical sensations to focus on.  Instead, I tried to focus on my breathing, and watched my thoughts as I did last time.

I still found that my thoughts were quick and random, like an old home movie that was sped up slightly and had no sound.  Again, I didn't try to push any of the thoughts aside, and I didn't try to turn any of them off.  I just sat and watched them, like they were cars whizzing by at a busy intersection and I was standing on the corner waiting to cross.

I was able to sit for 20 minutes without any problem, and didn't find myself getting sleepy at all.  Overall I was quite pleased with this session, and am looking forward to the next one!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

My Favorite Things - Google Reader

This post is part of a series of posts about my favorite things.  Click here to see the entire list.

I have used Google Reader for years.  It's the method I use to keep up with my favorite blogs.  Posts on those blogs are automatically delivered to my Google Reader, and I can read those posts from one place at my leisure. 

I currently subscribe to 25 blogs.  The list used to be much longer, but I weeded it down to just those blogs that I was very interested in and wanted to read on a regular basis.  I'm constantly adding to the list as I come across other blogs that interest me.

A while back I decided to subscribe to my favorite blogs by email, and have those blog posts delivered automatically to my email inbox rather than Google Reader.  But that became overwhelming and my inbox was soon overcome by those posts.  So I went back to receiving the blog posts in my Google Reader again and stopped the email subscriptions.  (My apologies to those favorite blogs of mine for bouncing around how my subscription is delivered.  I know that messes with your stats!)

Google Reader also has these cool statistics on what I read and how often I read it.  That's pretty cool to look at.  For example, since I started using Google Reader in 2009, I've read 13,799 blog posts.  That's crazy! 

I know there are other RSS readers out there, but so far Google Reader has worked for me the best.  It is browser-based, so I can use it on any computer with internet access.  I don't have to have a program installed on my computer.  I can also access Google Reader on my iPhone, which allows me to catch up on reading if I have a few minutes to kill away from home.

Google Reader has been on my favorites list for quite a while now, and I'm guessing it will remain there for some time to come.

If you'd like to read more about Google Reader, you can read about it here on Wikipedia.  And of course, Google can tell you all about it here

Do you have a favorite RSS reader?  Please share in the comments!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sit. Observe. Day One of My Meditation Journey


This post is part of a series chronicling my meditation journey.  You can find a list of the whole series here.

I've been planning to start this journey for a week now, but could never find the time to get started.  That's always the way it is for me -- I can't seem to find the time.  Well, today I decided to MAKE the time.

It's important to me to create a ritual for my meditation practice.  Something that tells my body and my mind that it's time to get quiet.

I began by sitting on a pillow on the floor of my bedroom, legs crossed, and back against my cedar chest to help with my posture.  The room was dimly lit, and I placed a small unscented candle on a small plate on the floor in front of me.  I started my "Meditation" music on my iPhone, set a timer for 20 minutes, and closed my eyes.

I was afraid to try to sit for a whole 20 minutes.  That's a really long time in my world.  But that's what the book suggested, and I really want to try to follow along as closely as I can.

At first I was very distracted.  My mind was racing, and I could hear John and Kayla talking in the living room and car doors slamming outside the bedroom window.  But I stuck with it.  I just "watched" the distractions, which is what this first lesson is about.  I didn't try to quiet my mind, and I did not have any expectations.

It wasn't long before my legs started to ache and my right foot went numb.  It became a little bit painful at first, but I just took note of it.  I kept telling myself that I could continue to sit for one more minute.  And then another minute.  And then another.  Soon after, the discomfort didn't subside, but diminished enough to allow me to remain seated in that position.

I did check the clock once during the session, and had nine minutes remaining.  At that point, I knew I could finish the 20 minutes.

Overall, the time went by quickly.  At the end, I felt relaxed, but mostly proud of myself for completing this first day.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Meditation -- Starting Over

sharon korkes

I have been struggling to quiet my mind, calm health issues, become more focused, and just generally get back to being myself.  I've toyed with meditation off and on for several years -- Holosync, guided meditation, Yoga Nidra -- but I could never seem to get them to work.

"Get" being the operative word, here.

You see, I've recently learned that all along I've been trying to make my meditation practice into what I wanted it to be.  There's nothing wrong with that, except that meditation doesn't work that way.  As my husband would say, "You are not the boss of meditation."  For once he's right.  :)

So I've decided to get back to the basics.  No more of the tinkling sounds traveling from one side of my brain to the other, no more people "guiding" me into what I "should" be thinking about.  Maybe I can get back to them later, but right now I need to focus on one thing:

Being Still.

That goes for my body as well as my mind.

I've started reading a book to help guide me through this.  (Don't worry, he doesn't fall into the "person guiding me into what I should be thinking...")  Meditation for Beginners 22-Day Course is a simple read and is just bringing me back to the basics.  I think it may be just what I need.

I'm going to chronicle my new journey here.  I'll be posting my thoughts as I complete each day of the course.  You can find a complete list of those posts here or over there on the sidebar.  I hope you will follow along.  I'm excited about it.

Do you have a meditation practice?  Do you have any tips for me?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

A Week in my Filofax #6

Hi!  I've fallen a little behind in my weekly review posts, but I'm ready to get back on the bandwagon.  So let's get started.

Sunday, Feb. 3:  Not a very productive day, as it was Superbowl Sunday and we met friends late in the afternoon to watch the game at the Tilted Kilt.  We didn't really have a favorite in the game (ours is a Steelers household), but part of the fun of the Superbowl is getting together with friends and watching the commercials, right?  By the way, the "farmer" commercial was by far my favorite.

Monday, Feb. 4:  Fairly productive day, even though I took a half-day off from work to go to a much awaited doctor appointment.  Nothing of any relevance to report.

Tuesday, Feb. 5:  Spent the day at home sick, partially related to the doc appointment on the previous day.  Not cool.

Wednesday, Feb 6:  Pretty productive day.  We also found out that a good friend of several years passed away suddenly.  Most of the evening was spent in shock and reaching out to mutual friends. 

Thursday, Feb. 7:  Another productive day, including several high school related activities in the evening for Sarah.  She's already planning her schedule for next year!  Time really does fly by too quickly.

Friday, Feb. 8:  Average day with nothing  major to report.  I was really exhausted in the evening, and fell asleep on the couch at 8:30.  I woke up at 9:30 and went right to bed.

Saturday, Feb. 9:  Pretty busy day.  I was up early to have my annual mammogram, and then did a bit of shopping at Staples and Walgreens.  After that, I went home to pick up the rest of the family and we did some more shopping for guinea pig supplies and a stop at Bath and Body Works, and lunch at Panera.  (A half bacon turkey bravo sandwich and broccoli cheese soup is my staple there!)  I finished off the night by going to a girls get-together with a friend.  That was much fun!

I've been thinking of my friends in the Northeast who are buried in snow.  I love the white stuff and pray daily that we get some, but I don't think even I want THAT much!  :)

I hope you all had a great week.  Did you do anything fun and exciting?

What's on My iPhone

Hi!  I'm having a bit of an "overwhelmed" day, so I thought I'd make today's blog post something simple and fun.

Here's what's on my iPhone 4:

  • 1479 songs
  • 3 videos
  • 208 photos
  • 51 applications

My iPhone has a 13.7GB capacity, and I'm down to 312MG available.  :(  I'm debating on whether or not to move my music to an iPod.  I really like having everything in one place on my phone, but the space thing is becoming an issue.

I won't go through each one of the apps on my phone.  That would take too long, and would likely bore you to tears.  But here are the apps that I use most often on a daily basis:

  • Messages - for text messages.  I love texting.  I don't like talking on the phone, so texting is the next best thing.
  • Contacts - I keep all of my contact info and passwords here.  It syncs with my Google contacts, so if my phone ever dies, I have a good backup.
  • Calendar - I don't really use this much, as I'm more of a Filofax girl.  But I do use the calendar to remind me of important things, and I also put my appointments here so my husband can see what I have scheduled (I share my calendar with him).
  • Facebook - No explanation necessary.
  • Twitter - Again, no explanation necessary.  I do find that I'm spending more time on Twitter these days than Facebook.  Facebook has just become annoying.
  • Instagram - I use this app to share photos with Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr, and obviously my Instagram following as well.
  • Pandora - I use this to listen to my favorite tunes while doing chores or getting dinner ready.  Right now my favorite "channel" is Mumford and Sons.
  • WRAL-FM - This is an app for a local radio station.  I frequenly listen to their morning show while I'm getting ready for work.  Bill and Lynda and Vanna help to brighten my morning.  :)
  • - This is an app for my favorite local news channel.  I visit this at least once a day, most times more.
  • FoxNews - My other go-to news app.
  • Good - This is the app I use to access my work email, calendar and tasks.
  • Phone - Obviously.
  • Mail - Another obvious one.
  • Safari - My web browser of choice right now on my phone.
  • Music - Obviously. 
Again, I have many other apps that I use on a pretty frequent basis, like Kindle, YouTube, my bank, Google Maps, FourSquare, and  But the ones above I visit every single day, and in most cases, many times a day.

So there you have it.  A quick walk through of my iPhone and my most-used apps.  What are some of your favorite apps?  Please share in the comments.  I'm always looking for new ones!