Thanksgiving Day: food, family, walk, write

It’s pretty simple: eat good food, enjoy time with family, take a walk, and write in a notebook. Simple. When I break down the highlights of today, this will be a recipe for success.

Eat good food, but honestly let’s not be gluttons. Believe it or not I’m known around my family for being good for three plates plus healthy portions of dessert. I’m all for eating good food, but moderation is always a good thing, even on Thanksgiving. Sure, even if I don’t eat as much as I want, it’s not like I can give the leftovers to starving kids in Africa. But for me this year it’s about the posture, about being thankful for great food on my plate but not eating in excess.

Enjoy time with family. Not always the easiest, but clearly the most important on my list this year. At the end of the day, family is our greatest commodity. Our relationship are vital to our health. We were built for relationship, we were built to live in community. Skip the formalities. Skip the conversation you always have with your sister-in-law. Take it further. Make moments. Snap new and exciting pictures together. Give the kids memories. It’s the only family you’ll ever have. None of them are guaranteed to be around next year. Sorry to be a downer, but be honest with yourself. The time is now to sow those seeds, harvest and cultivate others. Be intentional. I’ve got my plan.

Ah, the Thanksgiving Day family walk. Well I guess this one is piggybacking off number one. I’m a health guy, so I always gravitate towards the physical activity. And I’m not pulling any punches here. Bottom line is we are all eating really well today, and we’re probably inside with family a lot also. A family walk is good on so many levels. Imagine if your neighborhood streets were packed with families all on walks in the 35-degree weather today! How cool would that be?! Eat the food, not too much, enjoy the family and then take it outside. Great tradition to start this year if you don’t already.


Write in your notebook. I’ve rekindled my passion for words lately. The world doesn’t need more books published, but I believe it needs a few more blogs, a few more (meaningful) tweets. It needs a few more people to contribute a few thoughts to society.  It needs you to be intentional and make something good happen. We need thoughtful people, we need creative people. My examples above were ways to go public, but my title here simply references a notebook. I’m sure you have a notebook or journal around. If you don’t, write it on paper today and paste it in tomorrow when you buy one. Or write it on the computer, save it and start a journal there. Remember Doogie Howser, MD? He had thoughtful reflection after each episode. There was a life lesson there. Write what you’re thankful for, write what the family did, make a goal to lift someone up today.

I, personally, have much to be thankful for. I bet you do also. From my family to yours, wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving.

My Current Toolkit

Inspired by the one and only John Saddington, I took a few minutes this morning to review the tools I use I a daily basis to get work done.  Interesting timing since I just wrote a post last week about doing work that matters.

evernote toolkit

Evernote: I can say enough about this app. It took me awhile to fully understand it’s power and efficiency. In the old days, I had Word documents for everything. But they’re not searchable and not nearly as readily organized as Evernote notes. There’s a premium version but I’m still on the free one! 2,000 notes and counting. I take all of my work, all of my personal projects, all of my home records and organize them in Evernote, so of course they’re with me on all my devices. I store critical emails, meeting notes, drafted blog posts, tutorials, work logs, and even recipes in Evernote.

Dropbox: The original, and in my opinion still the best. Remember that “Documents” folder on all computers? That thing collects dust now. Every document of mine is in Dropbox so that (as with Evernote) I can access any document at any time from any device.

Sparrow: My email client of choice is Sparrow because it’s simple and it’s popular. I expect it to die soon since Google purchased it, but that was over 18 months ago. I’m going to give Apple Mail another good look since Michael Hyatt speaks so fondly of it. If he can be a power-user on Mail, it should work for all my needs.

Moleskin: Anyone who knows my knows that I’m digital first. To be fully honest, I’m a hoarder. Cloud storage has allowed me that capability. But even in front of my computer, with my iPad next to me as a second screen, I still have my Moleskin open to scribble notes, draw concepts, and remember how pen-to-paper has felt for as long as I’ve been a student. I’m fully digital, but can I still hold on to analog?

Briefcase:  Mountain Hardwear Sentinel Messenger Bag has been over my shoulder for years. It holds everything I need for a work day, plenty of pockets for organization, and I can commute via bike with ease and comfort, knowing everything will stay dry.

mountain hardwear sentinal

Computing: The MacBook Air is simple the best machine I’ve ever owned. I know people get sick of the Mac/PC debate. I’ll save it. Best purchase ever, though. I love my iPad and over the last few months I’ve realized I can get 98% of my work done on iPad. And with Evernote and Dropbox installed, I have my entire office, my entire graduate experience, and all my reading material on this little device. BAM! And of course iPhone 5 is always in my pocket.

This is my toolkit for any given workday. I have some other tools that certainly have a place in my workflow. I’ll discuss those next week. I’ll go over some of my favorite apps for productivity and for entertainment (and no, there will be no games mentioned. I have one game on my iPad and I’ve never played it).