The Effortless Every Day: How to Design Your Daily Life to Free Up Time and Energy for What Really Matters
The author outlines her vision for the book simply: “I hope this book finally answers your big questions about how to become who you’ve meant to be.” She offers a three-part system to design your lifestyle, and she emphasizes making small, daily changes to your daily life. (My take on this emphasis? Small = manageable. Daily = habit-forming.) To implement this system, the author notes, we need to stop “Pinteresting.” Examples of small changes include going to bed 15 minutes earlier and getting outside each day.
Part I is Digging Deep. In this section, she notes that time is flexible and that this is important because “[i]t’s not what our society has told us.” We should focus our energies and devote time to the most important things and say no/do less. Part I contains an exercise called Priming for Change.
In Part II, Dominating Your Day, the author discusses identifying what you want, what you need, what needs to be eliminated (i.e., what’s getting in the way if you getting what you want), how you’ll make this happen, and analyzing so you can course-correct as needed. Areas in which she suggests making changes include health, home, relationships, and professional goals. The author is a proponent of the SAVERS method from Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod: Silence (meditation), Affirmation, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing (journaling). (Check out my review of Miracle Morning)
Part III is Setting Up Systems. This section is, in the author’s words, “how to get changes to stick. Different changes take different amounts of time to stick.
We must make room in our lives for what we want, whether that be a spouse, more clients, to travel, and more. Once we implement these small, daily changes, all that’s left to do (ha!) is to enjoy life.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know I love to pick a few favorite quotes from business books, and The Effortless Every Day has some great ones:
“Life takes practice.”
“Most modern women are short on time. Perpetually.”
“We only have so much decision-making fuel in each day or week.”
“There is no growth in the comfort zone and no comfort in the growth zone.”
“Guilt is not something you’re either conflicted with or doesn’t bother you. It’s a learned muscle that you practice.”
“Define your ALL. Then ignore the rest.”
Online Marketing for Busy Authors
As a new author myself, this book was of particular interest. The author confirms early on what I, and other authors, already know: Marketing is a long game, not a sprint. This is true whether you are a first-time author or a multi-book author, and no matter what publishing method (traditional, self, of hybrid) you use. This book is interactive, with worksheets and checklists throughout. The author breaks down the process into three parts: Getting Organized, Turning Your Thinking into Action, and Staying the Course. In Phase 1, the author notes that today is a good time to be an author because authors have “direct access to their readers.” This phase is about personal branding, dreams, readers, goals, and priorities. In the chapter on goals, the author asks: “Why did you write your book?” (I hope you identified this BEFORE writing.) This section contains a chapter of advice from publishers, agents, and other authors. In Phase 2, the author discusses creating an online marketing plan (that is both sustainable and scalable), building a website, blogging, social media, and book publicity. The author’s advice with regard to marketing is simple: “Double down on what’s working and ditch what’s not.” Phase 3 is about promoting without being promotional, monitoring, and adjusting. The worksheets and checklists throughout the book are helpful exercises in crafting a long-term marketing plan.
Winter Garden is the story of three women: sisters Meredith and Nina, and their mother, Anya. Meredith runs the family business her father built; Nina travels the world as a photographer, coming home sporadically at best — and leaving the same way. Their mother, Anya, is cold and detached. She has had a stifled, at best, relationship with her daughters since they were children, with husband/father Evan the glue that holds these three strong women together. Nina rushes home when Evan has a heart attack, and on his deathbed he convinces Anya to tell their daughters a story — a story she began years ago but never finished — to the end. Anya tells the story in pieces as Nina works to pull them out of her. The story is one of love, heartbreak, and survival from Leningrad during World War II. The “twist” in this novel was well written and unexpected, which was, frankly, refreshing, and there were sub-plots: Nina’s inability to commit to Patrick, who desperately wants her to, and Meredith’s denial that her marriage is in trouble now that her children are out of the house (in college) and her father is gone. The novel ended a little abruptly for me, but that didn’t take away from the lovely and heartwarming story of strong women learning to love and lean on one another.