Category Archives: habits

Stop Wasting Time

How much time do you waste on a daily basis? Are you aware of how much you procrastinate or put off a task because you don’t want to do it or are not clear on the next steps? A 2015 time/work survey showed that 70% of people waste time because they feel stressed or uninspired. And 50% spend too much time procrastinating. Does this sound familiar?

Stop Wasting Time

I’ve noticed my kids fight doing something they don’t want to do. They spend more time arguing with me or coming up with excuses to get out of doing something, like taking a bath or picking up a few toys, than if they’d just do the task. In most cases, watching TV is waiting for them at the other end of this task. And if they’d just do it, they’d have more TV time. They’ll be running around the house. I’ll ask them to pick up a few toys. Suddenly they’re laying on the floor, too tired to help!

Think of the emotional and mental drain of this!

Stop Wasting Time!

So how do you work through this? Here are a few ideas.

  • Identify the next steps. Break any overwhelming projects down into small steps. Then you take the next step, then the next, until you complete the project
  • Set mini-deadlines. Take the small steps you identified and set deadlines for each one. Hold yourself to those deadlines. Make yourself accountable to someone else or set up payment to a non-profit you can’t stand. If you don’t make the deadline, your payment goes!
  • Set a timer. Work for 30 minutes or any predetermined amount of time. When the timer goes off, you can stop for the day. Or, you can keep working. Sometimes getting started is the hardest part.

Are You Avoiding Something? Figure Out Why.

Maybe you’re avoiding a project or task for a specific reason. It’s boring and tedious. Sometimes, you have to power through something to get to the good stuff on the other side. Maybe it’s challenging (break it down into doable steps). Maybe it’s something you don’t like doing for your own business but you’re not at the level yet where you can outsource it.

Spend some time figuring out why you’re avoiding something and you can likely figure out a solution. Also, think about what you could be doing with your time if you’d complete those tasks. Your future self will thank you!

For support with your relationship with time, schedule some time with me or send me a message!

Feeling Uprooted? Start Planting New Seeds.

Feeling uprooted? Plant new seeds.

Are you feeling uprooted? Like this pandemic has turned everything in your life upside down? Me too. I’ve lost track of how many weeks we’ve been home. And although our city and state have lessened restrictions, we’re still staying home as much as we can.

I can sense that people are aching to get back to normal. But I don’t think things are ever going back to the way they were before this pandemic hit. And I’m ok with that. Why? Because now is the time to rethink everything. It’s a blank slate. A time to start fresh.

A time to plant new seeds.

Where do we start?

We have some work to do first. We need to grieve the life that once was. So many people have lost loved ones, jobs, livelihoods, innocence, a sense of security. Maybe you’ll come out of this mostly unscathed, but I bet it’s touched you somewhere in your life. Spend some time grieving.

I’m grieving my youngest having her preschool graduation without her friends. Surrounded by her teachers, her sister, and her parents, it was only her, wearing her cap and gown. During a timed ceremony so we wouldn’t interact with too many others. I can only imagine how parents and kids who didn’t get their high school or college graduation ceremony feel. These rituals bring such closure.

I’m grieving the last few months of spending every Tuesday with my daughter before she heads off to kindergarten. I’ve spent every Tuesday of the last 7 years with one or both of my girls. Although I was tired of figuring out how to entertain a small child every week, Mommy and Ellie days were special.

What do you need to grieve? Spend some time sitting with it and working through it. Mourn the memories that never were.

Once we’ve grieved, we can begin planting new seeds.

Next comes the part I’m most excited about. There is such an opportunity here. It’s time for a shift in thinking. Instead of longing to go back to the way things were, let’s reinvent. Let’s look at our schedules and priorities and figure out what really matters. How do we want to be spending our time?

I want to see our society have some big, deep discussions about so many things. Work, education, the division of housework and parenting. Generally, the way our society functions.

I’m not looking to have a big political discussion here. But we need to start with learning how to have deeper discussions. Instead of constantly complaining about how things aren’t working or dismissing someone who thinks differently, we need to listen and work to understand each other. Maybe once people start feeling heard, we can come together to fix things. People won’t dig in their heels and refuse to hear someone else because they won’t feel attacked. One place I’ve started is by reading Crucial Conversations and taking this quick mini-course.

Let’s start with work.

I do understand that not every job is flexible. You have to show up for a shift at the grocery store, hospital, just about every job in the service industry. Maybe there are ways to put more flexibility into these jobs. I’m talking about knowledge workers here. There are plenty of jobs focused solely on how much time you spend at your desk in the office. It doesn’t matter how much you do while you’re there. But you better be in your seat.

My husband was let go from a job many years ago because he wasn’t in the office by 8:30am every day. He was working close to 70 hours a week, but some of that was at home. He had young kids and wanted to be around to see them. This company couldn’t see that the amount of work or the quality of work is what mattered. It didn’t take the time to notice anything but when he was at his desk.

The shift in thinking here comes from defining success for these positions. Then, setting expectations and a deadline, and letting employees make it happen. I bet there will be a lot more creativity that comes from that freedom. Plant some new seeds.

Also, take a look at how many meetings are necessary and how people are communicating. I’m guessing some things can change there too. Does every meeting end with defined next steps? Or are they just a waste of time? Watch this quick 1-minute video about one thing you can do for more productive meetings.

The workload for women.

And what about the workload, both at work and at home, for women? Why is it that women are asked how they balance working and parenting but we never ask the dads? Why is it women are expected to do it all but we don’t expect it from the dads? Don’t tell me it’s because women are better at multitasking (I’ll get into that some other time). Think about what we’re teaching our kids – that it’s ok for the men not to help and the women need to do it all because no one else is capable.

There needs to be a shift in thinking here. A shift that we’re all in this together. That we all succeed or fail together. We need to stop with this thinking that we need to do it all by ourselves. Plant some new seeds.

Let’s rethink how we spend our time.

Have you created new routines during this pandemic? Maybe you’re walking the dog every morning or taking family walks before dinner. My husband and I are taking one night a week to play cards after the kids are in bed. I’ve wanted to cancel my gym membership and have more flexibility in when I work out but never made it happen. I’m exercising more now that I’ve made space for it in my living room.

Are you finding yourself enjoying more leisurely family dinners? Taking the time to watch your kids play in the backyard? Is it nice to not be rushing from one activity to another? Or maybe you’ve been so overwhelmed by work and remote learning and having the kids home that you’re exhausted.

I hope there’s been more quality family time. I hope that as activities begin to resume that you don’t go rushing out signing up for everything. I hope you find some peace in not rushing from one place to the next. In having family dinners (or breakfasts!) on a regular basis. Before you start filling up your schedule, figure out how you truly want to be spending your time. Commit your time carefully. Plant these new seeds meaningfully.

What about our stuff?

You’ve likely spent the last few months surrounded by your stuff. Is it driving you crazy? Are you finding it useful? Have you spent time sorting through and organizing it? We’ve rearranged toys to make them easier for our kids to use. We have a table just for arts and crafts now. We have a charging station for tablets and computers. We have learned more about how we use our space. That we really don’t need a big house and that when every toy is on the floor, it feels like a lot.

When we have less stuff, it’s easier to maintain an organized home. And it’s easier to use things because it’s not so overwhelming and we can find what we’re looking for. If our house is too cluttered, we can’t find what we need.

So take a look around your space, figure out what you love and need, and let the rest go. How do you want to feel when you are in your space? Comfortable? Content? Happy? Work towards getting your space to create that. Plant some new seeds with your space.

And related to our stuff, what about our spending?

Since you’ve been home, have you saved money because you’re not wandering through stores buying things you don’t need? Or are you just overbuying on Amazon? I’ve loved not spending money buying things we don’t need. It’s been nice to think about repurposing something we have in our house to fulfill a need. Or knowing that we don’t need more stuff in our lives. Plant some new seeds around spending. It relates to clutter as well. Retail therapy leads to short term relief. The stuff you buy takes up space in your house. It needs to be maintained or it just creates clutter. Take some time to figure out what’s behind that and find new ways to fill your cup. Plant some new seeds.

Time to plant some new seeds.

We need a shift in thinking. Let’s do things differently. Let’s move forward into something better. Let’s plant some new seeds.

If you’re ready to plant some new seeds in your life, let’s talk! And, if you’re an overwhelmed working mom, ready to take back control of your time, join Chaos Contained, an online community providing support in productivity.

Change Anything: Structural Motivation and Structural Ability

How to Change Anything

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.

change anything

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.

Structural Motivation

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.
Structural Ability

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! If you’d like to talk more about how to apply these in your life, schedule a call with me. Or send me a message.

Change Anything: Personal Ability

I hope you enjoyed my last blog on personal motivation, one of the 6 sources of influence discussed in Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This week, we’re looking at Personal Ability.  

When wanting to make a change in your life, there’s often more than willpower working against you. Sometimes, you may not have the skills to make the change. Maybe you never learned how to manage your money or how to deal with incoming mail and paperwork. Maybe you never had a problem with managing your time until you became an adult and had a house to manage, a full-time job, a dog, and a new baby. Often, this lack of skill sits in what the authors call a blind spot. You simply didn’t know it was a problem!

Let’s look at some tactics on identifying your personal ability to tackle this change.

Start with a skill scan. Start looking at your ability to do what you need to before getting started on making changes.

  • You ignore your bills because you don’t understand how to track your finances. Unpaid bills coupled with your shopping habits, you may never end up paying down your debt.
    • Make an appointment with a financial advisor or take classes on managing your finances.
  • You say yes anytime someone asks for help (joining a committee, taking on extra work that requires extra hours) because you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings.
    • Take a class on assertiveness or create a rule that you always say ‘let me check my calendar and I’ll get back to you.’
  • You don’t know how to set up a file system or what to do with all the incoming mail or if you can even stop it.
    • Call a professional organizer, take a class or find a book on managing paperwork.

Apply deliberate practice. 

  • Practice saying no, practice saying ‘I’ll get back to you.’ Practice scheduling time for yourself.
  • Break it down into small steps. Put your mail in the same place every day. Put a shredder right next to where you sort your mail. Put a recycle bin for your junk mail next to where you sort your mail.

Learn the will skill. Willpower can be learned and strengthened.

  • Can you avoid temptation when faced with your most tempting scenario? Can you avoid the situation altogether? What about distracting yourself, reviewing your personal motivation statement, or finding a trusted friend who can act as your coach.
    • Suggest a lunch and a movie instead of shopping with a friend.
    • Look at your calendar and think about your priorities before you say yes to something.

change anything

This week, take a few minutes to see what outside help you might seek and what you can practice. I’m practicing saying no to things I know I can’t fully devote myself to. And I’m breaking tasks down into small steps (emptying the dishwasher when I first get up so I can put dishes away throughout the day instead of spending a bunch of time at the end of the day).

Join me next time as we look at social motivation and social ability! And if you want some support in identifying your personal ability, schedule some time with me or send me a message!

Change Anything: Personal Motivation

change anythingI hope you read my last blog about my favorite book, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This week we’re going to look at Personal Motivation.

Let’s start with your crucial moments. Do you get sucked into the $1 bins at Target (I’ll admit, sometimes I have to drag myself away from them)? Or do you come home from work so tired that you drop everything at the door saying you’ll deal with it all later? Then you find yourself scrambling to get out the door the next morning? Or maybe you say yes anytime someone asks you to help or join a committee, even if you know you don’t have the time!

With your crucial moments in mind, think about your default future. Where are you headed if you keep living this way? Imagine your worst-case scenario if you don’t change. Overwhelming debt? Exhaustion, illness, or missing out on time with your family? Resentment? Not being able to find anything in your house when you really need it?

Ok, now that you have your default future in your mind, let’s look at changing the way you make choices or learning to love what you hate. Yes, you can do that. You need to see and believe in the future you want.

Here are some tips on learning to love what you hate.

Use value words. Why are you making this change? What good will come from this change?  

  • You want to save more money or quickly find clothes to wear, clothes that are clean and ready to put on. You want to eat dinner at your table with friends and family or be able to host Thanksgiving.

Make it a game. How can you make this change fun? Break your goal into small tasks, compete with a friend. What can you do to provide yourself encouragement along the way?

  • Get rid of 2 pieces of clothes each day, spend 5 minutes every day sorting through the mail, put on some music, set a timer, set a deadline.

Create a personal motivation statement. Create something to remind yourself why you’re doing this. You can glance at this during your crucial moments.

  • Find a picture of something you aspire to such as a family dinner, an organized closet, or a trip you want to take and need to save money for.

This week, choose one or two of the above tips and figure out how to incorporate them into your change plan.

Next time, we’ll look at Personal Ability. And if you want some support in identifying your personal motivation, schedule some time with me or send me a message!

Using Bins for Organizing Your Stuff

Today I want to talk about using bins or baskets for organizing stuff. I’ve recently switched my kids’ bookshelf to 2 white bins. My youngest likes to pull books off the shelf and this way she can pull one book at a time and the whole pile doesn’t come crashing off the shelf.

Bins should never have lids unless they’re storing something in a dusty room or aren’t in regular use. Keep the lids off hampers so you, your spouse, and your kids can easily toss clothes in them. Open bins for kids’ toys are also a good idea. I use bins of various sizes for my kids toys. My daughter’s legos are all in 1 open bin. It’s easy to get them out, easy to put them away. Her baby doll stuff is all in 1 bin. She likes to dump the whole bin on the floor, but we make a game out of putting them away. We simply see who can toss the clothes in the quickest.

I have a collection of weights and bands I use for physical therapy for my shoulder. I recently put the items in a bin so they’re not cluttering up my desk. I can easily pull them out when I need them and put them back when I’m done. We use bins in our pantry to keep onions separate from our potatoes. In our bathroom, each person’s toothbrush/floss/etc, are in separate bins in a drawer. It keeps them organized within the drawer and makes it easy for everyone to find their own stuff.

Bins are an easy way to keep stuff organized and collected. How can you use bins in your life? If you need help getting organized, call me today!

organize with bins

organize with bins

Why Should I Bother Getting Organized?

That’s a great question. You feel like you’re functioning just fine with all of your stuff. Maybe you spend 20 minutes in the morning looking for a pair of shoes (yours or your kids), every now and then. You can find something important on your desk if given a few minutes to search for something. And you rarely miss any appointments. So why bother getting organized?why bother getting organized

Maybe, taking the time to get yourself organized would greatly benefit you. It might give you more time with your family. Or maybe your mornings won’t feel so hectic and you’ll get to work focused and ready for the day. Your evenings won’t leave you feeling exhausted and wanting to collapse on the couch. And you won’t spend your weekends frantically trying to get everything done that didn’t get done during the week.

You will be less stressed. If you clean up your desk at the end of the day and prepare for tomorrow’s tasks, you can start each day in a much more efficient manner. You won’t spend the morning trying to figure out what you need to do that day, you can just dive right in.

Being more efficient during the day means you just might get to leave work before the sun sets. So you can get yourself to the gym or dinner with friends. Or home to see the kids before they go to bed.

When things have a home, as in your keys go in the same place every time you walk in the house, your kids know where to take their shoes off, and your pantry items are where they belong, you won’t spend so much time looking for things.

If you’re staying on top of your tasks and clutter, you can focus on what’s important to you. You won’t spend dinner with your family thinking about all of the things you didn’t get done today and all the things you need to do tomorrow. You may still be writing to-do lists on the shower wall every now and then. But you’ll know that you have a clear path to getting those things done as necessary.

There are many benefits to being organized. These are just a few to get you thinking about what reasons you might have to get organized this year. If you’d like some help figure this out in your life, schedule a call or send me a message!

Procrastination

ProcrastinationLet’s talk a little about procrastination. Have you ever just put away your to-do list because it looks like too much work. Or stepped over a laundry basket instead of taking the time to put away the clothes? How about letting the pile of mail get bigger and bigger instead of sitting down and going through it? We all do it. Sometimes we just don’t want to deal with a project, big or small. We’d rather just wait until tomorrow.

But the longer you wait, the bigger the pile gets or the  less time you have to work on a project. Here are some ideas for working through that desire to procrastinate.

  1. Gather the tools you need the night before. Lay out your gym clothes, gather the paint and painting supplies (maybe even start taping), gather the paperwork and files, etc. Getting started the night before helps you get a jump start on the project.
  2. Tackle a project when you feel at your best. That may be first thing in the morning or right after lunch. Whatever time of day it is, focus on your most important task.
  3. Break down a project into manageable steps. Sort the mail (pulling out the important stuff), shred all of the junk mail. Then tomorrow sit down and deal with everything that needs attention.
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day on something (cleaning out photos, paperwork, emails).
  5. Do the worst part first. It’ll only get easier!

Just take that first step. Sometimes you just need to find some motivation to get started and you’ll be able to keep going. Think about tomorrow and if you want to wake up to that dirty kitchen or that pile of mail. If you take care of it now, your future self will thank you!

If you want some help getting started, schedule a call or send me a message!

What’s Your Bill Paying Process?

bill paying processNo one likes paying bills. Unfortunately, it’s something we all have to do. The third week of February happens to be National Pay Your Bills week. So I thought I’d share a few tips on making your bill paying process a little bit easier.

  1. Keep all of your incoming bills in one location. This could be a folder or inbox on your desk or a box on your kitchen counter. Where ever it is, all bills that need to be paid should go in it. 
  2. Keep all of your bill paying supplies in one place. Stamps, pens, pencils, your checkbook, envelopes, return labels, etc. should all be kept together. If you like paying your bills while watching TV, keep the supplies in a box that you can take with you to the couch and store out of the way when you don’t need it.
  3. Balance your checkbook before you pay bills. Pull out the receipts from your wallet. (We have one spot in our house where all receipts go so I don’t have to go bothering my husband about receipts when I want to balance our books.) Keep in mind any debits or credits that are going to happen in the next few weeks (such as incoming salary or automated bills being paid). This way you won’t overdraw your accounts.
  4. Sit down 1-2 times a month and pay all your bills at one time. Make these regular times, say the 3rd and 24th of each month.
  5. Immediately record all the paid bills either in your checkbook or your computer software register and (if necessary) file them.
  6. Automate payments where possible. Maybe you can have your cable bill and phone bill automatically put on your credit card. Ensure you review those bills regularly to ensure you’re not overpaying.
  7. Pay your bills online. I log on to my checking account and pay all of our utility bills at the same time. You can even post date when necessary. Maybe you’re headed out of town and need some bills paid while you’re gone. You can do this with online bill payments.
  8. Consolidate your money as much as possible. Have only 1-2 debit and credit cards to use for everything. You don’t need all those department store cards or gas cards. Fewer bills coming in means it’s easier to keep track of where your money is going.

I hope these tips help you create an easier bill paying process!  If you want some support in creating new routines, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

You Do Have More Time Than You Think!

you do have more timeYou have 168 hours every week. You’re in charge of how you spend those hours. Are you using your time as best as you can? According to Laura Vanderkam, you have more time than you think. And I agree with her!

We have dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, microwave ovens, and many other devices to help us get more done quicker. So why does it feel like you still have more to do than you have time?

Maybe it’s how you’re using that time. If you’re watching 23-30 hours of TV a week, like the average American, that’s a lot of time you could be doing something else. Or maybe you’ve signed your kids up for every activity imaginable and you’re rushing around to 1-2 activities every night, trying to figure out how to get your older child to swim practice at 4:00 and pick up your youngest from karate across town at 4:30, all so you can get home, figure out what to make for dinner and head out to choir practice at 6:30.

Maybe you struggle to get everyone out the door in the morning because lunches need to be made, you need to sign a permission slip for your son, your daughter needs help finding her soccer cleats for practice tonight, and you need to gather paperwork for an important meeting.

Or maybe you feel exhausted come Sunday night because you had 3 birthday parties, grocery shopping, errands to run, a house to clean, and a family dinner to attend. You’re left wondering where your weekend went and still feel like you have a million things to do, let alone spending any time relaxing with your spouse.

So What Can I Do?

So how do you fix it? Can you? I’ll give you a few ideas to get started. Then read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 hours: You Have More Time Than You Think for even more.

Start by keeping a time log. For one week, log everything you do and how long it takes you. Once you know how you’re spending your time, you can identify things that you can change or tweak. I’m guessing this task will be eye-opening.

Think about your morning and evening routines.

What can you do at night to make the morning run smoother? And vice versa. Pack lunches and gather paperwork, sports equipment, etc. at night to save time in the morning. Conduct nightly clean ups, putting all toys, books, and laundry away so clutter doesn’t pile up. Plan meals out for the week so you’re not scrambling to feed hungry family members at the end of the day.

Don’t pack your schedules so full that there’s no room for emergencies, last-minute changes, or even spontaneity. Maybe each family member gets one activity per semester. Have one day a week with no technology, unless you’re watching a moving together. Or if your family enjoys being so busy, see if you can share carpool duties with 1-2 other families so you’re not driving all the time.

Plan your weekends a day or two early if possible.

My husband and I will talk about the things we need to get done (errands, groceries, cleaning) and things we’d like to do (go hiking, go out for ice cream) and anything else that’s already planned (birthday parties, family dinners). We’ll identify who’s doing what and when we’re doing it. Then we’ll check in throughout the weekend to see how we’re doing on our tasks and if anything needs to be tweaked. I by no means am saying our weekends are always perfect. I have many Sunday nights where I wonder where the time went and why it feels like I got nothing done. But planning our weekends makes them easier.

See what other tasks can be outsourced. Can you hire a cleaning service? Find a way to have your groceries delivered? Automate your bill payments? Delegate tasks to your kids? Depending on their age, they can empty the dishwasher and help clean up meals or put away their own laundry. Maybe they can even be in charge of their own laundry from start to finish. Maybe they’re old enough to help with dinner or make dinner for the family every now and then. It may feel like a bigger hassle to teach them these things, but in the long run, it will be helpful.

There are numerous other tips I could provide, but these should get you started. Think about how you’re spending your time and what changes can be made so you feel less overwhelmed. Remember, you do have more time than you think!

If you want some guidance in sorting out where your time goes, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Delayed Decisions

delayed decisionsClutter really is just delayed decisions. Those clothes in the back of your closet waiting for you to decide whether to keep or donate. That pile of mail that needs to be dealt with. The emails you need to return but are avoiding. Those are all decisions that need to be made.

You can decide to keep the clothes or drop them off at Goodwill. You can sit down and sort through the mail. And you can either delete or respond to the emails (or respond and then delete). Either way, you need to make a decision.

What decisions do you need to make to clear out some clutter? Get to it!

If you want some guidance in making these decisions, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

While You’re At It

quick declutteringWe’re busy. It can be hard to find time to tackle an organizing project. So, I have another suggestion, similar to my previous post about quick decluttering. Take a look at your shelves while you’re doing something else.

  • While you’re brushing your teeth, take a glance at your medicine cabinet. Do you need everything that’s in there? Are there bottles of expired medicine / lotions / etc.? Get rid of what you don’t need.
  • While you’re doing the laundry, take a look at clothes you’re putting away and the clothes already in the closet. Does the item still fit you (or the appropriate family member)? When was the last time it was worn? Is it the right season (should it be stored with the other off-season clothes)? Or should it go in your donation box (which you have right there, in the closet)?
  • While you’re putting away the groceries, take a look at your fridge and pantry. Better yet, take a look at them while you’re making your grocery list. What is expired or about to expire? What can you work with to make a meal out of this week?
  • While you’re dusting or putting other household items away, take a look at what you have and where it is located. Do you still need it? Is this the best location for it? If not, where else could it go?

You get the picture. As you’re taking care of one task, take a few minutes to see if there’s anything you can get rid of or find a better home for. You may be surprised at what you find.

If you want some guidance in decluttering, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Don’t Get Organized!

don't get organizedMaybe the thought of getting organized is just too daunting. Maybe you just don’t know where to start.

So don’t get organized. Start getting rid of stuff. Pick a pile or a corner of a room or a shelf. And clean stuff out. Do you need that piece of paper, knick knack, memento, book, toy, or whatever it is? If not, off to the donation pile, trash or shredder it goes.

There’s no need to spend hours perfectly organizing your house so it looks like it belongs in some home magazine. But by starting to clear the clutter, item by item, you can make a dent in organizing your stuff.

If you want some guidance in decluttering, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Maintenance

maintenanceMaybe the title of this post should be constant vigilance instead of maintenance. Because once you’ve purged items in your house and organized your stuff, you have to be on constant watch that it stays that way. Otherwise, you’re back where you started.

Taking a car load of items to donate feels great, as does an organized pantry. But it’s important to identify what is coming into your house and why. If you’re often out buying clothes you don’t need or kitchen gadgets you rarely use, or picking up all the free items at a conference, you’re just inviting clutter into your home. Identify why you’re buying these items or if you really need them.

Ask yourself the following questions before letting anything come through the doors of your house.

  • Do you really need it?
  • Do you have a place to put it?
  • Do you already have something similar that will serve the same purpose?

If you answer yes to the first two questions, it’s probably ok to bring it home, as long as you know it has a home. If you answer yes to the third, then you don’t need it.

Keep these questions in mind every time you bring something into your house. This helps you keep the clutter under control in your home.

If you want some guidance in decluttering, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

What’s Important?

what's importantAs I write this, I have an infant at home. My days are busy taking care of her. This means that some days I spend more time staring at my clutter than dealing with it. It also makes me thankful that we purged our house of anything we didn’t need or love before she came along. Some days we’re lucky if we get the dishwasher emptied or the laundry put in the dryer. I consider other days successful if I get the laundry dried and we just pull the towels out of the dryer as we need them.

But then I think to myself, I’m a professional organizer, I should be able to maintain an organized home, even with an infant. I also live in the real world and know that people are busy, we’re tired,  and some days we’d rather watch the latest DVR’d show than put away the laundry.

So what would I recommend to someone in my position?

Identify what’s important. Each day I figure out what important or key tasks I need to accomplish. Our kitchen is tiny so if we haven’t emptied the dishwasher, it’s probably a priority or making dinner will be difficult. If I can’t find a clean onesie for my infant, I’d better put away her clothes so I can get her dressed.

I also try to stay on top of the piles. Deal with the mail as soon as it comes in the house, put dishes in the dishwasher on a regular basis, put away the laundry with each load. This keeps the piles to a minimum and allows me to spend more time playing with my little one.

So what’s important for you to accomplish today? If you want some guidance in identifying your daily priorities, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Just GO!

get organizedJanuary is Get Organized or GO month for the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO). Maybe you’ve been thinking about all the piles you have in your house that you’ve been meaning to deal with if you just had the time. Or just thinking of what you’re going to do with all the gifts and decorations you accumulated over the holidays.

Now is the time to start figuring out what is important to you and what you want to organize. What is the most critical project or the most irksome? What would make your day-to-day life a little easier if you would just take care of it?

This doesn’t mean you need to tackle it all in one weekend. 10 minutes a day, 1 hour a week or a Saturday afternoon is sufficient enough to make progress. The key is just getting started, taking that first step. Often, we’re so overwhelmed by all the stuff to deal with that we don’t know where to start or it feels like too much work.

So pick a corner, a shelf, or a pile, set a timer for 10 minutes and just GO!

If you want some guidance in identifying your daily priorities, schedule a call with me or send me a message!