February Reading Round Up

This episode is about one of Susan’s favorite things in the world – books! Reading is one of Susan’s favorite hobbies, and hobbies are a component of the Mental Well-being dimension of Sustainable Productivity. On average, Susan reads about 15-20 books a month, but the recap provided in the episode is limited to the books that stood out because just running down every book each month would be the audio equivalent of watching paint dry.

Links mentioned in the Sustainable Productivity episode about reading:

  • Sign up for episode emails, weekly essays, and links so you never miss a thing!
  • You can see the complete list of books Susan has read on Goodreads, linked here.
  • Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I’ve Loved by Kate Bowler can be purchased at this link.
  • Seatmate by Cara Bastone is an Audible exclusive available at this link.
  • God is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg can be purchased at this link.
  • This is Marketing by Seth Godin can be purchased at this link.
  • In the Wild Light by Jeff Zentner was the favorite book I read this month and it can be purchased at this link.
By |2023-02-27T09:22:27-05:00February 27th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments


Remember when I said the only thing I wanted to get done during Christmas break was to clear the clutter in my Tupperware drawer? Then I took 6 months off from writing and still did not clear it out?

Welp, the day of reckoning came last weekend. Our Tupperware situation became unsustainable and unproductive. As with all behavior change, when the pain became too great, change happened. 

Unproductive / Unsustainable

Unproductive / unsustainable is a state that has a clear, distinct look depending on what the root cause is. For ContainerGate it was 2 drawers that would not open reliably (the Tupperware had spread from 1 drawer to the drawer below), covering containers with foil or plastic wrap because we could not find lids, and considerations to just buy new and start over. 

My name is Susan, and I am powerless over plasticware and my drawers have become unmanageable.

I know plasticware might not be your issue though so I want to share what is below the surface of ContainerGate:

  • Frustration when the drawers stick, and we can’t get to non-Tupperware pans
  • Misdirected anger because lids are missing (I am sure no one is pranking me, but damn it feels like it sometimes)
  • Shame that my kitchen does not look like The Home Edit reveal with everything perfectly aligned in rainbow order or uniform plastic bins

Wait – are we still talking about Tupperware? Well, yes and no. It is never just about the containers, is it? It is about the feeling that you want to chuck it all and run away. Dumping the whole drawer in the trash and shelling out money for new is the equivalent of avoiding hard discussions, drowning emotions in alcohol, and numbing feelings with food or busyness. None of this is getting a desired result of smoothly opening the drawer, speaking your truth to a friend or matching your insides to your outsides. 

And friend – avoiding what got us to the messy drawer (or its equivalent) is not sustainable. The mess will come back. It is like brushing a tooth with a cavity and wondering why it still hurts. 

So I did the work one Saturday morning first thing (eat the frog first), and it literally took 30 minutes. Here is how the results broke down in each dimension of Sustainable Productivity.

Health & Fitness

We do need lots of containers even though it is just the two of us. We often freeze parts of meals for leftovers, make big batches of soup or chili, and make stock from leftover veggies and carcasses. This helps us eat healthier and save on groceries. 

Mental Well-being

I admit to having an overall hard time parting with the take out containers. However, some of that comes from the fact that when the kids come for dinner, we pack up leftovers in these take out tubs. This way they can keep them if they want, but if they get tossed out or recycled it is ok too. Keeping these disposable items indirectly helps me take care of my people.

Lucille says she is a people and would like to be take care of. Pro bonus tip: if you are testing lids (taking them off and on tubs to check for mates) the dog in your house will think leftovers are being divvied up and come running for her share. Please plan accordingly.

Environmental Surroundings

I am convinced the mismatched lids and tubs are hiding somewhere else in the house. See above about issues parting with take out tubs. I am the same way with socks – its a whole thing. But having the oddballs “in play” in the drawer is just physical clutter waiting to piss me off. Until I am able to part with them, the oddballs get sequestered in a seldom used / out of sight space in the laundry room. Occasionally they come in handy for projects like when my daughter painted her room and needed a small container to climb the ladder to trim. Boom – Sustainable Sue to the rescue. 

I know, I know! But it is about progress, not perfection. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Wrap Up

I want to bring this essay home with a few points.

  1. The clutter is never just about the clutter. It is about postponed decisions, avoided feelings, and ignored issues. 
  2. What seems insurmountable is doable if broken into small chunks or tackled when your energy is at its peak. I avoided this chore for FOURTEEN MONTHS and it took 30 minutes. 
  3. The results will reap more rewards than you can imagine – in all areas of your life.

Now it is your turn to get to work.

Sustainable You Reflections

  1. What project, task or idea have you been putting off?
  2. Decide what pain it is really causing you or what it means underneath – it is not about the containers. 
  3. Observe when your energy is highest and make a plan to take the first step on this project in the next 7 days.

I can’t wait to hear about your results. Send me your stories or photos to Susan@SustainableSue.com or find me on Instagram or Facebook. 

Until next time remember to create productive results in a way that you can sustain and that sustain YOU.

By |2023-02-07T08:52:42-05:00February 21st, 2023|Environmental Surroundings|0 Comments

Sustainable Productivity Podcast Show Notes

Life is about living wide, not just long. We are more than our to do lists, yet we often get bogged down in tasks, chores, and errands. Exhausted at the end of the day, we numb out of the life we claim to love, and can’t figure out why we feel burned out. Using research-based habit change strategies, we will tackle the three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity: Health & Fitness, Mental Well-being, and Environmental Surroundings. By making small adjustments in health, happiness, and habitat, we can work on creating and maintaining a life you don’t need to escape.

If you are new to podcasts, go here for help subscribing to and rating the Sustainable Productivity Podcast.

Show Notes

September 18, 2023: Literary Life Lately – Fall 2023

September 11, 2023: The Science of Creativity with Tresha Faye Heafner

September 4, 2023: Sustainable Sue Takes a Sabbatical

August 28, 2023: Managing Transitions

August 21, 2023: Imposter Syndrome and the Importance of Small Deaths

August 14, 2023: The SMART Way to Tackle Digital Clutter

August 7, 2023: The Best Hobbies to Battle Burnout

July 31, 2023: Sustainable Self-Soothing and Productive Self-Care

July 24, 2023: Sustainable Sue Talks Time Management

July 17, 2023: 10 Tips for Conquering Clutter

July 10, 2023: Managing Media with an Eye Toward Sustainability

July 3, 2023: How Your Relationships Impact Your Personal Productivity

June 26, 2023: Special Guest for Literary Life Lately!

June 19, 2023: Why You Need to Celebrate

June 12, 2023: How to Get the Rest You Need

June 5, 2023: What Does Burnout have to do with Nutrition?

May 29, 2023: Sustainable Sue, the Book Bully

May 22, 2023: Fitness Without a Finish Line

May 15, 2023: What is Making Life Sustainably Productive This Spring

May 8, 2023: Sustainable Sue Cleans the Kitchen

May 1, 2023: Literary Life Lately

April 24, 2023: Exercise as Treatment for Burnout

April 17, 2023: Unpopular Opinions

April 10, 2023: Redefining Sustainable and Productive

April 3, 2023: Habit Change Check-in When Habits Crash Around You

March 27, 2023: Three Strategies to Improve Your Routines

March 20, 2023: How Susan Reads 200 Books a Year – and What This Means for YOUR Hobbies

March 13, 2023: The Biochemistry of Sleep & How It Can Make You More Productive

March 6, 2023: A Non-Goal Consideration for You

Feb 27, 2023: February Reading Round Up

Feb 20, 2023: Meal Planning When You Are Sick of Meal Planning

Feb 17, 2023: What is Sustainable Productivity

Feb 10, 2023: Stress, Evolution, and Burnout

By |2023-09-19T18:54:23-04:00February 20th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Meal Planning Strategies for When You are Sick of Meal Planning

This episode is for those who are tired of carrying the meal planning load. When you can’t even believe your people need to eat AGAIN and you just want to pretend dinner is not a thing, hit play on this episode. You will hear about four strategies that are working for Susan right now to make tedious meal planning a little more sustainable. At the end there are three bonus ideas about how to use the three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity to set Future You up for success. 

Links mentioned in the Sustainable Productivity episode:

By |2023-02-20T10:33:32-05:00February 20th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

What is Sustainable Productivity?

Sustainable Productivity can be the answer to burnout and its soul sucking after effects. In this introduction to the burnout recovery principles, listeners will hear what Sustainable Productivity is NOT. Then Susan introduces two key questions to ask in order to make habit changes for short and long term habit change that sticks. Floating through life aimlessly can reduce your quality of life just as much as striving all out all the time. It is time to meet in the middle and Sustainable Productivity is that sweet spot.

Links mentioned in the Sustainable Productivity episode:

By |2023-02-17T11:50:44-05:00February 17th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Subscribe & Rate the Sustainable Productivity Podcast

Knowing how to rate a podcast can be so valuable to the podcast creator. Leaving a positive rating and review is the number one way to help others find the podcast and helps Sustainable Sue grow – especially those 5-star reviews! Here is what you need to know:

How to Listen to Podcasts

There are multiple ways to listen to podcasts. The most popular are to listen on your computer or on your phone in a podcast app. Follow the directions below to help you learn how to listen to the Sustainable Productivity podcast on an app on your phone.

Android Phone or Tablet

  • Download and install Stitcher, Spotify, or Pocket Casts.
  • Search for the “Sustainable Productivity Podcast”
  • Download and listen to a single episode or click “Subscribe” or “Follow” so new episodes download automatically. See screen shot below.

Apple iPhone or iPad

  • The “Podcasts” app comes installed on iPhones / iPads.
  • Search for the “Sustainable Productivity Podcast”
  • Download and listen to a single episode or click “+Follow” so new episodes download automatically. See the orange arrows in the screen shot below.

How to Rate a Podcast on Apple iPhone or iPad

  1. Go to the Apple Podcasts listing for the Sustainable Productivity Podcast.
  2. Click the “Listen on Apple Podcasts” button.
  3. Once you are on the Sustainable Productivity Podcast page in Apple Podcasts, scroll down to the “Ratings and Reviews” section.
  4. Click the “Write a Review” button under the Customer Reviews heading to leave a star rating and / or write a review.
By |2023-02-14T15:09:24-05:00February 14th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Keep. Showing. Up.

Coach Sue here for a pep talk to help you keep showing up for yourself. It can’t just be me hitting the dark, cold weather doldrums, right?

Things had really been cooking along with my writing for the last few months. 

  • I have been showing up regularly in weekly essays on my website,
  • My book proposal is ready for an editor,
  • A friend of mine started a weekly writing “support group,”
  • A few more creative opportunities are in the works for later this month, and
  • I found a writing group that meets monthly at my local library. 

It felt like the universe was conspiring to support me as a writer and creative human. The wind was at my back – full steam ahead. 

Then I turned the page of the calendar and it seemed like the wheels fell off the Writing Bus. 

  • The editor I had a get-to-know-you call with this morning no showed. 
  • I was the only person who showed up for the library group (which turned out to be for fiction writers anyway).
  • The other editor I interviewed is out of my price range.

Pep Talk Section

The pep rally starts here.

I bring you all of this today as an example of life on life’s terms. While I don’t believe that we should always try to cram that square peg into a round hole, I do believe that what we want takes work, patience, and creative problem solving

Maybe my message needs refining before getting to an editor. Perhaps giving feedback on other writers’ work is not where the universe wants me to focus right now. Am I not getting book traction because I am supposed to focus on a more verbal medium?

I don’t know. 

As a revering control freak and people pleaser, it is REALLY hard to say that. I just don’t have an answer. Sometimes Usually my time is not the universe’s time. I feel impatient that “it” (whatever “it” is) is taking months – this seems like forever in my 48 year old life. But in the scheme of the expansive universe over millennia of time, months is a drop in the bucket. 

What I do know for sure is that creativity and sharing words in any format feels like the right thing for today. And science tells us repetition yields results. So I will keep showing up – and I hope you do too. 

I will leave you with these poetic words that expresses my sentiment in 35 words when I it took me 10 times longer. 

4 Immutable Laws of the Spirit

Whoever is present are the right people.

Whenever it begins is the right time.

Whatever happens is the only thing that could have happened.

When it’s over, it’s over.

— Harrison Owen

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What in your life feels like rolling a boulder uphill these days?
  • Have you truly been showing up consistently related to this boulder? Is there a way you need to change how you are showing up – more attention, less control, different activities? 

It might be hard to see where you need help with that boulder or how you can show up differently. Creative problem solving sometimes needs an accountability buddy. If you need help find me on social media or send me a message to Susan@SustainableSue.com. I would be glad to help you work on it!

Until next time –

By |2023-02-04T14:50:30-05:00February 14th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Stress, Evolution, and Burnout

Stress has always been a part of our lives – since the beginning of time. How we have handled it has changed, leading us to the breaking point we live in today. The pace of life is no longer sustainable and we are avoiding addressing the elephant in the living room – our response to the pressure. Stressors will never go away, the problem is in how we manage it. In this episode you will learn about how stress affected our ancestors and how it affects us today then you can learn a few tips and tricks for coping with stressors that will inevitably come into our lives.

Links mentioned in the stress and Sustainable Productivity episode:

By |2023-02-09T16:12:49-05:00February 10th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Fullest Expression or Sustainably Productive Expression?

“Fullest expression” is a phrase that they use a lot in my yoga classes. “Should” is not a word permitted in the studio. Instead of blahblah-asana being a pose where you should have your arms wrapped around your legs while balancing on your head, the instructor coaches us that pretzel is the fullest expression and we can also just do arms or incorporate the head stand part if it feels right today. 

Which is a relief because there is one thing this old bod is not doing these days and it is fullest expression of anything upside down. 

Full expression and well, my expression. If this doesn’t clarify the difference, I am not sure what else to do.

I have been thinking a lot about the idea of fullest expression lately as things are getting shuffled around in my life. Nothing major just projects that require a some small adjustments to logistics. 

Fullest Expression Off the Mat

A few balls have gotten dropped, and I am definitely out of my routines. Which often leads me to less than Sustainably Productive thinking. Here is what that might sound like:

  • What is wrong with me – normally I have my writing done by now.
  • I should be able to do all three things. 
  • Other people manage a lot more than this, why can’t I?

I feel my attention being fractured as I spend several hours each day continually bouncing around. The context shifting is exhausting. By the end of the day my fullest expression is the fetal position under a blanket clutching the remote. I know my habits and routines bring relief to this pinging around, but I feel like there is not enough time or I should be doing something else. If I can’t do the whole routine, I do nothing. 

For example, I recently got up later than usual and skipped morning reading and journaling before going to exercise. I felt like I had been shot out of a cannon all day. It was like I was living on 1.5 speed instead of the normal pace of life. Everything felt out of synch. 

I wonder if you might have days like this too? 

Real Life Look In

What if we do a small part of each bits of our routine? If we cannot do the whole enchilada, maybe we can have small bites of it. Here is what it might look like as it relates to my morning on ramp:

Fullest Expression

Journaling: 15 minutes

Personal Development, Daily Devotional Reading: 20 minutes

Meditation: 20 minutes

Stretch: 6 minutes

Sustainable Productivity Expression

Journaling: 5 minutes

Reading: 5 minutes

Meditation: 1 minute

Doing a truncated version of the routine is better than chucking the whole thing and shoulding on myself all day. This is different than a routine not working. This is for a day the alarm didn’t go off. Or you have to catch a flight. Or a kid woke up sick. 

Showing up for yourself consistently – even if it is not the fullest expression – can continue to keep that fly wheel of habit change turning.  

Sustainable You Questions

  1. Do you have a day in the next week where you know you need an abbreviated version of your routine?
  2. How can you plan now for what that shortened window can be used in a Sustainably Productive way?

It can be hard to reframe fullest expression to Sustainable Productivity Expression. If you need help find me on social media or send me a message to Susan@SustainableSue.com. I would be glad to help you work on it!

Until next time –

By |2023-02-03T19:38:24-05:00February 7th, 2023|Sustainable Productivity|0 Comments


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