Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


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I know you don't like to look back, but humor me. Years ago, when my husband got fired, do you remember how I struggled with having him home ALL the time, plus all the stress and emotions of the situation? And the fear of the unknown? Well, thanks to the pandemic, I feel like it's happening all over again! However, this time, I'm a single mom and it's not only impacting the girls but also Mom. I know this is an extremely difficult time for all of us, but I feel like no one understands the pressure I'm under. Especially as I'm trying to "hold it all together" for everyone! And before you say anything … I'm not asking for sympathy, because we all know you don't "do" sympathy.


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Actually, I do not think that you want sympathy. I think you want empathy. You want me – and others – to understand how you are feeling. Not to feel sorry for you. And, I venture to guess everyone you are dealing with feels the same way. The pandemic is affecting people in many different ways – health concerns, financial problems, the loss of routine, loneliness, the list goes on-and-on. The fact you are typically warm and fuzzy, means you are probably even more emotional than usual. Which makes it especially challenging – for you, and all of us around you.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS
  • What's the difference between sympathy and empathy?
  • When your significant other, family member, friend, or co-worker are going through something major, how can you be helpful and work together vs. driving each other crazy?
Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I know that we're living in stressful times, so I've been trying not to get worked up over things, especially as I know that it doesn't take much to "set me off" these days. We both know I'm a warm and fuzzy person, who prefers to avoid conflict, but it's becoming a struggle for me to be patient with people. I know I'm a "better" person when I can remain calm, but knowing that doesn't make it any easier to actually do. Plus, if I can't stay calm, cool, and collected with myself, there's no hope of treating others that way. As much as I want to.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Recognizing the situation is a major first step. Sometimes, you have to find a way to step back so you can reset. If that does not work, then just pretend to be calm. Think of it as style over substance. When I was in the corporate world, there were always people who tended to over-react. They thought of themselves as inspiring and passionate when, in reality, they were exhausting. Plus, they often came across as being overly emotional, and even having knee-jerk reactions, versus being professional and knowledgeable.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • How would you react to someone who's calm and displaying decorum? How would you react to someone that's "screaming in your face" or agitated?
  • Our mother used to say, "You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar." What do you think she meant by that? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  • If you were being interviewed for a job, how would you answer the question, "How well do you work under pressure?" Why do you think they'd ask that question? How might it apply to your personal life?
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Design by Sawyer Pennington

People have told us they're using our sisterly banter to start conversations with others (family, friends, and even in classrooms), so Black created "Conversation Starters". Stay tuned as we'll be introducing new topics on a regular basis!


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


You'd think by now I'd have learned. I know that once upon a time, when my life was simpler, my "To Do" lists were easier to keep under control. Not to mention they were much "prettier". I had a basic system for keeping things organized, and although nothing when compared to your insanely organized lists, it used to fit my needs. After my "crisis" the lists seemed to multiple, especially as the girls got older and we got busier with Red & Black. And before you say anything, yes, you've definitely helped me a lot over the years, but my lists have gotten out-of-control and now I'm overwhelmed not only by the numbers of tasks but because everything seems to be high priority.


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Are you finished? First thing is to stop thinking you can have perfect "To Do" lists. Second, as I have told you countless times over the years, is you have the process backward … you are too focused on making lists versus deciding what you need to do and then creating lists. Imagine you are starting with a "clean slate" or blank piece of paper. Identify your overall goals or objectives, and then what tasks are required, listing the most important ones first. Make sure the tasks are specific and feasible. And, do not clutter the list with things that take only a few minutes or little effort. Do not overcomplicate this process. Especially as lists are supposed to help you – not overwhelm you.

THE CONVERSATION STARTERS

  • Do "To Do" lists help you accomplish things or hurt your productivity?
  • Do you currently use "To Do" Lists? If not, why not?
  • If you use (or have used) "To Do" lists ... What has worked well? What has not worked well?

Yes, I love lists. But I'm not "that person" who looks at a terrible situation determined to find the silver lining. Yet alone a list of items. Somehow that changed a few weeks ago when Black and I were working on a Book Bite about exercise. In the P.S. section, which explained why the excerpt's as relevant today as when it was written, we commented that the pandemic made me look at exercise as a way to help reduce my stress and that maybe we should write a separate post about positive changes we've made due to the pandemic. (Similar to the positive things that happened to me years ago when my husband got fired.) As often happens, I thought it was just another one of Black's countless ideas for posts that I'd file away – except it really did get me thinking. So, I decided to create this checklist, although I struggled to keep it to only five things:

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