Tag Archives: tips

Prod Your Productivity Into Shape – 3 Tools for Effective Writing

Today, we have so many things to distract us from writing, and technology is one of them. Fifty years ago, writers didn’t have the strong allure of the internet to go flocking to when they wanted to push back their writing time. But the internet has now grown to the point where it may even be beneficial to our writing! (But only thanks to lovely, genius software engineers.)

Ever read Fahrenheit 451? Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit’s author, was a pretty disciplined man. Why? Because he wrote this famed novel with haste, in 30 minute spurts on a typewriter he paid 10 cents to rent out for just a half hour. He moved in to the basement of UCLA, where he had found this typing station, with a bag of dimes – thrusting them in as the clock ticked madly – and, with this limited time, he furiously churned out the draft of this popular, classic novel. Time and money – what an amazing motivator!

I was introduced to this story and another interesting tidbit via Sarah Wilson’s blog. As it turns out, Bradbury’s writing process was the early “prototype” of a technique created in the 80’s called the Pomodoro Technique. Here is their official website.

This technique, named after those nifty little tomato shaped kitchen timers (“pomodoro” meaning “tomato” in Italian) is a time-management method and a method in self discipline.

What you do is simple:

  1. Set a timer to 25-30 minutes – If you don’t have a spiffy little tomato timer, you can use one of these online timers listed on the official Pomodoro website. (I like the simple focusbooster app where you can turn on the incessant ticking if that prods you into working!)
  2. Move those fingers and write, write, write – You’re Ray Bradbury and your time is money! Your typewriter is ticking away and you have to fit as much of your future bestselling novel, article, or manifesto into this 30 minutes as you can. Don’t check your messages, don’t get on WordPress, Facebook, anything. This is your appointed time to write. My advice? Do not edit.
  3. Break time! – Your 25-30 minutes are up. Give yourself a nice 5 minute break. (focusbooster times this for you too, which is lovely) Get some sun, limber up, grab a quick snack, surf the web, check your email. It’s your free time to do whatever and you’ve earned it.
  4. Get back in the groove, go another round – You were in queue to use the typewriter and it’s finally your turn to give it another go! Shove that dime in (turn your timer back on) and go another 25-30 minutes. Get the bulk of that article done now while you have the chance. Go, go, go!

Do this process just one more time. If you still have words seeping from your fingers and want to keep typing, you now have yourself an hour break! Catch some lunch, you writing speed demon, you’ve earned it.

If you’re done writing, that’s great! Save your draft and revel in the word-countage you cooked up in such a short amount of time.

(And you don’t have to use this just for writing. Try it out for any chore or task you need to accomplish!)

If this process is enough to get you into gear, give yourself a pat, but if you still find yourself having trouble, might I suggest a bit more… wicked writing tool as an addition?

I’m talking about Dr. Wicked’s Writing Lab. Have no self-discipline? This evil invention invites (or is it “threatens”?) you to write… or die! Well, it’s not that evil, but it does claim to “put the ‘prod’ in productivity”. It is an online application based on operant conditioning, in which you choose your “punishment” for not typing after a certain amount of time. Set your word goal, choose your consequence, your grace period (forgiving, strict, or evil), and hit “Write!”

Your consequences?

  • Gentle mode gives you a pleasant little reminder that you’ve stopped typing, and tells you to continue. (It’s for your own good!)
  • Normal mode works best when your speakers are on full volume. If you stop, after some time, it plays a terrible song. Sometimes I get “Peanut Butter Jelly Time”! It quite literally scares you into writing more, and prevents you from stopping so you’ll save yourself from the ear-wrenching wickedness. (Now I’m not sure what else it plays because I get scared into working very easily by normal mode, but if you’re really disobedient and think you need a better punishment, try…)
  • Kamikaze mode. It is exactly what it sounds like. If you stop writing, your words will literally delete themselves. Terrible! Don’t let it happen. And don’t go back to edit, folks. It’ll hurt you in the long run.

This is my absolute favorite online writing tool. It’s even more thrilling to try and write in a quiet library. There’s a desktop version you can purchse for $10 if you really like it.

I love to use the Pomodoro technique and pair the focusbooster app with Dr. Wicked’s writing lab! These are three excellent tools to place on the first shelf of your writer’s toolbox.


Some thoughts…

The first time I tried this medley of productivity, I did some stream writing, and ended up with about 5500 words. I was poked and prodded to keep going, and ended up writing about topics from Kidz Bop, to my boyfriend, to dance music, to the topic of judgment, and more. I even came up with some new painting ideas and a few future plans for my blog.

The draft of this post was also written with these three tools, and I have to say, this is quite literally the fastest I’ve ever written a post. Drafting without editing is key. After your thoughts are all down, the rest of the process just zooms by.

I hope that those of you who were looking for a new productivity tool, those who get bitten by the procrastination bug, or those who just need a new way to go about writing can find some use from these three tools.

As for me, I will never write the normal way ever again! I can only cower in fear imagining Dr. Wicked’s maniacal laugh as he implements his upcoming “electric shock” mode on all those with stiff and unmoving fingers.

Hopefully he’s just kidding about that one!

photo credit: (1234)

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Who, What, When, Where, and Why?: The Benefits of Asking Questions

3534516458_48e4e8595fWhat is the one thing that drives you to live a better life and helps you to progress in thought and knowledge? Albert Einstein did it, so did Oscar Wilde, Dr. King, Nietzsche…

It’s what you were encouraged to do in class and what you use in everyday situations to get you by. It’s what you do to banish confusion, protect yourself, and be all you can be.

Asking questions is the answer. Questioning everything has many benefits and zero disadvantages. While watching home videos, I saw myself as a child asking my dad every single little thing that came to mind. Of course, I had that never-ending, unsatisfiable toddler curiosity, but who says that has to go away?

“What is the hull on a ship?…What is a radiator?… What is this bug called?…  What’s the difference between a fruit and a vegetable?… Why do I have to go to school?”

2614294143_186fc3b123The answers to my questions stuck to me, and at a very young age, I already had a small bank of knowledge I was able to take into my later years.

Though it’s been proven that it is easier to learn at a younger age, it doesn’t mean that you should give up as you get older.

Surely there has to be something you come across every single day that you are confused about or are interested in.

On the first day of class, my Statistics professor told us flatly,

“I will not guide you through these problems unless you show the drive to want to know. Ask me questions… even when the slightest tinge of confusion pops into your head.”

It makes sense, what he said. If you have the resources and need to know something, why not just ask?

Asking questions:

  • fosters your creativity
  • foster critical thinking skills
  • can help you advance in your field
  • increases your knowledge and aids your memory
  • can help you discover new ideas and information
  • can help you make better decisions
  • and can help you to identify the unknown

Be Careful!

Besides the benefit of learning whatever you want whenever you want, asking questions is a tool we all have in our arsenal to protect ourselves from false claims.

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Don’t believe everything that’s fed to you without first questioning it. Any one – and I mean anyone – has the ability to alter stories to however they see fit.

I’m not saying everyone does this, but you should be open to the possibility that it can happen, and does happen, and it can severely alter the way a large number of people think, act, and even live, which leads to greater problems.

It doesn’t just happen in the news. Commercials have been known to give false claims, businesses give false claims, magazines, product labels, and even advertising on anything should be questioned.

We can’t always tell what’s true, but here’s what we can do:

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  • Always be skeptical about new products, stories, and statistics that haven’t had much time to be researched and analyzed.
  • Know that anyone can be biased or can give out false information.
  • If any statistics or claims have been made, look for a quoted source.
  • Do your own research. My doctor never told me that my medication would sometimes cause me to sleep eat, and it was only after doing some searching online that I found out that this is a fairly common symptom!
  • Search for reviews of the product in question or essays and articles of the topic in question. People post reviews of everything on line, from books on Amazon to laptops on Cnet.
  • There are also official statistic websites on many products and services, which display actual results and if products claim to do what they say they do.
  • You don’t have to question literally everything, but you should lay some standards on what or who you feel you can trust and what you feel you should question.
  • Of course, there are standard administrations like the FDA that help filter claims, but even administrations like this can be bypassed. Every month, there are recalled products found to be some kind of danger to consumers or found to give false claims.
  • It may take a while, but doing research will help you to identify a trusted source in the field of the topic you are researching.

And to close, here’s a small, but handy resource I use daily for those random questions that pop in my head from time to time!

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ChaCha answers any questions you send to them (#242242) via text message (or a phone call). It’s a free service, and you can ask for literally anything. You may have seen a similar service,  KGB, on commercials, but this service does cost you.

You can ask for the nearest and cheapest  gas station or you can ask them to send you a joke. ChaCha will help you to name your pets, and even look something up online for you when you don’t have internet!

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

I know it’s been a while, readers. School has started up again, and my schedule is as busy as ever. I’ve always dreamed of keeping this blog up to date every week with long and intricate posts, but I realized that it’s better to have sporadic small posts with bigger posts in between than no posts at all! So I’m going to stop trying to be a “perfectionist” and at least get some content out to you!

photo credit: Marco Belluci | kretyan
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Learning of Life From Death

Given the recent deaths of many known faces, I felt it necessary to remind us of what we can learn from our inevitable fates. Death is a scary subject, but why? The thought of one day losing your loved ones or embarking from your present life may sit in your stomach like a stone and send chills though your nerves.

You may not be here tomorrow. Anyone you interact with and see on a daily basis may not be here tomorrow. It is fact that many people living now will not be around the next day.

After the initial shock of fully realizing my own mortality, I have been teaching myself not to fear death. It is painfully difficult to accept, but I feel we must in order to appreciate life – and the word’s very meaning – wholly.

We are extremely lucky to be able to experience this complex array of emotions from love to hate to generosity and jealousy. As William Faulkner once said,

“Between grief and nothing I will take grief”

To be able to meet unique people of different colors and personalities, to see all the wonders and horrors we see, to even be given a chance at love and even loss is far greater than not to be able to experience it at all.

Your most valuable thing is not your house, your car, your mother’s ring, or even your children. Your most valuable thing is your life. Everything you know, love, and cherish falls under this. So instead of wasting your most valuable thing worrying about the inevitable, focus on how great it is to even have it at all!

Cherishing Life Now

If you’ve been taking your life for granted in the past, it’s not too late. I won’t tell you that you shouldn’t smoke cigarettes and that you should start exercising more, but I do highly recommend these things. However, living a healthy lifestyle is a separate topic plastered all over the internet already.

What I want to give you are some small, non-conventional ways for you to begin or to continue cherishing your life and focusing on the journey and not the final destination.

Laugh at Life
Laughing is a good medicine and great comedy keeps your mind down to Earth and in the present.

  • Find a new comedian that you like (there are many out there!) and share them with your friends.
  • Go to local comedy shows.

Be Silly and Have Fun
Life doesn’t have to be serious 24/7. You can do whatever you want with your most valuable possession so have fun with it.

  • Write fake journal entries about crazy adventures you went on and the people you met.
  • Mute the television and do voice-overs with your friends.
  • For a day, dress as someone different, take a new identity, and visit a town where no one knows you.

Observe and Appreciate Beauty

  • Sit in a public place and observe your surroundings. What kinds of people do you see? What are their lives like? What are they feeling?
  • Notice different types of architecture, different color palettes in art, and how much work and thought was put into everything you see.
  • Read up on the history of technology, art, or the country you live in. See how far we’ve come in such a short time. We’re still advancing.

Ask Why
Questioning the world around you can create appreciation for what is already here.

  • Why do we do what we do?
  • Why do we work?
  • Why do we take photographs?
  • Why do we celebrate?

Appreciate Yourself

  • Find your identity and what makes you you.
  • Take dozens of pictures of yourself doing anything anywhere and everywhere for a day. Don’t delete any of them and pick out only something you like in each.
  • This may seem morbid, but write an obituary for yourself stating your accomplishments. This can help you realize how much you’ve done already and what you want to do in the future.
  • Interview your friends and family and ask them what their favorite trait of yours is.

Other Ways

  • Celebrate anything – big or small- like reaching a goal, getting a day off, making it to Friday, or just a nice and sunny day.
  • Talk to people. We humans share the same world so share your life experiences. Have a conversation about anything, and dig deeper than the norm. Ask for their opinion, tell them what you know, and keep it flowing. The world is filled with endless conversation topics.
  • Treat others as if they will be gone tomorrow. It is possible and unpredictable, so watch what you do and say and how you treat people and do not do anything you feel you will regret.
  • Take in life through all five senses. Our senses are the doors we use to take in life as it is so take advantage of them and experience as many smells, feels, tastes, sights, and sounds as you can!
photo credit: allyaubry | 23am | L. Marie | EdenPictures
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Unleashing the Mind’s Potential with Stream of Consciousness Writing

I’m one known to think too much about matters I shouldn’t burden myself with. I tend to have a lot on my mind and it becomes overwhelming!

What my boyfriend suggested to me was some stream of conscious writing. I was confused. I did this type of writing every morning for my Creative Writing class in high school and it never really helped me. But in class I realized we had a time limit and were sometimes told what to write about. So what happens when we don’t have these limits?In today’s post, I’ll be touching on:

  • What stream of consciousness writing is and how to do it!

What is it? And what is it good for?

Stream of conscious writing is a technique circled around release. Sure our mind has the capacity to think about and carry all of our problems, feelings, and thoughts, but when there comes to be too many facts and stored information, our minds are clouded and we tend to lose our ability to quickly reason through our problems.

Who is it for?

  • those who are stressed on a day-to-day basis
  • those who seem to have one problem after the other
  • those who have too much on their mind and unsolved problems
  • those who are looking for inspiration or that creative spark
  • those with writer’s block or those who are looking for some new ideas
  • those who want to improve their memory, vocabulary, and reasoning

How to stream write

What you’ll need:

  • a computer or
  • pen and paper or
  • a typewriter
  • basically something to write with – preferably one you’re fastest with!

Here’s the key: don’t limit yourself at all. The only way your mind can uncover ideas, repressed thoughts, and thousands of other possibilities is if you just let your writing flow freely. Don’t worry about typos, leave them there unless it’s absolutely vital to the meaning of your writing.

Let go of any inhibitions and write. No matter how profound, no matter how sad, no matter how taboo, no matter how repressed and deep into your mind it is, no matter how shallow, seemingly pointless, unimportant, trivial, no matter anything.

Write. Write. Write. CAPITALIZE. don’t capitalize. who cares about punctuation. Show your thoughts.

Give yourself about an hour. After writing for a bit, you’ll feel refreshed and unburdened. As if the accumulated thoughts you’ve been sweeping aside for months have been lifted from your shoulders and tucked away into one place.

Now save your document or hide away your journal. If you want it to be private, save it as an email draft or rename it to something no one will suspect.

When you’re ready to write more, open up the same document and continue from where you left off. Just make sure it’s all in one place. It’s easier to go back to and reference. You’ll be surprised at the phases you go through and twists and turns you take to get to where you ended. Don’t be shocked when you realize that your stream writing is a vault of new ideas for projects and other things.

My Experience

I took my boyfriend’s advice and did a little writing of my own. Surprisingly, I found I went through a few phases.

I began by writing about what happened earlier in the day, typical journal stuff. Then it moved to a critique of a movie I had seen earlier and some thoughts on how society may have viewed that movie. (By now, I had already come up with a few ideas for future blog posts!) Then I wrote about stream of conscious writing itself, and how, after a while, my hands just flowed freely, my thoughts translated from my brain through my arm to the keys of my keyboard so fluently and uninterrupted.

Every thought somehow connected to the other like a puzzle. One thing lured my mind to the next, and soon I delved into deeper topics about my feelings towards a few friends who have caused me much repressed mental strain. I came to clear, crisp conclusions about what I should do and how I should react when certain situations arise with these friends.

These are conclusions that, unfortunately, my boyfriend has been telling me about for months! For some reason, though, I had to come to these conclusions myself, and stream of conscious writing allowed me to do that with ease (and unknowingly until afterward!).

Try it out and tell me how it goes in the comments!

photo credit: CreativeArtistry | ntxpeach68 | darkmatte
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30 Hacks and Tips to Save Your Precious, Precious Time

Readers, readers, readers! Balancing school, my new job, and my blog has become a bit easier as I am now following and participating in Darren’s 31 Day Challenge to Build a Better Blog. If you have a blog, you should join in as well. Today’s task is to write a list post, but coincidentally, I had planned for today to be a list post anyway!

We all love to read websites with “hacks” for life. “Hacks” in the self-improvement sense are shortcuts and easier ways to do things that improve the quality of how we live.

A chapter entitled “I’m on My Honeymoon, But If You Need Me…” in a book called The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch featured some favorite time hacks. During the time he wrote this book, Randy was battling terminal pancreatic cancer and was given a mere six months to live. In these few months, Randy learned that his time was valuable, and that he wanted to spend less time on menial tasks, and fill every single second with something of importance, even if he’s simply on hold during a phone call.

He imparted his wisdom to the world in this book, and here I’ll share some of Randy’s time hacks along with a few of my own that you can use to make the most of your life.

  • “Time must be managed like money.” As his first tidbit of wisdom, Randy stated simply that we must invest time into things that matter.
  • “The most useful to-do lists break tasks into small steps.” This seems like common sense, but not many of us do this! (Including me until today.) Just like writing a novel or cleaning up your house, small steps help you to be more organized and motivated to keep going. Taking on too much at a time can be draining and overwhelming.
  • “Ask yourself: Are you spending your time on the right things?” Here, Randy mentioned a clipping he had held onto from a newspaper in Virginia which depicts a pregnant woman who protested against a local construction site. She worried about the possible effect the loud jackhammers could have on her unborn child, but get this: she’s smoking a cigarette. Certainly, she could exert her time and worry toward greater issues.

  • “Rethink the telephone.” I thought this was the most interesting tip. Randy mentions that we live in a culture where we spend a lot of time on hold. It may seem like an insignificant problem, but the time you spend holding the phone up to your ears and waiting while listening to that nice elevator music adds up. (Especially if your job requires you to be on the phone a lot!) While on hold, Randy suggests switching to speaker phone so your hands are free to do other things. Also, he mentions a few techniques to shorten unnecessary or less important calls like standing during a conversation, which will make you more apt to speed things along or keeping a project in plain sight as a reminder to what you must get back to after a call.

Though Randy has since passed, these tips remain immortalized as a reminder to us about what we can do to make the most of our time. Live as if we may vanish tomorrow, but make sure you fill it with quality and not quantity! Here are a few tips I’ve come across in my daily routine that have been the difference between hectic mornings and the beginning of a good day.

General

  1. PRIORITIZE! What is more important and hardest? Do it first.
  2. When planning your day, give yourself some free time in case something comes up.
  3. Combine activities when possible, but only if they’re easy! Cook your breakfast while keeping a copy of that book you have to read lying open on the counter. Don’t multi-task if you’re working on tougher projects, however, because it could produce mediocre work.
  4. Take breaks, relax, breathe, and de-stress.

Daily Routine

  1. When getting ready in the morning, do everything you must do in one room of the house then move on to the next. This will keep you from running back and forth through the halls.
  2. Lay out your outfit and accessories for tomorrow before you sleep.
  3. Do not get on the internet in the morning if you know yourself to get caught up surfing meaningless sites during your precious time.
  4. Start your day 15 to 30 minutes earlier. It may be hard first, but those fractions of an hour can be used to wake yourself up, eat a healthier breakfast at a steady pace, feed your kittens, and read some news before scurrying out of your house every morning.
  5. Prepare ingredients or cook large meals the night before you serve them.
  6. Try shopping online, but only on trusted sites. (Especially during the holidays!)
  7. Fold or hang your clothes immediately after they are done drying. This will keep your clothes from wrinkling and you’ll avoid needing to iron.
  8. If you have children or a partner, share chores with them. For children it is a lesson in responsibility. For your partner it’s only fair.
  9. Create laundry baskets or designated areas ahead of time for your reds, whites, delicates, and such. These can double as baskets of folded clothes for each member of the house to put up.
  10. It’s funny and silly, but remember those two tabs you can fold in on the side so your aluminum foil doesn’t fall out every time you grab a piece!
  11. Brush your teeth in the shower while you rinse off.
  12. Limit your shower time. Identify what you’ll do first, second, third, and so on. Leave your conditioner on while you scrub yourself down or brush your teeth!
  13. Pay your bills in one sitting.
  14. Try online banking and bill paying.

Work

  1. If someone at your job asks you for a favor and you’re swamped with other tasks, simply say “No, I can’t do that right now”. Your time is precious to you so protect it!
  2. OR if someone asks you for a favor, trade some time with them. If they ask you to shovel snow out of their driveway, you can ask them to maybe babysit one day or take your mail in while you’re on vacation.
  3. Get a planner and amass all dates and assignments into one, but keep it organized!
  4. Keep a simple ‘inbox’ and ‘outbox’ for projects and papers you must go through. Manage your paperwork in this simple way. I know having too many papers lying around can become a major distraction.
  5. Take clearer notes.
  6. When doing a writing project, don’t worry about perfectionism. Get your basic ideas and information down, and then go back and edit later.

Technology

  1. Learn more keyboard shortcuts! My boyfriend gets his research papers done hours before me because he memorized vital keyboard shortcuts for the programs he uses most often. It’s very useful, and I would recommend it to everyone.
  2. Record your favorite shows with TiVo or DVR and watch them in your spare time. Don’t rush home just to catch the newest season of Heroes.
  3. Limit your activities on the internet to a definitive amount. For example: check your email only three times a day, update your Facebook once or twice, comment five times on your daily blogs.
  4. Create filters and folders for your email.
  5. Keep all of your usernames and passwords stored on a sheet of paper somewhere discreet.
  6. Learn to Google efficiently and effectively.

Do you have more time shortcuts that have been useful to you in your routine? Please feel free to share them in the comments. Tips like these are valuable and stick with us for a lifetime!

photo credit: John-Morgan | Alex Barth | chaps1 | SunriseOttah | spadgy
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Reviving Your Childhood and Satisfying Your Insatiable Curiosity

At a young age, my brother and I were constantly encouraged to explore. I spent my childhood satisfying my insatiable curiosity and conducting my own little experiments outside during summer days in Texas. Even today, at 18, I still enjoy going outside and lifting up rocks to find a slew of different bugs and creatures. (Only now I look them up online if I want to identify them – which I usually do!)

I still capture spiders in and around my house, identify them, observe their behaviors, and let them go outside. I still pull out earthworms from the dirt and look at them with awe. I still attempt to light fires using a magnifying glass and the sun! I fly paper airplanes and try to create the most efficient one. My brother and I even have fencing matches with the water noodles at the grocery store.

Don’t ever lose this. My childhood curiosity has now blossomed into a strong interest in everything and has given me a strong basis of knowledge. (Plus it was so fun!)

If you’ve never gone outside to play wall ball or TV tag with your siblings, if you’ve never gotten your feet a little dirty, used up your mom’s popcorn to try popping it with a magnifying glass, had water gun battles, or sold lemonade or made paper boats, do it now!

Many of us have forgotten how to do this without guilt or anxiety that, as adults, we must be doing something that is worthwhile. Take some time away from your responsibilities and satisfy your natural human curiosity. If you have kids, share the experience with them!

Some psychotherapists call your inner child the “true self.” Spending some time with your inner child can boost your self-esteem and help you to solve deep-rooted problems that possibly could have followed you through your adulthood. Talk with your inner child as if you were its guardian, reassure it, and uncover any internal battles.

It’s never too late to have a happy childhood!

photo credit: fayebatka | prozac74
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Deepening the Appreciation for Your Loved One

I haven’t been with my boyfriend for very long, but already I see in him so many things that make me smile. I don’t want to ever forget them as the years go by and as our relationship matures.

It’s what romance novelists love, the passionate and exciting new relationship. It is in this stage of a relationship where our eyes never ever leave our significant other. We notice everything from the brightness in their eyes to the way they walk to their quirky habitual gestures.

This phase doesn’t last forever. Once mature love sets in, and as the newness of a relationship wears off, you may forget those small things that have attracted you to the ones you love in the first place. Here’s a small list meant to be a simple reminder in paying attention to all aspects of your loved one so you can deepen your appreciation for all that they are and all that they do. It’s an amazing feeling to rediscover these things!

  • Look into their eyes. It was important when you were courting, and it’s still important now. Looking into the eyes of your loved one builds trust and a deeper connection. A simple glance can mean more than an amorous utterance.
  • Say “thank you” all the time. For any little thing they do for you, show you appreciate it by giving thanks. To make it mean more to them, try saying it in different ways. Don’t ever let this habit go.
  • Really listen. Realize your significant other talks to you for a reason and they believe what they say is important. Show that you understand this too! When someone opens their soul to you, do not take advantage – be grateful. And if you’re not interested for whatever reason, just tell them in a nice manner.
  • Notice their appearance. This is a given. Did he change the way he shaves his facial hair? Is she trying a new style of fashion? We keep up with our appearance because we want to impress people, get others to notice, or just to look good. Let your SO know that you’re impressed and that you notice their successful effort.
  • What do they like? What makes her laugh uncontrollably or gives her the giggles? What hobby or idol excites and inspires him? Just recognizing and thinking about our lovers’ interests and favorites helps us to know and appreciate them better. My boyfriend is very passionate about wrestling and looks very intense when watching a match or playing a wrestling game on Xbox. I think it’s cute.
  • Tell them what you think of them. We often appreciate what our lovers do to pursue their dreams or what they do in their daily lives, but how often do we tell them? Don’t sit back and observe. Hearing a little feedback on what we do is valuable information that is very nice to hear from someone we love and trust. Tell him what you think he’s doing is remarkable. Tell her that what she’s doing inspires you!
  • Remember what you’ve gained from them. What has this person taught you? Have you learned more about yourself through this person? Have you felt feelings you’ve never felt before thanks to your beloved? Done things you never would have done? Keep these in mind and think of how different it would honestly be without them.
  • Treat them great now and always. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t risk not telling your significant other that you love them because our future is never 100% predictable. Remember that anyone could be gone tomorrow so make every single day filled to the brim with love and appreciation.
  • Share your dreams and thoughts no matter how crazy. By being vulnerable, telling them your embarrassing secrets, silly stories and far-out dreams, they’ll see just how much you trust them. It’s a two way street.

At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.

-Albert Schweitzer, theologian, physician, philosopher

Do you know of any more that should be added to the list? If so, go ahead and suggest it in the comments!

photo credit: hamedmasoumi
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