Category: Technology and Organizing

Back to School: Tips for Morning Routines

Back to school! Its that time of year that makes moms happy and sad; happy to start new routines and sad about the energy and organization it can take to get your family going. Throughout the month of August we are featuring organized moms who will help get you started back to school with the toughest tasks.

Moms are challenged to get everyone out the door on time with a smile.  These ideas can get everyone’s day started off right. 

 

Morning school routine

 The most important thing I do to make school mornings run smoothly is to do ALMOST everything the night before.  My goal is for everything to be done except for obviously breakfast, getting dressed, and brushing teeth.  Here are some of the things I do the night before that make our mornings more manageable:

* Unload the dishwasher – I loathe spending extra time in the kitchen late at night when it feels like I’ve been in there ALL DAY, but it’s so worth it to start the morning with a clean kitchen.  The breakfast dishes are a quick rinse and load and then I’ve got a clean kitchen again.

* Pack lunches, fruit break, water bottles – another kitchen chore that I despise doing at night, BUT it’s even worse to deal with the next morning, so I make myself get it done!

* Set out backpacks, shoes, and any other items that are going to school that day

* Lay school clothes out as I’m tucking kids in at night

When I slack off and don’t do one or more of these chores the night before, the result is a scattered, hectic morning – not a good start to the day!

Another trick that works for me is to require that the kids eat, dress, put on shoes, and brush teeth and hair before they watch any cartoons.  They are motivated to get these small chores done and they enjoy having 10 minutes or so of TV time before we head to school.

Meredith Delap is a stay at home mom of three.  She enjoys reading, the beach, and peace and quiet.

Organizing Tips for College Freshman

organizing your college freshman

 

It’s almost that time to set your college freshman off! It is a bit scary, a bit exciting and a bit overwhelming for you and for them.   It takes time to get ready for freshman year, so now is the time to get started.  Here are a few tips to get organized for freshman year.

  • Your child will be sharing a space that is a little bigger than their bathroom at home with a new roommate.  Remember to connect with your new roommate as soon as possible to determine who is bringing what for their room.  Most kids want their own laptops and ipads, but refrigerators and microwaves are easily shared.  College essentials also include a shower caddy and laundry basket.   as well as sewing kit, some medicines and quarters.  The Container Store check list can be a big help too!  http://images.containerstore.com/medialibrary/pdf/tips/CollegeChecklist2012.pdf
  • Your time is your own in college and being productive throughout the week is important.  Use a grid from a week at a glance calendar and fill in your classes, then your study time, then your other responsiblities like laundry, meals and activities.  This way you can see what your week will look like and where you will have time to get everything complete. Choose a great planner to transfer this plan and to keep assignments and syllabus.   For each assignment, be sure to write everything in the same calendar.  You will see where assignments from different classes overlap.  Being organized is more than organizing your stuff, it is also organizing your time.  Need a time grid to practice on? Just email me and I will send you one!
  • Organizing your papers in college means stepping up your filing system. Purchase a small box file to keep important documents like college forms, rental agreements, and more.  For your academic papers, you can continue with a binder or switch to colored folders, one for each class.  Take a few minutes each week to review what is in each folder and being sure that papers are kept in the right spot.
  • Keep all your contacts in your phone.  Contacts include email, phone numbers and even addresses.  Having these all in one spot makes it each to stay connected.  Add these right away when you get information so you don’t need slips of paper.
  • Give yourself the gift of order each week. Spend a few minutes looking ahead in your calendar, getting papers back together, and planning on the next steps.  You will be so glad you did!

Do you have ideas to share with new college freshman?

Get Organized with Microsoft Outlook: More Instructions

Thanks to Microsoft for additional information on how to set up your Outlook!

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/basic-tasks-in-outlook-2010-HA101829999.aspx

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/create-tasks-and-to-do-items-HA010354415.aspx

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/view-your-tasks-HA001229377.aspx

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/onenote-help/basic-tasks-in-onenote-2010-HA101829998.aspx

http://www.microsoft.com/atwork/productivity/streamline.aspx

How has your new view of Outlook helped you with productivity?

Get Organized with Microsoft Outlook

Join me at the Houston Galleria Microsoft Store for Get Organized with Microsoft Outlook!

Overwhelmed by email? Can’t find a contact when you need it? Not sure of meeting dates for work or family activities? We will be sharing tips and tricks to get all of this together in one place, easy to access and making communication easy!

Some tips, tricks and techniques we will be sharing:

  • Setting up your view in Outlook
  • Using Quicksteps to file easily
  • Using categorizing and color coding to prioritize
  • How to make the most of the Task Bar
  • Setting up your calendar to be your most productive
  • System  integration with your slate, phone, and laptop

Microsoft Galleria Store

May 19 at 2pm

Bring your laptop, slate or windows phone and play along with us.  Happy organizing!

Conquering a To Do List by the Wall Street Journal

Is it really this simple?  Thanks to the Wall Street Journal!

More from this article! http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204296804577124742529431640.html

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life

I am honored to be a part of an amazing group of presenters, sharing information and more.  Get ready to stop constantly riding the brake on your business and shift into OVERDRIVE!  Listen in for free from your computer, phone or skype!

  • Fire up your personal performance.
  • Unleash your profit potential™.
  • Discover new strategies to manage the demands of running your own business.
  • Get a handle on the minutia and details that prevent you from doing the ‘heavy lifting’ to move your business to the next level.
  • Quiet the ‘fear voices’ and manifest a larger vision for your company.
  • Have a profitable business and time for what’s important to you!
  • Live a richer, more fulfilling life
  • Have powerful support systems that allow you to free up time and grow your business at the same time.
  • And lots more!!  Check out the session descriptions below.

Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life was born from the 1000s of conversations that we have had with business owners just like you about what holds them back from really going where they want to go with their business.

Join us for the fun and learning!  https://war91778.infusionsoft.com/go/FireUp/EDelap

Want to get organized in 2012? Clutter Diet Membership Specials until January 16, 2012

So many people want to get organized for the New Year, but if you are on a budget or don’t otherwise have access to hire a professional organizer, I wanted to share with you a resource to help and let you know about a special deal.  In 2006 organizing expert Lorie Marrero created The Clutter Diet®, an innovative online program that helps you “get your house in shape.” Her program has helped thousands of members in eighteen countries around the world, making organizing expertise affordable and accessible to anyone, anywhere.  As  you know, I am on of the five online Experts too!

When you use the coupon code 2012win”, you will receive 25% off an Annual membership! This discount is the lowest possible price Lorie offers.

Annual memberships are usually $143.40, but with this coupon code your price is 25% off, just $107, good through Monday, January 16 at midnight CDT. In other words, it costs you only $8.92/month to have unlimited access to organizing experts for personal consultations online!

The best part of all– If you are concerned whether this program is right for you, no worries, because your first two weeks are free!  You can sign up for the Annual membership with this coupon code and your card will not be charged until 2 weeks later, and you can cancel at any time. We feel great about recommending Lorie and her team, because there is no risk involved.

 For comparison:
Month-to-month Clutter Diet membership: $17.95/month ($215.40/yr)
Normal price for annual membership: $11.95/month ($143.40/yr prepaid)
Usual price PER HOUR with a professional organizer in person: $75.00+ per HOUR
YOUR PRICE: $8.92/month ($107/yr prepaid)

Get organized with these member resources:

  • unlimited access, 7 days a week, to a team of Certified Professional Organizers® for personal consulting in the member area, including photo consultations,  
  • easy multimedia tutorials,  
  • searchable reference articles, 
  • your own customized reminder system, 
  • and their exclusive weekly project plans…  

…all for about the price of a box of trash bags or a package of coffee.

Click here 

http://www.clutterdiet.com/idevaffiliate/idevaffiliate.php?id=1403

Choose “ANNUAL” option, and enter the coupon code 2012win to get started with your free two weeks and lock in this very special discount price. After January 16 at midnight, annual memberships will cost $143.40.

Your first week takes you through Lorie’s 7-Day Quickstart [use your affiliate link here] program, a week of focused guidance to help you choose a project, plan it out, and get it DONE! Then you get an additional 7 days of full access and support at no charge before your special discount price is applied.

FTC Disclosure: Occasionally in this newsletter we may have links to other companies’ products which provide us with a commission if you purchase from our link. We want you to know that we feature only products here that we absolutely believe in and getting a commission on them is just a smart bonus if we happen to have a link available to us… We are at all times looking out for what is best for our readers and our reputation. Thank you!

Time management: Your Weekly Planning Time

time management weekly planning time

 

Organizing your time takes many different steps to get the job done.  Having one great calendar and an effective way to manage your tasks and lists are the first step.  Carving out a weekly  planning time pulls together these great tools.  Stephen Covey and David Allen both incorporate this routine into their strategies.  This time helps you create a proactive plan!

  • Weekly planning time is when you pull together your lists, assess upcoming events and add a plan to your calendar.
  • Start by setting an undistracted time for you to “meet” with your planner.  This should be added to your calendar as an appointment!  A good time may be Friday before the end of work, Sunday afternoon as you are getting ready for the week, or any time that really works for you.
  •  Gather together your tools of your planner, your lists, any emails or papers with upcoming events, projects you are leading or collaborating, and any other date driven activities.
  • Add all new dates and update any existing dates, then add small reminders, consolidate errands, project out baby steps for a big project, and generally scan for bumps in the road coming up.
  • If you use a technology planner, no problem! Same strategy with this tool!

Take this routine to the next level with a Family Meeting too.  Gather your family on Sunday evening, with all their calendars and your family calendar (paper, Cozi, or google calendar) and set this time for planning purposes.  Not only will you have family communication, collaboration and cohesiveness will be a big bonus.

Let me know how you are doing with your weekly planning time!

ADDA-SR Conference Survive and Thrive with ADHD on February 17-18, 2012

24th Annual Conference

Attention Deficit Disorders Association – Southern Region

Friday and Saturday – February 17 & 18, 2012

Sheraton North Houston Hotel – Houston, TX

 

This event is designed for parents, educators, adults with ADD and healthcare professionals. The general session speaker will be Thomas Matthews, M.D., with UT San Antonio covering updated trends in ADHD. Author Chris Dendy will present several sessions addressing teen issues. Thirty breakout sessions address wide variety of topics including behavior management, life skills, medication, educational law, related conditions and classroom strategies. Join me at the session Organizing Your ADD Family on Friday.  For further information call 281-897-0982, or visit www.adda-sr.org

10 Easy Eliminations

Ready to make a big break in decluttering?  Not sure where to start?  Sometimes it is best to start with the easy eliminations to make a quick visual and emotional difference.  Choose a few that are really easy for you!

1. Boxes

I find that families keep toy boxes, shirt boxes, shoe boxes and boxes galore!  Now that boxes are free at the post office for shipping, keep only a small number of different size boxes for mailing.  If you think you may return a product, keep the box only until you have confirmed your decision.  Only keep 2 of those shoes boxes for upcoming school projects please!

2. Tee shirts

Each race we run, vacation bible school we attend, and school alumni celebration adds to our tee shirt collection.  It is time to pare down to a number that can fit in a drawer or hang in a section of your closet.  What number depends on you.   A memory quilt is a good next step if you are not ready to part with these.

3. Ball caps

We all have our favorite!  Pull a few together, hang them in an easy access space, and part with the remainder.

4.  Single use kitchen items

Some of the least useful are often the most space hogging items!  If you have more than one miscellaneous kitchen drawer, go through and pare down to one drawer.  In the newly empty drawer you can fit hand towels or pot holders.   When was the last time you used that breadmaker, fondue pot, or air popcorn popper?

5. Toys that your kids have outgrown.

Our kids are blessed with an abundance of toys.  Keep a few that you consider to be keepsakes.  Ask you kids to be a part of the decision making process. Donate to local philanthropies to make a difference. 

6. Cookbooks

Who doesn’t want to have a wonderful home cooked dinner on the table? But having more cookbooks than needed does not make you a better mom or an Iron Chef.  Pare down to what you really love and use.  Think about using allrecipes.com or the internet to find recipes too.

7. Extra towels

You get new towels, but the old ones are put in the back of the closet or in the garage.  Keep a few for those big spills, a few for padding, and move the rest on!

8. Cell phones

Cellphones for Soldiers takes your old cell phone and turns it into a phone card for our service people.  It is free to send it off too!  As soon as you get your new phone, send the old one packing. 

9.  Junk mail

Stand over the recycle bin, just inside the garage before you enter the house, and drop in the junk mail.  Right away you feel better!  We are overwhelmed when the mail comes, so just have this baby step as the first step to getting in gear with paper.

10.  Receipts

More than ever, the clerk asks if you want your receipt.  Answer no if it is at Starbucks, at the gas station if you don’t keep a mileage record, at locations with small purchases, and where you think a return is not necessary.  Having fewer receipts keeps them from piling up!

What are the easiest eliminations for you?

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