A ‘magic’ hour

A friend learned Chinese well enough to introduce her speech.Darlings, finding just an hour a day or a few hours a week can change your life.  

Everyone needs a little time to relax every day, but if all you do is collapse in front of a “screen,” it is time to consider whether life is all you want it to be.
 
Get inspired:
What do you want to do? Would you like to exercise more, learn to cook, have a tidier home, or write a blog or book? Maybe you want to learn a sport or a new language?
 
Recently, a friend decided to teach herself to sew. It took her a few months to complete a fairly complicated dress, but now she is ready to begin another. It’s a rewarding hobby, but what she learned will also help her in her design business. Shows like Project Runway inspired her, although she had already successfully launched her business.
 
Have you always wanted to play a musical instrument, or maybe take up one again that you played as a child. Stop making excuses. Used instruments and lessons are affordable. You might have to settle for group lessons or just few private lessons. If time and money are really tight, you can learn almost anything these days online or from YouTube. (I leaned to fix my own garbage disposal and few other things from handy-man blogs!) A music-loving friend finally bought the piano of her dreams. She was well over 60 at the time. Years later, she is still studying and playing music. It brings her joy.
 
So, get inspired. Take the time to find out what you are good at and what makes your heart sing.
 
Get organized:
I have seen a lack of organization bring down many a good woman. Darlings, you don’t need to strive for Martha Stewart-like perfection, if that is not your style. But if you are drowning in junk you will spend too much time looking for stuff and feeling badly about your mess.
 
Do you put off creative and fun projects because you feel you should be cleaning your house instead, and end up doing neither? 
 
I find an hour a day --five days a weeks-- for my Exhale work out. Below are Fred DeVito and Lis Halfpapp creators of the workout!Getting organized is easier than you think:
 
·        Learn to put things away as soon as you are done with them;
·        Never leave dishes in the sink or laundry on the floor. It takes only minutes to clear up a small mess, but mountains of dirty things are soul-crushing;
·        Keep cleaning supplies under every counter in your bathrooms and kitchen. Give the rooms a five-minute wipe-down daily — first thing in the morning is best. If you do a good job, you may never need to really scrub a bathroom again; it will stay clean. Teach children as soon as they are old enough to do the same. You will all be amazed at how much cleaning you can do in five minutes;
·        Take 30 minutes a day to keep your house clean. Quickly clear up any clutter. Dust anything that strikes your eye. Mop a dirty floor. Change sheets and towels. Again, you will be amazed at how 30 minutes a day of focused tidying keeps a house looking fabulous, and frees you from tedious chores on the weekend;
·        Darlings, no one loves housework. Even those of us with clean houses like the results more than the day-to-day grind. Invest in labour-saving devices, or get help, but know that you will still have to work a little bit daily to maintain your state of domestic bliss. A cleaner once a week or — worse — every two weeks won’t do it. The best cleaner can’t undo a week of neglect and mess in a few hours;
·        Buy wipes, even if they are pricy, if they get you to wipe your bath and counters;
·        Invest in a Swiffer or lightweight electric broom. Keep it handy to run over floors in 10-minute dirt and dust attacks. Forget about dragging out a heavy vacuum. That is a recipe for disaster, if you hate cleaning already;
·        Get a robot! This year I bought a Roomba vacuum. I love it. It is almost effortless (you do need it clean it) and efficient. It vacuums under the furniture, and dusts baseboards, all as I work or relax. I run it constantly and my floors are so clean! It is quiet, plus the Roomba (my husband has nicknamed ‘him’ Ivan Botsky) never wants a day off!
 
These things may seem trivial and demeaning, but darlings it is hard to be glamorous when your home is a big a mess.  So stop fighting it and just get on with it. Forget perfection (I always have a drawer or shelf that needs attention) and get on with the day-to-day clearing up.It will free you up for more creative pursuits.
 
Get going!
Nothing will happen if you don’t make yourself a priority. While you are at it, teach your children to have interesting projects and to work independently at them.
 
So stop making excuses. I work out almost every day at 12:15 for an hour or more.
It is sacred time and I seldom miss it. I know exercise makes me feel better, look better, and enhances my life in every way. Everyone needs exercise –find something that makes your heart sing!
 
Even when time is tight, I work out vigorously for an hour and then get back to what needs to be done. I am lucky to be on my own schedule, but I also never miss a deadline. My class is full of dynamic women who manage to make it to class and back to work regularly. It can be done. Commit to yourself.
 
When I was a launch editor for Russian Vogue we had a break-neck schedule. I still found time to see my massage therapist once a week. With travel time, it took two hours, but it kept me healthy and energized. Often it meant passing up cocktails or some other less healthful, fun activity. It was worth it.
 
Another friend recently taught herself Italian using Rosetta Stone. She also planned a wedding during that time. This woman looks fabulous, has four grown children, recently recovered her own dining room chairs, and cares for two large properties –right down to hauling a truck full of mulch and spreading it.
 
Still another friend taught learned Chinese well enough to introduce her presentation in Beijing. She did this while running her own business and being very active in the community.
 
I could go on and on. I know hardworking women who have launched successful businesses while raising families and working at day jobs. They are attentive mothers and fabulous friends, but they know the value of an hour spent well.
 
Darlings, there will be times you feel overwhelmed. You may have a career that is taking off, or a new baby. Both can send you reeling for a while. So can less-happy events, such as sick parents, serious illness, or losing a job. That being said, if you never have time do the things you want or spend quality time with friends and family without fretting over work or chores, it is time for a change.
 
Finding an hour a day or few hours a week to focus on your dreams and goals can change your life.
 
An hour invested in you can be magic.
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