No-Photo Vacation Days

No-Photo Vacation Days

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Think back to your last vacation. How many photos did you go back and view? How many did you share while you were still there? Did you experience the moment as much as you could have? Here's why I'm a fan of no-photo vacation days.

With my mom and my Mexican boyfriends, Erik and Daniel

Right now, I'm in beautiful Huatulco, Mexico, splitting my time between two resorts. It's my sixth year where I stay for three weeks. In the past, I brought a client the first two weeks, and my husband joined me for the third for a real vacation. Last year I brought my mom one week, my friend another (four years for her!), and my husband the third. This time, due to COVID, it's just me the first two weeks with my husband joining me the last nine days. I'll be working ‘underground' on my business on two big projects, a rebranding of the company to Rader Co. and a move to the ClickUp project management system. I'll also be reworking some of our processes since we've onboarded three new team members since October (yeah!). These are things I wouldn't have the brain space for in my regular day-to-day.

But that's not what this post is about. Last week, my finance coach said, “take lots of pictures”! When I said, “I don't do that,” the look on her face was confusion, which is often the look I get.

Huatulco is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to, and the hotel is one of the most gorgeous I've stayed in, but the view doesn't change year after year. I could take photos, but it will never capture the sunrise over the ocean. I've taken a couple of pictures from my room's balcony, just for context. Still, by sending you to their website, you would get a much better shot of what I am experiencing. I've even sent people photos from other years because it doesn't matter. 

I want to see the ocean waves with my eyes.

Year One

I'm friends with the dancers and entertainment staff and often go out with them. I might take a photo or two of them in their costumes and me with them (short hair, longer hair, COVID hair – that's how I tell the years apart!). I like to take photos with the staff with their name tags, so I remember them next year. Still, I don't video the show or, at most, less than a minute, because then I've just missed the real experience that I will not be able to capture again. I also want them to see my eyes and smile and not the back of a phone.

One year I met a couple who had paid for a whale-watching excursion. The husband saw a whale, and the wife missed it because she was posting photos on Instagram. She almost cried as her husband was laughing about it.

Mardi Gras with Wendy

Because I'm LinkedIn only, where vacation photos aren't the norm to post, it saves me from feeling like I have to share with everyone. Even so, I wouldn't need to post to social media at that moment. I'd rather stay present in the experience and share later. When I text someone a photo, I can guarantee you I am in my room and not still there.

Does it really matter when you posted it? 
Does it have to be real-time?

I've overheard people discussing what hashtag to use while watching a cooking demonstration. After settling on it and posting, they proceeded to ask the chef questions about something he had just gone over that they hadn't been paying attention to. It was disrespectful to him and us, and again, did it matter that they posted it at 4:45 pm, or could they have waited until 5:00 pm when it was over?

Jhoana and Kevin on his 50th birthday

Because I'm around a lot of sand and water, I often leave my phone in the room. I don't want to be tied to the electronic leash. I have to worry about it getting stolen while I'm in the water, or it baking in the sun, or fight any urges or impulse to start futzing around on it. When my husband is with me, I definitely don't need it. We only need one phone between the two of us if there is something we want to capture. With Wendy, we would often take turns so that one person didn't have to have their phone all the time.

I'm not against photos. 

Looking back through these photos, it was fun to find some to put in here, but quite frankly, I hadn't really looked at them, some of them in years.

I know some people will think they are ‘catching me' when I snap a picture. I'll reiterate, I'm not against photos! What I want people to consider is their experience and presence at that moment.

Could you take a no-photo day where you leave your phone in the hotel room?

Can you have a one-phone only policy with your family since one person can capture the moments, and everyone can be less distracted?

Can you wait until you get to the hotel room or (gasp!) until you get home to post or write about it? Not only will it help you be more present while you're there, but it will also help with thieves knowing your business and where you are with your house empty.

Take that photo, and then put the phone away, or commit to having at least one no-photo vacation day.

Are you our next Healthy Living Ambassador?

Are you our next Healthy Living Ambassador?

Psst! Are YOU our next Rader Co. Healthy Habits/Healthy Living Ambassador?

Inspired and excited about what Rader Co. has to offer? 

Working your way through the Work Well. Play More! Masterclass or Getting Shit Done in Focus90…finally on your way to living your best life?

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Navigating habit change can seem intimidating or daunting. As if it takes some mercurial combination of magic skills and luck to read the old conflicting maps and reach your destination without getting sidetracked or lost. Or it may appear to require a special breed of person, one with crazy amounts of discipline and a propensity for self-sacrifice, to successfully make it through its rigorous course… NOPE.

If you have experience with our Rader Co. methods, you know that anyone can access the road to habit change success. You see that it does not take magic, luck, extreme sacrifice, or crazy amounts of discipline. It's not a matter of the right juju; it's a matter of the right questions. Rader Co.'s Work Well. Play More! Masterclass program helps you identify what is blocking your path or disabling your sense of direction. Our methods are about discovering a better, faster direct line to where you want to go and a consistent commitment to making small, simple steps forward along these new pathways. Simple steps that build upon themselves exponentially, forging an exact, established route to success. Easy to find and access, again and again, to keep you reaching wherever you want to go.

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I'm pretty sure I've never committed to 100 days of anything, but I pulled it off. It took 101 days because one day, I felt horrible, but I finished 100 days of Morning Meltdown! I definitely took a few options, and sometimes I thought I might die. But I finished!!!! Thank you!!!

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Deleting my task list.

Deleting my task list.

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On December 19th at 9:58 AM, I deleted my entire task list in GTasks Pro with one click. I literally gasped out loud and frantically for two minutes tried to find it. Looking online, there were questions from other users who had done this with no response from the company. That's what I get from using a small task app and not one that is established. Deleting my task list…. felt like the end.

I loved that little app. I'm still using it because now I know that as long as I don't create a new type of list, it can't be deleted. I only used it for my personal tasks, since our company tasks are all in Asana. However, once our company moves entirely to ClickUp* in February, I'll be transferring everything to that platform. It seemed easier than learning a new app just for a month.

That day was a struggle for me on top of six weeks of being over-capacity. I had the excellent, fortunate challenge of more work than I could handle. My calendar was filled with meetings and coaching calls, even though everything not mission-critical or direct $$$ was removed or postponed. I worked on projects that were new to the company that involved more deep focus time to be creative and strategic. 

On that Friday, due to the previous six weeks of 100mph, deleting my task list, and a call with Gusto that was 1:45 minutes long, I was literally on my knees sobbing. Yes, even I can get overwhelmed. I'm not perfect, and I have my moments too. 

By Monday morning, I realized that deleting that task list was the way back to sanity. 

My list had tasks all the way up through a year. I have speaking engagements already booked for the fall, and all the items I needed to do leading up to it were on the calendar. It's where I keep birthdays (sorry in advance if I miss yours this year!) and personal to-dos.

I remembered what I could and then decided for the rest…well, what's the worst thing that could happen? I have to apologize for the delay? I scramble to get something done at the last minute?

What I got from having no task list was a clean slate. A rewiring of what was important and what I was doing that didn't need to be done any longer. It felt refreshing, like decluttering my closet or wiping my whiteboard clean.

Empty Whiteboard

I don't recommend this all the time and certainly not to set yourself up for cramming at the end or missing a deadline, but if you are feeling overwhelmed with that long list…

Delete it.

  1. Start clean. Whether it's once a year, once a quarter, or once a month.
  2. If you have kept pushing it forward day after day, do you really need to do it? Can it just be eliminated?
  3. By removing the recurring task from your list, do you miss it? Does your work suffer?

I'm back in a good place with my business growing (38% last year!) and a ClickUp consultant to do the heavy lifting to move all of our tasks. I'm also interviewing another team member so I can take on the work I want to.

I'm not wasting any time on tasks that became a habit or didn't serve our mission.

It may have been an accident, but deleting that task list, which felt like the world falling in at the moment, was the best Christmas present I could have received.

Top Ten Books of 2020

Top Ten Books of 2020

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In 2020 I read 37 books. This is down from 48 in 2019, and it was intentional. In StrengthsFinders, my number one strength is Learner. This means I am continually inputting information, whether it is from a book, podcast, or article. I feel like I have to use every moment to learn something. 

Input Less

Most people have goals to read more. My goal for 2021 is to input less. My theme is White Space. As in…white space on a page. A blank document (my brain) to write my own thoughts and theories. If I'm always inputting, I'm never really thinking or allowing my brain to absorb what I've learned. I'm promoting a new habit for people like me to thinkitate. 

This year brought about 38% growth in my company and new challenges and situations that I needed to strategize and get creative. Without this thinkitating time, I'm not doing this. Now it is intentional.

I also cut back on my book goal because some of what I ‘read' is audio, and my podcasts are sometimes over 2 hours each per episode. A few of those are the equivalent of a book!

Top Ten Books of 2020

I still love to read and listen and am happy to share my top ten books of 2020. These are in no particular order and were not all released in 2020. You can see the full list of the books I read here.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Everyone should read this book and how their breath affects their health. Did you know how many more bottle-fed babies need braces, have sinus issues, and mouth breathe?

Read Full Review

Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body Defy Aging

Boundless: Upgrade Your Brain, Optimize Your Body Defy Aging by Ben Greenfield

Get your biceps ready…this book is a big one! Ben Greenfield offers the most comprehensive health book I have ever read. It's best for personal trainers, medical doctors, and people who already have a deep knowledge of the body and mind.

Read Full Review

The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype--and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More

The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype–and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More by Dr. Michael Breus

Did you know there are over 3000 studies on chronobiology? This book was FASCINATING. I took so many notes for myself and my husband that I created a spreadsheet with my ideal chrono times for everything from eating, sleeping, sexy-time, working out, presenting, and even sending emails. 

Read Full Review

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance

I think this is one of the most important books I've read this year. Anyone who has grown up in the South or Midwest – Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee- will either see themselves or families they know in this book.

Read Full Review

upstream

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen by Dan Heath

I highlighted so many sections in this book, I'll almost be reading it over again. I found myself saying to my husband every night “Today I learned….” I'm now on a quest to find ways to solve things upstream.

Read Full Review

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo, Michael Eric Dyson

White Fragility was the third ‘educate Marcey' book this year and, while painful to read, so important. She brought up so many points that I am embarrassed to say that I have stated, believed, or even encouraged, and why those points are not legitimate or helpful.

Read Full Review

Born Survivors

Born Survivors by Wendy Holden

HEAVY. I've read a lot of WW II books and this one is very different. It's more of a fact-based story rather than a novel or drama. It follows three women who were pregnant while living in the concentration camps.

Read Full Review

The Body: A Guide for Occupants

The Body: A Guide for Occupants by Bill Bryson

Mr. Bryson does it again! I made so many Kindle highlights I may as well have copied the book. If you are interested at all in the human body, read this!

Read Full Review

Talking to strangers

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

This wasn't one of my favorite Malcolm Gladwell books, but I think he is so excellent that he sets the bar high. I listened to this as an audio and love to hear him speak (he also works well at 1.25 speed). The stories he tells are insightful about our bias and unconscious thoughts that inform our decisions.

Read Full Review

voice unleashed

Voice Unleashed: Speaking Up with Faith and Courage by Helen Moses

Voice Unleashed is a walk with Helen Moses and how she found her voice in multiple areas of her life. She touches on topics that people don't want to admit to from physical and digital clutter, financial insecurities, religion, and raising kids with health issues. 

Read Full Review

Pandemic Prologue to Work Well. Play More!

Pandemic Prologue to Work Well. Play More!

Would you rather listen instead? Click here for the 5-minute audio recording.

To celebrate the first anniversary of Work Well. Play More! Productive, Clutter-Free, Healthy Living – One Step at a Time, I have made some updates to the paper and Kindle versions. If you have the Kindle version, it will automagically update when you sync. I've also added a pandemic prologue to the book, which will be in all new copies and recorded in the bonus chapter.

Pandemic Prologue

It's my birthday, September 8, 2020, and I'm sitting outside a Starbucks where I am the only one at 8:12 a.m. The world has changed considerably since I launched Work Well. Play More! in November 2019. The coronavirus halted all travel, kept us in our homes, and moved many of us to remote work. The shift in behaviors and cultures had positive and negative outcomes.

Companies who were suspicious of working from home or said it would never work for them were forced to comply. They realized that not only could they have productive workers, but it could also save them loads of money in commercial real estate. Not all those who now would be working from home had “remote offices” set up. Many managed or are managing from a kitchen table, makeshift office, or their sofa.

Even people who already worked from home had a shift (including me) because they now had spouses, partners, or roommates at home as well. One friend said she thought it would be romantic for her husband and her to be working together and then realized he had a loud phone voice and spent most of his days making sales calls. As a web designer, she was used to quiet and solitude.

Kids in virtual school shifted work hours so that parents had to be a part-time teacher and work when they could get to it. Professionals had to adapt their hours and figure out how to balance work, parenting, and self-care. Work-life balance for 2020 is not the same as the balance in years past.

Most days are still a struggle, but every once in a while, the heavens open, and I have a kick-ass day. I've identified what items are most important, and I know when they are due. Plus, I have been working through data in a manner that is “good enough. Today I avoided email chatter and the distraction from a two-hour meeting for an important but less urgent matter. I was able to finalize several reports and pull together an executive summary of my data like a boss because of my “good enough” running summary. Thanks again for giving me these tools to succeed.” Faith Stevison, Senior Scientist II, Blueprint Medicines.

Zoom fatigue is a real thing, as Zoom has moved beyond video meetings to wine tastings, birthday parties, and even funerals conducted virtually. Those with slow internet in rural, mountainous, or beach areas were even more isolated.

In the first part of 2020, people either got healthier or let health slide. Those with extra hours in the day from the lack of commuting or networking some have found themselves biking or hiking 1-2 hours. They have cooked more meals at home, and the pounds melted off. Others who live in cities and relied on gyms or group sports for their fitness have found themselves going stir crazy and challenged to exercise. The COVID pounds crept on as they stayed stuck in their homes with few outlets to move.

In the US, we’ve remodeled and fixed up our homes and yards more than ever before. This included my own house, which we paid off in July. We replaced all of our floors, gutted our only bathroom, painted every room, and flipped my office and bedroom. This gave me a bigger room with more natural light, which made more sense since I spent most of my time in the office. People have been decluttering like crazy, finally having the time to go through entire closets, rooms, and even the garage. We had more family meals and some of us have spent more time outside. But we missed out on hugs from friends, seeing live music and plays, and meeting new people.

The updates in the book are just tweaks to the recommendations. There is nothing that I believed when I first wrote this book that I don't believe in now, but rather in the updates, I am considering the work-from-home environment for many more people. Some businesses I initially referenced have not made it through these times. I removed them and added others. Just like before, the most recent technology references will be updated in the hidden bonus chapter. It's easier to keep up there than continually updating the book.

The response to the first edition was so positive, it was almost overwhelming. I had people say it was their book of the year and bought it for their entire team or company. I had groups create clubs to walk through the year of habits together. Most gratifying to me is the Masterclass. It was smaller than I had hoped due to launch at the start of COVID, but it is one of the most fun things I have ever done in my business.

May you use this book to guide your own health and productivity journey, whether you are a novice, pro, or master. Your own path—one step at a time. Thank you for trusting me to walk it with you.

Virtual High Fives and Fist Bumps!
Marcey


Interested in purchasing the book to help you declutter your mind, body, and physical and digital spaces?

Already have the book? Reviews matter. Big Time. If you haven't written a review, please head over to Amazon using the links above, and/or Goodreads and write your experience about reading the book. Super virtual high-fives and fist bumps for helping me out and for helping others find a book to guide them on a new path.

Does Better Sleep Improve Daily Performance?

Does Better Sleep Improve Daily Performance?

This is a guest post on better sleep by Erick.

Do you constantly feel sluggish whether you’re at work, school, or gym? I’ve had to deal with this issue in the past, and at first, I thought I needed to stay focused or eat healthier. It turns out the problem was I simply wasn’t catching enough Z’s at night. Besides that, easy fixes include something as simple as the best mattress to pick from.

That’s right! Just improving your sleep environment can help to prevent you from tossing and turning at night. Simply adding a new memory foam topper or latex foundation mattress can be just as effective as reducing stress, ditching caffeine, or turning down your thermostat at night. This can help you with your daily performance. 

Big Health Benefits from Sleep

Sleep experts generally recommend that adults get about 7 or 8 hours of sleep most nights. This can provide a wide range of health benefits that are worth noting. 

We all know from personal experience that lack of sleep can cause us to feel groggy, sluggish, and moody. However, the problem is modern society often sees sleep deprivation as the norm to make us more productive. In fact, it can have the opposite effect.

Sleep and Physical Health

Sleep can provide you with many physical benefits. Studies show that many physical functions of the body are improved through slumber. In fact, sleep affects nearly all tissues of the human body, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This includes factors like:

  • Blood pressure
  • Heart health 
  • Breathing
  • Appetite
  • Growth hormones
  • Stress hormones
  • Immune system

For example, while getting more shut-eye can help you recover from a cold, it can also help to prevent you from getting one from the get-go!

If you don’t sleep enough, your physical health is also at risk of various health conditions. They include the risk of obesity, infections, and heart disease. 

Sleep and Mental Health

Besides improving your physical health, your mental health can also get a boost with a full night’s sleep. This includes different factors like:

  • Reflexes
  • Focus/Concentration
  • Attention
  • Judgment/Decision-making

These mental functions not only can improve your work performance and gym workouts but also keep you alert while driving a car, for example. 

Sleep Deprivation and Its Weird Effects on the Mind

Sleep and Work Performance

If you catch yourself feeling tired all day, experiencing “brain fog” or dozing off while doing desk work, then you might be showing signs of sleep deprivation. Studies show that this can not only affect work performance, but also cost your company money, and even affect the national economy.

Past Polls

Sleep deprivation and its effect on work productivity is a major problem. Worldwide about half of adults don’t get enough sleep, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Meanwhile, a 2008 poll discovered that nearly 30% of American workers reported that during the previous month, they had become sleepy or fallen asleep while on the clock. 

Meanwhile, the same Sleep in America poll learned that over 25% of workers reported that their daily

work activities were negatively affected by daytime drowsiness. People who worked 50+ hours per week or multiple jobs were affected the most.

Heavy Workloads and Less Sleep

When people have a long to-do list at work, they often start sacrificing sleep quality in an attempt to deal with things like busy work schedules. Over time the situation can even start affecting people’s free time and mental health.

It’s quite common for people in the medical field to experience sleep deprivation. Studies show that when on-call medical professionals work all night, they experience 2x more attention failures and make 300% more medical errors. 

Sleep and School Performance

Research shows that sleep deprivation can also affect students’ academic performance. If you’re a high school or college student, you should consider steps to improve sleep quality, like taking the time to pick the right mattress for your good night's sleep. It’s possible an old mattress, among other factors, could be preventing you from getting enough shut-eye.

Teens and Sleep Deprivation

Various studies show that lack of sleep can affect various mental skills, which are related to students’ learning, including attention, focus, and memory. 

A Sleep in America poll (2006) found that 45% of adolescents slept less than 8 hours per night, according to the Sleep Foundation. Meanwhile, it’s recommended that teens get 8 to 10 hours of sleep nightly.

Sleep and Athletic Performance

Studies also show that lack of sleep can affect athletic performance. Getting a good night’s sleep can improve factors like speed and accuracy, while sleep deprivation can have the opposite effect. 

Athletes and Sleep Needs

Not sleeping enough can affect athletes more than non-athletes because they tend to need more than the average 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly. 

Athletes are constantly pushing their bodies to new limits. This also requires them to get more sleep after tough practices. They generally need about one more hour of sleep than usual. Options include going to bed one hour earlier than usual or taking a power nap during the day.

Sleep and Recovery

Athletes, weightlifters, and bodybuilders require more sleep so their bodies can repair and recover. So if they don’t sleep enough, this can affect the process and prevent them from performing optimally at practice or games. 

Athletes also have to deal with factors that can further affect their ability to sleep well. They include early morning practices, late evening games, and road trips to away games. 

The good news is athletes can take steps to make sure lack of sleep isn’t affecting their performance:

  • Follow a sleep schedule every day 
  • Get used to your new setting when traveling
  • Reduce caffeine
  • Avoid sleep medications

Conclusion

Studies show that sleep deprivation is having a tremendously big impact on people’s performance at work, school, gyms, etc. It’s critical to learn the warning signs that you’re experiencing a lack of sleep.

If you get bad scores on work evaluations or low grades on report cards, it might be time to consider solutions like the best mattress to pick from. Simply using a new mattress might help you achieve peak performance in your day-to-day life. 


About the Author

Erick

Erick is a writer at ID-MAG. An enthusiast and expert when it comes to sleep products, Erick dedicates a lot of his time reading, researching, and reviewing about both traditional and emerging sleep brands that manufacture varied types of sleep products – from eco-mattresses, smart pillows to cooling sleep systems, Erick has probably reviewed them all. Erick also finds sleep especially important since he juggles a small business which he runs from home, makes sure he spends time with his daughter and he also writes during his spare time – you can definitely see that he needs a great forty winks all night, every night so he’ll make sure that you get great sleep, too!

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