21 Self – Care Routines for 2021

Each year I share routines that make life easier.  Routines are a foundation for time management, efficiency and productivity.  With that in mind, routines are top strategies to making time for what is most important.  These small steps also make it easy to concentrate on what is a top priority.

Why self-care?

Self-care is vital for our mental and physicial well being. Often routines are often the most difficult tasks to manage for those with ADHD.  And those with ADHD also struggle with self-care.  This year I wanted to start by reminding everyone about the little tricks that make life better.

What is self-care?

By definition, “Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health,” according to PsychCentral. These are routines that are intentional to help with mind, body and spirit rejuvenation.  This list of 21 routines will help you feel more in control of what is certain right now. As well, as you get started you will feel less anxious and more hopeful.

1. Get to bed at the same time each evening and get up at the same time each day to get your best rest.

2. Drink 2 glasses of water each morning to start hydrating.

3. Curate your news and social media to spend learning and not stressing.

4. Curate your friends and keep only the positive, empowering, supportive people as part of your tribe.

5. Curate your thoughts each morning with a personal mantra that speaks to your strengths and your successes.

6. Take time outside for a walk or 5 minute stroll for mental clarity.

7. Set a time to see your doctor and meet with questions prepared about your selfness.

8. You or a family member empty the sink of dishes each morning and evening.

9. Meal plan each week. Dinner together makes for happy families.

10. Do a tiny laundry load daily or 3 times a week.

11. Reset your home each Sunday in preparation for your week.

12. Host a family meeting each week for family communication and collaboration.

13. Tidy your room daily.

14. Keep a glass of water with lemon in it all the time.

15. Connect with your spirituality once a week.

16. Connect with a friend once a week.

17.Start each meeting with a personal & professional check in.

18. Give back by volunteering to help others.

19. Give back with donations to local charities.

20. Set a pause daily to reflect on gratitude.

21. Keep your calendar easy to see and easy to read.

Routines are difficult to maintain.  If you are at a loss, start with the first routine. That is a powerful self care routine that can make every day better.  If you want to start small, choose just one routine, practice it and let it sink in for you. If you have good routines already, perhaps one of these will add to your already good self care. Building routines are worth the effort to make life easier.

In Honor of Get Organized and Be Productive Month 2021 “How do I start getting organized?”

 

 

January is National Get Organized Month. A new year energizes us to edit, refresh and pare down our homes.  Getting organized is always one of the top 3 new year goals.

 

Of all the questions that I am asked about organizing, the most common one is “how do I get started?”  With all our good intentions, and possibly more time because of COVID-19, it is common to have paralysis or procrastinate. Organizing can be overwhelming and difficult to get started because we don’t know where to or how to get started. Here are three recommendations to jump start your organizing this month.

 

Make it easy

Declutter as you go to make it easy to organize. Use a shopping bag to drop unwanted items into every day. Drop the bag off each week at a local philanthropy’s thrift shop. You are doubling up with decluttering and doing good work.

 

Set a date and a time to organize

Make an appointment with yourself and set a date to organize. It’s like all other appointments. Writing this date in your calendar makes you commit to getting started. Choose a time that is good with respect to low distractions and high energy level. Plan on multiple 2 hour sessions to work rather than an entire day or an entire weekend. If you still feel overwhelmed, plan on starting with just 15 minutes. In 15 minutes, you can clear your closet floor, shred papers from file folders and declutter a toy chest.

 

Get support for your efforts

Support is critical to getting started with an organizing project.  According to research, a major reason for not getting organized is not asking for help.  Teamwork makes it easier whenever you start any project. Look around for support with a “clutter buddy,” a friend who cheers you on and supports you making decisions.  Working as a team makes it easier to reach your goal. You can find support in a professional organizer, coach, or therapist who help you define new perspectives, create a plan and help you follow through with your work.

 

Have a compelling reason

Company coming is one of the most compelling reasons to get organized. However, there are many compelling situations that can motivate us. With the unexpected circumstances of the last three years, many of us are making a personal decision to live life through experiences not stuff. We want less to take care of at home to be able to enjoy and live life more fully. Having a personal, specific reason to get organized gets you started. Your compelling reason could be emotional well-being and less stress which are powerful starting points for you.

 

Make your intention a reality this year by taking the first steps in starting your organizing projects. Your sense of well-being will be the biggest benefit.

 

Working with a Professional Organizer: Same Day. Same Intentions. Difference results.

working with a professional organizer

 

Because of COVID-19 we have lately had more time to declutter and organize our closets. We have the best intentions, however it is hard to get started and still harder to let go of items.  We may have the skills to declutter and organize like professional organizers.  What we are learning is that it was not necessarily a matter of how much time we have.  It is a matter of procrastination. It’s easy to put off getting started and getting organized.  Here is a tale of the same day with the same intentions with different outcomes. Names were changed to keep client confidentiality.

 

Working without the support of a Professional Organizer

Sandy knew that it was time to let go of professional attire and suits.  For weeks she had told friends she intended to organize her closet.  Finally, she set a date on her calendar to work in her closet. At 9 am she walked with a friend. At 10 am she called another friend. Continuing on with the day, she continued to procrastinate. Before she started, she offered to drive her cousin to work, offered to practice driving with her daughter, and ordered lunch. She texted to find out when the nail salon would be open.  Finally at 2 pm she started editing.

Decluttering was harder than Sandy thought.  It was much harder and taking more time. There were many items that did not fit so these were easier to declutter and donate.  Sandy would pull out an item only to put it back. After two hours, Sandy took a break to assess. She had 3 bags to donate. She was not making the progress she wanted to make and felt discouraged.

 

Working with the support of a Professional Organizer

My client and I set a date and determined we would meet for a 3 hour session to organize closets. After discussing the goals and taking a tour of the closets, we decided that best place to start would be a place where clothes have been stored rather than edited.  The client admitted that it was easier to move the clothes to another closet than eliminate.  We started working in auxiliary closets that are in spaces for less frequently worn clothes.  We pulled each item out to review whether it was in good condition and still fashionable.  We started to declutter and after 2 hours had over 250 items to donate to local charities.

This strong start to decluttering led to organizing the remaining items. We grouped the clothes by short sleeve, long sleeve, sweater and suits.  Then, we placed the items accordingly in 2 closets.  Donation places will be open soon so I took the clothes with me to drop off at local philanthropies.  The entire process took 3 hours to start, finish and exceed the client’s goals.

 

What’s the result

When we invest time and energy in decluttering and organizing, we want big results. Working with a professional organizer helps you accomplish your goals efficiently and productively.

  • Having a professional organizer with you, it’s easier to let go of more items.  The gentle pressure of another person guiding you helps you make decisions.
  • A professional organizer helps you get started and finish up.  There’s no procrastinating with a professional organizer working along side you. Because items leave at the end of the session, there is no regret or back sliding.
  • Bonus of organizing! We found some treasured keepsakes too! In one closet was a cherished cub scout uniform to pass along after taking photos.

 

Regardless of motivation and intentions, working alongside a professional organizer has multiple perks.  We are here to help and support you throughout the decluttering and organizing process! Accomplish your goals and get the results you want when you work together.

 

 

 

 

7 Simple Organizing Tips To Keep Life Moving Forward

 

7 simple organizing tips to keep life moving forward

Life keeps moving. It’s moving fast and it’s easy to get bogged down, especially with our new normal. Your fatigue, anxiety, extra time spent resolving a challenge or a regular work week can get you behind in organizing and staying organized. Here are simple organizing tips to keep you organized on a regular basis.

 

Get through daily paper work and mail.

Paper is can paralyze us with so much paper coming in. Set up recycle and shred to easily sort the mail daily or at minimum weekly.  It takes 5 minutes daily or 30 minutes weekly to do a quick sort and triage.

Have a grocery plan and a dishes plan.

Food makes everyone happier! It takes a few extra minutes to order online, however you are saving time and money in the long run.  Make your grocery plan on the weekend so that it can arrive before the week starts.

Paper plates have a new sparkle if you are not getting your dirty dishes done each night. Create partnerships within your family to load, unload, and clean up each night after dinner. That includes taking out the trash.  Your future self- that’s tomorrow’s self- will appreciate this more than you can imagine.

Check your calendar each morning and evening.

Our best plans can turn against us without checking our calendar each day.  It’s a good start and end to the day to be organize, prepared and proactive.  Add tasks, appointments and projects all the time to your calendar to keep it current in real time.

 

Have a donation bag available all the time.

When you try on something and decide it’s scratchy, the wrong color or too hard to keep from wrinkling is the time to drop it into your bag. We drive by drop off sites all day and simply bring the bag to your car and drop off when it is full.  You will find it is much easier to do the laundry with fewer clothes too.

 

Keep laundry moving

I have seen loads of laundry washed and dried, yet not back to the closet or dresser.  Break loads into smaller units to get that final step complete.

 

Host a daily home and work reset

We wish we had a magic want to get all the items and papers back to where they belong.  Since we don’t  have that wand, we need a daily reset at both home and work. That’s where your family comes in to partner with you here.

 

Self-care is a daily priority

Self-care looks like a lot of different things in our lives. It’s going to be on time, exercising, eating healthy, taking a shower, reading a magazine or facetime with friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, be sure you are keeping it a priority every day.  We need to laugh, get outside and get to bed to be our best selves.

 

It is hard to keep all these organizing maintenance tasks going. If you find a lapse in one in particular, focus on that for a week. It is also easier once you have your family on your team too.

The Value of Transition Time

 

Transitions are a part of every day life. There’s big transitions, like going on vacation.  As well there are little transitions all day with text alerts, or changing the laundry while making dinner or working on a project and answering a phone call. Whether it is coming and going to work or school or starting or ending a vacation, these times can be especially challenging with ADHD. It’s not easy to switch between tasks.  Set-switching, the official name for transitions, is an aspect of self regulation, intertwined with time awareness, hyper focus, indecision and procrastination.  The value of transition time, the time between tasks, meetings and family, gives you time to reset and get ready for what’s coming next. For people with ADHD, this is especially valuable.

 

Build in and write in transition time

Take your awareness of the need for transition time to the next level by building this time into your schedule. You can do this by adding slots of time into your planner. Think through the time needed to transition as it is not all the same. To transition after a meeting, add 10 minutes between meetings and your next task. Add 30 minutes if you want to finalize notes and organize your action plan. For zoom meetings plan on logging on 10 minutes early. Write in the travel time between in person appointments and add a cushion. That means that you will likely be on time or possibly early. Adding in this time lowers your stress too.

 

Create transition rituals

We can use physical rituals that happen during transitions. No matter if the meeting is in person or zoom, we need time to reset after a meeting. Make it a habit to walk around the office of your work from home office to reset your thoughts and give yourself a physical break.

Movement and breathing can be physical ways to transition. Stretching and deep breathing give us a lift as we move to the next activity.

You can pair a ritual with a transition.  If you always have tea with your task, you can pair up to ease the transition.

 

Use technology to create a buffer

Technology can helping us prepare and transition to the next activity.  We can use the “Countdown Method” with multiple reminders set to alert to transition. Setting multiple reminders on your smart devices and home digital assistants reminds you a transition is about to happen.

 

Add structure

Giving yourself permission to stay on a task for a duration of time is a strategy too.  If you have assigned a single task to a day, such as Financial Friday, then you have permission to keep on that task all day.

Time blocking adds structure to your transition as well. This happens when you set aside to do specific work at a specific time. By deciding ahead of time the assignment, you can transition in another time block without making an additional decision. You are freed up to do the work rather than decide what is the next transition.

 

 

Work from home tips

While we are currently working from home, you need stronger transitions to help you work productively and create a boundary between home and work. Here are a few suggestions to create a transition time during your work from home time.

  • Walk the dog
  • Drink a glass of water
  • Add analog clocks to important transition locations
  • Create work boundaries with alarms to end the day

 

Incorporating transition time is a work in progress. Keep it in mind as you start these new strategies.

How I use the Notes App

How I use the notes app

 

Of all the apps that are on our phones, the Notes app is frequently our default app to use.  Most of my clients have used the Notes app to capture thoughts, ideas, information and passwords.  There is tons of information in this app.  However we can add a level of organization to using Notes app that will give it more function and organization.  There are many ways to use this app for lists, routines and notes.  Here is how I use the Notes app.

 

General information about Notes app

  • As you enter the first line, that line because the name of the list. It is in bold font for this reason.
  • Notes app has a search function and you can find your list this way with the name of the list on the top line.
  • Notes app is cloud based and can be accessed by all your devices for free.
  • Note app can be shared with others to create and use lists together.
  • Notes can be printed, shared by email or text, and locked for privacy.
  • Photos can be pasted into individual notes or as a note.
  • If you press lightly inside a note, a pop up with font options appears.

Lists

The Notes app is easy to use for lists.  Add lists would you like to have with you all the time. General lists include shopping, grocery, kids’ clothing and shoe sizes, Christmas list, air filter dimensions, medication list or any list you want to reference while out shopping, at a meeting, at a doctor’s office or away from home base. The lists I use most frequently are for business. There is a consignment list for that three month time, action lists for particular clients and a list of favorite products I share frequently with clients.

 

Routines and Reminders

Notes app can be a daily routines and reminders list with check lists.  Add a list of routines with a check circle starting each item of your list.  (Find that check circle on the bottom right of your device while working in the Notes app.) Create the list of what you want your routine to include or a series of reminders for a specific task.  As you check off, you won’t forget tasks.  Un-check the circles at the end of your work or when you have completed this series of routines.  Repeat and use again and again.

 

Notes

Depending on your typing ability, Notes app is a great choice to take notes during for personal reference, during meetings and to capture ideas.

  • Notes app can be used to reference materials of all types.  Gathering information and consolidating it can be done here.  Be sure you add a title as the top line to find your information. My clients are information seekers and like to have access to this.
  • Meeting notes are easy to find and review.  When I meet with clients, I listen, take notes in this app and share these with clients.  At the top of the note I add the name, date and session number of our meeting. It helps us track our actions and remain accountable to planning.
  • Wonder where to keep your big ideas?  It’s here within this app. I love that as you add information, the cloud keeps this updated.
  • Each year I highlight my big accomplishments. The list is named 2020 Highlights. I add to this list throughout the year and check it at the end of the year. It’s fun to see this from previous years too.

 

Over the years as I have used the Notes app more strategically. The more I use it, the more I love it!

Celebrating ADHD Awareness Month

 

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting both children and adults around the globe with executive function, planning, initiation and other challenges. There are more and more ways to “celebrate” this month and I especially appreciate learning as the optimal way to celebrate. Take time this month to check out these resources for ADHD and celebrate neurodiversity.

 

Websites

These websites offer tips, tech and more about ADHD solutions.

ADHD Awareness Month 

ADDitudemag.com

CHADD.org

ADDA-SR.org

Understood.org

 

Podcasts

Podcasts tell the stories of people with ADHD.

Faster Than Normal

Take Control

More Attention, Less Deficit

ADHD reWired

Translating ADHD

 

Books

Books are a gateway to knowledge. Most of these are available on kindle and audiobook. 

ADD Friendly Ways to Organize

The ADHD Effect on Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps 

What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew: Working Together to Empower Kids for Success in School and Life 

 

Blogs

Blogs are personal accounts and information about ADHD.

Professional-Organizer.com

Totally ADD

ADD Consults

Order Out of Chaos

Impact ADHD

Black Girl, Lost Keys

 

Education is a cornerstone of living a thriving life.  The more educated you are about ADHD, the more you can move forward in all you do!

 

5 Simple Productivity Strategies

5 simple productivity strategies

 

We are energized by getting stuff done and being productive.  It’s central to who we are and what we want both personally and professionally. There are many ways to find your happy place in being productive by syncing with a strategy that uses your strengths and your style.  Here are 5 strategies to help you be your most productive.

Get Organized

Organizing is a foundation for productivity.

In a 2008 NAPO survey of 400 consumers nationwide: 27% said they feel disorganized at work, and of those, 91 percent said they would be more effective and efficient if their workspace was better organized. 28% said they would save over an hour per day. 27% said they would save 31 to 60 minutes each day.

That was in 2008 and the need for organizing is even greater now.  How do you start organizing to be more productive?  Start with your desk and your digital desk top.  Paper management and digital file organizing are often the biggest challenges.  Set up systems for incoming information, documents to reference to and file, and archive information for longer use.  Incorporating files into Word and Excel systematically gives you quick access, rather than your computer desktop.  Set a time each week to do some organizing to reset your space and gain control of your files.  Getting your physical space organized makes it easier to do your work.

 

Time Blocking

People with ADHD tell me that unproductive time occurs when there are too many choices of what to do and too many priorities.  That indecision leads to procrastination and slow productivity.  Time blocking assigns a task to a time so that there is little or no decision to make. Start with prioritizing to know what is of highest impact and value.  Assign that project or task to a high energy time of day.  Be sure that time is well protected for that assignment.  In this same way, assign self care time as a time block.  Often self care falls to the bottom of the list and there is no time do exercise, eat healthy or reset.  Having both your highest priority and your self care assigned times through time blocking help you stay productive.

Teamwork

Teamwork can be implemented with many different strategies.

  • Be open to expanding your team with those who have time, skill or talent you need. Add team members who do shopping, cleaning, tutoring, child care or tech knowledge.
  • Tag team with those in your home. Your partner and you can determine schedules for who does what responsibility when, such as managing online learning or bedtime tuck in.
  • Partnering with a team member can be motivating.  My best work is partnering with a colleague to work on presentations or work in a client’s space. You and a family member can partner to make dinner together, organize together or clean together.

 

Getting Things Done (GTD)

It’s easy to get overwhelmed and lose track of tasks and projects. We have lots of great ideas, however we can’t do it all at the same time.  That is where GTD excels.

  • Capture all your information in a list or list with categories.
  • Host a Weekly Planning time to prioritize, then assign next steps of tasks and projects to time during a week.
  • Review the successes of the week and think big about what you want in work and life.

 

The Pomodoro Method

There are many distractions and you want to be sure to focus during your work times. This method uses a timer set in intervals of 25 -45 minutes alternating with short 5 -1 0 minute breaks between work.

  • Research shows the value of timers. Setting a timer helps you get started and complete tasks for a duration that works well with your strengths.
  • Adding up the series of intervals, you have completed sustained work for a long time.
  • Taking breaks add momentum to your work.

 

Pick one of these strategies that aligns with your personal strengths and style. It’s a matter of which of these strategies is a good fit for you. It will enhance how much you accomplish and how efficient you are!

Frequently Asked Organizing Questions and Professional Answers (FAQs for Organizing)

In over 20 years of organizing, I get asked a LOT of organizing questions. Most of these questions focus on organizing homes, organizing papers and being productive at home and at work. It’s always a pleasure to be an expert and share my ideas and answers, especially questions from people with ADHD.

 

Q: I am completely overwhelmed in my home and there is a lot of clutter. I want to get organized and want to know where do I start?

A: Start small

If you are overwhelmed, you are paralyzed. It appears that everywhere needs organizing and everything is equally important to organize. I recommend starting small. A small start can be in a small space, such as a drawer, the floor of your closet, or your medicine cabinet. When you start with a small space, there is a defined boundary for organizing. You conquer this space and you feel more confident to challenge a bigger space. You can also start with just a bag to declutter. Take a bag and place it where you can drop items to donate as you feel the urge to declutter. That can be a bag in your closet where you drop clothes you no longer love or wear. A donate bag can be placed in your laundry room to drop items throughout the house as you let go of toys or household items. By editing as you go, you are starting to get organized.

 

Q: I have a lot of paperwork. I hate filing and I don’t know what to keep. What is the best way to file papers?

A: Keep it simple sweetie

There is no perfect filing system and there are no perfect filing methods. Filing can be simplified to make it easier.

  • The best reference for what to keep is the ABCs of Important Papers. This comprehensive list guides you through what’s most important. Remember that the most important documents to keep are related to your finances.
  • Simple filing starts with broad categories and big slots to file. The simplest system is a box for the current year. The next simplest is categorizing by home/auto, financial and personal. The financial category includes anything to do with money. The personal category includes anything to do with the living things in your home. Move to hanging file folders with this system.
  • Keep a basket for To Be Filed papers. Decide how big your basket should be depending on how often you want to file and how many papers fit into the basket. Once that basket is full, it is time to file.
  • Really hate filing? Begin with scanning and going paperless.

 

Q: What do I do with my kids’ artwork, my mom’s cards from her funeral and fortune cookie saying I love?

A: Honor and respect your precious keepsakes

It is especially hard to edit these items so I recommending that you create a keepsake box for each of your family. That box holds ticket stubs, handwritten notes, and any other small items. The box size depends on creating a place for the keepsakes as well as a boundary for how much you keep. Some of my clients have a kiddo box for keepsakes, a box for art, and a box for photos. The boxes can be stored in the top of each person’s closet. Gather all these up in your To Be Filed paper area. A precious keepsake belongs in a space of honor and respect.

 

Q: Why do I need to ask for help? Why can’t I get started on my own to organize?

A: Team up

There’s two topics here to think about. Asking for help is a good thing! If you needed help with your computer or a clogged drain, you would call a professional. Make organizing a team effort and take a team approach. Body doubling is having another person in your space to help you stay focused and create momentum. In any task, having someone else tether you to the task helps you get started and finished, makes decision making easier and adds fun. Your team can be your family, a trusted friend, a professional organizer or any one who is a good listener. Set a date with that person and get started.

 

Q: I need a routine. I don’t do anything consistently including getting up in the morning, going to bed or working on paper management. How can I get started?

A: Build from your strengths

Everyone of us has organizing strengths, even if you think not. Most of us are highly visual so we need visual reminders of our plan. In this case, create a routine that has a visual list. Write that list and post it where you see it first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Some of us are highly auditory so bells and chimes remind us of our routine. Set reminders on your devices or create a routine with your Alexa or Google home. Whatever you start, start small with a short list to build momentum. Choose the most important, most impactful start for your routine so you can immediately feel the success.

 

Have an organizing or productivity question? Send me your question here or by social media!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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