What’s Your "80/20" Number?


I read a fascinating article by a woman named Noelle Nelson that I want to share with you, because it can apply not only to writers, but to everyone in the world. How’s this for a fascinating fact:

Most of us spend 80% of our time on things that really don't matter and only 20% of our time on the things that really do matter.

WHAT, you say? Well, there's a concept in economics called "Pareto's Law," or the "80/20 Rule." In a nutshell, a 19th century economist, Vilfredo Pareto, noticed that 20% of the people owned 80% of the land, and similarly that 20% of his peapods produced 80% of his peas. Much later, Joe Juran, looking to improve factory production during WWII, realized that 20% of the factories were responsible for 80% of all defective parts, and vice-versa.

What could the "80/20 Rule" possibly have to do with you? Simply put, most of us spend 80% of our time on things that really don't matter all that much to us, and only 20% of our time on the things that really matter. Huh . . .

Ask yourself, who do you spend the most time with? The people who uplift you, support you, cherish you? Or those who bore you, annoy you, cause you endless irritation or grief? What do you spend most of your time doing? Complaining, blaming, feeling sorry for yourself? Or praising, appreciating, finding value in what you do? How about activities? Do you spend most of your free time in activities that engage you, inspire you, thrill you? Or do you just go with whatever flow happens to, well, flow at the moment? Facebook, TV, surfing the web . . .

It dawned on Noelle that she’d rather work a little longer/harder to earn some extra bucks (given that she really enjoyed her work, like we writers enjoy our writing), so she could pay a house-cleaner to clean her home, an activity she did not enjoy. And when given the option of taking a dance class rather than spending an hour on the couch watching a TV program, the appeal of a dance class won out. Dancing is now on her list of "top things she loves."

What's your percent? When you sit down and honestly assess with whom and where you spend your time—which is the same thing as saying "with whom and where you spend your life?"—what's your 80/20? Noelle suggests that we deliberately cut out or reduce those things that don’t give you joy, so that more and more of your time is spent in the 80% of stuff you really like to do.

Take a look at your friends and social life, including your social media life. She suggests we deliberately reduce or cut out the time we spend with those who don’t make our “things I love” list. 

It may sound odd to take such a calculated approach to life, but time really is all we have. How and with whom we choose to spend that time very much defines how happy we are in life. So stop for a few minutes to consider your “80/20” and you might just change your life!

P.S. I am taking Noelle’s advice to heart. Readers of this column know how much I love to travel, so I just surfed the web for some cheap airline flights, and it looks like I’ll be travelling to Prague and Warsaw at the end of June! 

Now THAT makes me happy!!

Until next month,
Jenna
www.jennaives.com




Birthday Celebration Time!






Garden pictures, birthday flowers from my son, and a composite I did of the dandelion and fairy.

My SIL and I have a birthday celebration today!
Have a great one!

Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
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Memorial Day is a Day to Honor Those Who Died…

…in all the wars while serving in the American Armed Forces.  Memorial Day started as Decorations Day in 1868 to honor Civil War soldiers who had died. That’s what Memorial Day is all about. Not just a 3-day weekend holiday off from work, government agencies and banks are closed, and we don’t get mail, and lots of folks are having barbecues.

But it’s nice to take a moment to remember what the day stands for. Thanks to those men and women who served during the time of war and sacrificed their lives.


And I’m off to work! Need 2,000 words on SEAL Wolf Surrender, just for minimum word count, and my publisher is changing the title from the other book: Her Jaguar Protector to You Had Me at Jaguar. I thought that was cute.
Have a great weekend, whether it’s a 3-day holiday, or just the same old thing. I’m off to write.
Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
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Total Recall: How To Improve Your Memory


We all lead such busy lives these days that sometimes our brains get “too full” and we feel like we have no more room for any additional information. And it’s not just adults who suffer! As my 8-year-old niece often says, “It fell out of my ear,” meaning her head is too stuffed with facts to fit one more in there, LOL. Having a full brain can certainly make retrieving a particular fact difficult, but I recently read an article by a psychologist with tips that might help us remember the important stuff:

Names:
-When introduced to someone new, try to immediately repeat their name back to them, as in “Nice to meet you, Joan” or “My mother’s name is Joan, too!” This helps cement a name to a face.

-Imagine their name written across their forehead. The name will make more of an impression if the person is bald, has bangs, etc. The individualness of their forehead will help trigger name recollection next time you see them.

Numbers:
-Always break down long strings of numbers into groups of three. Our brains are somehow wired to remember information in groups of three (“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” or “I came, I saw, I conquered” etc.)

Strings of data:
-One of the oldest and best-known retrieval cues is still the most effective: the mnemonic. Roy G. Biv helps us remember the colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet) and HOMES helps us remember the names of the Great Lakes (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior). Whenever possible, come up with a simple, catchy word or phrase that will help prompt you to remember a string of data.

There are also some general tips for improving memory:

-Don’t skimp on sleep. Instead of staying up all night cramming for an exam or trying to figure out the next plot twist for your novel, you’d be better off getting a full night’s rest so you brain is fresh are ready-to-think the next day.

-You are what you eat. Stay away from brain-sluggish food like saturated and trans fats, and eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially blueberries and Brussels sprouts! (Okay, maybe not Brussels sprouts, but definitely walnuts…)

-Read a print book. Studies done in Norway showed volunteers remembered more information they read in a print book than the same information they read on a computer screen (or tablet, or phone).

-Chew it over. Psychologists from the University of Northumbria found that volunteers who chewed gum retained more information after a 20-minute memory test than volunteers who did not chew gum. Chewing gum increases heart rate, so maybe more oxygen gets delivered to your brain while you chew, oxygen that can aid in memory!

-Have a latte. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University found that volunteers were able to recall more images if they drank the equivalent of one cup of strong coffee immediately after studying a series of images.

All this scientific stuff is fascinating, but remember, if all else fails, try tying that string around your finger. It actually does work!

What about you? Any tips or tricks that have helped you remember things? Let me know!

Leigh



Nantucket Beaches


I've just completed a mini-vacation to the island of Nantucket, located about 30 miles off the shore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The above picture is Cisco Beach. We biked there. It's about 6 miles from town (one way).

This next beach is much harder to get to. It's called Great Point, and is located on the northern tip of the island, between both the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound.


This beach is actually part of the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Refuge and is an area protected for seals and birds. You can only reach it via 4 wheel drive jeep, and a 5 mile drive over a thick and rutted beach. My husband and I were the only ones there that day, plus the ranger.

Madaket Beach (below) was easily our favorite because it's wide and long and just beautiful. The only problem - this is Nantucket, so you can't really get here easily for a beach day. There is no parking. So you need to have one of the very expensive homes near the beach to enjoy it, or you could ride a bike there.


There are even houses right on the beach which don't have any parking, not even for one car. I was wondering how they use a house like that. But the beach is gorgeous.

I like this view of Sconset Beach because of the pretty dune grass which is all over Nantucket. The island suffers from severe erosion problems so they leave the grass alone.


Since Nantucket is an island, they have many more beautiful beaches. The only problem is they can be hard to access. Nantucketers are not anxious to be bombarded by day trippers, and most of the beaches are bordered by homes which are private property. Still, we managed to see a fair number of them with a jeep and some bicycles.

My story, Love Charm for Dakota, is set in Nantucket.

Would you use a love charm to capture a man?

Nantucket is the home of hedge fund titans, old money and hidebound tradition. Habits are comfortable, and the habits of the rich are very comfortable. Into Cabot Saltonstall's sedate world blows Dakota Bishop, possessor of a wild spirit and a magical love charm. Cabot's blue-blood family history includes an ancestor who resigned from the Salem Witch trials, because he refused to believe in witchcraft.

But Cabot is all too willing to be bewitched.


Dakota can't stay still long enough for anyone to tie her down, nor is Cabot the right kind of guy for her. If only he'd have sex with her so she could get him out of her system. Why does he need to be so traditional with his emotions and plans for the future? Does she know enough of witchcraft to overcome the spell of the accidentally cast love charm?






Writing and Gardening

I’ve been working on the cover for Claiming the White Bear. It helps me to visualize the characters. I added a little word count to that book yesterday (up to 12,000+ now), and to SEAL Wolf Surrender. I’d prefer a conflictive couple for the cover of the new white bear book but couldn’t find any. Conflict is better! For a book that is romantic suspense.




Anyway, I started Claiming the White Bear at Christmas time while visiting my son and DIL. He was playing a game and I was watching it and giving direction (lol) and writing. Perfect vacation. But then I got a new contract for 3 more books and had to get down to writing deadline books.



Oh, and my daughter claimed the Sunshine ligustrum that volunteered next to the house. So I’ve got to try and dig it up for her.   I love being able to share plants!
I’m back to the word count!!! Have a great day!!!

Terry
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy is reality.”
Connect with Terry Spear:
Website: http://www.terryspear.com
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/421434.Terry_Spear
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TerrySpearParanormalRomantics
Twitter: https://twitter.com/TerrySpear
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Newsletter Sign Up: http://eepurl.com/u63qP
Follow Me for new releases and book deals: www.bookbub.com/authors/terry-spear
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Come With Me To Merry Olde England!

Readers of this blog know I have itchy feet. It doesn't take much for my wanderlust to kick in, and then I'm off on another adventure. So...

Last month I filed my taxes, figured out my refund, and immediately bought a ticket to the closest fun place I could think of to spend those dollars, er pounds... England!

So here I am in London for three weeks! I love England. Once out of the capital, the scenery is like a postcard! Last weekend I rented a car and hit the road. This is the countryside on the way to Poole in Dorset.































Ate lunch at this typical British pub… The Cleave


This is the main street through Poole…


Typical thatched roof cottages and stone cottages line the roads – so quaint!
















The roads are pretty crazy out in the country… this one in front of the whitewashed cottage was actually a 2-way street!!!  Gives new meaning to “driving defensively” LOL!!


I hope these pictures came out okay, because I was (mostly) taking them from a moving car, LOL!  It was a rare sunny weekend (but COLD) and today (Friday) it’s predicted to be rainy (as usual) in London as you read this.

I'll be back home before next month's post, but I wanted to share these classic pictures with you!

Cheers,
Jenna
www.jennaives.com