4 Organizing Routines for Small Business Entrepreneurs

smalll business routines

 

Being a small business owner typically means wearing many hats.  You are CEO, Marketing VP, Finance Director and worker!  It’s not surprising that organizing may be a lower priority, especially administrative tasks.  By having routines you are going to be more successful each day.  By creating organizing routines, your productivity and organizing will soar.  Here’s how small business organizing routines an help small business entrepreneurs.

 

Start the day with a mindful practice

If we start the day with a routine, we are going to get on track easier. It might be your morning spiritual moment, exercise, or eating protein,  a great morning routine makes you be on time for work, be your best when you arrive at work, be focused and put a positive spin on the day.

 

Assign a day for certain types of work

When you have a specific day of the week with a specific focus, you can get more done. Focus on your plan on the way you work best. It might be Financial Friday where you enter or download your Quickbooks.

 

Early to Work or Stay Late

Getting to work early or staying late often means uninterrupted work time.  By assigning a certain day of the week that you go in early or stay late,  you can make plans and be more productive. It may be the time you do your best thinking this way.

Closing ceremony

The end of your day sets the stage for tomorrow.  My colleague Janice Simon calls it the “closing ceremonies.”  Wrap up your day with notes to yourself for where you are leaving off or a reminder for tomorrow’s most important tasks.  Finish up with a zen like desk clearing and leave nothing on your desk. When you return, you will find clarity and motivation as you welcome the opportunity of a fresh start.

 

Your small business will thrive as you incorporate these routines.  Check out more tech tools and other here.

 

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4 Easy Ways to Organize Your ADHD Child’s Room

organize your adhd child

 

Summer is a great time for you and your child to work on an organizing project.  It’s when you have more time together, so together you can tackle their bedroom. It’s a project that can last beyond one day or a weekend to complete. There’s time for mixing in music and fun while you work.  It’s a partnership you and your child can work together on, collaborate and end with an organized room.  Together you can organize your adhd child’s room.

 

Big trash can

Start simple.  It’s typical that you can’t see the floor.  There’s more trash in our kids rooms than ever. An ample trash can helps get this contained.  Give your kids an open trash can that’s well placed for use.  When you cull out the trash, you have  a great small start to organizing.  Keeping the floor clear as a routine helps keep the room more organized in general.

 

Big categories

Often we over complicate and over think the organizing in our kids rooms.  Think of big categories for ADHD kids.  Resist the urge to have small bins sorted super specifically.   The common categories are media, toys and clothes. Media can be stored in a bin by game system and a notebook for each cd.  Clothes can all be hung and there can be a bin for pajamas and underwear.  Stuffed animals are easy to store in a large basket or toy box.  Keep the organization simple and labelled for you and your child to maintain order too.

 

Let go of lots of toys

Our kids have lots of toys in their spaces. It’s overwhelming and too much to organize or play with.  Your child may feel every toy is special.  It can be hard to decide what to let go of, but here are some steps you can work on together.   Start letting go of toys that are for younger kids. The most important of these keepsake toys can be stored in a bin.  Decide where you will store toys and use this as a limit for toys in your home.  Your child can choose 3 toys to let go of and share with others.  Let go of 1 stuffed animal a week and have a moratorium on purchasing new stuffies.  Any way you decide, it’s a good time to release some toys.  Overall, a less cluttered environment is a positive environment.

 

Daily Dash time

The most organized space needs a daily pick up time. The Daily Dash gives your children time to get items back to where they go.  Talk through the day with your child and see what is the most advantageous time to pick up.  Set an alarm on their phone, write a reminder on several post it notes, schedule a family daily dash time or write out a chart of responsibilities including daily dash time. When everyone picks up, it’s a noticeable difference in your home.

 

This summer, one of your goals may be to be more organized. It’s important to walk through organizing and partner with your kids.  For the not naturally organized, this will take reinforcement.  Be patient and kind as you work alongside your child to help them be more organized.

 

More ideas here  on my Pinterest Board ADHD

 

Easy, Organized Summer Travel

easy organized summer travel

 

It’s travel season! It starts right after the end of school and trickles down in mid- August.  There’s lot to prepare.   If you are like most families, nothing slows down before or after your trip.  So how to get ready on a moment’s notice?  Here’s 3 tips to getting organized for summer travel super easy!

 

Travel checklists

No reason to reinvent the wheel!  Keep a travel check list for you and your family.  It’s the best secret to ensure that all that you need it with you.  A list makes sure you include everything you want for your trip without having to remember it all.  Here are some of my favorite

 

Travel apps

Most destinations have their own apps now too!  It’s easy to log on and learn what’s to offer at that location.  There are offer schedules,coupons, maps and other information too. It’s like an insider’s guide to your destination.  It’s best to log on to the specific location you are headed to but there are general ones as well that make it easy to make the most of your time away.

 

When You  Return

It’s hard after vacation to get back into the groove. There’s lots competing for your time and energy.Plus you are travel weary.

  • Start with clothes. Grab all laundry and get a load started.
  • Pile up all the papers and go through it ruthlessly keeping just bills and most important papers.
  • Try to bring home as few extra papers or odds and ends from your trip as possible.  For articles you pulled during your trip or paper keepsakes,  take a picture with your smart phone or save the article to Evernote.   Leave the free stuff like toiletries, extra sundries or other goodies for another traveler to enjoy.
  • For email do a quick triage and delete as much as you can.  Categorize what remains by the date or day of the week you can work on it.

Have a travel tip that works for you? Share here!

 

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Decluttering After Life Transitions

decluttering

 

Clutter can overtake us quickly. We are busy living life, attending to our family and doing what we do.  We grieve a loss.  We transition into the next phase of life.  All of a sudden we look around and there is clutter in our home, office, and head.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and helpless.  There’s a plan to put into place to help you declutter and get back your life.  Decluttering after life transitions helps you move forward.

Making the plan

That saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” applies to decluttering too.  It may have been 6 months or 6 years that clutter has been accumulating. It may be more than one transition that has occurred, such as a loss of a family member, a new job and an empty next.  Start by acknowledging that  your life has been focused on priorities.  Then step back and start making a plan.

Here’s some questions to ask yourself:

~ Who should make the decisions about the clutter?

~ Do I have a time line to get started and get finished?

~ How do I keep what’s most important but let go of what is not?

~ Am I ready to get started?

Once you answer these questions you can proceed

 

Taking steps forward

Start by making your work manageable. What makes it manageable can be creating your team, creating chunks of work or finding a new perspective. Creating a team can include your family or professionals. Leverage your team by knowing what do you want to accomplish and who has the best skill set to get this done.  Create chunks of work by breaking the work into units of space, such as room by room, or time increments.  Finding a new perspective can include looking for a treasure you have lost, finding money in your clutter, or taking a positive approach in that you make people your priority at the time your clutter accumulated.

 

Letting go

Your transition may include feeling of grief, shame or remorse.  Let go of “how did I let this happen” and embrace “I am creating a new life.”  As you work toward organization, embrace your new feelings of empowerment. Life transitions can open new doors for you and new options you have not thought of before.  Letting go of stuff can help you let go of emotional blocks too. Life transitions require support. Support can include a professional organizer, coach or therapist.  Decluttering after life transitions supports your new vision.

 

More decluttering strategies here.

NAPO2016 Small Changes = Big Difference

 

napo 2016

It’s just after our annual National Association of Professional Organizer’s conference, known in social media as #NAPO2016.  It’s always a high point for NAPO members as we gather to learn, share and connect in real life.  I’ve always been a fan of baby steps, and small changes = big difference.  Here’s more of what I learned at NAPO2016.

 

What struck me most this year is that Small Changes = Big Difference.

 

Small ways to connect
A small, a high five and a warm hello are all the ways we connect in small ways. These are big parts of NAPO2016.  Each session welcomed our members into the room.  Even calls of WOOT were parts of the connecting. Attendees contributed to a  star studded bulletin board of gratitude.  Creating coloring books were the sewing bee of the of conference.

 

coloring pages napo2016

Coloring pages connected members in a big way.

 

 

Small ways to change your environment
My favorite sessions at conference always include practical tips to share with clients. I learned that for families with ADHD, shifting to what is do-able is not giving a family member a pass.  It’s leveling the playing field.  Working with peace, order and calm are small ways that change the environment as I work with clients in their spaces.  Learning from statistical research of NAPO, I engaged in discussions on how adding small storage changes can create big differences in space use.

 

 

Small ways to let go of mind clutter
Scott Greenberg shared with us the challenges of mind clutter.  He called is mind set.  It’s about all the ways we talk trash to ourselves.  Our members called out as they shared their own mind clutter.  Scott suggested we remember, “I am a work in progress.”  We thrive when we are in growth mindset.

Scott also reminded us about kaizen, the Japanese concept that small changes big difference.  As we work together this year, we will keep this concept in mind during our sessions together!

 

Resources learned at NAPO2016

Impact ADHD

 

Productivityist

 

ADD Crusher

 

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

 

Let’s connect and start on your small change = big difference together!

Be a Leader

leadership

 

My National Association of Professional Organizer’s (NAPO) membership has provided me with education, collaboration, service opportunities and the framework for business success. I started my business in 2000 and immediately joined NAPO. In 2002, I became a charter member of NAPO Houston and have served as Chapter President, Membership Vice-President and Golden Circle Liaison.  I am currently serving NAPO at the national level as Committee Chair to the newly reinvented Membership Committee. I have also served as Conference Chair, and on the Education, Leadership Development, Statistics, and Marketing Committees. In 2013 and 2015 I was honored with the esteemed Service to NAPO Award.  Starting in May 2016, I will begin a term as President- Elect. In May 2017, I will serve for 2 years as President.

 

Serving NAPO has contributed to my business success. In surrounding myself with incredible colleagues, my business has thrived.  My colleagues are on “Team Ellen,” creating an ongoing mastermind group focused on personal and professional development.  In serving with others with a common goal, team efforts create an outcome of something more than an individual can imagine or accomplish.

 

Why share this with you?  Are you already a leader? Are you ready to make a difference?  In using our strengths and leading others, we stretch and grow. We learn different perspectives and gain clarity.  We become smarter and better.  In addition to organizing and productivity, I will be blogging about leadership here on Ellen’s blog.    The connection between leadership, organizing and productivity is clear.  The more organized you are, the more other’s look to you to lead. The more productive you are, the more time you have to serve.  Being a leader requires balance and coordination.

ADHD Resources

adhd resources

 

Learning about ADHD is ongoing learning. A wide base of knowledge is available in many different formats.  Whether you are thinking about whether you have ADHD, have recently been diagnosed, or have been diagnosed for years, these are resource to live your authentic life.  This list of associations, websites, and books is just a beginning for you.  Here’s a list of some of my favorite ADHD resources.

 

Associations

ADDA-SR

ADDA-SR mission is provide a resource  network, support individuals impacted by ADHD and related conditions and to advocate for the development of community resources.  Local to the Houston area, ADDA-SR support groups meet throughout the community monthly. Finding support makes a difference.

 

ADDA

The ADDA was founded to help adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) lead better lives.  ADDA offers Virtual Peer Support Groups and Workshops as well as webinars.  Learning online helps you know more about ADHD.

 

CHADD

CHADD improves the lives of those affected by ADHD.  CHADD offers it’s Resource Directory, Parent to Parent classes and conference.  Learning from other parents about ways to support your child makes your job easier.

 

ADHD Coaches

The ACO is the worldwide professional membership organization for ADHD Coaches.
Whether you’re a coach, looking for help, or curious about ADHD coaching, this is the association for you.  ADHD coaching supports a well balanced, goal oriented life.

 

Websites

 

Faster Than Normal

Peter Shankman shares his tricks, secrets, and hacks for daily life both professionally and personally.  Peter finds ADHD a gift!

 

Dr. Hallowell

Hosted by Edward Hallowell, this is a site for sharing ADHD resources including Top 10 findings on ADHD and Top 10 Questions about ADHD.  Dr. Hallowell is a prominent authority on ADHD.

 

ADDitudemag.com

ADDitudemag.com offers strategies and support for adults and children.  There are free weekly webinars on a variety of topics.  ADDitudemag offers a variety of information related to school, work and home.

 

Books

Smart but Scattered

The latest research on children with executive function challenges and ways to help.

 

Healing ADD

Neuropsychiatrist Daniel G. Amen, MD shares the multiple types of ADHD and different treatments.

 

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

This book is a collaboration of Kathleen Nadeau and Judith Kohlberg.  The authors share the most effective and practical strategies from ADD experts in two important fields — professional organization and clinical psychology.

 

Driven to Distraction

Dr Hallowell writes about recognizing challenges from early childhood using case studies.

 

More Attention, Less Deficit

Written by Ari Tuckman, this book offers insights into the experiences of ADHD as well as tips to work through executive function challenges.

 

Learning about ADHD is a way to grow. It’s a solid support for you, your family, your friend or your co-worker.   The more you know, the more you will want to know.  Start on your journey with these resources.

 

Check out other tips and tricks for ADHD here on my blog too.

 

4 Unexpected Organizing Obstacles

obstacles to organizing

 

 

Organizing requires courage and tenacity.  With every goal we have, there are bumps in the road and obstacles we will have to face.  We often discuss the obstacles in organizing. The most frequent challenges are

  • sentimental attachments, such as gifts given with emotional attachment
  • financial obstacles, items with more value than we have used them and
  • time obstacles, just how much time do we have to organize.

 

It’s in addressing obstacles that we can find solutions for getting started.  These 4 obstacles to organizing may surprise you.  Which one may be holding you back?

Organizing is a more than one time activity

All too often I hear about the amazing organizing job my client did in 20XX.  It was a long project and then all of a sudden the office/home/filing system was again disorganized.  The obstacle to organizing is your perception that organizing need only happen once. Organizing changes as your life changes. Organizing requires steady commitment with a routine that reinforces your organizing.  When organizing is only a one time activity, it’s time to commit to a daily and weekly routine to stay on track.

The lack of “flow” in your space

Just like the balance we aspire to with home and work, organizing has a flow to it as well.  The flow of items in should match the flow of items out.  When more items come in or stuff has no movement, it becomes clutter.  Being aware of this flow as an element for organizing makes it easier to let go of items and not bring as much. When you are organizing, have a hiatus on purchasing. It’s much easier to let go of items and create a balance in your home as you are creating an organized space. As  you continue your organizing journey, think  of natural maintenance factors to maintain your flow.  For some people, one in and one out is a good strategy. For some people a seasonal decluttering makes a difference. Decide what works best for you to create a flow of items in and out.

 

Analysis paralysis

While a certain amount of complexity is required for organizing, at times you might experience analysis paralysis.  This is when you over think the organizing possibilities. It might be that you are researching too many solutions to your organizing challenges.  It might be that you have not decided how detailed your categories for filing should be. Your obstacle to organizing is the myriad of details.  When you pare down the number of organizing options, it’s easier to get started and also complete your organizing.  Another strategy is to apply the mantra, Keep it simple sweetie. The simpler the strategy the easier it is to get organized.

 

Clutter Blindness

You may not have realized how much clutter has accumulated as you go about your daily life. Your life is busy and you have a lot going on.  It’s not until there is a transition that you realize how much has become clutter in  your home or office. Once aware, it can be overwhelming and difficult.  Focus on the big picture rather than negative self talk.  Remove this obstacle to organizing with a plan.  Start with a plan that breaks your organizing into manageable chunks for you to accomplish.  It’s all about using baby steps to create an organized home or office.

 

There are valuable lessons learned as we move around these obstacles. These life lessons can apply to other challenges we have as well.  What are the obstacles you have seen as you organize? Thoughts that gave you pause as you decluttered? I look forward to hearing your ideas.

 

More ideas on getting organized in my monthly newsletter! Sign up here!

How to Add Routines to your Schedule

routines and schedules

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Remember those days in kindergarten when your day was brimming with consistency? You knew the day began with Circle Time, followed by Center Time, then Recess and Snack. With each day you anticipated what was expected and you worked hard at each activity. Having a schedule helps us be more productive with our time and energized in our efforts. There are many ways to implement structure in our day.

 

Routines, structure or patterns

“Pattern Planning” is a system recommend by Doctors John Ratey and Ned Hallowell in the book, ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Begin with the baby steps of your big goals and then create a pattern for the day with these. This includes a regular wake up time, breakfast, exercise, morning and afternoon work times, dinner preparation and bedtime routine for the evening. This simplified pattern includes all aspects of your life.

  • For families, this is especially important in creating a positive beginning and end to the day. Decide what is most important and then add the steps to incorporate this. Decide what time you need to be out the door, and work backwards allowing plenty of time to get ready and add 10 extra minutes just in case! Create organization around the structure of the day, including a “landing strip” to place and grab back packs to head out the door. An evening routine adds time for homework, pick up, and bedtime routines.
  • For work creating a structure to your week keeps you productive.  If you assign a major theme to each day, you are sure to keep each goal moving forward. If you assign administrative tasks to the same time each day, you keep these from building up.

 

Does consistency lead to boredom?

Add fun to the routines with a new dimension such as music, variety, or partnering.

  • Add music with a play list or a pandora station just for that routine.
  • Add variety in the way you go about the routine, starting and ending with the same task or alternating the start and finish.
  • Create different partnerships for your routine.  It may be different people, a class or a timer that are your start and stop mechanisms.
  • Make it fun and wacky!

It is important to remember that “structure” is not about rigidity, it is about consistency. The pattern should be followed more frequently than not because the schedule honors your priorities rather than your distractions.

 

Writing out your perfect routine

Get started by writing out your “perfect” schedule in a grid, allowing for appropriate time to do each step. There is power in writing.  There’s power in a check list.  Block in times with an arrow for your activities. Post it in a place you will see it regularly and use a timer to help you remember.

 

Your perfect routine may revolve around one activity being the puzzle piece. That center puzzle piece can make the difference.  That’s when other activities fall into place because you have accomplished one task first. If you read, meditate or exercise first in the morning, your other routines may work better as a result. If you do your first Most Important Task early in the day, the rest of the day works better.

 

Add a bit to your existing routine

One of the most successful ways to create a routine is to add a new routine to an existing routine. You may think you have no routines. However there is always something small you can build on.  If you want to do more exercise as a routine, add it on by going to a gym on the way home. If you want to build in better nutrition habit, add in one item to your existing grocery run.  Just adding in one small change to an existing routine makes it easier to find success.

 

 

A routine adds efficiency and effectiveness to our day by helping us focus on a specific activity. But more importantly, consistency makes for peace of mind and positive energy and of course we all want that!

 

More ideas on productivity here on my newsletter!

Houston Helping Houston

houston helping houston flooding

 

 

Thinking of our fellow Houstonians, Houston has been helping Houston. Here are three resources to help you think about small ways to help others in our city.

 

City of Houston Storm Recovery 

American Red Cross

Houston Flood Resources Facebook Group

We can all find a small way to make a difference for our community.

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