Category Archives: Organization

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! 

Just Slogging Through

Feeling like you’re just slogging through each day? I get it, I have started giving myself pep talks to get out of bed! If my phone didn’t tell me the date, I likely would have no idea. Every day is starting to blend into the next! Weekends don’t feel any different (we really should do something fun to change that, huh?)

I don’t want to add one more story about how we should be productive right now since we have all this time. Working from home, helping your kids remote learn, and keeping everyone fed is enough! You might feel even busier! I do want to help you feel like you’re moving forward in your life, even while stuck at home. Read on for a few ideas!

  • Define what your work hours look like. Tag team with your partner. Someone is with the kids while the other one works. Trade every few hours as necessary. It’s also ok to put the kids in front of a movie and get some work done. Or send them out to the backyard to play.
  • Identify 3-5 priorities for each day. Yes, you might do more. You feel more accomplished if you know what needs to be done to move yourself or a project forward. Think about how it would feel to cross 5 tasks off your list of 5 tasks versus 5 tasks off a list of 15 (that you were never going to have time to do all anyway. Listen to what Laura Vanderkam has to say about limiting your to-do list.
  • Create a ritual between work and home life (even if work life is at your kitchen table). Find an activity to do before you switch between work and home. This helps your brain realize it’s now doing something different. Try a quick 5-minute meditation, a dance party, or a quick walk around the block.
  • Create visual boundaries if you’re working from the kitchen table. Put on headphones, signaling that you’re working and are not to be disturbed. Or you can put up some form of barrier, like a 3-sided poster display board. This could also be a place to put tasks and reminders! It’s like your own cubicle space in an open-concept office.
  • Break your projects into small, clear steps. If my to-do list says ‘Create workshop,’ it’s not easy for me to do what’s next. If it says create an outline for workshop, create marketing for workshop, or some other next step, then I know what to do next. Otherwise, I stare at it for a week and nothing gets done.

Still feeling stuck on how to get through the day? Schedule a 15-minute call with me to talk about your situation. Or take this quick 10-minute video on productivity.

Slogging through

We Do It To Ourselves

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now. I’ve long had this theory that women get mad at our partners for not helping when in reality, we’ve taught them not to. Then came a worldwide pandemic and I wasn’t sure if it was relevant. However, I do think it’s still relevant. Because we’ve all been thrown into this crazy time of trying to work, take care of our families, and homeschool our kids. And we can’t do it all at the same time and do it well. We need to give ourselves a break. So read on and let me know what you think!

We do it to ourselves

I had a roommate in college who would reclean the bathroom after I cleaned it. So I stopped cleaning it. Now, depending on who you are in this story, you may think I was lazy because now I never cleaned the bathroom. Or you thought, sure, what was the point of cleaning the bathroom if someone else was going to redo it? That would be a waste of your time!

We, as women, create this scenario all the time. No one else can clean the kitchen or do the laundry or clean up like we do. Because, of course, it’s not done right if it’s done differently. So we do everything ourselves. We reload the dishwasher or don’t let our partners do the laundry. Because heaven forbid, it’s not done to our exacting standards.

Then, we complain because our partners aren’t participating in the housework. When in reality, we’ve driven them to this point. We treat them like they’re unable to do anything, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. They give up and we continue treating them like they are unable to do anything right.

We need to stop doing it all ourselves.

We can’t have it all. At least not all at the same time. And what does that even mean? We can’t magically do everything we want/need to and do it all well. It’s not possible, yet we beat ourselves up for not doing it every day. We overdo it and we constantly feel like we’re failing. Yet, we’re not. We have crazy high expectations that we’re never going to meet.

And this is what we model for our kids – that we must do it all instead of working with our partners. Whether you’re raising boys or girls, they’re watching you and seeing how you work with your partner. So the little girl watching her mother struggle to do it all instead of asking for help or letting something go is going to grow up to be the same crazed, stressed-out woman trying to do it all, feeling bad about not succeeding (even though it’s impossible). And the little boy is going to grow up believing that they don’t need to do much of anything. Because those were the examples they had growing up.

What if we changed that story?

What if we came into the kitchen that was mostly clean and thought great, someone loaded the dishwasher, now all I need to do is wipe down the counters? Or, said thanks for doing the laundry, can I help put it away? Or had the conversation of having too much on your plate and you need things to change? It’s not just helping each other – you’re in this together, you’re partners.

So let’s stop trying to do it all.

Let’s realize that life is like a symphony. Sometimes the violins are loud, sometimes it’s the drums. Sometimes there’s rest. But it all comes out a beautiful song in the end. Sometimes we’re going to work all day, sometimes we’re going to spend all day running errands, or playing with our kids or out on some adventure. And at the end of the week, we’ve covered most of it. And if it didn’t get done, it wasn’t important, and it can wait until the next song.

If you’re tired of feeling like there’s too much on your plate, I’d love to help you feel less overwhelmed! Let’s work together to create a task list and schedule that works for you! Let’s do this together instead of all on our own. If you’d like to chat more about this with me or want to learn more about how you’re spending your time, contact me or schedule a call.

Stop trying to do it all yourself!
Stop trying to do it all yourself!

Stuck at Home? Now What?

Life feels crazy right now.

We’re not sure what the next few weeks or even months are going to look like. You may be staring down 3 weeks at home with your kids, wondering how you’re going to get any work done. Or you may be alone or with a partner, wondering how you’re going to keep yourselves entertained.

There are so many articles out there on what to do while stuck at home. And maybe this one is just adding to it. I wanted to share what we’re doing here and give you a few more ideas.

I’m looking at 2-3 weeks at home with my husband and kids. Our goal is to not leave the house unless we have to. We’re rationing milk and cheddar bunnies. There will be tears (mine and the kids), there will be too much screen time, but there will also be laughter, lots of family time, and hopefully plenty of time outside. We’ll watch Frozen 2 way too many times. We just bought the DVD and our girls are obsessed. My youngest keeps walking around the house in her Frozen dress singing all the songs. Thankfully, I like the 2nd movie!

Anyway, we’re not going to be one of the households that keeps a strict schedule every day. My goal for each day is (in order of priority): Family time, physical movement/outside time, work/household list of tasks, relaxing/reading/tv. Our days will be flexible and fluid. We’ll take it day by day.

What does this make possible?

One of the best things I’ve read lately is from Jason Kotecki of Escape Adulthood. He asks the question: Now that this has happened, what does this make possible? (you can read his post here.) I don’t want to look back at these next few weeks and feel like I wasted all of our time being shut up in the house. I’ve made a list of all the things I can do for my business and around the house. It ranges from updating my website and planning my marketing for the year to working on my photo books and cleaning out paperwork. I also plan on learning a few new games to play with my kids. Family time is the most important of all of this to me.

I know other articles out there have talked about all the organizing tasks you can tackle while you’re stuck at home. And they’re right! Now is a great time to tackle that closet, basement, or garage. If you want any guidance on a project, send me a message https://homemostsimple.com/contact-me/ or schedule a call.

I’ll be posting on my Facebook ideas on how to make this time productive. And if you need to chat, even just to connect with someone, I’m here!

Stuck at home?
Let’s all take a deep breath. We got this.

Tips for Organizing Your Papers

organize your papersIf you haven’t given your files a glance recently, it’s likely time for a purge. You may have stacks of paper all over your house, or you may have papers languishing in your files that you no longer need. Either way, take some time this week to sort through your files and get them in shape. Organizing your papers helps you find what you need, when you need it. (And maybe even make tax time easier for you next year!)

If you need to create a filing system, follow these steps. How you sort and label each category and subcategory depends on what paperwork you have and what you need to keep track of (yourself, partner, 3 dogs, 4 kids, etc.)

  1. Gather all of your paperwork into one place.
  2. Sort papers into high level categories (Auto, Health Insurance, Health Information, Home Improvements, etc.).
  3. Create labels / hanging folders for each high level category.File folders, standing on the shelves at office
  4. Where necessary, sort high level categories into smaller subcategories (one for each car, each person’s health info, etc.). Label these folders.
  5. Put all paper you are keeping into their labeled folders.
  6. Recycle or shred the paperwork you don’t need.

I suggest keeping your system simple so it’s easy to maintain and expand. Feel free to color code, but keep in mind it needs to be easy to add more categories and subcategories.

No matter the state of your files, take some time to go through each folder, purge and shred what you don’t need, and catch up on your stack of filing. If you need guidance on what to keep or toss, ask your financial advisor or do some online research. Turn on some fun music, listen to your favorite podcast and get busy!

3 Steps For Clutter Awareness

Sometimes you may be so used to the stuff around you that don’t even know you have clutter. So, how can you become more aware of the clutter you have?  Read on for a few ideas.

  1. Take a picture. Then look at the picture. It gives you a different perspective and allows you to see the clutter you may be missing in person.
  2. Put stuff in a box. And date it. Clear rarely used items out of your kitchen utensil drawer (spatulas, knives, etc.), put them in a box, and put the box somewhere else in your house. If you truly need something from the box when you’re making a meal, then go get it. That item can now stay in your kitchen. After a certain amount of time (1 month, 6 months, your choice) donate everything else in the box. Use this technique for other items in your house you’re considering getting rid of.
  3. Turn your hangers backwards. If you have a lot of clothes in your closet that you are not sure about, turn the hangers backwards so they are facing the wrong way. If you’re like me, and most of your stuff sits on shelves, consider putting them on hangers for awhile anyway. Then, as you wear a piece of clothing, it gets put back on the shelf or the hanger gets turned back around. At the end of the season, you can see what you haven’t worn. Simply take these clothes out and put in your donation box.

Take a few minutes and think about how you can become more aware of your clutter! Or schedule some time with me to chat more about how we can work together to help deal with your clutter.

clutter awareness

Let’s Clean Out Your Closet!

The 3rd week of March is National Clean Out Your Closet Week. How are your closets looking?

You may be thinking about switching out your Fall / Winter clothes for your Spring / Summer clothes. Here, in Colorado, it’s been in the 70s for the last few weeks and we (likely) will see snow in April or May. So it’s hard to put away all of our warm clothes and we’ve all pulled out the t-shirts and sandals by now.

But, it’s still a good time to clean out your clothes. As you’re switching your closets over and making warm weather items more accessible, think about the following questions. If your answer is ‘no’ to any of them, toss those clothes in your donate box (and create a donate box if you don’t have one).

  • Have I worn this recently? Will I wear it again?
  • Do I love it?
  • Does it fit me?

As I’m cleaning out my clothes, I’ll make a list of things I need to supplement. What shoes, necklaces, etc., might I need to make sure I wear a certain shirt or pair of pants. Then, when I’m out shopping, I’ll know what I need and won’t end up with a closet full of clothes that I don’t wear because I don’t have anything that matches.

Let’s also talk about your linen closets. As you’re pulling your warm quilts and blankets from your bed, take a look at your linen closets. Are there items that need to be replaced? Does the closet simply need to be straightened up? Take a few minutes to make sure your linen closets are in order too.

Happy Spring!

clean out your closets
Cleaning out closets

5 Tips for Dealing With Procrastination

procrastination

Updated on May 8th, 2020.

Procrastination impacts us in many ways. It is incredibly draining if we’re ignoring something we don’t want to do or need to do but keep putting it off. What could you be doing with that time and energy if you could just get that task off your list? What is holding you back from getting to that project? Here are 5 tips for getting started and battling procrastination.

  1. Break it in to small pieces. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Can you break the project into small pieces? Clarify the next step. If you just moved and are overwhelmed by boxes, tackle 1 box a day. If you want to get your house organized but don’t have a full weekend (or several), tackle 1 drawer or shelf at a time. Spend 15 minutes a day (or 5 or 10) cleaning something out.
  2. Find an accountability partner. Do you want to get up and exercise before work 3 times a week? Find a friend to join you. Or report to a friend each time you do it. Your friend can report to you about something he or she is doing and you can support each other through the process. There’s motivation in being responsible to someone else.
  3. Turn it into a game. Put on some music, set a timer, and see how quickly you can get something done. Hate putting away your laundry or cleaning the kitchen? Time yourself and see how fast you can do it. Or listen to a book on tape or your favorite podcast while you’re organizing your closets. Find a way to make it fun and it won’t seem like such a chore.
  4. Tackle a small to-do first. Or, tackle the biggest one. Sometimes I just need a small win before I can get going on other projects. I’ll pick the easiest thing on my list, maybe sending a birthday card to a friend. The satisfaction of crossing something off my list motivates me to continue on to bigger projects. Or, I’ll tackle the biggest project on my list. If I just make that phone call I’ve been avoiding or sit down and do the research I need to do, it will remove the stress and mental drain.
  5. Invite guests over. It’s like setting a deadline. Host a dinner party or a backyard BBQ. Don’t just stuff everything into a closet before your guest show up. Schedule the time to clean out and find homes for everything.

What steps can you take today to get past the procrastination and get started on a project? If you need help identifying where to start, call me or send me a message!

3 Tips to Keep Your House Organized

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

Ok, you’ve spent all this time getting your house organized and I bet you want to keep it that way. This week, we’re going to look at maintaining your beautifully organized house.

  1. Never leave a room empty handed.
    • When going upstairs (or downstairs) or to another room, take something with you that belongs elsewhere. My daughters hairclips end up all over the house and I’m constantly bringing them back to their box in the kitchen (or asking her to put them away).
  2. Straighten as you go.
    • When putting away laundry, pull out clothes that don’t fit and make sure clothes (and linens) are neatly put away.
  3. Connect a task to another habit.
    • Clean old food out of the refrigerator when planning your meals for the week (or when it’s trash day).

It’s also a good idea to identify routines and systems you need to have in place. Ask yourself the following questions (and put these tasks on your calendar).

  • How often do you clean out your closets? Paperwork? Refrigerator? Pantry? Storage spaces?
  • What does your weekly routine look like? When do you buy groceries? Run errands? Clean? Plan meals? Do laundry? Pay bills? File?
  • What does your morning routine look like? Do you make sure dinner is defrosted? Clean up breakfast dishes? Get a load of laundry in the dryer?
  • What does your nightly routine look like? Do you pick up toys? Make lunches? Pack bags for the next day? Take some time for yourself?

This week, take some time to plan how you are going to maintain your newly organized projects. If you need help identifying where to start, call me or send me a message!

Tips For Time Management

manage your timeUpdated on May 12, 2020. 

Are 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.
  • Say No. Saying ‘no’ (politely) is one of the most important skills out there. No is a complete sentence, it doesn’t need an explanation, and it can be said kindly.
  • Write down all your tasks in one place. This helps you see all your tasks. Then, you can see if there are tasks that you can renegotiate, delegate, delete, or knock off your list.
  • Ask for help. Talk to your boss about your workload. What deadlines can change? Is there someone else on your team who can take over a project? What are the most important tasks you need to focus on? At home, can you hire a house cleaner, have groceries delivered, hire a laundry service, get your family members to help out more? Stop doing it all by yourself.
  • Streamline your decisions. Where can you simplify tasks? Use a rotation menu? Have a simple work wardrobe? Have certain days of the week to complete tasks (marketing Mondays, phone call Tuesdays)?

And, if you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some help with time management, productivity, or routines, call in a professional! Sometimes a little outside perspective is all you need to get headed in the right direction. 

It’s Time to Clean Off Your Computer!

cleaned off computer

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

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: 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.

change anything

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 be healthier).

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?
  • 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 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.

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

And if you want some support in identifying the steps you can take related to your social motivation and social ability, schedule some time 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!

Change Anything!

change anythingOne of my favorite books is Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. This book discusses how to make changes in your life and how willpower is not the answer. I like their philosophy because it has you look at 6 sources of influence in your life. It helps you identify these sources that are working against you and shows you how to turn them into positive influences. And, just like each organizing solution I provide is unique to that person or family, your path to change is unique.

Here is an overview of the 6 sources of influence. We will get into much more detail over the next few weeks.

Personal Motivation: Personal motivation is all about how you think about your future and why you’re making these changes. It’s all about the ‘why’. Maybe you want to be able to have people over for dinner and are tired of the dining table always being covered in paperwork. Or maybe you really want to save money for a vacation but keep buying stuff you don’t need.

Personal Ability: This is all about the skills you have to make changes. Do you know how to set up a place (and routine) for all the paperwork coming into your house? Do you need to figure out how to set up a budget or understand what’s behind your desire to overspend?

Social Motivation and Social Ability: Social Motivation and Social Ability look at those around you and whether they are a friend or an accomplice. Do you have a friend you have lunch with every Saturday, who also likes to shop? Who is influencing you in a positive way? Can you make more friends who help and talk with those who don’t?

Structural Motivation and Structural Ability: This is about creating incentives and controlling your space to help you reach your change goals. What is going to motivate you along the way? Reward small wins and find inexpensive ways to motivate yourself. How can you change your environment to keep you on track?

Many of these sources of influence are invisible to you. Until you become aware of them, you will be unable to change them. This means you get to be both the scientist and the subject in your life. You learn what influences are at work in your life.

Here are some other things to think about as you begin to identify these sources of influence in your own life.

  • What are your crucial moments? Where is it that you fall short of your goals?
    • These moments may be physical, emotional, or involve certain people or places. Start becoming aware of these moments.
  • What are your vital behaviors? What actions do you want to take when you are in a crucial moment?
    • These actions or guidelines help influence your behavior.

When making a change, it’s important to use all 6 sources of influence, not pick a few. Also, just because something doesn’t work or you have a bad day, don’t quit. Use that information to your advantage and turn it into a learning experience.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll get into more detail of each source of influence. I’ll share a few examples and I want you to think about how these 6 sources of influence can help you reach your goals for the year. 

If you want some support in identifying the steps in identifying anything,  schedule some time 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 4 – Time)

This is the last in my series about the holidays. I’ve been hearing many people talk lately about how busy and overwhelmed they are. We’ll tackle that subject soon. Today, let’s focus on how you are preparing for your holidays! Try these 3 tips. 

  1. Don’t over schedule your holidays. It’s ok to say no to events! When you say no, you’re simply saying yes to something else.
  2. Schedule time for any important family traditions.
  3. Schedule downtime. Put it in your calendar and make some time for yourself to relax or do something that is important to you!

Action item: Get some downtime and your family traditions on the calendar. Hold those dates sacred and say no to anything that interferes.

preparing for your holidaysNow that you have a plan in place for the holidays, I want you to schedule some time after the holidays to think about what worked and what didn’t work. Are there things you’d like to do different next year? Are there things you want to make sure you do again? Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll find it next year (on top of your decorations or as a reminder in your phone). 

Wishing you a fun and happy holiday season! If you need some help figuring out how to spend your time, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

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!