Nourishing Your Creative Thrive-Times

Time, energy, attention. Really at the bottom of everything. The biggest reason why something gets done, or doesn’t.

Focus. Your magic beam of creativity, or death. Your world is either expanding or contracting. Depending on how you wield your light sabre of focus.

Productivity. For me, being productive is about optimizing processes and systems in my life & biz that help me maximize my TEA + FOCUS.

Let’s have TEA, shall we?

If you haven’t read Charlie Gilkey’s Unconventional Guide to Freelancing, well… you should.

Personally, one of my biggest opportunities for growth and learning has been the entrepreneurial self-scheduling bit. Beyond just organizing my life & business for sane living, Charlie has also helped me honor my own creative thrive-times, or peak periods of my day where I’m aware I’m at my most creative and do my best work.

…so many of us fill that time with stuff that shouldn’t be in there. We’re checking email first thing in the morning when we’re at our peak. We jump on social media when we should be writing or developing a marketing plan or an application. We are picking up kids right during our peak.

What we often don’t pay enough attention to is the fact that we can’t do creative work very well when we’re off-peak, but we can do a lot of the other business and life maintenance work when we’re off-peak.

Perhaps the biggest practical implication of thinking in terms of TEA rather than time is that it can guide you to recalibrate your schedule and determine when you’re booked. [… or when to create!]

Knowing your own thrive-times is key to living happy. Setting things up to nourish you and nurture your creative thrive-times is strengthening for you & your biz. 

It’s for you and about you. Really. All for you. If we could just get that. Instead of turning it into a bunch of should’s & have-to’s…

Leveraging technology to improve your creative thrive times.

Several weeks ago I implemented a system in Gmail for automatically responding to client emails using a Gmail lab called “canned response.”

By creating a “client” filter in Gmail, each time I receive an email from a client, the following message gets automatically sent to them.

Hello Lovely You,

To support my creativity, productivity and the fine art of balancing work & play, I now check/respond to email at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. You can expect to receive a fuller reply to your email message within 24-48 hours.

Also it’s very unlikely I’ll answer my phone unless our call is scheduled. You may still try me and if I pick up… YAY for you. If I don’t, you’ll know why. If you’d like to set a chat up, you can do that at

You and your email message are very important to me. And, I value time, energy and attention. It’s why anything happens (or doesn’t). Hopefully, you understand how this approach will result in a more focused & creative contribution to our relationship and the service I may be providing you at this time!

Cheers to our rich, rewarding life and work balance in the new entrepreneurial paradigm.

With appreciation & gratitude,

Really, an automated email reply? Yup, more here.
Web Presencing For Women

In an earlier post, I explain how to map all your other email accounts into one, unified email box with Gmail using POP3 or IMAP. However, in order to get canned responses to work, I got to un-do all of the POP3-ing and simply forward emails from Godaddy (the service provider who manages my other email accounts) into my main Gmail account.

That was over a month ago. The question today is, am I really using the system the way I planned? Am I really only checking my Gmail at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m?  And, am I getting back to my most important emails within my 48-hour time frame?

This part has been challenging. In the beginning… like, the day after implementing the canned response lab, my productivity looked pretty much the same as it did the day before.  Still using my Inbox replying to client emails during “non-reply” times (at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m.), pretty much defeating the point of the my automated message; and allowing my personal self-care boundaries for nourishing my creative thrive-times to collapse. Fundamentally, my Inbox was in charge of me.

Until yesterday morning.

Hedge your creative thrive-times with ActiveInbox.

ActiveInbox is a free ‘better Gmail’ plugin (also for Google Apps), that installs into Chrome & Firefox, which helps you manage your email tasks and projects, and do faster email. There is no new system to learn, it just uses Gmail labels. Check out ActiveInbox here.

Using ActiveInbox’s fancier Gmail labels, I created two new labels called Action-10 a.m. & Action 4 p.m. Now, if my Gmail tab is open and I’m babysitting it like I’m wish I wasn’t, I quickly scan my incoming emails with the following practice.

  1. If I can answer it in under 2-minutes, I do it. Using another browser extention called Boomerang, I can schedule the email to get sent to my client later or at a specified time.
  2. If it can’t be answered in under two minutes, I apply one of the new labels (10am or 4pm) and archive the message so it’s outta my inbox. Applying the ActionInbox label essentially marks the email like a “task” which I can review from the new “ActiveInbox” sidebar in my Gmail left-hand navigation. I can manage, edit, assign the email to a project and when I’ve completed the assignment/task related to the email, I mark it ‘finished’ and it’s removed from my “to-do” list in ActiveInbox.

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My current inbox now looks like this. Yes, just one email (with the Preview Pane Lab enabled). If you don’t know what a Gmail lab is, I’ve written a post about the 7 Gmail labs you should be using. And this morning, I added Preview Pane to the list after I did a David Blaine on my Inbox thanks to ActiveInbox.

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I’m already feeling 1000% better.

I’ve layered in another system. On top of some already-working-for-me systems & processes in place in my business. That’s how you do it. One layer or piece or bite, at a time.

Now that I have a system in place to organize my shizzle and one that helps me create and honor my personal creative thrive-times, I can get on to doing what I love… helping women on the mission of sharing their creativity with the world.



my birthday wish for every one

It’s Easter Sunday. And my 42nd birthday.

I keep smiling at that. Imbuing all sorts of meaning into it.

Today, is my re-birth day. I got up with Jesus, high-fiving me on his way out of this cave I’ve been living in.

Every day is a rebirth for all of us. In every moment lies the opportunity to rethink something and be reborn. To rise from under the albatross, the heaviness in our souls we carry when we’ve forgotten we are nothing less than perfectly whole & complete. Trust the empty dark void that any thought other than this brings; It is your Light.

And eventually, we all rise.

After 42 years, here’s what I know for sure:

  • Focus. It’s life or death. Really. It is.
  • Believe. You are the magic. You make it happen.
  • Let go. And all your dreams will follow.

Samantha James, Rise.

The Art Of Appreciation

Between now and the end of February, I’m creating a regular space in my life and on my blog to help me practice focusing on my emotional journey to alignment.

I’ll be:

  • posting videos from,
  • writing to share and support myself and
  • making writing the invitation to help me focus on the journey.

I’m considering everything, as I go. I have no hard and fast plan, just a few ideas about getting back to basics. Stuff you might already know how to do and, like me, have forgotten how much it strengthens me internally when I do it.

I’m reclaiming my outward gaze or what has my attention, the practice of alignment.

Vaishali, one of my favorite spiritual personalities on the planet right now, says “We are what we love and we love what we give our attention to.”

I’m doing this to help myself be more choosey with my attention this year.

Giving my attention to appreciation.

I want to remember what it’s like to feel certain about my own worth & value, by noticing it daily, the first 40-or-so anyway.

I want to see what is already here for me. Right now and on into 2011.

I want to launch off into 2011 from this foundation… from the energy that comes from the regular practice of turning my focus toward my own compass. A compass that always asks one question, and only one question: how do I feel? When I think that thought… or before getting ready to do anything seeing it happen first in my mind and going the way I want it to. In a way that will give me pleasure, joy, satisfaction.

I want to see where it all can go, if I start with this first. If I start with using what makes me feel good, as the deal maker or breaker.

So back to basics begins with the art of appreciation. I will be setting the tone of 2011 with practices that help me appreciate everything…  my world, my life and my self.

I want to show myself how to flow my attention with more intention. I want to learn how to focus my attention with more precision… how to create my own inner joy (no one else on the planet knows how to do this for me except me and I’m ready to understand this better and own it a deeper levels in my life).

I’m offering you the invitation to join me. To re-join with your own inner being. To go where Source goes. To see it how Source sees it. To stand up in your Divine provision of abundance and wellness. To connect into alignment with more regularity.

To find ourselves, all year long, enjoying more of what our lives have to offer and being more of what we came to life offering… our unique ability to dream it the way we want it & then create it… beginning with the first 40-days-or-so.

Please join me in getting your own alignment on by adding your name & email in the boxes in the column on the right.

With deep love & appreciation,


Alignment is…

Alignment is an emotional journey.

Two worlds, the outer and the inner. An outer world called reality. It’s live action, here-and-now. It’s as real as real can get. This keyboard I’m typing on, that chair you’re sitting in. My inner world is every thought I think that I don’t (usually) speak. It’s every feeling that each of those unspoken thoughts I think create. A private inner world.

Alignment is the practice of tuning into my inner world, where the evidence of how aligned I am, is how I feel.

It’s not the getting there, it’s the going.

I do not seek alignment in order to get a specific result (get more clients, get the girl/guy to love me, win the lottery). Alignment is for my personal pleasure. It’s tuning to the signal of my pure desire. It’s trust. It’s faith. It’s knowing.

Every thing I’ve ever done or wanted (good & bad) or want right now, is so I can feel better. Always. If I feel good now and learn to do that habitually, what will ever matter again?

Alignment is allowing myself to use my attention to focus on feeling good.

You can be one vibration or two.

What created you and me and everything we see, adores us. ADORES YOU. Every feeling of negative emotion comes from a thought that did not originate from your Source. A split.

Alignment is adoring my self, the way I am adored.

You must teach your self alignment.

Pretty simple & clear. This is gonna be up to me. No one in my life is gonna have to be different than they are. No situation in my life is gonna have to be different than it is. No more waiting for situations or people to change so I can be happy…

Starting now.

Close your eyes. Think of any good thought. A pleasant memory from your past, a hopeful wish for your future. Focus on every detail you can recall or formulate. Think about how it would feel to have any wish you wanted right now…  to be deeply grateful for all of it, and excited for what is coming next because you’ve finally figured this whole thing out… finally! And it was worth it. And it is worth it. Every single step. Every joy. Every heartbreak. Teaching me my alignment.

There. You’re in. This is alignment.

Today, set aside one minute and eight seconds (yes, that’s all it takes and it’s really that easy). Spend time in your inner world at least once today. Formulating the details of your top wish for 2011. Every new place your wish will take you. Each person your wish will bring into your life. All the satisfaction you’ll be experiencing, the great love you feel for your life and towards the people and situations in it and a real eagerness to experience even more. Your purpose is to flow attention & focus (love) outward in appreciation; an anchoring principle you’ll discover as you teach yourself Alignment.

PS. If you’d like to join me on this (40-day-or-so) emotional journey of discovering alignment, be sure to subscribe in the sidebar on the right.


To Dream of Paradise

December 4, Wonder

Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

Truth: the only way to cultivate anything, is to put your attention on it. Whatever you focus on, expands. It is the nature of our universe. Whatever we give our attention to, we love, essentially.

Worry or wonder? Mind your mind. We become what we give our attention to.

Today & every day, I notice moments of personal curiosity and places I’ve become especially interested. As I begin noticing more and more moments like this, they expand and time and space open before me. Here is the edge of wonder. A place to enjoy the mysteries of myself, my life, and Love. And to dream of paradise. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb10, you can do both!

Writing Wishes For 2011 An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

December 2 Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta).

This is such a hot topic for me. Very excited when I read it this morning. Irony is, here I sit. Late evening. About to hit publish.

I drank up many great posts today, in and outside of #reverb10, wondering if/when I would have time to write my own installment and laughing, at myself and today’s prompt.

My Short & Sweet

I’m with @whollyjeanne on this one,

Lately everything contributes to my writing. And nothing – nothing at all – was gonna’ come between me and my writing on this day. grief is messy

But I think somehow the prompt is getting at what @DanielleLaPorte says here about the ‘mastery of stop’ and saying no to what’s distracting and draining,

2. I will not leave Twitter, Facebook and Gmail open while I write. I need blocks of two to three hours to think clearly and craft that clarity into something useful. Writing is a “yes!” to all three of the questions. what’s on your stop doing list?

In terms of manifesting what’s next for my writing, I’’ll start here. In 2011, I say ‘no’ more often to distraction. I become “let nothing stand in my way” determination. And remain open and awake to the offer.

Jedi Moves: The Daily Grind

I think it’s easy to get lost in planning. In processes. In setting future-oriented goals to move toward.

It’s all good.

In a lot of ways, our structure gives us freedom. To flow with our creativity. To be more intentional with it.

And then a bad day hits. Knocking our processes and plans for the future out of kilter.

And you wonder where all your tools and resources went for weathering this, another stormy season.

I would say if the fear Jedi had a daily practice, like Qi Gong or something, it would be the act of making it her intention to approve of herself, constantly. In a mantra-like way.

There are many ways of wielding the saber of light in our lives and this practice of daily acknowledgment is just that, a life saver.

Inside each Jedi is a deep well. It accepts deposits from a very specific institution. Although you can put other people’s acceptance of you inside your well, this well can really only measure deposits from the Institute of You.

Every Jedi has a dark side. In it, a voice that says things like …

”What if you just made the biggest mistake in your life… like ever? NOW what will you do?” or

“Just what exactly do you think you are doing? No one really cares about that. It’s not important enough to matter to anyone else.” and

“What will so-and-so think? Omg, if XYZ found out then this would happen (fill in the blank). You had better not do that!”

The only thing that quiets the dark voice of fear is turning the Jedi’s focus to the light.

“I acknowledge myself for staying anchored in my own self while the storm is happening.”

“I acknowledge myself for deciding that I matter more than any current drama.”

“I acknowledge myself for showing up again today & being more me than ever before.”

It’s the only way to keep the edges sharp and clear. And keep the inside well of self-approval full of You.

A daily practice of “I approve of me” that tilts you ever so slightly in the direction of Love. Building reserves of confidence and self-esteem that keep helping you be free to be more you.