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Two Tools for 2011

January '11

With the arrival of a new year, I thought it might be fun to share two tools you can use for reinventing your life in 2011. Both are based on the assumption that developing a vision for the future in the persistent rush of day-to-day living is like expecting two feet of snow to depart in one day. (Can you tell I live in New England?)  Here’s the first tool!

A mini-sabbatical

At the beginning of the year, I took a two-week break from work. I’m not taking about a vacation here; I had already spent a week with family over the holidays. Rather I’m proposing a mini-sabbatical from one area of your life.  In my case after returning home, I eliminated my work-focus for two weeks – a giant change from my usual routine. After breakfast, instead of developing a plan for the day based on my weekly goals, I embarked on anything but work.  I was surprised to find the shift so challenging, and came to realize how much my work regime structured my days. I did, of course, continue to coach clients and meet with my class, but as anyone who runs her own coaching business knows, coaching and teaching is less than half of what you do.

After a few days of this new life, I began to flow with it. In the empty space I had created, two things occurred. First, I gradually caught up on those lurking “to-do’s”, like sorting through the hundreds of emails in my inbox and storing them in their appropriate folders.  I also observed feelings and ideas about my work that bubbled up; as a result I began to clarify where I wanted to put my efforts in the coming year.

So why not try a mini-sabbatical, where you consciously take your attention off one big arena in your life?  You may also find some surprising benefits.  If you have to head for an office every day, however, this tool may not work so well for y so here’s another one.

A turtle day

The idea for a turtle day appeared on one of those relaxing and joyous vacation days I spent with my family.  At the end of that particular day, I turned to notice that one of my granddaughters still seemed to be in her pj’s, so I asked her if she’d been in them all day.  I could feel her mischievous smile rise in response to my query, “Yes, Nana, I had a turtle day.”  I understood immediately what she meant with this imaginative descriptor.  She’d hunkered down in her shell and enjoyed a day at home doing exactly what wanted, which in her case usually entails creating. As I contemplated this notion of a turtle day,  the charming phrase of a friend of mine came to mind.  When she’s had weeks of too much travel and too much to do, she tells me she just wants to stay home and “pull my house around me.”

So if you’re snow bound, like many of us in the Northeast, why not “pull your house around you,” and snuggle into a day of relaxation and happy activity, or in other words, have a turtle day.  Who knows what benefits you might reap?

No one can construct a new reality for her life without some breathing space and reflection time.  The two tools I described can help you find such luxuries. If you try one or both of these tools, I’d love to know the results of your experimentation.

Here’s hoping 2011 will be a wonder-filled year for you,

P.S. If you’d like more tools and tips for reinventing your life, I invite you to follow me on Facebook.


  1. ALICE said on January 31, 2011:

    I love pulling my house around me…….

  2. Bonnie said on February 1, 2011:

    Me too: )


  3. Cathryn said on February 1, 2011:

    I’m in the midst of a mini-sabbatical, although I didn’t know how to define it until I read Bonnie’s message. Catching up on mail, on filing, on reading and on time with friends and neighbors is enabling me to establish a new rhythm in my life. I expect the new rhythm will continue after the mini-sabbatical ends.

  4. Bonnie said on February 1, 2011:

    Love the idea of the new rhythm continuing when the mini-sabbatical ends!


  5. Meg said on February 2, 2011:

    I like having a “turtle” day on Sundays when I don’t have any plans. I get caught up on my personal email, make a pot of green tea and just putter. I love puttering around the house, it always makes me feel so much better.

  6. Bonnie said on February 2, 2011:

    Green tea just seems to go with a Turtle Day, doesn’t it?


  7. Mary Gottmann said on February 6, 2011:

    Dear Bonnie,

    Two great ideas–I’ve been engaged in a “mini-sabbatical” from a volunteer editing job, and now I’ve got the proper term for it. Thank you. And “turtle day” is going right into my life! I see slowing down as a growth response to all the whirling change in which we are immersed–Especially this winter!

  8. Bonnie said on February 6, 2011:

    Love the concept of “slowing down as a response to whirling change!”


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