How to Add Routines to your Schedule

routines and schedules

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.”

Remember those days in kindergarten when your day was brimming with consistency? You knew the day began with Circle Time, followed by Center Time, then Recess and Snack. With each day you anticipated what was expected and you worked hard at each activity. Having a schedule helps us be more productive with our time and energized in our efforts. There are many ways to implement structure in our day.


Routines, structure or patterns

“Pattern Planning” is a system recommend by Doctors John Ratey and Ned Hallowell in the book, ADD Friendly Ways to Organize by Judith Kohlberg and Kathleen Nadeau. Begin with the baby steps of your big goals and then create a pattern for the day with these. This includes a regular wake up time, breakfast, exercise, morning and afternoon work times, dinner preparation and bedtime routine for the evening. This simplified pattern includes all aspects of your life.

  • For families, this is especially important in creating a positive beginning and end to the day. Decide what is most important and then add the steps to incorporate this. Decide what time you need to be out the door, and work backwards allowing plenty of time to get ready and add 10 extra minutes just in case! Create organization around the structure of the day, including a “landing strip” to place and grab back packs to head out the door. An evening routine adds time for homework, pick up, and bedtime routines.
  • For work creating a structure to your week keeps you productive.  If you assign a major theme to each day, you are sure to keep each goal moving forward. If you assign administrative tasks to the same time each day, you keep these from building up.


Does consistency lead to boredom?

Add fun to the routines with a new dimension such as music, variety, or partnering.

  • Add music with a play list or a pandora station just for that routine.
  • Add variety in the way you go about the routine, starting and ending with the same task or alternating the start and finish.
  • Create different partnerships for your routine.  It may be different people, a class or a timer that are your start and stop mechanisms.
  • Make it fun and wacky!

It is important to remember that “structure” is not about rigidity, it is about consistency. The pattern should be followed more frequently than not because the schedule honors your priorities rather than your distractions.


Writing out your perfect routine

Get started by writing out your “perfect” schedule in a grid, allowing for appropriate time to do each step. There is power in writing.  There’s power in a check list.  Block in times with an arrow for your activities. Post it in a place you will see it regularly and use a timer to help you remember.


Your perfect routine may revolve around one activity being the puzzle piece. That center puzzle piece can make the difference.  That’s when other activities fall into place because you have accomplished one task first. If you read, meditate or exercise first in the morning, your other routines may work better as a result. If you do your first Most Important Task early in the day, the rest of the day works better.


Add a bit to your existing routine

One of the most successful ways to create a routine is to add a new routine to an existing routine. You may think you have no routines. However there is always something small you can build on.  If you want to do more exercise as a routine, add it on by going to a gym on the way home. If you want to build in better nutrition habit, add in one item to your existing grocery run.  Just adding in one small change to an existing routine makes it easier to find success.



A routine adds efficiency and effectiveness to our day by helping us focus on a specific activity. But more importantly, consistency makes for peace of mind and positive energy and of course we all want that!


More ideas on productivity here on my newsletter!

Houston Helping Houston

houston helping houston flooding



Thinking of our fellow Houstonians, Houston has been helping Houston. Here are three resources to help you think about small ways to help others in our city.


City of Houston Storm Recovery 

American Red Cross

Houston Flood Resources Facebook Group

We can all find a small way to make a difference for our community.

Spring organizing to create a Capsule Wardrobe


capsule wardrobe

It’s not your typical wardrobe.  The concept of the capsule wardrobe was started in the 1970s as essential, traditional pieces that make up a complete wardrobe. It includes just a fraction of the items we have in our closets typically, but all the items we currently love!  With all the interest in minimalism and essentialism, is this the time for your spring organizing to focus on building a capsule wardrobe?

What items are included?

A capsule wardrobe includes a total of 40 items.  It includes tops, bottoms, dresses, jackets, sweaters and shoes.  Start with a color palette that you love. Build pieces that work together, that can be layered and that can be paired.  Add in accessories that add sparkle to your items. This includes scarves and jewelry.


Why organize to create a capsule wardrobe?

A capsule wardrobe pulls together all the elements of simplicity. You can wear all of the clothes in your closet, rather than just the 20% we typically wear. You love all the clothes you have so you are energized and ready to go in the morning. You save money because there is no extra spending on sale items, items you purchase without a matching piece and no impulse purchases.  Most especially you have more outfits than you ever imagined.  Mixing and matching from your capsule wardrobe brings out creativity.

Pulling together your favorites

Get started with what you love already in your closet now. Pull items that work together.  Start discarding what still has tags and does not match your capsule wardrobe.  Enjoy your new attire!  Becoming more mindful of your purchases and making it easier to get ready in the morning are side benefits of this new adaptation of your closet.


More closet organizing ideas here!


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3 Tips to Organize Your Backyard for Year Round Fun

3 tips to organize your backyard for year round fun



We’re enjoying our backyards and home exteriors more and more.  These spaces give us room to spread out and room to connect to others in the sunshine. Summer and hot weather invite us back into our yards to enjoy time together.  Your yard might include gardens, decks, a pool or a solely a green space. No matter the use, you are creating an organized and functional space to enjoy for the season. Spend time enjoying this space more with these simple organizing ideas and additions.


Freshen up

Your space needs freshening up. That might be power washing, pruning or general maintenance.  Make a list of what needs to be done. Decide if you are going to do the work or if you are going to delegate it.  Set a date and time on your calendar after excessive pollen has ended or other inclement weather.  Working with a team makes this work move quickly. Freshening up gives your patios and gazebos appeal.


Get organized with your tools for freshening up. Set aside a space in  your garage specifically for your outside tools.  It’s easier to work when everything is together and ready to use. Use vertical shelving to keep your garden tools and sprays together.


Organize your zones

Just like inside your home, your outside has many different uses.  Organize by zones for entertaining and activity.  If you have seating, be sure you have company comforts like tables to place food or drinks.  If you have sports, be sure you have bins to store rackets, balls or other accessories.  Sit or stand in your spot and think about what you will use there and how to store it.

Large covered chests can help you store items.  Be sure you use one chest to store a single item. Use a chest for pillows, a chest for toys and a chest for sports.  Small items fall to the bottom so add a small shoe box size plastic bin to hold these.  Be sure you have ample garbage cans for trash.



Amazon deck box storage



Amazon bench and deck box

Amazon bench and deck box


What’s new this year for your family?

  • We’re adding more seating and community spaces to our green areas. Most popular is a fire pit with Adirondack chairs. Add small tables for placing drinks and snacks.
  • Outdoor games like corn hole and bad-mitten are fun family activities. Store these in your garage or a shed for easy access.
  • String lights or bring out candles for an invitation to meet after dark.
  • Inflatable pools or a sprinkler help you celebrate the joy of water.
  • Bring music to the party with blue tooth speakers and Yacht Rock or other summer Pandora station.


Maintain your space

Every space needs a little work throughout the season. It may be small repair or damage from storms or wind.  Keep you space maintained with a quick weekly walk through that gets all items back to where they belong and organized. Have a weekly green space routine with mowing and edging your yard.  Use your blower to keep the deck and chairs clean and dusted. These maintenance steps make sure that your yard is company ready.


Our back yards are becoming an oasis with freshening up, organizing and maintaining the space.  You can enjoy this all year round!




How to Keep Organized Until the End of School

organized for school



It’s the last quarter of the school year and summer is around the corner. It’s also the hardest time to keep motivated for students.  Regardless of whether your student had a successful school year or not, you want to help them end strong. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind as you keep organized until the end of school.


Keep organized with routines

As it stays lighter longer, it’s harder to keep your evening routines in place. It’s also hard to get up as daylight comes later.  Keep routines like homework time and evening wind down at the same hour as all year long. A good night’s rest makes it easier to get up in the dark. Starting homework and packing up the back pack at the same time makes sure that all homework is completed and returned to school.


Keep prioritizing organization

At this point if you look in your student’s backpack, there’s papers everywhere and no order in binders.  Get everything back in order with your student once a week to keep organization a priority.  Remove the papers that are not needed in school and place these in an accordion file that stays at home to use for semester exams.  Replace pens, pencils and other tools so the back pack is fully stocked for work.


Keep organized with visual reminders

Your student’s planner may not be used completely as they slip into the “why does it matter now” phase of school.  Use post it notes and dry erase boards to help reminder them why writing in their planner matters.  Use your family calendar and family meeting to share your own stories of why you write stuff down.  Most student’s hate being told what to do, so keep reminders visual.


Keep the end in mind as you move through the final phases of the school year.  It’s about keeping on keeping on!  A big finish makes the year as successful as can be.


More tips for student organizing here!

Spring Clean and Organize Your Closet

spring organizing

Our closets are our best friends and our worst enemies. Lurking in there are all sizes of clothes, keepsakes from our youth, elastic that has no elasticity and shoes that are completely fabulous but totally uncomfortable.  It’s time to get in gear and make closet decisions.  Use these tips to spring clean and organize your closet.



Evaluate then eliminate

A major source of closet problems is clothes clutter. By honestly evaluating the need and use of the items in your closet, you will find space galore! Place a sturdy handle bag in your closet to place clothes or items that are too old, too small or large, or just “not you” to donate to a worthy cause. Keep only what makes you look and feel fabulous.  Each time you take a blouse off a hanger and it does not work, place it in the bag! Think about what works together and if you have nothing that matches a certain piece. If you have professional wardrobe items, you can donate these to Dress for Success all year long. For tax donation values, use Its Deductible to create a tax deduction as well.  These lots of consignment as well in your neighborhood for trendy well cared for clothes.

Organize your space most effectively

Do you see white wall above, below or around the items in your closet? If so, there are many options to maximize the space in your closet. Double rods double your space! Use a shoe organizer to convert the back of your closet door to hidden extra space. It can be used for scarves, jewelry or other items.

Time to containerize

Looking for a certain pair of shoes? Are your scarves wadded up in a drawer, hard to find? Clear containers with labels are the way to go! Different shapes and sizes can be used to maximize your space.


Hangers, hangers everywhere

The first step to a more visually appealing closet is to use consistent hangers for your wardrobe. Available inexpensively, choose slim line hangers for those hard to hang items. You will find these hangers add uniformity and a visual sense of order. And remember, when you remove an item from the hanger, take the hanger off the shelf, and store it nearby for the garment to return!


Daily Routine

This is the Organized You – your evening routine to help you keep organized! Everyone needs a daily organization time, time to put away items and to get items prepared for the next day. Set up hooks over the door for those items that are not yet dirty enough to dry clean or launder.  When you put off organizing daily, it becomes a major chore.


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