February 27th, 2014 - Category: Organization
Does being on time seem impossible, no matter how important the event? Are you always running out the door in a frenzy? Have you ever wished you could break the pattern?
Well, don’t be discouraged. Being late is a habit that you can break overnight. But, only if it’s important to you.
Now, don’t get me wrong. We’re not talking about the occasional late because of an accident on the freeway. We’re talking about the person that gets told that lunch is at 11:30 when it’s really at noon, because everyone knows that you always show up late.
If this sounds familiar, if being punctual isn’t one of your priorities, let’s look at why, maybe, it should be.
First, lets look at the consequences of being late.
Being late is stressful. It leads to racing, worried, and anxious feelings.
Being late is embarrassing. The first few minutes after arriving anywhere is spent apologizing.
Being repeatedly late creates a negative reputation. People feel that they cant trust you or rely on you.
Being late impacts relationships. The people around you, that have to constantly make-up for your lost time, begin to resent you.
Being late affects your self-esteem. It makes you feel like you have not control over a situation that you should have control over.
Are you motivated to make a change yet? If not, Dr. Phil has some words that may make you think twice about being late next time. He says to get real about your tardiness. If you are always late, but tell yourself that you try to be on time, get real. Be honest with yourself. Start by admitting that you really aren’t trying as hard as you could.
Dr. Phil also puts a strong spin on tardiness. He claims that if you are always late or procrastinate, it is a way of manipulating and controlling a situation at the expense of others. He calls it an arrogant behavior.
You may disagree, but he claims that when you are late, you are making everything about you and you are unfairly imposing your time schedule on others and assuming that others should wait on you.
Take what you will from Dr. Phil’s profound ideas on being late. I don’t consider myself a “late” person. In general I tend to be early. But, after hearing his ideas on tardiness, I have to say that I’m planning on putting more time into being prepared so I’m not late next time.
Check back next week for some tips on how to be on time and some characteristics of “on time” people. I think you’ll be enlightened.
January 1st, 2014 - Category: Organization
How many times in your life have you looked back and realized that x number of years ago you thought of doing something and now x number of years have passed and you didn’t do it. If only you would have hunkered down and made the sacrifice or put forth a little extra effort, you could be enjoying the benefits right now instead of feeling guilty about not doing it.
Well, right now, a whole year is ahead of you. Now you can do what you wish you would have done last year.
If you are like so many others out there, today is the day to make new year resolutions or goals for the upcoming year.
To make changes in your life takes a shift in thought. And it takes time for new things to become habits. You need to be aware and conscious of every choice you make and hold yourself accountable for choices that lead you toward your goals or take you away from them.
To begin with, you need to make realistic goals. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Spend time with family and friends. Improve your relationships with those closest to you. Stop wasting time. Make the time you spend with friends and family more meaningful. Tell them you love them as often as possible and show them you love them more than that.
2. Take care of your body. Be active and eat better. Exercise more regularly and be more aware of what you put into your body. Stop making excuses. Become the person on the outside that will support the person you are on the inside.
3. Stop bad habits. Even if you have tried and failed before…try again. Don’t stop yourself before you even start. Have a positive attitude and come up with a plan. Find someone to help you be accountable.
4. Enjoy life more. Stop being negative. Be more spontaneous. Do that thing that you always loved to do but haven’t done in forever. Do some soul searching. Write in a journal. Be more grateful for what you do have.
5. Get out of debt. Live on a budget. Save money. Eat out less. Teach your kids about money.
6. Learn something new. Overcome a fear. Old dogs are never too old to learn new tricks. What have you always wished you could do? Do it!
7. Help others. Donate to your favorite organization. And if you don’t have extra cash to help others – give of your time. Volunteer with an organization you are passionate about. Become a mentor. Donate unwanted items to help others.
8. Get organized. De-clutter your home. Reduce your stuff. Institute meal planning. Institute a chore system. Live more simple. Find peace in your home.
If you read through the above list and thought of something in particular that you want to start or change about yourself, write it down and stick it somewhere you will see everyday.
Stay positive and stick with it. Good luck!
September 25th, 2013 - Category: Organization
Time is a precious commodity. The reasons why we never seem to have enough time vary per individual.
A big time waster… television. According to USA Media, the typical American spends more than 30 hours a week, (that’s more than a full day!) sitting in front of the TV.
Another culprit, your memory.
Yep. Forgetting something and having to fix or re-do it later can become a big time waster.
For example, you get home from the store and realize that you forgot the eggs for breakfast tomorrow. Now you’ll have to spend more time going back to the store, or else scrounge for a replacement for breakfast. All to make up for your forgetfulness.
Or, maybe you forgot a deadline at work. Now you’ll have to take time rescheduling and rearranging your schedule to accommodate for the rush job you’ll have to do now. Not to mention the inferior work you’ll do in your haste.
Another example. You left the house to run errands but forgot the movies or the library book that needed to be returned on the way. Now you’ll have to make a second trip because you forgot.
As you can see, improving your memory can actually, add minutes and maybe even hours to your day. Here are some ideas to help improve your memory.
1. Pay attention. It’s almost impossible to remember something if you are distracted. Try to be more alert and conscious of others and your surroundings. When you are having a conversation, turn off the TV or radio and give your full attention. Notice land marks while driving. Sleep well the night before a long meeting or class.
2. Write it down. “Writing something down is the best way to remember it,” says Doug Alexander, a Boston-area psychologist. Try keeping a notebook or something similar, where you can not only write down things to remember but have them organized by category – such as “to-do lists,” phone messages” or “directions”. The process of writing and categorizing information can reinforce your ability to retain it.
3. Repeat it. Repetition is an easy way of helping information sink in. When you meet someone new, use their name several times during the conversation to help you remember it. “Rehearse” directions, grocery lists, or test answers a few times so you don’t forget.
4. Put it in the same place. Make a habit of putting your keys in the bowl by the front door. Put all the screwdrivers in one place; all the bills, somewhere else, etc.
5. Make notes to yourself. Attach sticky note to the pone, front door, or bathroom mirror, such as “Call Mom to wish her a Happy Birthday.” These can be used like an external memory or an extension of your memory – a way to remember without having to actually remember.
6. Take a deep breath. When you are stressed, hormones are released that can negatively affect your memory. Relaxing can reduce these hormones and help you remember things better. “If you slow your breathing, your heart rate slows, invoking a relaxation response,” says Stanford university insomnia expert, Madsen Palmer.
August 22nd, 2013 - Category: Organization
Back to school means changes for everyone in the family. Use these tips to ease the transition from laid back summer days to crazy school routines.
1. Make a back to school budget. It’s never too early to teach your children money skills. Start with a budget and decide how much money will be spent on new school clothes, backpacks, and school supplies. With a budget your children may have to prioritize. What’s more important: new jeans or a new back pack? Frugality is a virtue that has to be learned.
2. Clear out the closet. Before you bring home new school outfits, go through everyone’s closet and get rid of any clothes or shoes that don’t fit anymore or that they don’t wear (or like). Donate them to charity. Not only will this make more room for the new stuff but it will help with the clutter as well.
3. Create a homework space. Everyone needs a quiet place for homework where they can concentrate and be productive. Have your child find their spot and then make sure everyone knows about it so they can respect their privacy.
4. Set ground rules for the TV, internet, and cell phones. Invite your kids (text them if necessary ) to a family meeting where new rules can be introduced. You can even include snacks and games to help lighten the mood. It doesn’t have to be a fight. Have a grown-up discussion where everyone can communicate openly and come to an agreement that is fair for everyone.
5. Brainstorm lunch ideas together. How many times do you put in carrot sticks, only to find them still in their lunch box after school? Nutrition is paramount but you’ll have a better chance of your children eating what’s in their lunch box if they have a say about it. Discuss options and find some common ground for everyone’s benefit.
6. Get your calendar ready. Put on your cape and mask Super Mom. It’s time to show that crazy calendar who’s boss. To keep things more organized try using a different color to designate each member of the family and their calendar items.
7. Figure out your morning routine. Sending the kids out the door in a screaming, yelling fight isn’t the way anyone wants to start their day. A week before school starts decide what activities need to be done in the morning and what can be done the night before. Come up with a good wake-up time that leaves plenty of time to get ready as well as the occasional what-if’s and then you’ll be able to leisurely get ready and send them out the door with a hug and kiss instead.
8. Take advantage of meet the teacher night. School can be a scary place. When you meet the teacher ease their fears by taking a tour of the school as well. Be sure to point out key locations such as the bus stop, the cafeteria, and playground. Less unknown means less stress.
August 14th, 2013 - Category: Organization
Are you having problems keeping things straight now that school has started?
Here are some apps we would recommend that can help everyone have access to the same schedules, get the same reminders, and share the same information. Just what you need to keep everyone in line and on the same page.
Cozi is a free app and website that helps you manage the chaos of family life. It is a popular online family calendar app that also offers shopping lists, meal planners, and to-do lists. It can help you keep track of everything from school schedules to sports activites, grocery lists, and meals. It’s all in one place – accessible by every member of the family – from any computer or mobile device.
Throw out the endless lists on every wall and in every corner of the house, because with Priorities you’ll never dread your to-do list again. Priorities can make it easy to organize your to-do lists for long and short-term tasks. Add alerts, due dates, due times, and notes on any page. You can also synch to backup or share with family, friends, or coworkers.
We are all about chores over here and you guessed it, MyJobChart.com has a free app as well. It couldn’t be easier for parents to assign chores to their kids and manage rewards wherever you are. Sitting on the couch or in the office, getting your household in order is right at your fingertips. You can also see at-a-glance what’s been done around the house by someone other than you! Yes, I’m liking this already.
Evernote is especially helpful for saving online information, sharing notes, and planning trips. Save your ideas, things you like, things you hear, and things you see. And don’t worry about loosing anything, because you can search by keyword, tag, or even printed and handwritten text inside images.
ScannerPro turns your mobile device into a portable scanner, allowing you to scan receipts, pictures, permission slips, itineraries, or other documents and then email, upload, and even save the scan to use later.
Juggling all the activities of a busy family can be as challenging as managing the information flow. We want to know what works for you. What are your favorite organizational apps?
June 26th, 2013 - Category: Organization
Have the lazy summer months drained you of your productivity? Do you long for the routine of school days just so you can get something done?
We all hate to waste time. But between you and me, sometimes there doesn’t seem to be a better way. The clock keeps ticking and nothing seems to get accomplished.
Here are 7 tips to help you squeeze the most out of every minute.
1. Get Up Early. Those who get up early tend to be more productive. They have a more productive mind-set and they have a couple of “quiet” hours to get more done.
2. Think Productive – Be Productive. Keep your goals at the forefront of your thoughts throughout the day. Repeatedly ask yourself if what you are doing is productive or wasting your time. If what you are doing isn’t in line with your goals, then change your course of action.
3. Analyze Your Day. Take a look at your day and figure out what is wasting your time or distracting you from getting things done. Maybe it’s procrastination, a bad habit, or a backward strategy. Figuring it out can be the hard part, but once you do, try to fix it. For example, if you can’t get anything done because the phone keeps ringing all day, let it go to voice mail so you can finish what you are doing and then set aside a time to return all of those calls.
4. Get Organized. “Un-organization” can drain the productivity out of your day. Time spent searching for lost items could be better spent. Being organized will not only free you of searching time, but it can also free your mind of clutter and calm your soul.
5. Avoid Multi-Tasking. Do one thing at a time and get it done, rather than shifting from one thing to another and not getting anything accomplished. In most cases multi-tasking will amount to getting less done. If the job you are doing will take more time than you have, set a time limit for the day and return to it the next day.
6. Schedule Personal Time. We all need to charge our batteries every now and then. If you find that once your day gets started there’s no time to sit back and remind yourself of the big picture, then schedule that time in (and stick with it).
7. Get help. Learn to delegate and if you have helpers that can do the little things for you, by all means, ask for their help.
Just because we lose routines during the summer doesn’t mean that we can’t get things done. Follow these 7 tips and you’ll be seeing more checks on your to-do-list.
March 12th, 2013 - Category: Organization
In last weeks blog we talked about the strategy behind getting your kids room organized. Today lets discuss what it takes to get it done.
Plan Your Zones
There are several “zones” in a child’s bedroom. Areas where they sleep, do school work, play, and dress. Arrange the furniture and layout the bedroom to better accommodate each of these zones.
For example, instead of lining furniture against the walls, use them as room dividers by turning a dresser, bookshelf, or even bed perpendicular to the wall.
Group items according to how your child relates each item to each other. This will make it easier for them to find and put away their things later.
When you come across items that they have outgrown, broken, or never use, get rid of them. Your child may get wrapped up in the memories and have a hard time letting go. If so, maybe you can create a childhood memory box or book for these things.
Assign A Home
First of all, remember that if you want your child to be responsible for their belongings and put them up, then they have to be stored in places that they can reach, not just you. Designate certain shelves or drawers for certain things.
Here’s my favorite part. Find tough, easy to handle, coordinating containers for all of their stuff. There are so many to choose from. Find ones that are not only practical for what you are storing and the space you have to put it in, but make them cute as well.
Label those containers, shelves and drawers with words and pictures. Not only will it help them know what’s inside, but they’ll learn to read as well! I bet they would love to make their own labels too.
Now, sit back and relax as you enjoy your child’s cleaner room and they enjoy the new found floor to play on.
Remember, to keep it maintained will take time as well. New habits are not established overnight. Create an easy, realistic maintenance plan that you and your child can live with.
And periodically give it a “tune-up”. Your kids are constantly growing and their room and all of their stuff is growing too. Go back through the above steps every now and then to make sure that your system stays in order and their room stays organized.
March 5th, 2013 - Category: Organization
For this week and next, we are going to be talking about helping your kids organize their room. Today we’ll discuss the strategy behind it and next week we’ll discuss the specifics of getting it done.
The key to successfully organizing a kids room is to involve the child as much as possible in the process. As much as you may be tempted to just haul in a dumpster, long range success can only come by allowing your child to participate in the design, transformation, and maintenance of their own room.
Kids love to solve problems – which is what organizing is all about. Provided you stay calm and supportive rather than judgmental and critical, you and your child will enjoy the individual attention and time you get to spend together as you make the transformation.
Just think, through the process you will also get a unique opportunity to observe your child’s emerging and evolving personality. As you help your child make decisions about what to keep and what to toss or how to rearrange their furniture, you can gain insight into how their minds work and where their values lie. You can also learn about any new interests they may have. And together you can create a room that is a true reflection of who they are and what is important to them.
First, with your child, discuss what is working in their bedroom. Maybe the cars are easy to put up because the big bin is in the corner, or they love the bookshelf for their stuffed animals because they can see all of them.
Second, ask your child what they dislike about their room. Create a list based on their frustrations, not yours. Carefully pose questions that speak to your child’s concerns and needs so that your child will have their own reasons for tackling this problem. For example, take a look at the following lists and notice some of the differences between what your concerns may be and what their concerns may be.
Messy room upsets you
You are tired of cleaning up after them
Someone may trip or get hurt walking through their bedroom
You spend too much money on lost or broken things
Their messy room is embarrassing to you
Their favorite toy got broken because it got stepped on
They can’t play their favorite game because the pieces are lost
They got in trouble at school for losing their homework
There is no room to play with their friends
Cleaning up is too hard and takes too long
They don’t know where to put things
Third, determine what items are most important to them. It may be their art and craft supplies or their dinosaurs, maybe their video games or their coin collection. Everyone has things that are special to them.
Fourth, discuss what could be causing the lack of organization. Here are some reasons that may be discussed.
Organizing is boring.
If it’s not fun to clean up, then they won’t want to do it. Yet kids love fitting things into all kinds of spaces. Creative containers may be a help.
Items have no home.
Kids seem to accumulate new belongings faster than they can keep up with them. Naturally, if an item doesn’t have a home, you can’t expect them to put it up.
Frequently storage in a child’s room is impractical or difficult to reach which can impede even the best organizing intentions.
The system is too complex.
Usually a kids room is set up according to their parents idea of logic and placement which may not make sense to the child.
In the end, remember: The goal is to get your child to buy into the organizing process – not force them into cleaning up their room because you can’t stand it anymore. This requires the ultimate in diplomacy and tact. In working with your child, become the organizing consultant. Help your “client” by asking them questions. You may need to offer suggestions to help them put a voice to their concerns, but respect them and their opinions. This may be an overwhelming project for them as well, so be considerate of their feelings. Your job is to guide, motivate, and stay supportive – not just be critical.
Now that we’ve discussed the strategy behind getting your children organized, next week, we’ll talk about the specifics of actually getting it done.