Bring Spring

Bring spring


It’s been an extra long winter for us in Houston this year. With real snow, cold temps and dreary rain, we’re ready to bring spring. When we think of spring we think of fresh.  Bring spring into your home by freshening up and organizing.  Getting organized is the best way to get out the old and start fresh.  This short list of areas in your home will help you bring spring into your domain.



The entry is where everyone drops everything as they enter.  It’s probably currently a collection of gloves, scarves, and boots.  Match it all up and get it back to it’s long term storage solution, which is best the back of an auxiliary closet in your home.


Guest room

Has your guest room become a dumping ground for returns, extra holiday wrapping paper or things you have yet to decide on?  It’s time to spend time clearing this space out, freshing up the bed linens and getting this room back to a welcoming space for friends and relatives.


Laundry room

One of the busiest and most neglected rooms in your home is your laundry room.  Have winter linens, single socks or just too many clothes gotten stuck in here?  Dig out with a few minutes of donating or distributing what’s stuck and reclaim efficiency here.


Master closet

Winter has about concluded. Now is the perfect time to let go of the winter clothes not worn.   Since this was one of our more serious winters, if you did not wear a heavy sweater, pants or other garments, it’s the time to donate what you are avoiding wearing. It’s a quick scan of what you have not worn, dropping the items into a shopping bag, and then off to your car to bring them to donate.

Dont forget your home away from home, Your Car

Your car has collected not only trash but lots of random books, clothes and other stuff this winter.  It’s time to run by the car wash for an interior cleaning.  Taking care of our valuable asset will also make us feel like we took an extra step of care.


Just like you, I am ready to bring spring into my home, office, and car!  Take time this weekend to welcome spring, get organized and enjoy your refreshed spaces!


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Get ahead of the game


Get ahead Get organized Be productive

When I talk about getting organized, I hear back that getting ahead is the equivalent of getting organized. By getting ahead, it’s about being proactive, anticipating and being prepared. Being organized often means being in control, and getting and staying ahead of the game is just how to do so.


Getting ahead of the game at home

Just what does getting ahead of the game at home look like? This can take many forms in your home.  It’s creating a meal plan, shopping and getting dinner done on Sunday to be ready for the week.  It can be prepping the night before so you are ready to conquer the day.  You may choose to get up early, take quiet time or exercise alone, so you can be ahead of getting your kiddos up. You can choose what means getting ahead to you as you know specifically what matters most in being proactive and organized.


Getting ahead of the game at work

At work, getting ahead means anticipating the day and the work you will accomplish.  A first step is setting your day up for success with a proactive calendar.  Having a power hour will help you prioritize and manage your day, so you can accomplish what is most important early in the day. Anticipate where distractions and interruptions occur so you can maximize  your time to do your work.


Getting ahead of the game in taking care of yourself

Article after article talks about sleep and it’s importance in our daily functioning.  Often I hear, “l’ll catch up on sleep later.”  There’s conflicting research on whether you can catch up on sleep debt, although it’s not wise.   Stay ahead of the game with prioritizing sleep, exercise and good nutrition.  Rather than sleep less, underschedule your time to be sure you can complete what you commit to.  Review your schedule to assess and see what you can release to free up time to add in exercise.  Make a simple meal plan and grocery list for food that even your grandmother can name the ingredients.  Be sure you have added time into your calendar for your self care.

What’s the real benefit of getting ahead of the game? It’s about your confidence to conquer what’s next. You are going to feel accomplished and prepared. Isn’t that the best feeling in the world?


More ways to get and stay ahead here!  Join my newsletter!

How to Host an Annual Summit for your Family or Business

Annual summit and strategic planning

Each year as the new year begins, thoughts turn to how can I make this year better. We think about goals and habits. Have you thought about an annual summit that takes a big picture view of your family, work and life?  A summit is a strategic,high level conversation that brings together all the parts of your work.


Wrap up last year

Start with a summary of last year. Assess what went well and what still needs work.  This wrap includes what happened and what did not, as well as assessing if what happened really does still need to happen.  Be sure to congratulate yourself on your successes, acknowledge what you are grateful for and to whom you are grateful.


Dig deep for your Purpose

Before you embark on your new goals, define what is your purpose.  What gets you up in the morning? What brings a smile? What’s your core value(s)?  Getting this defined first gives you direction and meaning to your summit.  If you are working with a partner or team, it’s a time you can collaborate to define your purpose.  It can be a simple, single statement.


What do you want more of in your life or business?

There are many areas of your life and work you may want to change. Here’s a start for you. It could  be your health, more fun, connection to family and friends, a better or different career, more money or a closer walk with God.  As you review each area, think about what you want and why you want it.


Who is on your team?

One of the biggest supports in accomplishing your goals each year is your team.  These are your trusted advisors, your friends you have coffee with, your family and partner who make you laugh, and any others you know you can count on.  On this list you may realize there are some who are not supporting you and you are ready to let that door close.  Knowing who is with you as you start the year keeps you movinng forward.


Establish a time line

Adding your goals to your calendar together creates the plan for your year.  Break your goals or habits into manageable pieces and incorporate these by month or week.  Having a plan and following it means your goals become reality.


Create a metric to assess your work

How will you know what you have accomplished in this year’s plan? You want a checklist with dates to assess what you are doing, when it is getting finished and what’s left to do.  Your metric can be written in a notebook or kept digitally in evernote.  Your plan can be checked off or crossed out, just so you celebrate the successes throughout the year.


It’s easy for us to forget how important seeing the big picture is. The details can bog us down.  Your annual summit can be held at the beginning, middle or end of the year.




Snow Day


Snow Day

On January 15, we were treated to a rare delight in southeast Texas. It was snow!  It was snow that started as the pinging noise of sleet and continued in fluffy white flakes through the afternoon.  The weather gave us a rare snow day in Houston.  Now the decisions of how to spend a day at home.


Snow Day as Work Day

In a completely unscientific Facebook poll, most of us opted for getting ahead and getting organized.  Posts ranged from paperwork (so unfun!) to organizing closets.  Most of us took the day to get ahead on projects we had let lag.  That was me as well!  I loved having a productive day.  It seemed far less difficult that other days to be productive since it was “free day.”  For those who chose a work day, I congratulate you on your organizing and productivity!


Snow Day as Fun Day

Half way through the “blizzard”, it was time for me to spend time out and about. I could not resist the opportunity.  Having time outside was a great way for me to think about the kids running and dashing, the real reason we identify as a snow day.  I remember just how important an unscheduled day makes me. It builds my energy and engages me in more thinking. For those who chose a fun day, I congratulate you on seizing the moment for fun!


Snow Day as Possibility Day

We may not have the specific opportunity for a snow day for a while, however you can think about the possibilities. I love the idea of planning a snow day!  What could your snow day bring to you? Could you invent a snow day for yourself, keeping you and your kiddos thinking?  What would the possibilities be?  I encourage you to set aside an annual snow day to rejuvenate and relax.


Learn more about the  possibilities here!


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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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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