Monthly Archives: February 2017

Tips For Time Management

pexels-clockontableAre you feeling overwhelmed, like your time is managing you instead of you managing your time? Are you feeling busy but not productive or you’re just not sure where your time goes? Then read on for some ideas on better managing your time.

I recently realized that I had overcommitted my time. I had commitments 9 nights a month, which was bordering on too much for me. Those commitments didn’t include time with friends or family or simply relaxing on the couch with a good book. So, I decided which of my commitments made the least sense for me and I uncommitted myself.

There are many tools, books, and tricks on managing your time. You will need to decide what works best for you. I think saying ‘no’ (politely) is one of the most important skills out there.  This article talks about the importance of saying no as a great time management skill: One critical time management skill: saying no.

It’s also easy to feel overwhelmed at times. Sometimes, we simply have too much going on. A few weeks ago, my kids were sick for what felt like the 80th time this year. By the end of the week, I was overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I hadn’t gotten done that week. Laundry had piled up, I was tired of cleaning the kitchen, toys were everywhere and I was tired. So I prioritized what needed to be done, asked my husband and my (now healthy) kids for help, and got to work on the piles of stuff around the house.  This article discusses how to deal with feeling overwhelmed: Overwhelmed? Eight steps to help you regain control of your time. 

And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help with time management, organizing your house, home office, or routines, call in a professional (that includes me)! Sometimes a little outside perspective is all you need to get headed in the right direction.

It’s time to clean off your computer!

The 2nlaptopcoffeeflowerd Monday of February is clean out your computer day. When was the last time you went through and cleaned files, apps, and photos off your computer?

I’ve been working on cleaning
off our computer for the last year. We have thousands of pictures, old files from planning our wedding, old school papers, so many unncessary items. And our computer is old, we’ll likely need to replace it in the next 1-2 years. For me, simply moving files from one computer to the next is like moving boxes from one house to another without seeing what’s inside!

Here are 4 tips for cleaning off your computer.

  1. Take 15 minutes a day and start reviewing files, deleting those items you don’t need, and making sure everything else is properly labeled and filed for easy access.
  2.  Review any apps or programs that you never use and delete them. They’re just taking up space!
  3. Make a plan for keeping your files organized in the future. Create folders as you need them. I have a file called ‘Photos to Sort,’ where I put photos I don’t have time to deal with just yet. Once a month, I take a few minutes to go through these photos, delete the blurry ones and file the ones I want to keep.
  4. Ensure everything is labeled and that the label makes sense. You want to be able to find something when you need it.

Build some time in your schedule to start cleaning off your computer. Even if it’s just 1 hour a week, you’ll keep it organized and uncluttered.

Change Anything: Structural Motivation and Structural Ability

This week we are wrapping up my series looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler.

The last two sources to cover are structural motivation and structural ability. Structural motivation looks at bribing ourselves to change. Instead of believing you can simply make the change on your own, try something to entice you toward change. Structural ability looks at making changes in your structure or space to make your goals easier to reach.

Let’s start with structural motivation, which the authors describe as ‘inverting the economy’. Change your incentives to help you toward your goals. Here are a few tactics to use.

Use carrots and the threat of losing carrots.

  • Find an incentive for making the changes.
    • Take 30 minutes to read your favorite book when you turn down a commitment.
  • Give money to a charity you hate if you don’t meet set goals.
    • Maybe you give to a charity you don’t like if you say yes to a commitment you really wish you had turned down.

Use incentives in moderation and in combination.

  • Use small rewards, not big ones.
    • Taking yourself out for coffee each week you successfully deal with incoming mail and paperwork.

Use rewards in combination with social and personal motivators.

  • If you’re trying to keep your kitchen table uncluttered, maybe a family dinner or hosting book club is your reward.

Reward small wins.

  • Break your goals into smaller steps and reward those steps as you meet them.
    • Spend 15 minutes a day dealing with paperwork, instead of a Saturday afternoon.

The final source of influence is structural ability. This source looks at controlling your space. It’s tactics include:

Build fences

  • If you are saving money, don’t go into stores where you know you will spend money, unless you stick to a predetermined list and budget.
  • Don’t sign up for any magazines or mail subscriptions.

Manage distance

  • Create a distance between yourself and temptation.
    • Delete Internet bookmarks to make online shopping more difficult.
    • Deal with your mail somewhere other than your kitchen table.

Change cues

  • Create cues in your environment to remind you of the changes you are making.
    • Use your phone or photos on your fridge or car dashboard to place notes or checklists.

Engage your autopilot

  • Find a way to put something on autopilot or into a default mode so you don’t have to think about it.
    • Schedule regular appointments to deal with paperwork or to spend time with family members.

Use tools

  • Regularly post your progress on Facebook.
  • Commit to nightly family dinner or breakfast.
  • Ensure your electronic devices are working for you in your change.

We have now covered all 6 sources of influence. Remember that you need to use all 6 sources, not just a couple, if you want to make real progress towards change.

I hope you have found something useful in these posts and are able to use this information as you tackle some changes in your life!

Change Anything: Social Motivation and Social Ability

The last few weeks we have been looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I hope you’re finding the information useful! This week we are looking at social motivation and social ability.

Whether you identify it or not, the people in your life influence you in many ways. Some influence you towards the positive (the friend who meets you for a morning run) and some towards the negative (the friend who tells you to buy that shirt or eat that dessert because you deserve it, despite the fact that you’re trying to save money or lose a little weight).

Here are some ways to identify these influences and how best to change them towards the positive.

  • Identify the accomplices and the friends in your life. Who is leading you astray from your goals? The friend who always wants to go out for nice lunches followed by an afternoon of shopping? The roommate or partner who is constantly signing up for catalogs (which just clog up your dinner table)?
    • Who is helping you in a positive way? Who are your coaches or fans as you work towards your goals? Do you need a financial counselor? A professional organizer? A life coach? A therapist? An accountability partner?
  • Redefine  Normal. Stop comparing yourself to others. How do you want to live and who do you want to be?
    • Stop trying to keep up with everything your neighbors are doing. Sign off of Facebook for a few weeks. Just because your Facebook friends are constantly posting pictures of the latest adventure they’ve had doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong if you’re not out there doing the same thing. You are not them!
      • I’ve made Sundays my Facebook free days. If I have to, I’ll sign out of it so I’m not tempted.
      • Whenever I find myself comparing my life to others, I look at whether it’s something I would do. I’m not someone who wants to be traveling every weekend, so I can reframe it to ‘that’s not who I am or who I aspire to be.’
  • Have a transformative conversation. Talk to those you’d like to have as friends or coaches and tell them what you are doing and what you need from them.
    • Talk to your roommate or partner about how you’d like to get your mail organized or keep the clutter from your dining table.
    • Talk to your friend about how you’d like to spend time with her but you’re also trying to save money. Are there other things you can do together, like join an exercise group or meet for coffee instead?
  • Add new friends.
    • Join a social network or organization that supports your goals. Do you need a financial counselor? A professional organizer? A life coach? A therapist? An accountability partner?
    • Distance yourself from those who are unwilling to support you in your new endeavors. If you’re trying to save money, stop spending time with the friend who only wants to go shopping.

This week, take a look at your social motivation and social ability influences. Who in your life is helping you reach your goals and who is slowing you down? What can you do about this? I’m going to look at the social networks I am a part of and ensure they are helping me reach my professional and personal goals for the year. Public speaking through workshops on organizing is a goal of mine. I have joined Toastmasters as a way of building my public speaking skills and the members of my group are the friends in building those skills.

Next week we’re going to wrap up this series by looking at the structural motivation and structural ability.