Category Archives: routines

The Dishes. Again.

The dishes. Again. 

With four people home all the time, we run our dishwasher a lot. There is often a clean load in the dishwasher, with even more dishes sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be dealt with. 

I realized recently that I had it in my head that my husband expected me to deal with the dishes. Yes, we’re both home all day. But my schedule is more flexible, I’m with the kids more during the day, working while they’re in their remote learning classes. So, of course, why wouldn’t I be the one to deal with all the household tasks too? 

 dishes. again. let's change the narratives.

Then I realized how incorrect this thinking is. It wasn’t that he expected me to do it. He wasn’t thinking about it at all. He was focused on work. And he would deal with the dishes later, after work, while he was making dinner. 

I read an article in the Atlantic about how men and women are equally messy. But men don’t notice as much. Women feel a lot of pressure to keep their spaces clean and organized and pretty. Ourselves too. Now, I will leave space in here on how we feel more in control of our lives when we’ve cleaned and purged our house. I too clean and organized when I’m stressed out.

But, women are conditioned from a young age that keeping the house and family organized is our responsibility. We wrap our worth up in it. Women operate on a different time scale than men. So it appears that we take it all on because men won’t. When men just haven’t been conditioned to deal with it as quickly as women. 

And the pattern continues. Women take on the tasks because we think men aren’t going to do it, instead of letting them do it on their own time. Then the men just stop doing tasks around the house, because the women do it all anyway. And it continues. 

And our kids see this. They see mom doing all the household chores and the organizing of schedules and planning of everything. And they grow up thinking that’s how it’s done. 

It’s time to change that narrative. 

I realize that I’m asking women to take on one more thing here. I’m also asking women to get their partners in on this. To start having these conversations together. To start shifting the dynamics in your house to more equity. Involve everyone in the household. Down to the youngest child. 

When my kids complain about not wanting to do something around the house, I remind them that we all live here. We all contribute to the household and we all need to work together. And then we read a book titled The Great Zooberry Debacle: A Tale of Many Hands.

Here are some more thoughts on this topic. And if you want to talk more about this, schedule a 30-minute phone call with me.

If you want more information on how to start this work, sign up below! You’ll receive a free PDF with questions to help get you started.

    Who Has The Time?

    Do you time block? Do you know that is? Time blocking is assigning a specific time to a specific task. This could work in several ways. 

    time block. rock in sand.
    • Processing emails at specific times (30 minutes at lunch and the last 30 minutes of your workday).
    • Scheduling all the calls you need to make for work on Thursday morning. 
    • Blocking time once a week for planning the next few weeks (so important to keep you on top of things!). 
    • Mondays are for marketing, Tuesdays are for staff meetings and open office doors for any staff questions, and Wednesday morning is for creative planning, etc. 
    • Scheduling time each week for bigger projects that require focused deep work for several hours.
    • Do laundry or buy groceries on certain days. 

    Time blocking ensures you get the big stuff done. It’s scheduling the big rocks and letting all the sand fall around them.

    Spend your days focusing on your priorities, not flinging from one task to another. You get ahead of the fires and last-minute urgent tasks.

    And when you block the time on your calendar, you’ve made time for those priorities. Your brain can rest because it knows the important tasks are taken care of.

    What happens if you’ve blocked your time but a crisis interrupts it? Good question.

    If this happens, it helps to have a handle on your tasks and schedule over the next few days or even weeks. Then you know what time blocks to switch around. Take some time to reschedule a few things so you can deal with the interruptions. And do this only after deciding whether the interruption needs to be dealt with right away or if it can wait.

    Read more about where your time goes here. And if you want to talk about how to incorporate time blocking in your days, schedule a call with me.

    Sign up below for a PDF to get you started in changing your relationship with time.

      But I’m Good At Multitasking!

      Are you constantly checking email while on phone calls? Or jumping back and forth between tasks on your computer?

      Do you end your days feeling frazzled, like you got nothing done and wondering where your time went?

      Studies have shown that effectiveness drops by 69% for women when we multitask! That’s huge! I’ve also heard that it can take 90 seconds to get back to a task for each email notification that distracts us (turn off your notifications!) Think about how many emails you get in a day and much time is wasted with these distractions!

      multitask

      Imagine how much more you could get done in a day if you focused on one task at a time?! Our brains can’t work efficiently when focusing on more than one task at a time.

      Yes, some things can be done simultaneously. Running a load of laundry while you’re cleaning the kitchen. Exercising while listening to your favorite podcast or talking to a friend. Stirring something on the stove while talking on the phone. Tasks that require little focus (or no focus, like laundry) can be done together.

      But if you’re working on a big work project, only focus on the tasks associated with that project. Processing emails count as needing focus. (and please, no talking or texting while driving. Driving counts as one of those high-functioning tasks that you should focus on while doing it).

      We’re so used to multitasking, what can we do about it? Here are some ways to break the habit:

      • Be aware of when you start to multitask. Catch yourself and get yourself to focus on one task.
      • Set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task. You can stop when the timer goes off, or you can reset it for another 15 minutes.
      • Focus on one task at a time. If another task pops into your brain while you’re working on something, quickly write it down on a nearby piece of paper and get back to the task.
      • Know your top 3-5 tasks for the day and have a general plan.

      ​Let me know how you feel about multitasking. Do you think you’re good at it or do you feel that it pulls you in too many directions?

      Are You Tired Of The Interruptions?

      We’re spending this month talking about interruptions. Last week we looked at how this pandemic has been one big life interruption (and 2021 isn’t shaping up to be all that different!) and how now is a great time to really examine the life we are creating. What activities, people, habits, things do we want in our lives? What is important to us?

      This week we’re going to look at a practical idea for dealing with interruptions both in your house and at work.

      interruptions, office hours

      Think about scheduling office hours. This minimizes interruptions and can be used in the office or when working at home. You get to focus on deep work, the stuff you never get to because you’re always being interrupted.

      Let people know that during certain hours, you do not want to be interrupted unless it’s an emergency. If someone does interrupt when it’s not office hours, ask if they can come back. If not, decide if it’s worth the interruption. And make a note of what you were working on so you can get back to it when it’s time.

      Find a way to mark your office door, calendar, or wherever you work so your family or colleagues know you’re working.

      Then, during certain hours, your door is open and people can ask questions and talk to you. Focus on work that can be easily interrupted, such as processing emails, work that requires less thinking, etc.

      Yes, it might take some time for your family to understand and learn to respect these boundaries. Especially if they’re used to interrupting you and having you respond immediately.

      But hold to these boundaries. Everyone will be happier in the long run, mostly because you’ll be less annoyed!

      Want to talk more about dealing with interruptions in your life? Schedule a free 30-minute phone call!

      Morning and Evening Routines

      morning and evening routinesSeptember is almost over. The school year has been underway for several weeks now. Hopefully, your command center is set up, your kids’ homework stations are working, and packing lunches are easy! Let’s take a few minutes to check in on your morning and evening routines. Are they still working for you?

      Let’s start with your evening routine. The more you do the night before, the easier your morning is going to be. Here are some tips for your evening routine.

      • Plan breakfast for the next morning.
      • Pull out anything that needs to defrost for dinner and put it in the fridge.
      • Pack lunches for the next day.
      • Pack backpacks, purses, and bags with items needed for the next day. What events (soccer practice, piano lessons, choir, etc.) are happening? What does each person need for their activities?
      • Sign all permission slips and place them in backpacks.
      • Pick your clothes out (and have your kids’ pick out theirs).
      • Set alarm clocks!

      Now that you’re ready for the next day, your morning should run a bit smoother. Give yourself plenty of time to get ready before the kids get up. This will help you feel less rushed. And make sure your kids get up with plenty of time to get ready. My daughter likes to read books or play for a bit before we head off to school. I plan time into our morning for that.

      What other tasks do you need to complete in the morning? Get the dishwasher running, or dinner in the crockpot? Have a checklist on the wall by the door to make sure you have everything you need as you head out the door!

      What changes do you need to make to your routines for your mornings smoother? Call me and let’s chat! Continue reading Morning and Evening Routines

      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

      Organizing For A New Baby

      Oh, babies bring such joy, exhaustion, smiles, and stuff to your life. Stores, other parents, grandparents, and others you meet will have lists of stuff and advice you need to get organized for your new baby. But do you really need all this stuff?organizing for new baby

      I received a gift at my baby shower that the person said she used all the time and it was a necessity. I carried it around in my diaper bag for 6 months before I decided I’d never use it and I needed to stop lugging it around. I had enough stuff in there. The baby swing we barely used for my now 3 year old was used often with my 2nd child. But this time, my older child used it to push her stuffed animals in. Occasionally we put the infant in it, but again, my older child pushed her and it was more entertaining than soothing. We never used it to put the baby to sleep.

      The lesson here is that you never know what is going to work for you and your family. Every child and parent is different.

      Babies also grow fast. My children were born in opposite seasons (Winter and Summer). I figured this meant I’d be buying all new clothes the second time around. But my youngest grew so fast that she’s able to fit into her sister’s hand-me-downs.

      Do I Really Need All This Stuff?

      Here are some suggestions for preparing for your baby, as well as managing the stuff that shows up that first year.

      • Don’t go out and buy everything on that suggested registry list. All you need to prepare are some diapers (newborn and size 1), some onesies (newborn and 0-3), a place for the baby to sleep, and a car seat. Babies don’t do much but eat and sleep those first few months, so you can buy the right size clothes and start thinking about other items you might need after the baby shows up.
      • Borrow items from friends to see if it works for you, your space, and your child. Can you borrow a swing from a friend and see if your baby likes it? Do you really need that play mat or will a blanket and some toys on the floor work?
      • Do you have friends you can swap stuff with? If their kids are older or younger, passing items along gets it out of your house or saves you money if it’s your turn.
      • If you have space, label bins with sizes (o-6 months, 6-9 months, etc.) and toss clothes in as your child outgrows them. Now they’re ready to pass on to the next person.
      • If you have space, have a bin or two for the stuff you don’t use. Whenever you see something that your child has outgrown or you know you won’t use, it goes in the bin. You may try several types of baby bottles before you find one your baby likes. Don’t let the others clog up your kitchen space.
      • If you’re not holding on to items for your next child or your friends children, have a plan for where to send this stuff when you’re done with it. Is there a consignment shop nearby? Or a donation place for families in need? Know where the stuff is going to go next so you can let it go, clearing space for the next round of toddler toys and clothes!
      What About Gifts?

      And as your child nears his or her first birthday, think about asking for experiences instead of gifts. A membership to the zoo or museum is more meaningful than another stuffed animal or toy. You can spend the morning looking at animals or playing in bubbles at the children’s museum. You both have fun and your house isn’t covered in toys (at least not for those few hours).

      I hope this helps as you prepare for your new little bundle of joy. And, congratulations!

      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!

      Let’s Be More Productive!

      be more productive

      As we wrap up February, I thought I’d share a few productivity tips. I don’t know about you, but my to-do list seems to grow longer each month instead of shorter. Somedays it’s downright overwhelming. Maybe it’s being home with a 14 month-old who doesn’t like to nap. Or maybe it’s me. Either way, I could certainly use to follow some of the advice below to be more productive!

      • Find a calendar you love and commit to it. It may be on your phone, on your iPad, or a paper version. Find one and use it. 
      • Create a list of everything you need to do. You can have separate lists for work and home, but don’t keep too many separate lists. Things get lost this way.
      • Manage your technology, don’t let it manage you. Check your email at certain times each day and have a specific time to respond to emails. Make sure the blogs and other items you receive are supporting you, not taking away your focus from something important.
      • Schedule downtime. Otherwise, that elusive spare time will never happen. It’s perfectly fine to put it on the calendar.
      • Break down tasks in to smaller steps. I’ve been wanting to work on my scrapbook for months now. As a whole, it feels very overwhelming. But I sat down a few weeks ago and put everything in my scrapbook box in order. Then I sat down and over a week went through pictures (all on the computer) to see what to print. Then I printed them. Next, I need to take those prints and get them mixed in with everything else. Then I can sit down and start scrap booking. Tiny steps means I’m on my way to catching up with it.

      These are just a few productivity steps to help wrap up February. Start thinking about how you can use them in March. If you want some guidance in how best to use your time, schedule a call with me or send me a message!

      Cleaning Out Your Computer

      cleaning out computer The 2nd Monday in February is Clean Out Your Computer Day. Maybe instead of a day, you need a week or a month. How about spending just a few minutes at the end of each day cleaning off files. Get in the habit of doing this regularly and you can keep your computer clutter free.

      Here are a few tips to get you started. (Some of these can apply to your smartphone as well).

      • Delete any software or apps that you no longer use.
      • Take a look at your computer’s desktop and delete any files you know you no longer need. Last week’s list of errands is probably no longer relevant.
      • Go through any folders you’ve created and delete files you no longer need.
      • Delete duplicates of any files. Do you really need 4 versions of something? Keep only the most recent.
      • Create folders for each person in the house and start putting relevant files into each person’s subsequent folder (if it’s necessary to keep).
      • Go through iTunes and delete any music you no longer listen to or want to keep.
      • Go through your photos and delete any duplicates, blurry photos, etc.
      • Create files for your photos to keep them organized. For example, mine are labeled by year-month-topic (2013-3-Trip to Santa Fe). Use a naming system that makes sense to you.
      • Clear out old emails in Outlook or Mail. Archive old emails if you have many you want to keep.
      • Go through your contact list and delete duplicates or remove any contact that is no longer useful.

      This list should get you started. Schedule some time to back up your computer and get in the habit of cleaning up your computer’s desktop and files on a regular basis. A clutter free computer is a happy computer! If you want some guidance in cleaning out your computer, 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!

      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!