A Day in the Life <> Circa March 2022

I haven’t done a Day in the Life post in months (October to be specific) and several people have expressed interest in seeing a breakdown of how I fill my days!

It is interesting to see how people structure their time and our life is about to shift in an exciting way for the next little while, so I wanted to capture a “typical” day before this change occurs (details coming tomorrow).

This post will cover Tuesday, 1 March but it makes sense to start by referencing events from February 28th.


I didn’t feel particularly tired on Monday night, but after a warm shower I hopped into bed to read (Anne of Ingleside) around 8:00 pm; by 8:20 I thought how nice it would be to put down the book and just “rest my eyes”.

I almost never fall asleep reading a book (to be fair I did put the book down, so it was a conscious decision) and I rarely fall asleep this early – my typical bedtime is between 10:00-10:30 pm.

It felt glorious to set aside my reading material and drift in and out of consciousness for about 35 minutes. But then practical me started sounding alarm bells – I knew this was not a wise decision for my nighttime sleep. I continue to have periodic issues with insomnia, and pre-bedtime naps are not ideal. Oh well. It was still worth it.

I got up at 9 pm, brushed my teeth, used the bathroom, and officially settled in for the night.

tuesday, March 1

1:51 am | I look at the clock for the first time. Whomp, whomp. I toss and turn a bit, but manage to get back to sleep.

3:15 am | I’ve been awake for a while but only look at the clock now. To be fair to my body, I have already had about 6 hours of (admittedly disjointed) sleep. I might as well get up. I read some news – I have been limiting consumption to a few times a day because doomscrolling does not feel productive, but I want to stay informed.

Life goes on, normally, for us here in Canada. And yet I can watch in real-time as mile after mile of military vehicles snake toward people whose lives have been altered in every conceivable way.

Faith is the central part of my identity, but my prayer life is admittedly weak. I spend too much time worrying about the structure of my prayer when, really, prayer is just heartfelt communication with a God who doesn’t score these petitions based on eloquence. So I pray – as best as I’m able – reminding myself it’s the authenticity and posture of my heart that matters, not how I articulate my words. My mind does wander (lots) but I pray until I fall asleep somewhere around 4:30/5:00 am.

6:54 am | I wake up. I don’t feel as groggy as I feared. I typically make lunchboxes the night before, but hadn’t on Monday (choosing to read and fall asleep early instead). I put on my watch and check the temperature. -16C. Brrr. At least it is now light when we get going with our day.

7:00 am | I wander out to the kitchen, turning up the heat on my way down the hall. I set the kids up with leftover Baked French Toast while I quickly prep lunchboxes. Usually I sit with the kids and read to them while they eat breakfast, but today I stay put in the kitchen while John reads a daily kids devotional with them. I usually follow this with a chapter of a book (currently The Mysterious Benedict Society), but that doesn’t happen today.

I spy a chess game…

7:30 AM | While the kids + John work on a chess game, I get dressed + brush my teeth.

I get side-tracked. My brother sends a text from his home in Denmark. His wife has many colleagues who live in Kharkiv and she has visited the city on several occasions. He calls the situation “surreal.” His wife is trying to make contact with friends and work colleagues in the city; some have made it out successfully but, he adds, “most of the men have stayed [to fight];” he talks of Romanian friends who are opening their doors to people fleeing Ukraine, including people in medical distress. In a war that can feel so distant, this brings it closer to home.

7:40 am | Then there is the juxtaposition of my life and reality. It is time to rally the troops for school. At -16C it is a chilly walk but, without wind, it’s bearable. Abby has a friend join her and Levi, John and I walk together.

On the way home my nose is running like crazy; I think I have no Kleenex but try my pockets just in case and hit the jackpot – multiple CLEAN tissues. This discovery makes me so happy; then I realize this seems like something an 80-year old would rejoice over. It’s the little things, right? And finding clean Kleenex was definitely #joyfinding.

~8:45 am | 52 minutes after we left the house, we’re home.

I putter. I make tea, prep lunchboxes for the next day (minus the sandwich; I’ll make those Wednesday morning – though, spoiler alert, Wednesday ends up being another snow day), and put away some dishes.

9:00 – 9:30 am | I sit at the table and lament. I am frustrated about some health things. Long story short, the latest course of action is not working. Today was to be cycle 3 of hormone treatments, and I opted to pull the plug. I am tired of complaining about my body but can’t seem to help myself.

9:30-9:45 am| I still feel a bit “off” but it’s time to work. I settle in at my desk and then end up spending 15 minutes texting back-and-forth with a friend; I share all the details of my gynecological woes and she makes me feel much better. She asks what she can do, but she’s already done what I need her to do which is to listen. This was 15 minutes well spent and I start working with a clear head.

9:45 am – 12:15 pm | Work. I had no scheduled meetings on Tuesday. Monday was a busy day in which I tackled a lot of specific to-do’s. Tuesday was more of a free day, and I use my time wisely (I think!) to start mapping out the next three months. I make a lot of notes about deadlines in my planner. This really helps me avoid ruminating over what I might be forgetting. I answer e-mails, prepare a spreadsheet, verify an invoice…nothing exciting, but it feels very productive.

12:15 – 12:45 pm | Walk on the treadmill. I sketch out a bit of this blog post, check the news again – briefly – and read a few e-mails.

12:45 | Upstairs to make and eat lunch. John fries up some mushrooms and leftover diced chicken with spices and balsamic vinegar. I scramble a few eggs and put the combo on a bed of spinach. It looks unappetizing but was absolutely delicious. Topped with nutritional yeast and my favourite balsamic + smoked paprika vinaigrette (based loosely on this recipe; I don’t use soy sauce), it is a very satisfying lunch. I drink some kombucha on the side.

After we’re done eating I sit in front of the patio door and enjoy the heat from the sun and stare out the window. The sun looks beautiful on the snow. While looking out the window I think: “You’re going to write about what you do today. You should get up and do something productive.” Then I remember what I try to work through here on this blog – about the need for puttering and resting – and go back to looking out the window.

John suggests we do Wordle. This feels fun and slightly productive (it’s exercising mental muscles). It takes us 5 tries; not our best effort…but rupee was unexpected. These seem to be getting more and more challenging?!

1:20 pm| Work check-in. I read through some e-mails, including a flurry of emails covering an aspect of a project over which I have no responsibility, so I get to muddle my way through reading about the problem and know it requires no further action from me. It’s fun to have things cross my inbox that I can read and file without further action!

1:45 – 3:00 pm | Walk with John + get the kids off the bus. This is the first long (5 km+) walk we’ve taken in…months?

3:00-3:15 pm | Home! We sort through school stuff; I help the kids unpack lunchboxes and they polish off whatever food they didn’t consume at school. Abby stays home to finish a chess game with John while Levi and I head to the library to exchange books.

3:45 pm | As always, the library is a treat. We had lots of books on hold, but we always enjoy browsing the stacks too. I make sure to look at the latest art installation. When we’re finished I drop Levi off at a friend’s house to…play more chess.

4:00 – 4:45 pm| I head back to the office (with a little snack of walnuts). I need to help someone troubleshoot a software issue; I can’t replicate the problem on my staging site (always a good sign, but also makes it more complicated to get to the bottom of the problem) so push this to my developer to see if he can get to the bottom of it. I respond to a few blog comments and get caught up on some online reading.

4:45-5:00 pm| I walk to collect Levi from his friend’s house and observe the end of their chess game. I suspect the rules were a bit flexible?

5:00 – 6:00 pm | John is boiling pasta while he takes a work call when we walk through the door. Levi asks if we can do a puzzle together. At first I say no, but figure since someone else is handling supper prep…why not?

We finish an old Shopkin puzzle in 18 minutes. It’s a lot of fun.

Then it’s time to eat – spaghetti sauce from the freezer. I made the sauce but will admit I’d classify it as only “okay.” It had zucchini and bell peppers and sausage – so was nice and hearty – but it was also a bit acidic (despite my trick of adding just a pinch of baking soda to counteract the acidity). No one complains, though, and there will be enough leftovers for Thursday’s supper. We mostly discuss Abby’s upcoming birthday while we eat. She has some great ideas for her party!

6:00 – 6:20 pm | Abby helps put things away and talks about birthday plans some more while I start the dishwasher, do a load of dishes and putter in the kitchen. Levi reads his “homework” book to John and then they start another chess game.

6:20 – 7:00 pm | John heads downstairs for the start of his evening meetings. The dishwasher is running and I’ve puttered as much as I need to in order to feel quasi-ready for Wednesday morning. I sit down in the living room and watch the kids play chess. When they finish their game they get ready for bed and spend 30 watching videos, per their request. We could have avoided videos entirely this day, but it was nice to have a break before the final stages of bedtime. I write more of this post.

7:00 – 7:30 pm | We pile into bed and read books. One, A Map of Good Memories, ends with the words of Anne Frankl: “One day this terrible war will be over…” It’s a book we’ve read before; it’s both haunting and hopeful.

Arranged in order of our preference. With the exception of Clifford which is…well…a Clifford book, all the selections were great (we each got to pick 2).

7:30 pm | When we’re done reading we talk about war. We discuss Russia and Putin and democracy; we talk about how their great-grandfather was in the Navy in WWII and how his ship was torpedoed. They ask if he survived? “Yes, or you wouldn’t be here!” There are a lot of questions and I admit to not having many of the answers. We say our bedtime prayers and we mention many of our blessings – which we so often take for granted; things like a warm bed, plenty of food, shelter, security. We pray for Ukraine – honing in on the needs of children, praying they have access to food and shelter and are surrounded by people that love them.

8:00 – 8:30 pm | I let the kids have a “start” sleepover. They listen to an audiobook and talk. There is plenty of giggling, but everyone stays happy which isn’t always the case.

I write, and send, a monthly family update to family and friends. It’s shorter than usual. I send a second email to a handful of people with pictures from the month.

8:32 pm | Levi heads back to his bed and asks for a snuggle. I oblige and say I’ll be there in less than 5 minutes. He’s dead asleep by the time I arrive, but I linger for a long time; I climb under the covers and snuggle him and rub his back and kiss his cheeks over and over again (easier while he’s stationary). And I just think how thankful I am that he is nestled so contentedly in bed. The injustice of what children – not just in Ukraine, though this is clearly at the forefront of our minds – all around the world are experiencing feels heavy. I simply can’t solve all the world’s problems, and that realization feels heavy. But I can be thankful and use that gratitude to spawn more love for those around me and trust that ripple will grow and spread.

8:45 pm | Abby is still awake and wants to talk more about Ukraine. I do my best to explain NATO. We talk about propaganda and why other countries haven’t supplied ground troops. It’s a delicate balance – answering questions so they feel informed, while recognizing they are still children and it’s my/our duty to protect them from unnecessary overload.

9:00 pm | I head to my room to write in my One Line A Day journal. How I’ve loved filling out this journal every evening! John comes upstairs after his last meeting and I head in for a shower. I really should wash my hair, but can’t bear the thought of dealing with wet hair.

9:30 pm | Usually I read before bed, but this night we put on an episode of The Great Canadian Baking Show (not nearly as good as the British version but it’s a new season and it will do just fine). When that’s over I do a bit of Googling about health questions and check the news one last time.

11:00 pm | Lights out.

And that’s a wrap on Tuesday, 1 March…

Header photo by Di_An_h on Unsplash

In Praise of Dawdling (Now There’s a Word You Don’t Hear Everyday)

The title of this post was originally In Praise of Puttering. But as I was out on a walk that can only be accurately described as being of the ‘dawdling’ variety, I opted to switch gears. As much as I love an opportunity to showcase some alliteration (thank you Mr. Howland, Grade 12 English), I think dawdling is an underutilized word and wanted to give it a brief moment in the spotlight.

(Puttering makes me think of an old grandfather out cruising around in a tiny boat on the lake wearing a tattered fishing vest with a thermos of coffee at his feet. Which does, admittedly, sound charming. Dawdling, on the other hand, seems to have a slightly rebellious edge. As if to say: “I see you, clock, and I raise you a good old-fashioned dawdle.” Though I don’t think there was much time for dawdling a few generations ago – what with no electricity, centralized plumbing, or supermarkets.)

Whatever you want to call it – dawdling, puttering, happy idling, wasting time – I think we would all do well to have more of it in our lives.


Twice last week I came home from the walk to school in a…mood? I wasn’t grumpy, per se, but still felt an unsettling discontent I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The sun was shining, the kids were back in school. What was amiss?

For starters, I had a lot of accumulated work tasks, my floors were a disaster and the garbage can under the sink was overflowing and smelled funny (never a good sign in a house with small children). My boots and entryway were leaking. But despite all these things, I couldn’t actually identify the common theme; I just knew I was feeling “off”.

One glance at my to-do list felt rather crushing. It was all doable, but I didn’t want to do any of it. And I knew if I wanted to have any chance of getting it all done before the kids arrived home from school, I needed to get cracking.

But what I really wanted to do was putter.


If you’re not on speaking terms with these states of being, count yourself in good company. These character traits don’t exactly make the evening news. Yet one of my favourite things to do is to putter.

Here is the internet definition: to spend time in a relaxed way doing small jobs and other things that are not very important.

Why do I feel ashamed to admit, then, how much I enjoy puttering? This definition sounds pretty wonderful to me.

Maybe my shame stems from the fact I’m hard-wired to seek out those things that are “important”. Maybe it’s because I live in a society that tells me I need to produce more, do more, experience more?

For some, puttering might be tinkering with an old computer, knitting a dishcloth, sitting down with a tote full of LEGO, or doodling on the back of an envelope. And, sadly, puttering can headline as “wasted” time.

Of course in hindsight, we might conclude Steve Jobs’ puttering led to an tech empire. I hazard a guess that a large number of architects got their start “puttering” with a basement collection of vividly-coloured Danish building blocks.

Might puttering, then, be a key to fostering creativity and, perhaps, even more efficiency? When I read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey, one of the biggest takeaways for me was the (often staggering) amount of time people spent walking or puttering around their homes/gardens (or inebriated; there was also a lot of inebriation).


Do I dare set forth here the most important, the most useful rule of all education? It is not to save time, but to squander it.

Jean–Jacques Rousseau

When I putter, I lose track of time. I’m often in what Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi termed “flow”. I move from activity to activity without much thought. Folding the towels in the bathroom, wiping down the counter, lining up the shoes in the entryway, opening the stack of mail on the counter, pulling weeds out of cracks in the front walkway.

So last week, before I tackled my to-do list, I spent a chunk of time…puttering.

I know that the kids will pull down the hand towel in the bathroom and leave it in a pile by the sink (if they wash their hands at all, sigh). I know the shoes will spill off the boot tray again. The fridge will get disorganized, the dishes in the drainer will end up dirty again, the clothes will find their way back into the laundry basket (or inside out on the floor, double sigh) and LEGO will get pulled from bins.

But I did these sorts of tasks anyway. It was light and easy. I didn’t rush. I just moved from room to room, quietly resetting the spaces. Watering plants. Pushing chairs in around the table. Nothing was on a list, nothing happened in a set order and I wasn’t working toward a singular goal. But I gave myself a break – engaging my mind in an activity that was so undemanding and cathartic, it felt like I’d finished a yoga routine by the end of it all.

And then I went downstairs to the office with a cup of tea, put on some tunes, and churned through my to-do list with a level of efficiency I know I couldn’t have achieved without allowing myself the “luxury” of time spent puttering.


Perhaps, then, the rationale for saying Yes to something doesn’t have to be based on the outcome? Sometimes the answer can be: it’s for the journey and what that experience offers me.

The way to the park is an important part of the experience.

Linda Akeson McGurk

Here comes my turn for some self-talk. How often do I tell the kids to pick up their pace on a walk…to the park? How many times do I tell them to stop chasing the butterfly so we can finish our game of pick-up soccer? How many times do I try to maximize the efficiency of our bedtimes or baking routines or just about any other activity I can try to hack and tweak to edge it ever closer to the stage where it reeks of efficiency and productivity?

Often, friends. I do this often.

Most of life seems like a means to an end. But the way to the park can be just as much fun as the park itself. I know this, of course, but need regular reminders.


I move at a slower pace than many – I’m an introvert with low energy. Yet I still often feel like I’m moving at a pace faster than ideal.

It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why.

Eddie Cantor

Sometimes I put on music and clean up the house with relentless efficiency; in essence, I drill-sergeant the experience. And that approach has a place.

But when I putter, I think I’m better at remembering the underlying purpose behind those “small jobs and other things that are not very important“.

I put the house back in order so it’s a calming place for our family to make memories. I putter with the book collection on my bedside table so they’re displayed where I’ll see them, making me far more likely to pick them up. Or I might spend time chopping up veggies for the week and simmering a soup; when I do these tasks slowly and mindfully, without the pressure of hungry bellies, I remember the purpose. I cook and clean and shop so that we can eat together, nourishing our bodies and family relationships (outside of bedtime, the dining room table is the main venue for deep conversation in our household).

Our society – myself included – has become so outcome-directed. Even our hobbies have to produce something; turn those knitted Star Wars characters into a booming Etsy shop, train for an Ironman, day-trade on the side, start posting yoga videos to a YouTube channel. And this can be great…until it’s not.


I’m not promising every time you putter you’ll end up becoming more efficient and productive at the other end. I’m not promising a transcendent experience while you wipe down the kitchen counters. I love those outcomes too, but sometimes they can’t be the only reason we say yes to adding something to our schedule.

What if we didn’t go to bed early so we could wake up early to get a jumpstart on responding to work e-mails? What if we went to bed early because it feels nice and so we can wake up early (or not) and relax in bed with a book or organize our sock drawer (I really do love doing this) or sketch or talk on the phone with our Mom or play with our cats or spend an hour drinking a single cup of tea or browse workout videos on Pelaton or play Beethoven on our piano or pick the lint out of our belly buttons if that’s what we so desire.


Just like we might need to learn to fail on purpose, I think we have a lot of work to do in learning how to…not be so efficient.

I’m sure I will continue to do many things more productively than necessary because I enjoy being productive. I enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes from checking off boxes and helping others and contributing to a cause. I have obligations to meet – at work, in my relationships, at home.

But I’m trying to set time aside each day to putter, dawdle, and indulge in unstructured time. It can be hard to remember that life is made to be lived, not simply managed. And puttering might just be a good first step toward recognizing this distinction.


As any parent knows, children do this instinctively. I don’t have to cajole my youngsters to stop to look at the ants marching across the sidewalk, beg them to throw a rock off the bridge into the river below, or take an hour to put on two socks and a pair of pants.

So let’s raise a glass to Puttering, Dawdling, and Idling. Let’s welcome them like long-lost friends and get reacquainted…they have a lot to offer.

What about you? Anyone else enjoy puttering?

Photo by Rayson Tan on Unsplash

So…I Moved Our CO Detector To A New Outlet (But Why Do Little Hacks Take So Long To Identify?)

Update: I am currently hanging my head in shame (not really; this is very metaphorical). In both the header picture and throughout this post, I referred to carbon monoxide as CO2.

I went to university for six years to study Biology. I have taken enough Chemistry classes that there is no feasible excuse for me to very confidently discuss our carbon dioxide detector. Now both gasses are dangerous, but considering I exhale carbon dioxide about 25,000 times/day, I’m very grateful we don’t have a CO2 detector furiously beeping to warn me of my own breath.

I fixed the blog post text, but am too lazy to fix the header photo. And to be clear – we have carbon MONoxide detectors. And I hope you all do as well.


A few months ago I wrote a post about moving my deodorant out of our ensuite bathroom and into the top drawer of my bedroom dresser. I remain committed to Team Bedroom (though a friend told me she keeps deodorant in both her room and the bathroom, which seems even wiser).

I can’t believe it took me YEARS to move a stick of armpit neutralizer 5 feet. But it did. I also can’t believe how much easier my morning routine is since making this shift.

But want to know what’s worse? It took me even longer to move our CO detector.


When we moved into our home, we dutifully bought carbon monoxide detectors for each level. And, on both floors, we elected to install them in the hallway.

This was great for a while, but the one on the main level was constantly getting bumped.

Over the last year, we’ve started playing hallway soccer. Hours and hours of hallway soccer every single week. That is a lot of action for a hallway and, sadly, for the CO detector, a lot of opportunities to get bumped out of the socket.

It was also just a very annoying placement.

The detector would get loose and then eventually fall down with a jarring bang – managing to scare me every time. Then the soccer game would get prematurely halted (not always a bad thing as I do reliably lose, and I am always trying to win – I can’t think of a single game, soccer or otherwise, where I have not actively tried to beat my children in years. Levi is 7 and needs to learn to lose gracefully, but he’s not learning that skill by playing me – despite my best efforts).

It would also sometimes come loose (which I couldn’t see) and revert to the battery backup which would eventually result in a warning alarm beeping pattern…which always started in the middle of the night. Twice I couldn’t get it to shut off and ended up taking the detector outside and throwing it in the trunk of the car until morning – once in the middle of a horrific rainstorm when I happened to be solo-parenting and was in sock feet…which got soaked.

(Thankfully no one has ever been out walking their dog at 3 am and called the police about a mysterious beeping sound emanating from our vehicle.)

All this to say it has been a major, near-daily, nuisance.

And guess what I did.

Moved it to an outlet in the living room – the room with a gas fireplace (the most likely source of a CO issue upstairs anyway) – completely away from all soccer and general life action. The problem and solution took me 5 years to identify, and less than 30 seconds to execute.

John noticed the switch one day and was like: Oh. Yeah. That makes sense!

So why did it take me/us so long to identify the solution?


I’ve written before about our 1970’s kitchen (the one with the apartment-sized fridge). It’s functional, albeit dated, and I like it. But our dishwasher opens up in front of the kitchen sink.

We have a double sink, but if I use the left-hand sink (my natural preference), I can’t access the dishwasher OR the under-the-counter garbage bin – both of which are quite annoying to have off-limits while handling dishes. I would regularly move out of the way, open the dishwasher, put something in, close it, and go back to washing dishes that need to be hand-washed until I needed to access the garbage bin, which would also require me to move out of the way. Repeat ad nauseam.

A few weeks ago I had a thought: there are two sinks. If I stand in front of the right-hand sink to wash and reach over to the left-hand sink to rinse…I can wash dishes AND leave the dishwasher open OR access the cupboard with the garbage bag AND be closer to the dish drainer. Win, win, win.

But also, why did this take so long?

What about you? Any little hacks to report from life lately that have had a disproportionate impact on your productivity or happiness? I’m all ears…

Me? Doing a Planner Review? Here Goes…

I’ve been a “planner” for a long time now. From keeping lists of lists (really – sad, but true) to homemade binders, wall calendars and, eventually, daytimers, I feel a compulsion to lay things out in black-and-white (or blue-and-white; I can respect a good blue pen when it comes around). I have used an admittedly hodge-podge system over the years; what – and how – I plan ebbs and flows by life season and I don’t actively pursue new organizational methods.

In short, I won’t be starting a planning podcast anytime soon.


I’ve also jumped around with my planners; the first one to which I formed any real attachment was a free daytimer handed out to all incoming students by my university student union when I was a freshman. I dutifully poured over syllabi, writing down deadlines and textbook lists and planning out my (very pitiful) social life.

Some years, especially when the kids were young and I was essentially just focused on keeping them alive, I didn’t use a daytimer at all and a shared family calendar was enough. But as the kids have gotten older and my work and home managerial responsibilities have increased, I use a planner. Daily.

Sadly, my planner doesn’t “do” life for me. If I have an over-full planner, chances are I’m going to have an over-full life. This topic is highly relevant right now as I’m looking for ways to overhaul some responsibilities and grasp ahold of those weeks I have left (out of my very fragile 4,000) and enjoy life and the people in it that make it joyful (and maybe even choose to fail at some things along the way)?

So, while planners are a great tool, they are no replacement for balancing life. To paraphrase the words of Gretchen Rubin (talking about technology): I want my planner to be a great servant, not my master.

With this in mind, let’s explore how I plan!


The last few years I have…are you ready for this?…used planners from the DollarStore.

My planner for 2021 cost $1.25…and I loved it. In fact I was elated to see it show up on the shelves for 2022 and I gladly forked over $1.25 and walked out with plans to keep moving forward with my DollarStore system.

It’s a month-view daytimer. I loved the notes section on the side and the extra pages at the back for long-range planning; I augmented each day with a separate to-do list that I would keep next to the book (something I still do with my current system using the Sprouted planner).

And then I saw Sarah Hart-Unger had discussed the Sprouted daytimer in Episode 68 of her podcast Best Laid Plans. I rarely comment on planner posts because…well, I was contented with my $1.25 planner. (And if you’re contented with a $1.25 planner, you probably aren’t the type to comment on planning posts.)

But I mentioned how it looked like a great planner for my needs. Within 24 hours I had an e-mail in my inbox asking if I’d like her copy of the Sprouted Planner. [In the comment thread, I referenced my $4 planner, but when I went to buy it this year, it was $1.25, so I’m sure it was $1.25 the year before, too.]

Um, yes, please.


Getting this parcel from Sarah before Christmas was so fun (and Abby’s first comment when she dug it out of the mail was: “WOW, she is very neat!”

I had a rough time around Christmas and just couldn’t get my head into planning for…anything. 2021 was a hard year and I was tired and knew we were facing more restrictions and likely another bout of online learning (turns out I was right).

But a few days before we rang in the New Year, I found enough enthusiasm to get started, and haven’t looked back. I absolutely LOVE my Sprouted planner and fully intend to purchase one next year.

I have no experience doing reviews of any sort; this was gifted to me by Sarah (who isn’t affiliated with Sprouted…but I believe this planner was gifted to her). So don’t expect any crazy picture-perfect influencer spreads. It is not neat and colour-coded; that’s not how I roll. I also don’t have a specific system I’m trying to recommend because I just do what works for me and it’s a bit scattered.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s dive in:

Front cover + storage

I love the aesthetic of the book. It’s hardcover and is exceptionally well made. The paper is thick enough to prevent bleedthrough (though I just use basic ballpoints, so I’m not sure about anyone using Sharpie pens or other more elaborate writing utensils).

The ring binding works like a charm and never catches (major pet peeve of mine). It’s big, but not bulky. I have no problem slipping this into my laptop bag when I escape to a cafe to work. But, most of the time, it simply moves between my bedside dresser, the dining room table, and my desk.

It’s classy looking and very “me” in terms of the design. I think Sprouted offers other cover options, but suspect this is the one I would have chosen anyway!

On the inside cover there is a pocket. This is SO handy. Last year, in that $1.25 planner, I taped an envelope inside the front cover to store assorted papers, receipts, and stickers. These items fell out constantly and this much sturdier alternative is a significant improvement.

In fact, if anyone from Sprouted happens to be reading this – I love the pocket so much I really wish there was a back pocket, too! Hint, hint…

I’ve stopped recording “tough” days via stickers [I did this last year in my daytimer, mostly to track hormonal issues – a sticker was a nice way to say…”This day sucked, but at least I have a pretty sticker to show for it!“] but have been putting stickers on special days – family birthdays, anniversaries, major holidays. I also keep a running list of blog post ideas. I spy one that says “Planner overview.”

Prompts + Long-Range PLanning pages

Okay, I’ll admit when I saw all these high-level planning pages I did a bit of an eye-roll. But they are genius.

Heather (the creator of Sprouted) has put a lot of thought in to these layouts, offering some great perspective about the various areas of our life we likely all want to prioritize. Here is the “People” layout where I’ve listed my overarching goal to “Be Kind” and then ideas like:

  • More solo walks; even just around the neighbourhood.
  • More coffee dates with friends.
  • More low-key dessert/coffee invites; less pressure to do meals.
  • Spend more time at bedtime with kids – even 5 minutes would be a great place to start.

There are also pages devoted to “Things” – which offers high-level planning by month, a page devoted to hopes for the year ahead, and a set of blank pages where I’ve set up my “Ta-Da” list for 2022.

Of course, I was thrilled to see this “Year List” page and wasted no time in creating a hard copy of my Goals for 2022 list.

weekly spreads

A quick word about my system. While I rely HEAVILY on my planner, I also almost always have a running list that contains overlap if I have an especially hectic day. On those days, I will typically list everything on one of my beloved scratch-paper pads that I mentioned yesterday. I keep these handy (i.e. with my planner) as I move throughout the day. For example, off to the right-hand side I can see “L2,” “larvae counts” “3 mo.” and “environmental impact” which were prompts for questions I ended up needing to ask over the course of the “SBW” [Spruce Budworm; how’s that for a fun topic] call from 1:00-2:00 pm. So I may scribble on the pad during meetings and add/subtract to-dos as the day goes by based on new scheduling developments.

I also have some work responsibilities I never list; checking e-mails and even some regularly scheduled big action items are so ingrained at this point, I don’t take the time to write them down and monitor their execution. My planner is predominantly to help me stay on top of tasks that are time-sensitive or I’m likely to forget.

I had some specific names/information recorded in the weekly spread (and on the scratch-pad), hence all the chicken scratches. (I was going to use a whiteout pen, but got lazy).

Here is a completed week. I LOVE the amount of flexibility in these layouts.

  • I use the top “free” space to record my joyfinding exercises.
  • I write down a meal plan as I go through the week in the space just below the date
  • Anything with specific timing I highlight in yellow (this is mostly calls/video meetings as I still rarely have in-person meetings)
  • The other side of the spread I use to list general to-dos for the week. These can migrate over and end up getting listed under a specific day but, more often than not, I simply tackle these when I’m able since they are not time-sensitive (things like: draft my monthly family update email, send a reminder email about progress reports, schedule some meetings for early February, sign and return forms related to corporate taxes, mail our confetti notes, and take the kids sledding – I guess the sledding one would be time-sensitive if it rained). I review this list throughout the week and if anything hasn’t been taken care of by Sunday evening, I move it forward to the following week.
  • I have been tracking my daily outside walks, phone pick-ups, total screen time, and the Psalm we’ve read for the day. For pick-ups, I’m actually subtracting the number of times I use my phone as a camera. To me taking pictures is hugely important and I don’t want to come down hard on myself for excessive pick-ups if it’s done for photography. But still…I sure do handle my phone a lot (and last week was worse. A lot worse.). Sigh.

Above is a picture of last week’s spread first thing Monday morning. This week was significantly less busy (John was out of town, so I was very purposeful to book as light a week as possible), but even still it filled up quickly once things got started!

You can see I only have one meal listed (Monday). I sketch out meal ideas over the weekend, but don’t have a strict meal plan and just fill things in based on what ingredients I have/the time I have available for prep.

monthly spreads

My monthly spread for January just had too much specific information, so I’m showing you June so you can get a sense of the layout.

I have to get my engagement and wedding band inspected every 6 months for insurance, so that is already listed but other than that (and a heart sticker on Father’s Day), June looks deliciously open (sounds like something Anne of Green Gables would say)! I’m not using the month-view that often, but it’s very handy for long-range planning.

Each month ends with a full spread of prompts. I’m really, really excited about these.

And there is a yearly review at the end of the book.

I think this is a great feature. The questions are insightful and relevant (they do vary slightly month-to-month) and I don’t think I’m going to feel pressured to answer everything (or give long, detailed answers), but I appreciate not having to think through big questions to ask of myself. Having the prompts in place seems like one responsibility off my shoulders. Now when the planner can start doing laundry and taking the kids to the dentist, then we’ll really be getting somewhere…

extra pages

At the back of the book there are about 30 extra, lined pages. At first I wasn’t sure how to fill them, but I’m starting to come up with ideas…

I’ve decided to track things related to mood and overall health (i.e. if I was tired, details of my downright terrible period – sigh). I don’t enjoy doing this; it feels tedious and another thing to remember but since I’ve gone back on hormonal treatments + iron, I really want to be as specific and thorough as I can be to monitor symptoms/results. I also used a little code of up and down arrows to signify how I felt overall (mood/energy/headaches).

I’m reading a Psalm with the kids at the breakfast table most days and have written down some favourite verses as we go along.

favourite features:

Honestly, I like just about everything in this planner (not paid or perked in any way!). I thought I would feel obligated to fill in every high-level planning page, but I don’t.

I really, really, really love the month tabs. It makes for easy navigation. I do use a small paperclip to hold together weeks of the month that are completed so it’s even faster to locate the current weekly spread.

I appreciate all the extra pages and the overall sense of flexibility with how to use the layouts.

If I had to come up with any critique, I feel like I’d prefer to have a bit more space for daily to-do’s (lines) and less “free” space in the weekly spreads. That said, I can see many people wanting it exactly as shown here. I like the structure but feel like I have more space than I need on the right-hand side of the layout. If I was designing the planner, I think (?) I’d do M-F on the left, S+S on the top right and cut down on the size of free-form space on the second page (but not remove them entirely as I sure do love those boxes and currently use the header/footer ones for the “Joyfinding” and “Grateful” lists that I maintain each week).


There you have it my first – and probably only – planner review!

Are you a planner person – or do you prefer wall/digital calendars?

How Do I Do It All? I Don’t, and Neither Does Anyone Else

A few weeks ago lovely reader asked something along the lines of: “How do you do it all?

The question felt surprisingly jarring. First, because, quite honestly, it was a bit of an ego boost.

Do I look like I’m doing it all? Does it seem like I have everything pulled together?

As someone who scrounges for gold stars, it feels good to think someone believes you’re “doing it all.”

But, second, there is also a wave of shame and insecurity because, of course, I know – I don’t do it all.


Months ago – when I was the only one reading any of the content on this site – I wrote the following observations about a particular DIY blog I follow (this falls squarely under “aspirational reading” as I am decidedly unhandy). I’m going to repost what I wrote because the words still ring true:

[This blog] provides spectacular eye candy: gorgeous wallpaper, custom closets with colour-coded clothing, modern-rustic exposed beams. For good measure they might throw in a steaming latte sitting next to a flickering candle on a spotless countertop. With nary a coffee table book, Persian rug or chambray throw pillow out of place – their home (and thus their life?) looks practically perfect. Some days it’s inspirational to view this content and, other days, when my floors are littered with discarded socks and cookie crumbs and when dated light fixtures reveal a sink full of dirty dishes, my life all feels too imperfect.

Last week I happened to zoom in on one of those perfectly staged photos. The lighting was stunning, the distribution of objects within the field of view provided maximum impact. But viewed at 150%, I could see that within this aesthetically “perfect” stairway vignette there was actually cracked caulking at the bottom of each step. And scuffed treads. Another day, new photo. Dream kitchen. Zoom. Dirt and dings on the cabinets, crumbs all over the floor.

From houses to food to bodies to children (and everything in between), we’re inundated with images that suggest perfection. It all seems so…attainable. If we only could find a way to dress our family in coordinating outfits and make it to Machu Picchu for the golden-hour sunset shot – then we’d reach perfection.

But perfection is an illusion. When we’re struggling with our own basket of anxieties, foibles, and griefs, it’s so easy to look at something – or someone – else and see perfection. Perfection could be: a number on the scale, a figure in the bank, a street address or a particular type of car in the driveway. If only we could get that, life would be perfect.


I have scuffs on my stairs and crumbs on my floor (counter and table, too). And I often wish them – will them – away. But those crumbs don’t make me a failure, don’t reduce my value, don’t make my life less beautiful. They just make me a person with scuffs on her stairs and crumbs on her floor (proverbially and literally). Nothing more or less.

Some days I rail at the kids to eat over their plates and take off their shoes, but on the good days, I zoom out: I ignore the crumbs (or take the time to sweep them up without complaint) and say: Today isn’t perfect. But today is good.


Later in the summer, I wrote about how we tend to present our “highlight reel” – those events that either brought us joy or made us feel productive. This is the image we want to present to the world and, sometimes, to ourselves.

And to a point, I think this is good.

We need to seek joy and positivity. But that can come at the expense of authenticity. Because, no matter how much we might try, our highlight reel is never going to match our “real.”


So how do I do it “all?”

I don’t.

I’ve posted before about good things I don’t do (Thanksgiving edition; Christmas edition). Here are some more…

things I don’t do:

  1. Volunteer. For years I was active in church activities – helping with youth groups and singing in worship teams. But this all stopped (pre-COVID) and we’re now at a new church where I’m a small fish in a much bigger pond. I’m supposed to start helping in the nursery. Once a month. For an hour. I’m not on PTA groups, I don’t fundraise for any charity or chair any boards. At this point my focus is on our young family, but I know a lot of people devote significant time to volunteer causes which is wonderful. But I don’t do any of it.
  2. Work full time. On paper I work/am paid for 27 hours a week + as much time as it takes to fulfil my responsibilities in the small business I co-founded; in reality, actual working hours can vary from 10-40 hours. While that range can be frustratingly hard to plan around, I have tremendous flexibility in my work which so many do not.
  3. Spend time on fashion, hair, or makeup. My wardrobe is laughably small. I’ll show you my makeup collection sometime soon…if you can call my 5 items a “collection”. Other than twice-weekly washing, I may have spent 20 minutes on my hair in January. Seriously.
  4. Exercise. Aside from daily walks outside (which are usually relatively short and/or occur in tandem with spending time with family and friends), I have not been exercising. No pushups, no yoga, no strength training, no Peloton, no running.
  5. Cook elaborate meals. Most of our food is made from scratch, but I make simple meals on a rotating basis. I love trying new foods, but that’s just not a priority right now. As long as things are relatively healthy and palate-pleasing, I’m not aiming for anything fancy. I don’t make my own bread or my own kombucha or my own yogurt. That is what supermarkets are for, and I am happy to outsource the making of those products and many, many more.
  6. Read every word. My secret is out. My reading is significantly expedited by skiming books.
  7. Use social media. I don’t have Instagram. Or Facebook (FriendFace as John and I jokingly call it). I don’t have a Twitter account, or TikTok, or Vimeo, or Snapchat. I do have a LinkedIn account and I have signed in exactly twice in the last 2 years and have spent maybe 10 minutes total in those 2 years updating my work history.
  8. Enroll our kids in programs. They don’t take piano or violin or tuba lessons. Until summer, there will be no sports (each summer the kids play a summer sport and take swimming lessons). Abby has taken ukulele lessons off-and-on from school and some cooking classes in partnership with a local university and a few week-long drama classes. And that is it. No dance, no archery, no badminton, no ski lessons, no art class, no after-school programs, no math enrichment, no choir (we did a brief stint with this, but COVID shuttered that).
  9. Home renovations. I can’t/don’t paint rooms. I can’t hang blinds. We practically need to hire someone to hang up our pictures (and yes, there are extra nail holes behind a number of pictures; it would be laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic).

Below is our ensuite bathroom. We had a leak two years ago (as in 730 odd days ago) and have still not patched the hole in our drywall (and by patched I mean outsourced this patching to someone qualified to do this; I haven’t even bothered to hang up another picture to cover this hole). See also the 1970’s salmon tile, beige fixture covers, wood trim, and horrifically toothpaste-spackled mirror – I don’t think Apartment Therapy will be knocking down my door asking to do a feature.

And the hair straightener on the counter was actually NOT for my hair (see above regarding the 20 minutes spent on hair in January) – it was to straighten the collar on one of John’s shirts because among the things I do not do is iron. That is what my dryer is for; and, shhhh, don’t tell but I also machine wash all dry-clean-only clothes.

Side note: I look moderately hateful in this shot. I have clearly not mastered the art of a “neutral” selfie (see above re. no social media accounts).

Or remember these pictures from Christmas (aka: life in the renovation zone).

But I do a lot of good things too.

I’ll leave you with something I wrote months ago about everyone having their “thing”:

I don’t do crafts with my kids [ice wreaths and confetti aside]. I have no skills in makeup or hair design. I can’t paint a room, I rarely make bread from scratch, and I will stall a 5-speed car every time I get behind the wheel. Even worse – in a house full of fanatics – I can’t even solve a Rubix Cube.


When I was a kid, Saturday mornings were reserved for cartoons. This was before binge-watching was a verb and forget about Netflix – we didn’t even have cable. If you didn’t get your butt out of bed by 7 AM to watch Bugs Bunny, you were out of luck. Aside from happy hours spent with Inspector Gadget and Looney Tunes, I vividly remember the Saturday morning service announcements put out by Concerned Children’s Advertisers. They came up with witty numbers like: “Don’t you put it in your mouth. Don’t you stuff it in your face. Though it might look good to eat, and it might look good to taste.” Does anyone else remember those furry little blue creatures?!

But the commercial I remember best depicts a series of kids demonstrating their “thing.” There’s Aiden, waving his magic handkerchiefs (against a backdrop of the same wood paneling we had in my childhood basement), while his sister shouts “Mom, Mom. Aiden cut me in half again.” Classic (to Canadian’s at least).

From bug collections to tap-dancing, skateboarding, martial arts, and dinosaur sound effects [the ad was clearly targeting a particular age demographic], the takehome message: “Nobody’s good at everything, but everybody’s good at something. What’s your thing?”


Opportunities for comparison are everywhere. Power up your computer or swipe your finger and you have access to a world of women we perceive to be better: better workers, better wives, better mothers, better daughters, better friends. Few people are immune to this comparison game.

We know. These are curated snapshots and they don’t actually represent realityThese women have insecurities too. I’ve heard it. You’ve heard it. Yet that photo of the smiling family in matching outfits on the beach, or that impressive law school degree, or that sunset shot from a yacht off the coast of Greece make it pretty tough to ignore the messages we tell ourselves. 

You’re not enough. You’ll never be enough.

We live in a world telling us to embrace our strengths while it subversively asks us to recognize our weaknesses. We are, directly or indirectly, made to feel less-than if we haven’t mastered all the categories. Women – and I’d argue mothers all the more – are expected to: have a fulfilling career, be a good cook (healthy, organic food for bonus points), be physically active, and volunteer in numerous capacities; extroversion is a must, and don’t forget to prioritize self-care in the form of a yoga practice, meditation, and regular massages.

Amidst the drone of outside chatter, what if we could all say, with confidence, “This is my thing.”

[At the time I concluded books were my “thing,” but I think being a Memory Keeper is also my thing via big family updates and photobooks].


I haven’t read a book on how to paint a room, drive a stick-shift, or make sourdough. And that’s okay. Life is short and I’ll let painting and driving and kneading be someone else’s thing.

And I’ll keep posting my highlight “reel” of joyfinding with pretty pictures and discussing all that’s good. But let’s all keep posting about the “real” too – lamenting and discussing our hard.

Nobody’s good at everything, but everybody’s good at something. What’s your thing?

Header photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

My Own Secret of Adulthood – Not Everything Needs Doing

I really appreciate Gretchen Rubin. I’ve read all her books. I listen to her podcast. I follow her blog. I’ve signed up for her newsletter. I’ve been a Gretchen Rubin groupie for almost a decade now, with no signs of waning.

One of my favourite parts of the first book I read – her bestselling The Happiness Project – was her section titled Secrets of Adulthood. Here she lists a number of things that, on first glance, appear startlingly obvious. Things like:

  • Turning the computer on and off a few times often fixes a glitch.
  • What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while.
  • Bring a sweater.
  • Soap and water remove most stains.
  • The days are long, but the years are short.
  • You can choose what you do; you can’t choose what you like to do.
  • Most decisions don’t require extensive research.
  • No deposit, no return.
  • You can’t profoundly change your children’s natures by nagging them or signing them up for classes.
  • By doing a little bit each day, you can get a lot accomplished.

Sometimes obvious things only become obvious (or relevant) with life experience. I think that’s one of the things about Gretchen Rubin’s list. While they seem obvious (and are) you can only properly internalize the messages once you’ve had a chance to live them.

We learn the hard way that wearing cute shoes is not worth the blisters. We learn through trial and error that going to bed early is almost always the best decision.

Maybe that’s why it’s so frustrating to be a parent? Some of the decisions our children make are so obviously illogical, doomed to failure, or strike us as being downright ridiculous. But they’re not adults yet and having that “Aha” moment can’t be forced down someone’s throat – it has to be lived.


Last week, still mulling over the various nuggets of wisdom from Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks, I thought to myself on a particularly overwhelming day: “I cannot get it all done.” Burkeman has assured me of that.

And then, I thought, “It does not all have to get done.

I cannot get it all done. It does not all have to get done.

There are a lot of things I want to do, many things I should do and a nearly infinite array of things I could do. But I cannot do them all. And they do not all need doing.

I was only rearranging in my own mind something I already know and have discussed but still – it felt like an “aha” moment.

My own little secret of adulthood. Now to remember and apply this wisdom. Now that’s the tricky part.

And, for the record, Gretchen is right. Soap and water do remove most stains.

What about you? Any “Secrets of Adulthood” you’re willing to share?

Flexibility Is Only Beneficial If I Use It

It is 10:28 am on Friday, December 3.

I woke up at 3:15 am (ugh, but I did fall asleep around 9 pm, so it wasn’t all bad). After resting for a while, I headed downstairs to tackle a work project. While I didn’t have a set deadline, it was one of those tasks that was going to hang over my head until I got it out the door. I also knew I need two solid hours of uninterrupted time. No contractors, no phone calls or texts or chasing the Inbox Zero dream.

So I put in my headphones and got to work. At 6:30 am, when the kids wandered into the office, I was done my main work responsibility for the day.

By 7:00 am, I was helping the kids get breakfast and prep their bookbags; we even fit in morning reading time around the table.

At 7:30 I hopped back in bed with some Magic Bags and dozed/rested until 8:30 while John drove the kids to school (it was raining, so we skipped the daily walk). I wasn’t feeling that tired, but I knew I’d handle the day better if I had a bit more sleep.

At 9:00 am I whipped up a batch of waffles for supper. By 9:30 I was on a virtual work meeting; it’s now 10:36 am and I’m heading down to the office to work for the next hour or so getting some strategic e-mails out the door.

At 11:45 am, I’ll head to the bus stop to get the kids (parent-teacher interviews, so it’s a half-day). Then we’ll have lunch, I’ll take them to drop off some local Christmas cards in person, and we’ll come home in time for me to finish off some week-end Friday work responsibilities, have supper (the waffles are all ready, hooray!), and then I’ll kiss everyone goodbye and head out the door for a Christmas pottery-painting session with a group of local girlfriends.


I have a lot of flexibility in my life.

For starters, I’ve been working from home for over a decade now. There are drawbacks to this – mainly the fact I never “leave” the office. Work and home management tend to blur and I don’t get to outsource the mess of working materials to another location.

But, for the most part, it’s a net positive arrangement. Long before COVID forced this lifestyle on the masses, my husband and I were doing it from our very tiny apartment (with two little ones in the mix).

And I’ve been thinking more about this flexibility lately. I have, overall, less than I once did in the sense that I have more working responsibilities, especially since I assumed another role at a local university. In another sense I have more than I once did – the kids are both in school and are increasingly independent outside of school hours.

Regardless of where the needle falls from one week to the next, though, this flexibility is only advantageous if I use it.


I’ll feel guilty about going to run an errand at 10 am on a Tuesday morning or fitting in a walk with a friend during normal working hours – but that’s the flexibility my life affords. I also have the flexibility to work a second shift from, say, 7 – 9 pm (or 4:15 – 6:30 am) to tackle a pressing work challenge. One family member, who works in a dental practice, has to be there – boots on the ground, so to speak – at specific times. There is no multi-tasking with home administration; she can’t switch out a load of laundry in between seeing patients (but it also means work doesn’t come “home,” so there is a tradeoff).


It can be challenging to work outside of normal parameters/social constructs (and adhering to them relatively closely has distinct advantages for staying on track), but when I give myself license to fit things in when it’s convenient, I make use of my flexibility muscles. And they’re a gift. When I don’t use them these muscles will atrophy – and what a waste.

Header photo by Michael Walter on Unsplash

I Moved My Deodorant…And It Kinda (Slightly) Changed My World

A pebble in my shoe; an eyelash in my eye. I’ve learned that little things, over time, can become big problems.

*[I constantly have rocks in my shoe – it’s a running joke in my family/circle of friends – but if I thought a little grit now and again was bad, I just finished reading 26 Marathons, a memoir by Meb Keflezighi which includes a horrifying story of running the 2011 NYC Marathon with a Breathe Right strip in his shoe – this was an accident, he intended to wear it on his nose – which ripped his foot to shreds and cost him valuable training time over the long term].

But sometimes little changes on little things can have a big (positive) impact.


We have a small en-suite bathroom in our home and ever since we moved in (over four years ago) I have been storing my deodorant in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity.

From Day 1 this has been a nuisance. I prefer to get dressed in our bedroom, so I either have to go get the deodorant before I’m ready to get dressed (annoying)…or apply it after getting dressed (a recipe for a white-streaked wardrobe disaster).

Then, very recently, I realized I could just store my deodorant in the top drawer of my dresser.

Such a small change, but it’s had a big impact. I’ve been doing this for several months now and I still get a thrill every time I open up my drawer and see my deodorant so conveniently nestled in with my socks (which I have never gotten around to folding a la Marie Kondo).


It reminds me of a story a friend told me years and years ago. My husband and I were moving between apartments and this friend was helping us unbox and organize the kitchen. As I oriented myself in the space – assigning all our plates and mixing bowls new homes – my friend started telling me a story I’ve never forgotten. An acquaintance of hers had moved into a house and one of the volunteer helpers had offered to unpack the kitchen supplies. It was a thoughtful gesture, with all the right motives, and one that was very much appreciated at the time. But apparently, for years, she was always frustrated by how her cups were located in the wrong spot in relation to the fridge, her plates and bowls were in the wrong cupboard for maximal efficiency when unloading the dishwasher. When she finally thought through how she would have arranged her kitchen, she made the necessary adjustments and flourished in her new environment. But it took years of inefficiency to prompt change.


Identify the problem. Then remember, sometimes a little adjustment can have a disproportionately big impact.