Category Archives: motivation

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.

Stop Surviving. Start Thriving.

When my kids were younger, I remember a friend asking me how I was doing. My usual answer was hanging in there. Suddenly, I was tired of that being my answer. When does just surviving stop? When do I start thriving? My kids aren’t going to get easier. I think they get more fun as they get older, but there will always be something we’re working on (arguing about?!). So enough with this hanging in there

Don't be busy, be productive. Start thriving.

Part of this hanging in there was how busy I felt. I don’t think busy is always a good thing, yet we cram every minute of our days with activities. We need to be crossing items off our to-do list. We have so much work to do that we don’t know where to start (or when to stop). Our kids are signed up for every activity under the sun because we feel they need to be enriched and entertained all the time (pre-pandemic). 

Stop Overcommitting

I get it. I’ve looked at my schedule and wondered how I committed to so many things. What happened? When did I get so busy? I’ve looked at how much I crossed off my to-do list and wondered if those were really the tasks I should’ve focused on today. Or did I just do what was the easiest to cross off? Let’s call me a recovering over-committer

I’m on a mission to help end the mom guilt. To help moms shift from putting out fires every day to feeling more proactive and in charge of their time and to-dos. Because I’ve been there! So let’s stop with the guilt. Let’s focus on our big rocks. On the choices we make with our time, where it goes, and how we spend it. Let’s start thriving. And let’s see the amazing things we do accomplish every day. Let’s tame the chaos. 

Join Chaos Contained today! A virtual community for overwhelmed working moms to help you tame the chaos. Your future self will thank you! 

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.

Why You Should Hire a Professional Organizer!

Many New Year’s resolutions include new diets, saving money, getting in shape, or getting organized. If getting organized is on your list, you may be wondering how that’s going to happen or if you should hire a professional organizer. Here are a few reasons why you should hire one to help you get started on (or even complete) your goal to get organized this year.

Things To Do list with a pen on a desk.Business concept.

Being organized saves you money, stress, and time.

Many people spend at least 10 minutes a day looking for lost items. 1 in 4 people spend up to 2 hours a week looking for a misplaced item. What could you do with that time back in your life? Think of how relaxed and motivated you would be if you could easily find what you need and have time in your life to focus on your priorities.

Sometimes you just need a little outside perspective.

There are many ways to organize a space and sometimes you need an objective person to help. A professional organizer helps you look at your stuff and your time in a different light. We help you create routines to keep your stuff organized, pay your bills, manage your meals / kitchen, or deal with the endless kid toys and clothes that seem to appear in your house.

Your organizing solution will be tailored to your needs and desires.

Getting organized is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We help you organize based on who you are, what space you have, and what you want that space to look like. So the next time you need to find that important piece of paper, you’ll know exactly where it is.

We won’t make you get rid of your stuff.

It’s your stuff. It’s not my decision to keep or get rid of anything. We’ll discuss your vision for a space or routine and look at whether something needs to go. Your house should reflect you and the life you want to live. Routines and systems are just as, if not more important, than simply getting rid of stuff.

If getting organized is something you’ve been thinking about doing, find a professional organizer near you and schedule a call! We can help overhaul your entire house, organize a closet, or simply give you some guidance on a project. It might be just what you need.

Why Are We So Busy?

I’ve been hearing many people talk lately about how busy they are. I’m not sure they’re complaining or enjoying how overwhelmed they feel but it’s said with a tone of ‘I’m overwhelmed and there’s really nothing I can do about it.’

busy, overwhelmed

In our society, it seems like we’re doing something wrong if we’re not busy. If you don’t have every minute full of fun, adventure, play dates, activities, you feel like you’re missing out. But can you sustain that? And is it true? What’s wrong with simply sitting still and watching nature, watching your kids entertain themselves, or letting your mind wander?

Read this blog I wrote several years ago, as I think it still speaks true to this day. You do have more time than you think, but you don’t have to cram that time with every activity possible. It is ok to say no.

And your action for today is to say no to something, cross something off your to-do list that you know you’re not going to get to (or don’t want to do), or simply sit and watch your kids play (or your pets) or watch the sun set. Just sit for a few minutes.

Then call me and let’s chat about where your time is going! Or schedule an appointment.

You Do Have More Time Than You Think!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 3 – Gifts)

preparing for the holidaysWe are preparing for the holidays so you can enjoy them! This week we are going to look at gifts. Start shopping soon so you’re not left scrambling for something at the last minute.

  • Make a list of everyone you need to buy gifts for and any ideas you have for each person.
  • Make a plan of when you are going to shop for the gifts. Are there items that need to be mailed ahead of time? (If yes, get started on those first). 
  • Check your gift wrapping supplies. Do you have enough wrapping paper, gift bags, tags, tape, bows?
  • Can you challenge your loved ones to buying experiences instead of things? Memberships to the art museum, trips to a water park, time spent together?
  • Create lists for you and your family of things you want / need. When people ask for gift ideas, it’ll be easy to share.
  • Stock up on host/hostess gifts for any parties you might attend. These could be bottles of wine, homemade cookies or a package of cocktail napkins. 

It’s even better if you can shop throughout the year. At the beginning of the year make a list of gifts you know you will need. Think of people when you’re traveling or spot something on sale. Then have a specific place (a labeled box) somewhere in your house to store these items. And make sure you label them so you remember who they’re for!

Action item: Start a list of people you need to buy gifts for and schedule a day (or 2) to do some gift shopping.

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 2 – Decorations)

This is the 2nd of a 4 part series on preparing for the holidays. Last week we talked about food for the holidays. This week we’re going to take a quick look at decorations.

  • Plan a time to sort through and put up your decorations.preparing for the holidays
  • Create a list of decorations you need to replace or supplement. Do you need more outdoor lights? Do you need more pumpkins for your centerpiece? Can you wait until after the holidays, when items are on clearance or do you need it before? Set a budget!
  • Plan time to take down and sort through your decorations. Purge items you haven’t used, are broken, or don’t enjoy anymore. Do you need more storage boxes for your items? We buy our kids Christmas ornaments each year to represent that year. This year, I’d like to start storing these ornaments in their own boxes, so when the kids move out, the ornaments are ready. 

Your action item for this week is to schedule time to put up your decorations! And while you’re at it, schedule time after the holidays to take them down.

Next week:  Gifts!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Preparing for the Holidays Series (Post 1 – Food)

It’s October. It’s time to start preparing for the holidays! You may still be figuring out what you are going to be for Halloween but Christmas decorations are creeping into stores (or have been there since August). That means the holidays are right around the corner. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving, a New Year’s Eve party, or just want to be able to relax with your family, start preparing now!

The next few weeks we are going to look at different tasks for preparing for the holidays from food and decorations to gift buying and spending time with your loved ones.

Let’s start with food.

If you’re hosting a meal, dinner party or holiday event, keep reading! These are the tasks you need to get on your calendar!

  • Clean your oven. Do that now before you are putting your turkey in the oven or baking your favorite holiday treat!
  • Check the state of your linens, dishes, glassware, stemware, and serving dishes. Does anything need to be repaired? Do you need to buy anything? Make a list of what you need and schedule a time to complete this task.
  • Plan your menu. Do you provide the main meal and everyone brings side dishes? Or are you doing everything yourself. Figure out who is doing what and let everyone know ahead of time.
  • Write your grocery list. Watch for sales and stock up on items early.preparing for the holidays
  • Identify what can be made ahead of time and schedule time to prepare as much as possible before the big day.
  • Plan when you will start preparing those items that need to be made the day of. If people are bringing food, will they need the oven? Make sure there’s time to warm up everything before dinner. Can you use a crock pot or roaster to save room for other items in the oven?

Your action item this week is to start thinking about these tasks and get them on your schedule. It will help the holidays be much smoother!

Next post: Decorations!

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to prepare for the holidays, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

Jury Duty and Being Prepared

I recently spent 8 days serving on a jury. I was not prepared for this, as most cases in Denver last 2-3 days. As I realized I was going to be seated on this jury,  after the judge had said the case could take 8 days, I started thinking of how my life was going to be impacted. What would I need to reschedule and who would watch my kids?

I’m not going to say that I came home that day and magically got my life prepared for the next 2 weeks. We had take out for dinner as I was too tired to cook. And I’m sure we didn’t have the kids put their toys away before bed (which we try to do each night). I did do a load of laundry, gave my kids a few extra hugs, and figured out who was going to watch the kids the next few days.

be prepared

What I learned through this experience is how important it is to have some simple maintenance routines. We usually have our meals planned for the week. We prep much of our food on Sundays or early in the week. Our fridge has a drawer marked ‘raw meat only’ so we can defrost several days of meat/fish at once. This makes for easy dinners because food just needs to go in the oven. I did a load of laundry and cleaned the kitchen each night. And I spent a few minutes after the kids went to bed cleaning out emails, packing lunches, stocking the diaper bag, and identifying priorities for the next day.

Be Prepared

There are many simple organizing tasks you can do each day to keep on top of the clutter. If everything in your house has a home, it’s easy to put stuff away, see what needs to be replaced, or what you can get rid of. There are also plenty of things you can delegate. Can you hire a house cleaner? Someone to mow the lawn? Can your kids start doing more chores (put away their clean laundry, take out the trash, feed the pets). Do you need to reevaluate who does what tasks with your partner?

What are some tasks that you can start doing every day to make life a little simpler? Schedule some time with me (or send me a message) and let’s find a way to get some order back in your life!