Why can’t I do this myself?

why cant I do this myself

 

It’s a sentence I hear from many clients.

 

Why can’t I do this myself?

 

What’s behind this question?

 

It takes a new way of thinking to accept help at times.

 

Recently I heard of a perspective shift from a client.  As a single entrepreneur woman, she had a lot on her plate. She also had her cats to think of.  In thinking about how she was trying to do it all herself, she reflected on some tv shows from her youth. There was the Courtship of Eddie’s Father with Mrs. Livingston, there was the show Hazel and there was the Brady Bunch with Alice. It was an aha moment as she realized she needed help!

 

It takes awareness to reach this new perspective and reach out for help.

It takes courage to accept help in your personal space. It’s about a trusting relationship.  It’s about knowing that there is no judgement in working with someone.

 

It’s acknowledging your need for help is not a lack of your skill or lack of determination.  The most commitment need help too.

 

It’s acknowledging that your brain works in a certain way. It’s knowing that having someone else in the space helps your brain work best, helps you process in a way that works best for you and helps get the job you started finished.

 

It’s in finding who is a good fit for your team.

 

There are lots of potential members of your team. It’s  your counselor, Stephen Minister, professional organizer and coach who create all the different successes.  Finding the fit of many different people who can help you is what’s important.

 

There are many answers to why can’t I do this myself.  There may be more than a single reason. Find what works for you and you can move forward with whatever task you are doing.

 

More ideas and resources for your team here.

Setting your goals for the new year

 

goal setting

 

Each new year we see the opportunity to refresh, revitalize, resolve and renew. Our goals are the road map we follow for the year. We determine what is most important to us and what we will honor as our priorities. Start the year off spending time strategizing and writing what will be your focus in personal, professional, spiritual, wellness, family and other goals this year.

 

• Write down your goals, being very specific.

The more detail you have written down, the more you have made the goal a reality. Keep your goals in view each and every day.

 

• List the benefits and the obstacles.

The big question is why? What will be the worth of this accomplishment? What challenges will you encountered? Write these down so you know your reasons and rationale for your goals as well as your stumbling blocks.

• Make yourself accountable with deadlines.

Set a date you want to complete the goal and each step along the way.  It’s the ways we are accountable that help the most.

 

• Create a team

Write a list of resources, groups and people to contact who will assist if you ask them.

• Plan your work and work your plan

Create a plan with baby steps along the way that include every day actions. Strategize and list activities that take just 15 minutes a day to make your goal a reality. Make a personal commitment to act on your goals, live up to that commitment every day, and visualize yourself succeeding with this goal. Be sure your time and calendar reflect your commitment and advancement to your goal.

 

You will see with each baby step a move forward!  Keep on moving forward and you have accomplished your goal.

Words Matter: Organizing Mantras

 

organizing mantras

 

Words matter!  When we talk to ourselves and others about organizing, it’s best to keep a positive approach in how we describe our work.  It’s in finding words that convey a positive perspective that we can be the most successful.

 

organizing mantra and words matter

Start and cultivate a feeling for organizing

How can we approach getting started on organizing? Would you have to be in the mood to start? Would you tell yourself I am ready to get started? Sometimes we have to just start and then we feel more in the mood for organizing.  Your organizing mantra can be “put your big girl panties on and get started” or “I envision the serenity of my space.”  Get started to get your groove and feel the organizing love.

 

Tack on one more habit to an existing habit

Research shows that it takes 66 days to create a habit.  We can be discouraged when habits don’t happen right away.  The positive spin on new habits is to “hook” a new habit on an existing habit.  Think of habits you already have as routines and start there.

 

Who can help me?

Asking for help can be hard. But it’s a lot more fun and much easier when you work with a partner to get stuff done.  Look for a partner in someone who has different strengths from you.  It’s not that you are any less skilled, strong or resourceful. It’s picking a partner who you work well with together.

 

Is this good for me?

Letting go of stuff can be hard.  Smart strategies for decluttering include asking yourself if your stuff is still good for you.  Is your stuff still helping you do your best? Is it still valuable and functional for you?  Good stuff is everywhere in our homes and offices.  It’s just not still good for you.

 

What works?

Something works for everyone! Dig deep if you need to but find what works and capitalize on it.  You might be surprised at what is really working.

words matter

Choose your words with care. Create mantras that feel positive, uplifting and fun.

 

Join my newsletter for more organizing and productivity mantras.

 

 

How to Rock being an ADHD Parent

adhd parent

 

Being a mom or dad is a tough job.  Being an ADHD parent requires more.  Keeping your home organized and beautiful, your children on track with school and well behaved, and prioritizing your own well being are a lot for those with executive function challenges.  Here are some tips to rock your parenting job.

 

Declutter your home

It’s all too much sometimes with all the clothes, toys, electronics and stuff. It’s hard to get control of stuff in your home.  Having less to organize makes it easier to find homes for your stuff.

  • Minimize the clutter by bringing in as little as you can.  Be sure it’s something you must acquire before you purchase it.
  • Assign a function to each room in your home so that you know what belongs in that space.  At times the most difficult task in an ADHD home is where does something belong. It belongs in the space it is going to be used.
  • If you already have too much, set aside an hour once a week to let go of what is unused currently.  Declutter decisively by deciding if you have used it in the last 6 months. If not, be brutal and bring it to a donation spot that afternoon.  You may have one regret for every 10 bags of donations, but it’s a small price to pay for clarity and organization in your home.

 Paper plan

Paper is a major enemy for ADHD parents. There’s too much coming in from the mail and school.  Here’s a simple plan that helps.

  • Open your mail over the recycling bin every day. Keep only what is required not potential papers such as service providers, coupons, or any other just in case papers.
  • Pay bills online through your bank.  Place the bills in a box marked for the year.
  • Set up a command center for your kids’ papers.  Drop in papers regularly and once a month talk about the papers with your kids.  Discretely let go of what’s not “precious.”  Move these remaining papers to a portfolio or make a photo book.

 

 

adhd parent

 

Post important dates to your family calendar

Our busy families have lots of commitments.  Keep track of them with a family calendar.

  • A paper month at a glance calendar can hang by the refrigerator.  Keep a basket or bulletin board for invitations, directions or other date related papers.
  • Try online calendars like Google or Cozi to keep dates digitally, but print a copy for posting in your home.
  • Remember to pencil in white space. Back to back commitments make life stressed.  Down time gives everyone time to recuperate and refresh.  It also gives you time to prioritize and evaluate.

 

Landing strip at your door

It’s easy to be late because of lost keys, homework, shoes or other last minute stuff.  Create a landing strip at your door with hooks, baskets, a bench and a analog clock.  It’s a spot to drop items as you come and go from the house.

 

landing strip

Photo from FiveInTheHive.com

 

The most organized and productive ADHD parents recognize the value of a good night’s rest.  With all these great tips in place, making sure you get to bed earlier than you think will help you rock being an ADHD parent.

 

How to Organize Digital Files

organize digital files

 

Our digital life includes documents, spreadsheets, PDF docs, and photos. Add in items that are saved in the cloud. You may be saving files to your desktop or keep files attached in your email.  All of a sudden we are digitally disorganized! Simple, electronic organization is a must when it comes to keeping our digital files organized.

 

Start with the big picture

Digital organizing is just like physical organizing.  Think about the big categories of digital files to organize.  The big category of files should reside on your PC, Macbook or cloud based filing system. Why? Because like with all organizing, consolidating is important.  You want one spot to look for all these files.

 

Backing up is a critical safety factor.   You can use your cloud based filing system with a strong password, an external hard drive, or a specific back up system like Carbonite.  Whichever you choose, be sure you are backing up regularly.

 

Organize digital files with broad categories

Digital and paper file systems have a lot in common. Starting with broad categories makes it easy to file and easy to know where to find information.

Home digital files include:

  • House and Auto
  • Financial
  • Personal
  • Work
  • Photos
  • Music

Office digital files include:

  • Clients
  • Resources
  • Vendors
  • Financials 20XX
  • Expenses

Think about what applies to your business as a big category.  You can also sort by year if that’s easier.  Choose categories that make sense to you and can be easily remembered. If not, you can also print your folder and file list for reference.

 

computer organizing

 

Create files within the folder

Create a file within the folder for more specific categories.  In your Home folder, it might be Jeep and Lexus are the file names. In the Financial folder, you can create files for Retirement Merrill Lynch, Utilities 20XX, or Banking Compass.  For your photos, you can create files by event like birthday, travel or year.

Organize digital files by consolidating

  • If you save to your desktop, you can copy/cut and paste into your new document folder you created.
  • If documents are in your email, open and save as to the new file.
  • If you are saving a photo, cut and paste into the new file.

 

Scanning to your files

  • It’s easiest to create the folder before you scan.  Then simply choose PDF and scan to the folder you need.
  • Remember, not EVERYTHING is scan worthy.
  • You don’t have to scan in previous documents. Start by going forward with scanning new documents and catch up later.

organize electronic files

Remember, keeping it simple makes it easier to file anything!

 

More tech organizing here!

Snow day

snow day It’s a bright sunny day today but I am seeing all sorts of snow day fun in the news.  Our last official snow occurred in December 2008.  Since the chance of this precipitation rarely occurs here, it makes me think about having a self proclaimed snow day.

 

Snow day fun

A snow day for kids means a day of fun and no school.  How refreshing that would be to be able to have an adult snow day!  Things I would love to do on a snow day include staying in jammies all day, treating myself to hot cocoa, watch food tv favorites and reading endless numbers of magazines.

 

Others might see a snow day as a day for improvised productivity. Yes, you could organize a closet, your email or your desk.  Yes,  you could get more done on this day.

 

For me it would be a day filled with rejuvenation, renewal and reflection.

 

According to The Energy Project, “we are at our best when we alternate between expending energy and intermittently renewing our four core energy needs: physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual. When you’re intent on supplying fuel in each dimension of energy, you’re creating happier people that will affect your organization’s success.”  There’s power in renewal.

 

When can I plan a snow day?

 

It’s a day to put on the calendar!  It may not be as spontaneous as the weather, but you can arrange it as a day to rejuvenate.  We all need a day to be able to wind down, sit quietly and gain back our clarity.

 

When is your snow day? Let’s plan it together!

ADHD Apps and Tools

adhd apps and tools

 

There’s so much new technology that can make life easier to manage.  Take advantage of apps that work across many devices to consolidate information and make tasks easier. Check out these simple to use apps in different categories.

To keep a note

Evernote is the most popular of all apps to keep information.  Create “notebooks” to categorize your information and “tag” it to find it later.

More than a list, Toodledo is the place to write notes, customize lists, and create recurring events.

Love paper?  There’s nothing better than the Arc notebook available at Staples. The unusual, customizable design makes this the place to write notes, organize your thoughts, or keep a list. It’s available in sizes and designs that make you smile too.

 

The most important part of writing stuff down is that you no longer have to take energy from doing a project to remember other stuff. 

 

To keep a budget

Mint helps you pull all your financial information together. It helps you create a budget and know how you are spending your money.

EveryDollar is a free budget tool recommended by Dave Ramsey.

Getting in touch with your money is a very powerful feeling.

 

To keep dates

BlueSky Week at a glance calendars help you organized your year. A week at a glance view creates a streamlined week to plan and execute what needs to be done.

Planner pad calendar consolidates your lists and your appointments. You can categorize lists, prioritize tasks and pull together details of your life.

Cozi is a simple, effective online tools for calendars and tasks. Manage tasks, keep appointments, and create a calendar that brings everything and everyone together.

Having a trusted tool for dates makes it easy to keep from double booking or feeling stressed to remember dates.

To keep information

Dropbox  is a service that keeps your files safe, synced, and easy to share. Bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and never lose a file again.  It’s the best way to work on information on different devices at different locations. It’s also a great way to share photos with family and friends or collaborate on a project with colleagues.

Google Docs is an easy way to share documents, spreadsheets and other information on multiple devices and with others.  Part of google, it’s powerful enough to keep information backed up too while collaborating with others.

Never feel like you have lost a file again!

To manage time

TimeTimer is for everyone who wants to manage time better.  It shows the passage of time and helps you assess how much time you have to complete a task. It helps you get tasks complete.

Analog clock or watch is easier for our brain to connect to the movement and duration of time.

Time is on your side when you manage time.

 

To maintain wellness

Fitbit tracks your activities, sleep and weight to help keep you accountable.  How much you rest and how much you exercise are contributing factors in wellness.  There are wrist and body fitbits for your needs.

Pandora is your personal radio where you set stations.  If you are motivated by music to get things done, you will enjoy having different stations for different types of activities including organizing!

Wellness is key to all of our lives.

 

adhd apps and tools

 

What apps do you use? I have my own list of favorites, as well as student apps and financial apps.   I’d love to learn what works for you!  These ADHD apps and tools make the most of using technology wisely and help us all live well.

5 Essential Tips for Scheduling

scheduling

 

 

January is the National Association of Professional Organizer’s Get Organized Month! Organizing now ranks as the top new year’s resolution, more important that losing weight. Each year we are challenged to use our time most effectively and efficiently. With so much to get done, a calendar is essential. Your calendar is the visual guide for time management. Effective scheduling and productivity go hand in hand in getting accomplished what is most important.

 

As with all organizing products, choosing the right calendar is critical.

When you are deciding on a calendar, think of whether your view of your time is a daily, weekly or monthly time frame. Also, decide whether you are a tech person. Would you prefer a personal digital assistant (PDA)? These are especially useful to carry in a small bag, excellent to retain contact information, remind you of recurring events and synchronize with your computer. Or are you a paper person and would prefer a paper calendar? If you prefer writing in your appointments, carrying something a little larger, and enjoy writing in pencil, the paper calendar is good for you. January is the best time to make the transition!

 

Consistency is the key to your calendar.

Write in all you and your family’s tasks, errands, invitations, appointments as well as any other important information in your calendar or planner. Your calendar is also a way to help organize your time to reflect your priorities. Think about your true priorities and then calendar them in. Not only will you be true to yourself on what is important, your planning will make these tasks easy to accomplish. Make appointments with yourself to follow through with specific tasks by a specific time and insure your accountability to yourself. Keeping one calendar makes all the difference in clarifying your activities. Only one calendar makes reviewing, entering and keeping information easy for you!

 

Unexpected events always occur!

For a paper calendar, using a pencil makes your calendar and list easy to read, less messy, more complete, and easy to change. Choose a pencil you love – either mechanical or with a good thick lead. And rely on a good eraser! For those with the PDA, remember to charge the batteries consistently so it is ready to use at all times. Also, learn the graffiti component to add information readily. Again, “Life Happens!” Be prepared for changes and flex your flexibility!

 

Plan your time commitments to your best advantage.

Many times our stress is due to time commitments we cannot control! Be prepared by having a little extra time between tasks, appointments and meetings. Take care in scheduling appointments and luncheons, being sure that your commitments have ample time between them. And then, just in case, add 15 minutes between major activities and appointments. A philosophy of adding a few extra minutes adds to your sense of balance throughout the day! With planning, you are ready to schedule activities and events to your advantage! Schedule similar events together to use your time most effectively. Group your errands for groceries, post office, or purchases by proximity, and schedule these sequentially on the same day. Make and return phone calls at a designated time. When you consolidate these activities, you save time and you accomplish the tasks most efficiently.

Most importantly rely on your calendar by referring to it regularly!

Review your calendar the evening before and in the morning to be sure you are keeping on task. Set aside a weekly planning time at the beginning of the week for you to incorporate your “to do list” and your calendar. You can plan best by having a time to do your paper work as well as schedule errands, grocery shopping and other weekly activities this way. Set an “appointment with yourself” to plan your time wisely and schedule paperwork.

 

Time is our most precious commodity! Let’s honor our priorities by honoring what is most meaningful, affirming our priorities and finding balance in our life by using time wisely. Scheduling can make all the difference in our lives and our family’s lives too!

 

Free weekly planner here!

How to Make Habits Stick

habits

 

Some of us are creatures of great routine and some of us are not. When it’s hard to make habits stick, it’s easy to get discouraged.  We label ourselves as unable to create or stick with habits.  With ADHD, it’s especially hard to create and stick to habits or routines.  Habits are not always about being more disciplined.  Habits are about finding ways to incorporate small changes that add up.  How do you make habits stick? Here are 5 ways to make habits more consistent in your life.

 

Find your habit success first

Surprisingly most people don’t know what habits are sticking. Start with that awareness. Do you consistently do any one thing? It can be something so small you don’t recognize it.  It can be a personal hygiene routine like brushing your teeth, a family activity like attending church or a time topic like being on time routinely.  Once you know one habit is working, it’s a great way to start a new habit.

 

Start a small actionable habit

Over and over we hear it takes 21 days to create a new habit.  Research shows it is actually longer. However, often we are trying to tackle more than one habit at a time.  Start with something small and specific that you can accomplish.  Find one small part of a new habit you want to create and work just on that small piece.

 

Hook your habit

Now that you know about a successful habit, it’s time to hook onto this. This means you are doing this new habit just after your existing habit. This way you have the bonus of starting off with success. It’s a powerful way to see change.

 

Start today

There’s no time like the present. As Nike says, “Just Do It.”  Starting today means you are committing to change.  End procrastination by saying that today is the day. Start right now.

 

Hold yourself accountable

There are two sides to creating new habits, both procrastination and perfectionism.  We give ourselves the option to just start tomorrow and procrastinate.  We give ourselves permission to call it quits because we haven’t done the task perfectly day in and day out.  Acknowledge both of these and be committed for a 3 month time.  Be accountable with data with apps that help.  Announce your intention to your best friend and have them support you in a loving way.  Create a chart you check off daily to see progress.  If you miss a day, get back on the wagon right away.

 

 

habits

How to make habits stick? Try just one of these tricks or tools for at least a month and see what happens!

 

Smart New Year Resolutions You Can Keep

new year resolutions

 

The new year has us thinking about the way we spend our time and our energy.  What will we do the same this year and what will we change? What smart New Year resolutions will be easy to keep?

 

Each year resolutions are made and broken.  It’s really about life changes, not resolutions.  We want enduring change that we can keep throughout the year.  Start off with big picture thinking to shape the changes you want to make.  Choose just one tip to begin organizing and simplifying your life. What are some smart new year’s resolutions or new year mantras to choose?

 

Take time to make a plan.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to take the time to stop, step back and to put yourself into planning mode. There is rarely an organizing dilemma that can’t be overcome. Once you acknowledge this, you’re well on your way to conquering whatever project is ahead of you.

 

Take baby steps.

I love the joke, “how do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time! Break down the problem or problem area into small sequential steps. For example, instead of trying to organize your entire bedroom closet–a very overwhelming task for many people–just start by removing five articles of clothing you no longer wear, and putting them in a Donation Bag. Or, instead of trying to get 8 tasks done on your To Do list, focus on just one or two at a time. Begin with just 15 minutes a day in a small area. Baby steps help you start a project and complete it.

 

Do it or delegate it.

Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and work from your strengths. No matter the organizing challenge or routine, there are just some things that we are not going to accomplish. Choose what you are best at and then find someone to assist you as a partner to get started, help along the way or complete the task at hand.

Less is more.

Simplify your life and your schedule to feel balanced and in control. We take on many different roles and tasks that lead to over commitment and stress. The concept of “less is more” extends to our belongings and schedule. We need a place for everything in our home or office and a time for a routine as well. When we prioritize and stay in touch with these priorities, we feel great about ourselves and our homes.

 

smart new year resolutions new year's

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