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Less is Actually More: What is a Low-Information Diet, and Is it Right for You?

The end of 2017 rolled around, and I felt myself craving margin. Life was full–full of some really good things–but full nonetheless. As I sat down to do my PowerSheetsPrep Work, I started to see a theme.

I had too much stuff.
I felt unsteady, wavering back and forth based on circumstances instead of truth.
I was no longer doing something I loved: reading.
My eyes were heavy.

The root of all those things? Information overload.

I had too much stuff because I was on every single shop mailing list. I felt unsteady because I spent too much time on Instagram, silently comparing myself during the scrolling. I was reading less because my free time was full of work and wedding planning and traveling. I was tired because I spent a lot of time staring at a screen–both for work, and after-hours while wedding planning.

It was a stark wake-up call. I immediately knew one of my PowerSheets goals needed to be "Phone Down, Eyes Up." Short, simple, but packs a big punch (the best kinds of goals often do that!).

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What is a Low-Information Diet? 

A Low-Information Diet means you're limiting the consumption of media in your life. Tim Ferris coined the term "Low-Information Diet" in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, where he talks about the importance of cultivating selective ignorance. "Selective" is an important word here! He doesn't talk about complete ignorance in all things, but instead talks about the disservice consuming what doesn't concern you does to yourself and those around you.

“Just as modern man consumes both too many calories and calories of no nutritional vale, information workers eat data both in excess and from the wrong sources.” -Tim Ferris

What's going to matter to you when you're 80?
What are the things you will look back on and want more of?

Not sure what those things are? That's okay! PowerSheets can help you uncover what matters most and make a plan to cultivate those things–the right things.

View More: http://ginazeidler.pass.us/cultivate2018springsummer

Those are the things you can start to cultivate now. Nothing says you have to wait until January 1st to start making changes. As cultivators, we're big believers in little by little progress!

Trying to decide if embracing a Low-Information Diet is right for you? Here are my three checkpoints I'd encourage you to try:

Check the phone usage in your battery life. On my iPhone, I can go to my Settings > Battery and it will show me what apps have used the largest percentage of my battery life over the past 24 hours or 7 days. This is eye-opening!

Answer this question: What is the first thing you reach for when you wake up each morning? If it's your cell phone to open your email, social media, or blog reader, your television remote, or a newspaper, it could be a sign it's time to take a step back.

Download the Moment app. Moment automatically tracks how much you use your iPhone and iPad each day, and it allows you to set limits based on the information you see!

Go-Do-Life

There's no better time than the start of summer to kick a bad habit to the curb. This can be your summer to thrive! Fill those longer days with the things that fire you up. Make your own list of things to do instead of scrolling or watching television, and start checking those off one-by-one!

We'll be kicking off a series on cultivating a Low-Information Diet over the next few weeks, and we're excited to learn together! Up next, practical ways to set yourself up for success and how to use your PowerSheets to keep the momentum going!
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46 Productive Things to Do Instead of Scrolling Social Media

We're big fans of social media when it is used purposefully! It is, after all, how we connect with so many of you on a regular basis! Like so many things in our lives, when used purposefully, it can create a beautiful home for encouragement and support.

However, we know there are time when we are guilty of replacing real life with Instagram, and we spend precious time mindlessly scrolling through social media instead of accomplishing the things that matter most to us.

Our team is sharing 46 productive things you can do instead of scrolling on your phone today, and we hope it inspires you to start prioritizing what matters most to you!

  1. Unsubscribe from email promotional emails
  2. Plan a coffee date with a friend
  3. Delete photos from your camera roll
  4. Floss your teeth
  5. Go to bed early
  6. Take a walk
  7. Write a thank you note
  8. Read a magazine
  9. Check off a daily goal on your Tending List
  10. Organize your bedside table
  11. Volunteer your time
  12. Make a to-do list, and check one thing off your to-do list
  13. Write out a social media mission statement
  14. Wash the dishes
  15. Make your bed
  16. Choose ten pieces of clothing to donate
  17. Read a book
  18. Learn a new language
  19. Call your best friend
  20. Kiss your significant other
  21. Take out the trash
  22. Get your finances in order
  23. Make a sweet treat for your neighbor
  24. Go to the library, and check out a new book
  25. Write the Word
  26. Clean out your pantry
  27. Do a puzzle with your child
  28. Write down your goals
  29. Unload the dishwasher
  30. Choose one new recipe to try
  31. Print a few of your favorite photos to display
  32. Plan a gathering in your home
  33. Make a new friend
  34. Exercise
  35. Doodle
  36. Start a gratitude journal
  37. Reply to five emails in your inbox
  38. Organize your bathroom cabinet
  39. Apply for a passport
  40. Prep your meals for the week
  41. Reply to your text messages
  42. Start one load of laundry
  43. Clean out your junk drawer
  44. Watch a TED talk
  45. Organize your desk
  46. Make an inspiring playlist

We'd love to hear from you! Leave a a comment, and tell us what else would you add to this list! The possibilities are endless, and we can't wait to hear your creativity!

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Eight Steps to Embracing Mornings

We've all heard the saying "the early bird gets the worm", but my guess is the early bird likely wasn't managing a career, planning a wedding, preparing for marriage, building community in a new city, and moving all at the same time. Which means it was likely a little bit easier for him to get up early and get that worm :)

Before I start, I want to be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking there isn't enough time in the day, because it's simply not true. There is enough time in the day, but I have to be proactive in prioritizing and making sure my time and energy aligns with the things that matter most to me. My 2018 PowerSheets goals act as a compass for me, guiding me as I determine where and with whom to devote my time and energy.

If I learned anything in this season, it's this: When you feel like you don't have time in your day, you have to be proactive in making time. Whether you need a few extra hours in your week to work on a side hobby or want to prioritize time for taking care of your body, the easiest place to find time is in my mornings! I'm excited to share a few tips that have worked well for me below:

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Photo by Marie L.

Ask yourself why. Take a few moments to ask yourself these questions: WHY do I want to wake up earlier? Will this goal get me closer to where I want to be when I'm 80? You'll feel much more motivated to stick to your goals when they are connected to a purpose. For me, waking up earlier gives me time to exercise and read, two of my goals for this year!

Set yourself up for success the night before. I once heard becoming a morning person starts in the evenings, and I couldn't agree more. Create an evening routine to prepare you for your morning ahead. Get your clothes out (exercise or work clothes). Set the timer on the coffeepot. Pack your lunch. Most importantly, honor your bedtime (and put the phone down!) Taking the time to create a routine for the evenings will help prepare you for a fresh start each morning.

Sleep with your shades open. I've found sleeping with my curtains pulled back makes it easier for me to wake up in the mornings. If you have a significant other who likes to be in pitch black, you can find lamps that mimic the sunrise to help your body wake up naturally!

Make a plan. In the same way that you created an evening routine, it's important to eliminate decision fatigue in the mornings as well. Creating a morning routine will help you know exactly how you want to spend your mornings. Whether you want to get your heart rate up by exercising or create more space for journaling or reflecting, a consistent routine will help keep you from climbing back into bed.

Make your bed (and stay out of it!) I've learned this the hard way: If you're reading in the mornings, move yourself to a different spot other than your bed. I'm positive I'm not the only that is guilty of climbing back into her bed in the mornings. Making my bed makes it a little less appealing for snoozing after you grab your warm cup of coffee and book.

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Create room for the things you love. Mornings will be miserable if you fill them with the all dreaded tasks on your to-do lists.  Make room for something life-giving in your mornings so you have something to look forward to. It can be as simple as lighting a favorite candle or enjoying a warm cup of fresh-brewed coffee while you read through your current book. Maybe you want more time to have breakfast with your significant other before starting your days. Resist the urge to fill the extra space with tasks, and embrace activities that bring your joy, too.

Address the pain points. Ask yourself why mornings are so hard, and then fix it! If it's hard to get out of bed because it's cold in your home, invest in a space heater or warm slippers. If you don't enjoy showering in the morning, start showering in the evenings. Find your pain points, and eliminate them!

Take baby steps. We embrace growing slow, knowing that overnight results and quick fixes aren't the way to long-lasting success. Becoming a morning person isn't something I expect to happen overnight, and I've given myself lots of room for grace in my PowerSheets. Instead of adding "Wake Up at 6am" to my Daily Goals, I chose to add a weekly goal to exercise two mornings before work to my PowerSheets Tending List, I'm taking small steps and hope to work up to that consistent 6am wake-up time!

I'd love to hear from our early risers! What has helped you embrace the mornings? Leave your best tips, tricks, and resources in the comments below!

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Ten Ways to Use PowerSheets Tending Tape

The Cultivate Team was thrilled to announce our newest product we debuted our 2018 PowerSheets Collection last fall: our Tending Tape! We created our Tending Tape to remind you to tend to what matters in your PowerSheets! Since it's debut, hundreds of you have been using it for far more than your PowerSheets, and we wanted to share your creativity today by sharing ten ways to use your Tending Tape:

Mark off several days in your planner and decorate the blank spaces. Whether you're traveling for fun or work, using your Tending Tape is a great way to mark off those events to give you a visual reminder of when you'll be gone.

Use your Wildcard pages in your PowerSheets. One of my favorite additions in this year's PowerSheets is our brand new Wildcard library. We created 13 pages you can print and tape into your PowerSheets blank pages to help customize your PowerSheets Goal Planner. Use your Tending Tape to tape those pages in! Not sure where to find the Wildcard pages? Check out the link on page 68 of your PowerSheets.

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Share it with your children! When we asked for suggestions on Instagram of how to use Tending Tape, one of our friends shared that her kids commandeered most of her tape for their art projects, and we love knowing there are tiny hands across the country using Tending Tape for their projects!

Send some happy mail! Sending happy mail is one of the easiest ways to encourage those you love, and our Tending Tape is a great way to add some color to your cards! Plus, it saves you from having to lick the envelope (and let's be honest, no one enjoys that part!)

Tape inspiration into your PowerSheets. Our friend Nicole printed a quote from a lady in our PowerSheets Facebook Group and taped it into her Encouraging Words section of her Goal Action Plan Pages What a great reminder that our words matter! Whether it's encouraging words, a photo, or a list, use the Tending Tape to add inspiration to your pages.

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Photo from our friend, Nicole

Wrap your gifts. One of my favorite budget-savers is purchasing brown kraft paper for all my gift-wrapping needs. It's easy to store one roll for all occasions, and I can decorate gifts based on the occasion. I love wrapping presents using our bright Tending Tape! It adds a pop of color, while still being easy to store!

Tape Tending List somewhere visible. After working through the PowerSheets Prep Work, uncovering your goals for the year, and creating your monthly Tending List, it's important to make sure you see those goals so you can make progress on them! Use our Tending Tape to tape your Tending List on your bulletin board, bathroom mirror, refrigerator, or anywhere you'll check in regularly. Wherever you decide to hang it, make sure it's a place you see every day!

Create a tab to easily access your 2018 goals. Our new color-coding system in our Goal-Setting Sticker Book is a great way to track your goal progress, but it can get tedious flipping back to your 2018 PowerSheets goals while creating your Tending List. Use the Tending Tape to create a little flag at the top of your 2018 goals for easy access!

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Tape your inspiration board into your Prep Work. You worked hard to compile all your images and words into a beautiful inspiration board on Pinterest for your year, so now's the time to print it out! Whether you tape it into your PowerSheets or on your refrigerator (or both!), put it somewhere where it will regularly encourage you to make progress on your goals!

Add some color to your Bible Journaling or Write the Word. Many of our PowerSheets users who are looking to cultivate their faith this year have been using their Tending Tape during their Bible Journaling or Write the Word time! What is Bible Journaling? It's a creative and fresh way to engage with Scripture by writing, painting, and creating in the margins of your Bible or Write the Word Journal.

Your turn! How are you using your Tending Tape? Leave us a comment with your favorite ways to use your Tending Tape! We'd love to hear your creativity!

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How to Make a Tending List

You've pushed through the PowerSheets Prep Work, created goals that are connected to what matters most to you, flip the page to your January Tending List... and you're stuck.

How in the world do you break down those big goals into smaller action steps for your Tending List? How do you decide what to focus on each month? How do you create a Tending List with action steps connected to your goals, and not just another to-do list?

We're here to share our best tips for taking a blank page and turning it into a Tending List you'll look at each day!

Don't try to do it all at once. I thought about calling this one "easy tiger" because I know how it feels to be roaring to go! You 're feeding off the momentum of setting your best goals, and you're ready to dive in and accomplish all the things!

Review your goals. Whether it's your first Tending List or your fiftieth, don't lost sight of what you're working towards! Look at action plan overview and your Goal Refresh sections (if applicable), and start from there.

Look at starting steps in Goal Action Overview Pages. Are there steps that you wrote out that fall into the current month or season? Great! Move those to the Brain Stream page in your monthly Tending section. Remember in the PowerSheets Prep Work when we asked you:which 3 areas of your life do you most want to cultivate moving forward? Pay extra attention to those goals!

Pay attention to what's ahead. The Prepare Well page in your Monthly Tending pages help you know what's on your calendar, important to-dos, and things you're excited about and want to celebrate in the coming months. Don't stop at your personal paper or digital calendar. Be sure to check your significant other's work calendar, your children's school calendar, and birthdays and anniversaries for loved ones.

Write all your ideas down. Write out all you want to cultivate or accomplish this month: goals you want to take action on, habits you want to grow, ways you'll rest or recharge, and relationships you want to cultivate.

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Simplify. I know what you're thinking! "But Jess, you just told me to write them all down!" Once you've written everything you think you want to do this month on paper, it's time to cut it down and focus on the most important things! Don't be afraid to get messy–circle a priority, scratch things out, and highlight to your heart's content to help you start to get a visual for what's ahead. I find it particularly helpful to use different colors on my Brain Stream page to differentiate between monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Start each action step with a verb. Once you've decided what's going on your Tending List, start filling it in! Starting each of your goals with an action verb makes it less passive, and will give you a kick in the pants each time you read it!

Color-code to stay focused. We're so excited our Goal-Setting Sticker Book includes color-coding tools to help you see progress on your yearly goals and remind you of where you're going each month. Are you a color-coding first timer like me? We have some great tips for you to get started!

Don't overthink it. No one expects you to have perfect goals each and every month. After all, this is different than traditional goal setting. It's grace-filled goal setting! Commit to daily tending. Our lives bloom through daily decisions and habits–not just the giant leaps made once in a while. Lean into the little by little progress, and be willing to celebrate all that you do accomplish in the coming weeks!

Put next month's PowerSheets Prep Day on your calendar! The Cultivate Team uses the last Friday of each month to do our PowerSheets Prep Work. , and we love sharing it on Instagram stories to encourage you! Whether you join us on that day or use a different one, go ahead and mark it in your calendar!

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Were these tips helpful? What else would you add to this list? I'd love to hear from you in the comments!

We are so grateful that ALL of the dated One-Year 2018 PowerSheets are headed to happy homes! If you haven’t ordered your PowerSheets yet, we still have three beautiful color options for undated six-month sets that are shipping now! The Prep Work, Goal Action Plan pages, and Tending Lists are identical to the one-year sets. Get yours here.

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