Wednesday, August 30, 2017

How to Adjust to Retirement When the Daily Grind Ends – Part 2


Daily Grind Hamster Wheel with gears in the background


The transition continues…

I retired 8 months ago, and I continue transitioning away from the daily grind of a structured work environment to a life of my own choosing. There have been great days and blah days, busy ones and lazy ones, and yes, mourning and depression. I’m not going to paint a 100% rosy picture for you, because one of the things I say all the time now is “why didn’t someone tell me how hard this can be?” Am I the only person on the planet who has heard endless talk of the finances around retirement, but not a peep about the actual transition experience! All of you already-retired folks couldn’t mention this, say back in January at the start of this journey? I guess I’m on my own here?

Changing everything up

I’m figuring this out as I go, and maybe I can help those who will be retiring in the future. Change the way your morning starts after decades in the work force is a challenge! For example, I used to open my eyes and immediately start reviewing the urgent list of things to do AT WORK, and also wonder about the WORK emergencies that would surprise me. I built this habit – crazy as it is – over decades, and it was as natural as brushing my teeth. There isn’t a switch on the side of your head that turns that off – you have to work through it. In the middle of the “hmmm, what has to get done today” routine, you say, “wait, that’s not what I do anymore, that was the old daily grind.”

There is another new issue, at least in my life. I now have time to spend caring for elderly in laws. My time is my gift to this situation, so there is gratitude wrapped up with the challenge of wanting to do my own thing, or visit my 8 perfect grandkids. Retirement also shines a light on my own mortality and I question if my legacy is in place or still needs work. I’ve got things to learn and projects to finish! Yikes!!

After the daily grind

Well, that’s enough about the hard stuff. Let’s talk about some of the good stuff like not setting a wake up alarm, even though it doesn’t matter much because the dog didn’t get the message about the change. And how ‘bout the new work clothes? Yoga pants and T-shirts all the way. Comfortable and invigorating! I already mentioned having time for self care in Part 1 – you can read that here:

True confession: I let my morning routine fall by the wayside for about 6 weeks. Just wasn’t into it. Or maybe a little down in the dumps, who knows. What did I learn? Lazy mornings are generally followed by a lazy day. Now, don’t get me wrong, there is energetic renewal in having a pajama day every now and then, but I really, really, REALLY don’t want to be one of those retirees who has to buy a golf cart to go to the mailbox because it’s too far, too hot, my feet hurt, etc. So I’m back to my routine and loving it! I’m adding a little exercise, meditation, yoga and better nutrition! These things are the foundation to a great attitude and plenty of energy to make my 2nd act remarkable.

How ’bout you?

What about your 2nd act? How do you imagine YOUR retirement – will there be more time for hobbies or travel? Talk about your dreams in the comments below of join the discussion over on Facebook: Life Concoction FB







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Monday, May 15, 2017

Happy Day-After-Mother’s Day

Mom Painting

Whew! I made it through Mother’s Day, and it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be!

It was still a pretty busy weekend around my house, even though there is only 1 mother and 1 son in the vicinity to visit with. I had lunch with my in-town son on Saturday, and an early dinner with my in-town mother-in-law on Sunday. My out-of-town son called and my out-of-town stepdaughter texted on Sunday. They did all the right things, and I am beyond grateful. Over the moon, even. I sent texts to my stepdaughter and both daughters-in-law (that’s how the world turns now). I’m so proud of how they are raising all eight of our Perfect Grandkids (PGKs)! Life is good. No right to complain.

All my cousins are missing their moms, too. We have lost an entire generation, and my Mom was the last to go. Many people created beautiful posts on social media about their mother – both present and missing. I couldn’t even look at Facebook all weekend. Couldn’t read all the posts. Didn’t make a post. Not.This.Year.

So this blog is a quiet little way to point out that the people who didn’t post at all (including me), are doing the best they can. I don’t have words yet to share. I’m not ready to let the feelings out publicly. Some of you reading this know exactly what I’m trying to explain here. Hugs to you! Some of you won’t understand because you’re either not to this point in your life, or you are far enough past it that you may have recovered. Hugs to you, too! All of us, doing the best we can, make the world go ’round.

Happy day-after, everyone! You made it through, and it matters!

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

How to Adjust to Retirement When the Daily Grind Ends – Part 1

Retired Sign Hanging on Door

Working full time-and-a-half at a company for years was fun, exciting and financially rewarding. I know that isn’t true for everyone because some jobs are none of those things, and I assure you that not all of my jobs were that great either. What’s your situation around work? Has it become an invisible, engrained habit like it did for me? Have you thought about retirement yet? Remember that there is much more to retirement than the financial side of things.

Now that I’ve stepped away from the daily grind, I have learned that not going to work every day is not a walk in the park. Some people sleep late, watch tv or read all day and go to bed early. That’s not how I imagined it retirement would be! I imagined finally having more free time to do creative things as a reward for all those years of working. I seriously need something to do, create, improve or learn. Endless days filled with nothing productive would lead to a serious bout of depression for me, not to mention putting my physical health on a downhill slide into the grave. Yuck!

Retirement Morning Routine

After leaving corporate America, the first thing I put into place was a morning routine of things I always wanted to do “if I had enough time.” Do you have things you say that about? I sure did, and the list was quite long! In fact, the first month it took me all morning to get everything in. These days, I’ve narrowed it down quite a bit – I can get it all done in about an hour and a half now, though I choose not to rush unless my schedule requires it. Here’s a shot of my tracking document and you can read more about my morning routine here.

Spreadsheet to track retirement morning routine

Morning Routine Spreadsheet

Several of the new tweaks in my routine came from reading Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning for Entrepreneurs.* It was recommended to me by several people that I admire and it’s a fairly short book. There are other versions if being an entrepreneur isn’t on your list of things to be! I highly recommend this for everyone, whether you are working full time, part time or planning for an upcoming shift in your current work habit. It will help you put your own morning routine together.

Contemplation (Homework)

What is your morning routine? Write it down and look it over – does it make you breathe a sigh of relief? Are you glad it’s in place and does it set you up for a wonderful day in a fantastic life? Don’t judge or criticize, just observe. If it’s not quite what you had hoped, tweak one tiny thing. Just one. Don’t go overboard or you risk becoming overwhelmed and drop the whole opportunity to make something better. A little bit better is all it takes. Please share in the comments if you are happy with your routine or what itty bitty tweak you’re making!


*I’m experimenting with affiliate links, which means that if you click the link and buy an item I recommend, the company will send me a tiny little bit of their profit, at no cost to you. I will only recommend things I have tried and enjoyed.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Productivity through Planning then Acting

Planning for efficient productivity has always intrigued me. After reading many great books and articles on the subject, I’ve tried numerous methods personally. I’ve used software, apps, pre-printed planners, download-to-print pages and various methods of list making. Sigh, I love them all. Well, at least parts of most of them. A few were overly tedious (who wants that?) and some lacked enough structure. After all, just the right amount of structure helps me to stay focused, but don’t fence me in too much!

Bullet Journaling – a creative path to productivity

Earlier this year, an artist friend mentioned Bullet Journaling or BuJo. I researched it and fell in love with the idea of this method of planning. First, and foremost, it’s customizable. It’s very, very orderly and organized. And lastly, it can be a creative outlet for a multi-passionate person like me! I decided to give it a try.

My personal concoction

I continue to use the Calendar program on my Mac, iPhone and iPad – it accommodates recurring events like birthdays, and we have a family calendar for joint appointments and reminders. I store my massive list of things to do, project steps and recurring chores on an app called Things. My phone is always with me, and I do mean always, so it fits that it’s the tool I turn to most often for productivity boosters.

I use a version of a Bullet Journal for planning my daily focus, appointments and tasks, and I have shifted my BuJo style about 3 times (so far). I am really enjoying the current iteration and I think it’s good enough to share. Now, keep in mind, I can shift again any time, because it’s a woman’s prerogative, make constant improvements, etc. (All those pithy things “they” say!)

Monthly Focus Page

Productivity and planning – my way

Here is the page where I plan what my monthly focus will be, using colors for different areas. The first time I created a monthly focus calendar, I was able to see instantly that I had not made enough time for my friends, family & Foster, our dog. A “do over” was required to make it match up with my most important values – keep in mind that there is very little copy/paste functionality in a hand drawn/colored planner! Haha!

Weekly Productivity

I will nail down my monthly focus, then move on to the weekly plan. I pull up the Calendar on my MacBook Pro and with my monthly focus page next to it, I create a visual map for how the week should go. Next to that, I’ll create a To Do list for the week in categories that match my focus and use the same colors. I generally plan the week on Sunday afternoon, while watching tv with my hubby. I find the creative process of drawing out the headings and lists provides relaxation in the moment and laser focus for the upcoming week.

Daily Productivity

What’s on tap for TODAY?

Next, I’ll draw the daily plan, with a time bar where I can plan with the same focus colors from before, and as the day progresses, I’ll color the bottom part of the bar with what I actually did during the time. Now I can track planned vs. actual! Score!

At the end of every week, I have a review page that I fill out with my achievements and challenges. At the end of the month, I have a 2-page spread to recap the month and make suggestions for the new month. I’m not including those pics because I’m worried you might be overloaded already!

Anyway, that’s how I try to be organized and creative. What works for you? I’d love to hear more about it in the comments below.

Interested in learning more about Bullet Journaling? I recommend these sources:

  • – Ryder Carroll created the BuJo, and this site will show you the ropes. This is THE place to start – at the feet of the productivity master! This is all the info you’ll ever need.
  • – Ready to get a little more creative and adventurous? Kara Benz’ site will follow most of Ryder’s format with a bit more flair. It’s not necessary to add colors and doodles; however, it’s fun if you want to give it a try. I think of it as creative productivity!



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Monday, March 27, 2017

A Multi-passionate’s Morning Routine!

Multi-passionate woman

I like to keep a variety of projects going all at the same time and I guess that makes me a multi-passionate person. One thing at a time is too easy and more than three can make me feel very frazzled. For instance, I am currently new to Bullet Journaling, AND I want to put a flower bed together to dress up the front entrance, AND I would like to knit something on a circle loom. Plus about 10 more things, like paint a picture, take piano and dance lessons, cook fabulous, healthy dinners, and, and, well, take a nap sometimes. Just making the wish list can be exhausting!

When I was working at a day job, I had very limited time and energy available for these creative and fun endeavors. By limited, I really mean that I could only handle work, eat, relax and sleep, and work often spilled over into all the other categories. Now that I work from home, there is more time to pursue one or two (or three) of the things on my “want to do” list. And guess what? I am having a hard time choosing what to do!

The first thing I yearned to do after leaving my day job was to have a morning self-care routine. It wouldn’t take much to improve on my previous rush hour morning: wake up tired, grab a Dr Pepper, jump in the shower, stand in front of the closet where there was nothing to wear, get dressed anyway, dry my hair, jump in the car, check traffic, put on a podcast, drive in traffic and put on makeup, arrive at work. Whew! Just remembering it is enough to exhaust me as I write this. But just like work, I will persevere. You’re dying to know the simple new routine, right?

As a multi-passionate, what is your self care routine?

In my new morning routine, I am practicing a short sun salutation, exercising, doing a bit of meditation, eating a healthy breakfast and walking my dog. Since I’m a multi-passionate I couldn’t stop there. How ’bout making the bed, planning the day, planning and cooking a healthy dinner, starting a gratitude journal (again) and getting plenty of sleep. I dubbed this rather big list to be a Beta test, meaning it didn’t have to be perfect or to be carved in stone. I could revise it or drop parts of it any time. Oh, and I made a nifty spread sheet with check boxes because who doesn’t love checking little boxes to show how well you’re doing!

It’s been almost 3 months and I’m still going strong with only a few little tweaks here and there. For instance, it was cold so I moved walking the dog to the warmest part of the day. Next month, I’ve decided to take weekends off from the morning routine to see how that feels. I’m also looking at how to combine some of the steps to shorten the time spent every day.

Are you a multi-passionate person? What would be your idea of the perfect morning routine for yourself? Click on comments below and let’s discuss!

Coming soon, more about multiple projects on my list for this year!

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Friday, February 24, 2017

Life Coaching Changed My Story

Life Coaching can change your life

Life coaching made a big difference for me!

My experience with life coaching lead me to become one. Years ago, I was trying to have it all (sound familiar?). I worked full time-and-a-half in advertising. Trying to have a perfect home life, healthy body and mind, and about a hundred other things. Burning out fast. It felt like nothing was easy. When were the white knights coming to rescue me from this hectic life I created? I wanted to collapse from the stress but, of course, there wasn’t time for that so I kept going. And going.

Then a friend pointed out that I seemed to hit the wall of overwhelm & frustration every year around the same time. Wait. Every year? She nodded. ( I realized, after the fact, that it’s good to have a brave, honest friend.) STOP THE PRESSES! Every year? Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Ugh!

In one of the numerous magazines I read about having it all, I saw an article on life coaching. I’d never heard of such a thing but the article was interesting and stuck with me. Having just learned of my personal insanity diagnosis, I found the article, read it again and set out on a quest to find a coach. Maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel, instead of a train bearing down on me!

Finding a life coach

Finding a coach was relatively easy, and I was completely blown away on the 1st call. I had an intuitive knowing (or a desperate need, you decide) that this was the perfect path to figure out how to have it all. Little did I know that working with a coach would help me discover that “all” wasn’t necessary or even my goal. I really wanted a life that would purr like a happy kitten on a fluffy bed in a pool of sunshine.

Fast forward to today and the progress I’ve made! With help from my coaches, here are a few of the many things I’ve accomplished:

  • I got help with things I wasn’t great at like cleaning, organizing & decluttering. Those things were important to an environment that supported me rather than drained me.
  • I discovered quick, easy ways to stock the kitchen. No more stress around finding something to eat when I came home late in the evening. Ahh, the relief and the sustenance!
  • I clarified my priorities and learned about the areas of my life that needed more attention. For example, I wasn’t spending time being creative, which kept my life more on the drudgery side than the purring side.
  • I dreamed big dreams. I enjoyed my work, BUT I longed to make a difference in the world. If I became a coach I could help others make their corner of the world more supportive, fun and, dang it , happier!

Accountability coaching made the difference.

Could I have done all this by myself? Maybe read a few more magazine articles or some books? Taken a class?  Well, yes, of course! And no, absolutely not! I was already striving to do it all and barely moving the needle. I needed some accountability. It’s how I’m wired, and how many, many other folks are wired.

Rather than telling me what to do, the coach asked what I was going to do to fix things, and by when. Commitment required! After all, this was my circus and my monkeys! We celebrated my successes and made alternative plans if I missed the mark.

Here’s an article from Inc. that talks about accountability coaching and how it helps. It takes about 3 minutes to read. Hire an Accountability Coach

How ’bout you? Do you enjoy working with someone more than working alone? We should talk! Schedule a free mini session soon, and let’s see if coaching is right for you. No hard sell, just help and info. Schedule a Free Mini Session

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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

On the road to better health. Again.

Yummy cupcake

Goodbye grains!

In 2015, I began a quest to reduce my autoimmune symptoms and improve my general health. I was diagnosed with psoriasis and learned from a friend that it is an autoimmune disease, meaning that my body sees and attacks things in an overdrive type of situation. It’s as if I cut my leg and my body jumps to handle the situation and keeps on and on, only there isn’t a cut in the first place. That’s a super simple description, and not a medical one, in case you couldn’t tell.

The first thing I discovered was Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed cookbook and blog which talked about batch cooking and paleo. The batch cooking made my hectic life much better, and I had friends who were going paleo via their CrossFit experience. All good. Melissa mentioned Whole 30, so I headed over there and they offered a great structure for cleaning up my eating “act” for a mere 30 days. It seemed easy with their email support and info. And through these interactions, I stumbled upon the autoimmune protocol (AIP) – a form of paleo plus elimination diet to see what foods made me feel better vs. worse.

In 2015, when I went full AIP I began to feel much better, the itchiness and pain of my psoriasis started to ease up and I lost 30 pounds quickly and easily. I was a believer! And I learned that so many diseases are autoimmune that I was astounded and a double believer! Multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, COPD (both of my parents had this) and on and on. There are other diseases that are suspiciously like these but no proof yet, including Parkinson’s which took my late father-in-law way too early in his life.

Now you know a little background on a very complex subject, and I say all this to confess that I spent the fall of 2015 helping take care of my Mom, and all of 2016 mourning that loss with the “help” of comfort food. While I still miss Mom (it will be a year in February), it’s time that I start taking better care of myself.

Here is a list of reference places you can go if you, too, are facing autoimmunity issues or just want to try a healthier lifestyle.

Books (links are NOT affiliate links – I’m not that sophisticated yet)

  1. Well Fed: Paleo Recipes for People Who Love to Eat (Melissa has done several more cookbooks since this one so start with whichever one speaks to you!)
  2. The Whole 30 – I still tell newbies to start here. This link is to the website’s book page. There are several books now, and I recommend you poke around the website and join a Whole 30 Challenge while you are reading up on the AIP lifestyle and diet.
  3. The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body – this is the real place to begin AIP. Sarah Ballantyne is a research scientist and you’ll get all the science you never wanted here (haha). Then she’ll show you what to eat and how to change your lifestyle to fight autoimmune issues. I believe you have to start here, no kidding.
  4. The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook: A DIY Guide to Living Well with Chronic Illness – this is a new one and it’s the kinder, gentler version of The Paleo Approach (meaning less science, but without so much science this might seem like another fad). I highly recommend this book, but glance at that science one, too!

Podcasts – these changed my life, and they continue to reinforce my healing

  1. Phoenix Helix podcast – this is my favorite. Eileen uses AIP to ease her RA symptoms, and her advice and interviews and enlightening, gentle and encouraging. I never miss an episode, and I suggest you pick one that has “healing stories” in the title as your first  listen.
  2. The Paleo View – I must confess that Stacy Toth and Sarah Ballantyne have so much fun on this show, that I never miss this one either. Besides, if I keep listening to science talk I know I will eventually absorb some of it. Still waiting.
  3. The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast – Angie Alt & Mickey Trescott will talk about stages of the lifestyle and give you great advice for doing it the easy way.

That’s a good start, and I’ll mention more of my faves in future blogs.

This week, I’m easing back into full AIP by giving up grains and alcohol. Next week I’ll give up nightshades & legumes. Nightshades are a group of veggies kin to the belladonna (poison) plants – tomatoes, potatoes, all peppers & eggplant.

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Thursday, March 31, 2016


Welcome to Life Concoctions blog! This is not your everyday, always inspiring and insightful blog. I just wanted you to know that right up front. Now, to be fair, I hope there will be a little inspiration sprinkled here and there. Maybe there will be a few insights and even some interesting food for thought. I’m just not going to promise anything.

Why not? Well, Life isn’t always sunshine and lollipops, so why should a blog about Life be any different!

Life. It’s not a cookie-cutter thing. It’s unique for each person based on so many things like history and opportunity. It’s also based on our choices, both conscious and unconscious, as well as the choices of those around us.

The goal of this blog is to talk/study/wonder and celebrate the many ways we each Concoct our Life. I hope you’ll choose to ride along on this adventure with me.

Oh yeah – I should introduce myself. I’m the dreamer behind this site. I believe that if we live our best Life, then the world is a better place to live. I learned to consiously create my own Life from working with Life Coaches, and I decided to become one. Stay tuned for more info about how that has changed my Life, and how I might be able to help you follow a dream.

Until then, let’s just play around a bit in the blog space and see what comes up. Thanks SO much for stopping by. I look forward to hearing your thoughts about Life.

Leslie, Life Coach


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