Punching the Air, the 80-20 Rule & Valentine Fun

in , by Stephanie, February 05, 2021

A new month brings a new focus and my one word for February is connection. I'm working to better connect with myself, with others and with the world and my reading, writing and learning this week reflects that. Keep reading. There are some gems here today!

What I’m Reading:


Reading has changed the way I view the world. Only through the pages of a book can I gain new perspectives that I simply could not experience for myself, perspectives that have propelled me to continually question how the world works and my place within it. Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam has done exactly that. It was a beautifully written book in verse, a book that invited me into Amal’s world to experience his truth, a truth not evident to the world. And while I was entranced in these beautiful pages of rhythm and movement, I was left haunted. Haunted by a world that never saw Amal for who he was. Haunted by a system that neither cared nor attempted to change. Haunted by a beautiful family that was separated, but not broken. I lost count of the number of pages I marked so I could return and be still with the pages later. Zoboi and Salaam truly touched my heart as an educator, a mother to teenage sons and as a white woman living in the world today. We have much work to do. 


I also read Daphne Definitely Doesn’t Do Fashion by Tami Charles from the Daphne, Secret Vlogger series. It was a quick and thoroughly-enjoyable read about the complexities of finding your way through middle school. I was lucky enough to have my copy signed by the author with a message that perfectly captures the theme of the book: Be different! I can easily see middle schoolers devouring the book given the realness of the drama and the appeal of becoming a blooming YouTube sensation. My only complaint? The unresolved ending. Most series books come full circle, but this one leaves the reader hanging...and I HAVE to know what happens next. You’ll want to, too! It’s perfect for the reader who wants a short book with a quickly-moving plot line to keep them engaged. 


What I’m Writing:


Have you ever read something, something so brief and seemingly so small, but it made you stop dead in your tracks and rethink EVERYTHING. I had one of those moments this week and headed right to my notebook. Here’s what I saw:

Close your eyes, and imagine yourself living in your vision. For those of you who have already arrived at your vision, ask yourself ... how can you live IN your vision?


Whoa. Happily, much of my vision is true. I have a great family, a nice house to keep us warm and safe, a job I absolutely love and nerdy hobbies that make me happy. =) But rather than truly appreciate that I’m living my best life, I’m always thinking of what’s next, adding to my to-do list and not living in the present moment. I’m not always living in my vision. This was exactly the reminder I needed to really live fully and not just chase the next thing. 


So, if you need that reminder this week, here it is. =) Now go write ABOUT your vision or how you can better live IN your vision.  


What I’m Learning:


Rachel Hollis dropped a truth bomb this week on her podcast: the 80-20 Pareto Principle. How is it I’ve NEVER heard of this before? Here’s the basic idea. Are you ready? Eighty percent of our results come from just twenty percent of our actions. What?! Here’s what it can look like:


  • 20% of sales reps generate 80% of total sales.

  • 20% of customers account for 80% of total profits.

  • 20% of patients account for 80% of healthcare spending

  • We wear 20% of our closet full of shoes 80% of the time. 

  • We spend 80% of our time in 20% of our house. 

  • We use about 20% of the apps on our phone 80% of the time. 

  • 20% of our daily work drives 80% of our productivity (and maybe even happiness!)


This is a game-changer, isn’t it?! What if we REALLY took the time to identify the 20% of our days that bring us 80% productivity and happiness? What if we stopped trying to do all the things and used the 80-20 rule to decide how we spend our time? Really. What if?! Head to this article if you want some concrete guidance for printing this principle to life, like I did. I can’t wait to make some changes next week!


What I’m Loving:


Every year, on the first day of February, I get out our five small, colorful Valentines mailboxes. Years ago, my children labeled each one and decorated them with fun stickers. Each day, we would leave love notes and trinkets to surprise family members with. It is one of my most treasured traditions. Fast forward ten years and I have three teenagers in the house. The mailboxes might not have the same childlike appeal, but they bring a smile to our faces when we see them. Each day, I fill them with love notes, messages and even a treat or two. Here’s what’s in store:


A Love Note Prescription Bottle: My husband has been battling some health challenges, so these fake pills filled with love notes are just what the doctor ordered. You HAVE to see this. 


Poop Emoji Toilet Paper: Oh, yes, I am! This will shock my kids and make them smile, for sure!


February Fix Cupcakes: Have you seen these?! This is for the whole family: 25 perfectly portioned bite-sized cupcakes in decadent flavors. And they come gluten-free, too! Shipping is pricey, but they just might be worth it.


There you have it! I hope this inspires you to make space for more reading and writing in your own life. What are the highlights from your literate life this week? 


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