Yes#1: Remember.

Remembering your stuff saves you time. Double check every time you go somewhere. Minutes & hours are lost when you’ve forgotten your phone or computer, etc., and have to drive back home or to the office. Say yes every time you leave one location for another, even at home, going from room to room, with a quick check: “Yes, I have my phone. Yes, I have my glasses, computer,” etc. When your things are in your possession, you are prepared to help your staff or kids, do your work. Put all items in the exact same place, absolutely every time you are at work or at home. A place for everything. Not on the top of your car, not set-down temporarily in a work bathroom. Your stuff belongs either on your person, in your purse or car, or in your computer bag. When you have less items to remember, it’s easier. Do this for one week everywhere you go, and you’ll feel less frustrated, lighter and get more accomplished. Misplacing things is not only a distraction, and expensive, but it takes a toll on our self-esteem.

Yes#2: Focus.

Focus and re-focus. Zoom in on your priorities for the day, and stay zoomed throughout. Periodically stop and notice when you’re off-focus. Simply say, “Focus!” Don’t waste time beating yourself up. Don’t do things that you don’t need to. Decide what your main priority of-the-day is, then stick to it. Next, do less things by making fewer decisions. Delegate to others, reduce your load to a truly manageable amount, and prepare the night or week before. Meditation also helps us to train our minds to pay attention to higher priorities, even moving meditation or yoga. What you practice & do well in one arena can transfer to another — metaphorically drag and click it over. If you’re confident and succinct at work, be that at home, only with even more kindness. Our loved ones deserve our focus and our best Selves.

Yes #3: Breathe.

Such a simple yes! Ha. This takes commitment. You know it works, and research in every field: work, sport, sex- shows how helpful breathing is to prevent anxiety, increase sexual pleasure, think clearly at work. Concentrated breathing takes mindful pausing throughout the day. You’ll release stress, so taking time for 3 deep breaths will reinforce the behavior. Take a deep breath, then, with your third eye, bring your attention to your body and heart. BOAR: breathe, observe, allow, reframe. You’ll respond from a place of clarity, not reacting.

Yes#4: Be with yourself.

Observe your heart, body, mind and soul with 3 words for each arena. Notice what you’re experiencing in each of these 4 arenas, then allow it. It will move through you or dissipate more quickly if you don’t judge yourself. Allow many things to be true at the same time, for ex: “I feel agitated, happy, and confused.” “In my body, I have butterflies in my stomach, a sense of calm that things will go well, AND (not but) tightness in my neck.” When you let these experiences BE, w/o judgment, you can then move forward into either reframing or sitting them longer, until you know what to do.

Yes#5: Create some structured plan, and do it consistently, every morning.

This is your foundation in living. Start your days with structure, your weeks with specific consistent things you do, the same way. Guard these with your life, and you’ll create both your productivity and your happiness. Put these things in place to be who you want to be, who you can be, no matter what circumstances are, no matter what people do or don’t do. Say yes to not limiting yourself to days when things go your way. When they go differently than expected, you’ll deal, because of your morning practices, your anchors.

Yes #6: Say yes to your Self by saying no to several invites each week.

To lunches out, to after-work drinks, to coffees you don’t have time for, to long meals, to stopping by the grocery a third time. Quality time, caring, and focused presence for a short time can get you back on track for your priorities.

Yes #7: Stay in your senses.

Tune into your body: smell things, listen, see the colors around you. Stop running on fear, not really being present in your life. Say no to your adrenals constantly firing, to dissociating, avoiding, and wanting attention to make up for it. Have you been hovering, not really in your body, not really in your own shoes, sort of unaware? Touch down, get grounded and centered in your body. Have you been wanting someone or something else to make you feel better? Stop that by really tuning into your body, which leads you to be right here, right now, in your life. You may “feel” more, be less in your head. It may hurt more. But you may , in turn, interrupt less, really listening to others. You’ll eventually feel better, you’ll learn to manage what’s going on in your body since you’re not ignoring it. With others, you’ll actually allow yourself to care more, not staying so protected or distanced. You’ll see the good in others, thereby earning respect. Try yes #4, and you’ll have more true connection with others. Get “in the zone” more. And you’ll stay there, because of Yes#2.

And 3 Important No’s For Along the Way:

N0 #1: Stop clinging to what was, “should,” “could” be, or to wishes.

Step into what IS. Quit attaching yourself to longings. Live with what IS so completely it’s like you actually chose what’s going on in your life. Maybe your daughter is handicapped, your son has an addiction, your sister is going through a nasty divorce, your father is dying. Embrace this particular hardship over one you perceive is worse, like losing both your legs. Say, “This is what IS, and I’m ok w/ it.” Rain falls on everyone; there’s suffering in this life. But most of our discontent is caused by the mess between our ears. “Change your thinking, change your life.” Be here now. You’ll get more done because you’re actually dealing with what you can control, not what’s out of your reach. What you wish for may actually come true, because you will make it happen by living in the moment.

No #2: Say no to lies.

Stop kidding yourself or others. Be honest. Truthfulness and awareness are partners here. “I wanna see you be brave,” Sara Bareilles sings. Courage doesn’t just hide in the wings, it jumps in and saves people. “To do what you’ve never done, you must be who you’ve never been.” Be brave, be less chaotic, stop kidding yourself that things will just get better, and make them better. Ask yourself why you’re really doing something, and be fiercely honest. Then shift your thinking, and do things for reasons of integrity and compassion.

No#3: Stop trying to be perfect.

It’s not possible anyway, and trying takes too much time. Do what you can with the time that you have, Gandalf said to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings. Not bad advice on the way to possible death. Much like us, we’ve only got so many years in one short life; why waste it aiming for the impossible? Go for great, not perfect. In addition, don’t let your worst self be the only one you see. So you messed up. Making mistakes is how we learn. We’ll still make mistakes in our 50’s, our 60’s. Make them with grace, with acceptance, AND, own them. “My bad,” “I goofed.” Yet you’re not cavalier. You’re sorry, AND you’ll try hard not to do that again. Say that too. Then move on.

References: Ram Dass, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brendan Burchard, Tara Brach, Sara Bareilles

“May I have the courage today

to live the life that I would love,

to postpone my dreams no longer

but do at last what I came here for

and waste my heart on fear no more.”

-”John O’Donohue, A Morning Offering

Pamela W. Brinker, LCSW
Copyright 2016