Summer Rain

We are entering out fifth consecutive day of rain where I live. Not drizzly, like cute to wear a vest Seattle rain. Deluge. Dumps. Flash foods.

I need the sun. And to be outside not soaking wet. Maybe I am actually solar powered?

Part of recovery is reframing old thought patterns. This worked well for the first few days of rain.

  • “The garden sure needed this rain!”
  • “Saves me from having to do all the watering.”
  • “I guess this is the universe giving me the time off of my bike I didn’t know I needed.”
  • “Lots of time to work on house projects and crafts [Translation: Read Books]!”

I even was embracing this quote I found years ago from Xan Oku:

But now I just want to see sunshine.

Do you ever feel that way? I want what I want when I want it!!!!

When did it get socially unacceptable to throw our bodies on the floor of Target and wail? That is the stage of rain I am in. Luckily my daughter agreed to go buy toilet paper for me this week.

Nope, don’t scroll down looking for the rationale that pulled me out of this skid. This is all I’ve got for you this week. Rain sucks. I am crabby.

Perhaps this will be helpful for someone else. Solidarity that things are not all unicorns and rainbows?

Maybe you have the reframing I need – how do you pull out of a tizzy?

Transparency is important too. Please know that just because I write and podcast does not mean I have it all figured out. They say it is best to write from scars not wounds. I might end up taking this post down, but I wanted to share where I am today.

I am inside watching more rain.

By |2023-06-23T08:12:28-04:00June 27th, 2023|Mental Well-being|0 Comments

Episode 21: Special Guest for Literary Life Lately!

Special guest alert! It’s that magical time of the season – time for a reading round up and all thing literary life lately. This installment is extra special since Susan’s sister will be joining her on the microphone. Before they offer up thoughts on who and what they have been reading lately, Elli and Susan chat about literary life NOT lately.

Here is what you can expect in this special guest episode:

  1. What memories around reading exist for the Edwards girls.
  2. How books and reading shaped their parenting.
  3. Differences between reading as a kid and reading as a parent.

Listen at the link below or search for “Sustainable Productivity with Susan Sanders” everywhere podcasts are available.

Links to Learn More

Links mentioned in this episode of the Sustainable Productivity podcast:

We would love to hear from you. Send your feedback on the episode, suggestions for future show topics or guests, and anything else to or in a DM on Instagram.

By |2023-06-26T09:22:06-04:00June 26th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Small Adjustments Matter

Short post today to illustrate that small adjustments matter. I used to think that I needed to run marathons to be fit. Today I don’t even run down the block and I am stronger than I have been since power lifting in the college varsity weight room.

Sure you might not be able to organize your home this weekend or even this year. But can you set an alarm on your phone to spend 10 minutes a day on the stacks of paper on your office chair?

By saying “this isn’t worth the effort” you are discounting the compounding momentum of the habit change fly wheel. Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good – just start.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost. 

For want of a shoe the horse was lost.

For want of a horse the rider was lost.

For want of a rider the message was lost.

For want of a message the battle was lost.

For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.

And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1758

And a little inside baseball? I want to be able to write long, meaningful, action item rich posts each week. But this is all I can do today. But it is something, and I am doing it.

You can too.

There is no part of habit change that is too small. Small adjustments matter.

Sustainable You Reflections

  • What habit change are you talking yourself out of?
  • Is it too big? Too hard? Too scary? What story are you telling yourself?
  • What small chunk can you break off to work on – just a piece, not the whole scary thing?

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

By |2023-06-20T07:39:15-04:00June 20th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Episode 20: Why You Need to Celebrate

In honor of Susan’s 49th birthday, this episode is all about how to celebrate. We range from the woo woo to the practical and everything in between. Whether you are a reluctant or newbie or veteran celebrator you will find something for you in Episode 20.

Here is what you can expect in today’s episode:

  1. A walk down Susan’s memory lane in batches of 7 years (and why 7 years).
  2. Examples of small, but mighty ways real people celebrate themselves and others.
  3. Suggestions for adjustments to get celebrate yourself and others

Listen at the link below or search for “Sustainable Productivity with Susan Sanders” everywhere podcasts are available.

Links to Learn More

Links mentioned in this episode of the Sustainable Productivity podcast:

We would love to hear from you. Send your feedback on the episode, suggestions for future show topics or guests, and anything else to or in a DM on Instagram.

By |2023-06-19T08:33:34-04:00June 19th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

Word of the Year

Remember equanimity, my word of the year? How is your 2023 word or theme or goal going these days? We are almost halfway through the year, but it is never too late to commit – or recommit making life better for yourself. 

I had somewhat let my focus on equanimity slide in recent months. While I was reminded of the importance of it while in Italy where I could not speak the language or understand public transportation or time zones, when I returned home I wanted to return to the homeostasis of my routine. 


A book I was reading brought my word of the year back into focus. That Phil Jackson has a way of doing that, I mean it worked for Michael Jordan so it can work for me too, right? 

In his book, 11 Rings: The Soul of Success, Jackson talks about a story he shared with the Bulls about a Zen teacher speaking to a group about Buddhism. Here is how Jackson translated it to his team: Everything is always in flux. Until you accept this, you won’t be able to find true equanimity. 


I have found that lack of acceptance just prolongs the pain. Accepting a situation for what it is can provide that equanimity. That does not mean you have to co-sign some nonsense. You can accept a person is going to act like a fool without having to change that person. A job may no longer be the right fit for you, and you can accept that while you decide if that means you should stay or find a new role. You can accept that you have time constraints that prevent you from fully immersing in a new hobby and decide what small part of it you could engage in.

Notice none of this is just lying down and being helpless, it is making small adjustments – sometimes the adjustment is in your attitude and mindset instead of massive actions or broad proclamations. 

It is ok to not take action, but to acknowledge that something is not working and you are aware. 

You don’t have to do it perfectly. In fact, because everything is always in flux, there is no way to do it perfectly. But you need to keep shifting and changing to stay true to yourself. 

To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. 

Not to dare is to lose oneself. 

Soren Kierkegaard 

Sustainable You Reflections

  • How is your 2023 word / theme / goal going?
  • Where do you need to apply more acceptance to your life?
  • What small adjustment can you apply to your attitude or situation to facilitate this acceptance?
By |2023-05-30T08:19:32-04:00June 13th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Episode 19: How to Get the Rest You Need

Rest is so important that it is a component of all three dimensions of Sustainable Productivity. In this episode Susan highlights the work from Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith in her book Sacred Rest and expands it to apply to Health and Fitness, Mental Well-being, and Environmental Surroundings.

Let’s be clear: rest is not sleep. Rest is an active or passive activity you participate in so you can recharge and restore. Consider this quote by an anonymous source:

“When I am resting because my body is weak, I need to remember that I’m not wasting the day doing nothing. I am doing exactly what I need to do. I’m recovering.”

Think of rest as more of a “timeout,” rather than a “go home.”

Here is what you can expect in today’s episode:

  1. Why rest is a component of each of the Sustainable Productivity dimensions.
  2. Signs and symptoms of a rest deficit.
  3. Suggestions for adjustments to reduce this deficit.

Listen at the link below or search for “Sustainable Productivity with Susan Sanders” everywhere podcasts are available.

Links to Learn More

Links mentioned in this episode of the Sustainable Productivity podcast:

We would love to hear from you. Send your feedback on the episode, suggestions for future show topics or guests, and anything else to or in a DM on Instagram.

By |2023-06-12T08:27:52-04:00June 12th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments

How to Do Get Things Done

For all the essays and podcast episodes I’ve done about doing less, knowing your why before you start something, and redefining productive, I do believe there is value in striving. Not fulfilling our life purpose, avoiding effort, and quitting out of fear does not lead to a Sustainably Productive life. In fact it is the exact opposite – it is checking out of the life you are intended to lead. While you are busy being busy, you might be missing the value. Missing the meat of the meal because you are making sure the silverware is set perfectly. (Apologies to the vegetarian readers). 

I have been thinking about this topic a lot in the last few weeks and am starting to get my thoughts to form sentences. I am going to make this a series over a longer period of time so I can workshop these ideas around striving with you. Let’s start where I often go when I am working through a complicated-for-me idea: the dictionary.

Striving has two definitions that I want to introduce you to.

Make great efforts to achieve or obtain something


Struggle or fight vigorously

Using these definitions, I want to talk about striving in terms of activity and inactivity. 

Striving Can Be Doing

I bet most of you reading this related more to the striving as doing. Cake even wrote a song about it:

The arena is empty except for one man

Still driving and striving as fast as he can

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up

And long ago somebody left with the cup

But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns

And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

Cake, The Distance

I believe the key is to consciously choose what you are striving for. I want to call this deliberate practice. This idea of deliberate practice takes a beginner mind. By checking your ego and need to be perfect at the door, you make more space to strive, fail, and learn. To be clear, this is hardly the American way. We don’t want to do or watch the work, we want to see the result.

“With everything perfect, we do not ask how it came to be. Instead we rejoice in the present fact as though it came out of the ground by magic.”

  • We expected Michael Jordan to be a batting All Start just because he was an NBA All Star. Watching him work at it was boring to most people – we wanted the All Star performance. 
  • People often get frustrated at crafts because they can’t replicate the sample or perfect a technique the first (or tenth or hundredth) time they attempt it. We don’t even consider that by failing to copy the sample, we have created an original.
  • Time is considered wasted if the garden didn’t yield a massive harvest. We discount the joy at puttering around in nature and the lessons learned from a smaller than usual crop. 

Don’t miss the experience that striving gives – the effort to achieve or obtain something can be what makes life interesting, fun, productive, and sustainable. 

My Deliberate Practice

One of the ways I recently engaged in this idea of deliberate practice was with quilting. A shop in the mountains of North Carolina runs online classes, which I had not tried – all of my classes had been in person. I wanted to get better at a few techniques that this online class offered so I took the leap. Going into this experiment with a beginner mind was key. Knowing there would be challenges, imperfection, and a lot to learn were things I reminded myself often. I also knew that this quilt would be one I kept or donated (vs. having the gift recipient in mind while I made it like I usually do). This took the pressure off and freed me up to make mistakes. 

While I was not wrong about all of that, this deliberate practice was a challenge. I ripped out portions, resewing them to get it right. Watching the lessons multiple times on half speed became the norm. I have a list of things that are wrong with the quilt now that it is done. And my people use it daily. We can have both.

Which leads to the other half of striving. While striving is doing something, it can also be NOT doing something.

Striving Can Be Not Doing 

As I sit here striving to draft this essay, I just heard the washing machine finish and I desperately want to pop up and put the clothes in the dryer. Because I like the feeling of things flowing easily and getting stuff done, knocking out a chore quickly is a really attractive option. But I believe my purpose is not to just do chores, it is to share the Sustainable Sue message also. To learn to be a better writer – by writing. I know this all sounds woo woo, but the point I am trying to get across is that striving is not always about DOING something, it can also be about NOT doing something. To return to the definition – I am fighting vigorously to not pop up and turn over the laundry.

I wonder if you can relate? Do you want to say no, but instead do what seems easier and say yes to please the person in front of you? Maybe you are feeling some feelings and lash out at whoever is closest because that is easier than removing yourself from the situation and putting yourself in timeout. 

Just because there is less action in the decision, does not mean you are not striving. Not doing something can be harder than doing something. 

Sustainable Productivity Reflections

  • Where are you striving in your life?
  • How is that striving working for you? 
  • Do you relate more to striving while doing or not doing? Why is that?

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

By |2023-06-02T16:29:22-04:00June 6th, 2023|Habit Change|0 Comments

Episode 18: What Does Burnout Have to Do With Nutrition?

Most of us grew up with nutrition messaging like the food guide pyramid and learning “You are what you eat!” Then life gets in the way, we numb out on unhealthy foods and eat our feelings so we can continue to RISE AND GRIND! Listen to this week’s episode to learn a new way forward when it comes to nutrition – a productive way forward that is sustainable long term. This is not about a diet. This is about fueling for the life you want to create for yourself so you can show up the way you want to, not just running on fumes.

Listen at the link below or search for “Sustainable Productivity with Susan Sanders” wherever you get your podcasts.

Links mentioned in the nutrition and Sustainable Productivity episode:

By |2023-06-05T07:36:54-04:00June 5th, 2023|Show Notes|0 Comments
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