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An ADHD Parent’s Guide to Paper

 

adhd parent paper

Have you wondered how you can manage all the paper that comes into your home or office?  It’s coming in at a rate faster than you can process.  Parents have often said, “why do the teachers send so much home!” As an ADHD parent, it’s especially hard to pare down all the school work, information and extra-curricular paper work that comes in. Here’s some ways you can manage paper.

Keep less, trash more

Give yourself permission to trash, shred or recycle as much paper as possible.  Keeping as little paper as possible gives you more options to find information on the school website or online.  Find the information you need and bookmark these sites.  If possible, use the “add to calendar” feature to automatically add dates and information.  In addition, drag emails onto dates in the calendar feature of Outlook.  Create folders in Dropbox and Evernote and access these online tools instead of keeping paper.

 

Create a collection point

Create one spot for a collection point for all the papers. It may seem overwhelming when you see these all together, but this keeps paper from being in every room.  It also keeps important information from getting lost.  A good start is a simple basket.  Cull through this weekly to know which papers are in the basket and which you can toss.

 

For kids’ school art and special work, keep one basket per child.  Drop items in every day and set aside a time weekly to go over what’s in the basket. There are lots of ways to treasure what’s precious and eliminate the rest.

 

Automate other papers

You may already be paying bills online. But there are more options to automate.  You can add a utilities only credit card and pay a lump sum of utilities once a month. You can auto debit your utilities. You can have an online account for your medical explanation of benefits.  The more you automate any paper, the better.  It’s good to remember that most any paper that comes in your house by mail, will come again in 2 weeks!

 

Paper, just like laundry and your kid’s messy lunchbox, will be rough going all the time.  It’s a matter of being as decisive and routine as possible, both of which are not an ADHD parent strong suit.  However with practice, just like all other routines, paper management improves.

 

Join me on the quest to eliminate paper!  Join my newsletter here!

 

 

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Are you ready for change?

ready for change adhd

 

Deciding on any lifestyle change is a commitment. That change may include what you eat, what habits you have or what you organize. Others around you are offering lots of advice on how to change. What does it mean when you are ready for change?  How do you know you are ready for change?

How you know you are NOT ready for change.

  • You are not ready to change when others are coercing you.  You are being pushed in a direction to make change.  You’re using the word should or ought to to describe the change.
  • You know in your mind that change is good, but you are procrastinating on getting started.  You have underlying fears, a lack of skills or have not truly created buy in on your part.
  • You don’t have a great reason why to change.

 

 

You are ready for change when

  • More than just acknowledging that life is not going smoothly, you are sick and tired of being sick and tired.  You remember the definition of insanity, “doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome,”  and know what that means.  Despite how difficult it might be, you are ready to do something different.
  • You are researching how to get help to make the change and hone in on who can help.  It may take time to know who is the best to help and you are ready to talk to that person, start that program or attend a group meeting.
  • You are energized to create something or be something new. You have time, energy and focus to break out of what’s holding you back and start on a new path.
  • You have a compelling reason to create a new habit.

How do I know when I am ready for change?

I think about a compelling reason for the change.  Some of my biggest changes have come from what I think are really outstanding reasons to make a change.  From there I break that into a baby step of baby steps.   I am ready for change because I find a small way to get started on a big thing.  I encourage you to write your own list of ways you know you are ready to change.

 

 

when you have the why you can create the how

The path to change is not easy. It can be moved forward with inspiration and tenacity.  What’s your way of knowing you are ready for change?

 

Minimalism, Essentialism and Simplicity

 

minimalism, essentialism and simplicity

 

Have you heard the buzz about minimalism?  The concept started just after World War II and has exploded in the 21st century.  Minimalism is paring down to a minimum and living with less. It’s no surprise that according to a 2011 study, 90% of Americans admit that unorganized clutter at home or at work has a negative impact on their life. There are major benefits to living with less.  However, there is more to this concept.  Maybe you are not about living with the least you can, but about living with what’s essential or living simply.   While you are creating a new awareness of how much you really need, you can align with decluttering and organizing cultural concepts. There are several ways to create a less encumbered lifestyle and these choices might be minimalism, essentialism or simplicity.

 

Minimalism

Do you embrace a life where experiences are key and stuff bogs you down?  Are you a person who owns less for the sake of owning less?  When there is too much around you, do you feel anxious?  You may be a minimalist at heart.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus , well known as The Minimalists, are bloggers who focus on the minimalist lifestyle.  Their personal experiences about owning too much shape their writing.  Their writing includes information about stuff, finances, debt and more.

 

Essentialism

Do you embrace a life where your essential needs are met and the stuff you own is only what is essential?  Perhaps you purchase and keep only the essential items required for your daily living. You might keep only your essential items on the kitchen counter to use daily. You may be part of the essentialism movement.

 

Greg Mckeon, author of Essentialism shares his perspective about time and space.  It’s the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’.   In applying criteria and prioritizing, we can choose what we want and what we want to do with regard to our core values.

 

Simplicity

Do you want to make life simpler?  Are you okay with a few basic items out but keep what’s used less frequently in the cabinet? Are you feeling overwhelmed by too many meaningless activities that you used to love? You may just want to simplify your space and time.

 

My core belief and what we share at  Professional-Organizer.com is to “keep it simple sweetie.”  Our lives are enhanced by making decisions with simple choices.  We are often drawn to complexity in our work and home so by stepping back and choosing simplicity, we can find happiness and balance.

 

It’s small distinctions that set apart minimalism, essentialism and simplicity.  This granular evaluation of living the life you want can help you keep away from clutter and over-commitment.   Your commitment to the lifestyle of your choice depends on where you are on the minimalism continuum.

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How taking a vacation makes you more productive

productivity

 

Look around at kids in your home or neighborhood on vacation!  The joy of longer days to swim, the fun of time off, and time to do whatever they want spontaneously keeps their spirits and energy high.  We can have that too! We can be healthier, happier and more productive with a vacation and time off.  Although it seems counter intuitive, there’s lots of reasons what taking a vacation helps improve productive.

 

 A vacation energizes you

Working to declutter and organize requires energy.  In our day to day busy lives, we are giving a lot of energy to what is required. We seldom have energy to get done what is required of us in a day.  After a vacation, being refreshed, you are ready to take on decluttering and organizing. You are ready to make decisions and let go of what you don’t need.

 

Take a vacation and do your organizing

Some times we take a vacation and do the tasks we seldom get to during our typical time at home.  Some of us enjoy organizing but seldom have the time to get organized.  It may be that your vacation is a gift to yourself to get your organizing done.  It makes sense to take a vacation and get your organizing done in order to create balance and serenity.

 

Open ended time helps you improve productively

When you are away from work, you are more open to fresh ideas.  Your brain refreshes just like when you sleep.  Your time away is taking care of you. It’s a wellness break that is required for you to be your best. “Getting away from a familiar environment help gain clarity on life,” says Adam Galinsky, professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

 

This year my family will be taking a vacation that helps us all get away. Not only will it improve productivity, it will increase our connectivity.  Share where you will be heading off to on vacation this summer!

 

More tips on being more organized this year? Join my newsletter!

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Tips to be Highly Organized for Back to School

highly organized back to school home

 

The beginning of school reminds us all of back to school. Whether we are the parent or the child, we are called to be more organized.  Maybe this summer you slacked off a little.  It’s time to get highly organized for back to school.  Take one of these tips and get to work.

 

Highly organized school supplies

We are already bombarded with school supply and back to school sales.  For this reason, shop your own stock first.  If your supplies have been stored all through the house, gather all the school supplies together and assess your organizing.  If you have too many, it’s a great time to donate to school supply drives.  Set aside supplies for your kids’ backpacks, the homework center and school supply stock.  Create a school and office supply area in an easy access closet or rolling cart.

 

Highly organized mornings  and evenings

There’s no need for mornings and evenings to be chaotic. Set up routines that make for smooth transitions at home.  Start the night before for the best tomorrow.   Leave you and your kids stuff at your landing strip ready to go.  Charge everyone’s devices on the charging station over night.  Make breakfast easy and portable where kids can take it on the run with them.  Write out a check list for each person for mornings and evenings and post these where everyone sees them regularly.

Highly organized closets

Getting ready in the morning and getting laundry done are easy when you declutter your closet.  Take an hour to go through each of your kids’ closets and keep only what fits right now.  If the closet or drawers are stuffed, cull out more so that’s it is easy to put away clothes.  Head into your closet and keep only what makes you feel fabulous!  When you can wear all the clothes in  your closet, it’s quick and easy.

 

Highly organized paperwork and digital documents

Family command centers make for a great way to consolidate information.  More schools are going to online access, so two times a week check online just to be sure you are getting all the information  you need.  Process papers in your purse and kids’ backpacks daily to eliminate, sort and categorize and then shred what you don’t need. Capture important dates in email and text each the evening..  What’s most important is to use a family calendar and command center which are the drop spots for this information.

Highly organized team work

The best family team work starts with family communication.  A family meeting is the time to share information and gather ideas.  Family responsibilities can be done together to be sure everyone pitches in. Whether it is a family cleaning time, family dinner prep together or family laundry party, the family that works together gets more done.  It’s how kids learn new skills and parents share lifelong skills.  Get your team organized with consistent team work.

 

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Insider’s Guide to Selling Clutter Online

insider guide to selling clutter online

There’s a value for everything.  When we decide that it’s time to eliminate and declutter, we want to find a monetary value as an incentive to let go.  We see that others are selling stuff and want to cash in on our clutter.  However, although it looks like everyone is making bank for their old items, not everything will sell for what we think is its value. There’s lots of sites to use too. Here’s the insider guide to selling clutter.

Do your research

What does your item sell for when it’s purchased new? What have others sold it for?  Do your research online to find out what’s the real value. Researching on Ebay, you can find out the price others have sold the item for or if it has sold.  Once you know the amount, you are ready to set your own price.  Quick sales occur by creating a great deal.  Set the price at 25% of the original cost.

 

Setting up your sale

Make the most of your sale by using many photos and many sites.  Your area has many different sites that sell. Taking multiple photos helps purchasers learn more about your item.  It’s a visual way to enhance your sale.  Write a lengthy description of your item including all the bonus aspects of your item. Include the size of your item as well as many other descriptions about it.  More is better here.

Use many sites to sell your item

Take the time to list it on 2 sites to maximize your sales possibilities.  People have their favorite sites they look at regularly.  Take advantage of this option.  These would include Craigslist as well as other sites.

 

Check for sales regularly

Being responsive to inquiries is important. Check the sites or enable the email function to have questions sent to you. You may need to answer questions about your item by email and text to hone in on a sale.

 

Safety first

When you are selling online, be aware of the many different possible scams. Do not send any money to a prospective purchaser.  You can create a selling gmail account, such as ellensells@gmail.com, to keep your email clean.  Use your intuition about where to meet, who is with you when the purchaser arrives and take cash only.  Provide your address only once you are ready to make the sale and all your questions have been answered.

 

Good luck with your sales !

 

 

Organizing and Productivity Books

organizing and productivity books

 

 

There are lots of books on organizing and productivity. My favorite organizing and productivity books focus on topics that are more than just “how to books.”   The topics include content that provide insights into the big picture of organizing and productivity.   Some of these focus on what holds you back.  These books promote creating new perspectives and new awareness.  Here’s a list of my favorite organizing and productivity books.

The Power of Habit

A New York Times best seller, The Power of Habit shares how habits work.   The book shares the science of habits.  Develop powerful positive routines with this book.

 

Essentialism

Greg McKeown shares the value of paring down to what is essential to you.  In order to say yes to what’s most important,  you have to know what to say no to.  This book shares a new perspective on how to prioritize.

Organizing from the Inside Out

Julie Morgenstern wrote this book in the early 2000s, at the dawn of organizing. It’s a must read for all who are interested in changing their space.  This book outlines simple ways to organize.

 

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

Written to address the needs of those who have ADHD, this book shares practical strategies for organizing. Written in collaboration by an organizer and a therapist, ADD friendly strategies start with self – help and move to working with professionals.

 

More Attention, Less Deficit

Beginning with a review of ADHD symptoms, this book provides extensive suggestions for overcoming every day challenges face by those with ADHD.

 

Organizing Plain and Simple

This book is a simple reference for all sorts of organizing challenges and practical ways to make a difference in your home or office.

 

 

Maybe you are not a reader.  Many of these books are offered as audio books.  Maybe you like to read several books at a time.  Choose a book that sounds interesting and share what resounded with you here.

 

If you love books as much as I do, you want to organize them too!

 

5 Ways to Write Stuff Down

 

write it down productivity

Do you ever find a list from months ago, read it and see how much was accomplished? Even when we are not as intentional as we prefer, by simply writing stuff down we get more done.  In Write It Down, Make It Happen, Henriette Anne Klauser, PhD, explains how simply writing down your goals in life is the first step toward achieving them.

 

So why not make it easy to write stuff down?  Here are 5 ways to write stuff down.

 

write stuff down

Cute spiral notebook

A cute spiral notebook that fits in your purse or work bag is an easy way to write stuff down. You can quickly add to it and use it.  The key is cute because “cute counts” and you will use it more as a result.

 

write stuff down

 

Large size post it note

A super large post it note is a lovely thing! It sticks so you don’t lose it. It’s a visual way to keep up with your tasks.  Many tasks can be listed on this one sticky.

 

 

write stuff down

Clip board

Never lose your list again! Keep a clip board with your list attached. It’s an easy way to find your list. With a nail, your list can be hung on a wall.

 

 

write stuff down

Evernote

Go electronic with your list.  Evernote helps you keep away from scraps of paper you lose. Creating Evernote notebooks keeps your list organized and accessible.

 

  write stuff down

Siri

Maybe you want to dictate your lists instead?  Use the microphone icon on your smart phone to dictate into either Evernote, Note,Wunderlist or any of your favorite list making apps.

 

 

You want to make it easier to write stuff down than you can imagine. Try one of these choices this week and see what happens.

5 Smart Organizing and Productivity Statistics

organizing statistics

 

 

There’s lots of reasons to decide to get organized.  There’s even more reasons to decide to be productive.  It can be a feeling that you need to be more in control or less stressed. It can be a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.  However, there are smart clutter and organizing statistics that may make more of a compelling reason for you to get started.  Check these out!

  • Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40% of the housework in an average home? (National Soap and Detergent Association).  Wouldn’t we all like to do less housework?  It’s a compelling reason to declutter and simplify.

 

  • The average employee wastes $5251 a year in time searching for information. (ARMA International)  Being organized at work saves everyone money in your business.  It also saves frustration.  In organizing your paper, you are making it easy to focus on what’s most important.

 

  • 64% of workers feel most productive from 8 am – 12 noon (Wrike Survey.)  Clear out mornings to do your most important work. When we do the first thing first, it’s a big pay off.  Remember to set aside time for your highest priorities early in the day.

 

  • Americans who own smartphones or tablets spend, on average, 2 hours and 38 minutes “glued” to their mobile devices (Flurry Analytics.)  You may not have realized how much time you are spending with your devices. Set your technology aside to get more done.  Be sure you are charging these in a common area at night to maximize your rest.

 

  • Research in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that the mind slows down when it switches back and forth between tasks.  Focus requires spending your time on a single task and creating a flow of single tasks.  Being single focus means you can check off items and feel good about completion.  Doing too much makes you dumber and slower.

 

These surprising statistics give you great reasons to get started organizing or find new ways to be more productive.  Whether it’s at home or at the office, it’s good to know there are statistics to back up your efforts.

What to Love about the Planner Pad

planner pad

 

Even in the digital electronic age we are in, there’s still a lot of love for a paper planner.  There’s especially a lot to love about the planner pad.  Here’s what’s most valuable about this paper planner.

 

Consolidate your list and your planner

It’s easy to scribble notes on random pieces of paper. The planner pad has a slot for this!  You create lists in categories at the top of the planner pad. These lists keep tasks, ideas, websites and even cat food purchases easy to find. Creating these lists makes it easier for you to write stuff down, do your work, and be productive.

Month and week at a glance features

It’s great to view both the month and week at a glance as you are recording dates.  Having these two perspectives helps you prioritize and keep accountable. Recording in both calendars insures your mindfulness of activities and actions.

Easy to carry

It’s easy to carry your phone and your planner pad. Since there are many different sizes and configurations, you can choose what works best for you.

 

Use it as a planning tool

I am a big fan of GTD and the weekly planning time.  The planner pad is perfect for this type of processing. The center section in the week at a glance section helps you consolidate your tasks, errands and projects by helping you commit to a time to do this work.

Available as an app

So you may be a digital person and love planner pad too! It’s now available as an app. I recommend using it on a tablet to view and add information easily.

 

 

Love your planner pad too? Share what you love here.

 

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