Mothers Against Cancer (MAC), a grass roots effort to raise funds for children’s cancer research, hosts an annual fundraising luncheon each year. The event includes an amazing raffle, silent auction and live auction as part of it’s event. In an effort to raise the bar, this year our event took a bold step. We entered the 21st century of fundraising by using Greater Giving with online access to bid. Leading the charge is our executive director, our communications director. and our board. Our leadership empowers change with this step into technology.
MAC has hosted this event for almost 30 years. We have had the same process which our attendees love with a cash, check and credit card payment system. It’s working so why change? We learned that other associations income was increasing with greater use of credit cards. We wanted to implement a system where bidding on silent auction items was easier and more profitable. We wanted our attendees email addresses so we can stay in touch all year.
How did it work?
Our leadership reinforced the positive with this change. It would be different. Our attendees would need to learn our new system but it was easy. Our board knew it was the step we needed to take to and our attendees would be fine after this first year of transition.
Our leadership brought the tools we needed, such as ipads, laptops, and a router! With change brings new skills, new technology and new connections. When we set up and did a run through, it all came together as we each learned the software guided by a on site liaison. Our leadership not only sat side by side with us as we each learned, they provided tools we needed to insure our success.
It was hard work and a little chaotic at times.
As the event started, we ran into a few glitches. There were long lines that our attendees were unaccustomed to and there was resistance to sharing personal information. However our resourceful leaders started serving drinks to those waiting and that smoothed things out. Those of us at check in heard a lot about what was not working. However, as the event moved forward, the virtual bidding on silent auction items was a fun focus for our attendees. How to out bid others at our table took our tallies for research funds higher and higher. It was easy to purchase raffle tickets just by clicking your credit card access and our total sales of raffle tickets shows how easy and profitable for MAC is it. Check out at the end of the event was seamless.
As a student of leadership, MAC showed me that it takes many different aspects to make change, and that there will always be something unanticipated that we will learn.
- Listen to others as new options open up. Transitions and change only happen if we are open.
- Add in as much support as possible. Training, onsite support and tech tools make change possible.
- Communicate change in baby steps. Our Board shared the change with our members first, then our attendees. We used email newsletters to let attendees know how to access the new site and add their information.
- There will be glitches. Research the obstacles and then review. I know our next year event will benefit from this year’s glitches.
- Positivity makes the difference. Our Board stayed positive throughout the process.
MAC made a difference for our attendees, our members and our beneficiary Texas Children’s Hospital this year. Our funds raised this year totaled $283,000 for children’s cancer research.
More on Mothers Against Cancer here.
Every day is busy and each project, task and appointment seem equally important to complete. When we get too busy, it’s hard to prioritize. As a result, it’s harder to make sure we are focused on our priorities. Does it seem like a vicious cycle? I am here to help with a simple idea and a download to help you each day set priorities and keep up with your goals.
The problem: are you focusing on the priorities?
We get a lot done! But are you getting the right things done? Some tasks take care of themselves and some need focus. It seems the tasks that are easy to us get done. However, the tasks with extra steps, those that take longer or there is an element of fear, these don’t get attention. These tasks can be laundry, meal preparation, a report for work or taxes. We may never be without underwear, but we might have that nagging feeling there is something we are missing.
The solution: Your 3 Most Important Tasks
As Zen Habits notes, put purpose in your day with your 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). The idea is that the 3 tasks must get done today, no matter. If additional tasks are accomplished, that’s a productivity bonus. Your most important tasks are individual to you and your goals. “What are the three most important things that I could do today that will help move me closer to my goals?” The goals could be about relationships, spirituality, productivity, work, or exercise. A task is one small step of advancing to your goal.
Start your 3MITs here.
Let’s move into action with your 3 MITs. This download is a way to set your MITs, remind you of your goals, and set a time to accomplish your MITs. Set a time each day, at the end or beginning of your day, to write these down. Think about your day and when is the best time for your work on each task.
Most people find that the end of the day is the best time to work on the MITs. When you start your day it’s already focused. If you write your MITs in the morning, get an early start so you can not only write but start your day on time. Creating this system for MITs helps you knock out your tasks early in the day too.
Your MITs will help you get the most important tasks done more consistently. That’s the whole idea behind productivity!
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Is this you? You took the leap and decided to start your own company, be a consultant, work at home managing investments, or another job that has you office out of your home. You loved the idea of flexibility and managing your own time. You’re juggling the demands of home and work in the same space and feeling unproductive and overwhelmed. How do you maximize your productivity? Here’s 4 key tools for work at home.
Family calendar and family meeting
The blend of family and work blurs when you work at home. While it’s a blessing to be available for volunteering, it’s also a challenge to get your administrative tasks complete. A family calendar is required that includes all commitments. Using Google calendar or Cozi, you and your partner can add commitments in real time. Take this to the next step by adding in routines that help you complete family tasks like meals, exercise and family bedtime routines. When you add in these routines, you are sure to complete these too. Take the final step of printing this out for you to see the calendar. This visual reminder will help you stay on track.
A family meeting insures communication and collaboration. Set a time that works best for you and your partner. In the beginning it might just be you two and then add in the rest of the family. Your family meeting is a combination of communication and collaboration. Make it fun with a snack, walk after or time together.
Creating a team
I love the story of Who Packs Your Parachute. The best work we do is in collaboration with another. It’s how we accomplish more because of all the little things we do for others and what others do for us. I encourage you to do what you do best and find others to help you get more done. Your team can be your family, working from a chart for family clean. Or you can find help in a myriad of ways like Care.com. Choose helpers who are above all trust worthy. You can train someone with a skill.
Most important task list
When we are in the blur of life and work, we often lose track of what’s most important. A simple Most Important Task list, written the night before, keeps us on track. How do you know what’s most important? It’s typically the task with the most steps, more difficult to accomplish, and more fearful task. When you write it down on your paper or digital list, it’s a commitment to the task. All lists are too long and we feel unproductive, so a short list that can be accomplished makes all the difference.
Know the One Thing
What’s the One Thing that makes your life run smoothly? Is it exercise, doing meditation, writing in your journal each morning? Or maybe it’s being sure the dishwasher is unloaded every night, or relying on your partner to drop off the kids each day? Whatever that One Thing is, be inflexible and committed to making that happen. It’s not surprising that each of us has One Thing that makes life run smoothly. Identify and commit to making that happen. My One Thing is exercise each morning. I walk for 45 minutes with a trusted friend who shares my enthusiasm for volunteering, mentoring and leadership.
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With small green buds peeking out from the trees, or maybe just many feet of ice melting, spring is around the corner (thankfully.) It’s been a long winter of nesting. We may be especially looking forward to the change of seasons. We want to get started on our spring organizing.
“Reset” frequently used spots
It’s time to recheck those spaces that are frequently used in your home. Those spots are the landing strip and command center. The landing strip is where all your bags and backpacks land each afternoon. Get this area back into shape by distributing what needs to go elsewhere in your home. Pull out the mittens, scarves and boots and place them back in closets for next year. Your command center is paper central for all incoming papers. Review what is there, recycle and shred what is not needed.
Another season has passed and you know there are lots of unworn items in your closet. Before you do your season switch out, get started by pulling out, donating and consigning unworn items. It will make room for spring and summer, as well as help you lighten up your space. If clothes have gotten out of whatever order and organization is best for you, go back in and realign. You may find even more to eliminate after this is reorganized.
Spend a few minutes reviewing your linens. Do you have too many blankets and sheets for your needs? Let go of extra blankets, pillows and older linens. Take these out to donate and create space. Have towels that are ripped or not a color the coordinates? Move these out to the garage for spills. Fluff up your bed by switching out to lighter linens. Let go of those extra decorative pillows (that you don’t place on your bed daily) and simplify your bedroom.
Fresh start your pantry
Spring and summer are about fresh veggies. Make room for this in your kitchen, refrigerator, freezer and pantry. Go through and discard expired foods. Set up spaces that are designated for categories of food, like breakfast, dinner and snacks, so you can easily plan and make meals. Label your shelves for easy access and putting groceries away. It’s a great way to welcome spring, improve your eating habits, and make wellness choices easy.
Finish up your fresh start with a new plant or flowers in your kitchen. It’s a lovely reward for your hard work! A fresh start for your spring organizing is a great way to be ready for the season.
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Each morning I am noticing the sun rising earlier, indicating it’s almost time for us to Spring Forward with a time change. While not something easy to embrace, the extra sunshine at the end of the day is a bonus. What ways can we use that daylight hour to Spring Forward take better care of ourselves as well? Here’s a few ideas I have.
Sunny, happy times
Research shows the value of sunshine on our emotional well being. Longer days mean more sunshine. Sunlight cues seratonin, boosting your mood, helping you be calm and helping you stay focused. Getting 15 minutes of sunshine boosts Vitamin D which helps bone health.
Time for exercise
Studies show that walking 10,000 steps in a day helps us keep active both physically and mentally. With busy days that start early, the sunny evening time is great for a walk. Walking with your partner and kids is a bonus time for communication and sharing what’s happened that day.
Time for dinner
Longer daylight hours give us extra time to prepare dinner. Sitting down to dinner during daylight energizes you and your family. The Family Dinner project shares ways to include easy meals to help you get dinner on the table.
Routines that make the most of extra daylight
- End your day with meditation with the Headspace app.
- Create a checklist for routines with dinner, including family members cooking and cleaning together.
- Plan time for exercise with a family walk or bike ride.
- Create a good sleep routine by stopping technology an hour before bedtime, keeping your bedtime the same, and keeping clutter out of your bedroom.
- Spend 15 minutes with spring organizing at the end of your day. Daylight will keep you energized.
By embracing this change, like all other changes, you will find more order and productivity in your day.
Without a doubt, the one topic that I talk about at every speaking engagement, with every client and with every colleague is my love of labels. I call myself an “over-labeller” because I know that I label inside drawers, pantries, bins and more.
My love of labels is both functional and cute. When a spot is labelled, everyone knows where an items goes. It’s easy getting your home or office reset and back to order. Everyone can help put away groceries and toys when a spot is labelled. In addition, labels set the tone of the decor. I love faux chalkboard labels to appeal to our DIYers. A simple black and white label keeps minimalists happy. A cheery label brings a smile to all of us.
Download and print labels
With Pinterest, it’s easy to find labels to download and print. Do a quick search to find what you need and print in color at home. Labels are available for every type of project.
Avery labels are available at online and at retail outlets. Run these labels through your printer to customize. Sizes and shapes of all kinds are available and self adhesive too!
Brother P Touch Label Maker
Brother P Touch label maker and labels are a simple way to add organization to your home and office. The tape is purchased separately. Tapes comes in a variety of sizes and colors. To keep it simple, I use only black lettering on white tape.
You might feel a bit of resistance to labels. Move beyond this emotion and do some labeling in one area. Test this each time you replace items back in their spots. How easy did labeling make your work? Feeling the obsession too?
As leaders, communication and collaboration are essential. When your team is spread out over the nation, or even in your neighborhood, you want proven technology tools that make these aspects easy to accomplish. It’s not necessary for you to be high tech to use these 4 technology tools. As a bonus, these tools are free too! I am happy to share what I use each week with my colleagues.
Every week I am talking to committee members located throughout the country. FreeConferenceCall.com offers me free access to a collaborative phone system, including free recording of the call. It’s so simple to dial in and connect. If you want to share your meeting, you can record and send the link to those who missed the meeting. Team meetings are more effective, save time, and save email frustration by setting a weekly or monthly call to work on a project.
Collaboration can require more than just words and audio. Many of us work best collaboratively when we all “see” the same content to discuss it. Our “view” of the content also gives us the opportunity to brainstorm, make adjustments to a document or create a final version together. Join.me is an online screen sharing site. You log into join.me/ and a code number and you can view the screen of the host. My team has completed projects such as budgets, reviewed courses, and reviewed documents together with Join.me. It’s an easy way to be more productive as a team.
Google has an vast array of ways to work collaboratively. With Google Docs you can create, edit and store web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You initiate the document in Google Docs and work on it in this cloud based site. You can invite others to join you in the work together and work together at the same time. Documents and spreadsheets can be be imported into Google Docs as well.
One of the most difficult actions is to find a meeting time that works for you and your team. Simplify the process with this tech tool. Doodle is a meeting scheduling tool. Choose dates and times that work for you and send an email through Doodle with the choices. Each member is polled on what times work for them and a final poll can send the date of the meeting. It can connect to each team member’s calendar too. Save time and frustration easily setting up a time to meet.
There are more uses than only leadership with these proven technology tools. At work you can set up partnerships to enhance accountability and productivity. You may find these tools useful for home as well. Setting up a family time to talk about aging parents or a family vacation are easy with these technology tools. Taking advantage of these proven technology tools for leaders in your work with your team. You will find collaboration easy and effective.
Have a favorite tech tool you use? Please share it here and share it’s merits.
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Do you dream of quick fixes to your organizing challenges? Don’t we all want to wave a magic wand and make all clutter go away? By nature, a quick fix does not accomplish your real goal of getting organized. However when you have just a few minutes, there are some options that will make a difference for your organizing.
Paper comes in at an alarming rate. We have different papers we need. What do we do with all that paper? An accordion file is a quick fix for getting organized. This product has either 7 or 13 slots. Decide on your categories for paper, meaning group them together by what you plan on doing with them. This can be To do, To pay, To file, or Taxes. Another option might be Clients, Financial, or Administrative. Label the tabs and you have a quick fix for organizing these.
Your closet is where you start your day. Why not make it easy to get ready in the morning with a quick fix of slimline hangers? These hangers are truly slimmer so more fits in your closet. Everything hangs at the same height. You will see the clothes rather than the hangers too!
There’s nothing like a timer to help us be more aware of time. Setting a timer helps us with judging how long a task takes or keeping to a specific amount of time to accomplish a task. Either way, your time awareness improves with a timer.
Just as overwhelming as paper, email grows to dramatic proportions daily. What’s the quick fix here? Hit unsubscribe as much as you can! With every shopping email or blog post, you have the option to let go. Take a minute to scroll to the bottom of the email and unsubscribe. Remember that minute will save you 5, 10 or 30 minutes later.
The quick fix for decluttering is spending 15 minutes at a time culling and eliminating. Use an energy spurt to eliminate what you have not used and don’t love in that quick fix. Get that bag into your car right away and drop it off.
Be careful with the idea of buying bins as a quick fix. It can be deceptive to stack up more bins with more stuff you won’t be able to use.
I’d love to learn more about your quick fixes to organizing and productivity challenges.
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Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD. Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents. If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps too.
Creating your team
Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to Executive Function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing. It is more than just attention and hyperactivity. Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work. Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory. In every day life that might be getting ready for work and school or organizing your paper work and school papers.
Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals in the medical, counseling and coaching arena. Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family. Start with your family pediatrician or your general practitioner to know who would be a good addition to your team. Your team may include a psychiatrist, counselor, ADHD coach, and professional organizer. Be sure to add team members who are well qualified ADHD professionals.
Learning more about ADHD
There are many venues to learn about ADD. Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (www.adda.org) and CHADD (www.chadd.org) are two of the primary first steps. These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD. Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.
Reading may be a top priority for you. Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD. Among the top are Terri Matlin http://www.momswithadd.com/, Tara McGillicuddy http://www.myaddblog.com/ and Arianne Benefit http://blog.neatandsimple.com/ and Laura Rolands http://myattentioncoach.com/adhd-coaching-blog/. Books include The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin, Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, or Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden.
Basic first steps
If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.
- Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone. Often this is the first area that families overlook.
- Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up. Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments. Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
- Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension. These activities help everyone with clarity. Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
- Place clocks in many places throughout your home. A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done. Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time elapsing. Use it in transitional times too.
- Put into place additional help throughout the week. A daily Homework Helper can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent. A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
- Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family. Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times. It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.
Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways. Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved.
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