Week Before Thanksgiving To Do Lists

thanksgiving organizing

 

It’s the week before Thanksgiving and there’s much to do!  Pies to bake, turkey to baste and a table to set are just a few of your responsibilities this week. Setting up a list of lists will make your next week run smoothly. That’s what lists do: get ideas out of your head, get stuff done, help you have more fun and help you stay in the moment with your guest that day. Here are the lists that you need the week before Thanksgiving. These To Do lists will not only help you stay on track, these will also help you have your most organized Thanksgiving!

 

 

Finalize your guest list

Who will you be sitting with during your holiday feast?  It’s time to finalize your guest list and connect with all your guests.  Your guests may request to bring items for your meal so have a list prepared just in case they would like to bring a dish.

 

Gather your gear

Do you need extra linens or will you be eating on eco-friendly plates? Is this the year you will cook your turkey on the grill? Now is the time to purchase what’s needed for your feast. Set out your plates, silverware and other table scape items to be sure you are ready to set the table.

 

Create your shopping list

What’s needed for your feast and the week ahead? What breakfast, lunch and leftovers do you have planned for feeding your guests? Are your guests vegan, gluten free or vegetarian? Nows the time to check special dietary requests.  Checking your list early means you can check on sales at various shops and save money.

 

Beverages and bar options

Even before your big meal, will you be serving special beverages? Research festive holiday drinks and kiddo drinks for your meal.  Be ready with a family friendly punch or adult cocktail station set up before the meal begins.

 

Create a cooking plan

In order to have all your dishes ready at the same time, write a list of when you will prepare, cook and bake your holiday dishes.  Review your recipes to be organized about when to start cooking. Assign cooking responsibilities to friends and family who arrive early that day.

 

Purchase your turkey

Turkeys come in fresh and frozen, big and little. Be ready for your feast by purchasing your turkey ahead of time and holding it in the coldest part of your refrigerator.  Turkey tips are available to be sure your bird is delicious.

 

Thanksgiving Day List

You got this! Stick to your list of lists and you will enjoy your day.  It’s time to put your friends and family in the mix to share the fun in cooking and preparing.

 

More Thanksgiving ideas here!

 

ADHD Guide to Happier Holidays

adhdholidayguide adhd

 

Time is not your friend during the holidays. There’s so much more to do. If you have ADHD, time challenges are part of what you face during the year.  Here’s a simple guide to a happier holiday for you and your family.

 

Keep self care at the top of your list

Holidays are the season of lists, with lists having lists.  Top off your list with holiday self care. This is the time to keep your exercise, medication, meditation and sleep schedules without disruption.  Keeping these routines on track will help you stay energized and positive.

 

Set your budget early and keep on track

Finances are a major part of all holidays. There’s gifts to buy, food to purchase and always last minute unplanned expenses.  Set up your budget early, with specific names and dollar amounts. Leave a little wiggle room for last minute purchases.  There’s apps for that too! Spendee, Mint and EveryDollar help you track your funds. Even before you set out to shop, open up all the Amazon boxes and make a list of all the gifts you purchased throughout the year. The power of a small, thoughtful, handmade gift can make a big impact if your funds are small. A donation to a meaningful charity in the family’s name shows thoughtfulness.  Simple gifts are profound and from the heart.

 

Meet to know what’s most meaningful

By far the most important and valued time of the holiday season is time spent together.  Get your family calendar together in early November.  Invitations, school plays, church gatherings and other celebrations will start soon! With your family, decide what’s most important and meaningful to each family member. Be ready to prioritize and then capture on your calendar these dates early.  When double bookings arise, take a few minutes to send a gracious thank you and proceed as planned.

 

Team work makes holidays easier

Make a list of what you have to do this holiday season. Now write a name next to the responsibilities where another person, team or tech can do this work.  Delegating is the way to have extra time to get the most complete. Create partnerships for work that can be done by more than one person. A partnership means that there will be laughing and fun, not just work to get done.  Look for community members to be a part of your team too, like teens who babysit, wrap or add extra hands when needed.  There’s lots of ways to add help in the holiday season.

 

Holiday are not all perfection all the time.  Take time this holiday season to find ways to make your holiday happier, and not perfect. The most imperfect holiday is often the most memorable.

 

Choosing Time Management Tools

Time management tools

 

Say the words time management and we say how can be manage time?  We can’t really. What we can do is track how we use time, understand how long a tasks takes, and prioritize what we spend out time on.   Time management tools help us track and record how we spent our time.   By tracking and recording our tasks and how much time each takes, we can be more productive about how we use our time.  These basic, elementary tools also empower us to be more productive.

 

Capture tools: planner and task list

A planner is where you place dates and appointments. It’s also where you can create a plan for your work by breaking tasks and projects into smaller units. Planners come in a variety of formats so choose what works for you.

 

A task list is where you record all the details. It’s the spot for all ideas, whether actionable or not.  The task list evolves into the 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). Those the tasks that are assigned by date and recorded on your panner. These capture tools can include a simple notebook to the online tool Trello.

 

Both capture tools are essential for productivity. Knowing the high priority tasks, choosing which to schedule when, then you can use your planner.  Your planner is your every day map for getting stuff done.

Focus tools

These tools help you stay on track with your plan and ensure productivity.

 

A timer can help you start, finish and stay on task. Setting a timer helps make the shift into action.  It’s set to help you with the duration of the task. Using the Pomodoro technique, you can break up your work into chunks too.

 

An analog clock can help you gauge the beginning of a task.  Placing an analog clock where you can see time elapsing is beneficial in that you can assess how much time has passed and when to move onto the next step.

 

RescueTime is a a digital tool to assess where you have spent your time.  This time management software helps you stay on track knowing that your time is being assessed.

 

Use these focus tools together to help you keep to your plan.

 

Time management concepts

Time management concepts provide the perspective of how to use your tools.

 

The Power of One highlights how important a single capture tool can be for you.  Capture your tasks and assigments in one place. It’s easier to know what you have to do and when you are doing this tasks.

 

Chunk your  work into segments that work for you. If you are someone who likes long time periods to work, create theme days to do this work. If you work for an hour at a time, break your work into these units.  Chunking is a powerful way to be sure you are accomplishing and not procrastinating.

 

 

Now you have the tools. It’s time to put them to use!  Be sure to have your planner, task list, clock and timer at your side at all times.  Put them to work today as you start your work day.

 

More time management tips here! Join my newsletter!

 

 

 

Automated Tools for Home, Work and Life

Automated tools for home work and life

 

Without a doubt, technology has changed our home, work and life. The smart tools in our home include security, light bulbs, coffee makers and fans. In the last year, even more so has life changed with the popularity of Amazon Echo (Alexa) and Google Home. It’s easy to automate and delegate some of the little things that can make life and work even easier. Here’s a list of the tools and tasks that can delight you as automated toolsfor home, work and life.

 

Tools to use

Both the Amazon Echo and Google Home are easy to use and cost about the same amount depending on which product you purchase.  Here’s the differences that you should look for.  Amazon Echo has more commands (Skills) while Google Home can best answer diverse questions.   Amazon Echo has more smart home commands to control such as smart light bulbs or security.

 

Commands to use

These devices can play music, tell you the time, give you this week’s weather and give you the traffice report.  There’s more though! Keep up your productivity with these commands.

Calendar

  • OK, Google, tell me about my day”
  • OK, Google, good morning.” (This includes a personalized greeting, info on weather, traffic, reminders, calendar entries, flight status and curated news stories.)
  • OK, Google, add my 9 am appointment to my calendar.
  • Ok, Google, remind me to purchase my airline tickets.

To-do lists

  • Alexa, create a to-do list
  • Alexa, I need to make a doctor appointment
  • Alexa, buy bathroom tissue
  • Alexa, reorder pens
  • Alexa, track my order

Reminders and timers

  • Alexa, set a repeating alarm for weekdays at 7 a.m.
  • Set a timer: “Alexa, timer” or “Alexa, set a timer for 15 minutes.”
  • Create a named timer: “Alexa, set a pizza timer for 20 minutes.”
  • Set multiple timers: “Alexa, set a second timer for 5 minute

Self care

  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick a workout.
  • Alexa, ask Random Workout to pick an exercise.
  • Alexa open Sleep Sounds.
  • Alexa ask Sleep Sounds to play Thunderstorm.

What’s my most surprising task for Alexa? It’s remember things! We all want a fail safe spot to remember stuff.  Alexa can do that too!

You don’t have to be a big techie to enjoy the advantages of this small addition to your tech collection.  Adding these small devices can make a big difference for you as we add automated tools for home, work and life to our everyday spaces.

4 Surprising Ways to Use a Planner

4 ways to use a planner

“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”  ― Allen Saunders

A goal without a plan is just a wish.”   ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”   ― Benjamin Franklin

 

It’s all just a wish until you make a plan! Whether it’s home, work, meals or exercise, a planner helps you accomplish your goals. It sets the road map for your work and helps you track your metrics. Here’s some planner love for you!

 

Work planner

work planner

 

A week at a glance planner, where you can easily write on it and see it, makes it easier to accomplish your goals.  What special about this planner page is that you write in your priorities at the start of the week. This helps you stay on task and keeps away distractions.

 

Meal planner

meal planner

 

One of our most important goals is to plan meals for ourselves and our families. This weekly meal plan helps you write down what you are preparing and what ingredients you will need.  In the notes section, track information about the recipes. Keep each week in a binder to use as a meal rotation schedule.

 

Exercise planner

workout planner

Weekly exercise can be a lofty goal.  Here’s a planner that’s a weekly tracker.  It’s creating a plan for you that is specific, measurable and realistic. Keep your tracker with you to be sure you get your workout complete.

 

Travel planner

Travel planner

 

We’re off on a wonderful adventure! We want to share our travel information with friends and family. This travel planner helps us share the most important information.

 

Of course, all my blog posts on planners must share my love of the planner pad!

 

This week as you do your weekly planning, download one of the extra planners to help you get things done.  It will help you stay accountable and work on what’s missing from your goals.

How to Fix Holiday Glitches

how to fix holiday glitches

 

As holidays approach, we’re thinking of twinkling lights and not last year’s dry stuffing.  Even worse, last year we may have spent much time preparing, yet not feeling that holiday joy. Heading into the holidays is the best time to think about the big picture of the holiday season.  It’s time to assess what worked and what did not.

 

Here’s some oops moments that may have happened to you last year.  There’s solutions for you to fix these holiday glitches.

 

Oops! Holiday cure!
There’s so much to do for each holiday. Set aside a planning time in early October.  It’s a meeting for you, your list and your planner.
There’s so many activities and events every night during the holidays. You booked 2 events on the same evening. Start early with your holiday planner and calendar.  Enter every date as you receive each invitation.
You wanted to send holiday cards and you need a family photo and your address list updated. Use a family photo taken during the year. Use multiple photos of faces only.  Update your address list as new holiday cards arrive.
You need to decorate the house and your family is busy with school, sports and choir. Downsize your decorating. Decide if your decorating should be a single tree, indoor decorations only, or another smaller effort this year.
You purchased too many items on Amazon and don’t know what your purchased are or for whom you purchased. Open all the boxes and create an inventory of your purchases. Assign names with post it notes on each item. Assess if you have enough by setting a budget or a number of gifts.
There’s so much to wrap and you must bake, go to church and other things to do. Pay a neighborhood teen or grandkid to be your holiday wrapper.
You want to go to the cookie swap and you need to bake 12 dozen cookies. When do you have the time for that? Through social media, ask for referrals of local bakers, crafters or other small businesses to help you.
The holidays fly by and you feel you have not enjoyed the time together as a family. Host a family meeting with everyone sharing what’s most important to them to celebrate the season. Share what’s most important to you and set aside time for this.

 

As you prepare for this year’s holiday season, keep in mind your level of planning and organization.  Balance your investment in time with your joy for the outcome of that investment. It will lead you to a happier holiday season.

4 Simple Productivity Concepts to Organize Your Work and Life

4 simple productivity tips

 

Take a big step back to think about your productivity.  Are there foundations that you can build on to organize your work and life to be more productive? There are! Think about concepts that can be overarching your work and life. Here are 4 simple productivity tips that can be the base of your producitivity strategies. These are to pause, to consolidate, to chunk, and to create a process. In addition, here are ways to use these strategies in your home and office.

Pause

a temporary stop in action or speech.
“she dropped me outside during a brief pause in the rain”
synonyms: stopcessationbreakhaltinterruptionchecklullrespitebreathing space, discontinuation, hiatusgapinterludeMore

 

It’s so easy to jump right  in and start organizing and getting stuff done. The power of a pause can make your work more efficient and focused. Inserting a pause gives you time to plan and prepare for the outcome. You can look at what you are working on and prepare sequentially for the outcome you want.  With a pause, you can define what is your end goal before you leap ahead.  Giving yourself a pause is a way to ensure your work is your best effort leading to the outcome you have in mind.

  • Use mindfulness throughout the day to stay in the moment as you work.
  • Include meditation or yoga as the first routine in your day.
  • If you are feeling aggitated or anxious, take a few deep breaths or take a walk.

 

Consolidate

combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole.
“all manufacturing activities have been consolidated in new premises”
synonyms: combineunitemergeintegrateamalgamatefusesynthesize, bring together, unify

“consolidate the results into an action plan”

 

When you consolidate, you are getting all the items, tasks or thoughts in one place.  If things are too spread, you are not sure what you have, your thoughts are jumbled and your tasks might be in listed in many different spots.  The Power of One is when you only have one place to look, one list to review or one thought that summarizes your results.

  • Write all your ideas and tasks in a single notebook.
  • Gather all your supplies and store these at a single point of use.
  • Add all your contacts to a single database, CRM or contact list.

 

Chunk

divide (something) into chunks.
“chunk four pounds of pears”
method of presenting information which splits concepts into small pieces or “chunks” of information to make reading and understanding faster and easier. 

 

To chunk, or chunking, is a strategy to break a big project into smaller, do-able units.  When you are feeling overwhelmed by a project, create a plan that breaks it into smaller chunks that are manageable. Chunking also creates a unit for context.  By grouping together information into ideally sized pieces, these can be used effectively to produce the outcome you want.  Time chunking, according to Productivityist Mike Vardy, allows for purposeful use of your days.

  • Use a project management tool like Trello to establish chunks.
  • Set up your day with a chunk of time set aside for a daily routine.
  • Create your task list with just the one next step, the one next chunk.

 

Create a process

a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
“military operations could jeopardize the peace process”
synonyms: procedureoperationactionactivityexerciseaffairbusinessjobtaskundertaking

One of my biggest pet peeves is “re-creating the wheel”, that being when I am doing the same things over and over.  There might be a better way to do something, however first I want to establish one way to do that thing with the outcome that I want.  Yes, it is highly linear and specific in that it is step by step. At times we need to know what to do to achieve the end result we want repeatedly. That’s where a process makes all the difference.  Your process should be a tried and true method.  Here’s what basic processes come into play.

  • Set up a process for getting laundry complete and dinner on the table at home
  • What is the process for when you have a new client?
  • Use a bill paying process that includes setting up online bill paying.
  • Create a paper process for your home or work.

 

This is big picture stuff! One of these is most likely already a part of your productivity toolbox. Think about how one of these as a single concept can make a difference in your work and responsibilities. All 4 concepts help you use your time productively as well as efficiently.  Assess which tip is already working for you and that could be enhanced, as well as which tip you would like to try out.  If you are already working hard, it’s time to assess and work smarter.

 

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How many clothes do I need?

How many clothes do I need

 

I am asked this question a lot by my clients. How many clothes do you need per person in your home?  How many clothes do I need? It’s not an easy answer.

  • Too many clothes can cause chaos in your home.  Having too many clothes makes it difficult to get ready in the morning, aka “I have nothing to wear, but my closet is full.”
  • If your laundry is overwhelming, it’s probably because you own too many clothes. Laundry is never complete and you have a mountain to do.  Laundry can become a priority because no one has underwear too even when you have 14 pairs of undies.
  • Think of the money you can save if you knew the number of clothes to purchase.  Purchasing just what yo need could save you money.
  • So, just how many clothes do you need per person? See what you think after I share my experiment with my client.

 

Here’s what Organizing and Decluttering Blogs say

I searched many blogs for the answer to how many clothes.  If you are a minimalist, perhaps just owning fewer clothes is your first step. Owning less is an easy option to start.  If you turn your hangers around to see what you wear, you can see how much you don’t wear. To save money, a specific list works well. That list could be a starting point to let go of extra clothes.  A coordinated capsule wardrobe minimizes the number of clothes and maximizes your style potential. You will be excited to get ready each day when you know everything in your closet matches.

 

Here’s what followers on Facebook say

I posted this question to my Facebook followers. How many clothes do I need?  Most comments included “depending on your activities.”  More activities, then more clothes.  Some commented on their own capsule wardrobes.  Many commented that they let clothes go each season.  What I learned from my Facebook followers is that the number of clothes you need is not a constant and depends on what your activities are.

 

Here’s what a client and I did

How many clothes does a mom need? My client and I decided on an experiment. Our goal was to simplify her laundry. It had become overwhelming.  We took 5 (yes, just 5) of each item (shirts, pants, exercise, dresses, undies) in her closet to keep and placed the remainder in bags in her garage. Our experiment was to keep these bags in the garage for a month to see if she retrieved any clothes and how many she needed.  Here’s how we started. We went through her clothes piece by piece and place what we were keeping in a laundry basket. When we were complete, there were 2 baskets of clothes.  Immediately she felt relieved.  She had struggled with laundry for quite a while. Right away she knew she had plenty to wear and that everything she wore would fit and be what she loved.  She is enjoying the freedom from taking care of too many things. Then she did the same for her husband!

What’s the result of our experiment?

  • Less stress because of less laundry
  • Clothes are put away in closets and drawers
  • More time to play with her kiddos
  • Plenty to wear each day

When you think of how many clothes you need, drill down to what you need to wear and how many you need. It’s life changing!  Take home this experiment and see what you think is the number of clothes you need.

 

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Family Mottos with Meaning

 

Family mottos family values

 

In our 21st century lives, families are transforming daily.  Families are adding members, refashioning who is a family member and reinventing family structure.  Just how do we keep sharing our family values, inviting inclusiveness and minimizing destructive and hurtful conversations?  Having a family motto helps all your family define what’s important.

 

Family mottos not family bickering

It’s all too often we find ourselves saying, keep your hands to yourself and pick up your stuff. We can fashion that into a family motto that shares how we respect each other and take care of our belongings.  It’s more about how we treat each other that we want to convey to our family.

Here’s some family mottos ” Read more

Life Changing Apps for 2018

Life changing apps 2018

 

My clients and I are researchers. We are researching ways to make life easier, more productive and more organized.  New apps come and go.  There are life changing apps; those being apps that make chaos become order, empower you to make change happen and help you live your best life.   I am excited to share some of the life changing apps they have shared with me.

 

MapMyWalk

We all know we “should” exercise.  Why not make it a game with Map MyWalk?  Not only can you track your progress and create a competition with yourself, you can connect with friends for real competition.  It’s real motivation to get moving

 

Shipt

It’s breakfast time and you are out of cereal, eggs and even bread. No worries! Shipt will bring these to your door quickly.  You can choose between grocery stores and Target too.  This can also save you money since you are not browsing the store aisles.

 

EveryDollar

Worried about your money?  Trouble with a budget and month goals?  EveryDollar helps you create and monitor where you are spending money so you can achieve your goals.  EveryDollar sets up systems for you to track what you are spending.  It’s an easy way to check your funds.

 

Your Bank App

Working together with your bank, it’s easy to stay on track and know what you have in your account.  Your bank app permits deposits which means less time at the ATM. Install this on your ipad and you are ready to pay bills anyway at any time.

 

White Noise Lite

Trouble getting to sleep? Here’s an amazing sleep aid – this app!  You can start the app to get to sleep and it shuts off automatically. There’s an alarm clock built in too.

 

Headspace

Meditation is an important start to your day. By meditating you set the tone of the day.  Headspace helps you do this.

 

I love adding to my list of what apps are working for me.  When you add apps to your devices, it’s a great testing time.  Remember to keep only the apps you use, deleting what you tried and didn’t work for you.  [layerslider id=”2″]