Lessons Learned Along The Way

This post is taken from an email I received via The Listserve on March 1, 2017 at 2:20 p.m. I keep it hanging on a board in my office and I wanted to share it with others in my life. Thank you “NTB” for writing the following message:

Want to share several things I have learned along the way.

Show the persons that you care about that they really matter.

If you do not ask, you cannot get a yes.

Do not put off until tomorrow, what you can do today, especially when it comes to telling someone what he/she means to you or settling a quarrel.

Make time to call and/or visit your family and friends just because and attend celebrations whenever possible.  Means a lot more during life than scrambling to make the funeral.

You only live once. Take risks; wear your good clothes; use the fancy dishes for family as they are your best company; do not save whatever it is for tomorrow as tomorrow may never come.

Whatever you do, do your very best from the smallest detail to the largest detail, both in your personal life as well as your professional life. And be sure to read things over a few times before sending.

Be true to your word; follow through; do what you say you are going to do.

Always RSVP to invitations on time, if not early. Do not take people’s kindnesses for granted. Say thank you. Acknowledge gifts. Write thank you notes.

Give your children roots and wings and then take pride when they fly as high and as far as they want. If we are lucky, we only have the privilege of renting our children for 18 years, although we have the honor of being their parents for a lifetime.

When your children or grandchildren call, always take their call and give them your full attention.

Be polite and treat people with respect. And remember what author Mark Twain said, “If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.”


App Review: Todoist

These days it seems that everyone is pursuing the elusive work-life balance while juggling many responsibilities. And sometimes (who am I kidding, more like all times) it can be hard to keep track of all these varied responsibilities. Over the years I have tried many methods for to-do lists including paper, sticky notes, bullet journals, and phone apps. A few years ago I discovered a website and an app that provided everything I needed to track all the craziness of my life such as my job at Elon, personal projects, grocery shopping lists, and Junior League of Greensboro responsibilities.

Today I want to introduce you to the app Todoist.

In Todoist you can create a project for every aspect of your life and view the tasks by project, by what is coming up today, or by what is coming up in the next 7 days. Here are examples of the projects I use:

List of projects on Todoist

List of Elon projects on todoist

One of the reasons that Todoist works well for me is that I am able to schedule tasks. Using the app you can add a task with no due date, you can add a task with a due date of any day that you pick, or you can add a task with a reoccurring date weekly or monthly. I use the scheduling tools to keep track of things for my job at Elon or the Junior League that occur weekly/monthly and I use it to keep track of tasks that I want to remember in a couple days (such as sending conference call reminders, writing thank you notes, etc.).

List of JLG tasks on todoist

In the above example you can see that every Thursday I have a reminder to send my notes in for the Junior League Monday Minute (if I have anything). I also have tasks that are scheduled out for later in the week or month.

Todoist can be accessed via phone app, the website, through plugins on Google Chrome, etc. They also include features for gamification represented below. During my time using Todoist I have completed over 6,000 tasks. Wow!

Productivity points on todoist

What are some of your tricks for staying on top of multiple responsibilities? Have you tried using Todoist? Do you have other tips for making the most of this app? I’d love to hear your experience in the comments.

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Source for to do image at top of blog: http://informedmag.com/

One Word 2017: Intentional

Note: It is hard to believe that it is 2017 and hard to believe that it has now been over a year since I blogged consistently. Here’s my first attempt at blogging monthly this year! It was a good reflective practice for me and I want to get back into it. Enjoy!

in·ten·tion·al – adjective;
1. done on purpose; deliberate

In 2015 I started my one word tradition with mindfulness, and it really guided my habits to make me a more mindful person. In 2016, I chose wander and although I never got around to blogging about it, I did enjoy being a little more adventurous and maybe I can recap it in a future blog post.

It was not easy to pick one word to guide my actions and focus in 2017. The past year has been exciting and full of challenges. I was promoted at Elon into a new job that I love and started supervising full-time staff for the first time. I taught a section of Elon’s first year seminar (Elon 101). I accepted a bigger leadership position in the Junior League of Greensboro that takes up a lot of my time (but is also a lot of fun!). I am dealing with an injury and can not run as much as I used to, but I picked up a new workout routine (Kayla Itsines BBG) that brings me a ton of happiness. I have this habit of doing the most; of doing everything. I am filling my days with things that make me happy, things that make me smile, things that make others happy, things that I hope are making a difference, BUT when I sat down to really think about all I have accomplished and all that I do, I wondered: am I doing all of these things with purpose?

“That was the day she made herself the promise to live more from intention and less from habit”

The word intentional on a picture of a dock and a lakeDuring 2017 I will be more intentional about:

making decisions for me
strengthening relationships
making memories (not just for the gram)
becoming a better person
reading one book a month
reflecting on life before it passes me by
blogging once a month (to help with the reflection thing)
not just living through habit

I will:

Eliminate the “fluff”
Do what matters
Be conscious, willful, and purposeful
Spend less time mindlessly scrolling through social media, and spend more time on my health, wellness, and professional goals
Pay attention
Do one thing at a time, less multitasking
Live an intentional life

I am excited! Did you choose one word for 2017? Make new resolutions or set ambitious goals? If so, please share in the comments

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How I flew to Amsterdam for almost nothing

Recently, I took a trip to Amsterdam and the Netherlands to explore a new town and visit my good friend Megan and her husband Taylor. This is a trip I have been planning for a while, ever since they moved over there for Taylor’s expat job with his company.

My dad is a frequent traveler – and he recommended that I sign up for the Chase Sapphire credit card to get points to buy my flight to Amsterdam. I followed his advice – and was able to fly to Amsterdam for almost nothing (all I paid was $56 in taxes).

Flight Prices

Important note: I am only a fan of credit cards for use to earn rewards and points. I pay off my balance at the end of every month. You must evaluate if this is a good financial decision for you.

If you are in a place to sign-up for a new credit card and you are looking to travel, the Chase Sapphire Card is a great option. Read more from The Points Guy on 5 reasons the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card should be your first card in 2016.

Here are the steps I took to get this great deal on my flight to Amsterdam:

1 – I signed up for the Chase Sapphire credit card and earned 50,000 bonus points by spending $4,000 in the first 3 months (this might be hard depending on your spending, so try to put EVERYTHING on your card – Can you put rent? Will friends or family put charges on your card? You really want to only sign up for this card if you can get the signing bonus. There are other cards to consider but this is the one I chose and know best.) Read more on this card from Million Mile Secrets.

2 – After earning 60,000 points…I shopped around flights and points with various Chase Ultimate Rewards partners – I ended up going with United. There’s an option to book through the Chase website or transfer points to another site. If you want to maximize the bang for your buck, it is usually best to transfer your points to another site. Transferring 60,000 Chase points to be 60,000 United Miles ended up being the right deal for my trip itinerary. My options were limited because I had to choose flights that were worth 30,000 points each way, but I was able to find a great option with one-stop in my August trip timeframe.

picture of Amsterdam canal

If you already have 60,000+ ultimate rewards points or you are interested in flying for free, read this beginner guide on transferring miles & points. You might be tempted to turn your Chase Ultimate Rewards points into cash or gift cards. While this is a lucrative offer (and still a great benefit of the card) saving these points for travel and airline miles will help you make the most of the Sapphire credit card rewards (if travel is your goal!).

At the end of the day, I was able to book a $1400 flight for $56. Getting the Chase Sapphire Card was completely worth it. You should be aware the Sapphire card does have an annual fee; it is free the first year and then $95 annually after that. I might cancel next year if I decide it is not worth $95 annually, but after getting this great flight deal I am starting to believe it is worth it.

If you are not ready to take a jump and sign-up for a card with an annual fee, I still recommend you use a credit card for every purchase, pay off the balance regularly, and then use your credit card points to have extra cash. The Chase Freedom card was my starter credit card and earns great rewards. Read more on The Points Guy because he reviews a lot of different credit card options on his blog (and is much more knowledgeable than me).

If you decide you want to sign up for either of the Chase cards let me know so I can send you an invite, referrals earn points too!

Happy (almost) free traveling!

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