30 Things to Declutter in 30 Days Winter Edition

30 things to declutter in winter

 

Winter brings us time to be indoors and work on our home or office.  It’s a great time to declutter because we realize how much we have and how much we use.  There’s many items that are easy to declutter once we decide that they are well used and ready to move on.  Here’s the winter edition of 30 things to declutter in 30 days.

 

1. Single mittens or gloves

2. Kids’ winter coats that have been outgrown

3. The extra zip in lining of a coat you never zip in

4. Too tight long underwear

5. Turtle neck shirts that are too hot to wear

6. Itchy sweaters

7.  Single slippers or slippers that are beyond repair or use

8. Extra flannel sheets

9. Winter boots that are too small

10. Extra wire or plastic hangers

11. Extra cans of soup or other pantry items

12. Recycling that has built up

13. Extra linens that overload your closet

14. Smalll appliances that have been replaced with a newer model

15. Excessive grocery paper or plastic bags

16. Snowpants that are too small

17. Hoodie attachment you don’t attach

18. Summer clothes you did not wear last summer

19. Stained or torn hoodies or sweatshirts

20. Makeup over a year old

21. Cough or cold medicine that has expired

22. Pots or pans that are scratched, stained or ruined

23. Mugs you seldom or never use

24. Mismatched glasses

25. Too many plastic cups

26. Broken pairs of glasses and sunglasses

27. Freezer foods past their prime

28. Almost empty bottles of cleaning products

29. Extra boxes that are taking up space

30.  Electronics to recycle

 

That’s our round up for this month! Now you are in the decluttering habit! Make this last by taking one category a day to the next step, whether it’s to donate, sell, gift, or trash.  It’s keeping items leaving your home or office that makes for a better organized home or office.

 

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How to Create a Great Foundation for Productivity

how to create a great foundation for productivity

 

We think that being productive hinges on knowing the latest technology with a calendar, app or to do list. We search for ways to get more done, be more efficient, and make it easier to be productive. What if I shared with you the secret foundation for being productive?  It’s really quite simple.

Step #1: Get more rest

In our 24/7 society, there’s not much time alotted for rest and sleep. Research shows that sleep is crucial for productivity.  The secret to being more productive is rest.  There is  profound impact of rest on our brains.  Just how do we get more rest?  Have a plan to get ready early, turn off all blue screen devices an hour ahead of time, and set your room cool. Creating a sleep routine helps you get a great night’s rest.

 

Step #2: Get moving

Sitting too long at your computer? Not getting to the gym?  Can you take the stairs, park further and walk longer or use your fit bit to assess how much you are moving? Harvard research has shown the link between exercise and productivity, especially with thinking skills. Add a short exercise routine to your day, count your steps on a fitbit, or take a short work during lunch.  All of these will help you with clarity and brain functioning.

 

Step #3 Get support

Maybe you don’t realize how important support can be for your productivity.  Maybe you don’t know what support you need or maybe you haven’t reached out for support. In any of these instances, it could be time for you to add this element to your foundation.  Support can be help from someone or something tech.  First identify the support you need. It could be learning a new technology skill or delegating with laundry and cleaning your home. Add in as much support as you can in small increments.

 

These three secrets that are a baseline for great productivity and also for general self care. If you start on only one of these steps, you will see an increase in efficiency and effectiveness.  Good luck!

 

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My Organizing Obsession: Color

 

Organizing by color

 

Have you noticed how colors make us feel? It might be the color of your favorite outfit or the bright blue sky against a white cloud.  Color makes a difference for me and my clients and that’s how it became my organizing obsession.  I love that color makes us happy and helps us be organized and productive.  Here’s my long list of why I love color.

 

Categorizing

Color creates distinctions in how we view organizing and productivity. My clients rely on visual cues to help them create a category and maintain it. When filing, use files that are designated by color.  An example of this is using green files for money or financial related files.  Your filing system might be notebooks and you can use the green notebook for financial documents.  Each category for filing can be a different color and represent a different area of your filing.

 

Color is a common choice for categorizing clothes. You can easily organize your closet with ROYGBIV, colors of the rainbow. Use a single colored hanger to set off your color clothes or use a certain color hanger for a certain type of clothes. It’s remarkable how happy you feel when you enter your closet and how easy this is to maintain.

 

Big families often categorize their kiddo stuff by color. Assigning a color by kid makes it easy to keep their stuff together. As a twin, my color was blue and my sister Ann’s color was red.  For families, you can assign a color using waste baskets, laundry baskets, hanging files or whatever you need to keep organized.  It’s great for your family calendar to keep color coded by kiddo what’s happening this month.

 

It’s easy to use color for productivity too.   In your calendar and on your email, this is an easy way to categorize your tasks.  Not every task needs a designation. Your most important work or who you work  with can be a single color to keep your calendar simplified.   A key of your categories organizes who does what, your big picture goals, or important information from a colleague or boss too!

 

Color = happy!

Client after client has told me how they love and use color too. More often than not, I hear “I use yellow because it makes me happy.”  We pair happy colors with happy thoughts and happy outcomes.  When you think of the color of a space you work or live in, let’s make that space happier, more organized and more productive with a happy color.  That coat of paint might be all you need to be more effective and efficient.

 

Color coordinated baskets appear more organized. It’s a simple camouflage technique for areas that get a lot of use. Pair two happy colors in a space to maximize the organization there.  It establishes organization in looking coordinated and organized.  Carrying a color between two spaces is a visual clue for their connection.

 

A word of warning here on where I don’t use color: my label maker. Simple, single color labels make it easier to read. I use only white labels with black letters to make my labels with my label maker.

 

 

How have you used color to keep more organized?  If  you haven’t check out my pinterest boards to see how!

 

Check here for more of My Organizing Obsession!

ADHD Resources

adhd resources

 

When I start working with a new ADHD client, my first step is to share resources that will help them, their family and their colleagues understand more about ADHD and brain based conditions.  I am a student of all  things ADHD. I love gathering practical tips, information and resources.  Sharing ADHD resources is what I do!

 

It was exciting to attend the CHADD and ADDA conference, known as the International Conference on ADHD.  It’s billed as “your one-stop shop for a world of expert insight on the latest in ADHD treatments, advancements, research, and more.”  It was a 3 days of powerful learning from authors, consultants, researchers and professional organizers.  Attendees are clinicians, social workers, productivity and organizing professionals, and those with ADHD.  I’d like to share a bit of what I learned and some resources for you to learn from as well. Each of these presenters offers programs, books and other options for learning more about your ADHD.

 

Research

Ellen Littman, PhD spoke on the topic of Females with ADHD Across the Lifespan.  The presentation focused on women’s research and the interplay of neurology, genetics, hormones and social conditions.  Her research highlighted how executive function, the ability to organize, plan, initiate and complete tasks was different than the same scenario for men.  As a practitioner, this information explained much. My takeaway was how important it is to share with my clients that the ADHD brain is different in a good way.

 

Stephanie Sarkis, PhD talked about More Than Just Medication.  Ms Sarkis shared how nutrition and exercise play important roles in self care.  If you have not had success with your medication, follow Ms. Sarkis to learn more about cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and healthy supplements.

 

Relationships

Melissa Orlov presented the topic Diminishing Anger in Relationships Impacted by ADHD.  Ms. Orlov is a well known author on marriage and relationships.  The presentation focused on communication, strengths and practical tools. Ms. Orlov shared practical ways to diminish feelings of anger and improve communication.  Here I learned that by focusing on how to best communicate is based on how two individuals weave their partnership.

 

Technology

Judith Kohlberg, shared information about ADD and Digital Distraction.  Here Judith shared proactive tips to work productively with alarms, structured work spaces and technology that helps.  Ms Kohlberg reminded me the power of timers. There are many different fun timers on your phone, such as the bomb alarm and the AidaReminder that can help remind you, help you transition or help you create a new routine. Ms Kohlberg also reminded us to expand your idea of organizational support to include other people, such as a professional organizer, body double, tech tamer or ADD coach.

 

Productivity

Terry Matlen MSW presented Distracted and Disorganized.  Ms Matlen asked audience members to share their own sure fire ways to conquer distraction and disorganization at home and at work.  Audience members appreciated learned from each other.  In Ms Matlen’s audience, I learned that my clients with ADHD are resourceful, creative and can get the job done. It’s up to you to set the structure that works best for you.

 

Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton CPO presented Three Common Mistakes People Make about Time Management.  Cris’s engaging presentation included time for the audience to review their best work time and slot in how to be more productive.  It’s much easier to accomplish more by using your high energy time, setting boundaries on distractions and helping others set  up these systems in compliment to your productivity.

 

Want to be immersed in learning about ADHD?  The International Conference on ADHD is the place to go!

 

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9 Ways to Make Habits Stick

make habits stick

 

 

The new year brings with it the promise of a great start! It’s not always goals that are our focus, it can be habits. According to Charles Duhigg, habits are the patterns that shape every aspect of our lives.  It’s where we set ourselves up for success in making small, daily patterns that lead to our final goals.  However, it’s all what holds us back. Too many times we fail to get our habit to stick and we don’t have the success we want.   Your new year goals may include habits that have to do with weight loss and healthy habits or organizing and better productivity. Here’s a few ways that help our habits stick this new year.

 

Plan your work and work your plan.

It’s that famous saying, a “dream is without a plan is just a  wish.”  Not only do you need to make a plan, you must write it down. By working through the steps,  you can see where your success starts and failure is not an option.  It’s in the details that you will find that most success in planning your work.  Your plan also includes the words you tell yourself about your new habit.  Positive self talk trains your brain to think and act on your new habit.  Your brain will believe what you tell it!  Plan your work down to the details to be sure you know when and where you will do this new habit.

 

Start with a micro habit

What’s the smallest first step you can take to create a habit? It’s a micro habit.  Break your habit into the tiniest first step and get started with that piece to set your habit into consistent motion.  Getting to the gym requires getting the clothes for the gym, or your sneakers for your walk.  Eating healthy means making a list of healthy food options.  Start your organizing with a daily declutter of 5 items or setting up a box for where decluttered items go.  Get the smallest step done and then add the next step.

 

Connect the dots

The best habits occur in succession. One dot leads to the next.  Start with an existing habit that naturally connects to a new habit.  If you want to take your vitamins each night, leave them by the toothbrush where you brush your teeth each evening.  It’s easier to go to the gym if it’s on the way from  your work to home.  It’s called hooking a habit  See where you can connect the dots.

 

Rewards of new habits

It’s an age old way to create a new habit, however it could work for you. What reward will you give yourself for a certain number of successes with your new habit? What is enough of a reward?  How will you measure your success to get that reward?  There’s an app for this too!

 

Get motivated

Are you inspired by blogs, podcasts or books? Here’s a few references to learn more about habits.  There’s always one small life hack that can make learning one new habit easier.  These experts on habits can give you insight into what to do next, how to be successful and why habits matter.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Book by Stephen Covey
5 Strategies for Building New Habits, podcast by Michael Hyatt
Productivityist, podcast by Mike Vardy
10 Things to Avoid, blog by Zen Habits
How Simple Mini Habits, by Tiny Buddha

Limit choices

Research shows the more choices we have, the harder it is to stick to our plan and create a new habit. If we have too many options, we lose track of our original habit we are creating.  Start with your new “rule” for your habit. That rule should be unwavering. It’s a rule like, don’t order french fries with your meal or drink water with every meal.  The more you practice the one choice you give yourself, the easier it is to create that habit.

 

Assess obstacles

What obstacles are in the way with creating a habit? Is it a time issue, a money issue or another issue? When you assess the obstacle you can break through what’s holding you back.

 

Design your space

Creating a space the encourages your success helps make habits stick. How so?  Set up your space to flow from one habit to the next. If you want to take your medicine at bedtime, place it by your toothbrush.  Have a water bottle always handy to be sure you drink 8 glasses a day.  Your running shoes and clothes should be packed and ready to go each day to be sure you get there. All these small space designs can help you stay true to your habits.

 

Get your cue

Charles Duhigg’s strategy relies on a “Habit Loop”  that includes a cue for your habit, the routine of the habit and a reward for your habit.  Your cue can be an alarm or a post it note.  Your reward can be just about anything from meeting a friend for coffee to soaking in a bubble bath.  Using this strategy works from the basic reward premise of us as humans.

 

This topic has been on my mind a lot!  Here’s more ways to make your habits stick.

Morning Routines That Calm The Family Chaos

 


 

Last week we joyfully subbed in for our kids as we got our grand kiddos off to school. While we had this job full time many years ago, it’s a new world currently to keep mornings calm and productive.  It’s takes planning and organization to get the day started with positive energy and organization.  Here’s some tips we learned for morning routines that will calm the family chaos.

 

Do as much as you can the night before

I share this news a lot!  Do as much as you can to prepare the night before. That means setting up a station for making lunch with clean lunch boxes, prepared snacks all set, and your napkin note ready to put in the lunch box.  Backpacks should be completely ready at the back door and all devices charging in a common charging station.  While this may be difficult after a busy and long day, it has huge pay off.

 

Get to bed early

It’s tempting to complete unfinished projects or have “me” time at the end of the day.  The quiet evening helps us feel more productive and less distracted.  It definitely derails the next day if you go to bed late.  The later it gets, the harder it is to get to sleep too.  Be sure to get in bed early so you have a great night’s rest. Morning will come quickly and you need the energy and brain power that getting to bed early offers.

 

Start early

Busy parents benefit from getting an early start. Get up 30 – 60 minutes earlier than your family.  That early start is a positive for you.  You have undistracted time to focus on yourself. Its the time you can devote to exercise, devotionals or your gratitude journal.  It gives you time for yourself and gets you ready for the day both physically and mentally.  You can be dressed and ready and then ready to work with your family.

 

Family huddle

Spend the last few minutes of your time together finalizing all the details of the day and giving encouragement to your family.  Take 5 minutes to go through each kiddos back pack and be sure it’s all together. Spend 5 more mintues sharing how it’s going to be an amazing day, how grateful you are for each kiddos’ gifts, and giving a big hug.  You and your family benefit from a positive send off.

 

It’s a blessing to you and your family as you start the day with positive energy, a calm spirit and a well organized family.   Work at your routines to create easy ways for these 4 tips to be a part of your daily routine. A little organization has a big pay off!

 

 

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18 ADHD Routines for 2018

 

Adhd routines

Reliable routines are the structure that create easy, productive, organized lives.  The routines that support those with ADHD help them manage their time, be productive, stay organized and keeps life running smoothly.  Start with baby steps this year with these 18 ways to create routines in you and your ADHD family.

 

Routines for a cohesive family

ADHD families crave organization. That is space and time organization.

1. Host a family declutter time each week. Make letting go of stuff a priority by letting go of some items each week.

2. Family meetings are part communication, part coordination and  part fun. Everyone adds to the family calendar so everyone knows this week’s plan.  It’s time to acknowledge successes, talk about family values and have some fun too.

3. Spend time with each of your kids by yourself with just one kid.  Daddy -Daughter Dates, Girls Days, and Boy Bonding times are all times that are one on one special dates for your kids.

4. Keep a family calendar everyone can access. It can be google calendar or a paper month at a glance calendar. Update it daily and during your family meeting. Everyone appreciates knowing what’s coming up.

 

Routines that create a team

Working as a team is one of the best ways to support ADHD for yourself and your family.

  1. Know your strengths.  Look at what you and your family members do best. Find team members in your family and routinely acknowledge what they do best.
  2. Partner with family members to accomplish family responsibilities.  Write up a family chore chart to assign and remind family of who does what when. Be specific on your chart on deadlines and outcomes.  If it’s dishes, then “dishes rinsed and in the dishwasher by 9 pm.”  This way everyone knows how to complete the responsibility.
  3. Look for additional team members. Who can be a part of your extended team?  Can you add on a homework helper? Are there  church youth groups or a women’s support group that you and your family can be a part of? The additional energy of a new teams or team members can have positive benefits in terms of skill and perspectives.

Routines to ask for help

Asking for help means you are seeking out what you need. It’s an asset to be able to ask for help, knowing there are many ways to accomplish a task.  When you have run out of tools, it’s always good to ask for help.

1. Identify how you ask for help routinely. Do you find an answer online, ask a friend or refer to online resources like Houzz?  Knowing what your “go to” source for information builds a routine for you to use regularly.

2. Notice indicators that you are redy to ask for help.  You may feel worn down physically, feeling emotionally drained or have brain fog.  In knowing and acknowleding when you are ready for help, you are creating a routine and indicator for yourself.

3. When you are ready to ask for help, have a limit to define what lengths you will go to in order to find assistance. You can search endlessly for the help you need. My personal example is the number of inquries, that being 3 inquiries for a need I am having. I find 3 ways that I can get the help I need, interview and get started.

4. Find team members at work who you collaborate well with and. trust their judgement. Team work at work helps you start and finish a project and brings synergy and an improved end product.

 

Routines for delegating

Regular delegating requires practice.  It starts with knowing what baby steps you can delegate and then communicating with all parties.  The best delegating includes what you don’t like to do, since often it’s not being accomplished currently.

1. Delegate household tasks like lawn mowing and house cleaning starting with outside help once a month.  Just the once a month boost from these outside helpers gives you time to accomplish tasks only you can do.

2. If you don’t like to cook, delegate dinner to a routine with healthy options.  Dinner can be certain foods for certain days like Takeout Taco Tuesdays.  It can be prepared by assigning the protein to a grilling partner,  your husband.  Delegate the chopping by picking up salad at the salad bar in the grocery store.

3. Hire a laundry helper for certain days of the week.

4. Delegate at work by assigning a small part of a project to your assistant.  Have a check in every other day while you are practicing delegating.  The more you create trust and communication while delegating, the easier it gets.

 

Routines to maintain self care

Self care can be the first routine that lapses. We are not always good about taking care of ourselves because it may feel unnatural, it may be difficult to jusify or because it simply falls off our radar.

1. Keep the same bedtime night after night. Your sleep schedule and routine keep you going day after day with a great night’s rest.

2. Schedule in protected time for yourself. Parents need time together to nurture their relationship.  You need time away to rest your brain, gather your thoughts and generally regenerate.  This weekly routine can include quiet time in whatever form you prefer.

3.  Find fun. Creative brains need fun too!  It’s hard to get away from the idea you may not have accomplished all your tasks, however it’s important to get aside fun time for you, your family and your partner to spend time together.

 

Routines are hard to establish and even hard to be consistent once established.  Take the first steps by creating the routines, then setting up solid reminders that help you. Those reminders can be alarms, timers, check lists or any fun way you can keep your routines as consistent as possible.  A day or two may slip by on your routine, however jump back in as soon as you can.

 

More on routines and being productive here!  Join my newsletter here.

 

 

2018 Word of the Year: Possibilities

Possibilities

 

Each year I choose a word as my reference for what my intentions are.  Other’s choose SMART goals or consistent habits.  It’s a guide that has been my stead for some time.  The guide word, also known as your one word or your word of the year, is catching on as a way to create change in your life.

 

This year my word is possibilities 

I am inspired by my clients who think about possibiltities.  What is possible this year? What can be a possibility that I should think about as I work or play?  What would be the options if there were fewer or no limits?

 

I chose my word possibilities as I thought of entering a new decade.  (Yes, this year my age ends in a 0.)  As a professional organizer and productivity consultant, I am a believer in limits, guides, structure and all that is established and set. This limit setting is intrinsic to every fiber in me. It’s who I am.   It came to mind that perhaps I have this year an opportunity to take ideas further by opening myself to possibilities.

 

What’s your new year beginnings?

I’d love to know your new year goals, new habits or word of the year!

How Does Being Organized Benefit Your Productivity?

organizing and productivity

 

Over the years, the start of the new year has signaled goal setting, self-improvement and change.  One of the top New Year’s goals has been getting organized.  Since 2003, NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, has celebrated Get Organized month. This year NAPO is adding “Be Productive” to our theme as well.  There’s a link between organizing and productivity. Being organized benefits you and leads to greater productivity.

Link between organizing and productivity

NAPO clients know the value of being organized. Organization relieves stress, saves you money, and gives you time. Having more time, working at your highest level and being more efficient are linked to increased productivity. Statistics show the connection between organization and productivity.  According to Forbes, the typical executive today wastes almost one month a year searching for lost information.  According to the American Demographic Society, Americans waste more than 9 million hours each day looking for lost and misplaced articles.  There’s a long list of  organizing habits related to productivity, including clearing your desk and making a work plan.  Not surprisingly, being organized helps everyone accomplish more.

 

Connecting organizing and productivity

My clients crave organization and productivity!  In our first session together, clients ask, “how do I get more done?” Conscious of this, my clients’ goals in getting organized are specifically to be more productive.  With an organized, decluttered desk top, my clients work at an efficient desk where they operate without distractions.  When a client’s electronic documents are organized, they work without losing time searching their computer. At home when there are specific spots for keys and an organized closet, my client gets out of the house quickly. When we work to create family calendars, routines and responsibilities, families happily gather together for dinner at home in the evening. Living an organized life, my clients see themselves as more productive and happier. Being organized enables you to accomplish more. In my clients quest for organization, they strive to be productive with important tasks for their work and their families.

 

This new year, begin with taking baby steps to accomplish your productivity goals.  Focus on one area at a time to organize to create a more productive lifestyle or work space.  With laser focus on that one new habit, using your strengths, it will be the start of your most productive year ever!

 

I believe, do you?

I believe

 

  • I believe it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

 

  • I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles. (Audrey Hepburn)

 

  • I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. (Robert Fulghum)

 

  • I believe that two people are connected at the heart, and it doesn’t matter what you do, or who you are or where you live; there are no boundaries or barriers if two people are destined to be together. (Julia Roberts)

 

  • Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart. (Anne Frank)

  • This holiday season may your every belief and your every wish come true!