How to Use Project Management For Holidays Happiness

 

Holiday organizing

Holiday planning can be overwhelming and take the joy from the holidays.  With so much to do and so many people to see, taking a project management approach to the holidays can make the season less stressful.  Using project management you can plan, execute, and achieve specific goals.

 

Define your project objectives

The hoiday experience is about meaningful family activities.  What’s most meaningful to you and your family? That’s the best starting place for you to know what you want your holiday to look and feel like. Write this down to keep on target.

 

Set your scope

How big is your holiday project?  Is it defined by a budget and how much you plan to spend this year? Is it defined by the calendar and how many events will you attend each year?  Set limits on your holiday project with these boundaries for your scope.  How big will your holiday plan be?

 

Plan your itinerary

Your itinerary can include where you are travelling to, what homes you will be visiting, or what local experiences you will attend. Coodinating locations and time frames gives you a big picture plan for where you want to be and when you will be there.  It’s often a time to consolidate and coordinate your purchasing too.

Manage quality

Your holiday expectations play a big role in the happiness. It’s a planning what your holiday can look like. Real family holidays are not perfect and are messy.  Take perfectionism off the table, for holiday decorations, holiday treats or holiday gifts. Know what you want to be “perfect” and let the rest go.  The best quality to focus on is the meaningful time spent with your family.  It’s gauged by the smiles, hugs and precious time together.

 

Close your project

Close your project with an assessment what went well. What are the things your family enjoyed together? Did you meet your budget? Are there things you want to repeat again next year? Having a short recap with your family helps you enjoy the time together even more.

 

Don’t reinvent the wheel each holiday!  Check out the holiday planning notebook here.

 

 

17 ADHD Tips for 2017

17 adhd tips

 

 

Living successfully with ADHD means learning about creative ways to use your strengths.  Peter Shankman, founder of the Faster Than Normal podcast, says that using  your strengths is what makes the difference in living an ADHD life with meaning.  These ADHD tips include some of the most important areas I have learned from my clients. These areas as the priorities help you set your daily activities and guide you through the day.  Here’s 17 ADHD tips for 2017 just for you.

 

At Home

  1. Keep a family calendar for everyone to access. It can be a paper, dry erase, or digital calendar.  It’s everyone’s job to add to it all the time.
  2. Keep it simple.  Declutter with regularity. There’s always more coming in as you know.  Have a declutter bag available for you and your family to drop items in and take away once a month.
  3. Plan partnerships in getting responsibilities done at home.  Stick together in partnerships or everyone working as a team to make dinner, do laundry, take out the trash or any home chore so that it gets done quickly. Make it fun with music, dancing and laughing.
  4. Keep the conversation positive and coachable. Begin conversations between you, your partner, or your kids with a positive, learning, coachable communication style.

 

Relationships

  1. Partner with your partners.  Work as a team with your partner or spouse in home responsibilities.  At work find partners who help you be accountable, set deadlines, help you start or help you finish a project.
  2. Spend time one on one with others. Vitamin C, vitamin connect as Dr. Edward Hallowell talks about, is the critical element for ADHD.  Be sure you are connecting regularly and prioritizing relationships.  Play, physical connection and communication are all ways to manage ADHD symptoms better.

Parenting

  1. Set up positive learning situations. Every misstep is an opportunity to learn. Process with your child where the learning is.
  2. Set up simple systems for you and your child.  Keep spaces and routines as simplified as possible.
  3. Homework happens! Hire homework help for your child with a tutor, a homework helper or a local teen.
  4. Limit video games and online distractions. Use blockers, set up a common charging spot, and establish a one hour video free time before bed.

Self care

  1. An early bedtime for kids and adults makes for a more productive, happier day.
  2. Protein is important! Have protein at each meal for a brain boost.
  3. Double up on exercise and connecting.  Take a walk with a friend or go to a yoga class. Exercise, talking, laughing and processing information all work well together.

Learning about ADHD

  1. Check out ADDitudemag.com for webinars, podcasts, blogs and other easy to access information.
  2. Read and comment on  your favorite blog posts.
  3. Join a Facebook Closed ADHD group.
  4. Join a local support group such as ADDA-SR.  Check out their website at ADDA-SR.org.

 

Just choose one tip that can make a difference for you today, this week or this month. A single tip is the best first step to living a successful life with ADHD.

 

More tips here!  Check out these 15 ADHD tips!

#Grateful

 

#Grateful

 

The holiday season begins with a festival of gratitude. Thanksgiving officially began in 1863 in the midst of the Civil War.  President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.  While this has been a more difficult year than most, Thanksgiving brings families together for food, fun and thoughtful reflection. What are you #grateful for this year?

 

What’s your perspective on gratitude?

In the most troubling of times, it’s good to know your motivations. Knowing what’s at your core and what makes you do what you do,  that’s why you are grateful.  What’s your why, by Simon Sinek, is a strategy to drill down on why, how and what compelling reasons come together to drive your passion and lead others. This is especially important for your family. When you understand what’s most important to you and how it’s a part of your every day life, gratitude jumps out!  See if you can drill down to know these passions in what you do and why you do it.

The Values in Action (VIA) assessment is another tool to find your core.  The VIA assesses values, like honesty, loyal, appreciation of beauty.  To me, these values are essential in shaping our daily life. Our values are put into place in how we work with others, enjoy your physical space and connect with our spirituality.

Why you do what you do, what your values are and how you put these strengths into action is the basis for gratitude. It’s the lense and perspective that you view life.

 

How do you share how #Grateful you are?

There’s so many simple ways to express gratitude. It’s when a car in a fast food line pays it forward for the car behind.  A simple handwritten note expressing gratitude after a loss or because of a gift.  A gratitude journal or morning prayer bring you daily thoughtful thankfulness. Use your strengths to include habits daily that help you  experience the joy of gratitude.

Circling back to your “why”, your family, colleagues and community are places to be a #grateful leader.  Gratitude multiplies when it is shared.  This year I have the privilege and honor of leading my association.  I am grateful for collaboration, connection and communication with my friends and colleagues.  Where can you take the lead for those around you to share gratitude?  Are you ready for your family to experience more gratitude by helping at a community philanthropy?  Is your work ready to share it’s blessings with a community food drive or shared work day? Look around you and find a way to share gratitude with your community.

 

“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”

 

 

How to Simplify Your Paper Files

How to Simplify Your Paper Files

 

Organizing your files today? Or would you rather watch paint dry on a wall?  It’s seems that this is not the most exciting topic however it can be one of the most necessary in every day life and in emergencies.  Simplifying your filing and paper files includes knowing what’s holding you back as well as knowing what to keep.  Build your simple filing system with your strengths in mind.  Here’s how to simplify your paper files.

 

Assess what’s holding you back

What is filing for?  Here’s the first step to get clear. Files are your reference section to keep information to be used in the next year or so.  It’s not necessary to keep every piece of paper that comes into your home or business, especially if it’s not useful for you.  Be ruthless when it comes to keeping what you need now, knowing  you can use the internet, friends’ references, or other ways to get information instead of keeping extra paper.

 

What do  you need to keep and how long?  On Oprah.com, Julie Morgenstern has an extensive list.  Print this to keep as a reference while filing.  However, that’s not generally what’s causing a filing problem.  Instead it’s the articles on parenting, decorating, landscaping or other hobbies that keep holding us back.  Remember, that’s what the internet, pinterest, blogs, podcasts and google are for when we are ready to get started on a project.

 

Simplifying your system

What’s the best system?  The best system for you is the simplest way to move paper into a system. It’s also the best system for you to know where to retrieve the paper.  Categories are often the context that’s easiest to use in creating files. Whether there are for file folders, hanging files, notebooks or digital notebooks, using general, broad categories helps us file and retrieve.

 

For homes, these are the general categories I suggest:

  1. House and Auto
    1. Auto purchase
    2. Home Major Purchases
    3. Home Repair/Maintenance
    4. House inventory
    5. Insurance
  2. Financial (anything to do with money)
    1. Banking
    2. Credit Cards
    3. Investment
    4. Retirement
    5. Property Taxes
    6. Life Insurance
    7. Mortgage
  3. Personal (anything to do with people or pets)
    1. Medical Benefits
    2. Medical History
    3. Medical Explanation of Benefits
    4. Medical Paid bills
    5. School/University
    6. (Interests such as parenting, decorating, guns, etc)
  4. Work
    1. Work history
    2. CV or resume

 

For office files, here are categories I include:

  1. Clients
  2. Resources
  3. Vendors
  4. Projects
  5. HR or Employees
  6. Financials 20XX
  7. Expenses

Use hanging files for the broad categories and file folders for the subcategories. Use naming conventions, where the file names are created in a parallel way, in order to stay consistent and find documents.

 

Archive annually

Tax records for each year, legal documents such as purchase or sale of property, and final loan payments are should be kept permanently. While you only need to keep tax preparation documents for seven years, please consult your own lawyer or accountant to be sure.  It’s best to archive annually when you are preparing for tax time in the spring.

 

What’s left?

  • I typically keep mementos and keepsakes in a box, one box per person, in the closet of that person. A one box per person system also helps you limit keepsakes.
  • Important documents are generally kept in a safe or safe deposit box.  Here’s a list of important documents. It’s critical to keep these up to date each year. While you are archiving during tax time, update your important documents too.

 

Paper can be overwhelming and it’s always coming in. Always keep in mind the document’s value in terms of “shelf life.”  How long will this information be “good” is a relative value and you may be able to find information more easily on the internet or elsewhere.

 

More organizing and productivity information here! Join my newsletter! 

 

 

30 Things to Declutter in 30 days this Fall

30 things to declutter in 30 days fall edition

 

Fall is here and we jump back into school, routines and holidays.  We want to be efficient because we have a lot on our plates at this time of year. Some of these items should be donated, some put in the trash or shared with others.   You want to clear clutter because the holidays are coming!

  1. Junk mail
  2. Expired coupons
  3. Summer or spring catalogs
  4. Bag of single socks
  5. Excess shopping bags
  6. Instruction manuals for items you no longer own
  7. Extra pens or pencils
  8. Old cosmetics
  9. Magazines over 6 months old
  10. Expired medicine
  11. Extra boxes
  12. Broken holiday ornaments
  13. Broken cups, plates or dishes
  14. Last set of technology, including devices and phones
  15. Old coats you have replaced with something more contemporary
  16. Old sweaters you haven’t worn in 2 years
  17. Scarves that don’t match any attire
  18. Games with missing pieces
  19. Half used coloring or game books
  20. Earrings without a match
  21. Book you won’t read again
  22. Night stand drawers
  23. Broken small appliances
  24. Pantry shelves and expired food
  25. Landing strip and entry
  26. Shoes that are uncomfortable
  27. Underwear with holes
  28. Extra bedding
  29. Unused hair care or toiletries
  30. Anything that does not have a home.

Now that you are in the decluttering groove, it’s a great habit to continue each day to release one item into the universe to bless others.

 

Hugs and Happy Organizing: Boy’s Room

hugs and happy organizing boy's room

 

Hugs and happy organizing are client success stories.  Here’s a story about a boy’s room. 

 

Kids spaces and rooms can be chaotic, overwhelming and stuffed to the brim.  More toys and games come in after each holiday and birthday.  Overnight your child seems to grow an inch and clothes are too small.  Here’s how to conquer this cluttered space.

  • Start with putting “like items” together. Match up the games together, electronics together, clothes together and crafts together.  When you see all the items together, it’s easier to make decisions on what to keep and what to let go.
  • Start small with your child if he/she is going to be a part of the team. Work together for 30 minutes to know what is most important and what to keep.  If your child wants to keep everything, think of this as a treasure hunt, set a limit with a number they suggest, or use a hula hoop to define an area of work.
  • As the parent, you help your child to learn organization, how to take care of and value your belongings and how to declutter. Establishing an orderly space helps your child in having a serene, peaceful rest spot each evening.
  • Let go of MORE.  It’s a powerful lesson to know that your space can offer clarity for you and your child.
  • Sentimentality is the biggest challenge. Store keepsakes in the top of your child’s closet or an organizer under your child’s bed.
  • Schedule decluttering before your child’s birthday, before a holiday and before back to school.  Increased order will benefit you all!

 

More hugs and happy organizing stories here!

Holiday Organizing in the “New Normal”

Holiday organizing

 

This year will be a different year for many families in Houston and other parts of the United States.  With the holidays approaching, some areas will be rebuilding and restoring homes, offices, and businesses.  It’s going to be a “New Normal” for a while and the holidays are no exception.

 

Create holiday traditions and experiences

There have been significant losses. Your family may be in a new rental space or have fewer cherished decorations.  This year could be about new holiday traditions and experiences.  Think about the ways you can celebrate that bring you closer together as a family.  Families have started new ornament collections, decided to go on a vacation togehter instead of giving gifts and acknowledged the spirituality of the season instead of the commercialism. Spend time with your family deciding what is most important to each family member.

 

Supporting our local businesses

Small businesses are gearing up for the holiday season. Many businesses will be open at this time. It’s vital to support our local businesses now.  Big or small purchases all make a contribution.  Our local businesses are counting on us this year, and every year.

Be creative about how you can use your resources this year.  Extra large expenses for repairs wil be a part of your budget. What ways can you choose to share your blessings?  Is this the year to simplify your gift giving and gift budget?  Perhaps you have been thinking about this for many years and now it the time.

 

Keep routines to keep you organized

Your “new normal” will benenfit from  your traditional organizing and productivity routines.  Use your calendar and lists to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. During the holidays, we have more on our calendar and action lists.  Most especially this year, get a good night’s rest every night and stick to your exercise routine. Seek support if you are having a difficult time. There are community resources available at our local churches and associations.

 

I will be thinking of each of you as you celebrate the holidays this year. We have much to be grateful for.

 

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Change what you imagine, change your reality

Change what you imagine, change your reality

 

 

“Our entire experience on this planet is determined by how we chooses to perceive our reality” – Jen Sincero, author of You are a Badass

 

Change what you imagine, change your reality.

 

Have you written a “story” about your productivity? Does your story sound like this?

I never….

I should….

I can’t….

Are you feeling paralyzed, unproductive, and stuck? The stories we tell ourselves are what we hear from past experiences or other’s neagativity.  Are you ready for a new story?

 

Writing your new story

I am a believer in new perspectives and alternative endings.

 

The adage, glass half full, comes to mind.  It’s how we perceive our reality that helps us rewrite our story.  The glass half full starts with gratitude.  Be grateful for the tiniest of things.  Rewrite your story first by thinking about gratitude.

 

Essential to your new story is support.  Support that helps you find your new perspective with clarity.  Surround yourself with people who think like  you do.  These are the people who understand that new stories come from learning, bigger picture thinking, and whole hearted bravery.

 

There’s learning here.  Where did you get stuck?  Dig deep then. What’s behind being stuck? It comes from many different perspectives, including perfectionism, fear and negativity. Lock into the perspective that held you back. Identifying obstacles clears your path.

 

Use your strengths. Think about how you process information and record what you have completed? By assessing, you are building in a knowledge base for yourself.

 

Here’s your new story

Here are new perspectives giving you hope. Be tenacious and move forward inch by inch. Surround yourself with support of a team who believe in you and your work.  It isn’t easy, and learning comes along the way.  You will accomplish your work.  You wrote your new story.

 

I’m here to partner, support and help you write your new story!  Let me know when you are ready to begin.

 

 

 

 

 

Organizing a Home Inventory

 

Organizing a home inventory

 

 

Watching all the devastation on television, we are reminded of the necessity of organizing a home inventory.  Even though September is annual National Preparedness Month, organizing a home inventory may be the last thing we do as homeowners.  Those of us who recently suffered flooding may be required to have a home inventory for insurance and tax purposes now.  This can be a time consuming and difficult. Here’s how organizing your home inventory makes a difference for you.

 

Check your insurance coverage first

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 to be sure what type of policy you have.  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.

 

Inventory of your home and contents

An inventory, or list, of all the items in your home is required to be compensated.  There are several ways to do this.  Create a video of 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 someone else’s house. Keep a file folder for receipts of major purchases. (My clients have these separated by electronics, furniture, appliances, and jewelry. Be sure these have a date to help you with cash value. Your receipts can be digitally as well. You can use an online inventory called HomeZada.  HomeZada helps you manage the process of creating the inventory by room.

 

Here’s what to be sure to include:

  • Description of the item ( Star Furniture love seat sofa or Pottery Barn sofa)
  • Where you purchased item (Macy’s, Best Buy)
  • Original price (if you have the receipt you can scan and attach it)
  • Make and model, or serial number if available
  • Purchase date (helps with depreciation, by year)
  • 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.

 

In Case of Loss

Through the devastation of the flood, I have learned of several important parts of inventories.  Not only is it important to have an inventory and keep it up to date, it’s also important to have the video or pictures of what your home looked like before. That is needed for your insurance company. If possible, keep two copies of your photos and inventory with one stored offsite.

 

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.

I am here to help with creating and organizing your home inventory! Get started in a small way, organizing your receipts or taking a video, to help you feel secure in case of emergency.

 

 

Sharpen Your Saw Productivity

sharpen the saw aka be more productive

 

Have you heard the Abraham Lincoln’s tale of the woodcutter and his axe?  It’s the story of how important keeping your skills, tools, and technology current. It’s a good reminder for us all that to do our best work and be productive, we need to keep ourselves sharp.  What’s best to keep sharp?

Organize your desk top and minimize clutter

The slide into a cluttered space happens every day as we work.  Paper piles up on our desk.  An uncluttered space helps you stay on track and manage your time effectively. When you are organized, you can find what you need quickly and save time.  You are undistracted and more focused on your work.  Solutions to create a more organized space include having only specific items out on your desk that you use daily, minimizing desk top clutter. You can set up a file drawer that contains “drop slots” for big picture weekly priority actions such as finances, clients, and vendors at work or bills, family and receipts for home. It’s most important to use a planner that capture your goals, projects, and tasks written in yearly, quarterly, weekly and daily. Set up a little time daily, just 15 minutes, to keep your desk clear and ready to use.

 

Learn new technology

Technology changes all the time. There are new tools to use and our time tested tools upgrade. It takes time to learn new technology and it can be a struggle for some of us. There’s value in researching new technology that can improve your efficiency and effectiveness. Look for tech gurus who help you learn what  you need and how to use it. It’s best to learn the tool before you need it in order to save time at a crucial project point.

 

Jump start your routines

Routines are smooth running processes that help us be productive.  When put in place, all the nitty gritty gets completed.  Each week, host your own one hour productivity meeting. It’s you, your calendar, your lists, and a beverage.  During your one hour productivity meeting, you review your lists, review your goals, assign tasks, break down projects into manageable tasks, and calendar all your activities.  In one well timed hour you are in control of your plans.  What about distractions and other interruptions? Leave time in your plan for these with some flexibility. Overscheduling can lead to discouraging results.  Each day, write down your 3 Most Important Tasks (MITs). First off, know what is most important with ongoing effort, not just an approaching deadline. Stretch out your efforts over several days to achieve results you are proud to own.  As you practice with MITs and your productivity meeting, your weeks will run more smoothly.

 

Faithfully check, add to and review your planner

Everyone needs a planner.  You wrote it all down in your planner or on your digital calendar, and then what happened? It’s not magic to think you will remember it all.  Set your planner so you can see it daily and add audio reminders if needed. Your productivity road map is only as good as your use of it.  Take a minute when you think of a task or project to record it right away.

 

BONUS: Sharpening your saw depends on your self care

How we approach our efforts depends in part on how we take care of ourselves. The best first step to sharpening your saw is a night’s rest, nutrition and exercise. Your brain requires sleep, protein and exercise.  Insuring that you are getting sleep, eating properly and taking a walk are the best ways to be sure you are using all your tools, tips and tricks.  The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that healthy adults get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, with an overall range of between seven to eight hours. Protein is a main factor for your brain. Exercise increases productivity too.   If you can start with just one of these, start with getting 7 hours of sleep a night.  Your brain and body will be refreshed and ready to work.