15 Minute Tasks that Keep You Organized

15 minutes tasks that keep you organized

 

Would you be surprised to know that in just 15 minutes you can make a difference in your organizing?  It is true! There are many small tasks that can make it easy for us to maintain systems and processes that we have established.  Check out these small ways to make a big difference.

 

Put away items you purchased

Busy lives have a lot of items coming in. These come from Amazon subscriptions and routines purchases, as well as projects and upcoming events. Take 15 minutes to put away what you have purchased and consolidate the items. Counters and floors stay clear and your home stays organized.

 

Try on items you purchased

You run to the store for that one item to complete an outfit. Maybe you purchased more exercise clothes to add new tops and bottoms. It was easier to try on at home, you thought, than in the store. Try these on within the week of purchase to return and credit back your extra purchases.

Return items you purchased by mail

It is easy to over purchase items online. You might have purchased multiple sizes or styles or a variety of the same item. Order using one email account and print the return slip within a week of purchase. As you might already know, Amazon has a 30 day return policy. This way you don’t accidentally “own” more than you need of any item.

 

Drop off items and make returns frequently

With my planner pad, I look at the week ahead to see where I can drop off items when I am in the vicinity.  During your weekly planning, check ahead to group your errands and drop offs.  If you have noticed, there are more drop off bins for donations than ever. Drop off at one of these you pass with just a 15 minute stop.

 

Consolidate items you purchased

We are preppers! With all the uncertainty, all of us are purchasing ahead. Consolidate what you purchase and rotate your “stock” to be sure it is all kept together to know what you have.

 

Review your calendar at night

A quick review of your calendar for the night before makes your next day more predictable and you are prepared for what is ahead.

 

Check your calendar in the morning

It might seem redundant to check at night and in the morning. However, it is about being prepared. Overnight you might have remembered something to add to your calendar or thought about an extra task. Checking your planner twice a day makes for your best work.

 

Keep a master list of tasks, errands and projects

I advocate to write stuff down either digitally or on paper.  Keeping your master list clears your mind. Not everything can be done on the list, however you are keeping your thoughts for deep thinking. It saves your working memory from being over taxed.

 

 

This list of 15 minute tasks is just the beginning of small ways to stay organized. Choose one or more to keep you organized and productive.

 

15 ADHD Friendly Finance Routines

 

adhd friendly finance routines

 

Managing finances can be overwhelming.  There are monthly bills, credit card receipts, account statements, essential paperwork and automated payments. It’s not easy managing the information and tracking of all the details of how we use our funds. When we are most organized, we have a good system and routines to review our finances. These weekly, monthly and ongoing routines give you guideposts for your finances, adding up to fifteen important finance routines to help you stay organized and track where your money goes.

Weekly

  • Go through your mail weekly and shred credit card offers and other papers that have account numbers.
  • Read email and text alerts from your bank and credit card company. Act on these immediately with a call directly to the company, not responding to the alert directly in case of further fraud.

Monthly

  • Set up payment systems that work for you.  Automated bill pay is an option for your ongoing payments. If you pay by check, set a time each week or every other week to pay bills. Consistently reviewing and paying bills keeps you aware and in control of your spending and bill payments.
  • Review your bank and credit card statements online or on paper. Check all purchases, especially looking for fraud charges big or small the fraud.
  • Use a list to review automated payments. Record the day of the month, the transaction company, how it is payed and the amount.
  • Organize your financial papers by big categories and drop in paper each month. Categories include Banks and Credit Unions, Credit Cards, Investment and Retirement and Utilities and Bills. That’s correct – you only need one very large file for utilities and bills. Big categories make it easier to file.
  • Set saving goals and monitor your monthly progress. Automate your savings as income comes in so it is easier to reach your goals. Monitor this progress with a monthly meeting  to review your monthly spending on your own or with your partner. See where multiple small purchases or large purchases are derailing your savings goals.
  • Set up reminders to pay big quarterly payments such as property taxes, estimated taxes and Home Owner Association bills.

Ongoing

  • Set up online access to all your accounts.
  • Consolidate when possible. Keep accounts to two banks or credit unions at most. Consolidate credit to credit cards to two cards from different companies and keep only two investment and retirement accounts.
  • Keep up with your passwords securely. Change your passwords regularly. Keep a log of your passwords.
  • Make a copy of all contents of your wallet and other cards. Carry only the credit and bank cards you need to use routinely.  Keep the remainder, such as debit cards, at home in your safe.
  • Keep a list of all financial accounts. List the name of the location (bank), account name (checking), account number and password.
  • Keep a list of closed accounts, paid off accounts for any type of loan, mortgage or credit card. If something goes wonky, you have the account to check.
  • In case of emergency, keep a solid amount of cash in your home safe. During a local emergency, you can only get $300 from an ATM.

Managing financial routines

Because consistency and routines are the hardest work for those with ADHD, set up reminders and work with a partner.  These routines are not difficult once you start with a checklist of routines. There’s technology that can help like your bank and credit card apps, Credit Karma, Mint.com, and YNAB (You Need A Budget) to help you stay on track with your financial routines. You will find that these financial routines save you extra time spent when things don’t work as they should.

Get Tech Ready for an Emergency

Get Tech Ready for An Emergency with these information tips from Ready.gov.

 

get tech ready for emergencies

Money Management: Organizing Your Money and Finances

 
financial organizing

 

We are more aware of the personal power of using our resources wisely. Those resources start with your finances and your time. Financial organizing is as important as organizing your home.  It starts with setting intentions, establishing priorities and creating goals for your funds. You want to know where you spend money and how much you spend.  All of this happens with money management and financial organizing. Try one of these five tips to get started organizing your finances.

 

Creating a money mindset

Perhaps as an adult with ADHD, disconnected utilities, insufficient funds, late payments and unpaid bills even with enough money in the bank may be constant struggles for you. Fear and overwhelm might create a road block in working on or organizing your finances. Getting organized is the first step to realizing your financial goals. These goals can be attained by a working knowledge of your finances. You can set short and long term goals by writing costs down and analyzing how to achieve these.  Set aside time each week to be aware and learn about your finances. Be specific about your goals and use these as your “why” to get organized. Share your responsibilities with a partner to work as a team.  A money mindset gives you a sense of accomplishment and command over your fears.

 

The Power of One

Keep a list of all your accounts. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, lines of credit and credit unions. Many of us are unaware of just how many places have our money. From this list you can pare down to single accounts to work with and use.

As in all organizing, you want to be able to find what you have! Having just one checking account is the way to know how and where you are spending it! Having one credit card not only simplifies paying the bill during the month, it also makes you most aware of where your money is going. If you are a small business owner, you should also have one credit card and one checking account for your company. Simplifying our connection to money can make all the difference. There is a lot less paper coming in as a result too!

 

Write It Down


Writing down how and where you spend money is an enlightening experience! Just like those food logs that scare us into a lifestyle change, we can do the same for money. Keep a log of EACH item you purchase in a month. Not only will you realistically know what things cost to create a realistic budget, you will also know just how many times you are using money for “wants” rather than “needs”.

 

Ledgers can make the difference for us in keeping track of and being accountable about our funds. Use your check register all the time to record checks and debit card transactions as these occur. For bill paying, keep a ledger to record your payments to utilities, credit cards and other monthly expenses. This way you see what each bill is each month, compare the expenses of the bill each month, and be sure you paid it each month. Seeing it on paper makes money not only a currency traded, but an effective way to track your financial goals. You can also use Quicken and budgeting apps to record the payments to see annually what your expenses are and to help balance your checking account each month.

 

Automate your money management to accomplish your goals


Good routines reinforce your plan. You hear it all the time: “pay yourself first!” Set up an automatic payment from you to your savings account. It is the most painless way to get ahead on your savings. Having trouble paying your bills on time? Set up automated payments to get this done timely. You can use auto debit from your bank account or a credit card. You will still need to keep up to date on what is being paid and to whom, but the process can make a difference in getting the job done. Finish bill paying by filing all receipts into an easy access file or notebook. Automation can give you visual tools to help you see your finances.  Charts for bill paying, categorized payments, debt tracking and financial goals help you see where your money is going and where you can change your behaviors.

 

Routines reinforce your priorities

Even with automation, you need solid routines to be sure you stay on track. A monthly money meeting with yourself and your partner insures your bills are being paid and you further strategize on how you are spending money. Set this date and make it fun by meeting at a coffee house, having a special treat, and keeping the meeting short.  At that meeting review your bills and see what goals you are accomplishing. Set goals for the next quarter and the year. These meetings give you knowledge and opportunity to drive your success.

 

Get started where you have the most questions about your money. Wondering where you spend your money all month? You can start with an expense tracker app like Mint.com to automate and then review your spending. Want to be able to pay your bills on time online? Set up your bank account app for automatic bill pay. Looking ahead to save more? Automate your savings plan.  If you are struggling in this area, meet with a money manager or certified financial planner to help as your guide. Once you start, you will feel comfortable spending more time on your finances.

Building Your Basic Emergency Kit

 

During and after an emergency, you may need stay in your home for a week or more with sufficient supplies. This kit is a group of basic supplies in case of a lengthy emergency.

Find this list on  Ready.gov, a national website dedicated to preparation.

 

Organizing and Creating Your Home Inventory

 

Organizing a home inventory

 

 

Our state is well versed in emergency preparation. We have emergency pantry supplies, back up power sources, and lots of batteries. We are prepared.

Learning about the uncertainty and frequency of emergencies, we are reminded of the next steps and the necessity of creating and organizing a home inventory.  September is National Preparedness Month which reminds us about the importance and value of a home inventory. We often put off this work because it can be a time consuming. However, it can be manageable in small steps. Here are a variety of systems to create your home inventory and baby steps to get started.

 

Know the use and goals of your home inventory

Knowing the goal for your inventory is important.  Is your goal for your home inventory to assure that you have sufficient financial coverage? Are there items in your home that you want to equitably pass to your children and want to know the value? Do you want to be secure in knowing you could replace what you have in case of an emergency? These different reasons are all important goals separately or together for your why behind the effort of this work.

There are different options for home insurance coverage.  Check your policy for coverage of your home, especially to determine what is covered and how it is covered.  Your policy could be cash value where you begin with receiving cash/check for the existing value of your items.  Or your policy could be replacement value, where you receive a check to replace the items at the current cost. Check coverage on big ticket items, such as jewelry, art and collectibles which may have increased in value and require additional coverage from your standard homeowners insurance policy.

Estate planning and equitable division of items are important as we age.  Talk to your legal counsel about what types of inventories would be most valuable. It may be important to list specific items for your family members in accord with your long term wishes. This inventory will be one part of your estate.

 

Paper and Digital Inventories

Your inventory can be digital, paper, or a combination of both.

Digital options includes these possibilities.

  • Video your home and it’s contents, talking through the names and details of the items.  Copy the video and place one at your house and another off site.
  • Use an Excel worksheet or GoogleSheet to list the items room by room.
  • Your documentation should include the name of the room, the category of the item (art, jewelry, electronics, furniture, decor,) item description, brand name if applicable, where purchased, model and serial numbers, date purchased, and purchase price. The estimated value could be optional information.
  • Scan in sales receipts of items and connect this information with your Excel worksheet or GoogleSheet.
  • Take photos with your smart phone and create albums within your photos to organize your inventory.
  • Back up all documents to the cloud to access these if you are away from home.
  • Use HomeZada or Pinventory online inventories to capture all your information and keep it stored in the cloud.

Paper options include these possibilities:

  • Create a binder with photos of each item and paper receipts of purchases inserted into sheet protectors.
  • These can be separated using dividers with categories such as electronics, furniture, appliances, and jewelry. Or these can be categorized by room, such as bedroom 1, bedroom 2, bedroom 3, living room, kitchen etc.
  • Cross reference with between categories using color.
  • Use the same requirements for this inventory as your digital inventory.
  • Duplicate your paper binder and keep one copy off site.
Home Inventory
Date of Inventory
Property Location
Item Number Room Category Item description Purchased from Model and Serial Number Date purchased Purchase Amount Estimated Value
Primary BR, 2nd BR, 3rdBR, Living, Kitchen Art, Jewelry, Electronics, Furniture, Clothing Brand, size, materials, number Name of store, Online, or from family


Here’s what to be sure to include:

  • Item number (one for each item listed)
  • Room (location of item)
  • Category (art, furniture, electronics, household goods, grooming, etc.)
  • Item description (Brand, size, materials)
  • Purchased from (Macy’s, Best Buy, etc.)
  • Make and model, or serial number if available
  • Picture of item for insurance purposes
  • Purchase date (helps with depreciation, by year)
  • Original price (if you have the receipt you can scan and attach it)
  • Estimated value

 

Organizing your vital documents

This might be where you are most organized!  Many of us have a safe or a waterproof grab and go box. Here’s a list of what should be a part of your vital documents. You can also keep these documents digitally on Evernote or save them on a flash or external hard drive in your waterproof box or safe. Be sure to use strong password for your Evernote account.

 

Start your home inventory now

  • Start with one room, then move around your home adding rooms.
  • Start with recent purchases, then work backwards
  • Start with the most expensive or big ticket items first.
  • Count clothing by category and by designer.  Make note of any items that are especially valuable.
  • Store sales receipts, purchase contracts, and appraisals in a file or digitally.
  • Add to your inventory as new items are purchased.

Right now it is the most important time to start your inventory.

 

5 Small Starts for Emergency Preparedness

small ways to prepare for an emergency

 

September is Emergency Preparedness Month for good reason.  We have faced emergencies for many years and these seem to be more frequent and more intense. At the same time emergencies frighten and overwhelm us.  Now’s the time for us to button up our resources and start small.  Some of the simplest ways to prepare are the best and here are 5 small starts to begin.

Family contacts

Online connections are easy until the power or cell service goes out.  Create a spreadsheet of family contacts and print it out. Include in your sheet cell and home phones, email addresses, physical addresses and other contact information.  Keep this spreadsheet in a kitchen or office top drawer to access.

 

Create an Emergency Financial First Aid Kit  (EFFAK)

Finances and access to funds seem easy, like simply heading to the ATM for funds. That is not always the case in an emergency.  Begin preparing your Emergency Financial Fist Aid Kit with these instructions. Most importantly, keep $500 in cash, in dollar, five dollar, ten dollar and twenty dollar bills.  Funds are hard to access if there is no power.

 

Prep your Emergency Supply Kits

Prepare kits for all the places you will be, whether at home, at work or in the car.  Your kits should include supplies for a minimum of three days worth of food and water.  Other essentials include battery radio, flashlight, batteries, first aid, medicines and toiletries. Refresh these kits annually.

 

Family plan

Family plans can be communicated during family meetings.  Talking about the plan makes it less scary and easy to accomplish. Your family plan should include where to meet if there is a fire in your home, where to meet if a disaster happens while your kids are at school and you are at work, and where to meet if you are separated.

 

Helpful apps

If you have cell access, there are 2 helpful apps to download.

FEMA: weather alerts, safety tips and shelter information

American Red Cross: a variety of apps including personal and pet first aid, blood, and hero care

 

You and your family will have peace of mind knowing you have started preparing.

Back to School Routines for Empty Nesters

Back to School Tips for Empty Nesters

As much as we love Summer, Back to School is the time we all use to reset whether we have school age kids or not. We all need a little structure and that comes from establishing routines for self care and priorities. Our self care and priorities are part of the big picture of purpose and meaning. Back to School can be a time of reflecting, learning and boundary setting.

 

Resetting Self Care

Summer might have meant more fast food dining. It could have been too hot for outside exercise. AND maybe you have been staying up much later because it is light so late into the evening. Resetting your priorities is often resetting your self care. Take baby steps to get back to your daily routines of hydration, exercise and nutrition. First, reset your bedtime to mirror what is best for work from home or work in the office. If bedtime is a continuous struggle, look at your routines before bed.  Keep your self care goals easy to accomplish and link existing successful routines to other routines.

 

Reflecting on Priorities

Back to school time feels a lot like new year. It can be a time where we evaluate and update our priorities, balance and connections. Our work life integration is where we have a balance between our professional life and personal life. Set aside a few minutes of reflection time to create a vision of balance. Priorities result with a clear decision on how you want to spend your time after work and where you work. Resetting priorities gives us the opportunity to find meaning and connection in our lives. This is also a great time for an annual summit for you, your family and your business.

 

Back to life long learning

Life long learning and curiosity go together. There is no age limit on learning so let Back To School prompt you to begin learning something new. Reading, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube, taking a course are all ways we grow in knowledge. It is also how we thrive. Learning new skills slows cognitive aging. Now this is a good reason to continue life long learning of all types.

 

Resetting boundaries

The best part of Back To School is setting boundaries.  Remember in school when time in one class was 50 minutes. That was a great boundary for work in that content area. Boundaries add structure to your time and connections helping you adhere to your goals and priorities. If it is a struggle to set boundaries, know why you are setting a boundary to get the most benefit.

 

Back to School for Empty Nesters is an optimal time to create new opportunities, let go of what has not served you well, and get back to routines. Seize the opportunity to overhaul and create time for what is important to you.

Back to School Tips for Meal Prepping and Planning

Back to school meal prep and planning

 

Back to school time is the time for easy family meals, simple healthy lunches, and fast breakfasts to get you all out the door. What’s behind our meal planning goals? We want to have time together to share the joy, gratitude, and struggles of the day. Healthy meals make our bodies and brains work best. However, we don’t want to be spending so much time in the kitchen alone, being solely responsible for meal planning and feeling exhausted at the end of it all.  Check out these quick, easy and simple solutions.

 

Team up

No one wants to be left in the kitchen alone. Parents feel frustrated when they make dinner and everyone moves the food around their plates. Create a family responsibility chart for cooking and clean up. Make each part fun with music and friendly conversation. Have everyone add to the online grocery list to keep everyone in on decisions. Use simple recipes everyone in your family can all cook or do meal prep together where people are mixing and chopping to make dinner.  It all comes down to finding ways to get everyone together.

Order online

There are lots of ways to order online to make meal prep easier. Start by looking in your local grocery store to order online. There are lots of pre-made salads that can be packed for lunch or eaten at home for dinner. Grocery stores offer prepped meals to simplify your cooking. Use online Costco, Amazon or Instacart subscriptions for bulky weekly purchases like toilet paper and paper towels. Meal subscription services offer variety of options. Choose what is the best fit for your needs. You can subscribe to a variety of these and place these on pause to change things up. Just make sure you order on the same day weekly and plan on the time your delivery is occurring to put away the items.

Use multipliers

Doubling up can make cooking easier.  Cook once and eat twice by double recipes and freezing the second casserole. Or cook a protein and use it in two different entrees. Sheet pan dinners make large portions with ease. One bowl meals are a hit with families using beans, rice and a protein. Multipliers give you options for multiple ways to feed your family with multiple outcomes for variety. Find one multiplier you can multiply.

 

Be pantry prepared and freezer ready

There is a lot in your pantry that makes dinner preparation easy. Easy pantry meals include canned proteins, such as tuna or chickpeas.  Group your items in your pantry together by meal to “see” ready to go, pantry raid meals. Or organize your pantry like the grocery store and pull items onto the counter that day you are preparing.

 

Organize your freezer so that you have easy meals to go from freezer to oven.  If your tight on freezer space, organize the shelves with flat containers stacked for dinner. Use a dry erase board with a list of freezer meals.

 

Sandwiches are for breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner.  A variety of breads can simplify your meals. There are so many options including avocado toast, grilled cheese, nut butter toast, and more!

 

Rely on organization

Get organized and set up a team strategy for preparation. Create a routine that your family packs their own lunches and preps breakfast the night before.  A station with bins and baskets with ready to go food, stocked up weekly, will keep your meal prep running smoothly.

 

Chart your course

Family dinner charts are everywhere on pinterest. Dinner by day, dinner theme days or a dinner grid take away the decision making.  Ask your family and create a rotation meal options.  In this way, everyone is part of the decision making.

 

Remember your dinner goals and keep it simple. Pause and give yourself a moment to gather your thoughts and your team when you get home. Happy times come from these dinners together.

 

 

 

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD

 

Back To School Tips for Students with ADHD

Was last year’s virtual and in person school a chaotic, disorganized situation?  Was it common for your student to miss assignments, turn in papers late or not be prepared for a test?  These are some of the effects for students with ADHD. They have week executive function which interferes with their ability to organize, prioritize, and analyze.  Use these strategies for your disorganized student to create and maintain order. Most importantly, your student will get better grades this year and feel better about school success.

 

Your Coaching Role

Organizational skills for students with ADHD do not come naturally. You are the coach partnering with your student on the basics of planning and organization.  By coaching, you are involving your student in setting up organization systems with choices and decisions. A team approach provides support and accountability. You are sharing ways to practice these skills, systems, and routines. These might be a work in progress as you both find innovative, resourceful ways to be organized and productive.

 

Organizing Skills and Systems

At the foundation of all organization is using tools for planning and productivity.

A calendar is a planning and initiating tool. Calendars offer a place to park assignments and projects. Entering all activities helps a student start to see time with a “visual record of activities” and using verbal processing is auditory processing about the details, interactions, and emotions of that record.  Calendars offer accountability because deadlines activate the ADHD brain.  Calendars come in all shapes and sizes, both online and paper. It may be hard to choose one calendar however match the needs of your student with the right fit.

Paperwork is a struggle for students with ADHD. Think about the paper that your student works with daily.  There are different “filing” systems needed for this.  A notebook is the spot for daily paperwork. Use a slash pocket for homework at the front of the notebook and one for each subject in the binder. Set up a file box for paper that does not need to be accessed daily. In the file box, color code the files to store papers by subject area. Papers are added to the file box at the end of a marking period.  This s great preparation and life skill for future paper management.

School supplies require organization. School supplies can be easily organized in a clear zipper case, a section of a backpack or in a caddy at the homework station.  Replenish supplies as these are often lost. Choose supplies the student loves because that is an incentive for being organized and keeping up with supplies.

 

Maintaining and emphasizing school success routines

Students with ADHD need a higher level of accountability on their schoolwork.  Check planners and review online assignments weekly with your student. Sit as a body double if your student is having trouble settling in and getting started.  Encourage a weekly re-organization and clean out of papers that can be stored in the file box or in an archive art container.

 

Encourage your student’s success as you continue coaching. Be patient, expect multiple first tries of new systems, and use accountability wisely to help create an organized, positive, and productive school year.

 

Back to School Tips for Students with ADHD graphic